March 2011


When the scholar and author Srdja Trifkovic was turned back at the Vancouver airport on Feb. 24 — after a Bosnian-Muslim organization called The Institute for Research of Genocide in Canada alerted authorities that a “genocide denier” was within their borders — Greater Islam and its useful idiots saw an opportunity, and pounced.

The name “Trifkovic” rang a bell in the head of a young writer named Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, who quickly recalled that anti-jihadist Robert Spencer had written supportively of him and his work in the past. Hearing that Trifkovic didn’t buy into the Srebrenica Genocide, al-Tamimi saw a path to killing two birds with one stone. And went digging for dirt.

Soon enough, he found something, or as close to something as one can find on Dr. Trifkovic. What he found was a symposium that Trifkovic, a paleoconservative, had participated in last year on a radical Right website called Alt Right, responding to the question: Is the traditionalist, paleoconservative Right anti-Semitic, as is popularly perceived? The moderator of the panel was a Jewish paleocon named Eugene Girin. Joining Trifkovic was Paul Gottfried, also a Jewish paleocon, and the third panelist was well-known anti-Semitic paleocon Taki Theodoracopulos.

Reading the following paragraphs in the Trifkovic essay, al-Tamimi thought he’d caught the man red-handed in the act of Jew-hating:

It is true, however, that the traditional Right is inevitably antipathetic to certain modes of thought and feeling, to a peculiar Weltanschauung and the resulting forms of public and intra-communal discourse, which are quite properly perceived as specifically Jewish.

Historically, Talmudic Judaism’s insistence on the Jews’ racial uniqueness — emphasized by the ritual and dietary laws of Talmudic Judaism and on its view of Christians as idolaters — has ensured that a Jew steeped in his own tradition could not view traditional European or American conservatism with sympathy. His tradition was a form of elaborate survival mechanism based on the zero-sum view of a world divided into “us” and “them.” The Gentile was “the Other” ab initio and for ever.

In addition, since the late 1800’s the Jews have had a disproportionate impact on a host of intellectual trends and political movements which have fundamentally altered the civilization of Europe and its overseas offspring in a manner deeply detrimental to the family, nation, culture, racial solidarity, social coherence, tradition, morality and faith. Spontaneously or deliberately, those ideas and movements — Marxism (including neoconservatism as the bastard child of Trotskyism), Freudianism, Frankfurt School cultural criticism, Boasian anthropology, etc. — have eroded “the West” to the point where its demographic and cultural survival is uncertain. The erosion is continuing, allegedly in the name of propositional principles and universal values, and it is pursued with escalating ferocity.

All unfortunately true (though one would have preferred the phrase “disproportionately Jewish” to “specifically Jewish” vis-à-vis the kinds of movements my people tend to originate and support). While virgin eyes (mainstream readers and anyone not experienced in sorting out the intricacies and boundaries of what is and isn’t OK to say about Jews) will read the paragraphs as “anti-Semitic,” the views expressed aren’t unlike what I and any number of other Jewish conservatives have written in an effort to tame the Jewish predisposition toward cynicism about, and dismantling of, the traditional values of, yes, white-established societies. Values that every color and creed have been invited to share and benefit from, and which Trifkovic’s article continues to invite Jews to uphold — if one reads the paragraphs that al-Tamimi did not focus on:

In our own time, however, the process of erosion has reached the stage where it is to be expected that increasing numbers of Jews — those who love their own people more than they loath what the traditional Right loves — will realize that, in the long term, their only viable survival strategy is to support the principles and objectives of the traditional Right.

To put it bluntly, the survival of the West, which is recognizably Christian in spirit and European in genes, is “objectively” becoming the optimal survival strategy for the Jewish community as a whole, Israel included. (I’ve known several Jews who understand, notably my late friend Sir Alfred Sherman.) In the postmodern mélange of races, cultures and cults still desired by the likes of Abraham Foxman, the narrative of victimhood and its associated claims will carry little weight with the brown, black, and yellow multitudes blissfully devoid of European self-loathing, guilt and shame. The results may easily exceed in ferocity and magnitude the events of 1942-45.

It is essential for the Jews to grasp that the survival of European gentile identity and institutions is a sine qua non of their own survival. It is desirable for the traditional Right to overcome its instinctive impulses, historically justified as they are, and to consider this possibility and its implications.

That is, the harsh, coldly objective intellectual rigor I’ve come to expect from Dr. Trifkovic sees no winners here: ‘YES, those on the traditionalist Right are anti-Semitic. YES, they have reason to be. But NO, they shouldn’t be — and here’s why they need to get over their Jew-grudges.’ The article is a call for the traditionalist, often anti-Semitic paleocon Right to recognize Jews as allies against the forces of barbarity. It’s the likes of Theodoracopulos and readers who think as he does that Trifkovic’s article was admonishing, along with Jews.

It’s not reading that would be palatable to the mainstream, but conservative readers — including Jewish conservatives — are known to have a slightly higher tolerance for truth, even when Jews don’t come out smelling like roses. Indeed, there was actually very little there to seize on.

Trifkovic concerns himself with Jewish and Israeli survival. That’s more than can be said of other paleocons, too many of whom — not unlike too many liberals — have convinced themselves that Jews are the problem with jihad, and let the Muslims off the hook, often defending them. Unhindered by such biased mental blocks, Trifkovic does not have it in for Israel, as his maligned symposium contribution and a lifetime of work make clear. That’s in contrast to Buchananites, for example — Buchanan being someone who gets invited onto mainstream outlets including “The Daily Show” and who is published by Creators Syndicate.

Indeed, Trifkovic perceives a recipe for Israeli and Jewish survival better than most Jews do. He also warns of a threat that’s quite under-appreciated by Jews as they try to nestle up to other minorities, who reject the idea of Jews belonging in the same endangered category (as the Jon Stewart-Rick Sanchez fight demonstrated). And who, separately, have no affinity for Israel.

However, armed with the “damning” paragraphs, al-Tamimi saw an opportunity to take down one of the lone dissenters on the untouchable, unquestionable, sacralized, staged atrocity known as Srebrenica. But first he forwarded Trifkovic’s comments to Robert Spencer and asked if he endorsed Trifkovic’s statements, prompting him to repudiate them publicly.

Having gotten one rift going, al-Tamimi now turned on Spencer, and wrote an article “exposing” Trifkovic’s guilt — and Spencer’s guilt by association. Using, of course, the next anti-jihad-minded platform to do it: American Thinker. Where various writers over the years, including the editor, have cited Trifkovic (as they have Spencer) with esteem.

Precisely what al-Tamimi wanted to see an end to. “Trifkovic, author of the book Sword of the Prophet,” al-Tamimi wrote, “is often upheld as a serious scholar with a genuine interest in promoting the cause of human rights in the face of jihadist ideology. For instance, he was interviewed in the documentary Islam: What the West Needs to Know….”

He certainly was. I was at a screening that took place in January 2006 amid Muslim threats, at the Renaissance Film Festival in Los Angeles, where Jews made up probably half of the recently tuned-in anti-jihadist audience. Even before the obscure-sounding name “Srdja Trifkovic” appeared under the talking head manifesting onto the screen, I was taken aback when the theater erupted into cheers and applause as if a rock star had walked into the room. It was almost as unexpected as the section in the film that showed a map of the domino-like progression of the Balkans falling to Islam: Bosnia… Kosovo…Macedonia… — that is, the “pseudo historic” concept of a Balkan jihad which al-Tamimi presumes to admonish both Spencer and Trifkovic against.

Al-Tamimi’s article appeared to be constructively advising the counter-jihad movement to be more mindful of its allies and associations, even citing examples of some unsavory ones that popped up in Jihad Watch’s open comment threads. But, as JW comment poster “Cornelius” asked: “Why Robert? Why Jihad Watch? Why not use a more appropriately valid and sinister example than [un]-moderated comments? Why not just issue the generic warning without trying to diminish an ally in the anti-Jihad like Robert Spencer? In short, why pick a fight with [a] friend?”

No sooner did the March 5 piece run than there was a news alert to it that morning by the never-sleeping anti-anti-jihadists of ISNA, the Islamic Society of North America, who saw that the next window of opportunity to divide and conquer the anti-jihad movement had been pried open.

What’s happening here is transparent. As Trifkovic was being pilloried by the Canadian PC machine, an attack came from an unexpected, heretofore mostly friendly, direction — about a tangential matter. And then another attack from another friendly place. Jihad Watch and American Thinker were utilized and targeted by what appears to be, if not a coordinated campaign, a very symbiotic one, which also almost pitted the two sites against each other.

Readers of both Jihad Watch and American Thinker — never easily fooled — “smelled a skunk in the woodpile,” as one put it. “Morton Doodslag” elaborated:

…Isn’t it odd that in both Tamimi’s case, and in the case of Charles Johnson, Robert Spencer ends up being the target of their efforts to purge the ranks of anti-Jihad of those whom they consider undesirable and impure?…Who made either man the arbiter? And why their strong impulse to impeach and defame and purify within in the fragile camp of anti-Jihad?…

And so one turns her attention toward al-Tamimi. Do we for a moment believe the man is really so worried about negative attitudes toward Jews? Or might he be using the anti-Semitism card to help protect the carefully guarded “truth” of a genocide occurring at Srebrenica — the very factoid that sparked his interest in Trifkovic in the first place. Consider the dual purpose being served: creating a wedge in the anti-jihad movement, and targeting anti-jihad elements that have expressed some doubt about the unquestionable.

“Spencer makes no attempt to distance himself from Trifkovic’s pseudo-historical views concerning the Bosnian War,” al-Tamimi wrote in an update on his blog, continuing on the theme that faults Spencer for noticing jihad and its successful propaganda (“imagined propaganda arm”) in the Balkans.

Indeed, the whole affair — starting with Trifkovic’s deportation at the prompting of an “Institute for Research of Genocide in Canada” — is replete with ironies and hypocrisies. Which usually means agendas.

We’ll skip pointing out the obvious decoy value of accusing an anti-jihadist of anti-Semitism in a way that benefits the predominately Jew-hating Muslim world (which often enough includes Bosniaks). Not just any anti-jihadist, but one with whom I traveled to Israel in 2007 and who a year earlier had been the keynote speaker at Yad Vashem in a symposium on the Holocaust in Yugoslavia. A dangerously high level of prominence indeed for someone who discovered that the “8,000 Muslim men and boys” mantra isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. A few more glaring ironies:

In addition to claiming to represent “more than 50,000 Canadians of Bosnian origin” — despite 28,000 of those being Serbs and Croats — IRGC director Emir Ramic sits on the editorial board of a Sarajevo-based Muslim magazine titled Korak (“Step”). Korak, published by the veterans’ association of the Bosnian-Muslim Army, runs articles titled “Israel is a Terrorist Regime” and “Basic Principles of the Law of War in Islam.” The latter asserts that “Jihad is a just and legitimate fight against aggression and a struggle in protection of human rights and freedoms.”

As Trifkovic himself noted, the magazine — which publishes Arabic, Bosnian, Iranian and the occasional Jewicidal author — also carries articles such as:

“WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE BLOCKADE OF THE INHABITANTS OF GAZA?”…[Issue] No. 14 [has] Norman Finkelstein’s THE BLOODSHED IN GAZA…“Korak” No. 16 (2009): PALESTINE AND AL-QUDS AS THE SYMBOL OF ALL MUSLIMS OF THE WORLD….Ramic’s magazine wholeheartedly supports “I’m-proud-to-be-a-holocaust-denier” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Muslim veterans’ organ in its issue No. 15 has an Iranian propaganda diatribe, THE FAILURE OF THE ANTI-IRANIAN SCENARIO….For the friends of Israel’s eradication from the map, Emir Ramic’s magazine has a heart-warming article in issue No. 12: SIXTY YEARS SINCE THE PALESTINIAN CATASTROPHE, by Dr. Džemal Najetovic.

The list goes on, predictably, from one issue to another…from one antisemitic and Serb-hating orgasm to another.

An interesting pair of targets, making the familiar attempt to break the solidarity between Jews and Serbs — Hitler’s and jihad’s original victims — all the more transparent.

The chief editor of the Islamist magazine, “Asaf Dzanic, is also on the Genocide Institute’s board. Perversely, and where the Institute derives some of its legitimacy, Elie Wiesel has lent his name to the Institute. And still there are more ironies and hypocrisies. As Canadian former ambassador to Bulgaria, Albania and Yugoslavia — James Bissett — pointed out, the “Institute” actively engages in WWII Holocaust minimization and denial, of the already minimized and suppressed story of the Muslim-assisted genocide of Jews, Serbs and Gypsies in Croatia — the precursor to the wider European genocide. Ambassador Bissett contrasted the IRGC’s article “Examination of Serbian Deaths in Jasenovac Camp” with the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s numbers. Then he advised:

Contrast the “Institute’s” hate-filled ravings with the entry on “Jasenovac” by Menachem Shelach, Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, 1990, p. 739, which says, “Some six hundred thousand people were murdered at Jasenovac.” The Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team estimated “that close to 600,000…mostly Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies, were murdered at Jasenovac”…[exceeding] anything that happened at Srebrenica in 1995 by not less than thirtyfold. In nature those crimes were unspeakably more gruesome.

Elie Wiesel has admitted to being less than careful in what he lends his name to. In October 1993 at a talk he gave at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Wiesel became almost “rhapsodic,” as an attendee named Peter described it, when he spoke of walking through Sarajevo with Bosnian-Muslim wartime president Alija Izetbegovic.

“Imagine a Jew defending Muslims!” he beamed. My thought was “why defend one ethnic group? Why not defend victims, all of them…The event really got interesting [when] Dusanka Krstic then rose to make some points, such as the presence of Croatian [wartime president] Franjo Tudjman at the [1993] inauguration of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, and Mr. Wiesel accordingly denounced Croatian President Tudjman because he denies that the holocaust occurred.

But the high point of the day came when Mrs. Krstic asked the Nobel Peace Prize Winner why he signed his name to a letter in Wall Street Journal demanding that the USA should bomb the Serbs. Wiesel’s words were in effect: “I should not have done that. I never saw the text of the letter. I was traveling when I received a phone call asking me if I would put my signature to this. I asked ‘who else is signing? You can put my name to it’.”

…[A]s one Israeli activist has put it, being a victim does not make you a saint. Although he is a victim, Mr. Wiesel has his victims, too…

Like Tudjman, Izetbegovic was invited to the opening of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, but he declined. Because of how it would look to the Muslim world.

Which brings us back to Mr. al-Tamimi and his criticism of Robert Spencer for not also distancing himself from “Trifkovic’s” notion of Bosnia as jihad, which al-Tamimi sees as illegitimate revisionism:

True, [Trifkovic] has condemned Slobodan Milosevic on many occasions, but he defends both Karadzic and Mladic, both of whom have been indicted by the U.N. on sixteen counts of genocide and war crimes…[Trifkovic’s] attempts to portray the Bosnian War as a case of Serbs being the victims of supposed jihadist aggression do not constitute legitimate historical revisionism countering an imagined Islamist “propaganda arm” in the Balkans, but rather pseudo-history, pure and simple.

As the DarLink comment poster from earlier put it: “If [the] UN says you are guilty then it must be so, never mind all the resolutions against Israel and Goldstone report.”

Al-Tamimi certainly places much emphasis on, and confidence in, the judgments of an international court which Americans specifically declined to subject their leaders and soldiers to, fearing precisely that the politicized body would function by Orwellian standards. (Indeed, the canaries living the Kafkaesque nightmare include almost every high-level wartime Serbian official, on trial essentially for being a Serbian official during war.) But given his confidence in UN courts, al-Tamimi might take a moment to notice that Milosevic was never found guilty; he was found dead — like at least one other Serb leader at the Hague before him — and that leaves him as an indicted war criminal. No more indicted than Tudjman or Izetbegovic, both of whom passed away waiting for their indictments to come. (These were politically trickier indictments and therefore deliberately dragged out.)

The premise underlying what al-Tamimi — and IRGC et al who are engaging in this simultaneous campaign — are doing is that Izetbegovic was the moderate Muslim and multi-cultural democrat presented by the West (and by Harry’s Place, where al-Tamimi also writes). Enter, the next irony. In addition to authoring the notorious Islamic Declaration advocating Sharia law, Izetbegovic had been a recruiter for the Waffen SS as a member of the Young Muslims (”Mladi Muslimani”), and in 1943 he welcomed to Bosnia the notorious Jerusalem mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini.

Andy Wilcoxson, the most dedicated American follower of the proceedings at the Hague’s ICTY, yesterday provided for Jihad Watch readers the rest of the CV of this man whose forces al-Tamimi assures us were not engaged in jihadist aggression, concluding:

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who is responsible for the Bosnian war. Was it the outspoken jihadists [Izetbegovic and his future defense minister Hasan Cengic] who were jailed in the 1980s for trying to incite an Islamic revolution, and who spent the years leading up to the war establishing Islamist paramilitary groups, or was it Radovan Karadzic, a doctor, who spent the years leading up to the war practicing psychiatry and writing mediocre poetry?

…The “Greater Serbia” conspiracy alleged by Mr. al-Tamimi is precisely the kind of Muslim propaganda that he dismisses as “imaginary” in his article…Even if the Bosnian Serbs had secretly been fighting for a “Greater Serbia,” they would have needed the cooperation of Slobodan Milosevic and the Serbian government in Belgrade — which was not forthcoming.

Conspicuously, the long-debunked propaganda of “Greater Serbia” found its way into both the al-Tamimi article and a joint press release the day before from IRGC, the Congress of North American Bosniaks, and Bosnian American Institute for Genocide and Education. Also gracing both works were the usual buzz words — “Karadzic and Mladic” — the only two names (plus Milosevic) that anyone has been allowed to take away from the conflicts — attesting to the tight, recycled narrative and limited scope of permissible interpretation of the Balkan wars.

The “pseudo-history” is the one being sleeplessly guarded, including by Mr. al-Tamimi whether he knows it or not. In fact, because what happened at Srebrenica (which no one is too sure about) did not jibe with any official definition of genocide, the all-authoritative Hague which these folks obsessively cite (and which defies all known forensic sciences in its ability to determine manner of death from a single bone fragment) had to widen the very definition of the word to make the crime fit the punishment. In an open letter to Canada’s Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, author Diana Johnstone — incidentally, not an ally in the anti-jihad movement (she doesn’t notice any threat of a Muslim takeover) — wrote:

On Srebrenica, the facts are partly established, partly disputed, and partly unknown. This is because material evidence is by no means as clear and comprehensive as the general public has been led to believe…[The ICTY], largely financed and staffed by the NATO countries which took the Muslim side in the Bosnian civil wars, found a way to describe Srebrenica as “genocide” by redefining the term…The ICTY verdict has subtly deceived the general public, while providing a justification of NATO intervention in former Yugoslavia against the Serbs, stigmatized as responsible for “genocide”.

This stigmatization of Serbs as “genocidal”…can be seen as amounting to incitement to racial hatred….The “Bosniak” lobby takes advantage of widespread ignorance and confusion…to delegitimatize the Serbian entity, Republika Srpska, in Bosnia-Herzegovina…and create a centralized Bosnia-Herzegovina that would be under full control of the Muslim party, since Muslims are assumed to enjoy a narrow demographic majority…[I]t is deeply hypocritical for the West to demand that Serbs must be the only Westerners to welcome Muslim rule over their own historic territory.

Johnstone recognized the “amazing decision [to deport Trifkovic as] all the more scandalous in that it was taken ad hoc in response to the hate campaign by self-declared representatives of one Bosnian ethnic group carrying out a vendetta against another Bosnian ethnic group.” Why did Canadian authorities suddenly deem Trifkovic “inadmissible” despite his having been there a number of times including as an expert witness for the Canadian House of Commons in Ottawa? For the same reason that world courts and governments — the latter being hounded to pass “Srebrenica Resolutions” and set up official remembrance days for Muslim soldiers — insist that there was a Srebrenica Genocide: Because the Muslims told them to.

Consider the efficiency with which the ‘genocide’ designation has been achieved. Note how much speedier, with less trouble and controversy, the Srebrenica “genocide” came to be than the much older and bigger Armenian Genocide. (Meanwhile, as Ambassador Bissett pointed out, “I am not aware of the ‘Institute’ seeking to ban or castigate as ‘genocide deniers’ those Turkish government officials…who are adamant that what happened to the Armenians is NOT a genocide.”) And what about the Greeks and Assyrians? (See “Three Genocides, One Perpetrator.”) Never mind about the WWII liquidation of one-third of Croatia’s Serbs — virtually unknown, much less officially designated as anything.

What is the common denominator here? The elite guardianship, and the fevered — and very successful — rush to collect proclamations, resolutions, rulings, compulsory days of remembrance (internationally and locally) is for exactly ONE “genocide,” and of the smallest scale. Just as oddly, it is the alleged perpetrators of this particular “genocide” who can’t kick the label, which is used as a sledgehammer against them in pursuance of, and as a cover for, Islamo-Western geopolitical ends. In what amounts to the biggest false confession in history, the effort has even achieved an admission of guilt from the alleged perpetrators, if only to stop the whipping.

There is something political, and something desperate, going on here. Why is it so crucial for Muslims to have their desperately sought genocide? Enter the final irony of this convoluted, sleight-of-hand situation — from Trifkovic’s deportation, to his being ‘found out’ as an anti-Semite, to “tarring” Spencer with said “anti-Semite,” to criticism of Spencer for not disavowing the latter’s Balkan “pseudo-history”:

In addition to the geopolitical purpose that “the massacre” was needed for at the time (an international intervention), there is a far bigger goal. Muslims see the Jews as deriving much of their influence, moral authority, and sympathy from the Holocaust. To compete, they must secure their own. That they are achieving it in between committing genocides themselves (Sudan, Turkey, Kosovo, WWII Croatia-Bosnia, 1990s Bosnia) is a testament to their prowess, and to the West’s stupidity and servility.

In other words, the charge of anti-Semitism is being used to protect a concoction whose key purpose is to remove what Muslims see as the Jewish advantage. Jews being the prime target of whom to turn the world against before swallowing up the rest of it. In the process, another benefit is achieved: With 8,000 (sic) Muslim soldiers sharing the same category, the Holocaust is diminished. As are the real genocides that Muslims carry out.

Don’t fall for it. Being a genocide denier is not as bad as being a genocide fabricator, a relentless effort that takes on many forms and disguises to make it harder to recognize, camouflaging itself against seemingly unrelated or tangential incidents. That is what has happened here.

I say to the Muslim world that we anti-jihadists — whether we get along with one another or not and regardless of any potential bad apples that our movement like all movements will draw and can’t always police — we will not be fooled. Once and for all: My genocide is realer than yours. So nanny-nanny-boo-boo.

Such are the levels we are lowered to by the Seventh Century elements in our midst.

It’s been a very busy season for Albanian badness getting out of the bag, and keeping up has been hard. I was still putting together the next compilation on the organ scandal when I got an email about the Albanian would-be terrorist being sentenced in Maryland. I was about to write that blog when a Kosovo-Albanian in Frankfurt unloaded his gun on a bus of U.S. servicemen until the gun jammed. All of that kept me from getting to this Kosovo cop who killed himself the same week. It seems he found out that there’s no such thing as law enforcement in Kosovo, and realized he wasn’t supposed to exist. A very sad story that should help give Americans an idea of what it’s like for an Albanian in Kosovo who actually tries to create a civilized society.

KPS suicide “because of pressure to allow smuggling”

2 March 2011 | 17:09 | Source: Tanjug

PRIŠTINA — A Kosovo Albanian member of the Kosovo police, KPS, recently committed suicide, and wrote a suicide note, media in Priština are reporting.

Luan Ademaj reportedly wrote that pressure that the Priština-based Kosovo government officials exerted on him to allow smuggling was the reason to take his own life, Albanian language daily Koha Ditore writes on Wednesday.

In the letter that the paper had seen, Ademaj wrote that he was placed under pressure of the Kosovo officials involved in smuggling, but did not mention their names or the names of any companies.

The 37-year-old was in charge of a border crossing with Montenegro, and committed suicide in February.

Note that this pressure by officials, strong enough to compel Ademaj to such an act, persists apparently unabated even in the face of the Council of Europe report that has made it now widely known that Kosovo is a racket, which every last official is in on. Shameless.

Meanwhile, this is not the first time that an earnest cop went down in Kosovo. Remember the case of Triumf Riza, who was shot down because he tried to do real law enforcement and not be part of the corruption that the US subsidizes and sponsors.

Kosovo’s Choice Between Justice and Organised Crime (Sept. 13, 2007)

Following the murder of a popular policeman, Kosovars can no longer plead ignorance about the extent to which mafia crime has penetrated the country.

By Krenar Gashi in Pristina

“Who watches your back now?” was the banner many people were carrying on September 4 next to a giant portrait of Triumf Riza, the police officer shot dead one week earlier, allegedly by a notorious gang. Thousands marched in Pristina’s streets on that day, taking part in a peaceful rally against organised crime in Kosovo.

Riza, an elite member of the Kosovo Police Service, KPS, was known for his commitment to the fight against crime. His colleagues say he was never reluctant to chase criminals, even when they were close to the authorities or politicians.

Riza was murdered by shots from an automatic weapon in a crowded district of Pristina in broad daylight. His murder clearly intended to terrify people: to set fear into their hearts and send a message that crime rules the no man’s land of Kosovo. Those few who dissent from this can expect to be killed in front of our eyes.

It only took hours for fellow officers to declare they had found the alleged murderer of their colleague. A young man, identified only as A.B., surrendered two days later, and admitted the crime. He may face a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison.

Riza’s colleagues, however, are not satisfied with A.B.’s arrest, and the investigation into the case continues.

In the close-knit society of Kosovo there is no feeling that justice is being done. There is an overall understanding that behind A.B. stands a notorious criminal gang, whose leader’s name cannot be uttered in public — only whispered among close groups of friends.

In the meantime, one can only wonder why Kosovars, eight years after they survived a vicious campaign of ethnic cleansing, seem equally afraid to pronounce or even write down the name of their most fearsome gangsters. What has happened in Kosovo that the situation has reached this point? [As I explained at the time, the reason they were able to survive or stand up to “ethnic cleansing” but not to this is they never actually faced an ethnic cleansing, so there was no thing to fear. Except these same gangsters who were forcing them to peddle a tale of ethnic cleansing, and so the same fear caused that war, not “ethnic cleansing.”]

The police should think hard about why they have not arrested hundreds of other criminals in connection with this — and other — murders, when they were racketeering, bribing and stealing.

On [the] other hand, when the police prepare cases for trial, the courts often release the defendants. This apparent inability of the courts to convict the accused is, one fears, inspiring and encouraging criminals.

*****UPDATE*****
I remembered another case of a KPS officer trying to do the right thing in Kosovo, and finding nothing but frustration against the corruption machine. I blogged about it in December 2009, in the form of a letter I’d received from a U.S. KFOR soldier in October 2009:

…For the most part the people in the military just do as little as possible as far as their duties, so coming to this “friendly Muslim nation” is to most easy money…In any case, Eulex has been busting some low level smugglers, dragging the KPS along with them in the raids.

While doing a rotation at the Serbian border at around midnight, the commercial traffic coming into Kosovo starts to become very heavy, like a traffic jam of Semi Trucks. After the sun came up and I asked the Eulex guy who I think was from Finland when they were going to start looking in, or searching these trucks. He said in a thick accent, “Ehhh maybe later.” I looked at my watch and said, “When, at like noon?” He said laughing, “No no, maybe next year.”

Are you kidding me? Turns out, this is the only border in the Continent of Europe that doesn’t search its vehicles entering the country. Which is why 80% of the Heroin in all of Europe is controlled by Albanians. It’s actually so stupid that Poppies are grown in Afghanistan fueling terrorism, smuggled through Turkey along the Balkan route and stockpiled in Macedonia and Gnjilane, Kosovo 10 minutes from our base. It makes you think, “Why even bother getting worked up?”…[A Eulex officer] told me that in Gnjilane even with the 75% unemployment, there is an average of 1500 cash deposits over 10,000 Euros monthly.

I was talking to a KPS officer with an interpreter who was frustrated with the level of corruption within the Police. He said “what would you suggest to fix the problem of corruption?” I told him we need to enforce the borders and not let the reason for crime to enter this country. He said ahhh yes, that is the best idea. And me, wanting so desperately to make a bust started plugging him for information about corruption. He said that in the past he would give info and KFOR would just tell him they would pass it up the chain of command. I promised him if he told me, I would use other avenues…I told him without custom border laws in place yet, the black market here will always remain strong…I asked him if he knew of any current situations he would like us to handle. He then went on to saying that in the past when KFOR would try and handle local known situations, it would go up KFOR’s chain of command and then end up back in the lap of the KPS who he says now is also riddled with corruption…I looked at the U.N. website. The only enforcement they are doing is in the 3rd world areas of Asia. But I’ll find some means of fixing this place.

The only encouraging aspect about the Frankfurt incident is the way it was reported. Mainstream news people made no bones about using words not only such as “Muslim” and “Allahu Akbar,” but even “Albanian Muslim”; “from Kosovo” and “Kosovo citizen.” It’s possible that our media are getting a clearer sense of what’s where, and who’s where, and who’s what. Which means that eventually the American public might figure out whom they were fighting for and against in 1999. Which happened to be our most recent pre-9/11 war that everyone seems to have forgotten and treats like ancient history.

In other words, the recent flurry of news concerning Albanian activity is going to help Americans sort out who’s who and what’s what from the Balkans, at least as it relates to us, which is probably as much as can be hoped for. Only then might there be any kind of public embarrassment of our policymakers who stubbornly refuse to change track. The past few months alone have provided quite an education on the region: murder-for-organs, rigged elections, witness-killing, high-level government people on trial in Kosovo and here, the would-be terrorist in Maryland, the Frankfurt shooter, plus the guy flooding the prison in Greenwich, the Michigan rapists, the Trafalgar Square brawl and the theft of this woman’s toilet.

But trying to sort out who’s what on its own for now is a blog called Pundit Press — which made a cute little attempt last week. The bloggers thought they may have scooped the world and found the shooter’s Facebook page (it ended up being the wrong Uka), but look at the reasoning used by these poor souls trying to play Balkan sleuths, struggling to put two and two together:

…Through investigative journalism, Pundit Press now believes that it may have found his Facebook page…Of course, if this in not him, we apologize, but there are three reasons why this could be his profile. First, and least convincing, is that the man in his profile picture seems to be about the age of 21.

Second, Uka was identified as Kosovan. Albania has one of the largest Kosovan populations on earth.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

Now look closely at the necklace around Uka’s neck.

It is that of the Albanian flag.

Third, Uka’s profile says that he is using Facebook in “Shqip.” That is the language of “Albanian,” one that many Kosovans speak natively.

That is, someone with an Albanian flag around his neck could be a Kosovan (imagine that!). Because, in case you didn’t know, Albania has ONE of the largest KOSOVAN POPULATIONS on EARTH!

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

Let me see if I can stop laughing long enough to explain something to the “investigative journalists” at Pundit Press.

Aside from the fact that there is no ethnic or national identity as “Kosovan” (that’s why they wave the Albanan flag and not the Kosovan flag except to occasionally oblige their international overseers) — it’s not Albania that has Kosovans, but Kosovo that has Albanians. That’s what Kosovans are: Albanians. Albanians crossed into Serbia illegally over the course of a couple centuries, and claimed this Albania-adjacent Serbian land as their own.

But one does wonder where the ‘other’ large Kosovan population centers on earth are? I’m assuming they know that one of them is Kosovo? In fact, that would be the only one.

As for Albanian being a language that “many Kosovans speak natively,” it is in fact the language that ALL Kosovans speak, since they are Albanian. (Technicalities about the fast disappearing non-Albanian residents of Kosovo aside, which include Serbs, Roma, Gorani and others.)

And there’s nothing native about the language, since these foreigners cleansed most of the natives, known as Serbs. The native tongue, now all but illegal, is called Serbian.

Now, considering that this information has been widely available to Americans since at least 12 years ago, when the “Kosovans”/Albanians/non-natives first got onto our yahoo-level radars, this part of the ‘investigation’ shouldn’t have proven so difficult to get right.

(The whole thing reminds me of this poor Greenwich, CT reporter who together with local police listed the origin of the man who flooded the police station as “Kosovo, Albania” — all of which is in Serbia, apparently.)

More problematic but less entertaining than the comedy of Balkan errors by Pundit Press, however, was its word-for-word-predictable closing paragraph, as if lifted from the Handbook on How to Defend Albanians when One has Attacked us Again:

It must be noted that Albanians and Kosovars tend to be very pro-American…We cannot paint ethnic Albanians as extremists, especially considering their rejection of al Qaeda and radical Islam in the 1990s– even as Serbs attempted to wipe out their population in Kosovo.

Now, here is where a little more “investigation” — uncovering long-disclosed information — could have helped the poor souls at Pundit Press. I’ll assist with the investigation about all that rejection of al Qaeda and assorted
mujahedeen, by providing the embedded links I’ve just provided. And here’s something to help get to the bottom of the truth of the Serbian attempt to “wipe out” the Kosovo population.

I’ll also trace back over my own steps to enlighten these indefatigable sleuths about the nature of the Albanian AND “Kosovar” pro-Americanism, which culminates in the following simple analogy: Say I wanted my neighbor’s house, and you killed him for me — I’d love you for at least a couple decades.

A note about this ubiquitous, repetitive warding-off of any potential temptation by Americans to malign Albanians in general every time another one of them does something bad: Notice there are no such moral dilemmas — and certainly no such pleas — on behalf of Serbs when they are unequivocally maligned — while *not* killing Americans. (I think we’ve just figured out what the Serbs have been doing wrong.)

Just like the determination by the 9/11 Commission that Bosnia was the catalyst which globalized jihad and al Qaeda led the Commission to conclude that the solution is we must do even more to help Bosnian Muslims. Similarly, the ‘thinking’ that went into our decision to help the KLA was that we had to help make sure they didn’t turn to Islamists for help. But the Islamists helped regardless (see links in relevant section above) — and they’re still “helping,” with very effective results. Given the current world trend, and increasing evidence, it seems all we did was merely put off the inevitable.

Meanwhile, don’t ask the PP sleuths to notice the striking coincidence that the side that’s been designated by their government as the enemy is the side that receives their unqualified contempt, with no care given to words used. While the side designated by their government as “friend” and “victim” is the side they’re defending and telling you not to offend when its members kill Americans.

The additional irony of course is that the Albanians they’re defending not only aren’t bothered by the universal demonization of Serbs and don’t say or write anything to qualify it, but they are in fact the originators of the falsehoods and blood libels against the Serbs. Yet they have the nerve to cry foul if someone should dare say or write something disparaging of them as a people — and this amid unflattering news.

Serbs have been coping in the face of worldwide hatred and enmity for two decades — manifested daily in newspapers regardless of what contrary realities assert themselves — but Albanians have a hard time coping with even one writer catching on to their game. One supposes it’s harder to take when there’s a grain (or more) of truth to it.

The 1389 Blog posted the following response to the PP people (links added):

…Serbs never attempted to wipe out the ethnic Albanian population in Kosovo….On the contrary, Kosovo was formerly majority Serb. That changed when the Albanian Muslims fought on the side of the Nazis. The Muslim incursion during the Third Reich and during the Communist Tito regime expropriated and displaced many Serbs. In fact, Serbs in Kosovo have been under attack from Albanian Muslims ever since that time. [Much earlier, actually.] While I would argue that Serbs should have the same right to defend their land and people as anybody else has, under the Tito regime and afterward, they were forbidden to do anything to protect their lives and property from attacks by Albanian Muslims or anyone else. As a result, many Serbs were forced to flee from Kosovo. By 1999, Serbs had been reduced to a small minority in Kosovo. The government of what was then Yugoslavia (now Serbia) did nothing to expel the Albanian Muslims from Kosovo.

The mainstream media in the US and Europe, and the Clinton Administration, essentially blood-libeled the entire Serbian people as an excuse to go to war on behalf of the Muslims in the Balkans. Their reason for doing that was a failed effort to appease the Saudis and other Muslim oil interests, some of whom considered the First Gulf War to be an unacceptable intrusion of “infidels” into the Muslim ummah.

Considering the evils perpetrated by Albanian Muslims in Kosovo – everything from heroin and weapons smuggling, organizing terrorist attacks, trafficking in women and girls for brothel slavery, to kidnapping and butchering Serbs for their organs – it IS high time that all Muslims be expelled from Kosovo and sent back to their homes in Albania, whence they came. They DO have homes and families and tribes in Albania, and they have moved into Kosovo simply because Albania is a misgoverned and corrupt post-Communist cesspool. It is up to them to clean up the mess in Albania rather than spreading it into the historic homeland of the Serbian people.

So back to Frankfurt. What will be our response? More favors for Kosovo’s KLA leaders? More political protection for Kosovo? More stories about imaginary genocides by Serbs?

I’ll close with a letter from a Serb in Montenegro:

…Additionally perplexing to me is the fact that Albanians are repaying the United States by killing US soldiers, even after the US government has illegally waged war on their behalf against Serbia and is illegally occupying Kosovo to this day. You don’t see Serbs running around killing Americans, or anyone else for that matter.

Finally, what disgusts me more than anything else, is the complacency of the corporate media, which continue to satanize Christian Serbs to this day for invented and false crimes, while portraying all Serb enemies (Bosnian Muslims, Croat Neo-nazis and Albanian Muslims) as helpless victims.

Americans, be warned! There will be more Albanian Muslim attacks to come! [Yugoslavia] welcomed Albanians fleeing poverty and repression from Albania into Serbia’s southern Kosovo province. [They were] provided with free health care, free education and even education in their Albanian language in public schools. Once the Albanians established themselves in Kosovo, the Serbs were repaid by getting murdered, raped, terrorized in every possible way and finally completely expelled from Kosovo.

I empathize with the American people, and pray that the American people will smarten up and hold their corporate politicians and corporate media accountable for their self-serving treachery and treasonous actions. The sooner this happens, the sooner the world will become a better place and the occupation of Kosovo will end.

Note the rather charitable attitude toward Americans — even after all that U.S. foreign policy has rained down upon the Serbs. And see if you still find Albanian “pro-Americanism” more trustworthy.

So keep the atrocity porn coming about what the Serbs allegedly once did to their enemies, while those enemies stay busy now killing Americans.

All the usual sympathies and buzz words begin re the Frankfurt shootings

Kosovo gunman’s father laments Germany killings

PRISTINA - The father of the gunman who shot dead two US airmen on a US Army bus at Frankfurt airport said on Thursday…”I am still in shock; I can not believe what has happened,” Murat Uka told Reuters by phone from his home in Germany. “I am really, really sorry about what has happened.

“I express my deep condolences,” said Uka, whose voice betrayed his emotion.

“The American people are the best friends of Albanians,” he said.

One really has to ask at this point: Do most Americans — whom we’re told are so bound to these people — even know who Albanians or ‘Kosovars’ are? I usually have to repeat and then explain the word “Kosovo” to them — because, as they tell me all too often, they’ve never heard of the place. And they’re not sure who or what lives there. Indeed, most Americans don’t even remember that Clinton had a war. Of course, during times like this they know the word for a day, and have a brief revelation (”Oh, is that that place that Clinton bombed back then?”). And within 1.5 weeks, they’ve forgotten it again.

Indeed, it’s not the American people who are obsessed with Albanians, it’s the American Government that’s worried about it. Very worried.

More, from Winnipeg Free Press:

…German police said he was born in Kosovo…A cousin, Behxhet Uka…said he would be shocked if Arid Uka was behind the shooting, saying that like the vast majority of Kosovo Albanians, the family is pro-American.

The northern town of Mitrovica is best known for the ethnic division between majority ethnic Albanians and minority Serbs. The former mining town has also been the focus of reports that it breeds Islamic extremists. […]

Which, we’ve been assured, Albanians are impervious to.

The sympathy symphony crescendos:

Relatives of the alleged Kosovar gunman who killed two US soldiers in an attack in Frankfurt on Thursday said they were astonished about his reported extremist views.

“He himself only knows what he has done. I would never believe that he could do something like that,” the suspect’s grandfather, Avdullah Bejta, an imam in Mitrovica told Kosovo radio.

The killing of two US airmen “has touched all of us in the heart,” he said, stressing that “the Muslim religion does not preach killing and violence.” [Note here that the religiosity that Albanians regularly profess a revulsion toward is being defended as a good in and of itself.] […]

And the grand finale I was waiting for:

Kosovo’s Unwelcome Role In Frankfurt Terror Deaths (Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, March 3)

It feels like a day of mourning in Pristina. Shock, anger, and dismay are palpable in the streets of Kosovo’s capital against the backdrop of today’s headlines: “Kosovar Kills Two U.S. Army Men At Frankfurt Airport.”

The suspect in yesterday’s tragedy is Arid Uka, a 21-year-old Kosovo Albanian, born and raised in Germany, where his family has lived for four decades.

Police claim he is not registered in any database on alleged terrorist acts within Kosovo, while information on his family is limited and his profile remains unclear.

What is clear, though, is the anger and revulsion that Kosovars felt and continue to feel.

Upon hearing the news, a group of young students from Pristina University gathered in the center of the city to light candles in memory of the U.S. soldiers killed in the shooting.

Candles were lit in Mitrovica, too, Arid Uka’s city of origin, where young people gathered and expressed their condolences to the American people.

The authorities were quick to react, claiming it was “a macabre act against the values of civilization and against the tradition of Kosovo people, to endlessly show gratitude toward the U.S. for its role in freedom of Kosovo.”

When the news came out on RFE/RL’s Albanian-language website www.evrropaelire.org, the flow of the commentaries was unbelievable.

More than 100 commentaries poured in from Kosovo and around the world, and the flow continued with expressions of condolences and demands of capital punishment for the perpetrator.

“He cannot be an Albanian,” one went. Another equated shooting at the U.S. with “being a traitor.” “How can one shoot against a helping hand?” asked another. All seemingly bringing the grim atmosphere dominating Kosovo society today into sharp relief.

The president of the Albanian-American Democratic Club in New York, Alban Dega, wrote an open letter to Kosovo’s highest authorities suggesting that the suspect be stripped of his Albanian nationality and Kosovo citizenship.

“We are the most pro-American and most pro-Western nation on Earth. The Albanian Pro-Americanism is not only a value, but a national cult which honors the Albanians wherever they are on Earth”, Dega proclaims.

“God bless U.S. men and women in uniform and the USA! Amen!” Dega concludes.

Similar expressions of solidarity can be heard today all over Kosovo.

Kosovo’s parliament held a moment of silence today to express condolences to the U.S., its people, its army, and to the families of the victims.

And they’ll do it again next time!

Why, oh why, does this music sound so familiar? I think I’ve heard that song before. Let’s travel back to just under four years ago…to May, 2007…

Jersey Jihadists’ relatives speak: “They shouldn’t dare throw a stone at America”


Albanian brothers seem unlikely terror suspects

3 in Dix Plot From Pro-U.S. Balkans Area

The piece that all three headlines were for:

Three Muslim brothers who allegedly helped plot to kill soldiers at a U.S. Army base have roots in one of Europe’s most pro-American corners — a region that remains grateful to the United States for ending the Kosovo war.

Dritan Duka, 28, Shain Duka, 26, and Eljvir Duka, 23, who were arrested in New Jersey this week in what U.S. authorities said was a bungled scheme to blow up and gun down soldiers at Fort Dix, were born in Debar, a remote town on Macedonia’s rugged border with Serbia’s Kosovo province.

Relatives in the ethnic Albanian-populated town of 15,000 said they had not seen the brothers in more than two decades, but expressed disbelief Wednesday that the three would attack the United States.

“We all have been supporters of America. We were always thankful to America for its support during the wars in Kosovo and Macedonia,” a cousin, Elez Duka, 29, told The Associated Press.

“These are simple, ordinary people and they’ve got nothing to do with terrorism. I expect their release and I expect an apology,” he said, waving his hands. “I see injustice. These are ridiculous charges.”

His indignation captured the mood among Slavic Muslims in Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania — places that have repeatedly expressed gratitude to the United States for intervening in the 1998-99 Kosovo war and a 2001 ethnic conflict that pushed Macedonia to the brink of civil war.

Albania was among the first countries to answer Washington’s call for troops to help support U.S.-led military offensives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, which many expect to gain independence from Serbia later this year, U.S. flags are commonplace. The main avenue is Bill Clinton Boulevard, renamed to honor the president who ordered airstrikes that halted former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic’s brutal crackdown in the province.

Like many Europeans, ethnic Albanians staged a big demonstration after the U.S. led the invasion of Iraq in 2003, but theirs was a pro-America rally, not an anti-war protest.

In and out of Debar, people struggled to reconcile those feelings with the indictment of the three brothers and a fourth ethnic Albanian suspect, Agron Abdullahu, 24. Two other men also were arrested: Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer, 22, a Palestinian born in Jordan, and Serdar Tatar, 23, born in Turkey.

It was unclear whether Abdullahu also came from Debar, but U.S. authorities said he served as a sniper during the Kosovo war, which pitted ethnic Albanian separatists against Serbian troops loyal to Milosevic.

Kosovo Prime Minister Agim Ceku wrote a letter to the U.S. mission in Pristina on Wednesday expressing the “extraordinary feeling that Kosovo’s people have for the U.S.” Ceku also denounced what he called “the disgusting idea” that Albanians could be involved in an attack “against a nation that has been very generous so far.”

The Duka brothers’ grandmother, Naze Duka, was visibly upset as word of their arrests spread….“America is good — you work, you earn money there,” the 88-year-old said. “I have no idea where this all came from. How did this happen?

He said the brothers occasionally phoned. Over the past two years, Elez Duka said, his cousins told him they had grown long beards and had become more devoted to Islam, but he insisted they were incapable of involvement in a terrorist plot.

“They live in America and grew up in the American culture. How can you say they are anti-American? These accusations are totally unfounded,” he said.

Few ethnic Albanians embrace militant Islam. Most are moderate or secular.

Even those in Debar who described themselves as devout Muslims denounced the Fort Dix plot.

“They must have been crazy. They shouldn’t dare throw a stone at America,” said Rrahmi Duka, 70, a distant relative of the brothers, as a loudspeaker blared Muslim prayers in Debar’s main square.

“Who saved us? America,” he said. “We are in America’s hands.”

Cue Press Release from Albanian-American organization:

The National Albanian American Council (NAAC) strongly condemns the planned attack on Fort Dix Army Base by a group of people who reportedly plotted to attack the base, and we congratulate the law enforcement authorities for their swift apprehension of the conspirators, thereby preventing a possible tragedy.

“…[A]s Albanians, we remain the most pro-American people in the world,” NAAC Executive Director Avni Mustafaj said in an official statement… “[Albania] even represented the only nation in Europe that saved 100 percent of its people of Jewish faith during World War II. Furthermore, we provided safe haven for all the Jews that fled the Holocaust to Albania.”

Mr. Mustafaj further stated that, “Fort Dix is a uniquely special place for Albanians for this is where refugees who fled ethnic cleansing from Kosova into Macedonian refugee camps were brought to the US. The refugees were registered and provided numerous services and assistance to begin their new life in America. We are all relieved that this tragedy was avoided and ask that those who sought to harm innocent American service men and women be brought to justice immediately.” […]

I’m not saying they’re not genuine. I do believe they’re sincere, and very upset. So then next time this happens, they’ll be sincerely sad again. And the next time…and the time after that.

The Arid Uka type IS a minority among Albanians, especially while we’re still their chief patrons. Their orientation is not symptomatic of Albanians, but it’s even less symptomatic of, say, Serbs.

Notice that Serbs aren’t lighting candles and affirming their cultish love for America, or apologizing. Because Christian Serbs don’t kill Americans.

Isn’t it better to have friends whose people are not vulnerable to inclinations such as those that Uka and the Dukas fell victim to? By virtue of not being Muslim? And therefore the more obvious friends to have cultivated?

Ah, but U.S. bureaucrats and generals know the Serbs aren’t a threat to us, so that’s why they can afford to pour barrel upon barrel of kerosene onto U.S.-Serb relations in pursuit of the Albanian-Muslim “friendship.”

“He cannot be an Albanian,” said the one comment to RFE/RL. Well what is he more likely to be? Serbian? Those people whom Albanians had us kill on their behalf but who were not American-killers and who otherwise had little to do with us — aside from, of course, being useful against Stalin and, earlier, Hitler?

But by all means, let’s be fair and publish all the standard defenses of Albanians that always gush forth after incidents like these. Even though Albanians weren’t very fair to the Serbian reputation, whose demolition was — in contrast — not based on facts but on fabrications. Frankfurt, Ft. Dix and others, however, are very real.

Amid this rush to defend Albanians and warn the public against generalizing or tainting the wider community, let’s note a strikingly similar dynamic to when more typical jihadists attack. Only in this case, joining the choir to make sure all are on board the “tiny minority”/”they’re not all like that” train — which is otherwise led by leftists and Muslim groups — are conservatives and anti-jihadists. But that contention is only a little less beside the point.

The Albanian-American Democratic Club’s Mr. Dega, meanwhile, certainly nailed the idea of Albanian pro-Americanism as a “national cult.” Again and again I ask, does that fact strike anyone as normal? As not conspicuous? As having no subtext underlying it?

Albanian pro-Americanism actually made the news a few days before the Frankfurt massacre:

There was much chortling across the Balkans last year when Mr Pacolli [the Albanian billionaire who is now Kosovo’s president] took a large party of Kosovars to Libya as part of his attempt to get Mr [G]addafi to abandon his pro-Serbian stance and to recognise the country. At one point the whole party was flown to the middle of a desert to meet the Libyan leader.

On arriving, Mr Gaddafi ordered them to sing and dance. When they ran out of tunes they were reprimanded by an aide. Eventually the good colonel told them they could stop, before dismissing them with words to the effect that he would never recognise Kosovo as long as their leaders remained American poodles. With that, the humiliated Kosovars were sent home.

One is confident that being thus reprimanded by a lunatic, it will reinforce the Albanian resolve to stay American poodles, rather than having the opposite effect. The Albanians otherwise have been lobbying the Arab and Muslim world successfully.

Also the same week as the Frankfurt attack was a little noted arrest in Maryland, of what sounds like an even more atypical Albanian:

Kosovo man sentenced for visa fraud

GREENBELT, Md. (AP) - Federal prosecutors say an ethnic Albanian from Kosovo has been sentenced to five years in prison for visa fraud.

Fifty-one-year-old Brahim Lajqi, who lives in Silver Spring, was sentenced Monday. U.S. District Judge Roger Titus granted the government’s request for an enhanced sentence because of statements Lajqi made about engaging in terrorist activity.

Prosecutors say Lajqi was angry about U.S. involvement in the Kosovo conflict, which he believed led to the deaths of several relatives.

According to his guilty plea, Lajqi made false statements on immigration documents.

Here was the FBI press release:

Self-Described “Militant Extremist” Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Visa Fraud

Sentence Enhanced Based on Statements and Conduct Indicating a Desire to Attack the U.S.

GREENBELT, MD—U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus, sentenced Brahim Lajqi, age 51, an ethnic Albanian from Kosovo residing in Silver Spring, Maryland, today to five years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for visa fraud. Judge Titus granted the government’s requested sentence enhancement based on Lajqi conducting activities to fulfill his pledge to retaliate against the United States for its involvement in the Kosovo conflict, which Lajqi believed had led to the deaths of several family members.

“The evidence showed that Mr. Lajqi repeatedly and consistently made statements and took actions indicating that he planned to engage in terrorist activity,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.

According to Lajqi’s guilty plea, he made false statements on immigration documents. Lajqi admitted that on his application to become a permanent resident in the United States he stated that he had been granted asylum status, when in fact, he had not. Lajqi further admitted that he forged his mother’s signature on a petition for an alien relative that was purportedly filed by her on his behalf.

According to court documents and testimony at today’s sentencing hearing, Lajqi is a self-described extremist militant trained by Bosnian rebels, who on several occasions expressed a desire to “get even” with the United States and discussed obtaining weapons and explosives for an attack on Washington, D.C. According to court documents, Lajqi drove around Washington, D.C. on two occasions to discuss and view potential targets, including Capitol Hill, the courthouse where his immigration proceedings were being held, the White House, the Treasury building, and a Metro train stop during rush hour. Lajqi also stated that he was in the process of renewing his commercial drivers license (CDL) in South Carolina so that he could transport weapons from Canada. Lajqi actually traveled to West Virginia in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain a CDL there. […]

Maryland man gets five years for fraud, after making terrorist threats (Washington Post, Feb. 28)

A Silver Spring man convicted of falsifying immigration documents had threatened to blow up the White House, the U.S. Treasury building, a federal courthouse and a Metro stop, vowing to “slaughter the enemies of Islam,” federal prosecutors said Monday in court.

Brahim Lajqi, 51, was not charged with attempting to carry out any terrorist threats, but prosecutors outlined the allegations in an effort to persaude U. S. District Judge Roger W. Titus to impose a penalty harsher than the six months in prison recommended by sentencing guidelines.

Lajqi, an ethnic Albanian who came to the United States through Mexico in the mid-1980s, is a self-described “extremist militant,” who said he was trained by Bosnian Muslim rebels, according to court papers. He was angry about American military involvement in Kosovo in the 1990s, and “blamed all Albanian deaths in Kosovo on the United States,” the court papers said. He also talked about targeting Jews, court papers say.

Lajqi’s attorney, Gary W. Christopher, a federal public defender, said Lajqi was a “talker” and a “blowhard” who never planned to carry out any attack. He said Lajqi has lived in the United States for 27 years and has had no trouble with the law. [Note: The same thing was said about the Ft. Dix plotters.]

According to court papers, Lajqi and a confidential informant rode around the Washington area to scout out potential targets. Lajqi said the White House was his “number one spot” but also talked about targeting a Metro train at rush hour, the papers say.

During another trip, the documents state, he suggested blowing up the Treasury building to “make them bankrupt and broke,” and noted that a dump truck would be a good place to hold explosives.

Lajqi told the informant that he knew of weapons suppliers in Montana and Canada, and that one of his brothers had connections, authorities said.

The court papers say that Lajqi told the informant they “deserve a good bomb in Capitol Hill…and White House. Maybe Capitol Hill more because lots of Jews live there.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Welsh said in court that authorities arrested Lajqi when they became concerned he might try to seek weapons. “He’s not just a talker,” Welsh said, “he’s also an actor.”

The Washington Examiner also carried the story, which apparently stayed local:

…Lajqi was recorded by a “confidential human source” saying he wanted to carry out terrorist attacks in retaliation for the United States rejecting his requests for asylum and for its role in the deaths of family members in Kosovo in the 1990s.

Lajqi also spoke of blowing up the Treasury building, the D.C. courthouse where Lajqi’s immigration proceedings had been held and military bases, Welsh said. Lajqi took two trips to the District to scope out the places he wanted to bomb and spoke of having connections that would help him get weapons, he said.

But Christopher said Lajqi, who told the judge he was innocent of wanting to blow up landmarks, turned down the chance to meet an arms dealer, which he said shows Lajqi wasn’t serious in his statements.

[Asst. U.S. Attorney Gregory] Welsh said Lajqi used racial slurs in describing Jews and talked of wanting to “slaughter the enemies of Islam.” He also discussed getting a D.C. hotel room where he could watch the landmarks blow up, the prosecutor said.

Three of Lajqi’s siblings were in the courtroom Monday, telling The Washington Examiner after the hearing that Lajqi is not a terrorist but instead a garrulous man who never intended to carry out attacks.

“He’s a dreamer,” said Richard Sica, a friend of Lajqi’s from New York. “He’s a talker.”

On the subject of Jews and Albanians — mentioned in a semi-accurate historical context in the National Albanian-American Council’s press release above — we got the following update on the Frankfurt Albanian jihadist yesterday:

Arid Uka admits terror outrage at Frankfurt airport

THE airport worker who allegedly killed two US soldiers is claimed to have told police: “I did it for Allah.”

Kosovan Arid Uka, 21, is accused of shooting dead the airmen and wounding two others after attacking their bus outside the main airport in Frankfurt, Germany, earlier this week.

He allegedly shouted Islamic slogans and opened fire, later telling police he “wanted to do my bit for Jihad”. Officers said further deaths were only avoided as his pistol jammed.

Last night it was revealed that Uka’s Facebook page contained hate-filled rants against Jews. He was listed on the social networking site under his real name but had changed it to Abu Reyann, his “warrior” title.

The page is littered with ­references to a Holy War and attacks on “non-believers”…He calls German Chancellor Angela Merkel an ­unbeliever, claiming she has sided with Israel, which he described as “a declaration of war”….

This reminds me of another Albanian who was arrested about a year ago:
NatWest handed Al Qaeda terrorist 100% mortgage to buy £93,000 home he turned into a bomb factory

A bank has sparked outrage by handing over a 100 per cent mortgage to an Al Qaeda terrorist who smuggled himself into Britain.

Albanian Krenar Lusha, 30, was given £93,000 after NatWest failed to complete full checks on his UK status. He used the cash to buy a house in Derby, where he stored bomb-making equipment and information on how to carry out attacks.

A jury heard how he boasted to a string of women on dating websites of being a ‘terrorist’ and a ’sniper’ and how he ‘loved’ to see Jews and Americans killed.

Lusha was convicted of possessing 71.8 litres of petrol, computer documents called Ragnar’s Detonators and The Bomb Book, and video films called the Hezbollah Military Instructions Manual and Mobile Detonators.

He was cleared of possessing nearly 4.5lb of potassium nitrate, and documents entitled The Car Bomb Recognition Guide, Middle Eastern Terrorist Bomb Design, Improvised Radio Detonation Techniques, and The Mujahideen Explosives Handbook.

The Mobile Detonators video gave instructions on how to turn a mobile phone into a bomb trigger, the jury heard. Lusha had 14 mobile phones at his address when police called at about 7.30am and found him in bed…there was also gruesome footage of live beheadings by extreme Islamic groups.

He settled in Derby and worked long shifts as a factory machinist at HL Plastics in nearby Denby, which enabled him to send money back to his parents in Puke, Albania.

Police sources said his claim for asylum, on the grounds that he was a Kosovan in fear of persecution by the Serbian authorities, was rejected by the UK authorities.

Lusha also told police that because he and his four brothers didn’t fight in the Balkans war he was persecuted by those that did. […]

And this is all of course without mentioning Bajram Asllani, part of the North Carolina Eight arrested in 2009 with plans to commit terror abroad, including in Israel. (A week before his absentia sentence was passed by Serbia — he’d escaped from his captors in 2007 in Sandzak — he was arrested again in Prizren along with three others in 2009, a month after the Carolina group was disrupted. Police found two Kalashnikovs, five hand grenades and a laptop believed to contain terror plans.)

But back to the Albanian terrorist of the day, about whom there are some updates:

Prosecutors: ‘Islamism’ may have spurred shooting of U.S. airmen

Boris Rhein, the interior minister of the German state Hesse, tells reporters that the suspect, identified as a 21-year-old ethnic Albanian from Kosovo, was apparently radicalized over the last few weeks and acted alone, the DAPD news agency reported.

The suspect’s family says he worked at Frankfurt airport and was a devout Muslim, but Rhein said he did not belong to a wider terrorist network or cell, the Associated Press reports. […]

Notice the last sentence was correctly written as if presenting a contradiction.

As for “…apparently radicalized over the last few weeks…” where does one even find out a factoid like that? Was he on some kind of accelerated track or something? Does overlaying Albanianism with Islamism perhaps produce a spontaneously combustible reaction? In case that just sounds like a gratuitous insult (and I don’t care if it does, since gratuitous insults against Serbs, for example, never bothered anyone), let me point out that it’s based on this:

By concentrating on these centers of Albanian nationalism, the foreign Islamists are banking on the idea that any sort of extremism is just extremism and can simply be redirected, like a stream, as and when needed. Indeed, as one active global charity, the Birmingham, UK-based Islamic Relief makes a point of noting, Skenderaj is “a place with a long history of Albanian defiance of Serbian authority.” Eventually, hopes the foreign Islamic movement, that defiance can be redirected toward the West.

Media and policymakers in the West, however, have always blindly assumed that since the KLA and its supporters were once “pro-American” any Albanian extremists remaining among them will always remain eminently controllable nationalists. However, as has been noted, the end of the national question in Kosovo is the beginning of the religious one…
Chris Deliso, The Coming Balkan Caliphate

Check!

From one of the above-linked news reports:

In Kosovo analysts said the suspect, born and raised in Germany according to Kosovo media, was not a product of Kosovo’s fiercely nationalist but moderately Muslim society.

“He is not a product of the Kosovo society. If he was an extremist he took that identity there, where he was born and has lived, and not here,” religious expert Isa Ukella told AFP.

According to Ukella in this society “the national identity dominates over the religious one.”

Indeed — and like I keep saying — Albanians don’t have to be Islamicized to be terrorists. They’re already radicals.

But that’s never bothered us, so I think our policy toward Albanians should remain consistent in the face of this attack: Let him go. After all, that’s what we pressure Serbia to do with its Albanian terrorists, whose prosecution by Belgrade we label as necessarily “political.” So just pretend that all Uka did was kill Serbs rather than Americans, and release him.

Twenty-one year-old Albanian born and raised in Germany carries out revenge attack on Ser — no, wait — on Americans?

But I thought it was something the Serbs were doing that made Albanians violent. I mean, isn’t it something Israel is doing that makes Palestinians violent? And Macedonians make Macedonian-Albanians violent. No?

Well then this must be because of the “Kosovars’” frustration over the slow pace of getting their independence. No wait! — we just celebrated the third year of that independence. This is so confusing!

Keep on, US Gov. Keep on.

Frankfurt airport shooting: two killed in attack on US military bus

The gunman, believed to be from Kosovo, opened fire on a bus containing US airmen in front of Terminal 2. The bus driver and a passenger were killed and two others were seriously injured.

Police said it appeared an argument had broken out on board the bus before the suspect opened fire. The dead soldier was found outside the bus, which had a US government licence plate marked “AF”, for air force.

What our soldiers have not been briefed on about Our Friends the Albanians — and by design — and what they still don’t know about Our Friends the Albanians is that they kill easily. You’re not supposed to argue with them. Because this is how Albanian males tend to end arguments. Even in church. In fact, as the recent Council of Europe report made abundantly clear, that’s the rule that’s been guiding our entire Kosovo policy meeting maximalist Albanian demands: Don’t argue. As I’ve tried to explain before, the violence of Islam is a redundancy for Albanianism.

The two injured had been shot in the head and chest, police said. The gunman fled from the scene and a suspect was arrested inside the terminal shortly afterwards.

Police would not give out any information on the suspect, but Kosovo said he was one of its citizens.

Kosovo’s interior minister, Bajram Rexhepi, said German police had identified the suspect as 21-year-old Ari[d] Uka, from the northern town of Mitrovica.

Patrick Meehan, a member of the US homeland security committee, said it looked like a terrorist attack.

Note the mention of his town of origin: Mitrovica. That’s the place that’s divided into North and South, with the only relatively safe place for a Serb being in the North. That northern part of Mitrovica is what U.S.-led NATO is trying to bring under the governance of folks like Arid Uka. And the only thing the U.S. government wants Mitrovica to be known for is Serbian lawlessness! So much for that. The fact that way too many Americans just learned the word Mitrovica is sure gonna make it harder to sneak a U.S.-led NATO military operation there later this year to force Christian-Serb capitulation to the ‘non-Muslimy’, ‘non-terrorist’ Albanians.

2 killed in Germany airport shooting, police say

…U.S. President Barack Obama told reporters, saying he was “saddened and outraged” by the attack. “We will spare no effort in learning how this outrageous attack took place,” he said, adding that the United States is working with German authorities.

“Learning how this outrageous attack took place”? I’ve been trying to educate you on how, Mr. President(s): It took place via March 24, 1999 and the continuing, consistent, worldwide impunity and political protection for Albanians as we insist, against all evidence, that they’re the good guys. Pretty effective camouflage, if you ask me. So now the U.S. and Germany are working together to straighten this ‘incident’ out — how ironic. The two chief architects of resurrecting the Third Reich in the Balkans, via Albanian-terrorist proxies who were Hitler’s erstwhile proxies, have been targeted together in an event that is rather symbolic of the U.S.-German marriage that helped make it happen. Or did these two “great powers” envision their pro-terror, pro-Nazi partnership in the Balkans leading to a different sort of outcome? Too bad that, as usual, our soldiers’ blood pays for the sins of the fathers of these policies. And of course those policymakers really care. You can tell by the fact that their policy has changed course [NOT!] since the last time Americans were hurt by it.

“We don’t have all the information yet, and you will be fully briefed when we get more information, but this is a stark reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices that our men and women in uniform are making all around the world to keep us safe…” Obama said.

While you endanger them with your pro-terror policies in the Balkans.

…They were U.S. Air Force airmen from Lakenheath base in the United Kingdom, said the official, emphasizing the information was preliminary.

Two others are wounded, said the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the incident. They were security forces on their way to a deployment, the source said, without saying specifically where they were heading.

Police said they believe the suspect stormed onto the bus as it was waiting at the terminal and began shooting.

…”We don’t know the details but I would like to say how upset I am,” [German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.] She expressed her condolences to the soldiers’ families and stressed that Germany will “do everything we can to try and find out quickly what happened.”

AFTER MAKING THE TOP-10 LIST OF BEING THE FIRST TO RECOGNIZE THE TERROR-GANGSTER STATE OF KOSOVO.

Philip Murphy, U.S. ambassador to Germany, said in a statement he was “grateful for the assistance provided by German government officials in protecting U.S. servicemen and women, and in investigating this terrible act. In difficult times, Germans and Americans support each other.”

No, they support each other to create difficult times.

As police investigated, the scene was covered with sheets, journalist Marc Kohlbecher told CNN. The body of the bus driver remained in the bus, while the other body was in front of the bus, he said.

The U.S. military base at Ramstein in Germany regularly runs shuttles to Frankfurt for commercial flights.

Authorities will be investigating the suspect’s background and associates, likely subpoenaing telephone and e-mail records, Fuentes said.

His background is Albanian. His associates are the same as the U.S. Government’s. There. I finished the investigation.

And in the UK Telegraph report below we have a unique case of a reporter identifying the attacker as Muslim. Wherefore such insolent editorializing?

Ari[d] Uka, a 21-year-old Muslim Kosovar citizen from the northern town of Mitrovica, was arrested after the shooting in a public lane outside the busy airport’s Terminal 2. He was reportedly armed with an automatic weapon and a knife.

During Kosovo’s war for independence from the former Yugoslavia in the late 1990s there were reported links between Osama bin Laden and the now disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army, which had the support of Western powers. The territory’s subsequent declaration of independence in 2008 was wholeheartedly endorsed by the United States, which has had troops in Kosovo since 1999.

What? What’s this? Did you catch that? Someone is bringing up the OBL connection to Albanians? I haven’t seen this reference in the MSM in over a decade! Who dares it? It wasn’t mentioned in the wake of the four Albanians plotting the Ft. Dix massacre, nor when the murder-for-organs story broke, nor in any of the Albanian-involved terror plots in the intervening years. But here — a mainstream journalist, no less — someone is finally venturing to taint the entire, wider, ‘righteous’ Albanian cause — which even murder-for-organs story wasn’t permitted to do — with this ‘isolated incident’? Racism! The mainstream journalist even makes a connection to — what? — Yugoslavia?

Two shot dead as ‘Kosovan’ gunman opens fire on bus picking up American soldiers from Frankfurt Airport — “Two American airmen were shot dead and another left fighting for his life today after a Kosovo Albanian gunman stormed their bus before opening fire at Germany’s busiest airport.”

WHAT? Did someone say ALBANIAN? “Kosovars” are actually Albanian? What?!

Some media reports said the gunman identified as Ari[d] Uka, 21, shouted out ‘Islamic slogans’ before opening fire.

He gunned down his first victim as the soldier stood in front of the vehicle at Terminal 2 before turning his weapon on the driver as he sat behind the wheel.

A fourth man was lightly injured and both he and the gravely wounded man are now being treated at the city’s University Clinic Hospital.

The airport, continental Europe’s second biggest after Paris, is routinely used by American soldiers based in Germany for arrivals and departures.

Eyewitnesses said the man ‘infiltrated’ himself among the GIs before shouting out radical Islamic slogans and then reaching into a bag for his gun.

‘This is a devastating and a tragic event,’ Rexhepi said. ‘We are trying to find out was this something that was organised or what was the nature of the attack.’

It was organized at something called the Rambouillet Conference in February-March 1999.

Although the motives for the attack are still unclear, many Kosovans are Muslims, raising the suspicion that Islamic extremism may have been a factor behind the attack.

WHAT??!!! Islamic extremism is a factor in KOSOVO?! Non-Muslimy Kosovo?!

The incident even made it onto my local news! Local news that not only uttered the word “Kosovo,” but also reported — as did the NY Times and others — that the shooter shouted “Allah Akbar” before firing. That doesn’t sound like Albanian!

Even USA Today let the cat out of the bag:

Family members in Kosovo described the suspect as a devout Muslim, who was born and raised in Germany and worked at the airport. The attacker got into an argument with airmen outside their military bus before opening fire…

In the past, Western intelligence reports have said the region could be an ideal recruitment ground for the so-called “white al-Qaeda” — Muslims with Western features who could easily blend into European or U.S. cities and execute terrorist attacks.

In Mitrovica, family members said the suspect’s name was spelled “Arid” not “Arif,” saying that he was born and educated in Germany where his family moved some 40 years ago.

Uncle Rexhep Uka said the suspect’s grandfather was a religious leader at a mosque in a village near Mitrovica.

Well then, 40 years ago his family must have suffered such tremendous horrors at the hands of Serbs, that the grievance seeped into the family’s genes and compelled this son to avenge it. (See the Blame-the-Serbs defense. It’s only a matter of time before we hear it again.)

Working at the airport, no less. What was that “Albanians only” help-wanted ad by Camp Bondsteel about — because of a concern over Serbianinfiltration“?

Hey, EU, keep whining about the delay in granting Kosovo visa-free travel throughout Europe.

“Citizens of Kosovo are now the only ones in the Western Balkans who need a visa to travel to the EU,” complained European Parliament Rapporteur for Kosovo Ulrike Lunacek in January, blaming EU interior ministers (police) for not liberalizing visa requirements for Kosovo.

“Just give them the benefit of the doubt that they might not be that bad,” said Engjellushe Morina, executive director of the Kosovo Stability Initiative, last month. Indeed. What’s the worst that could happen?

He blamed a lack of political will in the EU. “Kosovo has moved on in the past 10 years, half of the population is young.”

It certainly has moved on! Right on to Europe. Just ask the Air Force bus driver in Frankfurt. No, wait… As for half the population being young, I believe that’s called a profile. (The shooter, for example, was 21.)

Fajon: Kosovo must become visa-free (Oct. 22, 2010)

European Parliament rapporteur Tanja Fajon says it is essential to include Kosovo in the Schengen process and she urges Pristina to meet EU criteria.

“We need to find a way to include Kosovo in the process,” said the European Parliament’s rapporteur on visa liberalisation for the Western Balkans, Tanja Fajon…

“I hope that November 10th, two days after the ministers will take a decision on Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, will be an excellent time to give Kosovo authorities and citizens the good news,” she said.

She noted that there are many reasons why Kosovo is currently out of the process — including border security issues and a lack of biometric passports.

Rexhepi has criticised the EC for not delivering a strategy for visa-free status. […]

There was something the West didn’t deliver on for Albanians? That’s playing with fire.

Kosovo official slams EU, saying it applies double standards in Balkans integration (Sept. 11, 2010)

…Besim Beqaj, Kosovo’s minister in charge of European integration, said the EU is setting conditions for Kosovo that are “not asked from other countries” to earn visa-free travel into EU member states.

“We want to be treated equally as other states in the region,” Beqaj said.

The EU decided on Monday to end visa requirements for Bosnian and Albanian residents by Christmas, leaving Kosovo as the last Balkan country that requires visas to travel to the EU. […]

All together now, Pity Party: Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

Keep it going for: Visa liberalisation for the Western Balkans: Kosovo the ‘ugly duckling’?

But on the bright side: “Bosnia, Albania mark EU visa lifting”

AP, Dec. 15 — Bosnians boarded buses for Western Europe on Wednesday, the first time in 20 years the country’s citizens were allowed to travel to the European Union without visas.

The EU decided unanimously last month to end visa requirements for Bosnian and Albanian residents, but have warned the measure could be scrapped if it is abused for bogus asylum claims and illegal work.

Addressing an open-air party organized in Bosnia on Tuesday evening, the country’s Security Minister Sadik Ahmetovic said the citizens will “finally be free.”

“I am really happy that we will finally be spared the humiliation of waiting in lines before Western embassies in order to go on vacation in Europe,” said one of the revelers, 43-years-old Amra Hadziosmanovic.

MEPs have welcomed a decision by EU interior ministers to end visa requirements for citizens of Bosnia and Albania. (Nov. 8, 2010)

The decision on Monday comes despite fears by some member states that it will increase the number of asylum requests made in the EU by citizens of the two countries.

It follows a similar move by the EU to abolish Schengen visas for the citizens of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia in 2009.

[ALDE human rights spokeswoman Sarah Ludford] added, “Freer travel will broaden the international outlook of Bosnians and Albanians, and in particular these countries’ next generation of leaders.

“Fostering the links between the Western Balkans and the EU will reduce the potential for our south-eastern neighbours to revert to nationalism, conflict and ethnic hatred, making them and us safer as a result.”

“However, the hard work will not be over for Bosnia and Albania. Their authorities like those of the other Western Balkan countries relieved of visa demands must be vigilant that the scheme is not abused, as that could well bring us back to square one.”

She hopes that successful Schengen visa liberalisation may also encourage the UK to review its own visa requirements for Balkan nationals. [Not likely.]

Green MEPs also welcomed the “belated decision” but called for Kosovo, the only Balkan state yet to enjoy similar visa free status, to also be included.

Dutch Green MEP Marije Cornelissen said, “The final obstacle has been cleared for the belated but welcome inclusion of Bosnia and Albania in the EU’s visa free travel scheme.

“We welcome that opposition in council - notably from France - was overcome and that ministers approved the decision unanimously…”

Greens/EFA foreign affairs spokesperson and parliamentary rapporteur on Kosovo Ulrike Lunacek agreed, saying, “Today’s decision is another step in the progress of the Balkan countries towards their European destiny but the case of Kosovo is now all the more pressing.”

Yayyyyyyyyyyyyy:

…[Herman Van Rompuy gave] Albanians the good news that they would be able to travel freely without visas in the EU countries and forget about the long lines of waiting in European embassies.

People from the non-EU member states of Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro have been allowed to travel freely to EU countries since the end of last year, but Albania and Bosnia were left behind. [One wonders why.]

“Albania’s moves to waive visa obligations for the EU neighbourhood countries are seen as a positive step that facilitates people-to-people contacts and enhances regional reconciliation…” (You can say that again!)

In addition to objections from French, British, Italian and Polish EU members, Dutch MP Geert Wilders complained: (Nov. 9, 2010)

Immigration minister Gerd Leers put in an ‘ultimately weak performance’ when EU ministers approved the ending of visas for people from Bosnia and Albania, Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam party PVV says in Tuesday’s Volkskrant.

Leers, attending his first EU meeting in Brussels, said he had little choice but to vote in favour because the decision had effectively already been taken. ‘Our resistence would have been voted down,’ the paper quoted him as saying.

However, ministers did agree visas could to be reintroduced if large numbers of Bosnians and Albanians move to the Netherlands or other countries, EU news websites said. […]

Kosovo isolated after vote on Albania and Bosnia visas (Oct. 2010)

… “I hope that in the near future all people of the Western Balkans region will be able to enjoy visa-free travel to the EU,” EU parliament President Jerzy Buzek said in a written statement on Thursday.

Centre-right Slovak MEP Eduard Kukan noted that: “The EU should not create a situation where citizens of one part of the region remain in isolation.”

“The elephant in the room is that Kosovo remains,” Austrian Green deputy Ulrike Lunacek said. “We must move to immediately resolve this anomaly.”

Say, where did that Yugoslavia go? Things were easier then:

Kosovo analyst Belul Beqaj is one of many Kosovo citizens who easily used to travel in and out of the former Yugoslavia with the old Yugoslav passport. “There was much more free movement at that time compared to today,” Beqaj tells SETimes. That changed when the country split apart in the 1990s.

For Beqaj, the main worry now is that Kosovo could remain isolated even as its neighbours gain the right to free movement within the Schengen zone.

Senior EU officials visiting Kosovo said there are conditions that must be met so that the Kosovo visa liberalisation process can move forward.

Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci expects his government to receive the official visas liberalisation guide soon.

Kosovo analyst Muharrem Nitaj says leaving the young country out of the integration process, while countries surrounding Kosovo are part of it, is nonsensical.

He says Kosovo is not worse than the rest of the region when it comes to economic development, security, legal infrastructure or other process preconditions…

In that case, how does one explain this:

“There has been no reduction in the number of people seeking to leave since Kosovo’s declaration of independence three years ago,” [Swiss migration attahe Grégoire Crettaz] said.

It’s hardly surprising when you consider that little has changed since 2008. The country, with around two million inhabitants is still among the poorest in Europe. Jobs are scarce, salaries are low, while the cost of living is relatively high.

If Kosovo joins the Schengen visa-free zone, migration specialists fear that a much greater number of people would flee their new state to join extended families in Switzerland, already home to some 170,000 Kosovars.

Indeed, it looks like Germany is having some issues even without benefit of visa liberalization for Kosovo (and note the convenient use of the word “Serbian” to describe what are mostly Albanians; same with “Macedonian”):

Europe hit by scores of Western Balkan asylum seekers (Oct. 21, 2010)

Officials are considering removing visa-free travel for Western Balkan citizens as growing numbers of asylum-seekers from these countries hit the borders of Sweden, Belgium and Germany.

The EU decided that from 19 December 2009, the citizens of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia who hold biometric passports should be able to travel to the Schengen area without visas. They are allowed to travel to the Schengen area for up to 90 days per six-month period.

Last March, Belgium and Sweden received waves of ethnic Albanian and Roma asylum seekers from Macedonia and Serbia. They were returned by bus to their countries of origin.

In the German state of Bavaria, the number of asylum seekers coming from these countries has risen drastically over the past year….

So far this year, there has been 130 Serbian and 260 Macedonians asking for asylum in Bavaria compared to 59 in total last year….

In Sweden, the National Migration Board (Migrationsverket) was forced to rent camps and other temporary accommodation to deal with an acute housing shortage, the Swedish press reported.

About 4,000 Serbian citizens have asked for asylum in Sweden this year, compared with only 421 in same period last year.

In September alone, 1,410 Serbian citizens arrived in Sweden, putting a strain on the local authorities to provide services such as health care.

According to Belgrade daily Blic, Serbia will introduce special measures of control at border crossings in order to prevent abuse of the ‘no visa’ regime…

The asylum seekers are mainly of Roma and Albanian ethnicity and their asylum requests are based on economic considerations, Blic writes. However, since their country of origin, Serbia, is seen as politically safe, they will all be returned there on the basis of the readmission agreement between Serbia and the EU.

EXCUSE ME? WHAT WAS THAT? CAN WE HEAR THAT AGAIN?

“…since their country of origin, Serbia, is seen as politically safe, they will all be returned there…”

You mean “War Criminal Central” — ostensibly pursuing at least two genocides a decade ago — is considered safe for minorities? Isn’t that reminiscent of the strange fact that while Belgrade was ostensibly out to kill or cleanse all ethnic Albanians in 1998-99, it oddly didn’t harm any that were living in Serbia proper — including Belgrade? Which is itself reminiscent of the fact that Serbs and Albanians were fleeing together…into Serbia. Are we sure that the genocide and ethnic cleansing campaign — over which we insisted on jump-starting a chain of events leading to yesterday’s Frankfurt news — was all it was cracked up to be? Indeed, is it even possible — or desirable — to cleanse 90 percent of a province?

Meanwhile, a place that is the opposite of ’safe’ for returning minorities is…majority-Albanian Kosovo. Did we invert something somewhere along the way……?

But the measures to contain asylum-seekers do not seem to work smoothly. According to reports, the Serbian police recently sent back to Macedonia a bus carrying passengers who intended to request asylum in Germany. The rejected Macedonian travellers went to protest in front of the Serbian Embassy in Skopje, claiming that Serbia had violated their rights.

Dacic said the greatest number of asylum seekers were Roma from Vojvodina and Albanians from southern Serbia and Sandzak…He noted that false asylum seekers can create the impression that the population from this region wants to emigrate for political reasons, while in fact their only motivation is economic.

According to other reports, some of the asylum seekers are in fact perfectly aware that they will not be granted asylum but they take advantage of the assessment period for their applications, during which they are provided with free accommodation and some pocket money. […]

High number of Serbian asylum seekers linked to travel scam (Deutsche Welle, Dec. 31)

A sudden spurt in applications for asylum in Germany has been linked to an alleged travel scam taking place in the Balkans.

According to the head of the German government’s asylum department, people from Serbia and Macedonia are being encouraged to buy one-way bus tickets to Germany and given “empty promises” that they will find work and money once they get there.

Instead, their applications are swiftly rejected and the applicants are bussed back to the Balkans.

It’s not the first time a scam like this has been attempted. Following the change to the visa rules, several hundred Serbs, Macedonians and Montenegrins tried to leave their countries in search of greener pastures in the EU earlier in 2010.

“Those attempting to leave were predominantly ethnic Albanians - who tend to come from the poorer areas of Serbia and Macedonia,” [head of the asylum department at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees Michael Kleinhans] explained. “Those who tried to make the journey painted a very desperate picture of poverty, and many feel discriminated against.”

EU officials have made it clear that they will not tolerate this so-called ‘phoney asylum.’

Officials from the European Commission have threatened that if similar attempts are made, visa-free travel will be revoked.

EU faces ‘alarming’ rise in Serbia, Macedonia asylum seekers

“Nearly 390 Serbs, 210 Macedonians and 736 Kosovans asked for asylum in Belgium alone between July and August, and another 500 requests from the region are expected this month, Belgian officials said. Sweden and Norway have also struggled with an influx of people from the Balkans….

A Visa of Contention (Oct. 28, 2010)

…In February [EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström] had to interfere into the situation about a sudden increase in the flow of Albanians to Belgium, where they staged protests demanding the government to provide them with asylum, accommodation, job and social benefits.

Austria, Germany, France, Sweden, Belgium, Norway and the Netherlands have been facing an increased flow of migrants from the Balkans, especially from Albania.

…According to the sources in the Belgian government, in July-August some 1,500 residents of the former Yugoslavia, half of them were Kosovan Albanians, appealed for asylum in Brussels. And we can only guess how many others simply vanished in crowds. The situation in Germany is much alike…What is peculiar about this situation is that the EU provides social benefits even to those who have been rejected a residence permit. For example, in Sweden they receive 500 euros. Having got this sum, Albanians move to a neighboring state where the whole procedure is repeated.

Indeed, Belgium meets the benefits of its support for an independent Kosovo, face to face:

Belgium’s EU Presidency and the Albanian Question in the “United Europe”

… Last February and March, Belgium was shocked by massive rallies staged by Albanian refugees and various illegal migrants demanding financial assistance, housing, and jobs…In a letter to European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström, Yves Leterme linked the problem to the December 19, 2009 travel liberalization extended to a number of Balkan countries, thus calling into question nearly the main EU achievement in dealing with the Balkan region…

Across the Balkans, Yves Leterme’s reaction was seen as an attempt to reverse the EU decision on visa-free travel for the Balkan countries if not to freeze their Eurointegration…[There may be] a drift in the European public opinion with regard to the Albanian theme. Belgium was among main proponents of the Albanian separatism in 2006-2008, but the position can be seen in a totally different light given the current separatist tendencies in Flanders.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Triumphantly independent “Kosovars”: “But we’re citizens of Serbia!”

Kosovo citizens go passport shopping in Serbia (Sep. 16, 2010)

…According to sources in both Serbia and Kosovo, more and more Kosovar Albanians are applying for Serbian passports. In fact, Serbia considers Kosovo as part of its territory and subsequently regards Kosovars as Serbian citizens.

But following EU requirements, Serbia agreed to issue passports to residents of Kosovo only in its Coordination Centre in Belgrade. The EU stipulates that those possessing a passport issued there cannot travel to the EU without a visa. Ultimately this means no Kosovo resident, be it with a passport from Kosovo or from Serbia, can travel visa-free to the EU and other Schengen countries.

But many a resourceful Kosovar, with the support of bribed Serbian officials, finds a way to obtain a Serbian passport capable of opening the EU’s gates. Kosovars register as residents in some towns or villages in Serbia and get their passports there. WAZ.EUobserver spoke to some refugees from Kosovo who came to Belgium recently after paying €2,000 to obtain a Serbian passport this way. […]

Kosovo Albanians Only Coming to Serbia for Passports (Aug. 13, 2007)
Serbia issues 220,000 passports to Kosovo Albanians as “only” ID accepted abroad

BBC Monitoring Europe, Serbian newspaper Politika

Nis — What is the business that daily brings senior officials from Kosovo to Nis, Kraljevo, Krusevac, Vranje, Jagodina, and other Serbian towns this summer and what do they want here? What is the need that motivates lawyers, doctors, top officials in the Kosovo judiciary, representatives of the province’s authorities, and ordinary people of Albanian nationality that live in the southern Serbian province to spend days in Serbia? Why do Kosovo Albanians that live and work in Western European countries take time to visit Nis and other Serbian towns?

There is only one answer to all these questions — they request and are granted the right to a Serbian passport. Without it and without other Serbian documents as well, Kosovo Albanians could not stir from Kosovo.

Since the deployment of international peace forces after the air strikes on Yugoslavia in the spring of 1999 and the emplacement of a protectorate over Kosovo, members of the Albanian national minority have been denying that they are part of the state of Serbia. However, for the sake of a passport, they will accept anything: Serbian regulations, documents, and (the fact that they have) the citizenship of Serbia as evident from their personal details…

For a short time of a year and a half after the air strikes, Albanians from Kosovo could take out passports in Pristina. However, after several attacks and murder attempts against Serbian officials it was decided to relocate the province’s Interior Secretariat…to Niska Banja.

Every day, there are huge crowds outside the province’s SUP…”We come here from Kosovo, but people that live and work in Switzerland, Germany, and other Western European countries and who could obtain passports in Serbia’s consular offices abroad also come here, because it is easier and quicker to do it here, in Serbia…I was here once already, about a fortnight ago; now I have brought in my brother and his wife,” Muharem Zeqi told us.

Over the past eight years that Kosovo has been under international patronage, Serbian authorities have issued more than 220,000 new passports to Albanians from the southern province…Nearly 5,000 registers were saved from being destroyed in the devastating attacks of 1999 and were transferred to Serbia. It is only on the basis of these registers that valid documents can be issued: birth, marriage, and death certificates, proof of citizenship, and so on.

Kosovo Albanians take out also new Serbian ID cards which, along with the passports, are the only documents recognized abroad. Documents that are issued by UNMIK…are valid for use only in the province….Because of a [high number] of applicants…an outpost has recently been opened halfway between Kosovo Polje and Pristina and is secured by KFOR and UNMIK; Kosovo Albanians have been availing themselves of the services of this outpost lately.

Muharem Zeqi from the Pristina area explained to us very graphically what the Serbian passport means to him and his ethnic kin: “It is a great asset. Without it all we could do is stay in Kosovo.”

“Albanians pay EUR 3,000 for Serbian passports” (FoNet, Deutsche Welle, March 26, 2010)

An increasing number of Kosovo residents “are looking for passports of other countries”, writes Deutsche Welle. The most wanted are Serbian biometric passports, “which cost up to EUR 3,000″, the article claims.

Those holding Kosovo passports “can only travel visa-free to Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia and Turkey while the western countries, which many see as a way out from poverty, are unreachable”, Deutsche Welle says.

The article continues that “since a vast majority of Kosovo citizens cannot go to Serbia, individuals who have good connections in towns where passports were issued up until recently do this for them for a certain price, and there are even agencies which do it”.

Megacities Consulting agency in downtown Priština was allegedly offering citizenship and passports of British Guyana or Namibia for EUR 6,000 – 10,000, according to Deutsche Welle.

“Kosovo police are ready to combat the negative phenomena, in this case that some companies were unlawfully providing documents and visas. Investigation has been launched and we are waiting for results,” said Kosovo police Spokesman Baki Kelani. […]

Arrests Ongoing in Serbian Passport Scam (Nov. 9, 2010)

…An Interior Ministry source told Balkan Insight that Serbian police were targeting Kosovo Albanians, Serbs and Roma that have obtained Serbian passports by deception, using fraudulent residency documentation.

The arrests have been prompted by allegations that Kosovo residents have been fraudulently registering at Serbian addresses in order to apply for biometric passports.

It is believed that the intermediaries that have been providing Kosovo residents with residency documentation and arranging for the provision of Serbian passports are former employees of the Serbian Interior Ministry, who worked there in the Nineties. […]

More desperate measures:

Kosovars tolerate fake marriages (Nov. 2010)
Kosovar Albanians are increasingly tolerant of men who divorce local wives in order to temporarily marry foreigners and obtain resident status in the West

…Two years ago, her husband remarried a German woman. Not only did Valbona, mother of their four children aged four to 11, know of his plan, she approved it.

This is because Valbona is not really divorced in the eyes of her family or the wider community. Many Kosovar Albanian men divorce their first wives by mutual consent, departing for western Europe where they find new spouses who enable them to obtain residency papers.

They leave their children behind in Kosovo so that they can pose as single men and remarry fast. Once they have permanent residency in Germany, or other EU states, they divorce their second wives, go back to their first ones and bring the family to the West.

Germany is a popular destination for Kosovars because there is already a large Albanian expatriate population living there.

The women that these Kosovar Albanians marry in the West believe they have found ideal, attentive husbands. However, once the men have gained permanent residency in their host country - after five years of marriage to a citizen in Germany - they often demand a divorce. […]

******UPDATE******

Note the specific use of the word “Serbian” in the headline (i.e. gypsies and Albanians) — and the European demand that Serbia do something about this, after giving Serbia a complex over its minorities in the first place:

Serbian asylum seekers jeopardising visa liberalisation (Southeast European Times, May 23, 2011)

Due to the torrent of Serbians seeking asylum in EU member countries, Brussels has warned Belgrade that the future of visa-free travel in the Schengen area is at risk.

Visa requirements were lifted for citizens of Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro in December 2009. Over the course of the following 12 months, 17,000 people from Serbia requested asylum in the EU, mostly in Sweden, Belgium and Germany.

They weren’t fleeing political persecution, rather, they were poor people who believe that in the richer Western European countries, life would be eased by government subsidies. About 95% are Gypsies, the rest mostly members of the Albanian minority in Presevo and Bujanovac in southern Serbia.

Serbian police have arrested 24 people, including 16 fellow officers, for allegedly issuing false documents necessary for obtaining passports. Investigators say some of those police officers charged up to 5,000 euros for their ’service’.

After more than a year of recurring issues with bogus asylum seekers, Belgium sent a letter to the European Commission, which warned that it would request the annulment of the recently granted “white Schengen” for Serbia.

The real possibility that Serbians could lose this new right to freedom of travel has struck a chord.

“It is only by [this] we feel European, if we run out of that, we will again be like in the ghetto,” said Goran Bozinovic, a student from Belgrade.

The government has announced new legislation that will tighten access to passports and travel outside the country, which immediately raised concerns about equal treatment and questions of discrimination.

“We must not apply stricter terms of travel to Gypsies and poor Albanians from southern Serbia than to other nationalities and citizens,” said former State Secretary in the Ministry of Justice Marko Karadzic.

Beyond that, he added, “The state must create better economic conditions and provide greater rights to those people, so they would not be [seeking] it in other countries.”

Interior Minister Ivica Dacic agrees, saying Serbia will work harder on behalf of the Gypsy minority. “We want to work for the inclusion of Gypsies, [so they] feel equal with other citizens, and explain to them that asylum is not a solution,” he said.

Serbia is also considering making it a crime to organise illegal migration, punishing groups that exploit people with false promises of asylum.”Those who organise the departure of asylum seekers will be arrested and prosecuted,” said Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic.

And at border crossings, police will ask for proof to determine whether travellers have return tickets, insurance, enough money to make the trip, where they are heading and why.

******UPDATE******

Just a few additions to the Kosovo passport situation:

Liz, who circulated the item about Albanians shopping for passports in Serbia, passed along the following Sept. 17th, 2010 email from someone on her list:

Just to tell you that Albanians already travel to EU countries with their own passports, that there are regular Lufthansa and Bosnia Air flights to Pristina and Sarajevo and that they do not need go shopping to Serbia as they can do it in Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Paris, Rome , Vienna, and even USA.

Their passports are dark blue with the golden Kosovo region mark and is written Republic of Kosova and the same in Albanian. They are accepted without any problem by EU countries.

Meanwhile, it’s interesting to note which countries didn’t waste any time in recognizing the Kosovo passport, whether they officially recognized Kosovo or not:

Police Minister Says Montenegro Will Recognize New Kosovo Passports
(Text of report by Serbian wide-circulation tabloid Vecernje novosti, on 16 July, 2008)

Montenegrin Police Minister Jusuf Kalamperovic said yesterday that as a member of the United Nations, Montenegro would accept the new Kosovo passports and that “Montenegro is not even considering closing its borders to citizens and goods from Kosovo.”

According to him, this act does not mean that Montenegro recognizes Kosovo independence. [No, that came a whole two months later.]

As was announced in Pristina, issuing new Kosovo passports, which will be blue, with the flag of Kosovo and worded in three languages - Albanian, Serbian, and English - will begin on 21 July. The Pristina authorities claim that “even the countries that have not recognized the independence of Kosovo have said they would recognize the new Kosovo passports and that the only exception for now was Slovakia.”

Djelic: “Serbia Can Never Establish Relations with Itself”
“Serbia will never recognize the independence of Kosovo, nor will it recognize Kosovo passports, which are to be issued by the provisional authorities in the province,” Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic said in a statement to Tanjug Agency and explained that “Serbia will never establish relations with itself” and that as far as Serbia is concerned, this decision by the self- proclaimed authorities in Pristina would be completely null and void.

However, we now know that “never” is a relative term.

This one, of course, didn’t surprise anyone: Germany to recognize Kosovo passports (Aug. 12, 2008)

Kosovo rings in the new year:

K. Serb returnee seriously injured (FoNet, Jan. 24)

OSOJANE — A Serb returnee to the Kosovo village of Opraške near Osojane was attacked and seriously injured in his home, FoNet reports.

[Branko] Milovanović was attacked by unknown persons, and is currently in an intensive care unit in a hospital in northern Kosovska Mitrovica.

According to this report, Milovanović was attacked by “three unidentified young men in front of his house”.

He was hospitalized with head injuries, concussion, broken ribs and heavy bruises.

This is the fourth incident in Opraške, where nine returnee families live. A week ago, the house of Serb returnee Mile Vuletić, empty at the time, was set on fire and burned to the ground.

During last week, two Serb houses were broken into and robbed.

The Serb families, driven out of their homes by ethnic Albanians, returned to the village in 2006.

Update, from Serbianna.com (temporarily off-line): “Battered Kosovo Serb recovering” (Jan. 25)

Kosovo Serb Branislav Milovanovic who was attacked and brutally beaten by a mob of Muslim Albanians is out of danger, says the hospital.

Milovanovic was attacked by a mob of Albanian men as he was trying to return back to his home from which he was ethnically cleansed by Albanians…in the Village Opraske located near Osojane, Metohia.

“As soon as I was on the street, they cut me off and whacked me,” said Milovanovic.

With a cracked skull and broken ribs, Milovanovic was still able to walk 2 kilometers to a nearby village of Kos where the villagers took him to the hospital in Kosovska Mitrovica. Milovanovic said that they were beating him “to kill.”

Returnee coordinator Vesna Milikovic says that the attack on Milovanovic has made the other nine returnees in fear for their life. Milikovic says that returnees in nearby villages are also in fear of the organized Albanian mob.

“Since the New Year day, attacks on Serbs are more frequent and attacks on their property and just in Opraske, in which 9 returnee families live, this is a fourth incident…

Since 1999 when the Albania separatists violently took power in Kosovo, Serbs have been routinely attacked and killed and conviction of attackers is very seldom.

The Minister [Serbian minister for Kosovo-Metohia, Goran Bogdanovic] pointed out that the conspicuous silence of the Kosovo police is an incentive to Albanian extremists, as well as proof that Kosovo institutions are trying to prevent the return of banished Serbs to the province. […]

Ah, it’s good to see the efforts of our troops implementing “official Serb-return policy” paying off. And according to some, the efforts and good intentions of our troops are what count. Here’s just a fun flashback to a conversation that took place on this site and elsewhere in July and August of 2007. I’m sure my two interlocutors on that subject — two National Guard ‘information officers’ just passing through Kosovo on their one-year rotations at the time — are very glad to be done with that conversation. Unlike those cheap patriots, however, my American conscience doesn’t afford me the same luxury. The first quote comes from an Orthodox military chaplain in Kosovo, who entered the fray, named 1st Lt. Michael Wikstrom:

Living in the past will not solve the issues folks. Only going forward from here. Yes there are problems, yes there have been mistakes, yes there is hatred and mistrust, but I do not see ANY of the things that Ms. Gorin has stated and I travel Kosovo extensively…[T]he rhetoric needs to be replaced by actions. Serbs need to return to Kosovo. Scaring them off by publishing reports, false reports that those left here face wholesale slaughter on a daily basis is not helping or encouraging them to return. [Ahem, ahem, ahem.] If the idea is to get as many Serbs to return to Kosovo-Metohija then telling them they have a high probability of being murdered and that they will be forced to live in “concentration camps” is not going to do it. Am I wrong?

A note on the ubiquitous admonition by dismissive internationals such as Lt. Wikstrom to stop “living in the past” and “go forward”: Aside from the fact that skewed policy is still being built on that “past,” Mary Ellen Synon of the UK Daily Mail blog responded to this intellectually impotent dismissiveness last month in a post titled “Organ trafficking, eugenics and corruption: meet our new EU ‘partners’“:

So you would think that the European Commission might have a more muscular reply to Senator Marty’s report than what was offered just before Christmas by Cecilia Malmstrom, the Swede who is Home Affairs Commissioner. When confronted by a journalist about the report, she stuck to: ‘We do not deny there are problems in Kosovo and in other countries. This report you refer to, I have read about it in the media, I cannot comment what is true and what is not true.’

Not that she much wants to know what is true and what is not true in Kosovo: the EU wants Kosovo ’stable,’ even if that means the butchers stay in power. Or as Senator Marty noted in his report, ‘even certain representatives of international institutions did not conceal their reluctance to grapple with these facts. “The past is the past,” we are told, “we must now look to the future.”‘ (I’d say that is a line you won’t hear much at, for example, the Simon Weisenthal Centre in Vienna.)

My response to Lt. Wikstrom at the time:

You’re not wrong, Lt. and indeed, as Ms. Fellenzer reported, “we have aided 74 Serbian Kosovars in their return into Srpski Babus, helping to provide infrastructure, food and CIMIC support.” But the question is, why am I a liar for reporting Serb Returnee Killed in Central Kosovo (June 2006):

A Serb returnee was found shot dead inside his house in a central Kosovo town Tuesday, police and Serb officials said. The 68 year-old Serb, identified as Dragan Popovic, was discovered by police after the officers received a report of a body found in a house in the town of Klina, 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Kosovo’s capital, Pristina, Kosovo’s police said in a statement…He was last seen late Monday returning to his home from a shop. Nothing was touched in the house, the Serb officials said…Police have no suspects and have not yet established a motive for the apparent killing. Several Serbs have returned to Klina recently, after fleeing the aftermath of the province’s 1998-1999…Separately, vandals damaged sixteen graveside monuments in the Serb village of Staro Gracko, 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of the province’s capital, Pristina, police said.

And here’s me “living in the past” — this past September [2006], to be exact:

An explosion in western Kosovo injured four Serbs late Tuesday, the fourth bombing in the last five days, police said. The blast occurred outside a home in the small town of Kline [Klina], about 60 kilometers (40 miles) west of the capital…Three other bombings in the province since Friday only damaged cars, with no reports of injuries…Today, only about 100,000 [Serbs] remain [in Kosovo], most living in small, isolated enclaves scattered around the province.

From Reuters:

Police said the victims were former refugees who had returned to Klina a year ago having fled Kosovo after the 1998-99 war…At least half the Serb population fled a wave of revenge attacks after the war, and those who stayed live mainly in isolated enclaves. U.N. officials say the rate of attacks against Serbs has fallen, but they fear fresh violence as a decision nears on Kosovo’s “final status.”

And here’s another Serb refugee return story that I’m a liar for telling readers about, because it’s “exceptional”:

After fleeing almost seven years ago, [Zoran] Stanisic, along with his mother, moved back to Pristina five months ago…“I’ve found both my business and living places broken in to…Since I am one of the few Serbs living in Pristina, it’s funny that this is the second time this month that someone has probably tried to send us a message.” …Stanisic said that he trusted the promises of the international community, the Kosovo Government and the Return Ministry, that the minimum conditions of normal living would be given to him, which encouraged him to return to Pristina.

“When winter came, we had nothing, so we were forced to temporarily get out of the way, and wait to see whether their promises would be fulfilled or not. It looks as if there is nothing for Serbs in this city, and Serbs are ordained to live in enclaves, concentration camps, and behind barbed wire.” …Until 1999, about 40,000 Serbs lived in Pristina. There are currently 150 living there now. Zoran Stanisic is now living in Gracanica, because, as he stated, he cannot live in his Pristina apartment.

So that was a conversation from July and August of 2007, and the above Serb-return stories don’t even include these more recent ones.

The National Guard’s amateur PR duo had also tried to assure readers that Serbs and other non-Albanians have freedom of movement in Kosovo:

“[I]n most of the province, Kosovo Serbians are free to leave their enclaves, drive to their destinations, take vacations and walks,” wrote Fellenzer, who cited an Orthodox military chaplain [probably Wikstrom] as “concurring” that in her area of operations, there are “no concentration camp-like conditions.”

That was 2007, and supposedly my information was from 2005 — ancient and obsolete. Yet out of the countless articles to have come out since 2005 making these same observations first hand — by European news reporters, human rights groups and various organizations’ rapporteurs — here’s a random one from just this year:

South of Mitrovica, the occupied province is dominated not just by Albanians, but by the KLA. [The “disbanded” KLA, according to our PR duo.] The few non-Albanians that survive there live in ghettos, where the only thing between them and brutal death are barbed-wire enclosures and NATO “peacekeepers” — the very troops [who were employed in creating] their predicament.

Some closing quotes on this issue follow below.

“Over 230,000 Serbs and other non-Albanians have been expelled from Kosovo since 1999. Less than five percent have returned so far.”

“I remember one day meeting the UN regional administrator for Mitrovica [David Mitchels] outside the UNMIK offices in Pristina and he told me that Kosovo would be better off if all the Serbs were gone.” — Iseult Henry, author of Hiding Genocide in Kosovo

“In the mid to long term there will be some kind of biological end to the problem here because, you know, one of the population(s) will simply disappear.” — KFOR commander Lt. Gen. Xavier de Marnhac in 2007, on the fact that the average age of a Kosovo Albanian was 28 and that of a Kosovo Serb was 54

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