August 2007

Imams drop lawsuit against ‘Doe’ passengers

A federal court [Wednesday] accepted a request by a group of Muslim imams to drop all claims in a federal lawsuit against unspecified “John Doe” passengers for reporting the men’s suspicious behavior, which led to their removal from a US Airways flight last year.

The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota was amended to “hereby dismiss possible defendants ‘John Does’…”

Master has spared us John Does punishment! Oh Massa, Massa! Thank you! We’re not worthy.

Actually, never mind:

The lawsuit had said that “…Plaintiffs will…amend this complaint to allege true names, capacities, and circumstances supporting the liability of said defendants” after finding out that information.

But the following statement in the lawsuit was interesting:

The six imams were removed from the Nov. 20 flight “on the basis of their perceived race, religion, color, ethnicity … ancestry and national origin,” said the lawsuit.

In other words, being disruptive, not taking assigned seats, forming a pattern similar to the September 11 hijackers, asking for unnecessary seat-belt extensions, criticizing the Iraq War and Bush and talking about al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden EQUALS “race, religion, color, ethnicity, ancestry and national origin.”

So Muslims are finally admitting it themselves, and for the record in a lawsuit. Considering that Middle East expert and writer Laura Mansfield warned us in 2005 about American mosques encouraging Muslims to engage in precisely such rebellious acts of “civil disobedience” as a form of jihad to make Americans cry and pray on airplanes, now by their own definition “race, religion, color, ethnicity, ancestry and national origin” equals jihad.

This notion was confirmed this week by Dr. Wafa Sultan:

On a two-week “under the radar” visit to Australia, Syrian-born [American psychiatriast and activist former Muslim] Wafa Sultan secretly met both sides of federal politics and Jewish community leaders, warning them that all Muslims needed to be closely monitored in the West.

“That’s why the West has to monitor the majority of Muslims because you don’t know when they’re ready to be activated. Because they share the same basic belief, that’s the problem,” said the 50-year-old, who was last year featured in Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

But while she considered the prophet Mohammed “evil” and said the Koran needed to be destroyed because it advocated violence against non-believers, Dr Sultan struggled to articulate her vision for Muslims, whom she said she was trying to liberate from the shackles of their beliefs.

“I believe the only way is to expose the Muslims to different cultures, different thoughts, different belief systems,” said Dr Sultan.

Here Dr. Sultan is suggesting a new religion/movement for lapsed Muslims (i.e. non-terrorists). I’ve already come up with a name for this new religion for truly moderate Muslims: Apostasy.

Church, graveyard in village of Novake burn to ashes

In the fires which broke out in the Serb returnees’ village of Novake, municipality of Prizren, a total of 16 acres of Serb forests and meadows, as well as the local Serb church and graveyard, have burnt to ashes, villager Branko Gligorijevic confirmed for Tanjug on Wednesday.

He said that it took the fire brigades some [tiime] to arrive to the scene, but that KFOR had sent three helicopters which helped extingish the fire and without whose assistance the village would have burnt down completely.

Novake was cought by still another fire on Tuesday evening….The fire brigades were late once again, but KFOR was there and promised it would keep an eye on the village.

The Novake village has 65 houses, but after the ethnic Albanian violence in March 2004, only 25 households have remained in the village.

Barn torched on Serb farm in Kosmet village of Drajcici

A barn on the farm of the Jovanovic family, in Drajcici village in Sredacka Zupa, Kosovo and Metohija province, with a population of only 34 Serb residents, has been torched, the retired village teacher, Tomislav Tomic, confirmed for Tanjug on Wednesday.

Fire was set to the barn, which is part of the Jovanovic homestead, at around 2100 hrs yesterday, and it burned to the ground.

The firemen arrived with a delay and without the necessary equipment, Tomic said. The Jovanovic homestead comprises three houses, but none of the three Jovanovic brothers live there, he specified. They have fled to central Serbia, and they occasionally come to visit, Tomic said.

“The torching of the Jovanovic family barn is evident pressure on those of us who have remained in the village and a message that we are not wanted, which causes apprehension among Serbs,” Tomic said.

Let’s reserve judgment about who might have set these fires, since the investigation that may or may not start sometime in 2012 could reveal something other than what we’re likely to assume.

From AP:

Seven inmates escaped from a high-security prison over the weekend in western Kosovo, and police backed by NATO helicopters launched a manhunt throughout the province, authorities said Monday.

The convicts, on a scheduled walk in a yard at Dubrava prison late Saturday, were supported by an armed group who shot at guards….Two senior prison officials and two prison guards were arrested on suspicion of involvement, Elshani said. No injuries were reported.

Police said they found six unused rocket launchers and shell casings from automatic rifles at the site of the gunbattle. The inmates, some convicted of terrorism, murder and theft, were believed to still be in the province, but police have notified authorities in neighboring countries.

More, from Beta:

Kosovo Police Service (KPS) spokesman Veton Elshani told B92 the group was lead [sic] by Faton Hajrizi.

“Hajrizi is known to the public as a suspect in the murder of a Russian KFOR soldier in 2000,” he said, adding that Burim Basha, Amir Sopa, Astrit Shabani, Ramadan Shuti, Davit Morina and Lirim Jakupi were also among the escaped convicts.

Say, I thought that Kosovo terrorists aren’t Albanian. From The London Times:

Among the escapees were Ramadan Shiti, a Saudi-born suspected Islamist terrorist expelled from his native country for allegedly plotting an attack on senior public figures, and Lirim Jakupi, a leader of the rebel Albanian National Army — a group of guerrillas who fight for a greater Albanian state in the Balkans.

Wait a second, wait a second. There are Albanians actively engaged in securing a Greater Albania? But we were told for two decades that this was just a Serbian myth — propaganda to dupe the internationals into thinking that there’s a bigger picture to Kosovo independence. And yet in his book The Coming Balkan Caliphate, Chris Deliso writes:

Emboldened by their victory over the Serbs in Kosovo, irredentists sought to take the next step….Indeed, as Ali Ahmeti, the chief of the Albanians’ so-called National Liberation Army (NLA), told a Western journalist in March 2001, “our aim is solely to remove [Macedonian] Slav forces from territory which is historically Albanian.” Long after the conflict, one of Ahmeti’s former commanders would state, “like all wars, ours was for territory — not because of some ‘human rights’ problem!” Nevertheless, skilled Albanian propagandists were able to portray the war as a Kosovo redux — another struggle for human rights waged by an oppressed people…

But back to the prison break: UN wants probe into Kosovo prison break-out

Five prison guards have been charged with aiding Saturday’s break-out, and four other people have been arrested on suspicion of providing covering fire for the escape outside the prison walls with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades.

The United Nations, which has around 1,300 police officers in the province, has no direct role at the prison. But the escape is an embarrassment for the mission and the 16,000-strong NATO-led peace force.

One of those who broke out was armed with a pistol, while another was making his seventh escape from prison. A Kosovo police spokesman acknowledged the convicts might already have slipped across the province’s porous borders into neighbouring Macedonia, Montenegro or Albania.

Fugitives planning to destabilize Macedonia if partition of Kosovo (From Macedonian newspaper Dnevnik):

Jakupi’s task is said to be preparing the grounds for Macedonia’s destabilization in the event of Kosovo’s partition. Apparently, a large amount of money has been collected for the implementation of this scenario, which is also supported by political entities in Kosovo and Macedonia.

Two more incidents shook our northern border in the Kosovo area this month. Gosince police station came under attack in early August, while arms from the same station were stolen several days later…Unofficially, a few days prior to these incidents, the security services had noticed movement of two uniformed groups in that area.

In the Sunday Times piece, a spokesman for something called the Foreign and Commonwealth Office “rejected suggestions that the break-out would disrupt further the international search for a solution to Kosovo’s status but said that the incident showed the urgency of progress to end the impasse over its future.”

Let’s briefly examine this statement. Whereas some of us rational folks suspected that as the Albanians got closer to their goal of independence this year, and another Albanian state — even a partitioned one — was within their reach, they’d pull “a Palestinian” by sabotaging their goal via violence at the last minute. Well, the latter part of the prediction came true — the violence — but not the sabotage. Yes, they’re amping up the violence, but they’re not sabotaging anything — just the opposite: they’re getting the international community to hurry up and give them what they want. Which means they pulled the classic Palestinian: As you get closer to your goal, you reject it coming from the internationals and you start Intifadah 2 — and double the media’s and internationals’ sympathy.

The aforementioned London Times article also had the following:

Wolfgang Ischinger, the EU representative to the talks, caused controversy earlier this month by appearing to suggest that the province could be partitioned along ethnic lines if that was acceptable to both sides, with the north staying with Serbia and independence for the south. He later clarified his remarks saying that he did not support partition.

This reminds me of another recent “clarification”:

General Kather: There Are No Indications of Violence in Kosova [sic]

The commander of the KFOR peacekeeping troops, General Roland Kather, said today in Gjilan that there are no indications of possible violence in Kosova [sic], adding that his statement of several days ago on this issue was misinterpreted.

He made these comments following a farewell meeting with the commander of the Multinational Brigade East, General Douglas Earhart, municipal authorities of Gjilan, Novoberde [Novo Brdo], and the commander of the Kosova [sic] Protection Corps (TMK) Zone 6, General Imri Iliazi.

Kather said that his statement that status must be resolved quickly as violence may break out was misinterpreted.

“I am very much convinced from the meeting throughout Kosova [sic] that there is no proof of any violence in Kosova [sic], and this is because the citizens have understood that the Kosova[sic] status settlement process is a political process which requires a political resolution,” he said.

But pay attention to his last two sentences, as they contain encoded messages:

The outgoing KFOR commander said that people have understood that violence leads toward a dead end, warning that if there is violence there will be no settlement.

Codebreaker: Hint-hint — if you want your state, put the violence on hold.

General Kather said that he was proud that the situation in this region and in Kosova in general is safe and calm, expressing his hope that it will remain such in the future as well.

Codebreaker: The stuff is about to hit the fan! [i.e. his original, retracted message]

(Just a side note: the commander most likely did not use the word “Kosova”, but that report came from a website called “KosovaLive,” so presumably the spelling is a misquote.)

Disclaimer: Istok, where the prison break occurred, is not — I repeat NOT — in Nicki Fellenzer’s/Brad Staggs’ sector. So they probably haven’t heard about it.

More Daily Kosovo: Kosovo police seizes 68 kilos of explosive

The explosives, 68 kilos of what is believed to be TNT, [were] discovered in a private house in Vitomirica, a village in the area of Pec, 80 kilometres west of Pristina, Kosovo police spokesman Veton Elshani told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

One person was arrested following the find, Elshani said, adding that more details would be announced later. Sources close to the police said the arrested man was a Kosovo Albanian.


Below is a related Dnevnik item from today:

(BBC Monitoring International Reports, Aug. 23, 2007)

The fled Kosovo inmates will try to divert the international community’s attention to Kosovo regarding the negotiations on the province’s final status, by provoking minor incidents in Macedonia and southern Serbia, senior security sources claim. Yesterday they confirmed to Dnevnik that the group was primarily hiding near Tanusevci.

The only person who categorically denies that there are unwanted guests in Tanusevci is Xhezair Shaqiri, a former Assembly deputy and ONA [National Liberation Army, NLA - UCK in Albanian] commander.

“There is not a single person in the village from another place. If necessary, the residents will show their identification cards,” Shaqiri, who comes from this border village, claims.

According to Dnevnik reports, the seven inmates’ escape is neither accidental, nor naive. They claim that part of the group has been stationed in Tanusevci and part has been “mobile” in the Presevo Valley for organizational preparations.

“All our indicators point out that the escape from the prison was not accidental. It was by no chance that precisely these seven persons escaped and precisely at this point. By raising tension in Macedonia and southern Serbia, around Bujanovac, they should improve the Kosovo side’s position in the talks…” political-security sources claim.

They stress that, following the changes in the negotiations on the province’s status, when it comes to Macedonia, it is important to retain the current principles for the status determination set by [UN] mediator Martti Ahtisaari. This in particular refers to the principle of the province’s inviolable external borders, which should remain the same as on 10 June 1999, when NATO entered Kosovo.

They warn that the armed groups will act if the option of Kosovo’s partition is accepted. Their possible ways of operation may be a series of minor incidents or “occupying a village” in order to incite tension and attract the international community’s attention…

Of course, the reality is they’re going to “act” for their pan-Albanian state whether Kosovo is partitioned or not. At least the partition scenario is getting them to admit the grand scheme.

*****3 UPDATES*****

Kosovo division in our interest as then pan-Albanian state to be created - KLA (BBC Monitoring Europe, Aug. 29, Text of report by Bosnian Serb news agency SRNA)

Sofia, 29 Aug: The secretary of the veterans organization of the Kosovo Liberation Army [KLA], Faton Klinaku, has warned that Kosovo’s division must be carried out in line with international principles: the right to self-determination, ethnic principle and the principle of majority.

“These principles should be applied not just to Kosovo but to Presevo [southern Serbia], Macedonia and Montenegro,” Kliniku told Bulgarian media.

According to him, wherever there are Albanians there will be Albania, and this will happen if Kosovo is divided.

“In the final analysis, these developments are in our interest since then all Albanians would be unified in one state,” Kliniku said.

(Of course, whether such a fate is in anyone’s interest — including Albanians’ — is a matter of great debate.)

COMMENTARY SAYS CHOICE BETWEEN UN KOSOVO PLAN OR PAN-ALBANIAN STATE (BBC Monitoring International Reports, Aug. 26, Text of report by Albanian newspaper Koha Jone on 22 August)

[Commentary by Xhavit Shala: “Tectonic Movements in Balkan Geopolitics”]

Recent developments regarding the final resolution of Kosova’s status…a practically official trend towards Kosova’s partitioning, attempts to dismiss the Ahtisaari plan;…and granting legitimacy to the idea that multiethnic states have failed in the Balkans….

Under these circumstances, attempts to change Kosova’s borders are provoking the Albanians and creating a situation that would call for a change of borders throughout the Balkans. At the same time, they are creating the conditions and potential for the Albanians to organize and channel their national question towards its final solution, that is, the unification of all Albanian-inhabited lands and the formation of an Albanian national state.

“We have to sacrifice the Albanian people for the sake of peace in Europe,” British Prime Minister Edward Grey said at the 1913 London Ambassadors’ Conference, which decided that half of the Albanian-inhabited territories were to remain outside the borders of the newly formed Albanian state. Now, some 100 years on, the Albanians will not accept being sacrificed for the sake of the “sacred unity of the EU”….

Availing themselves of the restraint and submission of the Kosova Albanians and their trust in Western support for their cause, some European circles intend either to leave Kosova in a state of frozen conflict or to partition it. These circles have forgotten that, when the Albanians saw that their peaceful movement was getting them nowhere, they took up arms to defend their rights. “It was the Kosova Liberation Army resorting to armed struggle in opposition to the desires of Ibrahim Rugova and the international community that in the end led to the intervention of the West and the ousting of Serbian forces from Kosova,” says William Montgomery, former US ambassador to Belgrade.

The former European great powers, which today continue to be the main actors on the European political scene, are - together with other powers - responsible for the current state of the Albanian nation. How can one expect that those same countries that brought about the partitioning of the Albanian-inhabited territories will solve the problems that the Albanians are facing at present? Now those states, which are partly guilty for the current division of the Albanian nation, are being put to the test - to see whether they will do something to atone for their past injustice. The test is whether they will assume their historic responsibility by endorsing and implementing the Ahtisaari plan. Perhaps President Bush wanted to remind the Europeans of this responsibility when he visited Tirana on 10 June, the anniversary of the Albanian League of Prizren.

The time has come for the Albanians to react as one nation and insist on the implementation of the Ahtisaari plan for which they made many concessions affecting their rights. Now, however, the Albanians should make no further concessions…if they see that attempts are being made to deny Kosova its independence or to partition it, then - wherever they happen to be, in Kosova, Macedonia, the Presheve [Presevo] Valley [in southern Serbia], or Montenegro - the Albanians should speak with one voice and call loudly for these regions to join Albania and for the formation of an Albanian national state in the Balkans.

It will depend on the international community whether the tectonic movements in Balkan geopolitics end up with the formation of a new state - an independent Kosova - or with a change of borders that will affect several Balkan states, that is, create a new geopolitical map of the Balkans.

Even circles that are none too well-disposed towards the Albanians expect - to a certain extent - a reunification of the Albanian nation. The day after Bush’s visit to Albania, the Greek daily Ethnos wrote that “almost half the Albanians live in the countries neighbouring Albania: Kosova, Macedonia, and Montenegro. Whether we like it or not, these people want to be unified in an Albanian state that will gather all Albanians within its borders, when the conditions are ripe.”

The conditions are now ripe. Steven Mayor, a professor at the US National Defence University, has said: “…The great powers, includingthe United States, must accept the existence of alternatives which initially they opposed and which now must be re-examined.”

To conclude, the time has come for the situation to be re-examined and, if attempts are made to deny Kosova its independence, or to partition it, the Albanians of Albania, Kosova, Macedonia, the Presheve Valley, and Montenegro must speak with one voice and call loudly for the formation of an Albanian national state. Only then will the continental shelf of Balkan geopolitics find peace and tranquillity.

And an earlier, more honest item this month, which doesn’t pretend the choice is between Kosovo or Greater Albania, but admits it’s going to be both either way, and that Kosovo independence is a step along the way:

Albanian daily says Kosovo independence to boost pressure for “Greater Albania” (Text of report by Albanian newspaper Albania, Aug. 12)

[Commentary by “Prestigj”: “Is ‘Greater Albania’ Beginning or Ending?”]

Many people across the world are saying that the archaic idea of a “Greater Albania” is dead. This they link with the Ahtisaari package for Kosova’s future status…European officials now are thinking that the “Greater Albania” saga is a closed chapter too…Apparently, the Ahtisaari package…[does] not allow Kosova to join Albania or, for that matter, Macedonia. The phrases are very clear and direct indeed…”the creation of a greater state such as, for example, Greater Albania, is not an idea of the time.”

Strangely enough, this time the Albanians of Kosova and Macedonia, or those of the Albanian diaspora or Montenegro, and also those of Albania — who have been singing and dreaming of the unification of Albanian territories — kept silent. They also kept silent when they saw themselves being barred from their dream by a package of conditions set by an envoy from Lenin’s Finland. Those who think that the Albanians have “forgotten” the idea of the unification of their territories or the idea of a Greater Albania are mistaken. Only those who do not know the Albanians well as a Balkan people may think like that. Those, however, who know the Albanians well think differently. And those who know the Albanians well are first and foremost their neighbours.

This time, however, when they saw that they were being denied their desire for “reunification”, the Albanians kept silent because they knew that the Ahtisaari package had a thousand and one loopholes through which they may slip to achieve the unification of their territories, that is, to establish a Greater Albania, and this without the assistance of the former Finnish president, indeed, even without the assistance of the United Nations. Only the ingenuousness — and the sincerity — of a cool-headed diplomat from a cold country working on cold diplomatic dossiers my jump to the conclusion that Kosova will not join Albania following the establishment of its status.

For their part, another category of people and intellectuals — especially those who live close to Albania — people with the same political mentality and political ethnography as the Albanians, considered all this to be a mere “self-induced deception.” There is no reason to doubt that, shortly after the establishment of “independent” status, or a status that does not rule out independence, a Greater Albania will be formed in the Balkans. Attentive analysts and specialists in Balkan affairs consider this a reality that will happen soon.

One cannot think that Kosova’s joining Albania is far off as long [as] “immediately after the establishment of the status there will be joint markets and joint beaches,” as the Albanians say. It cannot be imagined that a Greater Albania can be prohibited by a phrase contained in the Ahtisaari package. The Balkan people only smile at these phrases. Throughout their history, they have learned how to ignore the phrases of the great powers a thousand times a day. At the same time, the Balkan peoples have learned that protectorates imposed by the great powers are short-lived. That is how the Albanians read Ahtisaari’s phrase banning Kosova’s unification with Albania or Macedonia. They know that the West soon tires of the problems of their area, just as they know that the mills of time work very quickly in the mountains that have given their name to their peninsula. A little change would be enough for the West to desist from maintaining by armed force its ban on the unification of Albanian territories.

Deep down, the Albanians do not think that a long time will pass between the recognition of Kosova’s status and its joining Albania. Not only ordinary Albanians who spend much of their time talking nationalist politics, but also their senior politicians want that. This time, however, it was the politicians who came out with the idea of a Greater Albania. Just take up the letters of greetings they sent to Ahtisaari on 3 February, and you will clearly see what senior Albanian politicians — both in the government and in the opposition — really think. They greet the Ahtisaari package “with rejoicing” and add that “this is a victory for the Albanians wherever they happen to be.” Do you not see the hidden idea rearing its head?!

…Indeed, the Balkan states are like communicating vessels: if one of them is reformatted as a greater state, other states must necessarily become smaller. Will Serbia allow itself to become “smaller” just because Albania wants to be “greater”? Or, for that matter, will Macedonia allow that? Especially as Macedonia would have to cede some chunks of its territory to a Greater Albania. A chain reaction of transformation from smaller to greater would follow its Balkan course, as the world’s senior politicians are warning.

And another honest one from July: “‘Reunification’ of all Albanian lands ‘necessity’” - Albanian paper (BBC Monitoring Europe, July 3, Text of report by Albanian newspaper Ballkan on 2 July)

[Commentary by Mona Agrigoro: “Slav and Greek Deceptions Are Being Refuted”]

…The Front for the National Unification of Albanians [FBKSh] considers the Oher Accord [the Ohrid Agreement between Macedonia and Albanian terrorists] a disaccord destined to failure…it is an accord geared to the establishment of a coalition between the Slav occupiers and the Albanian-speaking collaborationists, an accord from which the latter have received only political positions and financial benefits, not state power. Just as in the past, state power in Macedonia is in the hands of the colonizers of over 16,000 square kilometres of Albanian land. The Albanian question is a question of colonial occupation, which is still unresolved due to the occupation and colonization of Albanian territories by the Serbs, Macedonian Slavs, Greeks, and Montenegrins ever since Kosova, the Vardar Valley (now under Macedonia), the Presheve [Presevo] Valley (now under Serbia), the Northern Highlands (now under Montenegro), and Cameria (now under Greece) were invaded by Serbia and Greece in 1912.

It must also be stressed that the Macedonian state, in its essence, is an artificial colonial state that did not exist before 1947 and that was formed only to repartition (for the second time, following the partitioning in 1913) the territories of natural Albania.

[Macedonian Foreign Minister Antonio] Milosovski is just as ludicrous when he tries to separate the question of the Albanians of Kosova from that of the Albanians of Macedonia. There is no question of the Albanians of Macedonia, or the Albanians of Serbia, or the Albanians of Northern Highlands, or the Albanians of Greece, or the Albanians of Montenegro! There is only the question of the Albanians, as an indivisible nation whose liberation and reunification into a national Albanian state in the Balkans has become a necessity of the time if ever we want the Balkans to lose once for all time its powder keg appellation and if ever we want to have peace, security, and stability in Europe, which can be achieved only with the establishment of ethnic states, such as ethnic Albania, ethnic Bulgaria, ethnic Greece, and - why not? - ethnic Serbia.

Kosovo ex-prime minister Agim Ceku also does the Partition-or-Greater-Albania shuffle, a few months after the above post appeared: “Premier Ceku: Kosovo partition would create ‘Greater Albania’ issue” (DPA, Dec. 26)

Kosovo is ready for independence, the caretaker premier of Serbia’s breakaway province said Wednesday, warning that an attempt to divide Kosovo would create border issues in four countries.

While Serbia adamantly insists on sovereignty over Kosovo in its entirety, some scenarios being floated envisage a partition along the country’s main ethnic lines, into a small Serb north and its Albanian remainder.

However, Kosovo’s outgoing Prime Minister Agim Ceku said a partition would spell trouble throughout the region.

‘Albanians live in four countries other than Albania,’ he told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. ‘If Kosovo is partitioned along ethnic lines, those would want to talk about uniting with Albania.’

Ethnic violence and guerrilla warfare has plagued all those areas, excluding Montenegro, and Albanian extremists have not abandoned the project of a so-called ‘Greater Albania’ with all their compatriots united in a single nation.

In southern Serbia and Macedonia Albanian insurgents maintained an occasionally brutal guerrilla campaign between 1999 and 2001, but violent incidents persist amid ethnic tension. […]


American pop singer Gwen Stefani has wowed fans in Muslim-majority Malaysia, but dressed demurely to show virtually no skin after Islamic critics claimed her revealing clothes could corrupt the country’s youth.

NEW RULE: If the majority of your anti-American country adheres to a religion that frowns on the playing of music, your citizens aren’t allowed to enjoy American pop songs.

Stefani changed costumes for every song…but made sure she was fully covered while she belted out Rich Girl, Wind it Up, and Hollaback Girl among others.

NEW RULE: If your country doesn’t allow entry to people with Israeli passports, you can’t hear Gwen Stefani perform “Rich Girl,” a remake of “If I Were a Rich Man” from Fiddler on the Roof.

Malaysia’s government guidelines for public performances require a female artist to cover up from the top of her chest to her knees, including shoulders.

NEW RULE: If you’re married to a half-Jew, you’re not allowed to give concerts in countries that won’t let even half a Jew in.

Side note: There are exactly two passports that Malaysia doesn’t allow in without “separate, prior approval from the Home Ministry”: Israeli and Serbian.

Meanwhile, check out what “opposition party” means in a Muslim country:

Stefani had promised before the concert to dress modestly after the 10,000-member National Union of Malaysian Muslim Students protested against the concert, claiming her fashion sense and cheeky performances clash with Islamic values. The opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party also accused Stefani of promoting promiscuity and corrupting the country’s youth.

What would Madonna do? (She stood up to Toronto police, but…Islamic police?)

General New Rule: If you’re trying to bomb civilization back to the 7th Century, you can’t use 20th Century technology such as cell phones and laptops — and nukes, OK? (Seriously, dude, you look hilarious yapping on a cell phone in that nightgown. The word is anacronym.)

Unrelated New Rule: Democrats aren’t allowed to shop at Wal-Mart.

From Muslims discovered America first, says cleric

Until now, we heard Islamic nonsense that Moses was not a Jew but the first Muslim, that before Jesus Islam was… but recently a Muslim Imam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid is telling us that it was the Muslims that discovered America!

“[A]ncient Arabic [Muslim] language maps, Native American tribes with African names and words clearly embedded in their languages, statues, diaries, artifacts, etc. destroy European imperialistic notions of history rooted in White Supremacy… those very same Muslim African explorers… who were already present in the Caribbean and North America, before the bearers of the Cross arrived,” elaborates this enlightened Imam.

I don’t know if there’s anything to this claim, but I like it. For years I’ve been imploring Native Americans to direct any lingering resentment over the loss of their land toward Muslims, since the whole reason Columbus had to find a New World is that Muslims controlling the land trade routes to the east would attack traders or extort a high tax. But thanks to this cleric, now we know that not only did Muslims make discovery of the New World a necessity, they encroached on the Indians first!

There’s a new “White Man” in town! Please direct grievances accordingly.

(Black people should be aware that this new white man owns and trades slaves, and the people who should be most upset when he blows up our buildings are the Mexicans who build them.)

In my American Legion article last month, I wrote of the 500 American airmen rescued during WWII by the anti-Nazi guerilla forces of the Serbian commander Draza Mihailovich and the U.S. troops who coordinated with him in what was arguably the greatest but never-spoken-of rescue mission of the war. I am heartened to be able to announce the release on August 28th of a book titled The Forgotten 500: The Untold Story of the Men Who Risked All For the Greatest Rescue Mission of World War II:

Book Description
An astonishing, never-before-told story of the Second World War, based on newly declassified documents and exclusive interviews. In 1944 the OSS set out to recover more than 500 airmen trapped behind enemy lines in Yugoslavia. Classified for over half a century for political reasons, the full account of this unforgettable story of loyalty, self-sacrifice, and bravery is now being told for the first time.

About the Author
Gregory A. Freeman is an award-winning writer with over 25 years in journalism. He is the author of Sailors to the End: The Deadly Fire on the USS Forrestal and the Heroes Who Fought It.

Last month I published two letters from a gentleman who was part of the rescue mission and is featured prominently in the book, Arthur Jibilian. He had written me after reading the Legion article:

Thank you for your article on THE BALKAN BLOWBACK in the July issue of the AMERICAN LEGION! I parachuted into Mihailovich (Serb) territory in August,1944, to evacuate shot down American airmen.

We “saved” over 500 American airmen…..made possible with the help of Gen. Draja Mihailovich and the Serbian people, many who lost their lives protecting and hiding our boys. I have been trying to clear Mihailovich’s name for over 60 year, but no one is willing to listen.

Again, my heartfelt gratitude,
Arthur Jibilian

Second Letter:

Richard Felman was in the first contingent of 250 Americans evacuated on Aug. 9 and 10, 1944, I believe. I spent almost six months with General Mihailovich, during which time he “funneled” over 500 American airmen to us so that we were able to evacuate them back to Italy.

I was a member of the small contingent that had the honor of presenting the Legion of Merit to Mihailovich’s daughter in May, 2005. VERY little publicity attended this event……it was almost like another one of our OSS secret missions!!!!! In addition, I had the pleasure of presenting her with an album of the Halyard Mission that I had made copies of for this express purpose.

I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that, had Mihailovich been a collaborator, 500 American airmen, four members of the HALYARD MISSION, and three members of the RANGER MISSION, together with a three member medical team, would have been turned over to the Germans……

As the last survivor of the HALYARD MISSION, and on behalf of those who are no longer able to, I say “thank you, and God bless”.

Arthur “Jibby” Jibilian

Jibilian in 1945, and in 1999

Jibilian kneeling in front, middle; Mihailovich directly behind him (the shorter one).

How the men of the Halyard and Ranger missions slept

Mihailovich’s daughter, Gordana Mihailovich, accepting her father’s Legion of Merit.

In 1979, California Governor Ronald Reagan wrote the following letter:

Mr. Michael Radenkovich
Vice President
California Citizens’ Committee to
Commemorate General Mihailovich

Dear Mr. Radenkovich:

Please convey to the California Citizen’s Committee to Commemorate General Draja Mihailovich my sincere appreciation for their kind invitation to attend tonight’s dinner to commemorate General Mihailovich. Unfortunately, prior committments prevent me from being with you.

I believe that the spirit in which you have gathered here to honor the memory of General Mihailovich, the faithful allied commander and the first anti-Nazi leader in Europe, is shared by the great majority of Americans.

The ultimate tragedy of Draza Mihailovich cannot erase the memory of his heroic and often lonely struggle against the twin tyrannies that afflicted his people, Nazism and Communism. He knew that totalitarianism, whatever name it might take, is the death of freedom. He thus became a symbol of resistance to all those across the world who have had to fight a similar heroic and lonely struggle against totalitarianism. Mihailovich belonged to Yugoslavia; his spirit now belongs to all those who are willing to fight for freedom.

Thus, the fate of General Mihailovich is not simply of historic significance — it teaches us something today, as well. No western nation, including the United States, can hope to win its own battle for freedom and survival by sacrificing brave comrades to the politics of international expediency.

Your dinner therefore commemorates something more than the legacy of patriotism and heroism that Mihailovich left us. You commemorate the principles for which he fought and died. And you remind our nation that abandonment of allies can never buy security or freedom. In the mountains of Yugoslavia, in the jungles of Vietnam, wherever men and women have fought totalitarian brutality, it has been demonstrated beyond doubt that both freedom and honor suffer when firm commitments become sacrificed to false hopes of appeasing aggressors by abandoning friends.

Ronald Reagan

Several paragraphs of my Legion article that so offended a pair of PR soldiers at Camp Bondsteel — because they weren’t being shot at just yet and so their families got worried for “nothing” and because most of the Serb-cleansing had taken place before they got there in November — were devoted to Mihailovich’s fearless deeds on behalf of those 500 Americans. I also drew a parallel between Western powers’ betrayal of the Serbs then and now.

Notably, in their single-minded assault on my article, the Fellenzer-Staggs team easily forgot the Forgotten 500 as well, not deeming this part of the article worthy of any mention — even in a separate blog post. As far as these 500 saved airmen and the American and Serb men in uniform who rescued them are concerned, and to borrow Fellenzer’s words regarding myself: Staggs-Fellenzer “took a large, steamy dump on the troops.”

I recently blogged about Staggs’ visit to the Visoki Decani Monastery in Kosovo, deservedly jabbing him about some admissions he inadvertently made in the post. As well, he had written, “This was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see what I consider to be one of the surviving wonders of the world. And yes, I would defend this and other historical buildings like it with my life because I consider it to be that important.”

Of course, as part of the 8th KFOR rotation — assuming he doesn’t insist on staying on in Kosovo — Staggs will be leaving Kosovo within a month or two and making way for the ninth rotation to take over. So more likely someone else will be in the position to have to defend the monastery with his life when things get wild in Kosovo very soon. In fact, he and Fellenzer will be out in the nick of time, and there will be a whole new set of soldiers when all hell breaks loose later this year. The hapless replacements won’t have had enough time in Kosovo to figure out for themselves what my source soldier did in the year he’s been there and tried to warn them about, and they won’t have gotten the real story of Kosovo — just the official one — thanks to our politicians, the dutiful military command, and hacks like Fellenzer-Staggs who buttress the official line.

Because of my sarcastic use of the word “Soldier” before Staggs’ name in the aforementioned blog, he accused me in his comments section of showing disrespect to the uniform. But as I’ve repeatedly made clear, I’m not the one who is an insult to the uniform.

In case there is still any doubt about the stuff hitting the fan very soon, look at the statements that the Kosovo NATO commander quickly retracted after meeting with Commanding General Douglas Earhart of Multinational Task Force-East (Fellenzer’s sector):

NATO commander in Kosovo warns of trouble if no deal struck

…German Lt. Gen. Roland Kather, who commands over 16,000 troops in Kosovo, urged Western and Russian envoys to broker a deal between the independence seeking ethnic-Albanians and Serbia’s officials or risk facing a violent backlash if no agreement is reached.

“Patience is not endless,” Kather said. “They should come up with a decision as soon as possible.”

Kather said the situation was quiet in the province of some two million people but added it was “unpredictable.”

“Certainly the situation will deteriorate after those 120 days,” Kather said. “We have to do everything possible to keep it under control…They need a fuse, and then they might come up with some violent actions. That of course, will cause a reaction … and then suddenly this violence might run out of control,” he said.

I can only hope that whoever and wherever the replacement soldiers are, they’ve read at least some of my work about Kosovo, but especially the two letters from the anonymous soldier there who was sounding a warning before Fellenzer-Staggs had him muzzled.

As to this “patience” that Albanians are running out of in waiting for the independence that they were told by the UN in 1999 they had no claim to and should never expect: the reason their patience has been wearing thin is that we were mere pawns in an elaborate Albanian scheme for a Greater Albania. And we’re holding up the agenda. (One journalist I know was fired from The Washington Post in 1999 after remarking to his superiors, “So how does it feel to be outsmarted by Albanians?”)

But according to Staggs, what accounts for the impatience, and the intolerance toward Serbs, by Kosovo Albanians is that “They’re still a bit miffed because of a plan of extermination carried out against them in 1999.”

Ah. So here we are. At the usual place. The same, ubiquitous Square One we always find ourselves at when it comes to what happened in Kosovo, revealing the void that always underlies ignorance like that being flaunted by the Staggs-Fellenzer PR team. Staggs, like every other last human clone on the planet, naturally didn’t follow the Milosevic trial. How could he? No American news outlet covered it. No one covered “THE BIGGEST TRIAL SINCE NUREMBERG,” as it was billed, dealing with “THE WORST ATROCITIES SINCE WORLD WAR II,” as they’re still billed. Had he miraculously distinguished himself from the bleak sea of cloned humanity out there by following even one day of the “most important” and most ignored judicial proceedings of our time — indeed, had he actually read my Legion article as he claimed — he would know that there was no extermination plan for Albanians. No genocide. No systematic ethnic cleansing, as this Washington Post article in 2000 by Benjamin Schwarz and visiting Cato fellow Christopher Layne bears out:

As a result of its failure to understand, the [Clinton] administration appears to have fallen for some of the oldest tricks in the book. The KLA’s guerrilla campaign was a deliberate attempt to provoke Belgrade into reprisals that would attract the West’s attention. Knowing it could not defeat Yugoslavia without NATO’s military support, the KLA waged a nasty insurgency that included assassinations of Serbian political and military officials. The KLA calculated — accurately — that a violent Yugoslav retaliation would pressure Washington and its allies to intervene. Although U.S. intelligence warned the Clinton administration of the KLA’s intentions, Clinton and his advisers took the bait: Washington placed the blame for events in Kosovo on Belgrade and absolved the KLA.

In this light, Clinton ’s assertion at a June 25, 1999 , postwar news conference that the bombing was a way to stop “deliberate, systematic efforts at . . . genocide” in Kosovo seems either disingenuous or ignorant. Before the start of NATO’s bombing on March 24, 1999 , approximately 1,800 civilians–overwhelmingly ethnic Albanians but also Serbs–had been killed in 15 months of bitter warfare between the KLA and Yugoslav forces. Up to that point, however, there had been no genocide or ethnic cleansing. The Yugoslav army’s admittedly brutal operations had been directed at rooting out the KLA, not at expelling Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian population.

Ironically, the U.S.-led NATO bombing precipitated the very humanitarian crisis the administration claimed it was intervening to stop…Not only did the forced removal of civilians result from the NATO bombing, but administration claims of mass killings — made to rally popular support for the war — turn out to have been exaggerated…To date, according to U.N. reports, forensic specialists working under U.N. auspices have exhumed 2,108 bodies. It is far from certain that all of these victims perished as a result of Yugoslav atrocities; some may have been combatants, others may have been civilians caught in the cross-fire between the Yugoslav army and the KLA. Still others may have been civilians killed by NATO bombs…

The war in the province itself never ended. Moreover, despite the presence of U.S. and NATO peacekeepers, once Yugoslav forces left Kosovo the KLA began a new campaign of terror, this time targeting the province’s Serbian and Gypsy populations. This campaign of ethnic cleansing continues unabated. Albright’s assertion March 8 in a speech in Prague that the KLA “disbanded” is a fiction. Politically, the KLA leadership constitutes the backbone of Kosovo’s de facto government. Militarily, it has merely gone underground; the continuing violence against the province’s remaining Serbs bears — according to NATO officers on the ground — the hallmarks of the KLA. Meanwhile, across the border from Kosovo in Serbia proper, the KLA — as part of its effort to carve out a greater Albania — is waging guerrilla war in the Presevo Valley region, which is populated largely by ethnic Albanians…Impartial observers recognize that in postwar Kosovo, the KLA has been the heavy. Until now, the United States and NATO have been hesitant to confront it, fearing — with good reason — the KLA will turn on them.

One hopes that after reading this post, Staggs-Fellenzer has a better sense of the “extermination” myth. And if it does, then we must ask it: What explanation do you have now for Albanians not wanting Serbs to live among them?

Just a couple Daily Kosovo items I never blogged. (For “slower” readers, I should explain that Daily Kosovo items include Kosovo-related incidents as well.):

149 Sheep, 10 Cows, 3 Albanians, 2 Serbs and a Goat
Text of report by Serbian independent news agency FoNet, via BBC Monitoring (link not available)

Belgrade, 3 April: A deputy chairman of the [Serbian] Coordination Centre for South Serbia, [Sandzak Democratic Party - SDP chairman] Rasim Ljajic, told FoNet today that he demanded of Kfor to officially conduct a joint investigation with members of the [Serbian] Interior Ministry in Velika Braina village in which armed ethnic Albanians had attacked and beaten up two elderly persons, seizing their livestock.

Ljajic visited Velika Braina, a village next to the very administrative line with Kosovo in the Medvedja municipality, where the attack had taken place. He recalled that this was not the first incident in this part of the country.

“It is especially worrisome that these were armed men wearing camouflage uniforms,” Ljajic said.

“Just 30 minutes after we left the place, three shots were heard in the place we had visited, and these were shots fired from weapons of a larger calibre. This means that we had been followed all the time,” Ljajic said.

Three armed ethnic Albanians on Monday attacked and beat up Branko Zdravkovic (born in 1939) and his sister Draguna Cvetkovic (born in 1938) who were tending the livestock.

One hundred and forty-nine sheep and lambs, 10 cattle and one goat were seized.

US Peacekeeper Beaten in Kosovo
Oct. 20, 2006

A U.S. peacekeeper serving with the NATO-led mission in Kosovo was beaten by three people who attacked him at a petrol station, a U.S. military spokesman said Friday.

The soldier was lightly injured in the attack, which occurred Wednesday near the main military base in the province, Camp Bondsteel, where some 1,700 U.S. peacekeepers are stationed.

The soldier, who was not identified, was treated at the camp’s hospital and released, said a spokesman for U.S. forces in Kosovo, Maj. Paul Pecena.

Pecena said the soldier was off base with other troops from his unit, but was wearing civilian clothing when he was attacked.

Just to be clear, please note that this incident was B.F. — Before Fellenzer — as it took place one month before her arrival in November. So it doesn’t really count as a Kosovo incident.

In an exchange between a man named Ray Robison and me, requested by and published today, Robison takes issue with my writings on Kosovo. While I make the most cogent points in my half of the exchange, I was limited in space and therefore am posting a few supplementary refutations of his claims on this blog.

Robison: Julia Gorin has laid out a stream-of-consciousness argument for FrontPage warning of a looming Islamic extremist epicenter from not Egypt, not Saudi Arabia, not Pakistan but Kosovo.

Gorin: There is something very wrong with this statement. While Muslims are attacking Europe and slowly conquering it with their increasing population and demands, Robison believes journalists should not point out Islamists anywhere other than in known hotbeds. Isn’t it more important to call attention to the dangerous rise of Islam in Europe, with Kosovo poised to become the third Muslim state in its belly (Albania and Bosnia being the others)?

Europe has a healthy fear of being dominated by Islam, otherwise Turkey would have been welcomed to the EU long ago. But, while the EU is blocking Turkey’s entrance through the front door, it’s leaving it’s back door wide open to the Muslims of Bosnia, Albania, and Kosovo. It’s not a coincidence that al Qaeda considers those three entities their greatest successes as it penetrates Europe.

Regarding Robison’s labeling as a “stream of consciousness argument” my methodical take-down of his and others’ seditious attempts to keep Americans looking every which way but the Balkans for resurgent Islam — despite its having been the marshalling point for the resurgence: let’s keep in mind that this comes from a man who referred to my 22-page article in American Thinker, meticulously documented with 125 links, a “factless screed” — and then didn’t link to it so that readers couldn’t see he’s crazy.

When two buffoons validated him by also going on the attack against me, Robison posted a comment on one of their blogs, mocking me for writing in the American Thinker article that he was too close to the situation to be able to see the big picture. He forgot that he said the same thing in his original American Thinker article about Kosovo:

I have read several articles since the news broke of the Jersey Jihadists about the former Yugoslavia and links to Islamic jihad in Bosnia and Kosovo. I have read them openly to reexamine my position and see if I got it wrong because of my personal experience.

But back to his “arguments” today:

Robison: The reason the U.S. rendition policy became necessary is because the Islamic terrorists were not from Kosovo. They were sent back to Egypt in most cases because they were Egyptians. Now an argument can be made that these Arab jihadists, veterans of the Afghan mujahideen were supported locally by some Albanian Islamic extremists.

Gorin: In addition to the points made in today’s piece, Albanian terror ties go beyond “some locals supporting Arab jihadists.” —\Commentary\archive\200410\COM20041029f.html

Robison: In addition, Kosovars have consistently expressed a closer identity to the West than towards fellow Muslims in Asia.

Gorin (in addition to the points made in the article):

And here’s the Kosovo billionaire/money launderer/heroin trader/aspiring politician involved in bribing UN’s Kosovo envoy Martti Ahtisaari to include Kosovo independence in his final-status proposal. Admittedly, he is pleading to get his kidnapped cousin released:

“Shqipe Hebibi went to Afghanistan to help our brother people here,” Behgjet Pacolli said on a private Afghan televison channel. “Please release her. We are waiting every day.”

A videotape broadcast by Arab television station al Jazeera on Oct. 31 showed the distressed hostages answering questions from a captor whose face was hidden by a scarf. On the tape, Hebibi said she had thought she could help a country similar to her own. “I know the culture, I know the religion, and that’s why I thought I can help,” she said. “We are not related to America.”

Robison: Gorin would have you believe that nearly every single western media organization, UN member-nation and most of the American soldiers in Kosovo (except for the one she culled from the conspiracy) is out to enable Muslim extremists to begin the final solution of Muslim world-wide dominance beginning in Kosovo.

Gorin: One doesn’t have to be “out to enable” something in order to enable it. Media organizations that are against Kosovo independence are virtually non-existent; vocal UN member-nations that oppose Kosovo independence are but a handful: Russia, Bulgaria, Romania Greece, Italy, Spain, Cyprus.

Robison: How many of you are really ready to accept that every American soldier in Kosovo is simply keeping their mouths shut (under orders according to Gorin) to a U.S. funded ethnic cleansing campaign? For those of you with your hands in the air I refer you to The New Republic debacle in which a soldier just got himself in a heap of trouble for writing “journalistic” pieces about fictitious bad behavior by US soldiers.

Gorin: Apples and oranges. Nowhere do I accuse the U.S. soldiers of bad behavior. My whole focus is on the true nature of the Albanian Muslims and their land grab. I’m not accusing the soldiers of anything, only the command of backing the wrong side, as policy dictates.

Yesterday Palestinian Media Watch shared some not-so-shocking images of the Muslim and Muslim-proxy Palestinians torturing animals on a Hamas TV children’s program. In the PMW item, we also learned a disturbing but presumable discovery about the Palestinian territories: Gaza has a zoo. I’ve commented before on God’s travesty of bestowing the privilege of animal company upon the Muslim world and China-like places. My first post specific to animals in the Muslim world had to do with a pair of baby cheetas:

U.S. troops found two cheetah cubs — one of them blinded — being forced to fight each other for the amusement of jeering children. The soldiers of the U.S. counterterrorism task force…came across the three-month-old cheetahs ‘performing’ at a restaurant run by Mohamed Hudle. The Djibouti-based task force…mounts humanitarian projects aimed at improving the U.S. military’s image among Muslims [as part of the military’s “hearts and minds” campaign].

Hudle’s four-year-old and two-year-old sons “pulled the cubs’ tails and dragged them around their sun-parched yard by ropes tied tightly to their necks. Other children followed, poking and teasing the frightened cats…Mohamed also has a hawk with a broken wing and three scrawny baby ostriches.”

I commented on the irony of these being the kinds of places where we have to improve our image, adding that if we want to improve our image in Muslim countries, we should start poisoning dogs and setting cats on fire.

Yes, the civilized world has countless of its own animal-abuse problems. But it’s not part of the culture; it’s not rampant, unchecked and unlegislated as it is in the godforsaken corners of the world. (Who can forget the images from the last Eid ul-Adha festivities? Seriously — make yourself look at them.)

In the case of the Hamas TV show, the lead character was torturing animals in “an attempt to teach children not to abuse animals. When the program returns to the studio, the children in the audience criticize Nahool for his behavior, and he is told never to do it again” — despite laughing hysterically every time the cat was swung by the tail.

So the lesson is: Hey, kids — doesn’t this look fun? Well here’s how you do it. Now don’t ever do it.

But here’s the moral of my story: If animals can’t tolerate Palestinian terror, why are the Israelis made to? Wider question: If animals can’t tolerate Islamic culture, why are people expected to?

Since the Dynamic National Guard PR Duo only recently got onto my radar — by virtue of their attacks on me — I can’t say for sure that the Trip to the Visoki Decani Monastery was a rare excursion for our Soldier Brad. And perhaps it’s just coincidence that he went on this outing in the midst of the controversy about “the real Kosovo”, begun after he and his lady soldier read my articles mentioning the peril that such Kosovo sites are in. But here are some of the conciliatory observations that our soldier bard Brad shares from his journey:

On Saturday, August 4th, I had the opportunity of a lifetime. Thanks to our friend, Chaplain Wikstrom, I was allowed to tour the amazing Visoki Decani Serbian Orthodox Monastery 12 km south of Pec, Kosovo. The monastery is an amazing architectural feat which was built between 1327 and 1335, but the most amazing thing about it is that it has not been destroyed throughout history.

( “Amazing” is used three times in a single paragraph — to describe something Serbian. You definitely don’t see that every day.) Soldier Brad continues:

At a time when other Monasteries were being destroyed, the Decani Monastery survived. It survived the Ottoman invasion, World War II when the Nazis stole all of the gold from the chapel frescoes, and the most recent wars when other Monasteries were burned to the ground.

Ahem. Ahem. The Ottomans are named. The Nazis are named. No timidity there. But then we have some unnamed, non-distinct “wars” in which monasteries “were burned.” Did anyone do the burning, or did the monasteries suffer from spontaneous combustion? Do these “recent wars” include a certain 2004 pogrom, pre-planned and participated in by any particular group?

One is reminded of the news that four “former Yugoslavs” were planning to kill soldiers at Ft. Dix. (One is also reminded of headlines from the Middle East: “Israelis kill six Palestinians” versus “Bus explodes in central Jerusalem.”) Of course, it would make it harder to hand Kosovo to the folks who do this kind of thing if we went around calling a spade a spade. More from Soldier Brad:

Most amazing, however, are the Byzantine frescos which cover every square inch of wall and ceiling inside the chapel. These 14th Century frescoes were completed in 1350 and have survived mostly intact until this day. During the Ottoman occupation, the eyes were gauged out of several of the frescoes by the invading Turks, but the frescoes still stand much as they were in the 14th Century.

Let’s keep in mind who in the Balkans did well under the Ottomans and wants a return to “pre-1912″ borders uniting all “Albanian lands”. Back to Brad:

We were guided by one of the Monks who specializes in wood carving for the Monastery, creating wood products which will be used in Orthdox churches everywhere. The craftsmanship used on these pieces is second to none…The Monastery is not just a Kosovo or Serbian treasure, it is a treasure of the world, being listed in 2004 on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

This was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see what I consider to be one of the surviving wonders of the world. And yes, I would defend this and other historical buildings like it with my life because I consider it to be that important. I only hope that someday the situation will be present in Kosovo wherein people can travel to the Decani Monastery in order to see it themselves.

Pardon? You mean people can’t travel to the monastery? HOW COME?! And how big was Brad’s military escort for this excursion? Not that any American would need a military escort in a den of “pro-American” Albanians.

Before that can happen [people traveling by themselves to the monastery], there needs to be a large mind-set change on the parts of the Albanians and the Serbians.

You mean Serbs also aren’t letting people travel to the monasteries? Now I’m confused.

I don’t care if you don’t appreciate the other’s religious beliefs, there is room for ALL beliefs in this world without violence from either side.

Violence from either side? Considering that we’re up to two million Albanians and down to 100,000 Serbs in Kosovo (with only about 70 in the capital, down from 40,000), this statement can only mean that Serbs are as guilty as Albanians in anti-Serb violence.

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