From a press release by the office of Rep. Connie Mack: He “strongly supports efforts to preserve free speech and a free press, which he considers to be basic pillars of democracy.”
But, as evident from his article below, that doesn’t apply to Kosovo: Journalist Lumturie Blakaj Physically Assaulted in Kosovo (Dec. 22); Kosovo Government Accused of ‘Suffocating’ Media (June 2009); European agency says Kosovo television “media arm” of ruler (Oct. 2009);Kosovo’s Thaci Accused of Interfering with Public Broadcaster (Oct. 2009); More on “Prime Minister” Thaci Suffocating Kosovo Media (Oct. 2009)
Hashim Thaci to Rep. Connie Mack: “Thanks, Sucker!”
It would have been embarrassing enough had he written this the day before Thaci’s outing, but he actually published it a full 10 days after the world (the part of it that didn’t already know) found out what Hashim Thaci and Kosovo really are.
NATIONAL VIEW: Kosovo: Fast-tracking democracy
By Rep. Connie Mack
Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla., is a member of the House Foreign Relations Committee.
December 24, 2010 - 12:00 AM
On Dec. 12, Kosovo had its first free election since declaring its independence on Feb. 17, 2008.
Leading the charge for free elections is the current Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, a key figure who is arguably the George Washington of Kosovo. Thaci has been leading a coalition government in a country with no fewer than 15 political parties. Due to unconstitutional actions by the former President Fatmir Sejdiu, Parliament was dissolved and Thaci made clear his desire to follow the constitution toward a peaceful election — no arms, no swords, but the peaceful transition of power in a country that only a decade ago was torn apart by war.
Thaci’s leadership in Kosovo will go a long way to integrating them into the European Union and into effective relations with the West in general. This is a huge step forward for this young democracy; and all of us in America should proudly welcome Kosovo again into the global community of free and democratic nations.
Throughout the Balkans, the collapse of the former Soviet Union led to armed conflict, including of course in the area of Kosovo and Serbia. Under Thaci’s leadership, a peaceful free election process followed by overtures to enter the European Union should be seen as huge progress. This time without assassinations of archdukes, nor the horrors of ethnic cleansing; the almost silent punch of a ballot will have a resonance far greater for the ages to come.
This region has not known peace for nearly 100 years, since the start of World War I. Through the last century, many have dirtied their hands in the nearly countless conflicts for mere survival, including Thaci, a general in the struggle for Kosovo’s independence. Emerging from this conflicted region stands a new peaceful, European democracy.
Kosovo, a multicultural nation with a Muslim majority, has lived through political turmoil and instability. Today, it is fast-tracking democracy. Kosovo should serve as a reminder to all of us that democracy takes time.
What is happening in Kosovo is critically important. I am confident that Kosovo will complete this first peaceful transition of power and in doing so will serve as an example that democracy works and freedom matters.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
South Coast Media Group, a subsidiary of Dow Jones Local Media Group.
Yes, facilitating the infiltration of Europe by thousands of Albanian criminals is “huge progress.” That’s why EU countries started battening down the hatches upon recognizing Kosovo.
All that can be said at this point is what reader George wrote in his email alerting me to this tripe:
Its useless. The Serbs and other Orthodox Christian Balkan nations just need to forget Euro-Atlantic integration and focus on Eurasian integration….first step is some Russian anti-aircraft and special forces, a comprehensive defence, science and trade treaty with Israel…including a Mossad presence to monitor jihadists….and trade agreements with China and India….
I found this piece by Rep. Mack published in several other media outlets, the earliest of which was Dec. 12. So it seems that Mack did not write it after the organ story broke, but put his foot in it like the rest — before all the ugly stuff got out of the bag. So my opening comments about it being “bad enough if he’d written this the day before the news broke, but publishing it 10 days after…” are moot. That particular embarrassment belongs to the publications that printed it even after the organ story broke. Mack’s timing on his own website was actually rather impeccable: He congratulated “Prime Minister Thaci” the very day that Dick Marty released his report: “Victory for Democracy in Kosovo.” (Honestly, American lawmakers should just stick to pothole issues.)
The Boston Herald carried his piece a day before the story broke: “Democracy at Last Dawns in Kosovo,” and The Miami Herald had it on the 12th. Those would be the two places where a letter to the editor would make the most sense, if anyone is so inclined. That’s the readership that was duped by this guy, so that’s the readership that should see the correction. HeraldEd@MiamiHerald.com ; email@example.com.
While Mack’s ignorant and callous piece of tripe was being circulated by a free press that has always followed the State Department’s line on Kosovo, election monitors in Kosovo were crying foul: “Kosovo in Gridlock as Monitors Cry Foul” (Dec. 14); “Reports on Irregularities Pile Up” (Dec. 14); “Kosovo: Election Repeat in 5 Municipalities” (Dec. 17); Kosovo to Hold Vote Re-run” (Dec. 16); “Kosovo Oppositions Demand Repeat of Marred Elections” (Dec. 16); and so on and so on…
Of course, all the other options are just as bad.
The Assembly elections, organized by the Kosovo authorities without UNMIK involvement, were held in a peaceful atmosphere, but [UN Special Representative for Kosovo, Lamberto] Zannier said local and international observers reported “widespread irregularities and manipulation of votes.”
– Feb. 16 2011
As I wrote in a recent post, I will try to get to a long-accumulating blog early next year, explaining my statement that converting to Catholicism (as Islam-loving Tony Blair did, and as Islam-loving Dubya was considering doing), puts a person a step closer to Islam.
But in the meantime, we’ve gotten some additional news items related to the unofficial Catholic-Islamic axis which most Catholic faithful would be horrified to perceive. But I feel compelled to help them do so, so that they might help their hierarchy with its moral confusion.
To begin with, we had the following news item in September: “[Mosque] proponents are getting help from an unlikely corner: the Vatican.” Not exactly “unlikely,” actually. Read on:
Catholic Church backs Muslim struggle to build Milan’s first mosque (Sept. 21)
…[A]nother of the world’s great cultural cities is arguing over a proposal for its first mosque. And proponents are getting help from an unlikely corner: the Vatican.
Milan, the northern Italian city famed for finance and fashion, is home to about 100,000 Muslims, mostly migrant workers from North African countries. But within city limits, there isn’t a single mosque.
Local Muslims say they have been unsuccessfully seeking permission to build one for years, perhaps due to growing Islamophobia, which is particularly strong in Northern Italy, where the anti-immigration Northern League has its stronghold.
Now, the Catholic Church is backing the Milan Muslims’ quest.
“Milan civil institution must guarantee everyone religious freedom,” Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, the church’s highest authority in town, told La Repubblica daily newspaper on Sept. 4. “Muslims have the right to practice their faith while respecting the law. Often the mosque issue has been distorted for political reasons, while it could become a instrument for civil coexistence.”
Cardinal Tettamanzi’s call reflects a wider view among Catholic leaders, says priest Davide Milani, a spokesman for the Milan diocese. “The Bishop’s conference is behind Tettamanzi, [the Catholic Church] cares about religious freedom for everyone.”
But it’s not clear whether clerical authority will sway Milan’s leaders. Building a mosque “is not a priority for Milan,” deputy mayor Riccardo De Corato of the center-right Freedom Party told the ASCA news agency. Mr. De Corato accused the local Muslim community of being close to “jihadi fundamentalism” and suggested the city hold a public referendum on whether or not to permit the building of a mosque.
“That’s pure nonsense, you never heard a politician suggesting we should have a referendum for granting the permit to build a church or a synagogue,” says sociologist Stefano Allievi, author of a study called “Conflicts over mosques in Europe.” He points out that freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Italian Constitution.
“It’s what I call the Islamic exceptionalism,” argues Professor Allievi. “When it’s about Islam, the usual rules are no longer valid and Europe betrays its own principles of freedom and equality.”
But Matteo Salvini, a European Parliament member from the Northern League, says he has good reason to seek an exception for Islam: “In Milan there are plenty of religious buildings and we never have had any problems with Jews, Buddhists, or Protestants. How so we have had so many problems with Muslims?”
Last winter there were a series of arrests in Northern Italy among Muslim immigrants accused of having ties to terrorist organizations. In November, for instance, two Pakistani nationals were arrested on the charge of having raised funds for the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India, where 173 people lost their lives. In a similar move, a judge in Milan issued 17 arrest warrants for people accused of raising 1 million euros ($1.49 million) to fund terrorist activities in Algeria.
To those pointing out that freedom to practice one’s religion is a constitutional right, Salvini replies that “Islam is not just a religion.” In his view, it “is a tool to spread a way of life and political views that are not compatible with Western democracy.” The Milan native says “there is no need to build a mosque here.” He agrees with the idea of holding a local referendum, confident most Milanese would reject the mosque.[…]
The unequivocal and unmoved tone of these Italian politicians is, to put it mildly, refreshing and impressive.
The Vatican has an Islamic problem. Recall the 1993 political cartoon on the front cover of an Italian newspaper during the Bosnian war, depicting Pope John Paul II standing atop a minaret crying to the heavens, “Isus (Warren) Christopher, save us!” As Bill Dorich wrote in his book The Suppressed Serbian Voice and the Free Press in America:
The Italian Press condemned Pope John Paul for blessing an American air assault on Serb positions and for asking President Clinton to launch it without delay. On 15 August 1993, Roman Catholic priest, Don Albino Bizzotto, founder of the Beati Construttovi di Pace peace and charity organization, has assessed the Pope’s call for air strikes on Bosnian Serbs as ‘disappointing’ and ‘double-dealing. “We cannot understand those who speak about mercy and military intervention at the same time, he said. Fr. Bizzotto went on to say: The pope’s behavior is like a leading big power, who tries to cure their hypocrisies and failures with armed interventions.”
Had the Serbs not been Orthodox Christians, it is doubtful that the pope would have called for bombing innocent civilians. Rather his concerns were, as claimed by the Italian press, to “curry favor with the Islamic world,” and to support and protect Croatia’s fascist past and present against Orthodox Christian Serbs. The paper corroborated the thesis by recalling the pope’s categorical opposition to the earlier intervention against Iraq and noted the fundamentally different approach in the case of the Serbs.
One also learns that:
In 1995, the Saudis and others, with the Vatican’s support, opened a large, beautiful mosque in Rome. The expectation was that the Saudis would loosen their restrictions on Christian practice. Despite some one million immigrant Christian workers there, the Saudis have done nothing.
Lessons not learned.
But what we have is the Vatican sticking its neck out for Muslims — that is, getting into Muslim business — while it has yet to take care of its own business. I’m talking about its conspicuous and permanent silence with regard to the Nazism that its flock in Croatia still exhibits, news of which comes in on a more or less weekly basis. (And that’s if you’re following only haphazardly.)
Croatia’s lingering Nazi sympathies, along with regular discrimination and attacks against Orthodox Christians as a feature of Catholic Croatian society — for some reason, this isn’t something for the Vatican to weigh in on? Somehow, Muslim welfare is closer to being the Vatican’s business than that of Christians of another denomination? That’s almost a tacit admission that the Vatican considers Catholicism closer to Islam than to Christianity.
The below is just in the past few months and, well, this is Catholic Croatia — still:
Jews protest Croatia’s treatment of death camp (Oct. 24)
Chief librarian of the Jewish community in Zagreb, Julia Kos, appealed to the Croatian authorities to change the language and invectives they use to describe the Croat-run WWII death camp in Jasenovac.
“The basic problem is that it withholds important facts. The historical reality is portrayed euphemistically and by manipulating the facts creates a lie about the reality,” said Kos.
Goes Kos about Croatia’s misleading idyllic description of the life in the death camp: “prisoners spent their ‘free time’ by making figures from clay, smoking, that they ‘wrote’ to their families and friends, wrote poetry and food recipe books.”
German Nazis described the Jasenovac death camp to be unbearably brutal and worse then any of their death camps that they managed.
“Extermination of Serbs, for example, is short and totally euphemistically described as a museum legend… Organizers and the most notorious Ustasa executioners of the atrocities are portrayed neutrally on the border of respect as statesmen, public servants and ‘leaders of the working service’ and not as war criminals,” said Kos.
Kos notes that the females that were raped at the camp are referred to [as] prostitutes and criminals, that slave labor is claimed to have been conducted willingly by the prisoners, that the platform from which Serbs and Jews were massively murdered is referred to as a “travel across Sava.”
And here is your Croatia in November, Pope. Note the Vatican flag under the Swastika flag:
As usual, the Vatican has had nothing to say about it.
The photo comes from a report about Siroki fans (Siroki Brijeg is the Ustasha stronghold in western Herzegovina — yes, Pope, your Croats have a Nazi stronghold — a few), whose club calls itself “Skripari” (”Cavemen”), after the die-hard Ustashe who hid in caves and continued to fight even after 1945 (like Germany’s “Werewolves”). Well, they never stopped fighting. But do we hear any objections from the Vatican?
Bosnian Croat Fans Unfurl Nazi Swastika Flag During Match – Local Police Do Nothing
The flag was held up by NK Siroki Brijeg fans during their recent home match against bitter rivals Sarajevo FC at Stadion Pecara. Sarajevo fans weren’t granted quite the same leniency, as they had brought with them banners in tribute to Vedran Puljic (a young Sarajevo fan who was shot dead, allegedly by a Siroki supporter, during rioting between the two sets of fans last season; although some fans claim Puljic was killed by a stray police bullet). These banners were reportedly confiscated by the police, leaving the swastika to fly in the home end.
(Another report, for which a Google translation is available is here: “Excesses in Siroki Brijeg: [Flag of the victim] Puljić can not [be flown], Nazism can.”)
But the world — including the EU, the U.S., and Vatican — isn’t interested in the ongoing love affair with Nazism by Croats, young and old. And so in a desperate move to divert attention from these goings-on in the EU’s frontrunner Croatia, the Soros-funded Belgrade-based B92 TV station ran a propaganda montage asserting the existence of a “clerical fascist right-wing extremist conspiracy” involving the Orthodox Church; former President Kostunica; the Academy of Arts and Sciences; soccer fans; the conservative group Dveri; “and pretty much everyone and anyone whom the scum on the Imperial (our) payroll dislikes or fears or hates,” as Nebojsa Malic summed it up (in this Serbian-language text), adding in an email:
People who are proud of their Ustasha heritage and openly displaying (and linking) the Nazi and Vatican symbols, what else would that be but “clerical fascism”? Not to B92, though. For them, Croats are “civilized EUropeans”, who have neither soccer fans nor hooligans, but rather attend games in tuxedos and bowler hats. So much for B92 being a serious news medium, and the Yellowcrats a serious government.
(Indeed, the only thing so far that has threatened to derail Croatia’s entry into the EU is not its ongoing Nazism — nor even Amnesty International’s condemning Croatia’s reluctance to prosecute non-Serb war criminals (even keeping some in government) or to bring its war crimes laws up to international standards — no, the only thing that may potentially stall membership is the soccer chief’s statement to media last month that there was no room for gays in the sport.)
Now, obviously, if the Vatican doesn’t notice or isn’t bothered by Croatian Nazism, it’s certainly not going to notice double standards and slanderous inventions being applied to Orthodox Serbs. Nor will it notice Croatians’ increasing impatience with Jews over the past two decades. I most recently wrote about it here, and in addition to the troubles that the loyal Croatian Jews found themselves in during the 90s war, we can cite the following tidbits:
From a comment posted in 2003 on a UK Guardian web page, by a director/playwrite named Julia Pascal:
I take my actors to the Sibenik International Children’s Theatre Festival. On the idyllic Croatian coast, we pass burned-out Serbian villages. This is a clear message to any Serbs planning return.
We are to perform The Golem…the monster created to defend ghettoised Jews from Catholics….Most importantly, it is about minority culture. The contradiction between what we are presenting and what we are seeing soon becomes apparent. U signs are common graffiti. This is the U of the fascist Ustashe, the puppet Nazi state of the second world war which still has [more than] underground support.
We give theatre workshops to teenagers…Our workshop leader asks, “What is the U painted on the walls here?” The next day I am hauled into the theatre programmer’s office and ordered to keep politics out of the festival. “Parents have been complaining,” she says. “You mustn’t talk about war and certainly never mention Ustashe in the theatre.” Another theatre board member proclaims that my troupe are “not English, they’re Jews”. Before our performance, we give a synopsis of The Golem in Croatian for non-English speakers. The translation is scrupulously checked to ensure it contains no Serbian or international vocabulary. Language, as well as people, must be ethnically cleansed. Minorities have got the message. The few remaining Serbs and Bosnians here are fast changing their names and converting to Catholicism .
On the last night of the festival, our driver, who is the son of a theatre secretary, is to return us to Solaris. His drinking mate, a six-foot giant, sandwiches me in. I am crushed between the two drunks who scream with laughter and hardly look at the road. “Calm down,” I tell the driver who ignores me. When our Croatian actor/translator intervenes, he yells at her, “Fuck off, you. And your Jews.”
Say, what is all this? I thought the Croats only hated Serbs — and that means they’re civilized. Indeed, the ending:
It is our last day and we chill out. One of the actors starts a jamming session on the beach. The Hotel Solaris Animation Team join us. These local musicians are paid to entertain the mainly German guests. Tonight is a Caribbean evening. The singers are wearing rasta wigs and have blacked up. I tell them, “You know this would be seen as offensive in Britain.” “Look,” they say in surprise, “we are not racist. We don’t even dislike black people. We just hate Serbs.”
In 1992, professor emeritus John Peter Maher was a Fulbright lecturer in Slovenia and he took a trip to the Croatian city of Dubrovnik after hearing press reports of the city being leveled by the Yugoslavian government. While the damage he found was minimal — and being caused from Croatian positions onto Serbian quarters, he also “saw graffiti urging — ‘Lynch the Serbs, Jews Against the Walls (Firing Squad): Srbe na vrbe, zhidove na zidove.’”
These plus the above-described Jasenovac farce are of course just two drops in the bucket, but there’s your Croatia, Pope. Not that Benedict would care. Given the Holy See’s own indifference to Jewish sentiment — especially as compared to Muslim sentiment — what is there, really, for him to object to in such goings-on? (Recall Benedict’s own, Croatian-like reticence in his seemingly redacted, “cold and restrained” speech and demeanor in the Holy Land last year.)
Just the latest:
Jewish leaders dismayed over comments in pope book (Nov. 21)
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Jewish leaders reacted with dismay Sunday to comments in Pope Benedict’s new book that his wartime predecessor Pius was a “great, righteous” man who “saved more Jews than anyone else.”
In his book to be published Tuesday, called “Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Sign of the Times,” the German pope says Pius did what he could and did not protest more clearly because he feared the consequences.
In the book-length interview with a German journalist, the pope says of Pius:
“The decisive thing is what he did and what he tried to do, and on that score we really must acknowledge, I believe, that he was one of the great righteous men and that he saved more Jews than anyone else.”
Jewish leaders said they were surprised by the comments.
“Pope Benedict’s comments fill us with pain and sadness and cast a menacing shadow on Vatican-Jewish relations,” said Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants.
“The assertion that Pius saved more Jews than anyone else during the Holocaust is categorically contradicted by the known historical record. As survivors of the Holocaust we have a solemn obligation to the memory of those murdered to defend the truth of the tragedy till our last breath,” he said.
Pius, including the possibility that the Vatican may one day make him a saint, is one of the main points of contention in relations between Jews and the Vatican. The pope’s latest comments raised new tensions.
Last December, Benedict took the decision to advance Pius XII on the path toward sainthood by recognizing his “heroic virtues”…
“It is distressing that the pope has found it necessary to come to judgment on Pope Pius XII as he himself admits that the files and archives are not available to make a full judgment,” said Abe Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League in the United States.
Jews have asked that the process that could lead to making Pius a saint be frozen until after all the Vatican archives from the period are opened and studied.
“There is certainly enough evidence to refute those who charge that Pius XII stood idly by while the lives of Jews and others were imperilled,” said [David] Rosen, [Director of the American Jewish Committee’s Department of Interreligious Affairs,] who is based in Jerusalem.
“On the other hand it appears that he never directly — certainly not publicly — challenged the Nazi regime regarding the extermination of the Jews; and arguably even more dramatic, never made any mention of this, let alone any expression of regret, subsequent to World War Two,” he said.
As well, no one ever mentions that Pius XII’s silence (approval?) in the face of the WWII Croatian-Catholic genocide and forced conversion of Orthodox Serbs set the precedent for the more well-known and more vast genocide of Jews throughout Europe. This was never apologized for by the Catholic hierarchy, just as it condones today Croatia’s ongoing Nazism. What is the excuse for not speaking out today? Does the Vatican risk Hitler striking out at the faithful? What was the risk during WWII of the Vatican speaking out against the slaughter of the Orthodox in Croatia? That the Catholic-Croatian fuhrer doing it would strike out at his Croatian Catholics who supported the genocide? Why, instead of the Vatican, did it take German Nazi officers to object about Croatia to Berlin?
We learn of more Jewish problems at the Vatican, thanks to WikiLeaks:
Cables: Anti-semitism in the Vatican (Dec. 11)
US diplomats believe that some top members of the Vatican’s hierarchy still harbor anti-Semitic views, diplomatic cable[s] made public by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks show.
The Times said that a 2002 US diplomatic dispatch said that “despite the real progress” under Pope John Paul in the Vatican’s relations with Judaism, some in the hierarchy still “manifested remnants of anti-Semitic sentiments.”
The document cited “an older desk officer of French origin” who complained that the US government’s “strong interest in modern European anti-Semitism stemmed from the ‘excessive influence of Jews in your media and government.”
Meanwhile another unnamed Vatican official said some lawsuits against the Holy See “were the result of ‘Jewish judges having too much influence’” in the United States, the report said.
Indeed, for the Vatican to object to the Nazi goings-on in Croatia — it seems that would be anathema, wouldn’t it?
Why does the Vatican think the Muslims feel safe doing this:
Vatican alarmed by Muslims burning Israeli flags outside cathedrals (January, 2009)
The Vatican has expressed alarm over the burning of Israeli flags by Muslims protesting against Israeli actions in Gaza during Muslim prayers staged outside Italian cathedrals.
Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Vatican Council for Justice and Peace, said he was not disturbed “by prayer as such.” If Muslims wished to come to St Peter’s to pray, he would not object, the cardinal said. “Prayer always does good”.
However prayers held recently outside the Duomo in Milan and the Basilica of San Petronio in Bologna, with thousands of prostrate Muslims facing Mecca, had been accompanied by flag burning which was not only anti Israeli but anti Semitic, with protesters carrying banners depicting the Star of David alongside the Nazi swastika. “What matters is the spirit in which one prays - and prayer excludes hate” Cardinal Martino said.
Bishop Ernesto Vecchi, vicar general of the Bologna diocese, said the Muslim prayers were “not just prayers but a challenge, not so much to the basilica itself as to our democratic system and culture”. Bishop Vecchi suggested the staging of mass prayers outside Christian churches in Italy was a deliberate move “on orders from afar” as part of a strategy of “Islamisation” of Europe.
Monsignor Luigi Manganini, archpriest of Milan cathedral, said he could imagine the Islamic reaction if Christians prayed en masse outside a mosque…
Father Antonio Sciortino, editor of the liberal Catholic weekly Famiglia Cristiana, told Corriere della Sera that prayers for peace were welcome, “but what matters in prayer is the intention.” The prayer services had been exploited by an “extremist fringe”, he said. Abu Imad, the imam of the main Milan mosque, said the demonstration had ended up on the cathedral square “by chance” at the hour of prayer, “so we prayed. There was no provocation or insult intended.”
[So there is a Milan mosque?]
He said that as for the flag burning, “You have to understand the deep anger and sadness of Muslims over what is happening in Gaza”. However Mario Borghezio, a Euro MP for the anti immigrant Northern League, which is part of the ruling centre Right coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi, said “The fact that Muslim extremists transformed the cathedral square in Milan into an outdoor mosque constitutes an incredible provocation. The prayer to Allah recited by thousands of fanatical Muslims is an act of intimidation, a slap in the face for the city of Milan, which must remain Christian”. […]
No sooner did I start compiling this post than the following Nov. 27 piece was published by a Catholic named Lisa Graas, on News Real Blog:
CNN Vatican Reporter: Islam is “Driving the Train” of Vatican Interfaith Relations
…John Allen, senior writer at National Catholic Reporter (a.k.a. “fishwrap“), and CNN’s Vatican reporter, gave his views about Vatican interfaith relations recently during a forum held at the Abrahamic Center of Notre Dame College. His remarks were discussed in an article at the Cleveland Jewish News. The article does not make clear whether Allen was specifically asked about Archbishop Bustros’ comments at the Middle East Synod in which it was claimed that Jews are no longer the Chosen People, but everything Allen said should be read in that context.
“With Islam ‘driving the train’ of Catholic interfaith relations, Allen said the church needs reform in other faith traditions…‘We can talk to Shiites,’ Allen said. ‘We can talk about politics and policy, but with a shared spiritual commitment. The Catholic church is ideally positioned to be a bridge builder with Shia.’”
First, in regard to the “train” comment, it should be noted that Allen is referring not to the Vatican as a whole but only to the office of Inter-religious Dialogue…We can only guess what “reform in other faith traditions” means since we don’t have access to his direct quote. Surely he doesn’t believe we should/could try to “reform” Jewish belief about Israel. Whatever the case, to put this in context, Allen is clearly arguing that the brand of Islam (Shia) held by Holocaust denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran is something that Catholics should seek to make theological inroads with.
Further, Allen seems to believe that the Vatican should want to open up interfaith dialogue more with Shia Muslims…than with Jews based on, of all things, demographics. The last sentence here is particularly noteworthy.
“The Catholic population explosion in Asia, Africa and Latin America means that today most Catholics are living in close proximity with Muslims, not Jews. ‘Judaism does not have a significant footprint in the global South,’ Allen pointed out…‘By 2050, three of every four Catholics will be in the Southern Hemisphere, the most rapid transformation of Catholic demography in history,’ Allen said. With this population shift, there are new, younger Catholic leaders who did not live through the Holocaust, he explained. ‘They don’t feel the same sense of historical responsibility for anti-Semitism’ as do Catholic clergy in Europe and North America.”
Allen seems to be making the case here for the Vatican to “forget” the Holocaust because the newer generations are “forgetting” the Holocaust. To this, I say that I am one Catholic who has pledged to “Never Forget” and I am not alone.
Archbishop Bustros’ comments, even before I had time to write about them, generated more reader email than I have received on any other topic in over two years of blogging. My Catholic readers were even more upset by Archbishop Bustros’ remarks than my Jewish readers were…as Bustros seemed to be throwing Israel under the bus in order to make peace with anti-Semitic Muslims. It is the Catholic Faithful who understand that no precept of the Faith should ever be denied for the sake of temporary “peace.” To them (and to me) it was shocking that a Catholic bishop would reject what we understand to be clear Catholic teaching, and that he seemed to be doing so in order to make peace with Islamists…Bustros appeared to be taking a theological axe to the root of the Catholic tree — Judaism — in order to throw a bone to Islamists to protect Christians from further slaughter. In other words, regardless of what others might have heard in Bustros’ words, what many Catholics heard was akin to “the Catholic Church believes this contradictory thing now because Islamists are forcing us to believe it.”
In his remarks to the forum, John Allen uses no blunt language that I am aware of, but to many of us who are paying attention his words amount to a call for the Vatican to join with Archbishop Bustros’ flawed theological claim, to cut the heart right out of our Jewish mother, to “forget” what we should “Never Forget” and to work to make inroads with Muslims who despise our Jewish mother. Who can bear it? Not this Catholic.
To close, I’d just like to check in on how Catholics are faring in Bosnia since Pope John Paul II got his demanded NATO intervention on behalf of Muslims:
Bosnia’s Catholics nearly all gone (July, 2009)
SARAJEVO, Bosnia (Zenit.org): The Muslim population is growing in Bosnia to such an extent that Sarajevo is a “practically Muslim city”, Cardinal Franc Rodé said.
The prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life affirmed this when he spoke with Vatican Radio about his June 19-21 trip to the Balkans.
The prelate said Catholics were the main victims of the war there and many fled the country, heading to Croatia or far-away nations like Australia, Canada and New Zealand. [Of course, we know that these “main victims” started the Yugoslav wars in the first place, making the Serbs their main victims while the Muslims were doing the same. Croatian behavior in Australia, Canada and New Zealand is helping those countries figure that out.]
He said many had their houses burned and others fled for their lives.
Cardinal Rodé said many priests and religious were killed, and churches and monasteries destroyed. [Including Serbian ones by Catholic Croats, but that’s not the point at the moment.]
“Numerically, they have diminished a lot,” he said after his visit at the invitation of Cardinal Vinko Puljic.
He said there were only 17,000 Catholics in Sarajevo, a city of 600,000.
“In the Diocese of Banja Luka, before the war between 1991 and 1995, there were 150,000 Catholics; now there are only 35,000.”
Nevertheless, Cardinal Rodé affirmed, the Catholics desire to remain there and offer ecclesial services, particularly social services and education and formation made available to everyone – Catholic, Orthodox or Muslim.
In Banja Luka, Bishop Franjo Komarica is planning a Catholic university to be distinguished by inter-religious dialogue.
“The Church I found in Bosnia and Herzegovina, though numerically reduced, is a living Church, full of hope,” the cardinal said.
“(It) is a very motivated Church, and priestly and religious vocations are not lacking.”
Meanwhile, more than 100 mosques have been built in recent years, the prelate said.
“There is, in fact, the will to Islamise the region of Sarajevo.” […]
Bosnia: Muslims dominate capital, claims Croatian MP (Aug. 6, 2008)
Sarajevo, 6 August (AKI) – The Bosnian capital of Sarajevo, once a symbol of ethnic diversity, has become an entirely Muslim city, a Croat deputy in the Bosnian Parliament, Branko Zrno, said on Wednesday.
“Sarajevo definitely isn’t a multi-ethnic city, but the city of one group, the Bosniacs (Muslims), ” Zrno told local media.
He pointed out that Serbs and Croats in Sarajevo have no institutional protection, and continue to leave the capital.
Zrno echoed allegations from Bosnian Serb leaders, including Serb entity Prime Minister Milorad Dodik, that non-Muslims in Sarajevo suffered discrimination and were denied their rights.
Zrno said that the Croatian presence in the city had been halved and that neither Croats nor Serbs held any important posts in local government.
Serbs claim that in the city of 400,000 only 7,000 Serbs have remained, compared to 160,000 before the 1992-1995 civil war.
The Serb claims have been supported by the Muslim President of the Bosnian Helsinki committee for human rights, Srdjan Dizdarevic, who said in a recent interview that Sarajevo had become a “monoethnic” city.
“Over 90 percent of Sarajevo inhabitants belong to only one group, the Bosniacs,” Dizdarevic told weekly Fokus.
“Ethnic cleansing in this city has, unfortunately, been successfully completed. If the will exists to reconstruct Bosnia on multiethnic principles, one should start with Sarajevo,” he concluded.
But as ethnic tensions deepened, the Muslim chairman of a three-man rotating state presidency, Haris Silajdzic, on Wednesday launched a fresh attack on the Serb entity.
Silajdzic repeated earlier claims that the Serb entity is a “symbol of genocide”…Bosnia’s majority Muslim leaders have continued to call the Serb entity a “genocidal creature” that should be abolished - a move strongly opposed by Serbs.
And an even earlier report: “Catholics Continue to Flee Bosnia a Decade After War Ended” (Universe Catholic weekly newspaper, Nov. 19, 2006)
Hopes have been dashed of an end to the exodus of Catholics from Bosnia-Herzegovina after the collapse of talks to amend the country’s post-war constitution.
That was the bleak picture painted by the country’s Franciscan provincial, Fr Mijo Dzolan…”Catholics are still discriminated against by the constitution of Dayton [the Balkans peace agreement reached in 1995].”
Until the constitution was changed, it was difficult to see an end to the crisis which had driven more than half of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Catholics out of the country since the start of the Balkans war, said the priest.
“Catholics do not have a good political or cultural frame to live in. They feel helpless. They have no confidence there will be an improvement and psychologically now they have no wish to participate in any improvement.”
Nor were refugees who fled their Bosnian homes during the conflict returning, added Fr Dzolan. “The reasons to leave were simple - fear and danger…”
There was also this in April, 2008: Bosnia: Catholic Church targeted for terror — with implications for Western Europe by World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission
One certainly doesn’t need to wonder what could be suddenly giving the Vatican cold feet on recognizing Kosovo, though it was most eager to do so as early as 1993 (”Pope Openly Embraced Kosovo Secession“).
In sudden deference to the 120,000 Serbian Orthodox (a more than decimated number, with thanks to the Vatican), who remain amid a sea of two million mostly Muslim Albanians in Kosovo, the Vatican lately has been proceeding with caution on Kosovo. June, 2008:
Vatican said unlikely to recognize Kosovo
Rome, Jun. 16, 2008 (CWNews.com) - The Vatican has no intention of recognizing the independence of Kosovo, according to a report circulated by the Interfax news agency.
Interfax cites Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, who told Itogi magazine that the Vatican recognizes the concerns of the Russian Orthodox Church regarding an independent Kosovo. Cardinal Kasper recently visited Moscow for talks with Russian Orthodox leaders.
Serbian Orthodox leaders, and their Orthodox colleagues in Moscow, have complained bitterly about the destruction of Orthodox churches and harassment of the remaining Orthodox minority in Kosovo since the province achieved autonomy.
And this was April 2010:
Cardinal Walter Kasper, who is a member of the Pontifical Council, said that the Vatican had not recognised Kosovo’s independence out of consideration for the Serbian Orthodox Church, SPC.
In an interview with the Catholic news agency Kathpress, Kapser said that “We, of course, know that Kosovo is a heavy wound and pain for the SPC. We also know that it is the cradle and centre of Serbian Orthodoxy in Kosovo. We understand that and wish to have consideration for it.”
Kosovo has been recognized by 22 out of 27 EU member states.
According to Kapser, the Vatican supports the protection of Orthodox monuments, churches and monasteries in Kosovo and that it is very upset due to “certain cultural brutality.”
“In Kosovo, significant historical, cultural and religious monuments have been destroyed. This must not be so. One cannot erase history in this way,” he added.
Just this week, the Vatican reaffirmed that it would not recognize Kosovo: Vatican consistent in non-recognizing Kosovo
…Indicating that in Kosovo, which he visited on a number of occasions, members of the Catholic Church represents [sic] only four percent of the population, and since the Kosovo population consists almost entirely of the Albanian believers [?], Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Orlando Antonini said that it cannot be assumed how the Catholics view the self-proclaimed Kosovo independence.
…[O]n a general level, that is, on the political and institutional one, there seem to be no elements that could affect the Holy See to change its position of non-recognition of independence, Antonini underlined.
According to him, the Holy See will certainly maintain the same stand if the Council of Europe reports on organized crime in Kosovo prove accurate…When asked if Pope Benedict XVI might visit Serbia in 2013, Antonini said that he hopes that this perspective is possible.
(Last Christmas, Kosovo president Fatmir Sejdiu even sent the Pontiff a Christmas card thanking Benedict for “the ‘constant care’ by the Vatican for Kosovo,” and expressing hope that the opening of a cathedral named after Mother Teresa in 2010 would bring about the Vatican’s recognition.)
While being grateful for the Vatican’s small mercies, let’s be cynical for a moment and look at the full stretch of the Vatican’s positions on Kosovo since the mid-90s: If one tries to follow the thinking, or lack of it, at the Vatican, what we end up with is this: Let’s give Kosovo to the Muslims, so we can then evangelize both the Muslims and the Orthodox heathen there, thereby rescuing Christianity from the jaws of Islam.
Given the Vatican’s moral dilemmas between doing for Islam and doing for Christianity, and recalling what started this post — the Vatican-supported mosque in Milan — I think there is just one clear solution to the Vatican’s moral dilemmas: Why doesn’t the Pope simply build a mosque in Vatican City?
I’m not sure why The American Thinker decided to defecate on Serbs for Christmas, but that’s what it did. As if Serbs had had a chance to catch their breaths from the last pile dumped on them. I guess not everyone takes Christmas off, and this lawyer — a “deputy political advisor to the commanding general, Multinational Division (North)” in Bosnia — certainly wasn’t about to.
For Christmas Day the site ran, of all things, a piece titled “A Srebrenica Christmas,” by Richard L. Kent.
It was brought to my attention by Doris Wise Montrose, president of the L.A. chapter of the Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, who asked for my assessment because she didn’t trust the content and was confused as to what it was doing on one of her favorite sites.
Below is the letter I wrote to her after suffering through the pabulum, followed by her response. It bears pointing out that this Christmas gift to Serbs comes even as the long-suppressed story is finally breaking that, yes, Serbs probably were chopped up for their parts in Kosovo, with our help and blessing. To hope that this might finally stir some pause in the fair-minded that maybe, just maybe, as in Kosovo, we didn’t get the straight story in Bosnia either…well, that’s too much to hope for in this life. The narrative just keeps chugging along on auto-pilot.
Perhaps I’ll email the editor, Thomas, though I’m hesitant to start another round of the “OH look, famous pro-Serb propagandist Julia Gorin wants you to believe…” bit. [By the writer, not the editor, who has been open-minded on this subject in the past.]
OK, as quick as I can be about it: The writer, Richard Kent, is biasedly mistaken on a few counts. First, he calls the language that the children speak “Bosnian.” There is no ‘Bosnian’ language. There is only Serbo-Croatian, which is actually Serbian. (The Croats simply changed the Cyrillic lettering to Latin and called it “Croatian,” changing also a few words and expressions here and there.)
Second: The trauma he names for the Muslim child naturally happened at the hands of Serbs—and the trauma he names for the Serbian sisters was — guess what — also caused by a Serb (their vicious Serbian father, who killed their mother). So even the Serbian children he names weren’t at the orphanage because of anything that a Muslim or Croat did to their families. And yet I’m personally acquainted by now with Serbs whose families were slaughtered by Croats in Croatia, and with a young man whose mother and sister were held in one of the nightmarish Muslim-run concentration camps. (The camps you don’t hear about but which a Bosnian-Croat NGO is suing the Bosnian government for.) I’m not doubting the children’s stories that the writer imparts, just noting the conspicuously familiar and repetitive theme of Serb-as-villain that he seems to be wedded to, like most everyone else.
This is a typical recycle job, still propagating that Srebrenica was demilitarized. EVERYONE by now admits — Western officials, diplomats, generals and the journalists who had distorted, omitted and concocted information to secure Western intervention — that Srebrenica was armed and carrying out gruesome raids on nearby Serbian villages. Unlike the Serbian soldiers, they did not spare women and children. The Dutch battalion members, if not the Dutch government, have defended their inaction, asking why they should have picked one side over the other and started shooting that side’s ethnic rivals. Which is what the Muslim side had hoped would happen. But don’t ask any of the happily indoctrinated who are still indoctrinating the rest of us to be interested in de-programming themselves by tuning in to even a day’s transcripts from the Hague, where the above-mentioned personages have been reluctantly debunking their own mythology in the witness chair for a decade now, to the reluctant ears of the Court. And don’t ask why the memoir of former chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte — who started out as anti-Serb as any respectable person — hasn’t been translated into English and is being banned in several countries. While essentially still purveying the official Balkans narrative, the book nonetheless has enough uncomfortable facts to make it “problematic.”
Then this writer tries to have the reader think that the “orphans’” fathers are all dead. Not just dead but executed. Which the Hague forensics people have been unable to show — and therefore the Hague simply proclaimed it so. (The disputed number who were provably ‘executed’ ranges from several hundred to just over a thousand — not the famed “8,000.”) But in 2005 the ICTY at the Hague redefined the term “Genocide” to make the crime fit the demanded punishments — so that it could throw the book at every Serbian general for the crime of being a Serbian general. Then the International Court of Justice simply grafted the judgment as its own without conducting an independent investigation. So that now the propagandized can shout: “BOTH the HAGUE and the ICJ ‘found’ it was GENOCIDE!” In fact, 5,000 men who broke out of Srebrenica and made it through Serb lines were re-deployed to other combat zones, as was reported in news dispatches at the time. These 5,000 are counted among the touted 8,000.
Meanwhile, here is an example of a Bosniak baby girl who was “orphaned” and adopted by a Serb couple, only to meet her Muslim father this year (he had been “elsewhere” when her village was overtaken, i.e. he was fighting).
This writer is thoroughly propagandized, and as I found, aggressively defends still swallowing the original and stale Balkans story which better on-the-ground people than he have long eschewed. I know this because I looked this government dhimmi up and found the kinds of online fights he’s had. (Just do a “find word” for “Kent” on this cache’d page.)
One impression that Mr. Kent’s article does convey accurately is that ethnicity is not a fixation for the Muslim, Croat and Serbian children of Bosnia, whose families have managed to interact comfortably with one another for the most part, and who in Srebrenica today continue to bring food over each other’s houses on Ramadan and Orthodox Christmas. Unfortunately, when the West stepped in to exploit the ethnic tensions that did exist, by backing the Islamic supremacy and separatism of then-president Alija Izetbegovic, we set something in motion that has been changing the dynamics of the Balkans to increasingly resemble what Sarajevo has become today with our help: almost completely Islamicized, a place where the local government institutes segregation and where Muslim children do not want to learn with non-Muslim children.
And Doris’s reply:
I suspected the article was BS and that’s why I asked you about it. I found it at AT b/c it’s one of the sites I visit very often. I don’t know if you are considering responding to this article but why not write an entire article and submit it to Thomas Lifson? That’s what I would like to see. This is fraudulent narrative passing as fact b/c this narrative gets so much more attention. A lot like the other BS narrative called the Palestinian narrative.
So what if they call you the “famous pr0-Serb propagandist.” I want to be part of the “famous pro-Israel, anti-palestinian-BS propagandist” club myself. If your work can get others to join you in debunking this, there may actually be a chance to debunk the pro-palestinian narrative.
When I asked Thomas Lifson if he could post my response, he urged me to leave a comment. When I said I was thinking more of something like the “Disputing Julia Gorin” section he allows whenever I write something on the Balkans and people want to attack me for it, he became a wise-ass and wrote, “If you want to write Christmas in Serbia next year, we’ll consider it.” OK, Thomas, it’s your publication so you can make it as indistinguishable from the rest as you like. So I’ll just urge my readers to email you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Especially since there were virtually no intelligent comments posted under the piece, and the last one was posted on Sunday, it’s doubtful the author or previous commenters will be checking that section again. So again, I suggest anyone taking as much offense as I did to this article and the editorial decision that allowed it, make your sentiments known by emailing Thomas Lifson at email@example.com.
Thanks to the most recent leaks of U.S. diplomatic cables, Americans may finally get a glimpse of what I’ve been talking about with regard to U.S. behavior in the Balkans: that our government is a gangster.
If we’re not talking about the publication of leaks that criminally identified our sources — now in danger — in Afghanistan and Iraq, then one could say that the leaks are less damaging to America than to the government that is damaging America. And that’s what’s got the people in government so worked up.
As Paul Craig Roberts wrote:
Wikileaks: A Government Caught Up in Mendacity and Lies
The reaction to WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange tells us all we need to know about the total corruption of our “modern” world, which in fact is a throwback to the Dark Ages…The documents are controversial, because they are official US documents and show all too clearly that the US government is a duplicitous entity whose raison d’etre is to control every other government.
The material leaked from the US government to WikiLeaks shows that the US government is an extremely disreputable gang of gangsters…Other cables show the US government threatening Spanish prime minister Zapatero, ordering him to stop his criticisms of the Iraq war or else. I mean, really, how dare these foreign governments to think that they are sovereign.
Not only foreign governments are under the US thumb. So is Amazon.com. Joe Lieberman from Connecticut…delivered sufficiently credible threats to Amazon to cause the company to oust WikiLeaks content from their hosting service…Obviously, despite the US government’s denials, the documents are extremely damaging. The documents show that the US government is not what it pretends to be.
The US government has got away with telling lies for so long that it no longer hesitates to lie in the most blatant way. WikiLeaks released a US classified document signed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that explicitly orders US diplomats to spy on UN Security council officials and on the Secretary General of the United Nations. The cable is now in the public record. No one challenges its authenticity. Yet, today the Obama regime, precisely White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, declared that Hillary had never ordered or even asked US officials to spy on UN officials.
As Antiwar.com asked: Who do you believe, the printed word with Hillary’s signature or the White House?
Anyone who believes the US government about anything is the epitome of gullibility.
The leaks come at a time that the U.S. gangster government has chosen Islam as its partner and ally in the world. Just one example is America’s continuing friendship with Turkey while the saner, closer-in-proximity-to-Turkey states that have actually experienced the Ottoman reach, move away from Turkey, and closer to one another.
So it’s up to individual countries themselves to do the right thing in any given situation — without American ‘mediation’ — and have their own and each other’s backs amid America’s betrayal of the free world. Quite the disappointing Great Satan, indeed. The sooner we get used to the fact that there is no longer a leader of the Free World, the less damage the free world — or what’s left of it — can do to itself under the influence of the imposter that calls itself America.
Indeed, given that America is just too schizophrenic right now for anyone to deal with, one feels almost pained on behalf of the various countries mentioned in the leaks as they try to either support the U.S. government’s condemnations over the leaks or, as the leaks themselves reveal, try to please the U.S. or take its side in one affair or another — whatever “our side” even means today, given that America’s conscience is in a coma even with regard to her own well-being. Plus, imagine the futility of pleasing the U.S., given that our M.O. is such that if you do what we want today, tomorrow it’s back to: “But what have you done for me lately?” — as Macedonia, Yugoslavia, and any number of non-Balkan states have discovered to their chagrin.
I’ve been blogging recently about states like Israel, Greece and others in the Balkans moving closer to one another against the common Islamic threat, with a resurgent Turkey vying for the helm of that threat. All the more so in the absence of American support for these nations defending themselves against Islamic incursions. Although Russia plays both sides — the Islamic one and that of its Eastern Christian brethren — naturally it is being included in this trend of shifting alliances. With the real America MIA, the countries near Russia have no place else to go — much like Russia had no place to go but Russia when in the supposedly new era of the 90s it saw the U.S. choose Islam over its comparatively civilized Slavic self.
So while Turkey’s foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu called Turkish-American relations a “model partnership” last week, thanking Secretary of State Clinton standing beside him, Mossad Chief Meir Dagan was in Bulgaria:
Embracing the enemy’s enemy
Israel is reconfiguring its strategic relations, in particular reaching out to historic foes of Turkey as Ankara turns its back on Tel Aviv, writes Saleh Al-Naami
Many Israelis were surprised that newspapers in Bulgaria published photos at the beginning of this month showing Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov with Mossad Chief Meir Dagan in the premier’s office in the capital Sofia. The protocol is not to document the activities and meetings of the head of Mossad when he is on visits overseas. No matter, decision-makers in Tel Aviv are very satisfied with the outcome of Dagan’s tour, which also included Balkan states, because it is opening the door for unique and key strategic opportunities.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman even asked research centres at the Intelligence Department and Foreign Ministry to write a comprehensive report on how best to invest potential resources to boost relations between Israel and the Balkans. It is especially focussed on Greece and Bulgaria, in the wake of a serious decline in relations with Turkey….
Lieberman urged that Israel must work very quickly to make up for losses after its strategic alliance with Turkey diminished, primarily through improving ties with Balkan states.
Barak Ravid revealed in Haaretz newspaper that during a trip to Israel, Bulgaria’s Borisov asked for meetings with Netanyahu and Dagan to offer his country’s services — mainly to allow Israeli pilots to train in Bulgarian skies. Borisov also proposed security and intelligence cooperation with Israel. Ravid wrote that in return, Sofia wants Israel’s help in developing its advanced technology capabilities and in sending more Israeli tourists to Bulgaria instead of Turkey — the favourite destination of Israeli tourists.
Israel was also approached by Greece, according to Haaretz, during a secret meeting in Moscow between Netanyahu and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on the sidelines of a trip to Russia. The two agreed to open Greek airspace to Israel’s Air Force for training, since Israel’s small size makes it very difficult for Israeli pilots to train on complicated missions that require longer flights. Other Balkan states have signalled their willingness to cooperate with Israel as well, including Romania (which has already opened its airspace to Israel), Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Croatia.
Economic reasons are not the only motives for why Balkan states want to cooperate with Israel. Ravid discussed historic, cultural and religious reasons; most of these states are hostile to Turkey because they were under direct Ottoman rule for more than five centuries. Also, Islamophobia [sic] is growing in Europe, which makes many Europeans sympathetic to Israel in confronting the Muslim world, including Turkey.
Israeli Ambassador to Sofia Noah Gal Gendler talks about the historic and cultural reasons behind Balkan states cooperating with Israel, and Tel Aviv’s haste in exploiting this opportunity. Sources in Israel’s Foreign Ministry said that Greece’s security and military departments exerted a lot of pressure on the political level for cooperation with Israel after the latter’s relationship with Turkey deteriorated. Greece and Turkey are battling over the future of Cyprus, and the economic crisis that recently took Greece by storm persuaded Papandreou’s government to seek alternatives through economic cooperation with Israel.
Haaretz also reported that developing ties between Athens and Tel Aviv are nurtured by good chemistry between Netanyahu and Papandreou, who speak with each other on a weekly basis. Meanwhile, Papandreou has assigned a minister to focus on developing ties with Israel, while Netanyahu picked Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon for the same assignment.
To this end, Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai and Amos Gilad, director of policy and political-military affairs at the Ministry of Defence, went to Athens to discuss strategic cooperation between the two countries and declared 2011 as the year of their strategic collaboration. In an indicator of the importance of relations with Greece, Israel appointed senior diplomat and prominent expert in foreign relations Arye Mekel as ambassador to Athens. The transformation in ties between Tel Aviv and Athens also expressed itself in Greece’s voting patterns in NATO, where the Greek representative now automatically votes against any resolution criticising Israel.
Israel is also very concerned about a book written by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Strategic Depth, in which he asserts that Turkey’s interests would be served best by settling all conflicts with neighbouring states. Davutoglu discusses Israel in a negative light and expects that it will be wiped out once it becomes a bi- national state.
Israel is adopting the principle of “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” in its new and advanced relations with Balkan states. It is manipulating historic and cultural hostilities between Turkey and these states to boost relations in all aspects, to serve its strategic interests…
No manipulation necessary. Turkey’s done quite the job of alienating/attacking/terrorizing the Slavic and other non-Muslim people of the Balkans. Israel doesn’t have to lift a finger toward manipulation. As for “my enemy’s enemy is my friend,” Israel should have taken these Balkan states for friends long before the inevitability of Turkish enmity came to fruition. And so it’s making up for lost time:
Israel-Greek air forces practice long-distance helicopter strikes: DEBKAfile Exclusive Report
11 Oct. The Israeli and Greek Air forces embarked Monday, Oct. 11, on a joint four-day exercise code-named Minoas 2010 over Crete and the Peloponnese Peninsula, DEBKAfile’s military sources report. Both areas are characterized by long coastal strips and high mountain peaks extended into the sea, similar to some Iranian shores. Taking part are 16 Apache and Black Hawk UH-60 assault helicopters - eight Israeli and eight Greek. The Israeli choppers were refueled in mid-flight to Greece…
The same month, Russian marines were on the Greek island of Spetses — a sign of the times perhaps, though a Russian ship visits Greece every year. But note the applause from the crowd in the video.
And so now we come to the delicate, convoluted issue of how Russo-Israeli relations will develop in the current context. Yes, we know that Russia has trained and funded Palestinian terrorists. Yes, we know that historically the average (and above-average) Russian is born with a grudge against the Jews. (Growing up, my Jewish mother often called her few non-Jewish friends “mistakes of nature.”) We also know that Russia has been getting buddy-buddy with Iran and Syria, and have heard of the not unlikely prophecy in which Russia leads Muslim armies into Israel.
Indeed, seeing America walking hand in hand with Islam, as Hebrew University professor Mordechai Nisan recently called it, Russia has decided to exploit its own, more logical ties to Islam, which in 2003 included applying for membership to the OIC as a Muslim state, which it has the demographics to do.
And yet Michael Arnold Glueck last year cautioned in JewishWorldReview.com to not discount Russo-Israeli ties:
Don’t Push Israel Toward Russia: A Different Kind of Illness; Our Political Sickness
If you want to influence someone, a long-time friend especially, you don’t push them away. Especially when that old friend has somewhere else to go.
That is exactly what the United States is doing to Israel, which is in search of a new best friend (NBF) and may well find one in Russia.
America, especially American liberals, must understand that Israel is not going to roll over and die just because they are often uncomfortable with the idea of aggressive self-defense…[F]or the past several years, Israel’s relationship with Russia has been slowly warming: diplomatic contacts, military co-operation, trade. At first glance, given the history of Russian anti-Semitism, Soviet Cold War arms deliveries to Israel’s neighbors, and past and present support for Arab terrorism, this appears surprising. On mature second thought, and a little deeper reflection, it’s not. Moscow is far closer to Israel than New York. Many Israelis are of Soviet descent (the present foreign minister is an immigrant), and Jewish roots in Russia are ancient. They also share some common interests. Russia desperately needs Israeli help to rebuild its military and deal with Islamic extremism within and on its borders. It also needs to redevelop its industry and clean up its environment.
The problem with Israel and Russia getting together is [not just] that Israel and Russia are getting together. It messes with what’s left of America’s assumed global predomination. Many Americans would love a new Cold War. Some are simply too brain dead to think of any other way to relate to Russia. Others cling to what’s left of our global right to lecture others. Some would adore the increased defense spending. Still others adopt the maxim: “when all you have are weapons, everybody starts to look like an enemy.”
That Russia is not America’s enemy, and that we share enemies and concerns, doesn’t occur to them. They still see the world through the zero-sum prism that blinded American policy makers: you’re either with us or against us. But nations, like people, have their own lives. And these lives are often messy. Israel can live with Russia courting Syria and Iran; Russia can live with Israel supplying modest help to the Georgians. In this relationship, monogamous fidelity is neither expected nor desired.
The problem with Israel’s Russian connection is not that it is happening, but the way it is happening. America is pushing Russia and Israel together by ignoring and trivializing and denigrating the fundamental interests of both nations. Israel must survive as a Jewish state and Russia needs to be master in its own home, including its Islamic areas, and control its near abroad. In Georgia recently, Vice President Biden said he does not recognize Russia’s right to a sphere of influence on its own borders. Imagine the uproar, had Prime Minister Putin said that Russia did not accept America’s right to do so.
So far, Russia’s response to the new administration’s provocations and gaffes, including Obama’s desire to “reset” relations (reset to what?) has been one of dignified restraint. When Medvedev and Putin speak of Russia’s “interests,” they are speaking not the language of domination, but of — interests…Instead of posing and preening, America should be working with both Russia and Israel to pursue common interests and resolve common concerns. We will not agree on all things. Nor should we try. But such is the nature of all friendships.
All this recalls what Professor Nisan wrote in October:
America has been at war with Christians who are at war with Muslims….In 1974, Turkish armed forces invaded Cyprus, capturing 36 percent of its territory, partitioning the island, and leading to the declaration of the northern Turkish Republic of Cyprus in 1983. This act of war and premeditated aggression was taken by an American ally and NATO member-country. At the time of the invasion the United States…supplied Turkey with arms and perhaps funding.
While the Saudis and Iranians assisted the Muslim jihad forces [in Bosnia], America also chose Islam over Christianity in the Balkans, perhaps to mollify Arab allies in the Middle East, or to deny Russia a Serb victory in the name of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. All this contributed to the strengthening and expansion of Islam in Europe.
The sub-text of this historical review identifies the vicious role and expansionist ambitions of Turkey that paralleled the American umbrella of denial of Muslim guilt, demonization of non-Muslim victims, and the demoralization of Western countries facing the amplification of Muslim political assertiveness and demographic proliferation.
As for the Jews, when American jet bombers will zoom over the Galilee, Israel shouldn’t assume they are there to save her from the Arabs and Iranians as it is far more likely they will be coming to save the Palestinians from the Israelis. […]
Indeed, America’s wars against Christians laid the foundation for America’s war against the Jews, setting up Israel’s Jerusalem to share the same fate as the Serbs’.
Against such a backdrop — amid the fine mess that “America” has made of an already messy world — it was no surprise (and coming from a Russian it was uncharacteristically flattering to a Jew), to get the following from Russian blogger Stanislav Mishin last May (though I must emphasize that I do not hold Russia in the same class as Serbia or Israel, to put it mildly):
Russia, Serbia and Israel
What have those three countries in common? Well, several things. To begin with, and maybe to the chagrin of many Israelis, all have very large Orthodox populations, the first two predominantly and Israel at almost 20% or more. The next? All have and continue to be victims of endless Islamic aggression. Which leads to number 3: All are the enemies and thus the victims of Western, particularly Anglo (US/UK) yellow, pro-Islamic press.
That is correct, the two biggest enablers of Islamic Jihad world wide, outside of Saudi Arabia itself and the two exporters of Jihad (US/UK Islamics are now fighting in all Jihad theaters and both nations do next to nothing in stopping this, unless the fight is actually against their own forces) are also the biggest media enablers of Islam.
What reach has Al Jazeera in comparison with CNN or BBC? Even the local “conservative” station FOX, that is local to the US, is over 30% owned directly by Saudi royalty. The media blitz is endless. Terrorism enablers in the Anglo world, that is the leadership of the Anglos, [have] invented dozens of new words or twisted the meanings of dozens of others, to brush over, deflate or excuse brutal Islamic terrorist acts and Jihadist expansionist war. Victims are almost always portrayed as the aggressors or as somehow being responsible.
The usual story goes something like this: If only (Russia, Serbia, Israel…and soon others) had been reasonable and humane, instead of evil and subhuman, and given in to the reasonable demands of the moderate Muslim political forces (aka the Jihadist fronts), the militants (never terrorists) would never have had to be radicalized (become strict followers of Islam) and launch the actions (never terror attacks) that resulted in these casualties ([cue] pictures of slighted Muslims protesting, not victims, unless the slant is to pump the results).
Of course what is never mentioned is that those “moderate” demands are usually the annexation of land, the forced conversion [or] expulsion of the people, and the establishment of Sharia, the barbaric system of “law” that the Anglo elites all get a tingle up their legs and arses about.
The point of all this, is of course, that it is well past time for the 3 modern primary victims of this disgusting shame to mount a united PR/Media campaign against the Anglo elites and their media whores. For further backing, you can always add in the past and more minor victims of Islamic Jihad and Anglo enablership: Macedonia, Greece, Crete, Ethiopia, Lebanese exiled Christians, Egypt’s exiled Christians, Iraq’s exiled Christians, India, China, Indonesia’s exiled Christians, the Christians of Nigeria and many others. […]
Similarly, in a January 2009 blog, written at the time of the last Gaza operation, Mishin wrote:
Israel, you are Serbia now
…With screams of “Back to the Ovens” ringing out of American demonstrations and things equally vile from those in Western Europe, you should have figured out a long time ago where your friends [lie]. The Cold War is over, even if the US is trying to start a second. Time to grow up.
You are the only Jewish state in the world so you are not going to find new Jewish allies…There is only one block of nations with whom you stand any chance: the Orthodox Nations. No other peoples have suffered as much from Islamic Jihad and have fought it so strongly…The Orthodox block is coalescing, driven together by faith, history and now the economic crisis. Presently it is Russia , Belarus , Armenia (not Orthodox but close enough) and Serbia with Greece and Macedonia in the wings and eastern Ukraine pushing in.
You already have the double advantage of Russia being your second biggest trade partner and primary source of oil and of having 1 in 3 of your citizens of Russian background. Further, with the Russian Orthodox Church being your biggest land owner, that only solidifies your position. [Actually, it’s the Greek Orthodox Church.] …What is lacking is a psychological trigger. You are like the beaten house wife to the West, always coming back for more abuse, if only they bring you some flowers. Time to grow up and face reality.
Echoing the point that Michael Arnold Glueck made in his column above, Mishin’s blog has the following maxim: “We can well coexist with the West peacefully and profitably. We can even make friends with you, but please do neither lecture us, nor interfere with our affairs.”
By now, one can certainly understand why.
An interesting, related two paragraphs by British commentator Charles Grant, from November 13, 2009:
…At a conference I attended in Jerusalem, one minister – a noted dove within the Israeli government – complained about the influence of Muslim minorities on the foreign policies of EU countries…he claimed there was a direct correlation between the willingness of British MPs to criticise Israel, and the size of the Muslim minority in their constituencies.
Several Israelis at the conference complained that, having sprung from European civilisation, they were now among its last defenders, given that the high birth rate of Muslim immigrants and Islamist ideology were undermining that civilisation from within (I have heard very similar comments in Serbia and Russia).
A follow-up to this incident:
Bosnia court indicts six Muslims over fatal bombing (Dec. 17) by Maja Zuvela
SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Bosnia’s state prosecutor on Friday indicted six Bosnian Muslims on terrorism charges over a June bomb attack that killed a policeman and injured several others in the central town of Bugojno.
Police investigators and media said the group were part of the radical Sunni Muslim Wahhabi sect. It has taken root in Bosnia under the influence of Islamic foreigners, some of whom stayed after fighting alongside Bosnian Muslims during the country’s 1992-95 ethnic war.
Haris Causevic, 26, Adnan Haracic, 23, and Naser Palislamovic, 36, are charged with “committing a terrorist attack aimed at seriously intimidating the population, coercing the police and destabilising the country’s political, constitutional and social structure,” the prosecutor’s office in Sarajevo said.
It added that the three planned to attack the Bugojno police station “in a premeditated attempt to kill several individuals and cause material damage, knowing that many policemen would be in the building to provide security for a religious event on June 27″.
Tens of thousands of Muslims visited the nearby religious shrine Ajvatovica on Mount Prusac that day to pray during a pilgrimage, seen as the biggest for Muslims in Europe.
The remaining three indictees, Emin Osmanagic, 27, Haris Spago, 40, and Nedzad Kesko, 37, are charged with helping the suspected perpetrators carry out the attack.
The bombing, one of the most serious security incidents in the Balkan country since the war ended, occurred outside a police station, leaving a large crater in its wall and causing damage up to about 300 metres from the site.
Police have recently stepped up efforts to curtail small but vocal Wahhabi groups. In February they raided a community in the northern village of Gornja Maoca and arrested several men whom authorities accuse of trying to destabilise the fragile country.
The prosecutor proposed extending the detention of the six to prevent them from fleeing the country, intimidating the probe or hiding evidence, as well as from influencing witnesses and potential accomplices or committing other criminal acts.
The fight against terrorism and organised crime were key requirements for visa-free travel for Bosnians to the European Union, which started on Thursday, and remains a condition for closer ties with the bloc.
Well that explains the indictments, then!
As for the visa-free travel that has now been allowed for Albanian and Bosnian citizens after much political pressure and criticism of the EU for excluding (I wonder why?) those two particular Balkan countries last year while including Serbs, Macedonians and Montenegrins: Good luck, Europe! Just hope for the best.
Bosnians, Albanians rush to get visa-free passport
By Rusmir Smajilhodzic and Briseida Mema (AFP) – 13 Nov 2010
SARAJEVO — Thousands of Albanians and Bosnians have been rushing to get biometric passports since the EU’s decision to lift visas restrictions for their countries, opening access to most of western Europe.
“We have been imprisoned for so long, because Bosnia was the largest prison in Europe,” said Amir Ramic, preparing to wait for hours in front of a police station in Sarajevo to apply for his biometric passport.
The 37-year-old waiter plans to celebrate the New Year with his brother who has emigrated to Sweden as the document will allow him to travel throughout the 25-nation Schengen zone from mid-December.
On Monday the European Union approved a visa-free regime for Bosnians and Albanians who want to travel to the Schengen zone countries.
But they will need a biometric passport for the trip, which is restricted to a maximum three-month stay.
“This is the best news since the end of the war,” said Ramic, referring to the conflict that devastated Bosnia between 1992 and 1995.
In Sarajevo, the local police stations which issue the passports have been swamped with would-be travellers.
“If this continues, we will hire more staff next week. It can not go on like this any more,” police official Dusan Popovic told AFP.
According to him, from an average of around a hundred demands for passports per day in September, police were now struggling with five times that number since the EU decision to waive the visas.
“This is the best thing that has happend in 20 years,” said Rifat Selimovic, a 27-year old mechanic.
As a child, he said, he had lived for seven years in Germany, where his family had fled during the war, and he regretted their having returned to Bosnia. He would not however, use his new travel freedom to try to settle in Germany or another EU state, he said.
“I have a family and I live here,” he said cheerfully.
“But the first thing I will do is to go and watch a Champions League match in Germany,” he added.
In Banja Luka meanwhile, the capital of the Serb-run entity in Bosnia, the number of requests for passports had doubled, said officials.
“I have a boyfriend in Italy,” said 24-year-old Radenka who did not want to give her second name.
“Until now I was unable to visit him. I hope that I will go often now. We will get married and I will stay to live there. There is no future here.”
Albania experienced a similar rush on new passports.
Before the EU’s decision, an average of 3,500 biometric passports were issued every day, deputy interior minister Fedrinand Poni told AFP.
“Since the visa liberalisation was announced, more than 6,000 people now submit a demand” for a new passport each day, he added.
Almost 800,000 Albanians live in Greece and there is a Greek minority in southern Albania.
Before the visa system was relaxed, some Albanians even took on Greek sounding names to facilitate their entry into their neighbouring country, a longstanding EU member. […]
Still summing up last week’s reports, as they continue to gush in.
West ignores crimes of Kosovo militants led by Thaci — PACE (Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe)
LONDON, December 15 (Itar-Tass) - Western powers deliberately turned a blind eye to crimes committed by ethnic Albanian guerrillas of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), including the murders of Serbs [and others] for trade in their organs.
Marty is critical of the western powers which have provided a supervisory role in Kosovo’s emergence as a state, for failing to hold senior figures, including Thaci, to account…
…[Carla Del Ponte] alleged that serious crimes…had gone unpunished hitherto and had not been the subject of any serious investigation…This criminal activity…has continued…as demonstrated by an investigation being carried out by the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) relating to the Medicus clinic in Pristina. Although some concrete evidence of such trafficking already existed at the beginning of the decade, the international authorities in charge of the region did not consider it necessary to conduct a detailed examination of these circumstances, or did so incompletely and superficially.
As anyone who has given a damn about U.S. misadventures in the Balkans knows (which comes out to about four Americans if you include me), there wasn’t just a reluctance or neglect to investigate — though those are always a futile proposition in Kosovo anyway. There was outright evidence disposal — as is usual for all things “Kosova”:
Kosovo rejects Hashim Thaci organ-trafficking claims
Well, that’s the headline they felt it was OK for you to see. Here’s my headline for this article: HAGUE DESTROYED EVIDENCE AT “THE YELLOW HOUSE”
…The Council of Europe report names Hashim Thaci - prime minister and wartime political leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) - 27 times.
The human rights body’s inquiry reinforces several aspects of a 2009 BBC report into similar allegations.
The report also appears to corroborate allegations of crimes, mainly against ethnic Serbs, at a farmhouse in the Albanian village of Rripe known as the “Yellow House”. [THAT’S JUST “SERBIAN INTERNET RUMOR!”]
The Yellow House allegations were contained in a joint investigation by the BBC and the Center for Investigative Reporting.
The draft Council of Europe report says a small number of deaths occurred there and goes on to claim that the house was used as a transit point where victims were processed according to their physical condition.
The end point, the report alleges, was at Fushe-Kruje where victims were killed and their organs removed. The report notes its proximity to Albania’s main airport near Tirana.
Mr Marty’s draft report is particularly critical of the UN War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague which, he says, carried out an exploratory mission to the Yellow House site in Rripe.
While pointing out that the tribunal did not have jurisdiction over Albania, the report complains that its initial investigation into organ-trafficking was dropped and evidence taken from the Yellow House destroyed.
The Hague chief prosecutor’s special adviser, Frederick Swinnen, told the BBC News website that investigators had decided that the evidence found [e.g. syringes and blood] was “limited and inconclusive” and “was not going to be used in our trials and our cases”. However, he added that a record of it had been kept.
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! ‘We didn’t find the evidence useful for our purposes — so we destroyed it. Isn’t that how investigations — aborted or pursued — normally go? Besides, we didn’t have jurisdiction over Albania — only over destroying evidence there.’
In its first reaction, the Kosovo government warned of legal and political steps against what it described as “slanders”.
Here I must point out that over the past week Kosovo officials have been carefully incorporating modifiers such as “legal” and “lawful” to describe the consequences that this report will bring about. That’s because they are finally in the Western public’s eye, and so their usual threats — promises of unspecified repercussions that could have “violent” and “destabilizing” results for the region (sans the “legal” modifier) — are being conscientiously avoided.
Spokesman Memli Krasniqi said the allegations had been investigated several times by local and international prosecutors, and the claims were found to be unsubstantiated.
“To us it’s clear that someone wants to embarrass Prime Minister Hashim Thaci after the landslide victory in last Sunday’s parliamentary elections,” he said.
Mr Thaci…said in a 2009 interview that certain individuals might have abused the uniform of the Kosovo Liberation Army but, if so, these were isolated incidents.
He’s been saying that for a decade. The conclusion of the news item being excerpted:
Michael Montgomery Center for Investigative Reporting
The Council of Europe’s draft report includes people who were in the inner circle in this alleged organ trafficking ring; sources who [are] actually witnesses to these macabre operations.
From personal experience it is extraordinarily difficult to get to the right people.
One thing that the report says is that, in their experience, penetrating the Albanian mafia is more difficult than penetrating the Sicilian mafia, the Cosa Nostra. It’s a very violent, closed society and very difficult to obtain information.
If any of these allegations are true you can imagine how tightly some people would try to protect these secrets.
Mr Marty’s report says that when the United Nations came to Kosovo, it decided to do business with the KLA and did not aggressively pursue war crimes investigations against senior KLA officials. […]
Just a reminder on that point:
Since such men had the capability of causing everything from political liquidations to mass armed resistance at the snap of a finger, UNMIK officials quickly realized it was better to come to an understanding with the ex-KLA than to cross it; “the deal was, you leave us alone, we leave you alone,” a former Swedish OSCE official in Kosovo sums up. “It had its benefits, mainly, that we were allowed to live.”
OK, next report, but with my own headline: Serbs as Aggressors and Kosovars as Victims Not Reality…Kosovo made it “complicated” to dig for bodies, Albania has refused to allow it
Prime Minister Hashim Thaci of Kosovo is one of the founders of the Kosovo Liberation Army. The report names him as the “boss” of a prominent faction in the militia that “apparently wrested control” of “illicit criminal enterprises” from rivals across the border in Albania.
Please understand what this first paragraph is saying. It’s saying that our boy Hashim is the “prime minister” and has our protection and propping-up because his group beat out rival local mafia clans in order to position himself for power. This is how our “partners” in Kosovo were determined.
…Kosovo’s government called the report “defamatory” and “mendacious,” saying the allegations “have been constructed to damage the image of Kosovo and the Kosovo Liberation Army.” [Take note of that charge; it’s revisited further down below.]
European Union officials in Kosovo said that anyone with concrete evidence of war crimes or organized crime should come forward.
…Investigators are not getting enough cooperation from either Albania or Kosovo, the report adds.
The KLA was backed by NATO bombing when it fought for independence from Serbia in the late 1990s…Nearly 1,900 people who disappeared during the conflict still have not been found, and another 500 disappeared after NATO troops arrived in June 1999, the report says.
Kosovo has made it “complicated” to dig for missing bodies, and Albania has refused to allow it, Marty says, adding: “Serbia ultimately cooperated.”
The [Hague] court opened an investigation into the allegations, but dropped it, the Council of Europe said, without explaining why. Evidence has since been destroyed, Marty’s draft says.
He acknowledges the chaotic situation in Kosovo after the war, but also criticizes the international community for tending to see Serbs as aggressors and Kosovars as victims.
“The reality is less clear-cut and more complex,” Marty writes. […]
Next report, again with my own headline: “Witnesses have been Intimidated and Killed”
…Accusations of organ trafficking in Kosovo are not new, but the links to Kosovo’s highest elected official have focused new attention on the issue.
The report was prepared by Dick Marty, a Swiss politician who…relied on the testimony of people who provided logistics for the ring, driving captives in unmarked vans between a series of way stations in Albania.
While a prosecutor, Ms. del Ponte, now a Swiss ambassador to Argentina, did not submit evidence of organ trafficking to the tribunal’s judges, constrained by rules that the court could only pursue war crimes committed up until June 1999 and that it lacked jurisdiction in Albania.
…[The ICTY] conducted initial examinations of the trafficking, but dropped the investigation and later destroyed some evidence…Witnesses have been intimidated and killed, according to the report.
…Initially the captives were Serb prisoners, but the ring also kidnapped ethnic Albanians to settle old scores, the report said…Mr. Marty called for increased resources and an investigation to find out what actually happened at the detention centers. Part of the problem, the report noted, is that after the war international authorities tended to regard Kosovar Albanians as innocent victims and the Serbs as “evil oppressors.”
“There cannot and must not be one justice for the winners and another for the losers,” Mr. Marty wrote.
In Belgrade, Serbian prosecutors hailed the report as a “victory that returned hope to the families of kidnapped or missing victims.” […]
Media statement of the Government of the Republic of Kosovo
[Dick Marty’s report] is a continuation of a series of reports published over the last 12 years, aimed at defiling the war of the Kosovo Liberation Army and its leaders.
This can be the only aim, of course, because it’s everyone’s concern to defile a little-remembered war from 12 years ago.
…It is clear that someone wants to obstruct Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi after parliamentary elections, in which the citizens of Kosovo, clearly and massively put their trust in him to continue his program for developing and governing our country.
Such low and bizarre acts, from people without any moral credibility, are only in the service of specific circles which do not want the best for Kosovo and its citizens. [And this comes to you from a morally credible Albanian mobster/politician.]
It is known widely amongst local and international opinion that Dick Marty from the beginning was prejudiced and decided [and not in the direction that the rest of the world has been prejudiced and decided in! — which is of course the neutral position], without being based on any fact or argument, to report in favour of the position expressed by his colleague and friend Carla Del Ponte and the Government and politicians of the Republic of Serbia.
Translation: If you stray from doing only what the Albanian side wants you to do, and stray from not doing what it doesn’t want you to do, then you can only be a puppet of the ‘Serbian regime,’ as Del Ponte found herself accused toward the tail-end of her otherwise respectably anti-Serb career at the Hague, when she looked into going after non-Serbian war criminals. So you’re either controlled by Belgrade, or are appeasing Belgrade if lending any consideration whatsoever to the losing side of that war and its after-effects. This pattern extends to Albanian media personalities — all of whom naturally supported this “independence” — but who have attempted to go after corruption in Kosovo, only to be labeled “Serbian spies” and threatened by officials, their media, and members of the disapproving public. Continuing now with the government’s statement:
But publishing such prejudiced and denouncing claims, without any basis in fact or argument is contrary to the professional ethics that “The Guardian” newspaper should maintain. [And as described above, the Kosovo government knows something about the journalistic ethics it enforces.]
The Government of the Republic of Kosovo and Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi will undertake all steps and actions necessary to oppose the claims of Dick Marty, including all legal and political paths.
The citizens of the Republic of Kosovo and wider international opinion will not believe the ill-intentioned fabrications of those who oppose the independence and sovereignty of our country and in absolutely no way, will they allow hooligans to defile the pure war of the Kosovo Liberation Army and the sacrifice of all the citizens of our country. [A “pure” war in the sense that Kosovo is now more or less ethnically pure. And the capital Pristina is even more pristine.]
The Government of the Republic of Kosovo calls on all member states of the Council of Europe to strongly oppose this fabricated and tendentious report and to not join the side of those who at all costs want to obstruct the stability, progress and good governance of the Republic of Kosovo.
The fact alone that they’re calling it “good governance” in Kosovo — when even a Croatian ambassador sent there over the summer had to be quickly replaced after he accidentally gasped — discredits everything else in the statement as well.
More reaction from the Thaci government:
Kosovo leaders angrily reject accusations of past serious crimes
…Thaci said the aim of the report was “to devalue both the KLA and the independence of Kosovo.”
The deputy president of the Kosovo parliament, Xhavit Haliti, who is named in the report as one of the main people involved in weapons, drug and organ trafficking, described the accusations as “absurd.”
“The KLA never smuggled drugs or had help from drug smugglers,” he said. “The accusation about organ trafficking is very odd, since there never was anything like that. And as for arms smuggling: everyone knew we were interested in weapons, because we were at war with Serbia. But there was never any smuggling. We bought weapons to fight with, and there was no need to hide the fact.”
Haliti wants Europe and the United States to set up an expert commission to examine the accusations in detail. The Kosovo interior minister, Bajram Rexhepi, said he would support any investigation of the claims by the Kosovo police…But if these accusations are without any foundation, then the one who made them must be held to his responsibility, since these are very serious accusations.” [That means that if Marty’s allegations can’t be proved (which by the way is different from being “disproved”), then we have to let the Albanians shoot him and sell his organs.]
But Rainer Stinner, German parliamentary spokesman for foreign affairs of the liberal Free Democrats…does not think the report’s motives are political.
“…The accusations have been around for some time. The report is very [detailed], but when you read it, you find a lot of assumptions and conclusions. I’d be interested to see whether it would stand up in a court of law.”
Vladimir Vukcevic, the Serbian war crimes prosecutor who has led an investigation into the alleged organ trafficking…offered to cooperate with colleagues in Kosovo and Albania, and said that his investigations were much further forward than those of Dick Marty.
However, the Serbian president, Boris Tadic, said he would not preclude a dialogue with the Kosovo prime minister until the accusations were confirmed or disproved.
Tadic, of course, is trying to give Kosovo away as he heads into Western-coerced talks of a purely logistical nature with Kosovo’s “leaders.” So these allegations are actually getting in his way as if he were the Kosovo government himself. Note to Tadic: This is just the sort of cosmic interference that can happen when you decide to sell your country out. He even announced that he would not be issuing a warrant for Thaci. (One notes the conspicuous absence in all this of the opposition in Serbia to call for such a warrant and demand Tadic’s resignation.) As Andy Wilcoxson warns:
According to this classified cable I found on Wikileaks, the European Union has told the Serbian government in no uncertain terms that the only way Serbia can join the EU is to recognize Kosovo. This is totally contrary to the EU and the Tadic regime’s publicly stated assertions that the two issues are not linked…The fact that Tadic is pursuing EU membership means that his intention is to forfeit Kosovo. The Serbian people need to know the truth because the Tadic regime is misleading them…
Here is an item on Serbia war crime prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic’s more farther-along investigation:
Serbia says 500 victims of alleged organ trafficking (AFP, Dec. 16)
BELGRADE - Serbia’s war crimes prosecutor who has led an investigation on alleged organ trafficking by ethnic Albanian guerrillas in 1999 said on Thursday there had been some 500 victims of the racket.
Vukcevic said it “is not important” whose judiciary would handle the case.
“What is important is to show that the crimes have been committed and that those behind them will face justice,” Vukcevic said at a press conference. [Uh, that’s why it’s important whose judiciary handles the case. Unless he wants the evidence he gathered to disappear.]
He offered his office’s findings to his colleagues in Kosovo and Albania, saying its investigation “is a way ahead of Dick Marty’s one.” [They won’t be impressed, Vlad.]
“Without co-operation between prosecutors in Kosovo, Albania and Serbia, there will be no progress in this investigation,” Vukcevic said. [Exactly.]
The EU’s police and justice mission in Kosovo, EULEX has a mandate to try cases that the Kosovo judiciary cannot or will not handle because of their sensitive nature, like war crimes and corruption claims.
Vukcevic did not want to speculate whether Serbian authorities had more evidence implicating Thaci in the affair.
Vukcevic’s office adds the following: Albanians deposited Serb organ profits in Islamic charities, prosecutor
Serbian war crimes prosecutor says that the Kosovo Albanian criminal boss, Hashim Thaci, used bank accounts designated as Islamic charity to deposit profits he earned by selling organs he extracted from captured Serbs.
The prosecutor’s office says that Thaci deposited his organized crime money in Swiss, German and Albanian bank accounts.
Names of some of those accounts are Help For Kosovo, Medicare, Caravan, Al- Haramajin, Taibah International. etc.
Serbian prosecution says that the FBI has also uncovered these accounts after the 9/11 attacks but it is not specified why the FBI withheld the information about Thaci. […]
Now, readers will recall that in three recent blogs I mentioned former ambassador and ex-CIA operative William Walker as taking his Albanian partisanship to the next level and openly supporting Albanian unification into the long-hushed ‘Serbian myth’ of Greater Albania. He then went to Kosovo for the elections in support of the “radical” (but very popular in Kosovo) “Self-determination” movement. It now appears he may have been setting himself up to distance himself from Thaci and the rest of the gangsters who hold power. And this is exactly what he’s doing; the timing of his recent announcement and trip (days before the elections) couldn’t have been more precise. Here is Walker on all this:
Analysis - West may tolerate Kosovo crime for sake of stability
…The crime and corruption given succour by such an approach [favoring stability over justice] over the past decade has deterred foreign investment and left Kosovo among the most destitute regions in Europe.
“There’s a lot of thugs around, a lot of criminal activity,” said William Walker, a former U.S. diplomat who headed the Organisation for Security and Cooperation mission in Kosovo in the late 1990s. [And who coordinated the staged Racak atrocity with the KLA whom he now wags a finger at.]
“I fault the international community as much as the Albanians. They feel that the PDK represents stability,” he said of Prime Minister Hashim Thaci’s party, which came first in Sunday’s first post-independence election with a third of the vote. [This is new; when has William Walker ever faulted the Albanians for anything?]
Nebojsa Malic also finds it ‘interesting’ that Reuters chose to ask Walker for his thoughts, and what those thoughts were:
The sheer depth of depravity the world has sunk to amazes me. I mean, here we have the KLA, whose conduct would make the Waffen SS blush, and how much are you willing to bet that absolutely nothing will come of it? Or worse yet, that Thaci will be pushed out in favor of the “Natural Albania” crowd?
Which is exactly where this is going: the next reward for Albanian bad behavior. Because of recent news, the “Kosovars” and their American henchmen are not quite in a position now to “take” Northern Mitrovica — to subdue the last unconquered, still-safe-for-Serbs part of Kosovo, as has been the unofficial long-term plan (and as we tried to do in March 2008). Especially if Russia gets the name of even one of its citizens who was kidnapped for organs — which alone could fulfill the qualification for ‘international incident’ — we’re probably not ready for the war we wanted with her in 1999 and for which we’ve been orienting our military and foreign policy.
So when our dangerous Albanian masters start pressing the knife deeper into the throats of the internationals and the American politicians whose images smile from buildings and monuments in Kosovo and Albania (look for some vandalism of those in the next two years), the international community will have to tell our clients that, finally, they have to “compromise.” That is, the Albanians will be given less than what was promised them by America, which is supposed to be able to make anything happen. However, to put off any potential violence resulting from this disappointment, America will tell the Albanians to let Mitrovica go and possibly take a “swap” deal on neighboring Presevo Valley (which according to this CIA map — before it was hastily altered — has already been designated for Albanian ownership anyway).
With or without Presevo Valley going to the Albanians, we will step up delivery of other Albanian-coveted lands, which means that Macedonia will start to feel the heat as we reinforce our assistance to the Albanian terrorists trying to secure the western half of that country.
And Greater Albania will be an undisputed reality, as Nebojsa portends above.
To finish up the Reuters article above, which got me onto the William Walker/Greater Albania subject:
…This summer, Kosovo’s European Union police and justice mission (EULEX) arrested the central bank governor on charges of money laundering, tax evasion and accepting bribes…Diplomats who do not want to be named say they know of many allegations of high-level crime and corruption in Kosovo, but see far fewer high-level convictions.
“Kosovo has a very poor reputation internationally, therefore can’t attract international investment,” said a senior international diplomat.
Thaci has raised eyebrows by building an 800-square metre house just outside the capital Pristina. Earlier this year he told Reuters he had taken out a bank loan to fund the project.
…In its 2010 progress report on Kosovo last month, the European Commission was blunt on crime and corruption. “Available information revealed discrepancies between the income and properties of senior Kosovo officials,” the report said. “This indicates widespread corruption at high levels in Kosovo persists. This fact has not been followed up by public debate or investigations of the relevant bodies, showing a distinct lack of political will in fighting corruption.”
Interestingly, the breaking news about organs is not much of a story in — guess where — Kosovo itself where, coincidentally, media are under control of the government. Kosovo journalists are ignoring the story, since they know they’ll stay healthier longer that way — as documented above. Herewith, the relevant Guardian dispatch:
…The Guardian understands that if there is sufficient evidence against Thaçi or the other senior government figures implicated in the report, they could face prosecution.
…Andy Sparkes, deputy head of Eulex, added: “If they have got chapter and verse on this kind of thing, then obviously we would like to hear from them more formally so that we can deal with it.”
This opening quote requires a brief comment first: Notice the ubiquitous emphasis in all of the recent news items on there needing to be hard, solid evidence — “chapter and verse,” as it’s put here. (And see German parliamentary spokesman Rainer Stinner’s way of saying it in one of the previous items above.) For those who know how to read Balkans news, this is the internationals setting themselves up to be able to say down the road that there just wasn’t enough evidence to meet the rigorous criteria for successful prosecution — thereby saving the lives of their staff. Separately, this stands in stark contrast to the less-than-rigorous way that the Hague has been securing false testimony by a single witness in order to successfully prosecute and imprison a Serbian defendant for decades. (See any number of the ICTY cases examined at slobodan-milosevic.org, especially the Krstic judgment.) Back to the article:
[Marty’s] findings are said to have sparked a diplomatic crisis behind the scenes. Russia is understood to have sent urgent cables to Pristina, demanding to know the identity of any nationals who have fallen victim to organ trafficking.
…Serbia’s foreign minister, Vuk Jeremic, called the report “a signal for the civilised world community to stop turning their backs to the terrible situation in Kosovo; this report shows what Kosovo is and who is leading it”.
The report has received less attention in Kosovo, where journalists critical of the government have received death threats, than in the rest of the world.
Details of the report were contained in some newspapers, although the state television made no mention that the prime minister had been linked to organised crime in its main news bulletin.
Pristina-based analysts said the report was being viewed sceptically in the country. […]
Indeed, in case you think the Kosovo public is demanding its right to know, there’s this:
…Lawrence Marzouk, who is based in Pristina as Kosovo editor for the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, said neither the Kosovo government, opposition groups nor civil society have scrambled to address the contents of the report, which, he said, are sensitive matters for most Kosovo Albanians.
“It’s that it remains an incredibly taboo issue that people don’t want to talk about, mainly because of this status that the Kosovo Liberation Army obviously has in Kosovo, as freedom fighters, as liberators,” he told Deutsche Welle. “There is still an enormous amount of respect for these people who fought to free Kosovo.”
Marzouk adds that investigators faced an uphill battle to force a rethink of the KLA’s actions during the war.
“The line from the KLA has always been that they fought a clean war, and that there was no wrong-doing, and that’s a line that most people take publicly.” […]
So in response to Dick Marty’s saying, “It is a fundamental right of Kosovo’s citizens to know the truth, the whole truth…” — really, Mr. Marty, they’re OK with it.
So here’s the mind-bender of the week: Why would Kosovo officials and other Albanians be acting all horrified or in-denial by these organ-trafficking “allegations” (i.e. common knowledge in Europe), when if you’re already trafficking whole people as the notorious Albanian kings of the sex trade do internationally, why wouldn’t you also traffic in parts of people? Why is it so much worse? It’s a pretty fine line, anyway.
Here’s just another example of a report with an official or spokesman telling Marty to cough up more “evidence”:
Brussels - The European Union was put on the spot….Writing for the Council of Europe, former Swiss prosecutor Dick Marty indicated that intelligence reports from NATO and four EU states - Germany, Britain, Italy and Greece - has consistently named Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and his associates as “key players (in) Kosovo’s mafia-like structures of organized crime.”
“We take the allegations seriously but we invite Mr Marty to put forward the evidence,” Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, reacted in Brussels.
“What is particularly confounding is that all of the international community in Kosovo - from the governments of the United States and other Western powers, to the EU-backed justice authorities - undoubtedly possess the same, overwhelming documentation…but none seems prepared to react in the face of such a situation and hold the perpetrators to account,” Marty charged.
As recently as Monday, Ashton had congratulated the Kosovo authorities for the “calm and orderly manner” in which the “majority” of Sunday’s elections took place.
A further element of embarrassment was provided by Marty’s allegation that EULEX, the justice and police mission the EU sent to Kosovo, is seriously hampered in its work because the Kosovo authorities are reluctant to share information with it.
“The only remedial action (EULEX officials) can take is to write a report that…probably lands on a desk somewhere in Brussels and is treated with minimal urgency and a premium on political correctness,” Marty lamented. […]
Which is exactly how they’re looking forward to handling all this.
In fact, even if we had a photo of Thaci eating organs, the world would probably say: Well, you know, there’s a lot of malnutrition in the Balkans. Have a heart. “No thanks, already had one.”
Continuing with this story.
It looks like crying “Serbian Propaganda! ™” can fool people for only 12 years. Or so one hopes. This has yet to play out, and the rapporteur Dick Marty is handing the evidence-collection and prosecution over to the EU “justice” mission in Kosovo. So we know what that usually means for the welfare of evidence (or else for the welfare of those collecting it).
The follow-ups to the breaking Albanian organ-trafficking story have continued all week since the EU Council released its report on Tuesday.
Medicus clinic linked in Council of Europe report to alleged Kosovo Liberation Army organ harvesting atrocities
…EU prosecutor Jonathan Ratel told the court the organs had been illegally removed from victims and transplanted into wealthy recipients in the clinic, known as Medicus. Those who paid up to €90,000 (£76,400) for the black-market kidneys included patients from Canada, Germany, Poland and Israel, Ratel said.
The story would be shocking enough if it ended there. But what the court did not hear is that the Medicus clinic has been linked in a Council of Europe report to a wider network of Albanian organised criminals. They are said to have had close links to senior officials in Kosovo’s government, including the prime minister, Hashim Thaçi. Their supposed links to the underground organ market allegedly go back more than a decade when, in its most gruesome incarnation, the operation is said to have involved removing kidneys from murder victims.…
The claims initially surfaced two years ago, when the former chief war crimes prosecutor at The Hague, Carla Del Ponte, said she had been prevented from properly investigating alleged atrocities committed by the KLA. Marty’s report suggests the KLA held Serbs and other captives in secret detention centres in Albania for almost a year after the war ended…
…Kosovo’s guerrilla army formed “a formidable power base in the organised criminal enterprises” in Kosovo and Albania. A group known as Drenica, led by Thaçi, became the KLA’s dominant faction and senior KLA figures from the group hold senior positions in Kosovo’s government today.
In 1999, Thaçi was identified as the most dangerous of the KLA’s “criminal bosses” by intelligence reports, according to Marty…A KLA medical commander based in Albania, Shaip Muja remains a close confidante of Thaçi’s, and is currently a political adviser in the office of the prime minister, with responsibility for health. “We have uncovered numerous convergent indications of Muja’s central role [in] international networks, comprising human traffickers, brokers of illicit surgical procedures, and other perpetrators of organised crime,” the report states.
Among the makeshift prisons where captives were held, Marty identifies the famed Yellow House, near the town of Burrel. When the Guardian visited the property two years ago, the owners – the Katuci family – became hostile and denied wrongdoing. While the report concludes the Katuci family home was not the site of organ harvesting, it states that captive Serbs were taken there after the Katucis moved out and the KLA took over the property. The Yellow House and other ad hoc jails function as way stations in which KLA operatives selected candidates for organ removal, Marty says.
After medical checks and blood tests, he says a “handful” were moved to a farmhouse in Fushë-Krujë, a town north of the Albanian capital, Tirana. According to the report, some of these prisoners became aware of the fate that awaited them, and are said to have pleaded not to be “chopped into pieces”. The report adds: “The testimonies on which we based our findings spoke credibly and consistently of a methodology by which all of the captives were killed, usually by a gunshot to the head, before being operated on to remove one or more of their organs.”
The Guardian has established that organs are believed to have been shipped to Istanbul, in a criminal racket operated by Yusuf Sonmez, the same Turkish doctor wanted by Interpol for his alleged involvement in the Medicus clinic.
[T]he removal of organs from prisoners in Albania a decade ago is “closely related to the contemporary case of the Medicus clinic”. In making the link, Marty refers to prominent “Kosovan Albanian and international figures” who figure as “co-conspirators” in both organ rackets. Their names have been omitted from the report “out of respect” to the Kosovo judicial process.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha! The Kosovo judicial process! I think that’s called dead witnesses.
However, senior Kosovo government sources have told the Guardian those figures are almost certainly Shaip Muja and Yusuf Sonmez. They are the two names mentioned independently by a Washington-based intelligence source who has monitored criminal networks involving KLA figures since 1999. The source described the pair as “the common thread” tying Medicus to KLA activities in 1999 and 2000.
“It is Muja who got into business with Yusuf Sonmez on his trips to Turkey around the time of the Kosovo war, which resulted in kidneys being secreted out of Albania to Istanbul,” the source said. “It’s no coincidence that he also played a role in the creation of Medicus, less than a decade later.” […]
And just some important parts of other incoming reports on the affair:
Report details KLA organ snatching ring in Albania
…The report by Swiss senator Dick Marty…is expected to be adopted by the Committee on Legal Affairs of the Council’s Parliamentary Assembly and it urges Kosovo’s EU-run judiciary in Kosovo to probe the charges.
Watch the EU-run judiciary start dropping dead one by one.
Kosovo Albanians believe such information about events from the late 1990s war years was fabricated by Serbia to smear their KLA liberators…
Of course they do. Because clearly Albanians have never met an Albanian before and therefore don’t know how they operate. (No pun intended!)
Marty says in the report that almost 500 people disappeared in Kosovo after NATO troops arrived. About 100 were Albanians and close to 400 non-Albanians, most of them Serbs.
Evidence suggested, Marty added, that the organizers used safe locations in Kukes on the Kosovo border, Rripe in the Mat region further south, and at Fushe-Kruje near the international airport. The location in Fushe-Kruje was specially built.
“It constituted a state-of-the-art reception center for the organized crime of organ trafficking. It was styled as a makeshift operating clinic….
Age, sex, state of health and ethnicity, with mostly Serbs targeted, determined the selection.
Albania has denied it knew or condoned such activity and has considered the matter closed, saying the claims proved untrue…
When investigations are obstructed and therefore don’t take place, that means “proved untrue” in Albanian.
…Claims the KLA had engaged in organ trafficking emerged in April 2008 in the memoirs of the ex-chief war crimes prosecutor at The Hague, Carla Del Ponte, who said she had been prevented from properly investigating alleged atrocities by the KLA.
Xhavit Haliti, a senior official of Thaci’s PDK party mentioned in the report as one KLA commander active in Albania, said he believed Marty’s report was politically motivated, but welcomed an investigation to shed light on the matter.
“Smuggling organs is a very serious accusation, which I think should be verified. I believe it is impossible to imagine that the KLA had a mechanism (for involvement in) it. It is impossible. Professionally it was impossible,” Xhaviti said.
Kosovo leader implicated in organ trafficking: report
…Thaci, [Marty] said, was “the boss” of the Drenica Group, a “small but inestimably powerful group of KLA personalities” who took control of organised crime in the region from at least 1998.
The diplomatic and political support the United States and other western powers gave him during the talks following the Kosovo conflict “bestowed upon Thaci, not least in his own mind, a sense of being ‘untouchable’,” he added.
Thaci also operated with the help not just of the Albanian government “but also from Albania?s secret services, and from the formidable Albanian mafia,” wrote Marty.
Thaci’s ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), which won the most votes in Sunday’s general elections, denounced Marty’s allegations as “fabrications” in a statement Tuesday.
The report’s “goal was to disgrace KLA and its leaders,” it added.
“It is based on groundless facts which are invented with a goal to harm Kosovo’s image,” it added.
It would “take all possible and necessary steps in order to confront Marty’s fabrications, including legal and lawful ones,” it warned. [But not excluding illegal and unlawful ones, of course.] […]
Kosovo’s prime minister was ‘a mafia boss who stole human organs from Serb prisoners and sold them for profit’
…In a bombshell report Hashim Thaci was described as ‘the most dangerous’ of organised crime leaders who engaged in assassinations, beatings, drug smuggling and a weapons racket.
The claims about the country’s premier come as a slap in the face to those who supported Britain’s efforts to free Kosovo and help its rebel leaders to power. [Harder! Harder!]
…Damningly, the report accuses Western governments of complicity, saying European leaders knew about, but chose to ignore, Thaci’s alleged brutality. [NOTE: Playing as big a role as “choosing to ignore” was being constantly, constantly strong-armed by the U.S., which knew everything the Europeans knew.]
Thaci was nicknamed ‘The Snake’ when he was a guerrilla leader in the Kosovo Liberation Army, which fought the Serbs.
After Mr Blair helped to push the Serbs from Kosovo in 1999 under aerial bombardment, Thaci rose to power. Only last Sunday, he was re-elected as prime minister.
All smiles: Tony Blair meets Thaci in 1999 when he was the leader of the KLA and according to [Tuesday’s] report, when the organ-ring had just started. The pair posed for photos in a bar near where the European Union summit was being held in Cologne, Germany
…Some victims were allowed to live, minus their robbed organs.
The sinister portrait of Thaci painted by the report bears little resemblance to the man who greeted Mr Blair as an old friend when Britain’s former prime minister was honoured during a visit to Pristina in July.
…Thaci described Mr Marty’s report as baseless and defamatory.
‘The government of Kosovo and Hashim Thaci will undertake all the necessary steps to dismiss the slanders of Dick Marty, including legal and political means,’ a statement said.
More reports started coming in with reactions from Kosovo. From Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty:
…In its first reaction, Kosovo’s government dismissed the report as “slanderous,” threatened “all legal and political actions and measures” against Marty, and urged members of the Council of Europe to reject the report.
The statement said the report aimed to “shame” Thaci after the December 12 parliamentary elections — Kosovo’s first since declaring independence from Serbia in 2008 — in which his party won the most votes.
Speaking at the same press conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that, if confirmed, the allegations enclosed in Marty’s report would “constitute a crime against humanity” and urged that this report “not remain a closed document.”
In Belgrade, where Thaci was sentenced in absentia as a terrorist in 1997, a spokesman for the war crimes prosecutor’s office, Bruno Vekaric, said Marty’s report was a “victory” for Serbia.
Marty said his findings were based on testimonies of “KLA insider sources” such as drivers, bodyguards involved in logistical and practical tasks, as well as “organizers” or the ringleaders behind the organ trade.
Marty also cited confidential reports over more than a decade saying that Thaci and others in his group had control over drug trafficking.
Marty said Thaci was “the boss” of the Drenica Group within the KLA, a “small but inestimably powerful group of KLA personalities” who took control of organized crime in the region from at least 1998.
Marty said the diplomatic and political support Western powers gave Thaci during the talks following the Kosovo conflict “bestowed upon Thaci, not least in his own mind, a sense of being ‘untouchable.’”
Marty wrote that Thaci also operated with the help of the Albanian government, secret services, and mafia.
If adopted, the report will go before the Parliamentary Assembly, of which Marty is a member, on January 25. […]
Kosovo PM denies organ-trafficking claims
Kosovo’s government has rejected accusations prime minister Hashim Thaci once headed a criminal network that trafficked in human organs.
The Council of Europe says Mr Thaci and other military leaders took kidneys from Serb prisoners in the late 1990s.
The report also accuses Mr Thaci of involvement in political assassinations and controlling the heroin trade after the conflict with Serbia in 1999.
But government spokesman Memli Krasniqi says the accusations have been brought by those who want to bring Kosovo down.
“This is absolutely ridiculous, this is absolutely untrue and this doesn’t make any sense to anyone that has ever been in Kosovo,” he said. [Been in Kosovo on guided tours paid for by the Pristina government, such as those that virtually every U.S. lawmaker has been on — or hosted by the U.S. military at Camp Bondsteel there, such as these two dingbats from the American Legion.]
“This is Serbian propaganda at its best.”
Anti-narcotics agencies from five different countries confirming all this, and — you guessed it: Serbian propaganda!
The report by Dick Marty, rapporteur for the Council’s Parliamentary Assembly committee on legal affairs and human rights, also accused Western powers of complicity in ignoring crimes dating back to the late 1990s for the sake of preserving regional stability.
READ: “U.S. ignoring crimes dating back to the late 1990s for the sake of preserving regional stability.” What? Seriously? But we’re the United States of America. We stand for all good things. That can only mean that organ theft and murder-for-organs must be a good thing, no?
EU police seek ‘facts’ in Kosovo organ probe
…The news shocked and dismayed Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians.
“I am confused, angry, annoyed and disappointed,” said Vedat Gashi, an ethnic Albanian.
Another said he found the report “hard to believe.”
“But anything could happen,” said Naser Leci. “I hope it isn’t true as it would be bad for everyone.”
Particularly for the people who had their organs removed. But yes, the moral of the story for Albanians is that it’s bad for their image. It’ll make getting more international recognitions harder. What? Switzerland is already regretting its blessing? After being one of the firstest to the finish line in recognizing it, Swiss politicians are calling for a retraction? And by the way, the Swiss media say, did you know “that all heroin smuggling groups so far discovered in Switzerland are Albanian or ‘citizens of Kosovo’ — though that didn’t bother us until about a minute ago.” And — what’s this — Swiss foreign minister Micheline Calmy-Rey has canceled Tuesday’s award ceremony by the Kosovo Diaspora and embassy “for her contribution to Kosovo’s independence”?? Weren’t the Swiss the ones who banned promotion of Carla Del Ponte’s book for “impermissible statements by a representative of the government of Switzerland”? And yet now — now that their complicity has been made public — NOW we get Geneva papers “taking Switzerland to task,” accusing it of
following and even encouraging the trend of quasi-absolving crimes committed by the Albanians – and that despite the work of its countryman Marty as well as war crimes prosecutor in the Hague, Switzerland’s own Carla Del Ponte. “How blind! How could such a careful country that insists on human rights be so partisan,” asked Le Temps… “Marty is right regarding one accusation – that the goal of political stability in Kosovo was given priority over the basic principles of justice,” wrote the Zurich-based Neue Zürcher Zeitung on Friday.
Ahem, ahem. Why, two years ago when Del Ponte was shut down, didn’t these so-called newspapers have any interest in looking into the material that was being shut down? ONLY NOW they come out with great indignation!
Be careful now, Switzerland, you have 200,000 of them and believe me you don’t want to get on the wrong side of this flag and learn why it’s an ominous symbol for so many:
Albanian flag: darkness over spilled blood
Especially since Albanians in Switzerland are already “a little bit annoyed” by this whole affair: “Hilmi Gashi, a member of Switzerland’s 200,000 strong Kosovan diaspora…said the Kosovo community was ‘a little bit annoyed’ about the report, especially coming shortly after a survey showing the unpopularity of Albanians in Switzerland and the vote on deporting foreign criminals.”
Concluding now the excerpt from “EU Police Seek ‘Facts’”:
[Kosovo] Interior Minister Bajram Rexhepi said the allegations were “monstrous and not true” and blamed Marty of having “his own agenda…to damage” Kosovo.
Rexhepi said Marty was trying to weaken Kosovo before it meets for negotiations with Serbia…The United States and the European Union have pushed for Serbia to hold talks with Kosovo.
But Serbian foreign minister Vuk Jeremic cast doubt on prospects of holding talks with Thaci. […]
2009: Kosovo was Biden’s first stop on his Balkan tour.
“Now if I had a head of hair like THAT!”
“Aw c’mon, Joe! Hey, I can get you a transplant!”
“Of a head?”
Popular boy’s name in Albania and Kosovo today: “Tonibler”
Meanwhile, I’ve always thought Thaci got better-looking with age. Drinking Slavic blood must be good for you.
“Hashim, tell me you didn’t just kill someone else this week.”
“Don’t worry, Madame Secretary. I name my daughter for you.”
(Children in Kosovo and Albania are indeed named Hillary, Bill, Wesley, George, Madeleine, Joe and Eliot, though I don’t think we’ve gotten any Albanian Condoleezzas yet. Racists.)
“Say, if you come across a nice piece of ass while you’re chopping, send me that organ.”
Sec. of Defense Robert Gates
There’s one persistent Serbian rumor that has not, as yet, proved true — even as so many others do. And that rumor is that Thaci was the designated boy toy of Madeleine Albright when she was in the neighborhood doing his bidding. So maybe that’s why they call Thaci “the Snake.” Or maybe he was just trying to get to her kidney.
“Forget multi-ethnic Kosovo. Forget Resolution 1244. We only signed that to get rid of the Serbs.” — Balkans “peace negotiator” Richard Holbrooke, August 1999
Well, the late ambassador is definitely with his friends now.
Is this what’s meant by ’stupid white men’?
So why did Western leaders do it — and why do they continue to cover for our sadistic BFFs? Why, they did it all for love:
Of course, for Hillary and Bill it’s extra-important that this goes away. Because it all stems from their administration.
Because a president’s personal life doesn’t affect anything.
“Hillary Clinton biographer Gail Sheehy tells NBC’S DATELINE…that after the Monica Lewinsky affair was revealed, Hillary Clinton refused to speak to the President for eight months…the standoff did not end until one day in March, 1999 when Hillary called the president telling him to begin bombing Kosovo. Sheehy tells DATELINE’S Stone Phillips: ‘The day after she said that, he [Bill Clinton] announced that he was informing his NATO allies that he was recommending a bombing campaign.’” — Matt Drudge, November 24, 1999, regarding a November 29th broadcast of “Dateline”
What? Stolen organs? Maybe they did steal my watch!
Our politicians can’t regret — won’t regret — what they did for love. What they did for love. Here was a gem from the past week. No regrets:
Philip J. Crowley
Daily Press Briefing
December 17, 2010
QUESTION: …In the report, the FBI is mentioned as one of the sources of the inquiry. So is there anything new about that? We heard something –
MR. CROWLEY: We fully support that any investigation by a legitimate authority into these charges.
QUESTION: Do you have any contacts with Kosovo government on the issue?
MR. CROWLEY: …I’ll tell you what, I’m not aware of any contacts we’ve had since that report has come out…but I’ll take that question and see.
QUESTION: And do you have any concerns about what this might do to the U.S.-Kosovo relations, in particular –
MR. CROWLEY: I don’t think it’s going to change fundamentally U.S.-Kosovo relations.
QUESTION: Well, the U.S. –
MR. CROWLEY: I mean, they’re based on our mutual interest, not on specific personalities.
QUESTION: Well, right. But I mean, if — do you see any problem in dealing specifically with Mr. Thaci?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, at this point, since any individual anywhere in the world is innocent until proven otherwise, he is the current prime minister, and we will continue to work with that government. [Update: This “can only be interpreted ironically,” writer Gregory Elich would comment a month after this blog was published, “given how US and British officials repeated the wildest stories handed to them by the KLA prior to and during the Kosovo War, most of which were later proven to be untrue.” And columnist Vojin Joksimovich would point out that “the State Department treated the Serbian President Milosevic as a war criminal before he ever made it to The Hague.”]
QUESTION: Well, yeah, but you won’t deal with President Bashir; he’s not been convicted of anything. You don’t deal with Mugabe, pretty much, and he’s not been convicted of anything.
MR. CROWLEY: He — well, he — yeah.
QUESTION: You’re calling for Laurent Gbagbo to leave Ivory Coast.
MR. CROWLEY: For very different reasons, Matt.
QUESTION: Well, all of them have been accused of crimes. None of them have been convicted of anything. And yet — so why is Hashim Thaci given this luxury?
MR. CROWLEY: We’re not giving anybody a pass. As we’ve said, if there’s new information that is revealed in this report, it should be fully investigated.
QUESTION: Giving the pass on Hashim –
MR. CROWLEY: In fairness, we don’t want to neglect the back of the room.
Our “mutual interest”: Expand Albania, kill Christians, and Islamicize the Balkans. What other mutual interest is there? So far, that’s the only one that’s borne any fruit.