…than it’s deservedly treated to yet another hallmark of all things Kosovo-involved (that is, in addition to bribery for entry):

Kosovo national team cause a stir by posing with guns before first ever international fixture (The Independent, March 7, 2014)


Kosovo fired a blank against Haiti in their 0-0 draw but a picture of them holding handguns at a shooting range has caused quite a stir in neighbouring Serbia

Kosovo created a moment of history this week when they took part in their first ever international football match, having been approved by Fifa as a recognised nation.

They drew the match against Haiti 0-0, but having had their first taste of the international stage, they’ll be gunning for their first victory in their next match.

However, a picture that has emerged of a selection of players posing at a shooting range before the game has caused quite a stir, with reports that an image of them holding guns has gone viral in neighbouring country Serbia.

At a time of great political uncertainty and with eyes in Belgrade looking on, the timing of the picture isn’t the greatest. Saying that, when is the best time to pose with handguns? […]

Another hallmark of Kosovo scandals: It only really causes a stir in Serbia. No one else cares that, for America’s Albanian clients, guns are an appendage that forms in the womb. No one cares, as long as those guns are used only against Serbs and other locals.

Now, on the point of having been “approved by Fifa as a recognized nation,” that was presaged as early as 2012 (’2018 World Cup stadiums approved, Kosovo in‘), so it was — as with all approvals for Kosovo — just a matter of conditioning the Serb side to the next set of reneged-on conditions. That is, the boiling Serbian frog scenario:

Kosovo national team approved for play (Vienna Review, June 17, 2012)

After prolonged reluctance, FIFA approved the participation of the Kosovo national football team in friendly matches with its 208 member countries, but then suspended its decision due to protest from the Serbian Federation.

Behind closed doors at the annual FIFA Congress, held in May in Budapest, President Sepp Blatter announced the initial decision after a vote in which one federation, UEFA, voted against the move.

In a statement on its website, FIFA had announced: “the Executive Committee has given its approval for FIFA member associations to play friendly matches with the Football Federation of Kosovo in accordance with Art. 79 of the FIFA statues.” Article 79 stipulates that non-members of FIFA such as Kosovo may play against members only with the approval of FIFA.

On 25 May, at the end of the week-long Congress, FIFA reversed their decision, announcing that officials from UEFA and Serbia would convene in Zurich on 29 June to clarify the decision on paper.

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke told the AP, “it’s not recognition of Kosovo as a country, but it’s recognition that it’s a country where you play football.”

How do you like that one? It’s not a country, it’s just a country where you play football.

Oh, and the match last month just had to be played in Mitrovica:

Kosovo To Play First Recognised International Football Match (Isportstimes, March 4, 2014, By Shea Robinson)

Kosovo is only recognised by 23 of the 28 countries in the EU but will play their first FIFA-sanctioned match on Wednesday.

Kosovo will play in their first ever FIFA approved match against Haiti in a game that signals the end of a long and arduous battle to gain recognition in the world of football and the beginning of a new era for the sovereign state. The fixture will be played in the small mining town of Mitrovica, within view of Serbian homes and an area that has a NATO peacekeeping force of over 5,000.

The Kosovo national football team was finally recognised by FIFA in January when Sepp Blatter announced they would be allowed to play international friendlies. However, there were several strings attached - there will be no national anthems, no flags, no national signs or symbols and no matches against any of the other former Yugoslav nations.

[For now.]

…The bigger picture for Kosovo is the hope they will be granted full UEFA and FIFA membership in the future which will allow them to compete in World Cup and European Championships Qualifying. [Bank on it.] Interestingly, if this becomes a reality there will be a whole new set of FIFA rules under review.

[As usual, making over the world for Albanians.]

Kosovo has produced a large talent pool who have gone on to play for Switzerland, Albania and other recognised countries due to their families leaving their homeland. Players such as Bayern Munich’s Xherdan Shaqiri and Napoli’s Valon Behrami will be going to the World Cup with Switzerland but are eligible to play for Kosovo. FIFA will need to determine if these players would be allowed to represent Kosovo if they choose to.

This match is the first step on the road to much bigger things for this football loving nation and the passion is summed up perfectly by striker Albert Bunjaku, who represented Switzerland at the World Cup in 2010 but will play for Kosovo on Wednesday, “We want to send a signal to UEFA and FIFA that we have a right to be part of the football family. We haven’t played a game in two years, but I want everyone to remember: This game will be when Kosovo start on their road to the World Cup after over 25 years of isolation”, he said.

As I’ve asked before, what other group gets talk of all these international memberships before it’s even a country?

As Kosovo is increasingly legitimized through various memberships, those governing bodies should prepare themselves for more and more Albanian “shocks” (recall this one from September). But, as with all things Alban, it’ll all eventually be greeted with a shrug, and the world will — as ever — come to see things the Albanian way, instead of the other way around.

I last had an update on the Muslino/Sparabic phenomenon last July. But I could have included this revealing article, which I’d missed that April. Note the first sentence. It should be harder to paint me as “anti-Catholic” when I say Catholicism is a good stepping stone to Islam and, conversely, that it’s good for weening someone off of Islam. That is, Catholicism is a gateway drug when one is heading in the wrong direction, and methadone for when one is heading in the right one:

Mexico becoming more Muslim, one person at a time (April 5, 2013, By BC & Agencies)

Gathering from different countries at the sleepy beach of Tijuana, a growing number of the city’s population are becoming Muslims, finding Islamic values close to the country’s Catholic traditions.

“The Catholic emphasis on family and family values meshes a lot with Islam,” Dr. Khaleel Mohammed, a professor of Islamic and religious studies at San Diego State University, told KPBS network on Thursday, March 28.

“The difference, however, is that whereas many Catholics see the Roman Catholic values being eroded in the United States in particular, a lot of them are seeing in Islam a difference in that there are more Muslims trying to stick to the traditional Islamic values than leave them aside,” Mohammed added.

This is another way of saying what I’ve said myself: that as Christianity is undefended and banished by Western countries, only one religion sweeps in to fill the void. Of course, in the context of Catholicism specifically, this reveals that Islam is a definite draw for people who are used to being part of something that dominates.

Enjoying a welcoming atmosphere from Tijuana people, the Muslim population was growing steadily in the small city, with people coming from India, Costa Rica, the Middle East, Mexico and the United States.

At the city, Muslims have established a new Masjid al-Islam mosque to give the estimated 200 practicing Muslims in Baja California a place to worship.

This mosque is one of two new Islamic centers within a mile of one another, both of which have opened within the past three years.

According to WhyIslam’s 2012 annual report, 19 percent of the some 3,000 converts it assisted in 2011 were Latinos, and more than half of those (55 percent) were women. [See Islamabimbos.]

The 2011 US Mosque Survey, which interviewed leaders at 524 mosques across the country, found the number of new female converts to Islam had increased 8 percent since 2000.

Of that number, Latinos accounted for 12 percent of all new converts in the United States in 2011.

“It changed my life, you know,” Amir Carr, a native Californian, and a convert to Islam, told Fronteras Desk.

Carr, a tall man wearing glasses and a taqiyyah, or prayer cap, sits in a wheelchair across from his wife, Na’eema, who is wearing a loose blouse and a head scarf.

“I was a — a street kid, you know. I got put in this wheelchair for hanging out and hanging out with gangs and stuff like this, and I got shot.” [See ‘Why call it crime when you can call it relgion’]

When he got out of prison in California, his wife Na’eema, a Mexican national, was deported.

“They pulled us over for speeding, and they deported her within about an hour. It was so quick that you just couldn’t even believe it,” Carr says, shaking his head.

Coming to live in Playas, Tijuana, he was introduced for the first time to Islam, which changed his life for good.

“And for the first time I sat down in my life and listened, and when I listened to Islam…” Carr said. [Because badasses have respect for bigger badasses, so he listened.]

Same as Carr, the life of Samuel Cortes, another convert, changed when he came to live in the sleepy beach city of Tijuana.

Growing up Glendale, on the outskirts of Los Angeles, Cortes was a longtime gang member who was deported after spending time in prison for aggravated assault.

“But for the time being, I’m just mostly concentrated on my daughter, Islam, and work.”

Coming to Tijuana either by choice or no, many Muslims ended up staying in Mexico rather than trying to get back into the United States.

“When we open a masjid here they don’t even blink,” Carr said.

They look with curiosity and they ask, but for sure they don’t march. I mean, for sure nothing negative comes out of them.

“They just accept it as they would accept anybody else.”

They’re Mexican. What few observations they make, they make with a shrug.

A translation of a Serbian TV report from yesterday (original here), thanks to Nebojsa Malic, president of the Reiss Institute:

First Balkans Suicide Bomber (Radio Television Serbia, April 2)

Blerim Heta of Urosevac is the first Balkans suicide bomber. Heta blew himself up in Baghdad a week ago, killing 52. Before going to Iraq, Heta worked at Camp Bondsteel.

The investigation into the March 25 suicide bombing in Baghdad revealed that the perpetrator was Kosovo Albanian Blerim Heta of Urosevac, who called his family a day earlier and told them he would “meet Allah” soon.

Heta’s death was confirmed by his family. Kosovo authorities have not commented on the case.

The news of Heta’s suicide attack was confirmed by the website of “Islamic State of Iraq and Shem” (ISIS), an organization tied to Al-Qaeda. ISIS refers to Heta as “Abu Habbab al-Kosowi”.

This is the first documented case of someone from the Balkans engaging in a suicide bombing attack. There were several unconfirmed reports of suicide bombers of Bosnian origin during the Iraq War.

Heta’s family believed Blerim was fighting somewhere in Syria.

“After everything that happened, I don’t want to hear about faith.” said Heta’s father, Remzi. “My son was seduced. We are a family that shares European values, not extremists.”

The family claims that, prior to going to Iraq, Blerim attended sermons by Shefqet Krasniqi in Kosovo, as well as Bekir Halimi eid-Omar in Macedonia.

Yes, of course, like most Albanians — as we keep hearing ad nauseum — this one too was of a secular, “Europe-facing” orientation. So were the Albanian Fort Dix plotters, so was Arid Uka, who in 2011 shot five American servicemen in Frankfurt, and so were the other Albanians getting in on the jihad action. It’s interesting that Heta’s family thought their secular son was off fighting in Syria. (Though to be fair, they may have already been shaking their head on that count.)

So, we’ve got another one who was seduced — as The Weakly Standard’s long-resident Balkans shill, Stephen Suleyman Ahmad Schwartz, protests is the case for Albanians joining the jihad. “Nothing exceptional to see here,” we’re constantly told, “Albanians and Bosnians are like everyone else — susceptible to indoctrination.”

I believe it. But the point is, you know who wasn’t susceptible to Islamic indoctrination? The Orthodox Christians we bombed on the susceptibles’ behalf. Giving exactly this trend a leg up.

Now, on to the most interesting detail of all. The bomber worked at (drum roll) our Camp Bondsteel, which if I recall my previous research correctly, is the second-largest from-scratch U.S. military base since Vietnam, and the largest in Europe. Still nothing to see here, Folks? Kosovo — still obscure and insignificant? Even as its logical conclusion comes crashing down around us as we mark the 15th anniversary of that “successful” “humanitarian” war? (The crashing is a reference not only to Crimea and this bomber, but Georgia 2008 as well as all the secession movements on the table, not to mention a host of other complications, repercussions and reverberations discussed at length.)

What timing. March 25th. Fifteen years almost to the date (March 24th) of our coming to his rescue from those uncivilized Serbs. Maybe he too was marking our ’success.’

As Nebojsa Malic points out, Bondsteel is situated just outside Urosevac (or, as we call it by its Albanian-usurpation name, Ferizaj), where the bomber is from. The TV report didn’t tell us whom he killed, or in what capacity Heta worked at Bondsteel. Maybe as one of those helpful Albanian translators? The RTS broadcast also didn’t tell us when he worked there, Malic continues, and whether he was fired and then turned to jihad, or whether he was already a jihadist when hired.

“Or was he recruited there to go to Syria?” Malic asks. After all, fighting alongside the rebels would mean he’s fighting on “our” side, wouldn’t it, as in Kosovo and Bosnia.

Again, that’s Camp Bondsteel, where few Serbs are hired, it’s been explained to us, for fear of infiltration. The Serbs were the designated enemy, after all, as opposed to a potentially real enemy, whom we welcomed with open arms.

Once again, that’s Camp Bondsteel, named for Vietnam soldier and Medal of Honor recipient James Bondsteel. Which, in another cosmic twist of Balkans irony, sounds a lot like James Bond, a character based on the Serb who infiltrated the Germans and tried to warn us about Pearl Harbor.

(It would be more appropriate if the camp were named after the mugger/rapist James Bondsteel who once killed his roommate, given that the leader we installed in Kosovo reputedly did the same.)

Now, although this is the first confirmed successful suicide bomber from the Balkans, it’s not the first would-be Balkans suicide bomber, as an Albanian in an explosive vest had been arrested in Kosovo in 2009, on the one-year anniversary of U.S.-bestowed independence from Serbia. And who can forget Mirsad Bektasevic, whom police subdued “as he assembled a suicide vest attached to a detonator” the same year. That’s after the previous time he was arrested and a raid on his Sarajevo apartment “turned up suicide vests, exploding bullets, rifles and a machine gun, to be used on the British embassy,” to quote myself from November 2009.

Heta’s anti-Christian imam Shefqet Krasniqi, meanwhile, has been mentioned here previously, and the Macedonian one here, here, and here.

To close, this may be a good time to check in on Sami Osmakac, or more accurately Osmankaj, the would-be Tampa Bay bomber of 2012 and fellow “Kosovar”:

New details emerge in case of alleged plot to destroy Tampa Bay bridges, attack sheriff’s facility (Tampa Bay Times, March 13, By Keeley Sheehan)

Sami Osmakac thought four or five people in a fishing boat would be enough to take down several Tampa Bay bridges, according to federal court documents filed Wednesday.

An attack on the bridges would leave people terrified and bring the area to a halt for at least a month, he told an undercover agent.

The August 2013 report from Evan Kohlmann, a private international terrorism consultant, is based on evidence provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

He thought he could take down at least five bridges with help from five people in a fishing boat, though he said “nobody wants to do it” and considered using a cell phone to detonate explosives, the report said.

Osmakac also wanted to assault a sheriff’s operations center in Ybor City and kidnap people from the building, the report said. He had a desire to attack “army people” but said “their bases are so locked up, I have to, I have to do something else.”

He talked about plans to bomb a South Tampa bar and shoot first responders, the report said. He showed the agent some planned targets, saying he had seen videos of preachers who “insulted God and the Prophet” while working near nightclubs on busy nights.

Osmakac planned to take hostages to exchange for imprisoned jihadist leaders, the report said. He vowed to shoot a hostage every 30 minutes unless the jihadists were released.

Osmakac, 27, a Kosovo native and naturalized U.S. citizen from Pinellas Park, was charged in January 2012 with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. The investigation began in 2011 when an informer told the FBI that Osmakac had been shopping for flags representing al-Qaida. The informer introduced Osmakac to an undercover FBI agent posing as someone who could provide weapons.

This is always reassuring. One supposes it was always the logical conclusion of Western media coverage of Kosovo. I’m sure he won’t be biased or anything. Note the year he was picked up by AP.

AP names news director for east-central Europe (The Associated Press, Feb. 7, 2014)

LONDON (AP) — Fisnik Abrashi, an Associated Press correspondent and editor who covered wars and their aftermath on three continents, has been appointed all-formats news director for central and eastern Europe, responsible for leading video, photo and text coverage in a region stretching from the Balkans to Poland.

Abrashi will be based in Prague and lead the AP’s eastern and central European team in reporting on the politics, economics, security, social issues and everyday life of 13 countries — Poland, Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Moldova.

“We’re excited to see Abrashi put into action his vision for aggressive coverage of one of Europe’s most dynamic regions,” [Europe editor Niko] Price said.

“Abrashi combines outstanding news judgment across all formats with in-depth knowledge of the region,” Hicks added.

The 37-year-old Abrashi joined AP in 2000 in his native Kosovo, where he helped cover the aftermath of the war that led to the withdrawal of Serbian forces from the former autonomous province of Yugoslavia. He later spent three years as a correspondent in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he helped cover the expansion of the Taliban insurgency, the rise of drug production [but not its passing through Kosovo?] and the cooling of relations between the Afghan leadership and its Western sponsors. Since 2010, he has been an editor at AP’s European headquarters in London.

Abrashi has traveled on assignments around the world for the AP, including witnessing conflict in Iraq, Sri Lanka’s first elections after its civil war, and the World Cup in South Africa in 2010.

Prior to AP, Abrashi worked for the BBC and for the Kosovo newspaper Koha Ditore.

He holds a master’s degree in East and Central European Studies from University College London and speaks Albanian and Serbo-Croatian, as well as some Bulgarian, Macedonian and Slovenian.

This was telling:

Balkans remembers Holocaust victims (World Bulletin - Turkey, Jan. 29)

People from all walks of life gathered around the Balkans Monday to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day and reflect on their own personal losses.

Thousands gathered in front of Bosnia’s Cathedral of the Sacred Heart to raise placards emblazoned with slogans such as “Nationalism kills,” written in Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian.

Why not also in Montenegrin?

In 1995, some 8,000 Muslim Bosniak men and boys were killed in Srebrenica when Serb forces overran the Bosnian town. The incident has become known as Europe’s worst massacre since World War II.

So much for HOLOCAUST Remembrance Day.

Edvin Kanka Cudic - a Coordinator for Social Research and Communications - said in a statement Monday that although the day commemorates those that died in the Holocaust, Bosnian genocide is proof that mankind did not learn from history.

In the Serbian capital, Belgrade, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic told members of the capital’s Jewish community that a main cause of the Holocaust was “national socialism.”

The “ideology was a monster,” he said to those gathered on the grounds of a former World War II concentration camp. “Because it implied the complete destruction of the Jewish people and the method to achieving the goal was designed to the smallest details.”

He reminded those present that outside of the millions of Jews who died, 16 percent of the Serbian population lost their lives in the World War II occupation of Yugoslavia.

Notice how the Serb faction stays on topic.

Even the Croatian faction mustered the class to do so (below), albeit conveniently leaving out that last bit of Holocaust history Nikolic mentioned (which he all too classily put entirely on the “German occupation”), for which the Croatians share the worst of culpability:

In the Croatian capital Zagreb, Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic told dignitaries gathered at a ceremony - including those from both Catholic and Muslim religions - that the Holocaust was “the worst thing that happened in the history of mankind.”

In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly designated January 27 Holocaust Remembrance Day.

So, at least as far as this Turkish report highlights and prioritizes, to all in the Balkans but the Muslims, Holocaust Remembrance Day is about the Holocaust. Then again, their co-religionists in England were boycotting Remembrance Day all together, until it included others’ losses, such as, for example, the Bosnian Muslims’. I guess it’s not enough that they could get a remembrance day all to themselves as the only valuable lives lost in the war they started. A truly tasteless, infantile, base and masturbatory lot.

MNLF eyes ‘Kosovo-style’ campaign (The Philippine Star, Feb. 3, 2014)

MANILA, Philippines - The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) has warned it will carry out what it calls a “Kosovo style” struggle to “decolonize” southern Mindanao and some parts of Malaysia, including Sabah and Sarawak.

MNLF founding chairman Nur Misuari called on his followers to renounce armed struggle and adopt the Kosovar model by carrying out peaceful assemblies in attaining their political objective for self rule, spokesman Emmanuel Fontanilla said yesterday.

Fontanilla was referring to the 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence where participants unanimously declared Kosovo as independent from Serbia. [Which was of course after the armed-struggle part of the Kosovo campaign.]

“Armed struggle is already obsolete as proven in other countries. [But not in Kosovo.] We will bring our cause to the people,” Fontanilla said.

He said their struggle is now on the second phase after Misuari declared the independence of the Bangsa Moro Republik in Sulu in last year.

According to Fontanilla, peaceful assemblies are scheduled next month in key cities in Mindanao and Sulu.

“The MNLF is just expressing its desire to be an independent state and it will be the people who decide, it’s a war in winning the hearts and mind of the people,” he said.

Fontanilla said the MNLF is now taking the next step that will involve a series of assemblies for every province where Muslims, Christians and tribal groups will express their desire for self-rule.

Here is a flashback to just some of the other Kosovo toll booths, which made themselves known in 2008 itself:

Salahuddin congratulates Kosovo people, Urges world to ensure Kashmiris get freedom (GK NEWS NETWORK, Feb. 20, 2008)

United Jehad Council chairman, Syed Salah-ud-Din has congratulated the people of Kosovo on gaining independence and urged the world community to take a cue from Kosovo and ensure that the people of Kashmir are granted right to self determination and the issue is solved as per the promises made in the UN resolutions.

Salah-ud-Din paid tribute to people of Kosovo who sacrificed their lives for independence. “India should read the writing on the wall that…The only thing that comes in the way of Kashmir resolution is the stubborn attitude of India,” he said. “The world community should break this stubbornness so that the nation is liberat[ed] from the 60-year-old illegal military occupation.”

Kashmir separatists buoyed by Kosovo declaration (Islamic Republic News Agency, Feb. 19, 2008)

…Pro-independence leaders in Srinagar, buoyed up by the Kosovo declaration, have already started making calls for meting out similar treatment to Kashmiris by the International community.

Yasin Malik, Chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) said, “The international community, particularly the European Union, should play a pro-active role now towards the resolution of Kashmir issue as they did in case of Kosovo.”

Kosovo, a tiny land-locked nation of two million and one of the poorest in Europe, with no functioning industry, declared independence from Serbia….Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday reiterated India’s position saying that the “territorial integrity of all countries should be fully respected by all states” and that the Kosovo issue should have been resolved by dialogue.

Malik said the Kosovo development has strengthened belief in Kashmir that an Independent Kashmir is possible.

“Kosovo is yet another example” of new nations coming into existence “despite repression and suppression.”

Independence of Kosovo, according to Malik, “immortalizes the fact that sacrifices of martyrs for freedom of their motherland never go in vain.”

Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani sounded more enthusiastic over the creation of an independent Kosovo.

“It is a moment of delight for Muslims all over the world,” Geelani was quoted as saying by the Srinagar media.

Geelani, who heads a faction of Hurriyat Conference, said the creation of a Muslim state within the European heartland has strengthened the resolve of the people of Kashmir to achieve their right to self- determination.

“The day is not far away,” Geelani said, “when the people of Kashmir will announce their Independence from imperial India.” Geelani’s rival and the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference went a step ahead and said they have started the process of unification of the pro-freedom parties in order to speed up the freedom struggle. […]

Separatist Moldovan region wants to have Kosovo style independence (Feb. 19, 2008)

CHISINAU, Moldova - The Moldovan separatist region of Trans-Dniester said Tuesday it would like to be recognized as an independent state like Kosovo.

A statement from the foreign ministry said that Kosovo represented “a new way of resolving conflicts all around the world,” the Olvia state news agency reported.

“A speedy international recognition of Trans-Dniester will help the international community to consolidate stability and security in the
region,” the statement said.

Trans-Dniester, in eastern Moldova, is not recognized internationally but receives support from Russia. It is mainly populated by Russian and Ukrainian citizens.

Moldova has had troubles with the separatists since a war in 1992 left more than 1,000 people dead.

Moldova said Monday that it would not recognize Kosovo’s independence, referring to Trans-Dniester and saying that Kosovo’s declaration created “deep concerns.”

Supporters of Kosovo’s independence, including the United States and major Western European powers, have insisted that Kosovo is a special case and does not set a precedent for other breakaway regions.

Corsican separatists “delighted” over Kosovo (Tanjug, B92, Feb. 19, 2008)

PARIS — The Independent Corsican Nation (CNI) welcomed with “delight” Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence.

They also saluted Kosovo and the “brotherly Kosovo people”, the French media reported.

CNI said that they hope that a delegation of the provisional Kosovo government would shortly take part in the International Days, an annual event held each August in Corsica.

The International Days, consacrated to nationalism in Corsica, rally separatist European organizations from the Basque country and Catalonia in Spain, the French Bretagne, Sardinia and Sicily, Tyrol and other regions in Europe.

Yesterday, other separatist movements, such as the Basque regional authority in Spain, and Chechens in Russia, welcomed the development.

ETA to follow Kosovo example (B92, Jan. 5, 2008)

BILBAO — The Basque separatist group ETA will base its calls for independence on the example set by Kosovo, says local daily Gara.

ETA, which the EU considers a terrorist organization, stresses that its fight “is not utopia” and cites the examples of Kosovo and Scotland….

“This nation has a right to its own development,” says ETA, which has been responsible for 819 murders in the last 40 years in Spain in its fight for the Basque country’s independence.

Kosovo officials say that they will soon declare independence against the wishes of the Serbian authorities.

In Scotland, the Scottish National Party secured a majority in elections to the Scottish parliament in May, and is looking to hold a referendum for independence in 2010.

Basque leaders wish to hold a similar referendum in the same year.

Blogger Bhaskar Dasgupta wrote the following at the time:

Separatist Movements Seek Inspiration in Kosovo (May 31, 2008)

A whole bunch of comments on various places (here and here for example) were placed on my previous essay where I said that the current Kosovo declaration will cause problems. Here’s a well arguedarticle on this topic. The six cases they quote are:

Spain: The Basques and the Catalans
Cyprus: The Turkish Cypriots
Romania: The Magyars in Székely Land
Bulgaria: The Muslim Pomaks
Greece: The Turks of Western Thrace
Slovakia: The Hungarian Minority

I wonder if those who are getting all excited about Kosovo independence will also join in asking for independence for these and the other minorities such ashere, here, here and here.

I was just reading this piece of tripe from Toronto Star last August, by writer Olivia Ward, who has been the paper’s Kosovo correspondent for 14 years, and I took note of her last paragraph:

And so, the war was over. Shortly, the owners of our flat would inherit a month’s supply of pasta. And next week, or next month, Allah willing, the water would be flowing again…

Nice to see that 14 years later, the “journalists” who brought us the Kosovo war are so casually open about the Muslim aspect, which at the time was downplayed at all costs.

I meant to get to this earlier:

Greek uproar over UCK support picture (ekathimerini.com, Sept. 5, 2013)

Albanian international Ergys Kace Wednesday eliminated his Facebook page after causing an uproar in the Greek press with a picture he posted supporting a Kosovar militant group.

The 20-year-old PAOK midfielder had posted a picture where he was seen wearing a tee-shirt of the UCK, the Albanian abbreviation for the ethnic-Albanian paramilitary organization the Kosovo Liberation Army.

Before erasing his Facebook account Kace appologised for his actions saying the tee-shirt belonged to a friend.

“Those who know me know my character and know that I do not (support) the UCK. I respect Greece,” Kace wrote.

The Thessaloniki club did not issue a statement but team officials have told the Greek press that they feel the case is closed.

The UCK sought the separation of Kosovo from Yugoslavia during the 1990s and members of the group have recently made provocative statements claiming parts of Western Greece belong to Albania, which have been criticised by the Greek government. [AFP]

Well now, here’s a paradox. The kid is being faulted for supporting allies of the U.S. and NATO in the above-described 1990s joint venture and beyond. This rarest of Albanians claims he does not, in fact, support the KLA, which the United States Government does support and which is now the ‘legitimate’ government of U.S.-backed Kosovo.

Of course, it’s hard to believe Kace that he doesn’t really support the KLA, given that the shirt belongs “to a friend.” How does he manage to fit in?

Silly Serbs, lobbying is for Albanians. For those who already have the upper hand.

Emphases added.

Response of James George Jatras to Belgrade lawyers with respect to the false and unjustified accusations against His Grace, Bishop Artemije of Ras and Prizren
January 27, 2014
Washington DC

Dear Friends:

The following statement is posted on www.savekosovo.org at http://www.savekosovo.org/?p=9&leader=0&sp=599 :

On December 27, 2013, I received a letter from a law firm in Belgrade asking for details of my past lobbying work on behalf of His Grace, Bishop Artemije of Ras and Prizren, and his suffering flock in the Serbian Province of Kosovo and Metohija. As is evident in that letter, and in my response dated today, this inquiry is in furtherance of the vendetta to which His Grace has been subjected since 2010 by persons in the Serbian State and Church, at the behest of Western governments, sadly led by the government of the United States.

…The Belgrade lawyers’ letter is here. The English text of my response is here, with a Serbian translation here.

January 27, 2014
Aleksandar Todorović, attorney
Dušan Radosvljević, attorney
Advokatska kancelarija [Public Prosecutor]
“Todorović & Šebek”
Svetogorska br. 22
B e o g r a d
VIA EMAIL to toseb@open.telekom.rs

Dear Mr. Todorović and Mr. Radosavljević:

This is in response to your letter to me of December 27, 2013, inquiring about specifics of lobbying activities under the direction of His Grace, Vladika Artemije of Ras and Prizren…

First, since you are attorneys with a private law firm and not public officials, it seems to me that professional ethics and courtesy should have led you to include in your letter a disclosure of the entity on whose behalf you are acting and the scope of your responsibilities. In any case, since you clearly directed this inquiry to me in furtherance of the unjust and unwarranted accusations made against Vladika Artemije, my response is being made public contemporaneously with its delivery to you.

Second, there is nothing in your inquiry that has not been already publicized in detail, either as posted on the website of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) unit of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ; at www.fara.gov), or included in my “Statement by James George Jatras Regarding Allegations of Misuse of Funds to Support Lobbying in the United States on Behalf of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija” of February 18, 2010… [my blog on that here] or my response to the scurrilous attack by the Greek publication Romfea….

Third, on the face of it the purpose of your request is unclear. You state: “Since the objective of Serbian Orthodox Church is not to pursue [His Grace] without merit, and since the reasons of payments to ‘Venable LLP’ are not completely clear, . . . it would help to put the case ad acta and thereby avoid the conduct of proceedings for offenses against” him if the amounts paid for lobbying could be “covered,” presumably to dispel “doubt” as to “the real motive” of the payments. Regarding this aspect:

o It is unclear whether you are inquiring on behalf of the Public Prosecutor (which the subject heading on your letter would suggest) or on behalf of the Serbian Orthodox Church (per the above quotation from your letter). Your clarification is requested.

o If there is no desire to pursue His Grace and Fr. Simeon (Vilovski) “without merit,” and if you (or the entity on whose behalf you are working) wish “to solve this unpleasant case, that burdens both Orthodox Christians and the public in the Republic of Serbia,” then by all means advise your client to desist from this pointless, unfounded, and destructive vendetta.

o Perhaps most puzzling is the novel suggestion that there is any doubt that the “real motive” for the payments at issue was anything other than lobbying and related services. Indeed, until receiving your letter, my entire understanding of the unjustified accusations against Vladika Artemije and Fr. Simeon (and by association, against me) was that funds intended for another purpose (church repairs to be made by substandard Albanian firms, so that the churches would be in a presentable state for renewed desecration and demolition) were used for supposedly illicit purposes, i.e., lobbying. With respect to such use, as I asked in my February 18, 2010, statement, referenced above, for which no answer has yet been provided by any of Vladika Artemije’s accusers:

“When all is said and done, there is only one legitimate question [that] can be asked that relates to the lobbying issue: did the funds for it come from some specific source for which it was absolutely impermissible to be used for any other purpose, such as lobbying? Not being party to the Eparchy’s ledgers, I would strongly doubt it. First, money is fungible. If money is given to the Eparchy for various purposes and then is spent for a number of legitimate activities, how is it determined which money went for what purpose? Second, I categorically reject any suggestion that Vladika Artemije, Fr. Simeon, or any of the monastics and laity associated with him would perform any clearly improper action, financial or otherwise. If, on the other hand, we are talking about questions of judgment, that should be left to the Bishop’s discretion.”

Vladika Artemije having decided that due to the emergency situation and extraordinary pressures on his flock it was imperative to devise a sustainable security and protection program, including a deterrent against any further destruction and desecration of Orthodox holy places, and that such a program took precedence over non-sustainable repairs, such use of funds would better serve the same objective in a much more efficient manner. Indeed, this would be an appropriate decision corresponding to accepted “best business practices” of budget administration. Instead of “throwing good money after bad” he wisely sought to eliminate the political root cause of the danger to his people: the wrong-headed policy of the western powers, particularly of the United States. To that end, His Grace chose lobbying among the very few peaceful and effective options open to him, to engage professional services with the required qualifications and capabilities to present the case of those under the care of his Eparchy in order to put a halt at the source of the problem to the suffering of his people and to set conditions for securing their lives and property. Keep in mind that there was nothing secret about any of this at the initiation of this program, or at any time since.

o But the current suggestion – which I emphasize, is totally new to me – that the funds in question were not used for lobbying is an even more outrageous and baseless speculation. If you have any shred of evidence that payments made for lobbying were for some other, surreptitious purpose (“the real motive”), simple decency would suggest that you provide it. If you are unable to do so, I expect your prompt and public apology for this groundless, unsubstantiated, and defamatory conjecture.

Let me now address your specific questions.

1. “Were there any reports on performed legal and lobbying activities?”

The activities described were not in the nature of legal services but were confined to lobbying and related media services. As required by FARA, these were duly reported to the FARA unit at DOJ, which later posted some of them – but for some reason not all of them – at www.fara.gov…

However, let me draw your attention to two reports that are publicly posted at the FARA unit, at:

http://www.fara.gov/docs/5435-Supplemental-Statement-20060630-4.pdf
http://www.fara.gov/docs/5435-Supplemental-Statement-20061229-5.pdf

These are for two six-month periods of 2006, during which time the “Registrant” (Venable LLP) performed the described services for the Republic of the Philippines, the Embassy of India, the Rodina Political Party (of Russia), and the Serbian National Council of Kosovo and Metohija (the account in question). The various contacts, meetings, media placements relevant to the Kosovo work are listed in a manner comparable to those pertaining to the other matters, which you may take as a representative – but not exhaustive – description of the lobbying work performed under Vladika Artemije’s direction. (Please note that it was probably unnecessary to register this project under FARA at all, since His Grace is not a foreign official under the meaning of FARA. However, since the Serbian National Council could conceivably be construed as a “political party,” and since we anticipated close scrutiny for our opposition to U.S. policy on Kosovo, we decided to register under FARA in an excess of caution.)

2. “If not, what actions were taken in order to justify the amount of 700.000,oo USD, which was paid by invoices (that we have) for a period of 6 months, as of 22 March, 2006?”

Per the response to the first question above, I presume the phrase “if not” in this question is inoperable, since there is indeed a publicly available, representative listing of such actions, per the links provided above.

Concerning the amount of payments, please note the following, from my February 18, 2010, statement:

“With respect to the money, there is a curious assumption behind the accusation that moneys were ‘diverted’ to lobbying: that while Serbia’s enemies should take full advantage of all the influence money can buy, Serbs should rely solely on goodhearted, voluntary, nonprofessional efforts. That assumption is a large part of why Serbia and Serbs ended up where they did in the propaganda wars of the 1990s. It is an assumption Vladika Artemije wisely understood he had to reject if he was to have any hope of saving his flock. In any case, the cost for services in the agreement signed between SNC and Venable in March 2006 was for an initial six-month period for $600,000, and continuing thereafter unless cancelled at the same rate of $100,000 per month. Any search of lobbying records for international clients shows that is this is well within the range of such services, with two provisos:

” * First, that the payments under the SNC/Venable agreement were inclusive of out-of-pocket costs (like media buys, travel, conferences, etc.), and was not just for professional fees to the firm for its work. This is not usual. In most agreements the contract amount is what goes for the work, with costs added on top. This means that out of the SNC/Venable contract from one-third to up to forty percent of the funds paid went not for professional fees but for things like ads in papers read by officials, like Roll Call and The Hill; in well-read political sites like DrudgeReport and Daily Kos; conferences at locations like the Capitol Hill Club (Washington’s most well-regarded Republican gathering place); for travel around the U.S., Britain, Germany, Russia, India, Israel, Belgium (EU), Rome, and other locations; and similar expenses. This also means that the actual amount paid for the work of Venable’s professionals was far exceeded (by a factor of two or three times) by the amount of time devoted to the mission.

” * Second, that funding ($600,000) for the initial six months, which was paid out over the period March-December 2006, virtually exhausted the sources available for support of the representation. In February 2007, because I had changed firms, the agreement with Venable was reassigned to Squire Sanders Public Advocacy , under the signature of Fr. Simeon (Vilovski), continuing at $100,000 per month, though by then no further funds were available. Notwithstanding, the work continued at the same intensity throughout 2007 and 2008, and into 2009. Since then, it has been necessary to scale back the work but it has never fully ended despite having, in effect, ceased to be professional effort and transformed into essentially a volunteer activity.

“So, that means that since the signing of the March 2006 contract, that initial $600,000 for six months has bought almost four years worth of work of varying levels of intensity. That’s an average of about $12,500 per month, of which, as noted above, a sizeable portion went to costs.”

+++++

In closing, allow me to again address the absurdity and injustice of the persecution to which Vladika Artemije (with Fr. Simeon, and others loyal to him) have been and continue to be subjected. The underlying premise of these false accusations is either that His Grace “wasted” funds on lobbying or (as your letter now suggests) that the lobbying payments were a cover for some mysteriously unidentified “real motive.” It should be patently obvious that the opposite is the case: that Vladika Artemije is being maltreated precisely because the lobbying and media services he procured for even a limited time were far too effective and had become a threat to the policy of those governments (sadly, that of my own country in the forefront) wishing to wrest Kosovo and Metohija from Serbia, and a discomfort to their Serbian collaborators. As observed in my February 18, 2010, statement:

“We believed we could win only by changing the terms of debate. When we began, ‘Kosovo’ meant only ‘the place where America stopped genocide of peaceful Albanians by evil Serbs.’ Due to our efforts, for many, many Americans ‘Kosovo’ now means ‘the place where our government insanely helps jihadists and gangsters terrorize Christian Serbs.’ [ . . . ]

“Let us remember that when we began our efforts Washington fully expected smoothly to arrange the ‘final status’ of Kosovo well before the end of 2006. The architects of American policy expected minimal resistance from Belgrade and were sure the Russians were not serious in their opposition to independence. And of course there were virtually no dissenting voices in the United States. While our efforts may not have been early enough to have accomplished a reversal of American policy, I am confident that if not for this campaign under Vladika Artemije’s guidance and direction Washington would have moved much faster than it did to “resolve” the issue. Instead, we threw enough sand in the gears that contributed to a delay of almost two years, by which time the Russian position had become rock-solid and it had become impossible for anyone (openly, anyway) in Serbian politics to consent to losing Kosovo. Even when Washington did make its move in early 2008, in concert with the KLA kingpins and with unprecedented bullying of our European allies, they did so with the increasingly desperate knowledge they were losing ground and that it was ‘now or never.’ The result – the ongoing, unresolved crisis – is not one anyone wants to see but is far better than what likely would have been the case if we had not moved when we did at Vladika Artemije’s initiative. I sincerely believe we helped give Serbia a fighting chance, which it is still her option to take advantage of or not.”

The proof of our effectiveness is in the fact that there is reason to suspect that the campaign (of which you evidently are a part) to eliminate His Grace as an obstacle to the policy of the Western powers was undertaken in direct response to a NATO, and perhaps specifically U.S., initiative. As reported by NATO, U.S. Admiral Mark P. Fitzgerald, then Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, and Commander, Allied Joint Force Command (JFC) Naples, “with operational responsibility for NATO missions in the Balkans, Iraq and the Mediterranean,” took part in meetings in Kosovo in January 2010 (“JFC Com Visits Kosovo” at http://www.jfcnaples.nato.int/page8840506.aspx ; note, this occurred on January 8, the second day of Orthodox Christmas according to the Old Calendar) and February 2010 (“JFC Commander visists [sic] Viskoki [sic] Decane [sic] Monastery” at http://www.jfcnaples.nato.int/page8840281.aspx ). During his January visit the Admiral publicly stated that he considered Serbian so-called “parallel institutions” – that is, the legitimate structures of the sovereign Serbian state, as opposed to the Albanians’ illegal separatist administration installed under NATO patronage – to be a “security threat.” Further, an unconfirmed report indicates that a high NATO officer – whether Admiral Fitzgerald or someone else is not specified – stated in the course of one of the January meetings (this is verbatim or a close paraphrase) “What we need here is a more cooperative bishop.”

Again, I cannot confirm this report or firmly identify the speaker of the comment. But the timing is indicative. Just over a month after Admiral Fitzgerald’s earlier visit, and just before his later one, Vladika Artemije’s authority over his Eparchy was “temporarily” suspended. This was followed in due course by his physical removal from the province of Kosovo and Metohija and by an unlawful and legally void declaration of the Holy Hierarchical Assembly of the Serbian Orthodox Church that he had been stripped of the Episcopal dignity and reduced to the level of a monk. (For a further account of these developments, see “ANY PRETEXT WILL DO: Totalitarianism in Service to the West: Serbia Betrays God, Helps Evict Last of Kosovo Christianity,” by Julia Gorin, at http://www.juliagorin.com/wordpress/?p=2324; the speaker in question is identified, perhaps imprecisely based on available information as “a KFOR officer”; and “Eleven Years Later: NATO Powers Prepare Final Solution In Kosovo,” by Rick Rozoff, http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/11-years-later-nato-powers-prepare-final-solution-in-kosovo/ .)

There is little question that the removal of Bishop Artemije was undertaken in the service of a broader policy initiative to “resolve” Kosovo’s status. I will leave it to those in the upper echelons of the Serbian State and Church who behind the scenes unworthily acted to comply with NATO’s evident wishes, to explain their motives and answer to their consciences.

I trust this answers your questions, if not quite to your satisfaction.

James George Jatras, Esq.

******SEE UPDATE AT BOTTOM******

While the United States and Germany are browbeating Serbia into the last leg of surrendering Kosovo to the narco-terrorist mafia demanding it, the latter are beating up female missionaries.

It happened this past November, and for almost two weeks was kept quiet and out of the news. And it happened in the very capital of our Kosovo “success,” Pristina. The Albanian perpetrators attacked Americans, their stubbornly eternal benefactors at Christian-Orthodox expense. (And of course at the expense of local Roma, Turk, Bosniak, Ashkali and Gorani Muslims who were just fine with rule from Belgrade.) When the news did finally get out, via an AP report, it was carried only locally and in Utah:

2 LDS sister missionaries attacked in Kosovo (Fox 13 Now, Nov. 13, 2013)

SALT LAKE CITY — Two American missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were attacked in Kosovo; it happened in the city of Pristina ten days ago, but news reports of the beating just surfaced late Wednesday afternoon.

The incident is being tied to terrorism and the suspects responsible have been arrested.

[An actual arrest is unusual for Kosovo; then again, the victims weren’t among Kosovo’s ethnic minorities, so they count for something.]

Fox 13 News has learned two sister missionaries were beaten by Albanians, who are also tied to plotting a terrorist attack. The LDS Church said the two young women are out of harm’s way and doing OK.

[Also unusual: This local Fox affiliate actually identified the perpetrators directly as Albanians.]

Kosovo is tucked away in the Eastern block of Europe; the country is no stranger to political strife. Video from 2004 shows the break-away Balkan territory suffering from bombings, protests and riots. Civil unrest was not uncommon during that time, and today there are growing concerns about the rise of Islamic extremism in the country.

[Now there’s a nice, neutral way of putting it. Why provide readers/viewers context for what just happened to their fellow Mormons, such as being specific about who was rioting and hurling those Molotov cocktails in 2004? Specifically, Albanians continuing their ethnic and religious purification process while sending a message to the internationals to hurry up with the hand-over of the cleansed Serbian territory.]

Six Albanians suspected of plotting a terrorist attack were arrested ten days ago, and authorities believe two of them beat two sister missionaries in the capital city of Pristina on Nov. 3.

The LDS Church released a statement saying, “We can confirm two sister missionaries were beaten in Kosovo and have been moved out of the area. Gratefully they are making a full recovery.” […]

The video at the link below also uses that oh-so-controversial identifier “…attacked by a group of Albanians.” (As opposed to terms preferred by polite society, like “former Yugoslavs”; “Kosovars”; or “in Serbia.”) The accompanying report mentions that two of the total six arrested reputedly fought alongside Syrian rebels:

2 LDS Sister Missionaries Attacked in Kosovo

SALT LAKE CITY — Two suspected terrorists are being held in Kosovo after a Nov. 3 attack on two American women serving as missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A total of six men were arrested Nov. 5 in connection with an alleged terrorist plot “inspired by extreme Islamist ideology.” Two of the six are suspects in the investigation of the attack on the LDS missionaries, a senior police official involved with the investigation told the Associated Press.

After being treated in Pristina, the two women left Kosovo to return to the mission home in Tirana, Albania, about a three-hour drive. The women are part of the Adriatic South Mission, which includes Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia. [What a lucky assignment for two women!]

Six ethnic Albanians suspected of plotting a terrorist attack inspired by extreme Islamist ideology, including two believed to have fought alongside Syrian rebels, have been arrested in Kosovo, officials said Tuesday.

A seventh suspect remains at large.

One last report had the detail of a flashlight being used to hit the women in the head:

Two LDS Sister Missionaries Recover after Attack in Kosovo (KUTV, Nov. 13)

…On November 5th, the beating suspects and four others, all ethnic Albanians, were arrested for allegedly planning a terrorist attack. Police said they found a sniper rifle, handguns and explosive materials at the suspects’ houses.

An elder serving in the same mission, posted on his blog that the American embassy in Kosovo reported that the attackers were part of a larger group that has unfriendly feelings toward the LDS church. That missionary also said the sister missionaries were beaten with flashlights and that since the attack, missionaries in that area travel in packs of four.

The mother of one of the victims told us over the phone the two young women are recovering and made the decision to continue serving, although in a different mission area.

Really? Not in safe and stable, multi-ethnic-democracy Kosovo? ( “[Biden] stressed the United States’ continuing, irreversible support for Kosovo’s independence, territorial integrity, and sovereignty as a multi-ethnic democracy.” That’s Vice President Biden, who former Defense Secretary Robert Gates this month confirmed “has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” Meanwhile, what else in the political world is emphatically described as “irreversible,” with use of terms like “eternal,” a hint that Kosovo and the U.S. are condemned to each other, inextricably linked to guard each others’ secrets and crimes like a pair of Clintons.)

It was only thanks to reader J. Brock, a non-Serb outraged over “what the U.S. and other governments are doing to Serbs,” and his puzzlement that most everyone is fooled, that I even learned of this incident. He himself came upon it through some twitter post with a link to an angry ex-Mormon’s blog raging over the incident. So, it was only local Utah news and Mormons or ex-Mormons on forums or blogs, who wrote or knew of it. Some unreported details came from that ex-Mormon blogger — Utahnite — who claims that local media only covered it after community forums such as his shamed them into it:

It was 2 sister missionaries, who were beaten severely with a sharp [or blunt] object to the head & shoved down a flight of stairs…They had to have their heads shaved & stitched up & they’re now recovering in the church mission home & YES, OF COURSE, brainwashed as they are..PLAN TO FINISH THEIR MISSIONS! If their parents had ANY SENSE..they’d demand they come home, NOW!

Utahnite also wondered what Mormon missionaries were doing in Kosovo to begin with. According to an August 2012 article, the LDS Church established itself in Pristina in mid 2011, and Adriatic South Mission president Andrew Ford “says the country is ‘just another place, and we’re used to all sorts of places’ …There are plans to…introduce women (or ’sister missionaries’) into the country next year.”

That doesn’t seem to be going so well.

Kosovo’s being tough for Christian missionaries is a theme that’s come up before. A 2010 article in Cornerstone University’s The Herald (which has since been removed, and the young missionary couple — an American and her converted Albanian husband — asked that their names not be mentioned), read in part:

Kosovo is a Muslim country…religion is not just a faith for them — it is a culture… “When a person converts to Christianity in Kosovo it seems like you are betraying heritage, family, culture,” [____] said. Because of this, [her husband] could not openly tell others that he is a Christian. He needed to wait until the right time and build the right relationships. [His] faith is still a secret to some of his friends and family…

Another Christian group had the misfortune of operating in Kosovo in time for the 2004 riots. If one follows the World English Institute’s “Kosova” chronicle (Prizren, Kosova Church of Christ; the church in Kosova is under persecution) one will notice these excerpts:

The church grew in number and in spirit for a period. In April 04, the people of Prizren raided the school stealing property.

The church has changed significantly recently. Jim is back in Scotland. Several moved to Prishtina for university studies. The Muslim community has become violent, and the assembly is now in the home of Ismajl…”

April 2004
Comments: The church in Prizren is in a city subject to conflicts between the resident Muslims and a few Serbs. The Serbs, confined to their homes for the most part, recently have seen their church buildings burned. NATO failed to halt this conflict. WEI’s school and the church in Prizren suffered loss of some items in their building and are now meeting in homes, appropriately.

Note: August 04
It has been reported that shots were fired over the house where the church meets. This is the home of Ismajl who not only hosts the assemblies, but he regularly teaches students using WEI’s lessons.”

Dear Dick,

Thanks for your words of encouragement.

There were two days of “demonstrations” in Kosova on the 18th and 19th of March. About 30 people were killed around the country, including several UN workers. I arrived the following week, and by then all was calm….all of the windows had been broken out of the WEI office and church meeting place. However, they had regrouped, as it were, and were meeting in one of the members home…In Christ and for His sake,
Doug

One is reminded to be dismayed that the flood of Christian groups into post-war Kosovo has focused on Albanians more than on helping their Orthodox brethren, who needed food, clothes, medicine, housing and support. And of course this one uses the majority-Muslim usurper’s pronunciation and spelling of the Christian-Serb province.

Between the LDS news and this weekend’s shooting at Columbia Mall in Maryland, it’s become relevant to bring up a certain other mall shooting. This past October NY Post carried a noteworthy item by Paul Sperry, which deigned to bring up the 2007 Valentine’s massacre at Trolley Square in Salt Lake City. The Post article also dared to utter the Bosnian-Muslim name and origin of the perpetrator, Sulejman Talovic, and to be emphatic via photos and a TV news clip. (Do check out the last sentence of that two-minute report.) “Dared,” because the Bosnian Muslims are our other protegees at Orthodox-Serb expense. Significantly, Trolley Square was the first deadly mall shooting in America. Links and bold emphasis added:

Could the Kenya attack happen here? It did (NY Post, Oct. 12, 2013)

After Islamic gunmen attacked the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, the collective reaction from the US media was to speculate whether such terror could happen here, as if a jihadist assault on a mall inside America had never before been tried.

CNN was typical: “Can it happen here? Yes, say security experts, but it hasn’t.”

News flash: it did.

On the evening of Feb. 12, 2007, a young Muslim man walked into the Trolley Square mall in Salt Lake City with a pistol-grip, 12-gauge shotgun and a 38-caliber revolver and opened fire on shoppers, killing five and wounding four others, including a pregnant woman.

Police say he “sought to kill as many people as possible.” He had a backpack full of ammunition, enough firepower to massacre dozens of innocent people. But fortunately, an off-duty cop returned fire and eventually, with the help of other police, put an end to the terrorist’s life and grand plans.

Twice as many people were killed at the Utah mall than the Boston Marathon. Yet the attack garnered few national headlines.

Local media wrote it off as the act of a madman, parroting the quick conclusion of law enforcement.

Officially, the FBI declared the mass shooting was not an act of terrorism.

“We were unable to pin down any particular motive,” said Tim Fuhrman, then-special agent in charge of the bureau’s field office in Salt Lake City. “Unfortunately, his motivations went to the grave with him.”


Sulejman Talovic
Photo: AP

But the FBI ignored much of the shooter’s background.


A Salt Lake City police officer inside the Trolley Square Mall Feb., 12, 2007, the night of the shooting
Photo: AP

The shooter was Sulejmen Talovic, an 18-year-old Bosnian immigrant named after Suleiman the Magnificent, the 16th-century jihadist-turned-sultan.

As early as 2004, police were called to Talovic’s school after it was discovered that he was looking at Tek-9 semiautomatic firearms on the Internet and boasting that his “grandfather was in the jihad.”

It was a reference to the 1990s holy war between Bosnian Muslims and Christian Serbs in which his grandfather was reportedly killed.

And yet, even with this boastful admission, our news media and so-called law enforcement insisted that the boy probably became demented by the fighting that resulted from that jihad rather than by a family history of violence in the jihad itself. (Again, check out the last sentence of that news clip.)

Apparently, Talovic had prepared for his own martyrdom. He told a friend before the attack that “tomorrow is going to be the happiest day of my life, but it will happen only once.”

“One interpretation of this statement is that Talovic was happy that he was going to be a shahid — that he would be committing jihad and go to paradise,” according to a July 2, 2007, electronic communication from the Salt Lake City field office to the counterterrorism division of the FBI.

Before leaving for the mall, which was located just a few minutes from the mosque he attended, he showered and put on a necklace featuring a miniature Koran, a gift from his father [also a jihad veteran].

Prior to his death, some witnesses overheard Talovic shouting “Allahu Akbar!” — or “Allah is greatest!” — a ritual cry of suicide terrorists.

Talovic was “described as religious,” according to the FBI communiqué, marked “Secret.” “He had attend[ed] the mosque regularly for Friday prayers.”

That mosque was the Al-Noor Mosque, led by a Somali national. Some investigators suspect Talovic was radicalized there.

These details are buried in the more than 745 pages of investigative reports generated in the case by the FBI, the same agency that officially claims it found no evidence Talovic’s religion was a factor.

“Clearly, he had some religious beliefs,” Fuhrman said, “but just because someone has religious beliefs doesn’t mean anything is a terrorist act.”

No, but it strains credulity that Talovic wasn’t animated by his faith. There was an abundance of clues he was motivated at least in part by jihadist impulses. […]

According to a Utah-local report on Feb. 21, 2007 (link no longer available), Talovic’s initial target may have been an LDS church:

“Was Talovic Spotted at LDS Church?”

A security worker for the LDS church reveals to ABC 4 News, security guards watching over the crowds at Music and the Spoken Word the Sunday before the Trolley Square shootings were trailing a man he believes was Sulejmen Talovic… “There was a suspicious man with an overcoat and a back pack…[He] appeared to be carrying something inside the coat that he kept adjusting.”

The security worker says the young man resembled Talovic and in the week following the Trolley Square killings, many of his peers in LDS security agree Talovic was amidst the crowd at the conference center just one day before the shootings. “If we wouldn’t have been on our toes something could have happened. We highly believe it was him.”

ABC 4 News spoke with LDS church spokesperson Scott Trotter, who confirmed video tape was rolled on the suspicious person, and that the person had a similarity to Talovic…The security worker tells ABC 4 News he believes the man left after seeing that security procedures dictate purse and back pack searches before entrance to the conference center is permitted. […]

But the dossier on Bosnia and Kosovo be damned: Always in step with U.S. policy on the Balkans and Eastern Orthodoxy, “Hollywood has resolutely kept its eye on the real threat. Serbian terrorism,” Daniel Greenfield wrote last Friday. “The United States has remained unscathed by Serbian terrorism, though…this weekend, ‘Ride Along’…once again takes on the terrible threat of: Serbian terrorism. When the Serbs aren’t available, the Russians have to step in…When ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’ featured a terrorist cell in Dearborn, even though Muslims dominate the area, the villains were shown operating out of a Russian Orthodox church and getting their cues from a priest reading the bible while the terrorists cried out, ‘Slava Bogu’ or ‘Praise God.’”

In closing, one must linger on a sentence contained in the NY Post item above: “[T]he Islamic element was so efficiently scrubbed from the Trolley Square terrorist attack that Salt Lake charities and local Mormons helped raise funds for Talovic’s family to prepare and ship their son’s bullet-ridden body to Bosnia for an Islamic burial.

The United Suckers of America have similarly stepped up for Kosovo, in one case donating and transporting a fire truck (link no longer available):

“2012 - Mason helps Kosovo, Dart grows and Dansville gets tech” (Lansing Journal, Dec 31, 2012)

INGHAM COUNTY — An international act of charity and growth for a company that has its international headquarters in Mason were top stories for southern Ingham County in 2012.

The Leslie School District opened a 100-acre nature center and Dansville Public Schools gave every student an iPad this year as well.

An unfortunate setback for a plan for Mason to donate a fire truck from Mason to Kosovo turned into [an] example of vigorous community support.

After two years of red tape, inspections and planning, the 1984 decommissioned fire truck donation from the Mason Fire Department was on its way to Selfridge Airforce Base when on Aug. 6 when it broke down near Brighton.

Mason Mayor Leon Clark was driving the truck in what he thought was its final ride in America before taking a 5,000-mile trip by cargo plane to Germany, than to the town of Vitina in Kosovo.

But instead it had to miss its flight because of a costly blown head gasket.

Undeterred, the community stepped up again to not only help get the truck repaired but raise funds to send people along with it.

An all-day fund-raiser on Sept. 10 at the Mason A & W raised $1,700 towards the cost of sending people, along with a $1,000 donation from the Ingham County Mounted Division and $1,000 private donation from a member of the Mason Rotary Club.

“If you add in the over $2,000 worth of repairs donated by Mark Hildebrandt at Done Right Auto and RV, you can see that this has truly become a community wide project, that everyone is proud of,” he said.

The truck and four Mason officials eventually made it to Kosovo along with extra equipment in November.


Fire truck that was headed for Kosovo. Poor fire truck.

From another report:

…The city seems to have a fondness for Kosovo: shortly after its civil war, eight refugee families moved to Mason. Jakup Jahiri, a Kosovo native, came to the city two years ago to visit his son and was amazed at the amount of firefighting equipment Mason had when his own city had so little.

“[Jahiri] said, ‘You must sleep very peacefully at night to have this amount of trucks and equipment for the size of town that you have,’” said Mason Fire Chief Kerry Minshall. “That led to the discussion about what they do and don’t have over there and we decided to see what we could do to get this donated to them.”

This time around, Clark, along with three other Mason firefighters, are accompanying the truck across the Atlantic. But the donations don’t stop there — they are also donating lightly used supplies, including coats, pants, boots, gloves, helmets, hoses, exhaust fans and a set of jaws of life. Clark and his team are going to spend some time in Vitina after the delivery showing the local firefighters how to use some of the equipment and making sure everything gets delivered intact — and with no breakdowns.

A reference point on Vitina, among countless others: Kosovo: Serb house destroyed in fire (B92, Oct. 1, 2007)

KOSOVSKA VITINA, Oct 1 (Tanjug) - A local Serb’s house burned in a fire that broke out late Sunday in the village of Klokot, near Kosovska Vitina. The house belonged to Milan Nedeljkovic, who escaped unharmed. Locals suspect that the incident was the work of arsonists…[T]he Nedeljkovic family moved to their old house because it is located in “a better protected part of the village.”

A week ago, in the same village, unidentified gunmen opened fire on a store owned by local Serb Bora Spasic. Although a dozen people were inside the store at the time of the attack, no one was injured.

So, who’s sleeping less “peacefully at night”? Kosovo’s Albanians, because there aren’t enough fire trucks? Or Kosovo’s non-Albanians, because the Albanians habitually set their houses, schools, and churches on fire? Knowing, of course, that there aren’t enough fire trucks.

I leave you with a Vitina news item that opened 2013, with its festivities for Kosovo’s five-year independence anniversary:

KPS suspend members over WW2 memorial incident (Beta, Jan. 22, 2013)

PRIŠTINA — The Kosovo police, KPS, have announced that five of their members were suspended over an incident that occurred on Monday in the town of Vitina. They include the police station and operations chief, according to a statement.

According to a Beta report, it was said that “despite announcements” from the directorate in Priština, they did not undertake the measures to prevent the tearing down of a monument.

The memorial was dedicated to the fighters of the WW2 anti-fascist Partisan troops (NOV).

According to the news agency, “a group of about 100 citizens led by the president of the organization of veterans of the former KLA” yesterday attacked and brought down the memorial.

The incident - filmed and posted on YouTube - was one in a series in Kosovo on Sunday and Monday, when ethnic Albanians targeted Serb cemeteries and memorial sites.


Vitina

******UPDATE******
I missed one additional report, on Glenn Beck’s “The Blaze” blog, confirming that the women were thrown down a flight of stairs, and offering a few other specifics about the suspects:

Islamic Extremists Reportedly Attack Two Female Mormon Missionaries in Kosovo (The Blaze, Nov. 14, By Billy Hallowell)

Arrests have been made after two American women were brutally beaten on Nov. 3 in Pristina, Kosovo. The victims were serving there as missionaries…[and] were reportedly followed home by the assailants, thrown down a flight of stairs and hit in the head with a sharp object. While they sustained numerous wounds, the victims miraculously survived.

It didn’t take long for authorities to locate their alleged attackers. Just two days after the incident, six men were arrested in connection with an alleged terror plot that was “inspired by extreme Islamist ideology,” The Associated Press reported.

Two of these individuals who are being identified as ethnic Albanians are also reportedly suspects in the investigation of the missionaries’ beating. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, they are accused of joining four others in planning an attack on an unidentified target. A seventh suspect is reportedly still on the run.

The Associated Press said that an arrest warrant listed the men following names: Genc Selimi, Nuredin Sylejmani, Valon Shala, Adrian Mehmeti, Musli Hyseni, Bekim Mulalli and Fidan Demolli. […]

The above-linked AP-Salt Lake Tribune report, meanwhile, mentioned a few other unmentionables (links and bold added):

…Authorities have grown increasingly worried about the rise of extremism in a country with a strong presence of NATO peacekeepers, including hundreds of U.S. troops. Authorities had followed the alleged terrorist cell for three months after intercepting a call allegedly plotting an attack with another person of Kosovo descent in an unnamed European country….

Gee, any chance this “alarming” trend of rising extremism in a U.S.-overseen area has something to do with the Rules of Engagement for our troops in Kosovo: If you encounter Albanian rebels, turn tail and run (but report it to a “higher,” so he can do nothing about it). Oh, and if you stop patrolling the dangerous areas, then you’re not likely to encounter them in the first place.

Four of the suspects were arrested in a park in Pristina by undercover police agents posing as weapons dealers, the police official said. Another suspect was arrested in central Pristina and the sixth in the eastern town of Gnjilane…A sniper rifle, handguns and material for making an improvised explosive device were found in suspects’ houses, according to the police official.

A justice official said the suspects had been watched by video surveillance, phone tapping, and email monitoring….Though the country of 2 million is overwhelmingly secular, ethnic Albanians from Kosovo and neighboring Macedonia have been linked with terror plots in the United States, including a foiled bombing last year in Tampa, Fla., and a 2007 attack on military personnel at Fort Dix in New Jersey.

Nice to see that someone in MSM world has belatedly started keeping track.

Around 150 ethnic Albanians are believed to have joined foreign fighters battling the forces of Syria’s President Bashar Assad and some 12 are believed to have been killed there.

On Tuesday local media said police and justice officials received an email threatening to launch “painful attacks” on police if they do not release the suspects. […]

Sounds a lot like the kinds of demands and threats that Serbian authorities are used to getting from those secular, ‘non-extremist’ Albanians. Ah, the new Albanian ’state’ may eventually get a taste of its own medicine, becoming the Serbs dealing with Albanian threats and violence. It’s always nice to get to know oneself a little bit better.

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