May 25th 2010 02:55:30 PM
Last week I mentioned that a Serb returnee camp in the village of Zac was fired upon. It happened again there just a few days ago, and there are legitimate questions as to whether the KPS and NATO (at least the Slovenian contingent) allowed it to happen. Below are three reports. The first two come from the Serbian new agency Tanjug, for which there is no English link.
Bogdanovic: Zac incident is part of planned violence campaign
BELGRADE, May 20 (Tanjug) - Serbian Minister for Kosovo-Metohija Goran Bogdanovic stated Thursday that the latest attack on Serb returnees in the village of Zac is part of a premeditated violence strategy that is aimed at another exile of the village inhabitants who have returned to their homes.
“EULEX cannot and should not watch violence and only condemn it. How come the incidents keep happening in this village, if the returnees are protected by the Kosovo Police Service (KPS),” Bogdanovic stated and underscored that EULEX, as well as KFOR, have to explain why the KPS has not identified perpetrators of any of the incidents and whether that implies that the KPS is an accomplice in the attacks.
According to him, the incident that took place in the village of Zac on Wednesday evening proves that KFOR cannot entrust the protection of Kosovo Serbs to the KPS.
“I urge EULEX and KFOR to react, find those who attacked the returnees in Zac and offer full support and security to the village inhabitants. I also urge KFOR to assume responsibility for the Zac inhabitants from KPS. I insist that the international community and the legitimate international presence should secure the return of the expelled to the province, that is persistently hindered by Pristina, which does not shrink from using violence,” Bogdanovic said.
Fire was opened from an automatic weapon near a Serb returnee camp in the village of Zac, near Istok, on Wednesday evening, although according to the returnees, police were at the entrance to the camp.
This is the second shooting in the last ten days that occurred close to the camp, which is now home to 22 Serb returnees.
Shooting near Serb returnee camp in Zac
ZAC, May 20 (Tanjug) - Serb returnees told Tanjug that fire was opened from an automatic weapon near a Serb returnee camp in the village of Zac, near Istok, on Wednesday evening.
“Fire was heard about 21:45 p.m. It was very close to the tent in which we are sleeping. Police were at the entrance to the camp, but obviously nobody minded,” said one of the returnees, who wished to stay anonymous.
This is the second shooting in the last ten days that occurred close to the camp, which is now home to 22 Serb returnees.
“Fortunately, there were no injuries in either shooting. There are visible bullet traces on a demolished house within the camp that we use for cooking,” the returnees said, adding that they are in fear since there is no one who could put a halt to such incidents.
The police searched the area after the shooting, but did not manage to identify the perpetrators.
Local ethnic Albanians are against Serbs’ return to Zac, since they believe that some of the returnees committed crimes during the war.
The returnees refute the ethnic Albanians’ allegations, saying that no crimes took place in Zac and that in case any of them had committed such crimes, they would not have returned to their land.
The report for which we do have a link comes from the Kosovo Compromise website. Note the logo:
We have here half of an Albanian flag and half of a Serbian flag. Such is the uber-fair nature of Serbs, who are obviously the ones running any site that would have the word “compromise” in it relating to Kosovo. (Though I would dearly love to hear that there is at least one Albanian among the staff of this website.)
New shooting near Serb returnee camp
There has been a new armed incident near a tent camp set up by Serb IDPs who returned to their homes in the village of Zac in Kosovo. “This is a textbook act of terrorism and the very fact that it has repeated twice, while there was no efficient action on the part of police, must worry everyone,” Serbian Ministry for Kosovo State Secretary Oliver Ivanovic said.
(KosovoCompromise Staff) Thursday, May 20, 2010
They say that on Wednesday, around 21:45 CET, fire was opened from an automatic weapon.
“Police were at the entrance to the camp, but obviously, nobody minded,” said one returnee who wished to remain anonymous.
This is the second such incident in the past ten days that occurred close to the camp that is now home to 22 returnees. No one was hurt in either shooting.
The returnees also said that there were visible bullet traces on one of their houses nearby.
Kosovo police, KPS, said that they searched the area, but could not find out who the shooter was.
Ever since the Serbs returned to their homes after a decade in exile earlier this year, they faced protests, and stoning incidents, organized by local ethnic Albanians, who claim that war criminals were among them.
But returnees reject those claims, saying that in case any of them had committed crimes, they would not have returned to their property.
The returnees went back to the village on their own, but UNHCR provided them with tents pending repair works on their destroyed houses.
Serbian Ministry for Kosovo State Secretary Oliver Ivanovic described the shooting as an act of terrorism, and called on the EU mission in the province, EULEX, “to act at last”.
“This is a textbook act of terrorism and the very fact that it has repeated twice, while there was no efficient action on the part of police, must worry everyone. EULEX must get involved and start doing its job at last,” he told FoNet news agency in Belgrade on Thursday.
Ivanovic explained that EULEX stood back “expecting that local police can handle it”.
“I spoke to KFOR too. They too ought to start an investigation, because their members were involved in the previous incident. Slovenian contingent soldiers were in the tent when the shooting occurred,” said he.
Ivanovic warned that the returnees in the village of Zac, who now live in tents next to their destroyed homes, came under attack late on Wednesday despite the fact that a Kosovo police, KPS, patrol was deployed there 24 hours a day.
“One wonders how that’s possible? If Kosovo police are not providing protection and safety for Serbs, if they did not discover the perpetrators of the previous attack, then it’s quite justified to ask whether they have been, through their inaction, protecting the assailants,” Ivanovic was quoted as saying.
The state secretary added that with all the incidents, “there can certainly be no return of Serbs to speak of”, and once again rejected claims by ethnic Albanians that war criminals were among those who earlier this year decided to return to their homes in Zac.
May 23rd 2010 11:44:10 PM
Western countries are finding out that it’s not just Serbs that Albanians kill easily and for which they’ve faced lenient sentences, if any.
But ever since we embraced this “victim” refugee population we created, increasing numbers of Westerners killed, injured or threatened by Albanians are learning that, in fact, the Serbs may have been getting killed by Albanians not out of “revenge,” but for the same reason Westerners are finding themselves killed by Albanians: Albanians kill easily. Here’s the latest:
May 18, 2010
Alleged killer of Swiss teacher held in Kosovo
A man suspected of murdering his daughter’s teacher at a St Gallen school has been arrested in Kosovo and may be extradited back to Switzerland, a judge confirmed.
Ded Gecaj is accused of killing the teacher in 1999. Afterwards he fled to his homeland of Kosovo, where he was re-arrested on Monday.
He confessed the crime and in 2000 a court in Kosovo sentenced him to four years in prison for manslaughter. Two years later he was freed and went into hiding.
The Swiss authorities argue the sentence was too lenient. They want to bring the man to court to face murder charges…
Sorry, Guys. It’s time you were introduced to each other. World, meet your latest pride, Kosovo. (Especially Switzerland: weren’t you just about the first in line to legitimize Kosovo and open an embassy there?)
Anyway, I hate to break it to you, but those two years that Gecaj served are two years more than an Albanian gets for killing a Serb or two or 14 in Kosovo.
And that’s because in Kosovo, “murder” is a relative term. In fact, you’ll rarely see anyone get put away on actual “murder” charges in Kosovo. If you’ve got a population in which it’s not uncommon for a male to have stabbed or axed someone by his teen years, everything becomes relative.
Just for an example, here is a rather typical news item, from last year, which demonstrates that the European “law and order mission” is learning to do things the Kosovo way, rather than the other way around, as this was its first ruling since being deployed in Dec. 2008:
EU judges free Albanian over Kosovo bus bombing, March 13, 2009
European Union judges in a Kosovo appeals court cleared an Albanian man who had previously been sentenced to 40 years in prison for the 2001 bombing of a Serbian bus, a spokeswoman said on Friday.
The appeals court ruled Thursday that the evidence against Florim Ejupi was insufficient. [Note: “lack of evidence” is the perpetual reason cited for not arresting Albanians.]
The panel was comprised of judges from Eulex, the law-enforcing mission EU deployed to Kosovo in December.
It was the first ruling of the Eulex appeals court since the mission deployed four months ago.
Florim Ejupi received a 40-year sentence last year after he was “found guilty” of attack in Gracanica. He appealed against the verdict.
“He is released,” Karin Limdal, spokeswoman for the European Union police and justice mission (EULEX). She did not give a reason for the decision.
The EULEX mission, composed of international police officers, customs agents, judges and prosecutors, was deployed in Kosovo in December to help the Balkan country build up its institutions.
So much for that. Instead of changing how Kosovo does things, Kosovo has been changing how we do things. Meanwhile, the poor internationals administering that province for the past decade got used to having a revolving door for murderers at the local courthouses. There simply wasn’t enough room or time to treat violent Albanian crime as, well, crime. Eventually, most Kosovo crimes simply stopped being investigated (though the running joke about crimes in Kosovo, particularly the ethnically motivated ones, is “It’s being investigated.”)
So this raises the next issue for Western societies that imported this inherently violent population: we’re eventually going to have to come to some sort of “understanding” or compromise if we’re so intent on living together. To keep our already overburdened justice system from becoming unmanageable, we may have to start treating Albanian crime — differently. After all, it’s part of their culture.
This also brings up something else. In the aftermath of our 1999 folly, amid one report after another citing “reverse” ethnic cleansing and “revenge killings” — which didn’t spare infants or septuagenarians — no one ever asked when or how a victim people, presumably unpracticed in the art of killing, learned to kill so freely, so easily and so brutally, apparently within hours of their “salvation” by the West. The question still wasn’t asked even when a multilingual UN aid worker who came to help Albanians, who was wearing a jacket reading “United States, New York,” and who was avidly learning Albanian “to get close to the local people” was beaten and shot on his first day, by a crowd on Mother Teresa St. after being asked the time in Serbo-Croatian and answering in kind.
But then, no one ever asked how, if Albanians in Kosovo were being bullied by Serbs all those years, it came to be that an area which after WWII was 50% Albanian, became 90% Albanian by 1999.
I’ll close by citing the latest report on the state of Kosovo’s “justice” system and economy:
Experts: Weak justice system failing Kosovo The Associated Press | 19 May 2010
PRISTINA, Kosovo - Kosovo’s feeble legal system is chasing away foreign investment, an international policy group said Wednesday.
The International Crisis Group said in a report that the country “struggles with uneven rule of law and a weak justice system that is failing its citizens.”
“The police, public prosecutors and courts are erratic performers, prone to political interference and abuse of office,” the report said. “Organized crime and corruption are widespread and growing.”
Wait a second. So instead of Kosovo’s institutions evolving and its rule of law growing, as our leaders promised the trend would be post-independence, it’s organized crime and corruption that are growing? Or can both things grow together in the miracle, anomalous “state” of Kosovo?
The report comes as the European Union is investigating alleged embezzlement of public fund[s] in Kosovo’s Ministry of Transportation. EU justice officials have been quoted by local media as saying that at least half a dozen senior officials in other government ministries are also being investigated.
The investigation has strained relations between the country’s ethnic Albanian leadership and international officials.
Wait a second. Investigations that will help Kosovo’s development and transition into a normal, legitimate “member of the international family” are straining relations between the leadership there and the international officials who are being so helpful to Kosovo’s stated desire to adjust out of criminality and into legality and legitimacy? Why would Kosovo leaders be upset about these investigations? Is it possible that Kosovo’s “leaders” and U.S. leaders had completely different goals and two diverging visions for Kosovo’s future? You mean that the “Serbian Propaganda” was right? Again? And again?
(And could that be because Serbs, like other Europeans, know a little more about Albanians than Americans do? Thanks to, for starters, listening to what Albanians actually say?)
Kosovo’s authorities are mostly former ethnic Albanian guerrillas who fought a separatist war against Serbia in 1998-99…foreign investors will not risk capital without assurances of legal protection, while local magnates with political connections will seek to keep their monopolies and stifle competition.
“This reputation keeps investment out and the country mired in poverty,” the Brussels-based policy group said.
Kosovo is one of Europe’s poorest regions. An estimated 40 percent of its citizens are without jobs.
From a Reuters item on the ICG report: Lawlessness deters Kosovo investments, report says
…”Virtually no one we speak to on the ground feels the current Kosovo government supports the rule of law, and some think its unwillingness to tackle corruption shows its hostility to foreign investment,” Sabine Freizer, ICG’s Europe program director, said in the report.
“Even if this is only a perception, Kosovo cannot wait any longer to secure the rule of law if it is to have a successful economic and political future.”
Last month the European Union police and justice mission (EULEX) raided the ministry of transport and the home of the minister as part of a broader investigation into corruption and money laundering.
The West, which helped Kosovo secede from Serbia in 2008, has urged Kosovo to crack down on government corruption to progress towards EU integration and make the country an attractive place for foreign investment.
The latest statistics from the World Bank show that unemployment has increased to 48 percent. In 2009 the largest source of external income were remittances of around 500 million euros, 8 percent down from 2008.
“This reputation keeps investment out and the country mired in poverty,” the report said. “The EULEX is investigating widespread corruption at the highest levels, and its efforts to date have shown gaping holes in regulation and enforcement.”
“Court procedures suffer from widespread distrust, fearful or unwilling witnesses and shoddy work by prosecutors,” the report said. “Bribery and even violence have become attractive means of extrajudicial dispute resolution.” […]
And from the ICG report itself: The Rule of [No] Law in Independent Kosovo
Kosovo suffers from the widespread impression that it is run by a lawless political elite in control of every aspect of society…Few crimes end with their perpetrators in prison…On the civil law side, it is all but impossible for citizens and domestic and international corporations to enforce their rights in court. Property disputes are widespread, and since they cannot be reliably resolved in court, occasionally degenerate into violence. The dysfunctional civil law system, choked with a backlog of cases stretching back to 2000-2001, scares off investment. Demoralised and exhausted judges both struggle under the case backlog and are dogged by a reputation for corrupion and favouritism. Plaintiffs endure baffling rounds of appeals, remands and delays, often featuring deliberate errors.[…]
One strange and funny line in the report was: “The country has a low rate of violent crime, inter-ethnic crime is rare, and Serbs in most of Kosovo live securely.”
“Inter-ethnic crime” (i.e. Serb-pounding) is rare now because there are virtually no non-Albanian ethnicities left to beat on. Second, the “security” in which “Serbs in most of Kosovo live” is called barbed wire encampments, guarded by NATO troops — and alternately it’s a reference to Northern Mitrovica, which is still Serb-dominated and therefore not deadly, but it’s about to be foresaken by the international community in conjunction with the treacherous quisling government in Belgrade. As for that “low rate of violent crime,” perhaps that has something to do with the fact that few people are willing to report such crimes, much less testify in court about them?
May 20th 2010 01:50:43 PM
But then, we knew this.
“It’s like Disneyland”: Hizballah hosts “jihad tours” for students
Jihad chic for aspiring mujahedin and dhimmis alike. “Hezbollah holds ‘Jihad tours’ for students,” from YNet News, May 18:
Just days before the tenth anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon, Hezbollah hosted hundreds of students at what it called ‘The Land of Islamic Resistance’.
For many of the Muslim and Christian young people it was the first visit to southern Lebanon. “We want our students, whether they are Hezbollah members, supporters or rivals, to see the land that Israel occupied for 22 years,” said group member Mohammad Taleb.
Many of the students were wide-eyed at a meeting with Hezbollah’s militants. “It was like being in a movie,” said Grace, a Christian Lebanese student. “I respect these young men, who liberated my land. I don’t see them as terrorists, as the West describes them.”
The militants, on their side, showed their guests how to fire rockets and anti-aircraft missiles. “These young people give us strength,” said one gunman after the demonstration….
“It’s surreal,” said a French student who took part in the tour. “It’s like Disneyland. I never expected to see such things.”
Didn’t I sort of make the joke that any other kind of amusement park just wouldn’t work in the Muslim world? Allow me to excerpt myself from my 2008 article “Superheroes: We Quit!”:
Theme Park executives and investors are looking toward the untapped Middle Eastern market for the next big amusement park, as they try to overcome the hurdles that make the concept a bit tricky…I can already hear Wonder Woman protesting, “I can’t work in a hijab! And what the hell is an abaya?”
…After reminding the studios that their death-proof capabilities stop at suicide bombings, since only some of the X-Men have reassembling abilities, the superheroes will learn from executives that no, they’re being sent in to defend the Muslim populations, not take them on.
“Ohhhhhhhhh,” Spiderman will finally understand, “You mean these are the folks we’re supposed to protect? Well that sounds a lot easier! Uh — from what, exactly? Global warming?”
And think of Superman’s dilemma when those he was sent to protect stage an atrocity and tell him, “The Jews did it!” Will he fly to Israel, as exhorted by Allah’s flock, to erase the Zionist enemy from the map once and for all?
If the superheroes do the right thing and refuse, they will be stoned, bombed and accused of being as Jewish as the American military in Iraq — and the superheroes will have no choice but to turn against the very people they were sent to protect. Especially when the local populations hear that Superman is from Metropolis and Batman is from Gotham — that is, Hymie Towns.
Somehow, “Truth, Justice, and the Arabic Way” sounds a tad oxymoronic.
What will the filthy, un-Islamic canine sleuth Scooby Doo do? And given that King Kong is a giant ape, some customers might object to such a large Jewish presence at the park. For that matter, what is Porky Pig doing in the ad above? Here’s a projected picture of Porky after the Looney Tunes Riots:
Consider also the problematic case in which a damsel in distress requires the help of Aquaman, who snatches her from the jaws of death or worse, rape. Only now Aquaman has handled the girl, since saving people requires physical contact, so before he moves to save her, Aquaman has to think carefully: What’s worse — letting the victim succumb to her untoward fate, or save the victim only to be accused of fornication and thereby doom her to an honor killing? Such will be the wrenching decisions that our superheroes have never had to weigh before. And what to do when they spy a forlorn eight-year-old child bride of a pedophile? Who’s the good guy and who is the bad?
If our superheroes make the wrong decisions in such conflicted close calls, they could wind up at the mercy of Sharia law. But Superman won’t be able to fly as well with an amputated leg, and Wonder Woman needs both hands to repel bullets with her bracelets.
Most likely this is where our superheroes will draw the line and declare a strike, telling Marvel, Universal and Warner Brothers, “This isn’t what we signed up for.” […]
May 19th 2010 09:11:35 AM
The Yahoo! blog about the Miss Hezbollah who became Miss America quotes Daniel Pipes as saying that the surprisingly high number of Muslim beauty pageant winners of late “makes [him] suspect an odd form of affirmative action.”
I first wrote about this odd form of affirmative action in 2002 for the Wall St. Journal, just seven months after 9/11, when I noticed an unmistakable spike in Arab-Americans and other Middle Eastern types dominating advertisements in a way they hadn’t previously. The piece was called “Manipulating the Mosaic: Why did Arab-Americans become chic after Sept. 11?” (A more complete version of the article, titled “Arab Chic,” appears on JWR.)
But the update I’ve been meaning to add to my article, and now to Mr. Pipes’ “affirmative action” take, is that this is all part and parcel of the Stockholm Syndrome that Westerners have been undergoing ever more fiercely since 9/11. We’ve been developing a fondness for the enemy, and hoping that he notices and grants us a reprieve. The “politically correct, Islamo-pandering climate” that Debbie Schlussel was quoted in the same Yahoo blog about is part of this. (And we should thank Debbie for unapologetically and early on outing Miss USA Fakih’s family connections to Hezbollah, though one can’t be blamed for assuming — as I did — that those connections existed as soon as we heard that a Muslim from Dearborn (a.k.a. Hezbollah Central) won Miss USA.)
About Pipes’ comment, the writer of the Yahoo! blog scoffed that “Pipes didn’t theorize how shadowy beauty-pageant fixers might be greasing the skids for contestants…” But the whole point is that there doesn’t need to be any conscious manipulation to activate the “affirmative action.” Westerners have a natural tendency toward doing this to begin with, especially in our current Islamic trance, so it wouldn’t be surprising even if we learned that the judges were unanimous on Miss Hezbollah before they ever consulted each other. Such is the not-so-brave new world we live in.
Sorry if this comes as a shock to the willfully naive sensibilities that are required of anyone wanting to write for the mainstream, in this case Yahoo News’s Brett Michael Dykes. Dykes went on:
Foreign commentators, meanwhile, have seized on the whole Miss USA episode as a prime example of (as the Guardian’s Richard Adams calls it) “America’s weirdness.” You might look at Fakih’s victory as a certain kind of “triumph” of the West, the Spectator’s Alex Massie says, representing “a form of emancipation or at least cultural assimilation that might be thought useful (in as much as such contests can ever be considered useful).”
“Triumph” is precisely the opposite of what’s going on here. It’s submission. Muslims are not assimilating to our ways, we are assimilating to theirs. Americans, like other Westerners, are being open-minded and inclusive enough to make room for terrorism as something other than terrorism. A Hezbollah-associated Miss USA is apt indeed.
Mountain has come to Muhammad.
Predictably, Ms. Fakih is a member of the Facebook group “It’s Palestine, not Israel.” Might I suggest a compromise to this name issue once and for all. Couldn’t we just call it Palestein?
May 19th 2010 04:30:35 AM
Sweden: Suspects in Vilks attack are two brothers
The 21 and 19 year old arrested on for the attempted arson attack against Lars Vilks house are brothers, reports Sydsvenskan. The 21 year old man was arrested in his mother’s apartment in Landskrona. He was arrested early Saturday morning - suspected for attempted arson.
“When I heard what happened, I went to the apartment. But the police didn’t let me in and they took our mother to interrogation. She felt very bad,” says the 21 year old’s sister.
The 21 year old moved from Kosovo to Sweden with his family in the early 1990s. He’s a religious Muslim and regularly visits the mosque. But his sister says she has difficulty accepting that her brother is now a suspect in the attack against Lars Vilks.
“He’s extremely kind. Certainly he’s religious, but that doesn’t mean that he would do such a thing,” she says.
The 21 year old’s lawyer says he denies the accusations, and that he didn’t get to see all the evidence, but what he did see was quite thin.
May 17th 2010 02:09:31 PM
I meant to post the following blog accompanying my piece last week about the Serbian Church upheaval. It is a shortened version of a February statement by James Jatras, exposing the double standards applied to the almost non-existent and ineffective Serbian lobby, which don’t apply to the much more well-funded and effective lobbies of Albanians, Croatians and Bosnians.
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 (February 18, 2010)
In connection with the suspension of His Grace, Bishop ARTEMIJE, from supervision of his Eparchy, allegations have been made to the effect that funds allocated for other purposes (variously reported as earmarked for humanitarian relief or for repair of churches) instead were used to pay for lobbying service by two firms with which I have been associated, Venable and Squire Sanders. To the best of my knowledge, this was first raised in Blic yesterday. Later that same day, an item appeared in a website purporting to be that of the Diocese of Ras and Prizren and Kosovo and Metohija, denouncing me for beginning circulation of an open appeal in defense of Vladika Artemije…
I have tried to be conscientious regarding both the damage my own country was doing to itself through its misguided Balkan policy (and particularly support of radical Islamic elements in Bosnia and Kosovo) and the obscene unfairness of the demonization the Western powers, especially the United States, attached to the Serbs during the Balkan wars of the 1990s. For that, well before being engaged by the Serbs of Kosovo, I was attacked from many quarters, notably by Islamic organizations and the Albanian lobby.
[Note a relevant point from a subsequent interview between Jatras and Serbias Weekly Telegraf: “We have to remember how thoroughly Serbs had been demonized in Washington when the Yugoslav wars began in the 1990s. Almost no one in official Washington wanted to talk with a Serb, any Serb, even those opposed to Milosevic. Because I was one of the few exceptions, my office at the Senate became a regular stop for Serbian opposition figures visiting the U.S.]
In March 2006, I signed on behalf of Venable an agreement with the Serbian National Council of Kosovo and Metohija (SNC), under the signature of its president, Mr. Dragan Velic. It should be kept in mind there was then no official Serbian government lobbying effort in the United States, at a time when the U.S. government clearly was moving towards a “final solution” of the province’s status. (Several months later the government did sign an agreement with another firm but not, as far as I know, with specific reference to Kosovo.)
Vladika Artemije concluded that if no action was going to be taken by official Belgrade, he had no choice but to try to do something himself as the centerpiece of a professional effort to put the truth about Kosovo in front of the face of the American people and decision-makers…Upon signing of the March 2006 agreement with the SNC, Venable immediately launched the American Council for Kosovo. Our goal was to provide a real American voice against the wrong-headedness of our country’s policy of supporting a group of Islamic terrorists and organized crime organizations (the KLA) under the command of the criminals Thaci, Ceku, and Haradinaj; and to show that far from perpetrators of genocide in Kosovo, Serbs are the victims.
We knew we were starting a fight with an entrenched policy position in Washington, which held that all the merits were on the Albanian side and none on the Serbian side. We also were fighting against an Albanian lobby that had been active, literally, for decades, and which had vast sources of funds (of course, including criminal proceeds), the amounts of which can only be speculated, and which lavishly gave to American politicians’ campaigns.
The reaction to our beginning operations was hysterical. One of the Albanian-American groups accused us of trying to “hijack American policy toward Kosova,” to which, of course, the Albanians were accustomed to full and uncontested enjoyment. (It is quite meaningful that the information in the Blic article is taken almost word-for-word from this Albanian-American site.) They hacked our website. They launched a phony mirror site (which even fooled some people into thinking we were working for the Albanians too!). They denounced us as racists, extremists, etc., for pointing out the truth of Kosovo and the “friends” America had adopted there. 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.”
Were we successful? 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.
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 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. [In the Weekly Telegraf interview Jatras elaborates that expenses such as advertising, web site, travel, compliance with government reporting and tax regulations still had to be paid even when his firm was receiving no funds at all. ]
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. None of what is related above is a state secret, however. As noted, all of this has been public record since March 2006, and in a sense it is absurd and insulting to have to explain it…
I’ll close with just a few of the questions and answers from that Weekly Telegraf interview:
Q: What was the difference between lobbying for Albanians and for the Serbs?
A: The big difference is that the first is powerful and is everywhere, and that the second really didn’t exist on a professional basis until we got started on behalf of Vladika Artemije. I am not referring to the efforts of Serbian-American organizations, which were noble efforts but just not on the same level – by which I mean money – as what the Albanians can do. To be sure, the Albanians have sources of funds in their community that the Serbs don’t have (and decent people don’t want to have). Their fundraising for American politicians is massive, while that from Serbian-Americans is negligible. Also, the Albanians had been at it for decades, so the well had already been poisoned by their propaganda by the time we started work from a great disadvantage.
Q: How many lobbyists there are on Albanian side? What are their actions and results?
A: It’s hard to answer that for the simple reason that most of what they do takes place on an undisclosed level without compliance with the formal reporting requirements. For example, those attacking me because of my association with Vladika Artemije comb through the reports on the U.S. Justice Department website (to which I provided the links in my statement of February 18) to see what kind of information might be useful. Under American law, we probably didn’t even have to register with the Department, but we thought it best to be over-compliant, because we were dissenting from Washington’s policy and would be under a microscope. The Albanians, however, already owned Washington and could do pretty much what they wanted without registering or reporting to anyone. I could invite all those picking through the reports of the American Council for Kosovo to pick through the pro-Albanian lobbying activities. But they can’t for the simple fact that most of what they do was not registered at all.
Q: Did you have any problems with Albanian lobbyists?
A: I object to their contempt for the truth and their using my country as a weapon to achieve their unjust aims. I object to their contempt for American law in their lobbying activities, their campaign finance behavior, and in raising money for terrorists and even buying weapons in the U.S. [for terrorists]. But we have never attacked them personally, though they immediately started defaming me when we started working for the Serbs of Kosovo under Vladika Artemije’s leadership. They can be very nasty. (I’m sure this is a big surprise to your readers.) The messages we get to our website cannot be printed in your paper, they must be wearing out the “F” key on their keyboard. We do call the KLA “leaders” Thaci, Haradinaj, and Ceku terrorists and criminals, because that is what they are, as U.S. officials well know.
The fact is, Albanian-Americans (as we say here) put their money where their mouth is. Their tribal leaders tell them what their assessment for the cause is: “You, Mr. Pizza Shop Owner — $5,000,” “You, Mr. Roofer — $10,000,” and so on. And they pay it. Can you imagine trying to do that with Serbs? They’re too individualistic. They also are too confident that the truth will win all by itself, even when lies are supported with a lot of money. As far as whose campaigns the Albanians finance, about the only way you could track it down would be to go to www.fec.gov and look at each campaign and try to find Albanian names. By the way, just before the 2004 elections, there were news reports on arms purchases in the U.S. by people acting on behalf of the KLA, part of which showed the same people involved in the arms smuggling raising money for the John Kerry presidential campaign and many Congressional candidates, almost all Democrats. I called the Republican National Committee and the George Bush campaign to suggest they demand an investigation because of the ties of this money to people with obvious KLA connections, and also because it’s likely some of the donors were not U.S. citizens. They weren’t interested, maybe because a few of the recipients were Republicans, too.
Q: Many think that separation of Kosovo in Northern and Southern part is under way. What do you think about that and is it good for Serbia or not?
A: I don’t think it is happening and it would not be a good thing. If they can amputate part of Kosovo, even one hectare, they can amputate all of it. The Albanians and their foreign supporters are still trying to find some way to get effective control over the north, and we must be concerned about some provocations to “justify” use of force to that end. I am worried that the action against Vladika Artemije may in some way be connected to anticipation of such a possibility.
Q: How do you comment [on] statements of Kosovo politicians that Northern Kosovo should be exchanged for the southern part of Serbia?
A: It is a trick. They want the north of Kosovo — and Presevo too. And Tetovo and everything north and west of Skopje. And “Malesia” (Montenegro), which I’m sure Djukanovic will be all too happy to deliver when he is ordered to. And “Cameria” (Southern Epiros [in Greece]). They don’t even hide it.
[Regarding Serbia’s petitioning the International Court of Justice to rule on the legality of the Kosovo secession and in general on the point of separatists seceding from democratic states]: Of course I could be proved wrong when the decision comes out, but I still think it was a good move. One reason is the way Washington reacted to Serbia’s resolution in the General Assembly to make the referral. The U.S. could have supported the referral or even abstained (as did most of the countries that had recognized Kosovo). Instead, we voted No, with the support of only Albania, Palau, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Nauru. A mighty coalition indeed! Has U.S. standing in the world community ever been so ridiculously low? With the heavy weight of world opinion on Serbia’s side, the judges of the ICJ cannot fail to understand that if they say the UDI was legal, they will be throwing a deadly bomb into the international system.
The U.S. and Britain, in particular, are no doubt pushing hard to sway the judges. And maybe they will succeed, meaning that yet one more center of law and order has been subverted by power and politics, and the struggle must continue with that in mind. But, historically, judges on the ICJ cannot be counted on to rule the way even their own governments want. There likely will be some balance in the decision, but I believe the weight will be greater in Serbia’s favor. Again, I might turn out to be wrong, but I suspect the action against Vladika Artemije (like the “Quint” letter to Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic) is somehow connected to anticipation of a ruling unfavorable to the KLA and its sponsors.
[NOTE: The “Quint” letter refers to what the appeal on behalf of Artemije describes as: “The unwarranted threat, contrary to all diplomatic custom, by the foreign ministries of the United States, Britain, Germany, France, and Italy to Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic that he must ‘cool down’ his rhetoric on Kosovo and Metohija in anticipation of the advisory opinion expected soon from the International Court of Justice; evidently, for the Western powers, even verbal defense of Serbia’s territorial integrity is now entirely unacceptable.”]
Q: You said once that Serbs were bad guys in US public even before 1991. What was the reason for that, when we were then all in one state – Yugoslavia?
A: This was largely a result of early lobbying by the Croats and Albanians. They, together with a number of other communities that had supported the losing side during World War II were very successful in dominating “ethnic” lobbies in American politics, especially in the Republican Party, under the guise of “anti-communism.” Most “non-ethnic” Americans had no idea that what they were promoting was not America’s Cold War defense against communism but their own tribal agendas, usually anti-Russian but also anti-Serbian. […]
May 17th 2010 07:34:20 AM
“He is of Swedish nationality but originally from Kosovo…”
Boy, it sure is a good thing that Sweden’s Carl Bildt rushed to be the first foreign minister to visit a newly “independent” Kosovo three weeks after the secession.
Then again, the poor man is terrified. Like the rest of the Western world, he was hoping that doing everything the Albanians wanted with Serbia would help assuage the many Albanian “refugees” that all these countries took in. The U.S. was hoping for the same thing ( ‘If we just keep feeding them Serbs, maybe they’ll leave us alone’). But then the plot against Ft. Dix was discovered, not to mention this more recent stuff. Oh well. It was a worth a try. Wasn’t it?
Two men arrested over fire at Vilks’ house
Two men, aged 19 and 21, have been arrested in connection with an arson attack at the home in southern Sweden of artist Lars Vilks.
The 21-year-old was arrested late on Saturday at his home in Landskrona, 40 kilometres from the house where Vilks lives. He is being held on suspicion of aggravated attempted arson.
A police spokesman said he was detained after personal items were found near Vilks’ house in the village of Nyhamnsläge, which was slightly damaged in the attack overnight Friday.
“He is of Swedish nationality but originally from Kosovo … He was unknown to the police so far,” Scania district police spokesman Calle Pärsson told AFP.
The suspect whose name was not made public “is still being detained and expected to see a judge to decide whether or not he will be charged, possibly tomorrow” (Monday), said Pärsson. […]
Say, wait a second. Weren’t we told that Albanians were the non-Muslimy kind of Muslims? Why is this guy all up in the Islam? Then again, if an Albanian is involved, surely the attack against the Muhammad cartoonist has nothing to do with Islam at all. That’s what was being hammered into us when that Bosnian kid killed five Americans in Salt Lake City’s Trolley Square for Valentine’s Day 2007. So perhaps there are “special circumstances” here too. After all, just think of all the “Serbian atrocities” the arsonist might have witnessed as a young boy during the Kosovo war, which could have affected him negatively. (This is called the “Blame the Serbs” defense, and it’s almost guaranteed be coming to a newspaper near you.)
No, this person is not representative of most Albanians. But he is representative of more Albanians than Serbs. So remind me why we supported the former against the latter?
According to comment poster Froken Sverige, the name of our latest Albanian Islamist is Alija Mentor, born 1989.
I’ll just close with one random tidbit that I wrote about from Chris Deliso’s devastating 2007 book The Coming Balkan Caliphate:
“In October 2006, [a special investigator for the UN Mission in Kosovo] pointed to a case from a couple of years earlier, in which UNMIK police arrested several Islamic extremists plotting terror in a village near Mitrovica: ‘They were all Albanians, and all of them had British passports,’ said the investigator. ‘Some were related to leading officials in the Kosovo government. It was all hushed up and never reported in the media.’ Other intelligence sources have drawn a connection between this group, civil administration appointees, and arrests made by the British government in the July 2005 bomb plots in London.”
We also learn of a murky and as yet unreported incident in which six Albanian-American fundamentalists arrived in the village of Skenderaj in the weeks before 9/11. Says Gambill — who in 2005 blew the whistle on the Kosovo mission in an interview with Cybercast News Service — the men had “spread anti-American slogans and stated, one week before 9/11, that the US would soon be attacked.”
“According to Gambill, the radicals were ‘linked to a wealthy Mafioso in Mitrovica’ — a shock admission linking Islamic radicals and the Albanian mafia. More shocking, however, was the utter disinterest with which UN authorities greeted this apparent ’smoking gun’ case. While investigators elsewhere were racing furiously to track down anyone and everyone with foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks, the CivPol [UN police] officer who identified the agitators, according to Gambill, ‘was frustrated that no one above him [in rank] was interested, and no one above him really pushed [for this investigation] — there was little said about it — and no follow-up.’”
May 14th 2010 12:18:46 PM
Hey, Americans, look what your New Best Friend has been up to for the past nine years. In case you didn’t hear about the 2001 Kosovo Redux when Albanians moved on to terrorize neighboring Macedonia, here’s what just this week’s news looks like:
4 killed on Macedonia-Kosovo border (AP, Weds. May 12)
SKOPJE, Macedonia — Macedonian police say a shootout between police and an armed group near the country’s border with Kosovo has left four people dead.
Police spokesman Ivo Kotevski said the four were killed in the area of Radusa village when police intercepted them attempting to smuggle weapons across the border from Kosovo.
He says the four had been traveling in a van in which authorities found a large amount of weapons and explosives.
Earlier this month, a former ethnic Albanian rebel group, the National Liberation Army, claimed responsibility for another shootout in the border area, which it said killed a Macedonian soldier. The Macedonian government had said nobody had been hurt in that shooting.
The NLA fought a brief war against government forces in 2001.
And an AFP/BBC report:
Four killed in Macedonia-Kosovo border shoot-out
…A spokesman said police tried to stop a van they suspected of carrying arms across the border, when those inside the vehicle opened fire.
Police returned fire and all “four of them [in the van] were killed,” said police spokesman Ivo Kotevski.
Police found a large amount of weapons and explosives inside the van, he said.
It has been reported on Radio Kosovo that three of the four have been identified, and that one was an ethnic Albanian from Kosovo while the others were Macedonian. [CLARIFICATION: Those would be ethnic Albanians from Macedonia, but nice try there.]
The shoot-out took place in the village of Radusa in the mountainous region on the border between Macedonia and Kosovo. The area is largely ethnic-Albanian.
It is known to be a major smuggling route. Two weeks ago Macedonia seized weapons including rocket launchers, mortars, three anti-aircraft guns, and a large cache of explosives, grenades and mines, the AFP news agency reports.
Mr Kotevski said the dead men were wearing military fatigues.
It is not known if they were connected to the National Liberation Army, a former ethnic Albanian rebel group, which claimed responsibility for another shoot-out on 29 April in the border area.
The NLA said a Macedonian soldier was killed in the incident, although the Macedonian government denied that.
The NLA mounted an insurgency against government forces in 2001, demanding greater rights for the country’s ethnic Albanian minority. [CLARIFICATION: Greater smuggling rights and sex/drug/gun-trafficking rights. And greater anal broom-raping rights.] The conflict lasted several months until Nato helped oversee a ceasefire.
According to EULEX (the European law and order mission that’s been supervising the province since “independence”):
…At around 2 am, a “Mercedes Sprinter” van with fake Prilep registration plates, failed to stop upon order by the police. The persons in the van, dressed in black uniforms, opened fire at the police officers. The police fired back and killed the 4 passengers. An important quantity of weapons was found in the van:
a. 3 grenade launchers with [a] number of rocket propelled grenades;
b. TNT explosives;
c. 6 automatic and semi-automatic rifles;
d. 1 sniper rifle;
e. 1 machine gun (12.7mm);
f. 6 hand grenades;
g. one 40mm grenade launcher with 15 projectiles;
h. anti-personnel mines;
i. 12 mortar rounds for 60mm mortar;
j. ammunition for automatic rifles;
k. military boots; and
l. UCK insignia and a map. (UCK is the Albanian acronym for KLA. But take your pick: UCK/KLA/NLA/KIA/ANA/ONA/UCPMB/AKSH)
…According to the initial information the following persons took part in the shoot-out: Shaban Zenuni, former NLA and indicted by ICTY in the Mavrovo Road Workers case currently being processed through the local courts (Zenuni is also a former Imam). Zenuni had only recently returned to Macedonia from Italy, where he had been working for a number of years; Qemajl Fejzuli from [Greece] (no criminal records); Xhelel Shala from Pristina (Kosovo) – no further information yet. The fourth person has not been identified yet.
A later report from UPI: Police kill gun smugglers in Macedonia
RADUS, Macedonia, May 12 (UPI) — Macedonian police say they killed four members of a Kosovar Albanian gang suspected of trying to smuggle large amounts of weaponry across Macedonia’s borders.
Acting on a tip, police in the village of Radus on the border between Macedonia and Serbia attempted to stop a van believed to be carrying weapons when the occupants opened fire, Radio Srbija reported Wednesday. [PLEASE NOTE: UPI used an accurate reference to “Serbia,” which is where “independent” Kosovo is; it’s part of Serbia.]
Several other armed terrorists operating in and around Radusha surrendered to the police…Two weeks earlier Macedonian police found four caches of weapons they allege were smuggled in by the Kosovar Albanian extremist group ONA [one of the countless related Albanian terrorist acronyms]. In an ensuing firefight, one of the group members was injured and a number of others fled to Kosovo.
Kosovo police later announced the arrests of seven suspected ONA members, Radio Srbija reported.
“Terrorists”? Gee, but they CAN’T be terrorists if they’re Albanian, right? Isn’t that what we’re told every day?
Gordon: US reconfirms its committment for the integrity and territorial wholeness of Kosovo
(Yeah, it’s just “Kosovo” they want — and not an inch less. Plus western Macedonia, parts of Montenegro, Greece, southern Serbia’s Presevo Valley, and maybe even a slice of Bulgaria.)
Fire opened at a camp of Serbs in Zac, Kosmet
Radio Srbija | May 13, 2010
The Kosovo police has confirmed that some unknown persons opened fire last night at a camp of Serb returnees in the village of Zac, Istok Municipality, in western Kosovo, but that, fortunately, no one was injured. Patrols of the Kosovo police and KFOR were also in the camp at the time, the police says. Local Albanians oppose the return of Serbs to Zac and in the past few days they have thrown stones at Serbs, who wait in the camp for their houses to be restored. Several Serb returnees have already left Zac due to this.
Kosovo: Shots fired at Serb returnees
13 May 2010 | 14:37 | Source: Beta
PRIŠTINA — Shots were fired at Serb returnees in the village of Žač in Kosovo, it has been confirmed.
The incident happened last night, and did not result in any injuries, Kosovo police, KPS, said today.
A spokesman for KPS said that the camp housing the returnees was fired at “from a great distance”, and while KFOR and KPS patrols were inside, and that an investigation was under way.
One bullet hit a wall in one of the returnees’ homes, reports said.
Local ethnic Albanians have previously resorted to stoning the tents that the returnees currently live in…
YET WE HAVE TO LISTEN TO STANDARD GARBAGE LIKE THIS FROM COMMENTARY MAGAZINE’S JONATHAN TOBIN:
Kosovars Identify with Israel, Not Palestinians
In fact, Kosovo’s new constitution affirms the nascent country has no designs on any more territory…for all the misgivings we might have about NATO’s Kosovo commitment, unlike the Hamasistan in Gaza, Kosovo is not a lethal threat to the surrounding countries…
May 13th 2010 08:48:42 AM
Readers might remember this past fall when I wrote about a woman named Barbara Oakley, a psychologist and astute critic of the American Psychological Association. Unfortunately, Oakley is also a confused adoptive mother who gets her “information” about the Balkans from her two adopted Albanian Muslim sons, whom she “trusts.” Oakley came to my attention when she bizarrely incorporated her Albanian sons’ version of the Kosovo conflict into an interview about the APA with conservative blogger named Dr. Helen, wife of Glenn Reynolds, also known as Instapundit. Which made Dr. Helen yet another conservative who is, as always, skeptical of liberal propaganda except when it concerns the Balkans. Despite my calling the couple’s attention to the misinformation that Dr. Helen helped propagate, no correction or apology to readers was issued. It’s par for the course for all things Balkans-related: dismissable.
Among the things that Oakley trusts her sons on is their claim to have heard the infamous Racak “massacre” taking place in the neighboring village of Racak half a mile away. That’s where Serbian police exchanged fire with Albanian terrorists while an AP crew was in tow. In the ensuing days the police operation was stage-managed into — and announced as — a “massacre” by CIA operative and ex-ambassador William Walker, directing the KLA terrorists. Coincidentally, lo and behold: it was nothing less than a “massacre” that Oakley’s sons had heard.
The interview came to me by way of a fan of Dr. Helen’s, named Vincent, who described Oakley’s response to his concerned email:
She replied by merely saying that she doesn’t trust journalists but that she does trust her sister who worked at a Macedonian refugee camp in 1999 and she trusts her adopted Muslim sons (who now live near me here in SE Michigan!) who lived “nearby” Racak. (As for me, I distrust those who claim to be purely innocent “victims”, (cough…Muslims…cough), along with those Albanian sympathizers who conveniently forget to mention the KLA’s use of civilian villages as cover for their schemes and ambushes.) She then went ad hominem and further stated that she doesn’t trust Racak skeptics Diana Johnstone and Renaud Girard because they are “notoriously radical and unreliable leftists”. She failed to debunk your specific article or engage or acknowledge the arguments of non-leftist folks like you, Michael Savage, and Pat Buchanan, Phyllis Shlafly, and other conservatives who opposed Clinton’s attack. I’m sorry to remind you that your work is still needed in keeping the truth alive and that even conservative outlets like Pajamas TV and Dr. Helen Smith are being used for pro-Muslim propaganda…
First, I wondered aloud whether the sister whom Oakley “trusts,” and who was putting in her good-deed time at the Macedonian refugee camp, was the same one for whom Oakley named her book Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed and My Sister Stole My Mother’s Boyfriend. Then I explained why it was easy to miss the real story, even for folks on the ground in Kosovo or Macedonia. I closed by suggesting some further reading for Dr. Oakley, so that she might one day understand the psychology of her sons, and why they would do the KLA’s bidding, willingly or not — and wittingly or not.
But it appears there is more to her sons’ psychology than we thought, although we certainly won’t be surprised to hear what it is. Not long after my Oakley blog ran, Vincent found and sent me an article that Oakley had penned for The Chicago Tribune in 2007. In it, she writes:
Have I observed our sons’ religion creating intellectual blind spots? Absolutely. Our sons felt free to bash Christianity, Judaism and virtually every religion other than Islam with impunity. (My husband and I are agnostics.) When I pointed out that somehow, in their free-spirited exchanges, Islam never received any critical comments, our sons were nonplussed. Despite the seeming freethinking nature of their irreverence, our sons simply couldn’t conceive of saying anything at all critical of Islam. In fact, the mere thought of criticism seemed frightening. This was understandable — Muslim critics of Islam, even in “free speech” Europe and the United States, often face death threats.
But this “blind spot” phenomenon is not just a function of Islam — or even of religion. Strangely enough, our sons’ behavior reminded me of nothing so much as the behavior I observed years ago, when I lived and worked among the Soviets as a Russian translator. Living in a world where atheism was king and all religions were fair game for criticism, I observed the same types of blind spots as those of our sons. Despite the decaying dregs of the Soviet Empire surrounding us, and our own malnourishment (food was in short supply), the Soviets I worked with proudly asserted that theirs was the best system in the world. Even while making their assertions, however, my Soviet friends looked fearfully over their shoulders, searching for the commissar. After all, speaking with a Westerner was akin to heresy. As my friends well knew, the wrong thing said in front of the wrong person could result in their disappearance.
The analogy between Islam and Communism is of course apt, as we already know. Both of these totalitarian systems impair thinking, as is the whole point. To survive under Muslim or Communist oppression, one’s mind becomes child-like, as David Remnick wrote in his 1994 book Lenin’s Tomb, and as my friend Heather observed in Cuba in the mid-90s and in Ramallah in 2008.
But let’s go back to the first of Oakley’s two paragraphs — that bit about how her darling sons easily bash Christianity and Judaism, the building blocks of their new parents’ society, which has offered the boys a chance at a good life. (What a lucky stroke of fate for Oakley and her husband that they’re agnostics, though it likely won’t help them in the long run.) Such, then, are the sons whose story she trusts about the Racak hoax and the overall Kosovo war? The trustable sons — whom she has just used as an example to illustrate the blind spots people have?
By her own admission, Oakley got her trusted version of the Racak hoax from someone whose blind spots remind her of Russians praising the Soviet hell they lived in. Is it not then possible that her sons didn’t accurately interpret the events that were taking place around them? And has it not occurred to her that her sons might be toeing the Muslim line on that conflict? Or that they would toe the Albanian line on it? Or that this would be one and the same line? (Until more recent events, of course, when it was time for Muslim countries to decide whether they would recognize a U.S.-made state.)
But wow. Muslim AND Albanian. That spells a doubly dark day for rationality and clear thinking indeed.
As for bad-mouthing Christianity and Judaism: Weren’t we assured that this wasn’t Albanian-y at all? I’m still willing to believe it isn’t, since much anecdotal evidence suggests it isn’t. But if these boys are, as Albanians always claim, Albanian above being Muslim, why are they so susceptible to the latter? On that point, Oakley opened her Chicago Tribune article with the following anecdote:
I awakened to the smell of something strong and strange. The alarm clock came blearily into view: 2:12 a.m…Stumbling down the stairs, I was drawn by the smell to the kitchen. It was our younger son, call him “Ahmed,” a Muslim boy we had recently adopted, along with his brother, from Kosovo.
Ahmed was cooking in the kitchen. Correction — Ahmed was cooking bacon in the kitchen.
He was cooking it at 2 in the morning because he was embarrassed about being seen eating pork.
Weren’t we assured about Albanians in 1999, as we were about Bosnians in the earlier 90s, that they didn’t have any complexes about pork or alcohol. And if these boys were removed from their increasingly Islamicizing society as little kids — before the entrenchment of the Saudi institutions that flooded in during our “liberation” — then whence did the boys learn the pork shame, and why do they identify so strongly with Islam?
It’s because, as I’ve written before, radicalization is radicalization — and these boys were radicalized to a nationalist cause, and that radicalization generally gets channeled later into what “national struggles” are frequently channeled into: Islamic supremacy and then jihad. The Bosnian war similarly radicalized that “non-Muslimy” Muslim population, returning them to what they were before the religious sleep imposed by Communism. And of course one need only look at the Palestinian “national cause.”
The Albanian population, specifically, is prone to radicalization for a number of cultural and psychological reasons. (Indeed, even in the 70s under Communism, Yugoslav officials of varying ethnic stripes were alarmed by the receptiveness that Islamic recruiters were finding among the Muslims of the Balkan regions, including young Albanians.) In 2002 DEBKAfile reported on the acceleration of this trend:
New Jihadist Army Forming in Balkans (June 24, 2002)
The next radical Islamic terror attack in America could well originate in a corner of the Balkans, where a new jihad force is taking shape quietly and unhindered. In its last issue, published on Friday, June 21, DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military sources reported that close to 20,000 fighters, battled-hardened veterans and eager young recruits, are already under arms, with more joining up all the time.
An Islamist bloc of nations…made up of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, al Qaeda and Hizballah, with active Palestinian support - is behind the new Muslim Balkan army. Saudi, Iranian and Iraqi intelligence services and al Qaeda operations officers in Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Albania are tasked with recruitment, training and organization. The units are armed with modern weaponry, including missiles and artillery, while handpicked young Muslim recruits have been sent to sign up at private flying schools, especially in the CzechRepublic and Bulgaria, as the nucleus of an air force.
Recruitment is brisk among the ethnic Albanian Muslim populations of Kosovo, Macedonia and Bosnia, as well as Albania proper. Hundreds of mosques are sprouting in these countries, funded from deep Saudi pockets. The mosques open cultural societies to attract boys aged 15 to 16 and enroll them at medressas which, like their Pakistani prototypes, integrate military training in their curricula.
Because Balkan Muslim families tend to be large, the percentage of teenagers in the general population is among the highest in the world, close to half, providing a potential recruiting reservoir of three quarters of a million youngsters.
Each mosque has its Saudi imam, who takes orders from Saudi intelligence. The military instructors are Iranian and Iraqi officers, as well as al Qaeda commanders who fought the Americans in Afghanistan. They mark out the best and brightest students for long-term careers. At the age of 17, these youths are promoted to a secret quasi-military organization and given three training sessions a week in urban warfare, weapons systems, the manufacture of explosive devices, bombs and mines, ways of demolishing tanks and aircraft, as well as night combat. After two months, they receive a fixed salary of roughly $500 to $700 a month, an irresistible draw in a society where employment is scarce. A month later, they are given uniforms and personal weapons, which they take home and hide. Drilled into them is the consciousness that their wages depend on perfect obedience to their instructors and religious mentors.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards (Pazdaran) have set up a logistical command center in the Iranian embassy in Skopje [Macedonia] to coordinate the swelling movements of Iranian, Iraqi and Saudi instructors, organizers, couriers and bagmen in and out of the Balkans, usually from the Middle East. Most of the Saudis are al Qaeda operatives who fought in Afghanistan.
Until recently, they all traveled to the Balkans by indirect routes, careful not to draw attention to themselves, especially from agents of the US intelligence services attached to US Special Force contingents based in Kosovo and Bosnia. When they saw that no US intelligence service appeared interested in their activities, the travelers began to throw caution to the winds, freely using Skopje’s international airport for their comings and goings.
Our sources have failed to turn up any hand obstructing the emergence of the Balkan Muslim terrorist force, although fundamentalist governments of the Middle East and al Qaeda have fathered it for the aim of injecting young blood into the Islamic terror movement and invigorate the movement dedicated to violent assault against the West, primarily the United States.
The government of the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, headed by its president Boris Trajkovski, is painfully aware of the threat. But, 11 months after concluding a ceasefire with Albanian insurgents, its army can scarcely stand up alone to the youthful terrorist force, led by professional Saudi, Iranian and Iraqi military instructors as well as al-Qaeda terror experts.
As a provisional containment measure, the Macedonian government has secretly closed the country’s borders to the passage of goods to and from Kosovo, Bosnia and Albania, hoping to block the flow of weapons and ammunition supplies to the Muslim army. But it is probably too late to have much effect. Nevertheless, Macedonian forces are believed to be preparing to go into the regions taken over by the Jihadist force for the urgent but hopeless task of flushing [it] out…
As I wrote in the previous blog on Oakley and her trusted boys: Sleep soundly with Albanian “sons” under your roof. Especially if you plan to continue speaking freely to your boys and expose their blind spots, hypocrisy, and breakdowns in logic. Though I’d strongly suggest removing your own blind spots by sleeping with one eye open. Otherwise I’ll see you on “Forensic Files.”
I’m going to close with my source Vincent’s answer when I asked what put Yugoslavia on his radar:
Writing and thinking about recent Serbian history is like banging one’s head against a wall. And reading most mainstream media about Serbia is like having manure thrown in one’s face. To quote Apocalypse Now, “The bullshit piles up so fast you need wings to stay above it.”
I think I first smelled a rat when I read a very brief NY Times story in 1996 or so when NATO soldiers found a jihadist camp and literature in Bosnia. The manuals found there described how to booby-trap toys and common civilian items, and when one of Izetbegovic’s lackeys was confronted with it, he said words to the effect that “we don’t do that sort of thing, everyone knows we are the victims in Bosnia”. He sounded smug and so sure that “everyone knew” that they were pure as snow and above suspicion. (The Big Lie technique again. Decent people can’t fathom the audacious dishonesty and evil of the psychopaths among us, so they give the benefit of the doubt.)
Ironically, Oakley — who swallowed the various Balkans “victim” tales — has an almost identical line in her article: “One blind spot Westerners have is the widespread assumption that everyone is innately good — or at least capable of being reasoned with. Neuroscience, however, is beginning to provide proof that the dogma of innate rationality and decency is deeply flawed — at least in a small percentage of people. Instead, it appears that both environment and genetics can occasionally combine to shape people who are naturally duplicitous, amoral and completely incapable of being reasoned with.”
Back to Vincent:
…It wasn’t until later in the 1990s and after the 1999 NATO attack on Serbia that I discovered 2 military dissenters from the Clinton/Holbrooke/Albright anti-Serb crusade. GENERAL CHARLES G. BOYD, USAF (RET.), was the Deputy Commander in Chief, U.S. European Command, from November 1992 to July 1995, and he wrote a balanced piece titled “Making Peace with the Guilty” in Foreign Affairs in 1995. Find it here. He writes, “the Bosnian Serbs — with Serbian support — took up arms to do what international recognition had done for the Croats of Croatia and the Muslims of Bosnia: ensure that they would not be a minority in a state they perceived to be hostile…There are times when the distinctions among the factions appear more a question of power and opportunity than morality…”
Another dissenter was Lieutenant Colonel John Sray, who wrote SELLING THE BOSNIAN MYTH TO AMERICA: BUYER BEWARE: “The modern-day question, though, concerns legitimacy. Does Bosnia as a sovereign state have a right to control its territory? Undeniably. Nonetheless, it must meet the minimum de facto criteria for sovereignty, and it apparently has failed to do so. Most importantly, it remains incapable of defending its own territory against Bosnian Serbs who choose to exercise their legitimate right of secession in the same manner as Bosnia seceded from Yugoslavia…Much to the UN’s credit, it realizes that it cannot impose a solution to the Bosnian civil war — but this situation remains unacceptable to the Muslims who do not yet understand the concept that “freedom is not free” and demand protection from others while promulgating their status as innocent victims and practicing their own territorial aggression.”
May 05th 2010 10:33:19 AM
In mid January 2010 at a regional security meeting in Pec in the western part of Kosovo, a KFOR officer informed the grouping that it was likely that Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren would be replaced and a new Bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church would be installed in his place, one who was open to cooperation with the West and more open to dialogue.
One wonders how or why NATO was in a position to know such a thing, but we do know that what the West wants, Serbia bends over backwards to deliver. And so less than a month later a new administrator of the diocese was appointed, escorted to his new duties by several NATO contingents in their armored personnel carriers and jeeps, who were then seen to be positioned at the entrance gates of the monastery. The Kosovo Police Service were also in attendance. Bishop Artemije was then suspended, ostensibly because of financial irregularities carried out by his assistant, Father Simeon. It was for all intents and purposes a coup d’etat backed and protected by NATO.
In reporting on the replacement of Kosovo’s ruling bishop this week, Western media reports will apply to Artemije all the standard descriptions for Serbs while “explaining” the situation in under 400 words, as the AP did this week, ‘reporting’ that “Artemije is known for his ultranationalist and anti-Western views.” Referring to the bishop’s diplomatically sound shunning of the illegitimate government of career criminals and terrorists we installed in Kosovo — after years of spurned diplomatic efforts by the bishop to find a negotiated solution — the report demonstrates his “nationalism” with the supporting sentence that “He had ordered his clergy to cease contact with Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian authorities and the EU mission there after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008.”
But here is the proverbial rest of the story. Artemije’s downfall came soon after a threat from the synod of bishops to Artemije about the reconstruction of churches destroyed in the March 2004 Pogrom. Bishop Artemije had resisted giving his assent to the reconstruction process, since only 11 or 12 churches and monasteries would be rebuilt — out of the 150 destroyed since NATO and the UN took control — and rebuilt by the very extremists who had destroyed them. None of the churches selected for reconstruction were in any way linked to the return and repatriation of the communities that used to worship in the churches, and the communities belonging to the churches that were not selected still would have no church to worship in. In other words, this reconstruction was a smokescreen: the EU and UN wanted to be seen as doing something while doing nothing to address the long-term needs of Serbs in Kosovo. Which makes sense when one considers that the Western powers don’t actually want Serbs to return, regardless of any contradictory but futile token gestures that KFOR soldiers have been enlisted in.
Bishop Artemije reluctantly signed off on the limited reconstruction process, but sensed that a bigger battle was ahead and that the powers seeking to remove him were trying to use this as a pretext.
Thus in February 2010 the Synod acted, suspending Bishop Artemije on the grounds of financial irregularity, although they stressed that he himself was not under suspicion. The ‘Father Simeon’ accusation was a message that no opposition to the new reality in Kosovo would be tolerated, and so one of the last voices crying in the wilderness was squashed. The Synod decision of February 13 stated that the final status of Bishop Artemije would be dealt with by the Holy Assembly of Bishops, which is currently in session.
Bishop Atanasije is the new acting bishop of Kosovo, although — strictly speaking — acting temporarily as administrator and not as the Bishop of Raska and Prizren (the official title of the bishop of Kosovo). But he is neither temporary nor is his administration confined to administrative matters of the Diocese.
The acceptance of rehabilitated churches under the Memorandum is not an administrative matter. And imposing punishments whose lengths exceed the duration of one’s mandate brings into doubt the temporary nature of Atanasije’s administration. This refers to the fact that several monasteries and convents have been placed under severe strictures designed to break their will to resist the new ‘Order’. Others, including nine nuns and novices have been removed or been forced by circumstances to take their leave of Gracanica monastery (where the ruling bishop has been headquartered since being burned out of his Prizren Palace by Albanians in 2004). Monks and nuns in particular monasteries such as Archangels, Crna Reka, Koncul and Zociste have been placed under restrictions, including a removal of their right to serve Liturgy.
Let us keep in mind that while in full possession of his mental faculties Bishop Atanasije renounced his post as a diocesan bishop 11 years ago because of his proven physical incapacity to discharge any of his diocesan duties, as confirmed by the Holy Assembly of Bishops. But he is now considered by the same Assembly unquestionably capable to govern a diocese which has been living under the most difficult circumstances for a full 11 years. Is this really an affair regarding the administration of the Serbian Orthodox Church or does it run much deeper than that?
In May 2005 current Serbian Orthodox Bishop of Australia, Bishop Irinej (originally from the US), told a number of people — who are prepared to testify to the fact — that the West, or to be more specific, the US State Department would only deal with certain people in Serbia: himself, Boris Tadic and Vuk Draskovic, leader of the “Serbian Renewal Movement.” Mimicking State Dept. language, he went on to explain that independence for Kosovo was “the only solution,” and that he had managed to persuade Bishop Teodosije and Father Sava of Decani to accept the “inevitability” of the independence of Kosovo.
A deal was struck. Decani Monastery would be allowed to continue to exist, as long as all other monasteries on the holy land of Kosovo and Metohija could be brought into line and made to fall under its leadership, obeying Teodosije and Sava’s orders, holy or not.
No surprise then that Decani monks led by Teodosije and Sava took over Gracanica Monastery in February 2010 to oversee the removal of Artemije and the installment of the temporary administrator, Atanasije.
Although the doors were locked and the admittance of people to the Monastery was monitored, religious and lay people still faithful to their bishop Artemije gained entrance despite NATO reinforcements, and managed to meet him — although it must be said after an unseemly squabble among fellow Christians, clergy and lay people alike, which turned into a monk-on-monk brawl.
But this is far more sinister than a squabble between factions of the Serbian Orthodox Church. This is the end game to remove the last pillar of resistance to the independence of Kosovo. It is clear certain interests have identified the Church as one last impediment in the way of what they have striven to bring about since 1999, the creation of a statelet with little or no legitimacy except in the minds of its creators, outside interests mostly paid off by the Albanian narco-mafia.
What happens when people of good faith leave the monasteries and convents voluntarily or otherwise? The Serbian Orthodox Church is already near extinction in Kosovo. It is not possible that Bishop Atanasije and the authorities in Decani Monastery fail to see that empty monasteries and empty churches will spell the end of what’s left of the Christian communities in Kosovo, and that the plotters of the Church’s downfall will have won at last.
Indeed, there is a darker and messier explanation, with origins in surprisingly high places, known of course for the lows they’re capable of. The explanation comes to us by way of an 86-year-old woman who in the midst of the aforementioned brawl was pushed to the floor by a Decani monk, who then called her a “f–king c**t.”
Kosara Gavrilovic is a retired professor of Russian literature, who grew up in a Serbian emigre family in America. She has spent the last few years as Artemije’s secretary and translator and was with Artemije during his house arrest at Gracanica Monastery. Last September she gave a speech at St. John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Church in Washington, D.C., where she revealed that some of the bishops operating in Kosovo have been compromised by threats to their liberty. Here is the relevant portion of her speech:
I know personally of two bishops whom the State Department has blackmailed into submission, maintaining that they are war criminals, that the US government has incontrovertible evidence of this and that at any moment they could find themselves in The Hague being charged with war crimes. However, the US government considered it more useful for America, or so the State Department maintained, if they remained at their posts and collaborated with America. And they were frightened and behaved like cowards. They remained at their posts and meekly started doing America’s bidding.
Towards the end of the Bosnian war…I interpreted for one of them. I was with him in the Congress when he was accused of ethnic cleansing. It was Bishop Atanasije whom I knew well and respected and loved deeply. I knew at the time that he was not guilty of what they were accusing him…Nor do I know what charges America thinks could be brought against Metropolitan Amfilohije [of Montenegro]…I don’t know and it does not matter. What matters is that they are both guilty of something else: they were frightened and they behaved like cowards.
In a subsequent email exchange, Ms. Gavrilovic described the scene, circa 1995, in which Atanasije learned of his “war crimes”:
Soon after the Bosnian War, Bishop Atanasije was visiting Washington and among the meetings he had was in, I believe, a Congressman’s Office with members of Amnesty International who accused him of ethnic cleansing. There was no mention of The Hague at that meeting. He was simply accused of committing a war crime, namely that of ethnic cleansing…
Bishop Atanasije was informed (I believe by international forces — perhaps the Blue Helmets) of the following situation: A Muslim town, the name of which I do not remember, somewhere in Herzegovina, was surrounded by [Yugoslav] forces. Armed Muslims were dug in the center of the town. The two opposing forces were separated by a shield of women, children and old people who were in danger of being killed in the crossfire. The bishop was asked to help.
The Bishop’s one concern was to save the women, children and old people. He arrived at the place with some empty buses, managed to negotiate a ceasefire, put the old, the women and the children into the buses and told the drivers to take them straight to Montenegro, then left the Serbs and the Muslims to each other’s tender mercies.
This scenario was put to the Bishop. When asked whether that was the way it happened, he said yes, exactly…There followed a bitter discussion, which went roughly like this:
Atanasije: I was called upon to help innocent people who were in mortal danger and I did.
Amnesty International: But still, it was ethnic cleansing, wasn’t it?
Amnesty International: You took one ethnic group out of its ethnic environment and took it out to another region.
Atanasije: I took a group of people in mortal danger and sent them to safety.
No matter what Atanasije said or how faithfully and forcefully I translated it, they were stuck on this one point: the group was ethnically homogenous and it was taken out of its environment. To Atanasije’s assertion that that group of people would have died had he left them there, they responded that he could not be certain of that. To the question whether, knowing what he knew now, he would still do the same thing, Atanasije responded: “What? Would I save a group of people from certain death just because sometime in the future a group of people in America might accuse me of committing a war crime if I did? I hope to God I would.”
Surreal, bizarre, insane, unbelievable though it sounds, believe me that was how it was.
What I cannot even begin to describe is the subsequent explosion of revolt, disgust, profound pain, unbearable grief and, the worst of all, a glimmer of self-doubt and then despair. Then he just gave up. And then we quarreled, standing there on the sidewalk in front of one of the congressional buildings. I said that he must continue to fight; he said he could not. He would continue the fight back home, but he would never, not ever again set foot on American soil or speak to a Westerner again. Then a few years later, he was back in America, in California to be precise, and is now a great friend of the West.
And how did Amfilohije, from being a complete persona non grata in Western Europe, barred from entering any Western European country, suddenly become the favorite Orthodox cleric of the EU bureaucracy?
And there you have it.
In her September speech, Ms. Gavrilovic gave some additional background about what is behind the upheaval in the Serbian Church, and the long planning that went into the removal of Artemije from his Kosovo Diocese:
The Synod has been trying for a long time now to remove Bishop Artemije. He was repeatedly accused of financial malfeasance, for instance, but the charges could never be substantiated. In the fall of 2004 they tried to declare him insane…The then hieromonk and today’s Bishop of Australia and New Zealand, Irinej Dobrijević, and Suffragan Bishop Teodosije Lipljanski called me by phone and asked to meet with me to explain more fully Bishop Artemije’s mental condition. That meeting never took place. I was not convinced and I don’t believe that many were.
What form did Bishop Artemije’s insanity take? One of the symptoms of insanity was said to be his staunch refusal to allow the churches and other church buildings, including the Bishop’s Palace in Prizren, destroyed or heavily damaged on March 17, 2004, to be rehabilitated by the same Albanians who had wrecked them in the first place. One might say that his refusal, under the circumstances, was eminently reasonable. However, the European Council, which wished to be involved in the financing of the rehabilitation project, insisted that contracts be given to Albanian contractors. Since the Bishop refused to do so, the European Council turned to the Synod, and the Synod ordered Bishop Artemije to sign the Memorandum on rehabilitation of churches and other structures. Bishop Artemije signed and immediately withdrew his signature.
For the next four years he publicly and vigorously denounced the project. In the beginning it was a matter of principle: the Bishop simply found it grotesque that the destroyers could suddenly become rebuilders of what they had destroyed. Later there appeared another reason for his refusal — a reason of purely technical nature. What was rehabilitated by Albanian contractors began to fall apart after a year or so of their rehabilitation. Regardless of this fact, the Synod, now headed by the Metropolitan Amfilohije, who was by now a most compliant collaborator of the European Council and America, signed the Memorandum on the acceptance of “rehabilitated” structures without the approval of Bishop Artemije. According to the canons of the Church, the Metropolitan had no right to meddle in the affairs of another diocese.
A few months ago, in April or May of 2009 the Synod sent an ultimatum to Bishop Artemije: by July 1, the bishop will either accept rehabilitated churches and other structures owned by the Diocese, or the bishop will be brought before the Ecclesiastic Court for disobedience to the Synod and other activities likely to lead to a schism within the Church.
Numerous articles appeared in the press on this most recent confrontation between Metropolitan Amfilohije and Bishop Artemije. Among these articles were those written by specialists in Canon Law — both clerics and lay writers, both on our side and the side of the Synod — all of which asserted that the Synod had no canonical leg to stand on and that the Ecclesiastic Court would clear the Bishop of all charges. Everyone was absolutely certain that Bishop Artemije would reject the ultimatum.
However, no one told the people of one crucial fact. No one mentioned that the very moment the charges are brought before the Ecclesiastic Court, the Court would be canon-bound to relieve the Bishop of all his episcopal duties and appoint in his place an administrator…No matter how long the trial would last, by the time it was concluded the struggle for Kosovo and Metohija, for the integrity of Orthodoxy, for everything which Bishop Artemije had fought for, would be over…Bishop Artemije signed the Memorandum on the acceptance of rehabilitated churches and other structures.
Make no mistake, the rehabilitation of the churches by the Albanian government in Kosovo in tandem with the international community is key in the Kosovo end game — in two ways. First, it will enable the Dr. Frankensteins of Kosovo, principally its American godfather, to point to this “accomplishment” as evidence of Kosovo’s maturation, accountability, and respect for minorities and minority religions. Secondly, and even more deviously, these monasteries and churches will slowly but surely start to be presented as “Kosovo heritage,” and “Kosovo landmarks” to tourists, as the emptied-out, no longer living monasteries will be employed in the pursuit of much needed tourism dollars for the economically demented “newborn,” whose current economy consists of criminal enterprises and international aid.
That is, what’s left of Serbian Jerusalem’s churches and monasteries is now to be presented as Albanian-Muslim Kosova’s heritage. By Albanian tour guides whose clans terrorized and expelled the inhabitants. It will be achieved with the help of a Serbian government still desperately determined to show its pro-Western orientation and get into the Muslim-servile Euro-Atlantic clique.
The EU has already drawn up a document outlining how best to exploit “Kosovo’s cultural heritage.” Remarkably, in the 20-page “Terms of reference - Development of a Regional Cultural Heritage Facility in Kosovo” — which is mostly about churches — nowhere do the words “Serb,” “Serbian,” “Serbian Orthodox Church,” or “Serbian heritage” appear.
The so-called international community is trying to promote Kosovo as the regional cultural center of the Balkans, with Turkey having a major role in the operation of this facility. (The Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency figures prominently in the Terms of Reference.) So what we have is a fast-Islamisizing region, the Balkans, with a Muslim country as lord and master over its regional cultural center. Further, the facility will be established in Prizren, where 90 percent of the “Kosovo cultural heritage” is Serbian. Yet no Serbs are involved — just Albanians and their historical sponsors, the Ottomans. Ironically, the center is to cultivate, through scholarship programs, a cadre of promising young Albanians trained in the field of cultural preservation, as opposed to destruction.
Imagine a day when the Wailing Wall is part of Palestinian history and cultural heritage.
Western governments want to see the Albanians making money on the cultural heritiage of the province. According to a source with access, all EU documents state this as an expected outcome. To carry out this goal, they need empty monasteries and churches, and have apparently figured out that the best way to accomplish this is to get the Serbs fighting among themselves, this time using the church to turn on itself. Divide and conquer. The Serbian government and head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, seeing the internationally-facilitated Albanian attempt to usurp Serbian heritage and history, are allowing this theft to take place — openly and without resistance.
We are at the logical conclusion of the de-churchifying of Kosovo. While destruction of Serbian churches is centuries old, its recent incarnation has its origins in a little noted semantics war surrounding the 1990s Kosovo war. The full, historical name of the province — “Kosovo and Metohija” — started to be labeled as the “nationalist” name for the province, anyone using it dismissed as a “nationalist.” Significantly, the part of the name that was dropped from general usage — Metohija — means “of the Churches,” as in “land of the churches.”
A February email from Ninoslav Randjelovic, the filmmaker who alone has been documenting the cultural and incrementally physical genocide of Serbs in Kosovo post-NATO, reads presciently:
I believe that the issue of the endangered Orthodox heritage in Kosovo will soon be in the world’s focus along with [a] request from the world’s political institutions that Serbia supports the process of the rebuilding of destroyed churches and monasteries by cooperating with Kosovo’s institutions that have been formed after the declaration of Kosovo’s independence two years ago.
It seems to me that [the] recent tragedy regarding Bishop Artemije is part of this plan. I am afraid that the Government of Serbia has accepted to comply with these new incentives from the West, so it has become necessary to remove Bishop Artemije from the Kosovo Diocese, as it is now being done in a most brutal way.
However, I think that the process of rebuilding the Orthodox monasteries in Kosovo will serve only to demonstrate “maturity” of Kosovo’s institutions and “serious” intentions of Kosovo’s Government to supposedly act in a “civilized” manner demonstrating its “ability” to finally solve this long-standing issue. At the same time, this process could also open another chapter of “Serbia’s loss of Kosovo.” Namely, if Orthodox monasteries and churches are going to be rebuilt solely by Kosovo’s institutions, they will most likely be seen as “Kosovo’s monasteries” in the near future. I am certain that such [a] possible turn of events would have grave consequences for the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo.
Politicians in Serbia do not seem worried with this aspect of the problem and are mainly concerned with their own political future in Serbia, but I am deeply worried that the representatives of the Serbian Church have decided to support this plan.
Yours in Christ,
It was from the first DVD series “Days Made of Fear” by Randjelovic (on whom the Serbian Patriarchate recently reneged after promising distribution help and suggesting additional filming), that some first learned of how Albanians and Serbs sheltered together in the Serbian monasteries during the NATO bombing assault. Monks in that footage, which covered 1998 to 2005, showed some colored drawings that Albanian children made for them in gratitude upon recognizing some of the monks years later. How many of these monks are now being threatened with indictments for “war crimes” by the Hague?
Some courageous Serbs took a stand by circulating an appeal in February addressed to the Serbian Patriarch Irinej and to the Holy Synod, titled “Open Appeal for the Reinstatement of His Grace, Bishop Artemije of Ras and Prizren and Kosovo and Metohija.” Parts of the petition are worth quoting:
Vladika Artemije, with firmness and humility, has been tireless in his efforts to meet with friend and foe alike, travelling countless miles and knocking on innumerable doors, to bear true witness of the sufferings of the Christian Serbian people and Church in the Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija…Many of his interlocutors have not agreed with his views, and many others have. But all have concurred in their great respect for his commitment to genuine peace and understanding, his love and care for his tormented flock, and his unshakeable defense of the Orthodox Christian faith.
It is incomprehensible, then, to see exhibited before the whole world the dismal spectacle of the unwarranted and inhumane treatment of Vladika Artemije, even stooping to the level of an invasion of his residence at the Gracanica Monastery under the “authority” of foreign troops in United Nations uniform — and even so-called “police” of the separatist, terrorist Albanian Muslim administration — and placing him under virtual house arrest. To take such actions against any human being, much less a Bishop and shepherd of a persecuted flock, shocks the civilized conscience in its callous and cynical contempt for due process of law and fundamental fairness.
There can be little doubt as to why this action has been taken now. Indications have been growing for some time that the western powers, notably Washington, having been frustrated in their desire to “finish the job” in the Balkans, notably in Kosovo and Metohija, have decided to remove the person who, more [than] anyone else, has been the insurmountable obstacle to that goal…In large part due to Vladika Artemije’s hard work, the strong majority of the world community…has supported Serbia’s legal and moral case in preservation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity…Attempt[s] by the separatist administration in Pristina to shut down so-called “parallel institutions” in the province (in reality, the legitimate state bodies of the Republic of Serbia) have failed, even with Belgrade’s meager support for those same institutions…
[W]hat greater dismay can there be than seeing that as soon as His Holiness, Patriarch PAVLE, of blessed memory, was safely out of the way [he passed in November], that Vladika Artemije’s detractors in Serbia…saw the way clear to acting on behalf of their foreign masters. In particular, it must be known that Vladika Artemije has been delivered to what amounts to a lynch mob headed by certain bishops…who, based on personal ambition or doctrinal agendas, have long harbored resentments against Vladika Artemije and now believe they have an opportunity to destroy him. No one, especially in Serbia, should think it is possible to avert their eyes from what is being done to Vladika Artemije, and to the monks and nuns defending him, to act as if the intended result is not elimination of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, and to imagine those responsible will be rewarded for their treachery.
Indeed, when has Serbia ever been rewarded for its countless treasons in service to the West? Serbs removed Milosevic by means which international legal experts deemed an abduction, but a decade later Serbs are still treated as a “nationalist, genocidal, intransigent” lot; the post-Milosevic, pro-Western government of Vojislav Kostunica tortured and alternately bribed witnesses to testify against him — but soon Kostunica himself was deemed a “nationalist” when he wasn’t willing to deliver on the total rape of his country; Milosevic himself played ball with the West throughout the Bosnia and Croatia wars until he became the next target; Serbia signed UN Res. 1244 agreeing to get out of Kosovo and allowing a UN and NATO occupation of the province with promises, and printed language, that Kosovo was an inextricable part of Serbia, but we see what has become of that.
And now, like a dog whose spirit has been broken and is programmed to comply — whether for reward or punishment — Serbia is giving its best impression of a totalitarian state. People have been threatened with losing their jobs and in at least one case with deportation if they do not stay out of the church upheaval. Serbian-Kosovo advocate Jim Jatras in February made a public statement condemning the equally disturbing treatment of Bishop Artemije during his suspension (after which statement the bishop was allowed to travel):
Since the suspension of Vladika ARTEMIJE from administration of his Eparchy the claim has been advanced that His Grace retains his full dignity as Bishop Ras and Prizren and Kosovo and Metohija and that he is only barred from direct control over the affairs of his Diocese. Supposedly, he is otherwise a free man and can do all else appropriate to his status. He can go anywhere and talk to anyone, without restriction, supervision, or need for permission.
However, circumstances since Vladika Artemije’s suspension call that claim into serious question. Nothing in maintaining silence over matters for investigation requires Vladika Artemije to remain within his residence in Gracanica Monastery; to be unable to meet with his spiritual children within his Eparchy and elsewhere; to visit his doctor in Belgrade (His Grace is not a young man); or to be unable to speak with the media, at least about topics unrelated to the current controversy.
Yet we see him doing none of these things. In fact, we do not see him at all. It seems the only glimpse of Vladika Artemije has been a single photo posted on the website established on the purported “new” Eparchy website following the apparent seizure of His Grace’s site. (In the same vein, what justifies seizure and shutdown of Vladika Artemije’s site, if not to silence and isolate him?). That photo shows Vladika Artemije serving in church together with suffragan Bishop Teodosije, known to be aligned with those seeking to justify Vladika Artemije’s suspension. The evident purpose of the photo is to demonstrate that Vladika Artemije is well and apparently content with his current status. Viewing the photo one cannot escape the sense one has from a photo of a kidnap victim sent to his family by his captors to show that he is still in good health.
Inseparable from the issue of Vladika Artemije’s evidently forced isolation are highly disturbing reports that monastics and laypersons loyal to him are being pressured to abandon or disown him as the price for their daily subsistence. It must be kept in mind that since Vladika Artemije’s suspension all the financial resources of the Eparchy are in the hands of those responsible for his suspension. This means that monastics and laypersons, both at Gracanica and at other establishments in the Eparchy, who have their daily rations from the monastic refectories and other customary means of support, now find themselves entirely under the control of persons they have reason to believe are unfriendly towards their beloved Archpastor. There have been disturbing reports of individuals loyal to Vladika Artemije being told, in so many words, that they will be fed only if they consent to morally disown His Grace and take sides with the new order in the Eparchy. The only alternatives to submission are to rely on the meager private resources of a few individuals, which are rapidly being depleted; or to physically depart from the Eparchy.
Of course, nuns and monks departing from the monasteries is precisely the wider goal. And so it was that nine terrified nuns recently left their monasteries after being informed by both Teodosije and Atanasije that Bishop Artemije was no longer their spiritual father. It was Kosara Gavrilovic in whom the sisters confided, and she gave a press conference to this effect on April 23rd, trenchantly adding:
We, brothers and sisters, have not seen this before in Serbia — not under Milošević, not under Tito, not under the German occupation. And Serbia tolerates it all.
The sisters left Gračanica on Wednesday February 17, and as for the Abbess, she was so undone by the departure of her sisters, she cried so violently mourning their departure that she had to be transported to a hospital where she remained in a condition described as pre-cardiac arrest for more than a week.
We are witnessing totalitarianism in the name of “democratizing,” as the West would have us believe our activities in Serbia have been. We are witnessing holy men enlisted in this grand charade, now answering to foreign masters. After betraying themselves for decades, Serbs are finally being asked to betray God.
In his February statement on the supposed misappropriation of funds that Artemije is being accused of, Jim Jatras attempted to crystalize what was actually going on:
Even if there are legitimate questions to be asked about administrative matters in the Diocese, everyone can see the methods being used to obliterate Vladika Artemije’s public witness and to terrorize and intimidate his supporters…Vladika Artemije concluded that if no action was going to be taken by official Belgrade [to save Kosovo], he had no choice but to try to do something himself as the centerpiece of a professional effort to put the truth about Kosovo in front of the face of the American people and decision-makers. This is the same decisiveness and courage he displayed when I first met him, when I was working at the Senate, during the period 1997-1998, when he was, as far as I know, the only Bishop willing to speak against Milosevic and to come to Washington on a mission of peace.
How, then, to understand the sense of breathless discovery by those trying to discredit Vladika Artemije…If, on the other hand, we are talking about questions of judgment, that should be left to the Bishop’s discretion. For example, if Vladika Artemije decides that instead of spending a dollar to help restore a damaged church (so the Albanians can attack it again) it would be better to spend it to help ensure churches won’t be destroyed, who better than he to be the judge of it?
In any case, such questions can be asked in a reasonable and humane way. That is not, however, what we see before us today, which can only feed the sense that something else is at work.
In an interview with Serbia’s Weekly Telegraph newspaper the same week, Jatras added:
Kosovo and Metohija is the heart of Serbia, but…the other “heart,” which cannot be separated from Kosovo, is the Orthodox faith. It is not a coincidence that the attack is directed against Vladika Artemije, the living symbol of both “hearts.” I am just a layman, but I am completely convinced that not only Kosovo’s future is at issue in this attack but the canonical governance of the Church, hidden foreign influences within the Church, and the path the Church will take on doctrinal and liturgical questions.
Indeed. In her September speech at the Russian Orthodox Church in Washington, Gavrilovic related that the village grandmothers of Kosovo began to notice something strange in the liturgy being recited:
[I]n Serbia the first to notice it were our village grandmothers. They might not know how to read or write, but they know their liturgy by heart. And the liturgy suddenly started to change. First there were almost imperceptible changes in the order of the service; then there were omissions — or it only seemed so to the old dears? But when it came to the Great Entrance and when the choir was forbidden from the ambo to sing the Cherubic Hymn, it wasn’t just the old village grandmothers who noticed that something was not quite right. And when it became known that confession was no longer necessary, it became clear to everybody that things were pretty bad. Serious talks then began within the Church, which the Church tried to keep secret. But it failed. The people knew. Not everything, of course, not every detail, but some very important and very sad and frightening facts did reach the people. We learned for instance that when one of the bishops who did not share the views of Bishop Atanasije said to him “What you are doing is against the canons,” Atanasije replied, “In new reality canons are for the birds”
These are the words of a man who until recently was one of Serbia’s great canonists, respected not only as an expert in canon law, but even more as one of its zealous defenders.
Finally, Gavrilovic exposed the mentality of the modern Serb:
The majority is furiously determined “to join Europe.” …If you were to ask people in the street why they are so eager to get into Europe, what they expect to find in Europe, you would get the impression that their only real desire is to get a visa and be able to travel. For the Serbs the Visa has become a new Golden Calf. If you were to ask them further what they would do in that promised land to which they so passionately desired a visa would take them and which is called the European Union, you would not get a straight answer…because there isn’t one. People don’t know why they want to travel. It doesn’t matter to them. They don’t care where they would go; they don’t care what they would do once they get there. It seems to me that they want to travel so as not to be alone anymore, so as not to feel lonely, abandoned and rejected by all. The Serbs are sick and tired of loneliness. But the tragedy lies in the fact that they don’t seem to understand that once they get to the European Union they will continue to be just as alone and rejected as they are today, because the European Union is a club for the chosen ones, a club so exclusive that even the membership in it would not guarantee their reception as equal members.
The Serbian government probably knows why it wants so badly to be part of the Europe Union. It is very articulate in its explanations as to why we must consider the European Union the Promised Land and it does not understand why that other part, that small, insignificant, barely noticeable part of Serbia which is against it, does not believe its government. We don’t believe our government for many reasons, the first of which being that we know perfectly well that the European Union will never accept us. We may fulfill all conditions set before us [and the] EU will present us with a new condition, never before mentioned, and demand of us to fulfill it. We know this and the government knows it, but the government does not care. It is not afraid of any new conditions that the European Union may dream up. Evidently it has its own interests. What are these interests? I don’t know, but I am sorely tempted to say that our government has been bought.
All those in the pro-European camp, all the Westerners — in the government and outside the government — think that the greatest obstacle on their way to Europe is the Province of Kosovo and Metohija. They are firmly convinced that if only [it] were to disappear off the face of the earth, we would be admitted to the European Union that very second, and together with Kosovo and Metohija would disappear all our problems — economic, political, social, spiritual and ecclesiastic problems.
We could expect also our government and our people individually and collectively as a nation to try to answer such questions as “What Europe are we so anxious to join? Is it the Europe which calls the NATO bombing of Serbia, in which over 3000 civilians, including children, died, a ‘humanitarian intervention’? Or is it the Europe which dares not protect the rights of its Christian citizens because that would not be politically correct, while at the same time diligently protecting religious rights of the Muslims?
The government, of course, is not obliged to take care of the spiritual life of its people, but the Church is… obliged to take care of the spiritual salvation of its faithful…What if the Serbian bishops lose that which should be their chief attribute, that which should define them? What if the Serbian bishops have decided to join the secular government in its pursuit…and together with the European Union embrace globalization? Do they even know what “globalization” means? Can they explain to us why they, our hierarchs, are so frantically anxious to join Europe?
As Gavrilovic states, in the end Serbs are still going to be considered, and dismissed, as Serbs. No matter how far or how hard they run from their Serbness, they will still find themselves defined by the world as Serbs, even after everything that the same world has gotten them to do to abandon their Serbness and indeed to extinguish that national, cultural and spiritual identity from the earth, equating identity with “nationalism.” Should the day come that this is made manifest to the modern, Euro-Atlantic facing, de-Serbified Serbs, after giving away the last thing that keeps them Serbs — the soul of their Church — they will find themselves even more alone than they started, for there won’t be an identity left to come back to.
With the sellout of the Serbian Church, we now have a measure of how little resistance, and how little assistance to the last of Kosovo Serbs, we can expect from Belgrade in the final hour. And if Serbia itself is ready to give up — even facilitate — its own destruction, half the incentive disappears for the two-thirds of UN members who have so far held out on recognizing an independent Kosovo. As Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov put it in 2007, “We cannot be more Serb than the Serbs.”
— Next Page »