February 2011


Any good news about Serbs has to come with an apology. Which is why this equivocating blogger on Huffington Post earlier this month couldn’t just do a positive story about tennis star Novak Djokovic. He had to remind you what the Serbs “did.” That’s how unacceptable it is to have any non-atrocity-related Serb news. And notice that he naturally lets you know off the bat that he’s married to a Serb, so that you can’t accuse him of bias. As if that’s ever been an effective inoculation against the deep-seated, insurmountable, and often imperceptible indoctrination that the writer’s mind — no different from the rest of humanity’s — seamlessly succumbed to long ago.

Novak Djokovic: The Pride of Serbia
Laurence Leamer (Author of a Kennedy trilogy and “Madness Under the Royal Palms”)

I am married to a Serbian-American woman, and I had little choice but to wake up at 3:30 A.M. Sunday morning to watch Novak Djokovic take on his longtime friend Andy Murray in the finals of the Australian Open. It was a very one-sided match with the number three player in the world defeating Murray in straight sets. As Djokovic cradled the silver Challenge Cup in his arms, he said: “There has been a tough period for our people in Serbia. But we are trying every single day to present our country in the best possible way. So this is for my country, Serbia.”

I had tears in my eyes as he said those words, as [I’m] sure did most Serbs. Anyone who follows tennis knows how during the bombing of Belgrade by NATO planes, Djokovic and other young Serbian players practiced in a drained swimming pool. It was an excruciatingly difficult time to be Serbian. The Serbs have overwhelming pride. It is the best thing about them and the worst. It is the best in that they stand tall. They are unfailingly loyal. They are great friends and terrible enemies. It is the worst in that they never say they are sorry. They almost never ask you for support. They carry their grudges for centuries.

The Serbs did a terrible job of presenting their side of the struggle in Bosnia and Kosovo and stood helplessly by watching media coverage that often made them out to be the sole villains of the drama. When I asked Serbs about Srebrenica where Serbian soldiers killed large numbers of young Muslim men, they rarely said they were sorry. They almost always pointed out to some other atrocity that had been committed onto them, such as the killing of Serbian women and babies by Muslim marauders.

That’s because what happened to the soldiers — and Mr. Leamer thinks he knows what that is — didn’t happen devoid of a context. And if that context could finally stop being suppressed and its victims spat upon, then we could have a chance at some “reconciliation,” as the mainstream folks like to think the end goal of the Bosnian experiment is.

Given the violent raids upon Serbian villages which the Srebrenica Muslims were engaging in and which included the slaughter of around 1,500 civilians of all ages and sexes, and which continued up to two weeks before the take-down of the enclave — given that history — why should the word “Srebrenica” elicit compunction from the region’s original victims? Even if the offending side’s soldiers were killed disproportionately and in some cases illegally by one’s soldiers? What’s with the constant expectation for halos to be hovering over those ‘demon’ Serbian heads? What grand, superhuman standards we have of these “barbarians”!

An email from Andy Wilcoxson had an appropriate reaction to the interminable, disingenuous, universal, sanctimonious, dutiful, reverential bleating over “Srebrenica”:

88% of the dead/missing are military-aged men and for over 70% of the dead/missing, ABiH military service records have been found. Srebrenica isn’t anything like the Holocaust. In places like Poland and Estonia more than 90% of the Jews were killed by the Nazis regardless of whether they were men, women, or children. In Srebrenica more than 80% of the Bosnian-Muslim population survived the fall of the town to Bosnian-Serb forces and the vast majority who lost their lives were soldiers. There were some executions, but nobody really knows how many. There was fighting, some people died in combat, and others were captured and executed. This is something the Serbs have never denied.

Executing enemy POWs in the context of a civil war that had victims on both sides is a violation of the Geneva Convention and a war crime, but it’s hardly genocide like the Holocaust. When Karadzic ordered the attack on Srebrenica he called for the protection of the civilian population, and by and large the civilians weren’t harmed. There was certainly a massacre of Bosnian-Muslim soldiers, and you’ll recall that Muslim soldiers from Srebrenica had been attacking Serbian villages for the three years leading up to the massacre, so that’s probably what provoked their fate. If they had behaved better, they probably wouldn’t have been massacred.

Indeed, given what some of us know about the crimes of Bosnian Muslims, their mujahedeen allies, and the dwellers of Srebrenica specifically, not all of us would blame the Serbs even if they had killed every last one of (Srebrenica warlord) Naser Oric’s men. Are we really expected to have sympathy for Muslim soldiers? Really?

When faced with Serbian victims and non-Serbian war criminals, atrocities and war crimes, most people will seek to close the subject of the Balkan wars — even if they’re the ones who brought it up — with a quick “Well atrocities and war crimes happened on all sides.” But if everyone was committing war crimes, then why are the Serbs alone supposed to be repentant — collectively — for one particular of those crimes? The crime of 500-1,000 soldiers — not civilians, as were targeted by the other sides — being killed. (The other “7,000″ — whether readers can handle the truth or not — were caused by a combination of land mines, gun battles, infighting, sickness, the elements — and fiction.)

Executing POWs is a war crime — and 500 to 1000 is a high number — but why is it worse than targeting, torturing, and killing civilians, as the other three sides — Bosnian Muslims, Croats, and Albanians — did? How is it worse than chainsawing POWs, or making sons rape their mothers, and making fathers rape their daughters? How is an illegal bullet to the head worse than making a Croatian father watch a Muslim knife saw through his son’s throat and then through his own?

One assumes that, just as Mr. Leamer asks Serbs about Srebrenica, he asks Croats, Albanians and Bosniaks about Krajina, Medak Pocket, Gracko, Podujevo, Klecka, Gnjilane, Orahovac, Bratunac — and Srebrenica. You know, all those place names that Mr. Leamer is most likely unfamiliar with — because it was merely Serbs getting killed by Muslims and Croats and so naturally he’s never heard of them. Really, has he tried asking any of the other sides about some of the non-pop-atrocities — and seeing just how sorry they are? Besides which, when you’re the only side being asked to apologize for everything — ad nauseum — and the only side whose government and humanitarian organizations have apologized for anything — as Indian general Satish Nambiar and other UN generals from the era have pointed out — what kind of reaction does one expect? The same Serbs who point out the counter-atrocities that brought on Srebrenica probably spent half of the past two decades acknowledging/apologizing, but now it’s time to lend a little context to what they’ve been apologizing for, and to point to the other sides’ atrocities.

Why is the undisputed war crime of executing up to a thousand Muslim soldiers worse than the following, which abounded in and around Srebrenica and led directly to the week in July 1995 that payback proved a bitch:

When we took that group captured in Zalazje from [Srebrenica] prison to take them back toward Zalazje, and when the slaying began, [Srebrenica judge] Slobodan Ilic came into my hands. I climbed on his chest. He was bearded and hairy like an animal. He looked at me without saying a word. I took out the bayonet and jabbed it straight into one eye, and then turned it back and forth. He didn’t let a single sound out. Then I hit him with the knife in the other eye…I couldn’t believe he’s not reacting. Frankly, that’s when I got scared for the first time, so I cut his throat right after that.

– Naser Oric, relating the story of the first Serb he killed by his own hand, to Ibran Mustafic, wartime Bosnian MP and then President of the Executive Board of Srebrenica Municipal Assembly. (From Mustafic’s book Planned Chaos, named for Srebrenica.)

Just a drop in the bucket more follows below, as excerpted in this summary of Mustafic’s book:

Oric’s admission [above] is followed by the testimony of Mustafic’s uncle Ibrahim, who witnessed the same slaughter.

“Naser came over and told me to get ready at once and go with the flag in front of Srebrenica prison. I dressed up and went over. When I came in front of the prison, they took out all those captured in Zalazje and ordered me to drive them towards Zalazje. When we reached the depot, they ordered me to stop and park the truck. I moved to a safe distance. But, when I saw their savagery and when the slaying began, I felt all the blood drain from my head. When Zulfo (Tursunovic) ripped the knife down the chest of the nurse Rada, while asking her where is her radio-station, I couldn’t watch any longer. I came back to Srebrenica on foot from the depot, and they drove the truck over afterwards, which I took from Srebrenica to go home to Potocare. The inside was all bloodied up”, Mustafic cites the testimony of his uncle.

The above-mentioned medical nurse Rada Milanovic stayed in Srebrenica even after her family moved away. Srebrenica territorial defense headquarters assigned her to medical field group and to a local hospital.

Mustafic also recounted other crimes against the Serbs from the town of Srebrenica which were more or less well known. He mentioned that, after the assault against the village Jezestica “Kemo from Pale [near Sarajevo] was carrying a severed head around with him, scaring people”.

The murder of the Stjepanovic family is also described. Stjepanovic family members were taken out of their apartment in the Srebrenica Battalion Street by Oric’s butchers in July 1992, and taken to nearby Potocari [where the memorial that these monsters demanded for their dead now stands and before which Western leaders bow].

“Andjelija Stjepanovic (74) and her son Mihajlo (50) were among those brutally slain then. One Bosnian Muslim from Potocari described afterwards how the whole bridge where these poor people were slaughtered was literally swimming in blood. The killer of Stjepanovic family is Kemo Mehmedovic from Pale, Naser’s loyal follower in atrocities. The executioner today lives in Austria, and there are tons of similar examples from Srebrenica…

The previously little known details about the torture and murder of the severely ill Krsto Dimitrovski and his wife Velinka, from Srebrenica, were also revealed in Mustafic’s book, charging Ejub Golic, former commander of the “Independent Hill Battalion” from the village Glogovo. Golic was freed of charges raised against him for this crime.

“When the battles for Srebrenica began, one of our thugs, probably on order, killed a soldier from the Dutch battalion. This helped dissolve the entire system of Dutch responsibility,” Mustafic revealed.

He also notes that Srebrenica Muslim troops kept staging ambushes from the UN “safehaven”, killing the members of the Bosnian Serb Army, and that they used the Srebrenica protected status to launch assaults against the surrounding Serbian villages, such as the raid under the Oric’s commanders Ekrem Salihovic and Ibrahim Mandzic of the Bosnian Serb village Visnjica, where they killed civilians and torched the village.

“When I told Madzic that such attacks would justify the Bosnian Serb Army attack on Srebrenica, he said: ‘This was not an action initiated by us. We received the orders from Sarajevo’,” Mustafic testifies….

Perhaps if there had been anything approaching two-way media coverage on each of the Balkan conflicts, and therefore a two-way understanding of them, Serbs would be less defensive, Mr. Leamer. Back to Leamer’s blog post:

The Serbs are finally beginning to accept the reality that their people were responsible for that egregious atrocity. [As if he has the first idea about the nature of the “egregious” atrocity he refers to.] Last summer when I was in Belgrade there was a demonstration featuring hundreds of pairs of empty shoes symbolizing the murdered Muslims in Srebrenica. At the same time there was a counter demonstration of ultra nationalist Serbs protesting the protesters. As I walked past the shoes and the police separating the two groups, what impressed me was that the two demonstrations were taking place. It never would have happened in any other part of the former Yugoslavia, not in Croatia, Bosnia or Kosovo.

At least he understands that much. Thanks for small favors. Of course, if he really knew the difference between Serbs as opposed to Albanians, Bosnian Muslims or Croatians — and the societies they create — he wouldn’t be so “impressed.”

…For those of us in the United States, sports are a happy diversion. In Serbia it’s a means of national assertion, a symbol of massive national pride…no one has carried the Serbian flag further and higher than Novak Djokovic. Some Serbian athletes have shied away from even mentioning their controversial country. Twenty-three-year old Djokovic is first and foremost a Serb, and he wants you to know it.

Serbs have always stood for what they think is right. They fought Muslims for hundreds of years as they advanced upon Europe. Serbs shed proportionally more of their blood in World War I than any other nation and they suffered terribly in World War II. They fought a guerilla war against the Nazis like no other people. And in recent years they did evil, unforgivable things and evil, unforgivable things were done to them. But thanks in part to Djokovic, the Serbs can once again walk tall.

Novak Djokovic has given much to his people. They are proud of his victory but more than that they are once again proud that they are Serbs.

Well thank you for that kind ending, but some of us are of the more critically-thought-through opinion that the Serbs are recovering from a false shame. One put on them by a world which, at the time, wasn’t familiar with or dealing with what Serbia was forced to deal with in Europe while Israel was dealing with it in the Middle East. One also approaches this “recovery” as a trend with cautious optimism, given that the Serbs at least of Serbia have so internalized the shame, that they’re looking to lose their identity as a way out of being Serbian. And articles like this don’t help.

As Liz, who circulated the Huffington Post item, wrote:

So even this cookie, who says he’s married to an American-Serb, cannot simply congratulate Novak Djokovic but has to contribute his meager knowledge [and understanding] of Serbia [and the wars foisted on it], and mainly the evil deeds of Serbs. And, the dumbed-down and unwary will be none the wiser. If Andy Murray had won there would be no comments on the good/bad history of Scotland, or the Scots’ good/bad points.

I’ll leave Mr. Leamer with these summaries that Stefan Karganovich, of the NGO Srebrenica Historical Project, put together of parts of Mustafic’s book. Although I shouldn’t, I’ll spare him the visuals. (Note: the figure that the “visuals” link has of “3,870″ with regard to Serbs killed by Srebrenica Muslims is disputed by Mr. Karganovich and his NGO, who put it closer to 1,500 if one doesn’t include the murders in Bratunac and elsewhere by the Bosnian Muslim Army — which happened before the Srebrenica enclave was even set up.)

p. 187: A group of Serb soldiers were taken captive and then liquidated in the locality of Zalazje. Mustafic lists the names of the victims, and then comments: “Far from feeling sorry for them, on the contrary, I rejoiced at the death of every Chetnik [a term for Serbs used derogatorily by their enemies] who perished…” Mustafic goes on: “…this occurrence intrigued me because I thought that it was a bad move and not in accord with the rules of warfare, and I also thought that in the long run such behavior would boomerang on us.”

p. 214: A description of the attack on the Serbian village of Sijemovo that was carried out by Oric’s forces, the pillaging that followed, and the murder of the elderly Milos Zekic, a resident of the village who was left behind.

p. 217: Attack on the villages of Gniona, Viogor, and Orahovica in order to link Moslem-controlled territories: “In Gniona we did not kill anyone, while in Orahovica about 30 people were burned in the houses, mostly the elderly, while some were liquidated in brutal fashion.”

p. 218–219: The chapter “Refugees, plunder, murder” presents a panoramic view of the horrific conditions in Srebrenica under Moslem rule. The quote that follows refers to some specific malefactors and their crimes: “After the attack on [Serbian village] Jezestica, Kemo brought a severed head in a sack with which he frightened people in Srebrenica. He used it also to intimidate hospital personnel. I do not know this for certain, but it is said that he was involved in the liquidation of Bata and his mother from Srebrenica. Their screams, it was said, were frightful.”

p. 231: Takeover and plunder of the mining settlement of Sase, at a small distance from Srebrenica, where a 14th century Orthodox monastery was demolished.

p. 243: Description of the attack carried our by Naser Oric and his army on the Serbian village of Kravice on Orthodox Christmas day, January 6, 1993 [before the ‘demilitarized’ zone was established].

p. 315: Mustafic describes seeing on Serbian TV Srna two Moslem girls who asserted in front of the cameras that they had been raped in Srebrenica by members of the Srebrenica mafia [a.k.a. Army command; here is a Scotsman report about a girl who may or may not have been one of the two]; also two Moslem men who said that they had fled from Srebrenica to avoid the terror.

In the pages of “Planned chaos” there is also testimony about the murder of Slobodan Zekic and his mother, Zagorka. According to Mustafic’s information, they were murdered by local Moslem Emir Halilovic who smashed their heads with the butt of his gun. Mustafic also points to Halilovic as the murderer of an elderly Serb, whose name he does not give, who was hospitalized in Srebrenica. Mustafic links Srebrenica Moslem Ejub Golic to the murder of the bedridden couple of Krsta and Velinka Dimitroski.

“I categorically claim that Naser Oric is a war criminal without a par.” — Ibran Mustafic

So again, why the obsession over war crimes of retaliation by qualitatively lesser criminals?

Srebrenica. Some call it genocide. And some know that payback is a bitch.

Just another in my unofficial series about Brits getting better and better acquainted with Kosovars/Kosovans/Kosovarians/Kosovaristanians…a.k.a. Albanians. This is how they celebrate Kosovo independence — and what a fitting tribute it is. Maybe next year London police will show a little respect for the holy day by not interrupting the festivities and letting Kosovars be Kosovars.

Trafalgar Square brawl leads to stabbings and arrests (Feb. 18)

British detectives question 19 teenagers after running battles in tourist center.

A day after gangs of youths armed with knives, hockey sticks and other weapons fought running battles across Trafalgar Square, British detectives were questioning 19 teenagers over the stabbing of three people.

Eyewitnesses said young men clashed violently during “90 minutes of mayhem” on Thursday on the pedestrianised area around Nelson’s Column and on nearby roads.

Dozens of police raced to the square and arrested 19 people, the youngest of whom was 14. “Officers were called to the scene at around [4 p.m.] to reports of a large fight and a man being stabbed,” a Metropolitan Police statement said.

Three teenagers — one 18-year-old and two aged 19 — were in stable condition in central London hospitals suffering from stab wounds, according to Sky News.

The fighting is believed to have involved rival gangs of Albanian Kosovars from several parts of the capital, according to the Daily Mail. The fighting took place on the third anniversary of Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia.

Investigators have seized footage from several CCTV and traffic cameras that cover the area around the square.

Superintendent Simon Ovens told the Daily Echo: “This appears to have been a spontaneous incident and our officers were on scene extremely quickly, resulting in 19 people currently being held in custody.

“However, it is going to take some time for us to speak to them all and establish a clear picture of exactly what happened. Trafalgar Square is an incredibly busy place and I would urge anyone who was in the vicinity yesterday evening and may have seen something to come forward and talk to us.

“This sort of violence will not be tolerated in any part of central London and will always result in the robust police response we saw yesterday.”

Commemorating the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar, the central London square is one of the most famous in the world and is often used as a focal point for political demonstrations and community gatherings.

It was most recently used by groups protesting in solidarity with those in Cairo’s Tahrir Square calling for the resignation of Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak.

Another report: Battle of Trafalgar Square: Police question 19 over daylight stabbings (Feb. 18)

Groups of youths armed with knives and hockey sticks fought pitched battles around Nelson’s Column in broad daylight yesterday afternoon. Onlookers described gangs of young men running into the square, wielding their weapons, during 90 minutes of clashes.

Dozens of police were scrambled to the square as the fighting broke out. Those arrested over the violence are understood to include a 13-year-old boy and other youths aged 16.

The three injured teenagers - one 18-year-old and two aged 19 - were taken to hospital. One of the 19-year-olds had four stab wounds to the head, arm and back. The other suffered wounds to his neck, back and leg. The 18-year-old had been stabbed twice in the chest. One of the 19-year-olds was released after treatment and the other two victims were today said to be in a stable condition.

The trouble is believed to have involved rival gangs of Albanian Kosovans from areas across London, including Bromley and Wood Green. The fighting took place on Kosovo National Day, marking the third anniversary of the country’s independence from Serbia.

One insider said: “Whenever there are high-profile events such as this these gangs meet to show their muscle, to fight to see who is the most powerful. Next day they will boast on Facebook about what they did.”

Another source in the Albanian community claimed the clash was part of a long feud between a gang called the OTR from south London and a group called the Hell Albanians, composed mostly of young teenagers trying to ape more serious gangsters.

Didi Mae, 21, a student at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, took pictures as some of the youths were arrested or treated by paramedics.

She said: “I was walking through Trafalgar Square and a load of guys came running towards me. It looked like they had taken whatever weapons they could.

“I thought it was a flashmob but it became apparent that it was not as innocent as it looked. They all looked young and seemed to be wearing a lot of black. It took me a few seconds to realise what was going on.” […]

“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton congratulated Kosovo on the third anniversary of its declaration of independence….During the visit Hillary Clinton stopped at a bronze statue of her husband in downtown Pristina.”

But it was busy groping someone.

An article last week in Foreign Policy magazine makes some key points. I’m excerpting them below:

Thug Life

Think Mubarak was bad? Kosovo’s leaders are accused of being organ-smuggling, drug-dealing goons — and the United States is looking the other way.

BY WHIT MASON AND BRONWYN HEALY-AARONS | FEBRUARY 17, 2011

…While the United States grappled with its inability (whether for lack of a fulcrum or fear of meddling) to use leverage to remove the regimes in Tunis and Cairo, it actually does have the power to affect change and promote transparent and accountable governance in Pristina — where a coterie of thuggish leaders, holdovers from a Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) unit accused of war crimes and weapons dealing, now run the country. But, thus far, Washington has been unwilling to exert the necessary pressure on Kosovo’s leaders — and in its impotence pours billions of dollars down the drain and risks condemning the state to thugocracy.

While much has been made of America’s financial support of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime and other autocratic dictatorships in recent weeks, Kosovo’s democracy has received far more direct American aid in recent years — in 2010, Kosovo received more than twice the American bilateral foreign assistance per capita than Egypt. Yet, after more than a decade of immense international investment and the best-resourced humanitarian mission the world has ever seen, Kosovo enters its fourth year of independence amid its own internal turmoil.

…As it turns out, U.S. support for the world’s youngest democracy has been almost as bad for economic security, political stability and democratic principles as backing the globe’s oldest autocracies…But support for Kosovo has been premised on developing a politically stable, democratic country.

In actuality, it has entrenched deep political divisions in an already fragmented government and ensconced an elite that now operates above the law. Having failed to improve Kosovo’s moribund economy and human development indicators, the former-KLA power brokers of the central government have somehow managed to accrue personal wealth vastly out of proportion with their declared activities. Their development and state-building policy has largely consisted of maintaining its own power over institutions of state, security, and law and order.

Until last year, keeping Kosovo stable — or at least appearing so — had been prioritized by the international community over pursuing clear evidence of increasing corruption among senior government officials. But, as the international money poured in throughout 2010, the veneer cracked. A wave of organized crime, war crime, and corruption allegations swept the senior membership of the Kosovo government and the leaderships of its major political parties.

On April 28, 2010, international police raided the offices and home of Transport and Telecommunications Minister Fatmir Limaj in connection with a corruption probe into a €700 million infrastructure project. Suspected of soliciting bribes and laundering up to €2 million from the public purse, the raid on Limaj was the result of a two-year investigation that started shortly after he took office in January 2008. At that point, he had only just returned in September 2007 from his second trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia ICTY — indicted but never convicted of illegal imprisonment, cruel treatment, and inhumane acts during the war with Serbian forces in 1998-1999.

At the time of Limaj’s arrest, the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) announced he was only one of seven ministers being investigated for links to organized crime and corruption in office.

Two months after the raid on Limaj, on July 21, 2010 popular former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj was indicted for a second time by the ICTY to stand trial for war crimes including torture, rape, and crimes against humanity. His application for provisional release was denied and he currently awaits trial in remand at the United Nations Detention Unit in The Hague. On Jan. 31, it was announced that the opposition party he leads from his cell, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, placed fourth in the general election — taking a substantial 11 percent of the vote.

Two days after Haradinaj’s arrest, Kosovo police arrested central bank governor Hashim Rexhepi on charges of corruption, tax evasion, and money laundering.

…Marty’s report identified the leader of Drenica Group as a man called “The Snake” — a.k.a. Hashim Thaqi, who two days earlier had been named prime minister re-elect of the Republic of Kosovo. He has officially taken office in time for Kosovo’s third Independence Day celebrations.

All of the condemned leadership have been quick to accuse the international community of “political lynching,” interfering with domestic affairs of state, and inappropriate investigations into an independent government. Hardly.

In fact, the most disturbing aspect of these events were the revelations that Kosovo’s thugocrats owe their rise and continued impunity to the toleration or outright support of the international community — particularly the United States.

…It was [American officials’] lobbying and support that gave the KLA the legitimacy they needed to transition from armed gang to political powerbrokers.

In 1999, the U.S. endorsement of Thaqi as hero was sealed with a kiss planted on his cheek by then Secretary of State Madeline Albright on her post-intervention visit to Kosovo. In 2004, every American staffer at the U.S. Embassy was invited to attend Haradinaj’s wedding — and, despite his links to organized crime and impending indictment on war crimes, they went. Most recently, the night after the raid on Limaj’s home and offices, U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo Christopher Dell was seen laughing and chatting with the minister at a well-attended party in Pristina.

It is difficult to see how democracy or respect [for] the rule of law could develop and flourish amid such overt displays of American support for a corrupt and criminal leadership. As in Egypt and across the Middle East, this policy of impunity comes at significant cost to the objectives and perceptions of the United States and its Western allies. This backing for Kosovo government officials has undercut efforts to pursue indictments for war crimes and investigate high-level corruption. The war crimes taking place throughout the 1998-1999 conflict and in the immediate aftermath have never been fully investigated — in fact, in some cases they have been covered up.

International judicial experts…allege international political interference stopped some cases from going before a court because “the political ramifications would have been too great.” And only days before the independence celebrations, their accusations were given considerable weight with the leaking of classified U.N. documents that show UNMIK ran an incomplete investigation into the organ trafficking case brought to light by Marty in late 2010. The documents date from 2003 — when UNMIK was in full control of the internal war crimes investigations and prosecutions.

So, that Kosovo holds elections should be small consolation to those in U.S. foreign policy who advocate championing principles over personalities. Democracy has not stopped the West from supporting and installing its preferred leaders in countries of geopolitical strategic importance — local strongmen who hold the tumultuous societies of war-torn countries together with an iron fist rather than a rule of law.

…The first principle in aiding the construction of new democracies must be to support conditions that prevent anyone from operating above the law. Even in a place like Kosovo, where Western influence might seem overwhelming, allowing space for impunity vitiates virtually everything else accomplished by even the most extravagant intervention.

Whit Mason worked for the United Nations in Kosovo and Afghanistan. He is the co-author of Peace at Any Price: How the World Failed Kosovo and editor of The Rule of Law in Afghanistan: Missing in Inaction, to be published in February. Bronwyn Healy-Aarons recently spent six months in Kosovo and is completing a PhD in post-conflict peace-building at the University of New South Wales, Sydney.

(On the point of the disproportionate aid that tiny Kosovo gets, while remaining Europe’s poorest ‘country,’ Freedom House makes the comparison that “since 1999 Kosovo has received 25 times more international aid per capita than Afghanistan. At a donor conference in Brussels in 2008 alone 1.2 billion Euros were raised from 37 countries and 16 international organizations.”)

****UPDATE****

A blogged response on The Conservative American website by Daniel Larison had a few additional good points:

It’s not exactly shocking news for some of us that supporting an independent Kosovo run by terrorists turns out to be a waste of U.S. resources. The article is valuable for reporting on the extent of the criminality and misrule of Kosovo’s new rulers, including war crimes…but going back to before the 1999 war there was good reason to suspect the KLA of most or all of the crimes that their leaders have been committing. Back then, the enthusiasm to support self-determination and to oppose Milosevic was too great, so naturally the solution was to start a war and set up an impoverished statelet run by hoodlums.

The authors note: “As it turns out, U.S. support for the world’s youngest democracy has been almost as bad for economic security, political stability and democratic principles [bold mine-DL] as backing the globe’s oldest autocracies.”

Who would have guessed that? It’s almost as if mindlessly endorsing separatist movements and following abstract Wilsonian principles lead to bad outcomes…The better time to think through all of this was in 1999 and the years immediately following. At the very least, not recognizing Kosovo’s independence would have been wise. Kosovo might still be run by thugs, but they wouldn’t have the seal of approval that comes with being recognized as the elected government of a supposedly sovereign state. The article details at some length the extent to which the U.S. was responsible for empowering and legitimizing the KLA. That is the real legacy of “humanitarian” intervention.

Obviously, it’s too late for undoing critical mistakes, so what can be done now that the U.S. has saddled itself with a criminal gang-dominated dependency? The article makes no recommendations, but I’ll propose one or two to start. The easiest option would be to suspend all aid to the current government. Even if U.S. aid isn’t directly fueling the leadership’s corruption, it is subsidizing a government that is rife with it. Another would be to target the leadership’s financial assets to be frozen, or at least make it more difficult for them to benefit from their illicit profits. The U.S. should also be willing to assist in arresting and transporting indicted leaders to stand trial. Washington is quite directly responsible for the current situation, so there is some obligation for the U.S. to attempt some remedy.

We all understand that Washington probably won’t do any of these things, because propping up Kosovo as an independent state never had much to do with the quality of governance in Kosovo or the well-being of its population. That much was obvious from the beginning of the 1999 war. Bombing and then partitioning Serbia were statements of U.S. power and influence, and Washington isn’t going to be eager to draw attention to how badly all of this turned out.

Note that the common strand in all arguments in favor of Thaci, the KLA and their “independent state” is the call for “evidence” to back up Marty’s report. This is very important. These very people telling you today that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and that we shouldn’t judge an entire nation based on allegations without evidence? They are the ones who have, for the past two decades, done precisely that: leveled outlandish allegations against an entire nation, without a shred of evidence - worse yet, with actual evidence running counter to their claims! But you see, the nation we should not judge are the Albanians (specifically, the made-up “Kosovars”) and the nation we’ve become used to instinctively condemning against all the evidence to the contrary are the Serbs - so that’s perfectly all right, then.

As if on cue, an example appears…Here’s Newsweek’s description: “This genocidaire brought horror to ’90s Europe and died while on trial for war crimes. After the fall of the ‘Butcher of the Balkans,’ Serbia remains a hotbed of organized crime, and Kosovo’s independence sparked violent protests. But at least the mass ethnic slayings are gone.”

…It was the British tabloids that labeled Milosevic the “Butcher of the Balkans.” With the details of KLA’s butchery of captives to sell their body parts to rich Westerners beginning to emerge, it is becoming clear that Hashim Thaci is far more deserving of the moniker.

“At least the mass ethnic slayings are gone”? Tell that to the Serbs remaining in today’s independent Croatia, or the Bosnian Muslim-Croat Federation, or “independent” Kosovo (where you can also check on the Roma, Jews and Gorani). If you can find any.

Newsweek’s treatment of Milosevic actually fits Thaci more. But we can’t have that, oh no. That would be smearing, and might just offend Dennis McShane [former Labour MP and member of Thaci’s cheering section]. Every single claim made in the one-paragraph, drive-by character assassination is either completely false, or true in a sense Newsweek’s reporter absolutely did not intend it to be.

It is amazing that in this world, where “progressives” of all stripes have declared tolerance, diversity and inoffensiveness to be the highest virtues, it is not only allowed to be hateful, and offensive towards the Serbs, it is expected as proof of one’s political correctness. TheNewsweeks and McShanes of this world see nothing wrong with demanding evidence when their ox is being gored, but inventing or ignoring it when they wish to smear someone else.

That’s actually a bigger problem for them, and their countries and societies, than it is for the Serbs, who are used to such treatment by now and don’t give a damn…

Nebojsa Malic, Feb. 10

It recently came out that parts of the radar-elusive F-117 plane the Serbs shot down in 1999 (and cleverly commented, “Sorry, we didn’t know it was invisible!”), may have surfaced in China’s sleek new J-20:

China stealth fighter ‘copied parts from downed US jet’ (BBC, Jan 24)

The technology behind China’s J-20 stealth fighter may have come from a US plane shot down during the Kosovo war, Balkan military sources say.

Adm Davor Domazet-Loso, Croatia’s military chief of staff at the time, claims Chinese agents took parts of a downed F-117 stealth jet in 1999.

The F-117 had been shot down by a Serbian anti-aircraft missile during a Nato bombing raid.

China’s J-20 stealth fighter had its first test flight earlier this month.

Currently, the United States is the only nation with a fully operational stealth plane.

Nighthawks were the world’s first stealth fighters - planes that are almost invisible to radar.

When the F-117 was shot down in 1999 during Nato bombing, it was the first time one of the jets had been hit.

Military officials and experts say they believe that some of the parts found themselves in Chinese hands, which allowed China to replicate them to develop similar technologies.

“We believe the Chinese used those materials to gain an insight into secret stealth technologies… and to reverse-engineer them,” [Adm Domazet-Loso] said.

A senior Serbian military official confirmed that some of the pieces were removed by souvenir collectors, and that some ended up “in the hands of foreign military attaches”.

Alexander Neill, head of the Asia Security Programme at the Royal United Services Institute, said the proposition was highly possible, as Serbia and China had a very close relationship during this time and routinely shared intelligence.

“At that time the Chinese had a close relationship with Serbian military intelligence and in that regard - just as an intelligence-sharing relationship - a windfall such as a F-117 would be gold dust, and any modernising military worth its salt would examine anything of that nature extremely closely,” he told the BBC.

He said it would be very difficult to know for sure, but that China had during that time a “rapacious appetite” for technology which would help them with their modernisation programme.

China’s Chengdu J-20 stealth jet is expected to be operational some time between 2017 and 2019.

Some analysts have claimed this sign of military strength will worry the US government, but the Pentagon has played down concerns over the fighter. […]

Of course, given the U.S. president at the time, it’s surprising to learn that there was anything left to share with the Chinese at all. Indeed, what Bill Clinton didn’t give the Chinese, his war apparently did.

Another report: Was China’s Stealth Tech Made in America? by David Axe (Jan. 24)

On March 27, during the height of NATO’s air war on Serbia, a very smart and very lucky Serbian air-defense commander achieved the seemingly impossible. Firing three 1960s-vintage SA-3 missiles, Col. Zoltan Dani managed to shoot down an attacking U.S. Air Force F-117 stealth fighter-bomber piloted by Lt. Col. Dale Zelko…

A fast-acting team of Air Force A-10 attack planes and helicopters retrieved Zelko intact, but not so the wreckage of the colonel’s top-secret jet, one of the technological stars of the 1991 Gulf War. The destroyed F-117’s left wing, canopy and ejection seat — plus Zelko’s helmet — wound up in a Belgrade aviation museum, but most of the rest of the 15-ton jet was gathered up by farmers living around the crash site. Twelve years later, some of those components may have finally surfaced — in the design of China’s new J-20 stealth fighter.

The J-20 appeared without warning in late December and flew for the first time [last] month. For weeks, observers from all over the world have debated the J-20’s significance. Some are calling it the death-knell for 50 years of U.S. air dominance. Others dismiss it as a visually-impressive but militarily useless piece of showmanship. The truth is probably somewhere between those extremes, especially if the J-20 has F-117 DNA.

Back in March 1999, the F-117’s wreckage was possibly still cooling when foreign agents sprang into action. “At the time, our intelligence reports told of Chinese agents crisscrossing the region where the F-117 disintegrated, buying up parts of the plane from local farmers,” Adm. Davor Domazet-Loso, then the top Croatian officer, told the Associated Press.

“The destroyed F-117 topped that wish-list for both the Russians and Chinese,” added Zoran Kusovac, a military consultant based in Rome.

A plane’s materials — particularly any skin coatings — are equally important. That’s where China might have really benefited from studying the crashed F-117.

It’s possible the U.S. defense establishment knew that China had cracked the F-117’s secrets. Perhaps accepting that the cat was out of the bag, the Americans reportedly made no effort to retrieve the stealth artifacts from that Belgrade museum…

And in a move that surprised many observers, in 2008 the Air Force formally retired the entire F-117 fleet, then roughly 40 strong. (A few F-117s are secretly still flying, apparently for tests.) Officially, the F-117 was obsolete. “I mean it’s a 30-year-old concept now,” F-117 pilot Lt. Col. Chris Knehans said, ignoring the fact that almost all U.S. combat aircraft designs are at least that old. It could be that the F-117 had to go because every potential rival knew its secrets.

Still, it should be discouraging to U.S. war planners that the loss of a single high-tech fighter can possibly render useless that fighter’s entire design. What happens when the first B-2, F-22 or F-35 crashes in enemy territory?

If this was a theft/copy — one perhaps more significant at the time than it seems now — is it too much to hope that maybe our military structures have asked themselves at least once: Was it worth it? In general, is the possibility of such technology leaks — always a risk during war — justified by wars as gratuitous as the one against Yugoslavia?

And while the Air Force and Pentagon downplay the significance of 30-year-old technology, those “satellite photos” of the supposed Srebrenica mass graves which Madeleine Albright was waving in 1995 are still under lock and key for 50 years, classified out of “national security” concerns about revealing our “surveillance technology.” Never mind that these photos were taken by a U2 plane, flying since the 60s.

Two more useful details:

China’s military buildup has increasingly worried the Pentagon, although officials in both the United States and China say the Chinese are a generation or two behind the American military.

The J-20 caused an uproar two weeks ago when the Chinese sent it on its first test flight, 15 minutes long, a few hours before Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates met in Beijing with President Hu Jintao of China. On a visit meant to smooth over rocky relations between the American and Chinese armed forces, the flight was seen as an unusually bold show of force.

And a UK Guardian report had this tidbit:

Russia’s Sukhoi T-50 prototype stealth fighter made its maiden flight last year and is due to enter service in about four years. It is likely that the Russians also gained knowledge of stealth technology from the downed Nighthawk.

Isn’t there just a touch of irony that in spreading jihad while attacking Russia’s neighborhood, we may have inadvertently helped Russia get stronger?

Way to go, “America.” On so many counts concerning the 90s Balkans that they’re too numerous to count.

****UPDATE: CHINESE FORMER PRESIDENT JIANG ZEMIN’S MEMOIR CONFIRMS THE F-117 TECHNOLOGY WAS GIFTED TO CHINESE DIRECTLY: “Attack in Serbia by US was no error — Truth about mistake bombing of Chinese embassy” by Michael Sheridan****

The former Chinese president Jiang Zemin has admitted in an unpublished memoir that Serbian military intelligence units were hiding inside the Chinese embassy in Belgrade when Nato bombed it in 1999.

The memoir is reported to say that Jiang acceded to a personal plea from Slobodan Milosevic, the Serbian leader, to shelter key military intelligence personnel, and that 14 Serbs and three Chinese citizens died there when US bombers struck.

Although the United States apologized for the raid - which led to anti-western demonstrations in China - blaming faulty target mapping by the CIA, the Chinese government never accepted this explanation.

Now a Chinese-language magazine in Hong Kong has published an account of the bombing from a series of essays written in retirement by Jiang, 85, who stepped down from his last post in 2004.

It said Jiang regretted allowing the Serbs sanctuary inside China’s diplomatic mission and believed it was a serious political mistake. The memoir is said to tell how a furious Chinese government was forced to mute its protests after the Americans privately presented evidence of Serbian electronic communications from within the embassy.

The diplomatic bargain appeared to be that the Americans saved China’s face by apologising for a “mistake” and the Chinese allowed the street rage to cool off without serious violence.

Jiang believes the Belgrade bombing destroyed his relationship with Bill Clinton, then the US president, according to the magazine Qiansao (Outpost), which quoted Jiang’s aides and family members. He appears to have gambled and lost because he saw a chance to outflank Russia, which had refused to help Milosevic protect his intelligence assets.

The magazine claimed the Chinese were already sending secret supplies of surface-to-air missiles to the former Yugoslavia through Libya. “When the air campaign began, Yugoslavia’s defence ministry, information department and police headquarters were all destroyed by NATO bombs,” it said, quoting the memoir.

“Slobodan Milosevic once again asked Jiang to allow core departments of military intelligence to take refuge in the Chinese embassy basement so as to keep operating.” The Chinese leader agreed.

As the NATO bombing intensified, the Chinese foreign ministry asked Jiang if it could withdraw its staff from Belgrade, but he ordered them to stay put as a sign of solidarity with Milosevic, the memoir admits.

NATO was bombing Serbia to force it to withdraw from Kosovo, a province seeking independence. To China, fighting its own separatists in Tibet and Xinjiang, it was a matter of principle to support the government in Belgrade.

Although the memoir seems not to say so, there was another reason for Chinese involvement on Serbia’s side. The magazine says Milosevic’s agents handed over to China some navigation gear, thermal insulation and part of a jet exhaust from an American F-117 Stealth fighter shot down over the Balkans. China surprised the Americans by unveiling its own stealth fighter in a test flight last month.

The Belgrade bombing is one of “two regrets” in Jiang’s memoir, said Qiansao. The other is his decision to stage a crackdown on the Falun Gong meditation group.

Chinese journalists believe the magazine’s account of the memoirs is authentic, pointing to previous instances when high-level documents or memoirs have first appeared as leaks in Hong Kong.

Asked about the magazine’s claims, a NATO spokesman referred to a statement made by Jamie Shea, then its spokesman, in May 1999, in which he regretted the loss of life and damage to the embassy.

Shea added: “I would like to remind the people of Yugoslavia that we carefully select targets that are directly related to President Milosevic’s political and leadership apparatus.”

In other words, the above article closes with yet another lie. Among the many things that the aggressive war on Yugoslavia is famous for is that it targeted civilians. That is, for its terroristic nature. NATO leaders and U.S. lawmakers at the time boasted about hitting civilian infrastructure to make life unlivable — while media commentators from Tom Friedman to Charles Krauthammer to Bill O’Reilly called for more blood — and there were intentional bombings of one civilian train, convoy or bridge after another.

****ADDITIONAL UPDATE****

From a senior analyst at Hicks & Associates (parent company SAIC“):

[W]hile everyone is talking about how the Chinese insulted Obama at the White House, and their junk non-stealthy fighter, nobody is talking about how the non-stealthy fighter was built for carrier service and how the Chinese have taken the three gigantic derelict Soviet aircraft carriers which were bought to scrap or turn into casinos, and secretly turned them into - aircraft carriers. China is about to commission the first and it is loaded with fun technology that they stole from us.

Jewish American leaders in Greece as relations warm between Greece and Israel (Feb. 10)

A group of American Jewish leaders begun a five-day visit to Greece amid an improvement in once cool relations between Greece and Israel.

The delegation from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations visited a Holocaust memorial Tuesday in this northern Greek city.

They met Prime Minister George Papandreou in Athens on Thursday.

Greek and Israeli officials say the two countries are in preliminary talks on potential energy deals involving Israeli offshore natural gas deposits. Greece, now battling financial crisis, has traditionally close ties with Arab countries and the Palestinians.

In recent times, particularly after the election of the PASOK Papandreou government relations between Israel and Greece have warmed significantly.
..
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations visits a different country each year as part of their annual trip to Israel, and this is their first time visiting Greece.

The delegation includes Presidents and Executive Directors of some 50 American organisations that are members of the Conference, as well as heads of European Jewish communities.

Related — on shifting alliances — from Gregory Copley:

Cyprus, meanwhile, is operating in an entirely new world, and yet is still paying homage to a world which no longer has the shape and hierarchy it once had. Cyprus should have moved much of its diplomacy from Washington, DC, to Moscow two years ago, or at least added Moscow as a priority partner, especially given Russia’s Orthodox Christian population. The visit to Cyprus by Russian Pres. Dmitry Medvedev on October 5-6, 2010, began the process, and highlighted the fact that Russia was the biggest investment partner of Cyprus. As with Turkey, Cyprus acknowledges the facts on the ground.

What becomes evident, then, is that Washington now only preaches; Moscow acts. The conclusions, then, include:

The West is in strategic decline, and is doing little or nothing to reverse this decline. Russia and the PRC dominate the Eurasian energy and market space, and make a Russian-European alliance more important than a Euro-American framework. This is the most profound geo-strategic schism since the late 15th Century, and directly impacts Cyprus.

KOSOVAN SQUATTERS STOLE MY LOO (Feb. 10) By Ross Kaniuk

A FAMILY of squatters from Kosovo have stripped their victim’s house bare.

Owner Denise Joannides wept when she saw they had nicked everything from a lounge suite to a toilet seat.

Samir and Lendita Gashi, who caused £50,000 damage, left just hours before bailiffs arrived to evict them.

The couple, who have four children, had taken the £3,000 lounge suite, beds, dining room and office furniture, chairs, a heating system, an exercise bike and a sewing machine.

They even took light fittings, bulbs, a door and a marble toilet seat.

Denise, 56, had let her £500,000 home in Totteridge, north London, for 12 months and moved in with her mum when the recession hit her costume business.

But an agency had let it to Kosovans on £1,150-a-month housing benefit. They failed to pay and then ignored notices to leave.

Just before eviction specialists Landlord Action were due to enforce a court order and remove them, the family scarpered.

Denise said: “Gashi claimed he was skint, unemployed and didn’t pay the rent, but he managed to put up a Sky dish and he afforded a removal van to take my belongings.”

Paul Shamplina, of Landlord Action, said: “Because the waiting list for a council house is five to 20 years, taxpayers are now paying for Gashi to inflict the same misery on another unsuspecting victim.

“Denise was not a professional landlord, she just needed a bit of money before moving back.”

Denise said: “I’ve spent thousands on legal bills and now I’m facing a massive repair bill.”

Ah, the Albanian specialty: invading someone’s home and stripping it bare. (See Kosovo, Serbia.) Then they get to do it again at the UK government’s expense. What the hell are they going to do with the toilet? Do they even know what it’s for?

Flashback: Kosovars in My Attic

Reading the excerpted Jan. 24th item below, I couldn’t help generating the thoughts that follow:

Witness Safety Could Hamper Kosovo Organ Trafficking Investigation“:

A major investigation into allegations that senior Kosovo political figures ran a violent criminal network could be hindered by witness safety and other security concerns.

Relocating witnesses outside Kosovo and Albania is emerging as a key obstacle. A Western diplomatic source close to EULEX said the mission did not have any formal relocation agreements with large countries outside the region.

“Kosovo is a small country. If you can’t move witnesses and their families far away - in some cases forever - you won’t be successful in going after the big fish,” the source said.

Last week the U.S.-based group Human Rights Watch called on EULEX to appoint a special prosecutor based outside the region to investigate Marty’s allegations.

“The EU mission in Kosovo will face great obstacles to conducting a credible investigation into these serious allegations,” said Lotte Leicht, European Union director at Human Rights Watch. “It is crucial to have an independent senior prosecutor, an effective witness protection program - including the ability to relocate witnesses outside the Balkans - and the security required for such a delicate investigation.” […]

If they do find a way to relocate witnesses far, far away and forever — and considering how desperate Albanians are to get out of their beloved, hard-won Kosovo — investigators may find they have a huge supply of Albanians demanding to be witnesses. We’ll see a complete reversal in attitude by potential witnesses, as everyone and his mother will be clamoring to be endangered and in need of relocation to a distant land.

What greater incentive to get Albanians to talk than getting out of Kosovo? It’ll completely reverse the meaning of the Balkans saying “He lies like an Albanian witness,” as this trait will finally be put toward proper purpose.

Of course, given the perils of the long “Albanian reach,” the only witness protection program that could work would be resettlement into outer space. We may need to build a Kosovo witness colony on Pluto.

In December I got the following email, from “Mike,” who gave a fake email address, as I found out when I tried to reply:

name = Mike
email = mikex392@Hotmail.com
comments = I just thougt to send you a quick hi….Great blog. You seem to
be spending lot of time into it..

I spend a year travelling the balkans. I must say that my views were much
like yours. My quest was to see the people, see the culture, see it all
first hand.

Most balkan muslims are muslims by name only. They call themselves muslims
just not to be grouped or associated with serbs.
I met serbs in Sarajevo who would call themselves Bosnians and defened the
city as well. They also speak of great attrocities done by “chetnicks”… I
would say 40% of serbs are nationalists and still consider Mladic and
Karadzic their hero. It can’t be denied that Serb forces masacred and
shelled the city (Sarajevo)and rest of Bosnia.

I think you should take a trip to Bosnia and do some investigation/reporting
there….
have a great day.

But I did want to share my response here, especially in the event he occasionally goes to this site:

Dear Mike,
My B.S. meter goes on ‘high’ when I read: “My views were much like yours.”

NO ONE’s views on the Balkans start out like mine; these views are *acquired* through years of research and ultimately gaining an understanding of the geopolitical endgame.

No one *starts out* with a pro-Serb view and changes it over time. It’s almost impossible — our government and media organs made sure that there could be no such thing; it’s called brainwashing. Even I did not start out pro-Serb; I had no idea what a Serb was until late-1999, and my first writings were very equalizing between them and their enemies.

Almost everyone on the planet starts out with an anti-Serb orientation, whether they know it or not. And over time, if they are fair-minded, it becomes less anti-Serb, and more anti-Bosniak/Albanian/Croatian. (IF one is looking at the big picture and not getting distracted by the kindnesses of individual people one meets along the way.)

I’m paraphrasing, but as Iseult Henry — author of “Hiding Genocide in Kosovo” — put it: I went there as part of the international mission and as anti-Serb as any respectable person…

As for your b.s. about “Muslim in name only/nominal Muslims”: As I’ve written a thousand times: Just because they are capable of reason (unlike most Middle Eastern and other Asian Muslims), and eat pork and drink alcohol and wear tight clothes, does not mean their hearts aren’t facing Mecca. THEY ARE ON PROGRAM. Most of them will end up facilitating the reestablishment of the worldwide caliphate without even knowing that they are doing so. Just by being defensive on behalf of their brethren, they will contribute to this eventuality.

As for Serbs hiding their identities — which Jews also do depending on where they live — that is often because Serbs have internalized the false shame put on them by the world. Many are embarrassed to be who they are. Even in the U.S. I meet people who answer the question “Where are you from?” with “Yugoslavia.” Or sometimes they say “Bosnia,” and I eventually find out they’re Serbs from Bosnia. All just to stay away from the word “Serb” or “Serbia.”

Congratulations on this accomplishment, which you seem to approve of. Goebbels would be proud too.

But yes, I do know that some Serbs fought on the Bosnian-Muslim side, and a lot more Muslims fought on the Serb side. No, I won’t travel to the region anytime soon. Who should pay for such a trip? A person doesn’t make any money or get a career by defending Serbs. If I had done the opposite — like every Pulitzer Prize winner — I would be rolling in money, of course, and such trips would be happily paid for by the news organizations employing me.

Maybe you’re a Bosnian Muslim yourself, but either way I’m embarrassed for you that you regurgitated to ME the same, tired, disproved propaganda about Sarajevo. You’re telling this “information” (“It can’t be denied that Serb forces massacred and shelled the city (Sarajevo) and rest of Bosnia”) to someone who has already disproved it a hundred times. It has been shown what the “Siege of Sarajevo” really was. (See Nuremberg II: Crickets Chirping in Newsrooms Across the World and About that “Serbian” Siege of Sarajevo and More on the Serbian “Siege” of Sarajevo and The Real Criminals Presiding over the International Court and Karadzic in Court: Exposed Western “Journalism,” Demolishes one of its Drones and How to Have No Friends in the Balkans and Really Bosnian Muslims Started the War? Watch Your Back, Middle America and Still Murky on what that Bosnia Thing was? Here it is in a Nutshell and Bosnia’s “Maybe They ARE Like That” Problem Finally Makes it to NYT’s Radar and U.S. Made Deal with Bosnian-Muslim Government to Sacrifice Srebrenica and “Civilian Death Toll of Sarajevo ‘Siege’ Grossly Overstated.”)

p.s. Regarding your embarrassing, pedestrian, hackneyed, brainwashed invocation of the apparently irresistible term “Serbianationalist” ( “I would say 40% of serbs are nationalists and still consider Mladic and Karadzic their hero”), notice that with Serbs you’re at least able to provide a meaningless statistic for a crude categorization. (Any Serb who is against the Kosovo secession is termed a “nationalist,” and since that is an internationally illegal act that I’m against, I suppose this American Jew is one of your “Serbianationalists.”) In contrast, try and distinguish Croatians or Albanians from Croatian and Albanian nationalists — and come up with a percentage figure there. Good luck. But for some reason, their hero worship of war criminals is NOT considered “nationalism,” and doesn’t render them the title “nationalists,” though they freely admit they are. (I notice you didn’t offer celebrated criminal names such as Gotovina, Ceku, Haradinaj, Thaci, Domazet-Loso, Cermak, Markac, Tudjman, Izetbegovic, Ganic, or Oric as readily as you did the ubiquitous names Mladic and Karadzic. That makes you either a nationalist yourself, or an ignoramus, though usually it’s both.)

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