June 2011


This blog is a note on insidious language manipulation. Here is a short item, in Serbian-to-English translation:

Mary Warlick: Support to Serbia to arrest Hadzic (June 8 )

Stopping momentarily at the title. You are to think that we are great supporters of Serbia, we are her friend — for we are “supporting” her efforts to nail the next Serb on the list.

Vranje - The U.S. ambassador to Serbia Mary Warlick has said that the arrest of Serbian war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic was a significant step towards joining the European Union, adding that the U.S. and EU support Serbia to arrest the remaining Hague fugitive Goran Hadzic.

Warlick has welcomed the arrest of Mladic, but also reminded that the war crimes suspect Goran Hadzic is still on the loose, and added that Serbia has the support of the United States and the European Union to end the incident.

Again, we are “supporting” Serbia in ‘its’ effort to do our bidding. (Reminds me of how Condoleezza Rice said in 2008 that the Serbs have “good friends” in the U.S. and EU, but has to give away 15% of its land, or how Bush said the same year, “I hope the Serbian government will realize that the Serbs in Kosovo are treated with respect as a minority, and that it will in time help Kosovo separate.”) Back to the article:

While meeting the local leaders of Serbs and Albanians today in Bujanovac, she praised Albanian mayor Saipa Kamberi and the local coalition, its successful work in the interests of citizens and multi-ethnic community, was said live by Radio Bujanovac.

Discussion about the economic and social issues of Serbs, Albanians and Roma in Bujanovac, together with Mary Warlick, attended the ambassadors of OSCE Dimitrios Kopreos, Bulgarian Georgi Dimiotrov, and Albanian Späthi Chausi .

“We came here to find out what is political and economic situation in the municipality of Bujanovac, and in southern Serbia. All that we heard today was very positive for the citizens of Bujanovac. That is why this multi-ethnic government has our full support for future actions, ” said the U.S. Ambassador.

So it seems that people are getting along as best they can in southern Serbia. What will be our excuse, then, when we support the amputation of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac from Serbia? Then again, we don’t much bother with excuses anymore anyway. Dragan, whom this item came from, wonders aloud whether that’s precisely what is meant by “future actions”:

It seems that the US ambassador “really” supports Serbia, especially when the arresting of the last Hague fugitive is concerned, but the troubling fact is that she/USA support “Serbs and Albanians” in “Presevo valley” and praise the “Albanian mayor” in [the] presence of Bulgarian and Albanian representatives. Like it is known, the “Presevo valley” is the next Albanian step in making the Great Albania.

The Albanian terrorist group known as [UCPMB] already tried to secede from Serbia during Kosovo crises.

Once again Serbian names are mentioned by Mrs. Warlick to point out the “crimes”, and the Albanian are “praised” and have a “full support for future actions”. The question is, what future actions? Making of Great Albania? Robbing another part of the Serbian territory ?

D.Rakic

More Warlick news: U.S. Against Partition

U.S. Ambassador in Belgrade Mary Warlick said that Washington supports [there’s that “support” again!] dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, but not the division of Kosovo.

Ambassador Warlick said that the U.S. supports “pro-active and constructive relations of the Serbian people and all peoples of Kosovo but not in the context of reviewing the status and territorial integrity.” [Wait, where did the support go?]

[In] the issue of “Politika” [was the heading]: Why [would] the division of Kosovo be acceptable to Washington in the early nineties, and now it is not. [Here comes the “answer” — are you ready?] She said she does not think “that we have any reason [or] advantage to look back.” [This non-response is a Clintonism: Let’s move on. Besides, foreign policy can’t be reassessed; it can only move forward — how else will we be able to repeat mistakes, not to mention history?]

“For us, the question of the status and borders of Kosovo is resolved. Of course, we recognize the special interests and special relations between Serbia and Serbs living in Kosovo, as well as interest in the monasteries and cultural heritage,” she said…

Can someone please find the switch to turn off these machines?

I just listened to these late May comments by Kiss guitarist Gene Simmons. They were welcome words indeed, explaining that Obama doesn’t live in the world and therefore shouldn’t tell Israel where its borders ought to be.

But there’s a 50-50 chance that an Israeli-born Jew will be smart and non-suicidal on Israel, so the fact that Simmons is among the better 50% is not exactly a shocker. Presumably, he has as little patience with the disinformation propaganda and double standards that are heaped on Israel regularly.

In 2008, however, Simmons fell easy prey to that very sort of propaganda. The year that — as he unabashedly admits — he “voted for an idea,” the year that the Obama fairy dust sprinkling onto our friends, neighbors, and relatives, unimpressively didn’t skip this otherwise sober thinker, Gene Simmons fell under the spell of another fairy dust, one that transcends election years, administrations, party lines, and eras.

And so he canceled his Belgrade concert.

Kiss Cancel Serbian Concert (April 9, 2008)

Legendary rock band Kiss have cancelled a concert in Serbia — blaming the political “situation” in the country for their decision to scrap the gig.

The Crazy Nights hitmakers were due to play in the capital city of Belgrade on 15 May as part of their forthcoming European tour.

But the agency organising the concert has now announced the band have pulled out, insisting the rockers felt uncomfortable playing in Serbia so soon after the recent elections which took place in February.

Political tensions are also running high in the area after the Balkan state of Kosovo declared independence from the country.

The Lupa agency released a statement apologising to fans and offering to refund their tickets: “The members of the band regret to inform you that the concert has to be cancelled, but the situation in Serbia does not leave them much choice. However, they hope they will perform in Serbia on some other occasion.”

In other words, when the Serbian public voted in the pro-Western quislings we wanted them to, and the country was rewarded with a Western-supported land theft in Kosovo, Kiss too felt that Belgrade needed to be punished for being punished. So because 15% of its land was stolen, Serbia didn’t deserve a concert.

It’s not enough that the press follows the State Department line on this; it’s not enough that the military is on the same page as the media on this. Or that filmmakers are on the same page as the military. Even rock stars are on board. It’s a bloody kumbaya.

How much do you want to bet that Condoleezza Rice’s compliment the following month on the band’s being “well informed about current events” was a reference to their “understanding” of the Kosovo issue:


Condoleezza Rice meets rock band Kiss
(May 30, 2008)

The Kiss Army fan club has an enthusiastic new recruit: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. In a departure from her normally staid diplomatic duties, Rice met the legendary glam rock quartet when they happened to share a hotel in the Swedish capital. Rice was in Stockholm on Thursday for an international conference on Iraq. Kiss had a sold-out gig to play on Friday.

“I was thrilled,” Rice said of her late-night encounter with frontman Gene Simmons and bandmates Paul Stanley, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer in the executive lounge of the Sheraton Hotel where they signed autographs and handed out backstage passes and T-shirts to her staff.

“It was really fun to meet Kiss and Gene Simmons,” she told reporters, noting they seemed well informed about current events. The band had asked if she could stop by after she finished dinner with the Swedish foreign minister and Rice readily agreed, she said.

Simmons and his crew, who are on a European tour, weren’t wearing their trademark stage makeup, but were recognizable as rock stars to even non-fans by their hair, according to State Department officials who were with Rice.

Rice, a classically trained pianist, said she has eclectic musical tastes ranging from Beethoven to Bruce Springsteen. Hard stadium rockers like Kiss are included in the mix and Rice said her favorite tune of theirs is “Rock and Roll All Nite.” […]

What an original she is: Beethoven, Bruce, and the only Kiss song that anyone can name off-hand.

Moral of the story for Gene Simmons. A Jew — particularly an Israeli — should be less easily propagandized. It’s fine for Simmons to talk about the Jews and Israel, but he does not pass the Serbia Standard, and that makes his apparent intellect a fraud — he sees Israel fairly because it’s his hide on the line. I’ll let Baron Bodissey of the Gates of Vienna blog explain:

The Jews and the Serbs were corralled together and massacred in the extermination camps of Croatia, with the support (and participation) of a number of Roman Catholic priests and bishops [and of course Bosnian Muslims]. These are historical facts, thoroughly documented….For this reason, I have learned to apply what I call the “Serbia Standard” to those who argue about Israel and the Jews. Anyone who supports Israel (as I do) should also support Serbia for the same reasons. Like the Jews, the Serbs were victims of an attempted extermination during the Second World War. Like the Jews, the Serbs have been unjustly demonized. Like the Jews, the Serbs are under siege by Islam in their own land.

Since the Russians often go to bat for the Serbs, one could even make the case for a vast international conspiracy that works behind the scenes to promote Serbian interests. [One often does attempt making such a case — and the Council of Europe is apparently part of the conspiracy!]

Those who are gung-ho about the Jews and Israel but refuse to support the Serbs and Serbia (or who actually vilify them) are intellectually inconsistent and incoherent, so their arguments may be justifiably disregarded.

The Jews now have their own state, as do the Serbs. Both nationalities suffer at the hands of those who would damage or destroy them. Therefore the Jews deserve no more special treatment than do the Serbs, and vice versa.

The Serbia Standard serves as a useful way of weeding out disingenuous and hypocritical arguments by those who support Israel. If they fail to support the Serbs, it exposes their special pleading. I presume it could do the same for anyone who treats Serbia in a similar preferential manner.

Supporting both Serbia and Israel is a useful strategy. So is supporting Finland, Latvia, Romania, Italy, Ireland, Australia, Texas, Virginia, and many other nations that are bastions of Western traditions.

After my Mladic blog ran, I got the following email from reader Serbstvo:

I found interesting your choice of words – “Roasting Mladic” - because Dr. Zoran Stankovic had examined the charred bodies of Bosnian Serbs roasted on spits with their limbs cut off, which Bosnian Muslim soldiers jokingly termed “Bosansko Jagnje” (Bosnian Lamb).

That July 7, 2005 article also mentions a boy Dr. Stankovic also examined, whom he just names Stojanovic, who left his fleeing family and returned to his home in Zvornik to look for his dog. He was later discovered with his chest ripped open in the shape of a cross.

In newer articles we see that he was an 11 year old Slobodan Stojanovic. The murderer was also revealed not to be a Bosnian Muslim soldier, but in fact Elfeta Veseli (AKA Hosovka), a 45 year old ethnic Albanian woman from the neighboring town of Vlasenica. Born in Urosevac, Kosovo & Metohija, she is the daughter of Rahman, a forester. Elfeta was recently tracked down living freely in Switzerland with her brother Muhamed Veseli. Bosnian authorities have made no request for her arrest and extradition.

***UPDATE*** from reader Paul:

The location Aya Irini [where the choir sang in Istanbul] is aka Hagia Irene. This was the first church in Constantinople and is several centuries older than Islam itself. Which just shows how morally blind Turkey — and all other Islamic countries, for that matter — are, when it comes to pre-Islamic culture/history in territory they have acquired. [I’d say morally indifferent, and that’s because the loss of historical memory is the whole point — to make it as if the infidel had never even been there.] They glibly scream about Bosnian mosques being destroyed while desecrating historic churches that are 1500 years old in their largest city, just as they scream about Srebrenica “genocide” while dancing on the corpses of millions of murdered Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians. Has there ever been greater hypocrisy…?

Bosnian musical ensemble celebrates İstanbul’s conquest (Cihan News Agency, May 30)

The Sultan Mehmed Fatih [”Conquerer”] Ensemble, a Sarajevo-based choir, was at İstanbul’s historic Aya İrini Museum on May 29 to mark the 558th anniversary of the conquest of İstanbul by the Ottomans in 1453, marking the end of the Byzantine era. The choir performed a number of İlahis, or Muslim hymns, during the concert, which was organized by Turkey’s state-owned Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT).

The choir’s founder and arts director, Mehmet Bajraktarevic, said he was very proud to be in İstanbul for such an important occasion. “During my 35-year career, I’ve directed many concerts throughout Europe, but this is the most significant task that I have been given. I am honored that Sultan Mehmed Fatih was chosen to perform at Aya İrini on such an important day in history. This is by far the ‘trophy of my career’,” he said, adding that he was delighted to have been invited to perform at Aya İrini by TRT.

The performance at Aya İrini marked Sultan Mehmed Fatih’s ninth appearance in Turkey in seven years. “We are always excited to perform in Turkey. We are respected here, and our talent is recognized. While in our own country, Bosnia, people are not interested in our choir, or our İlahis. It saddens me, but it is a harsh reality,” Bajraktarevic said ruefully.

The choir director also shared information on the background of the choir. Formed in 2004, the ensemble is made up of nine pedagogues and 100 vocalists of varying age groups. “Sultan Mehmed Fatih has two generations of vocalists. We even have a mother and a daughter singing together,” Bajraktarevic said.

The choir was invited to perform on the anniversary of İstanbul’s conquest, after the general director of TRT, İbrahim Şahin, discovered the ensemble at a concert during a random visit to Bosnia. The ensemble is made up of different choirs from Bosnia and Turkey such as the Choir Dzulistan from Novi Pazar, Serbia. The ensemble’s popular repertoire consists of songs in several different languages, including Persian, Turkish, Bosnian and Arabic, with a unique blend of Western and Balkan influences and traditions.

In case this choir rings a bell — to anyone — it may be because it’s the same outfit that was featured in a documentary called “Whose Song Is This?

It basically went like this:

In 2003, Adela Peeva, a Bulgarian, got a Soros grant to go on a hunt for the origin of a song she heard in a tavern. The Turks claimed it was theirs. The Greeks said the Turks stole it from them. The Albanians said only they have the level of culture required to come up with it. The Bosnian Muslims claimed it was “their original song”, and performed two versions — one by a folk singer, and a militant religious version by this choir.

In Southern Serbia, they didn’t claim ownership, but said a famous local Gypsy singer performed it back in her heyday. When Peeva played them the jihad version, they got very angry and kicked her out (wouldn’t you?). She played it again to a Turkish dervish in Macedonia, who denounced it as vile; a musicologist argued the song could not possibly be Balkans in origin, because it had a strange structure. And in Bulgaria, she talked to a man who promised to hang from an oak tree anyone denying its Bulgarian-ness. Peeva went home disappointed with the “uncivilized” Balkans (Soros money, remember?) and without finding out whose song it was.

Anyway, the Bosnian Muslim choir featured in the film, whose rendition of the song was denounced by the Serbs and the Turkish dervish alike, was the very same choir that performed in Istanbul two weeks ago. And it is named after the Ottoman sultan who conquered Constantinople, but also finished off Serbia (1459) and conquered Bosnia (1463).

The choir director may feel his group’s talents are unappreciated in Bosnia (typical greedy artist shtick), but the overriding point here is that TURKEY is the principal customer of this “secular, exemplary, non-Muslimy” Bosnian choir.

That gem of a quote came to us in 2007 from a National Guard “information officer” who was stupid enough to dispute the uncommon knowledge I was sharing on this blog. Below is just the latest church vandalism example, which I’m mentioning rather randomly, since I’ve long abandoned trying to keep track.

Albanians transform Serbian Orthodox church into toilet (Again.) (Serbian to English translation, June 6)

Orthodox church in the village Samodreza, near Vucitrn, dedicated to Beheading of St. John the Baptist, and known to be in it, according to tradition, Holy Communion army of Prince Lazar before the Battle of Kosovo, was again desecrated.

Strategic Kosovo Action Network (KSAM) announced today that the church a few days ago was again demolished, the brass doors of the church broken, and again turned into a public toilet and dump.

KSAM which brings together 70 Serbian non-governmental organizations strongly condemned the demolition of the church in Samodreza that continually runs and that has continued since the arrival of international forces in Kosovo in 1999. when the church was set on fire inside.

“The roof of this church was destroyed, the apse is pierced by large holes, glass windows and doors are broken, the bell tower and the wall around the church were destroyed and the interior has been converted into a public dump and toilet.”

Strategic Kosovo Action Network sent an appeal to the competent Kosovo institutions, the international community and local government in Vucitrn to as soon as possible protect the church from further Samodreza vandalism to build a firewall and in cooperation with the Serbian Orthodox Church, start the renewal.

KSAM recalls that the Albanian community in the past repeatedly blocked the process of rebuilding the church, and that Samodreza previously lived about twenty Serbian families who have emigrated from this village.

From the Church Bathroom Gallery:

So last week we learned that Serbia’s hijackers (the Tadic government) are impotently giving the go-ahead for a Greater Albanian to take shape. And this weekend we learn that Serbia is now accepting Kosovo passports. So now we just have to wait for the curtain to go down on the last part of the show — the supposed resistance to Kosovo’s separation and statehood. Unfortunately the Serbs in northern Mitrovica are the ones who will pay the heaviest price. Anyway, a Google translation of the passport story. I think the illustration below says it all.

Citizens of Kosovo allowed in Serbia with Kosovo passports

PRISTINA - The head of the Belgrade delegation in talks on technical issues with Pristina Borislav Stefanovic said today that the citizens of Kosovo can travel to Serbia with Kosovo passports.

Stefanovic, told Radio Dukagjini in Peja said that in future agreements to be much “useful stuff” for both sides, while not prejudging the status of Kosovo.

“I can say that there are many good things that will benefit all who live in Kosovo and eventually people will be able to travel freely and to exercise its rights and documents without prejudice to the status of Kosovo. This, I believe, affect our relationships to build greater trust and flexibility, as we were, as you know faced with many difficulties, “said Stefanovic.

He rejected the statement of head of the Pristina team Edita Tahiri to Serbian fears of dialogue. [Notice the Albanian side still finding something to complain about. It’s almost magic how they can keep finding grievances amid their unbroken string of victories — like pulling a rabbit out of a hat, or one of those endless scarves.]

“We do not want to delay, nor be afraid of this process. It was not just us but all the proposal to meet in late June, when we will have much better results, “said Stefanovic.

A spokeswoman for EU High Representative Catherine Ashton said Tuesday that the EU mediator in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, Robert Cooper decided to postpone the end of June a new round of dialogue, intended for the middle of this month, to the two sides more time for possible agreements.

Beta

From Sunday:

The capture of Ratko Mladic was one of the biggest stories in world news last week.

Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb military leader, stands accused of being a war criminal for his part during the Yugoslavia civil war. It is alleged that he ordered the massacre of thousands of Muslims in the war which took hold in the early 1990s. Mladic is now on trial in the war crimes tribunal at The Hague.

Unfortunately the world of politics and sport came together during Bosnia’s Euro 2012 qualifier with Romania on Friday night.

Even before the match kicked off tensions were sparked when a group of Romanians displayed a banner which read “Free Mladic.” According to local reports, the Romanian fans then ratcheted up the bad blood by chanting “Serbia, Serbia” throughout the contest.

Midway through the second half, the travelling Bosnian supporters reacted.

Upset by the apparent support for a man they believe to be a mass murderer of their people, the Bosnians brought a halt to the proceedings as they began ripping up seats and hurling them onto the pitch.

The whole incident was unsavoury, and highlighted the raw emotions sparked by such a delicate subject.

(Thank you to the writer of the above item for using the phrase — perhaps for the first time when it comes to the Srebrenica matter — “a man they believe to be a mass murderer.” As opposed to all the “journalists” who simply say he is.)

When the Romanians (or perhaps mixed-ethnicity Slavs who were in Romania for the game) hung the “Free Mladic” banner — most likely to taunt the Bosniaks in attendance at the soccer game — the Bosniaks just…couldn’t…believe…it.

The gall. The nerve. The callousness. The insolence! The…very…thing…that…Bosniaks, Albanians and Croats do.

Remember this?

Muslim Commander (of Srebrenica) Convicted of War Crimes Goes Free (in 2006, with two years’ time served)

Support:

Freedom not good enough. Overturn my conviction!

Conviction overturned.

Celebration:

Welcoming committee:

Next, Kosovo.

Support for one of the few Albanian Serb-killers who did find himself at the Hague (Ramush Haradinaj):

Next, Croatia.

From “‘ER’ actor plans film about Croat general indicted for war crimes” (2006):

Posters with his photo are still plastered across Croatia; T-shirts, mugs and lighters bearing his image are sold and the Spanish wine he was drinking when arrested quickly sold out when it appeared in Croatian stores in December.

There is already at least one book about him, which was published while he was still a fugitive, describing the former French Legionnaire as an adventurer, patriot and a lover.

The point: If the Bosniaks — like the Albanians and Croats — have serious support for their war criminals, they should at least be able to handle some taunting in the other direction.

****UPDATE****

A few days after the Romania incident, a similar incident happened at a soccer match in Australia:

BOSNIA’s ambassador to Australia has condemned the unfurling of flags lobbying for the release of Ratko Mladic at Etihad Stadium last night.

The banners were a low light of a soccer friendly match between Australia and Serbia that also saw bottles smashed and several flares thrown from the crowd.

Bosnian Ambassador Dr Damir Arnaut said he was appalled by signs calling for Mladic’s freedom.

“This is a despicable act that speaks volumes about the mentality of those who participated in it,” Dr Arnaut said.

“These people know that the ICJ (International Court of Justice) ruled in 2007 that forces under Mladic’s command committed genocide in Srebrenica and that Serbia is the only state in history found responsible for violating the Genocide Convention.

“All countries should counter this uncivilized behavior by taking official and equally unequivocal positions that what happened in Srebrenica was genocide and that those who deny it or celebrate it belong in the dustbin of history.”

One banner read “Free Mladic” while another behind it read “Death to Tadic, Freedom to Mladic”.

Fedja Delalic who came to Melbourne from Bosnia as a refugee as a 17-year-old in 1993, said the banner would have caused offence to thousands of Bosnians around the world.

Mr Delalic compared Mladic to Nazi Germany politician Joseph Goebbels who was linked to the deaths of thousands of thousands of Jewish Germans.

“What the Jews see in Goebbels, Bosnians see in Ratko Mladich. It is a very sensitive issue and I’m sure there would have been a lot of very upset people who saw that sign last night.” […]

So we end with yet another distasteful analogy by a Bosniak, possibly one-upping the bin Laden one from last month. And of course we’re treated to yet another blatant inaccuracy by a Bosnian ambassador: that “Serbia” is the only state in history found responsible for violating the Genocide Convention. The ICJ specifically found Serbia not guilty of such. (Of course, if it had found it guilty, that would be all the more blatantly fishy in a world with Sudan, Turkey, Rwanda and other real offenders.)

UPDATE: It occurred to me only after I posted the blog below that it is an apt reminder on the 12th anniversary of the end of the war and the start of our occupation of Serbia — June 10, 1999. In addition to the additional significance of that date (the day the Prizren League adopted the plan to create a Greater Albania in 1878 and the day in 2007 that Bush flew to Albania to give the nod for the Kosovo theft), I’ve learned today, thanks to Aleksandra Rebic, that June 10th was also the start of the Mihailovic “trial” in 1946.

In an Israel National News article that I missed during the 2009 Gaza war, writer Martin Sherman explained how NATO’s war against Serbia can be used against the internationals who terrorize Israel and Serbia:

Proportionality and hypocrisy: Why are military ops in Gaza, Kosovo judged by wildly disparate criteria? by Martin Sherman

“There is always a cost to defeat an evil. It never comes free, unfortunately. But the cost of failure to defeat a great evil is far higher.” — Jamie Shea, NATO spokesman, BBC News, May 31, 1999

It was in these words that the official NATO representative chose to respond to criticism regarding the numerous civilian casualties incurred by the alliance’s frequent air attacks during the war in Kosovo between March and June of 1999. He insisted NATO planes bombed only “legitimate designated military targets” and if civilians had died it was because NATO had been forced into military action. Adamant that “we try to do our utmost to ensure that if there are civilians around we do not attack,” Shea emphasized that “NATO does not target civilians…let’s be perfectly clear about that.”

However, hundreds of civilians were killed by a NATO air campaign, code named “Operation Allied Force” - which hit residential neighborhoods, old-aged sanatoriums, hospitals, open markets, columns of fleeing refugees, civilian buses and trains on bridges, and even a foreign embassy.

Exact figures are difficult to come by, but the undisputed minimum is almost 500 civilians deaths (with some estimates putting the toll as high as 1500) - including women, children and the elderly, killed about in 90 documented attacks by an alliance that included the air forces of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Holland, Italy, Turkey, Spain, the UK, and the US. Up to 150 civilians deaths were reportedly caused by the use of cluster-bombs dropped on, or adjacent to, known civilian areas.

By contrast, the military losses inflicted by NATO on the Serbian forces during almost 80 days of aerial bombardment, unchallenged by any opposing air power, were remarkably low - with most estimates putting the figure at less than 170 killed.

Meanwhile, NATO forces suffered no combat fatalities! This was mainly due to the decision to conduct high altitude aerial attacks which greatly reduced the danger to NATO military personnel in the air, but dramatically increased it for the Serbian (and Kosovar) civilians on the ground. Moreover, the civilian populations of the countries participating on Operation Allied Force were never attacked or - even threatened - in any way by Serbian forces.

The significance of all this for Israel, beset as it is by a maelstrom criticism and censure regarding its military campaign in Gaza, should be starkly apparent. It raises three trenchant issues which it would fail to address to its great detriment:

1. The irrelevance of proportionality in military engagements
2. The unlimited hypocrisy of international politics
3. The disastrous incompetence of Israeli international diplomacy

The issue of proportionality, or rather, the alleged lack thereof, has been the basis for the fierce condemnation of Israel’s conduct in its military operations in Gaza because the number of Palestinians casualties far outweighs that of Israeli ones. However, the conduct of military operations in Kosovo by many of Israel’s present detractors shows that this was never a consideration or constraint which they felt bound by.

Quite the contrary, the very modus operandi they adopted - i.e. high altitude bombing - demonstrates that they deliberately aspired to disproportionality. As noted, this ensured an almost zero casualty rate among their own combatants but inevitably resulted in less accurate targeting of alleged military objectives on the ground, exposing a virtually defenseless civilian population to far greater danger and far higher casualties.

All of this serves to underscore vividly the crass hypocrisy of Israel’s critics. Indeed, in stark contrast to NATO’s willful disregard for enemy civilians, the IDF has often placed Israeli soldiers in mortal peril to prevent Palestinian civilians from being harmed. Furthermore, Israel’s use of military might has invariably been in response a tangible threat - or actual assault - on its citizens.

The blatant disregard for any semblance of proportionality by democratic belligerents and the shameless hypocrisy of their self-righteous and misplaced criticism of Israel highlight a crucial deficiency…in the overall structure of its international strategy: the incompetence - indeed impotence - of Israeli diplomacy. For the documented data on the conduct of the war in Kosovo by the world’s leading democracies should provide ample material with which to resolutely rebuff much of the pompous tirade of condemnation being hurled at Israel today.

I’m glad Mr. Sherman brought up the civilian deaths caused by NATO, and makes the point that the operation was designed to be disproportionate and imprecise while we suffered no casualties of our own from such great heights. Even with this, however, he understates the case. NATO didn’t just hit a lot of civilians. It TARGETED them. Eventually, Jamie Shea, Wesley Clark, Gen. Michael Short, and Sen. Joe Lieberman admitted this fact — the latter two boasting about it. But it goes even deeper still: When NATO found pockets in Kosovo where the Albanians hadn’t yet fled or were returning (which of course belies the claim that the Serbian plan was to empty Kosovo of its Albanian inhabitants), NATO bombs would TARGET those Albanians. (This was in furtherance of the earlier KLA-NATO-coerced exodus of Albanians and others — Albanians for one reason, and others for another: “How NATO Staged Albanian Flight during 1999 Bombing“; “Driven from Kosovo.”)

A report related to the general targeting of civilians by NATO, no longer available online, from Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR):

Serb General Blames NATO for Kosovo Casualties: Serbs and Albanians fled their homes because of NATO attacks, Vladimir Lazarević tells court.
By Marija Radovanovic in Belgrade (TU No 525, 9-Nov-07)

The man who commanded Serbia’s army in Kosovo during the war against separatist rebels denied this week that troops had forced Albanians from their homes, blaming NATO for the civilian casualties and the refugees.

As he testified in his own defence this week, Lazarevic denied having ordered his troops to use murder, rape, harassment, destruction of property and other forms of intimidation to force Albanians to leave the province….

“Both Serbs and Albanians were leaving their homes due to daily NATO attacks,” he said, adding that his units strictly obeyed the rules of war and did their best to help the surviving civilians, to enable evacuations and to even give blood transfusions.

“I personally ordered my commanders to leave all of their ongoing actions and get engaged in helping the wounded.”

…Of the more than 2,000 NATO attacks in the Kosovo region, he said 37 per cent were deliberately aimed at civilian targets.

Momčilo Bakrač, Lazarević’s lawyer, denied a mass campaign of terror had been unleashed in Kosovo.

“Although crimes did happen during the Kosovo war, they were isolated and individual acts, and by no means systematic,” he said.

Lazarević said operations in Kosovo during 1999 were intended solely to defend the province against Albanian terrorist organisations in the regions of Podujevo, Dragobilja and Drenica, and to, in his words, “neutralise terrorist actions” and “to clear the region of Albanian terrorists”.

More damningly still, we have this from the Birmingham Post of May 25, 1999:

ALLIES KILL HUNDRED IN AIR RAID ON ‘STAGING POST’ PRISON

At least 100 people were killed and 200 injured in NATO attacks on a prison in Kosovo… All buildings of Dubrava prison were destroyed and the bodies were still lying in the prison’s courtyard…An investigating judge from Pec, Mr. Vladan Bojic, accused NATO of committing the most massive murder of prisoners in modern civilization and confirmed an investigation had began.

…The Serb Media Centre said Mr. Bojic himself was slightly injured in a second raid on the prison on Sunday….NATO said an attack did take place on the prison. It said the target was legitimate because the grounds were being used as a barracks and staging area by Serbian special police accused of atrocities against ethnic Albanians. […]

There was no follow-up, at least that I’m aware of, as to whether this ‘atrocities’ charge too fell apart like 99% of the other tales, but unless we’re slow learners or trapped — as most Americans seem to be when it comes to the Balkans — in a “Groundhog Day” scenario (or “50 First Dates” or “Clean Slate“), where every new day is not built on what we’ve learned in previous days and so the same day just keeps repeating — it’s probably safe to assume there was a reason for the lack of follow-up to this story too.

Still trying to retroactively cover their rears on the civilian-targeting front, NATO countries such as the U.S. have even sent out their operatives and minions to announce before the international tribunal that there’s “No such thing as civilian target, says U.S. expert“:

“What civilian targets, there’s no such thing, targets are always military,” [U.S. colonel Geoffrey] Corn told the panel of judges [during the trial (concluded last month) of Croatian general Ante Gotovina], and went on to explain that it is always up to military commanders to appraise whether the expected military gains would outweigh possible civilian losses.

He likened the August 1995 Croatian military onslaught against ethnic Serb areas, known as Operation Storm, to the 1999 NATO attacks on Serbia, saying that orders to shell targets in the Krajina towns of Knin, Obrovac, Gračac and Drvar were comparable to NATO’s attacks, carried out with hundreds of cruise missiles and bombs, against Belgrade.

Indeed! And not defensible in either case. Yet here we have it from the horse’s mouth — defending the very crimes Sherman points out that the heavy-handed NATO is guilty of. (As the person who posted the above item asked: If civilian victims are no such things, then why did the U.S. make such a fuss
about the Bosnia and Kosovo war zones to begin with? Especially given that the Serbian war effort was far more surgical than NATO’s, with soldiers risking their lives much as the IDF does with door-to-door operations to weed out hostiles.)

I’ve been waiting more than a decade for people to finally start citing, as Sherman has done, that NATO war to say “Piss off.” First, I thought the Republicans would use it against the Democrats when the latter objected to the Iraq war on the basis that Saddam Hussein hadn’t attacked us, as well as on the basis that the Iraq war would anger the Muslim world and create more terrorists — peaceniks who supported a Democrat allying us with al Qaeda and arming and training terrorists just three years earlier simply didn’t have a leg to stand on. But the moderate Right being too shallow, and too programmed to react to a debate rather than set the terms of it, hadn’t bothered looking at the aftermath of the Democrats’ last war once cued by the liberal media to move on. Conservatives simply followed the media’s orders like the rests of the herd, and because no sustained investigation of that conflict has been conducted by any government, NGO, newspaper, court or other institution, the Right still believes all the old information that the otherwise distrusted MSM originally fed it.

In hindsight, of course, the fact that Republicans didn’t help their pro-war arguments by using the Kosovo example, is neither here nor there, given that Iraq turned out to be not about winning or Westernizing, but about submitting and Islamisizing. Ever since Iraq, rather than spend our time and resources civilizing barbarians, we’ve accepted to barbarize civilization.

I’ve also been waiting for Israel and its defenders to start using the example of the 1999 Operation Allied Force, not only to protect Israel from the precedent set by that operation, but to tell hypocritical Israel critics to buzz off — as Sherman has done. Fortunately, someone else in Israel caught on and filed this lawsuit: “Israeli Human Rights Group to Sue NATO for Attacking Serbia.” (See also “MK Eldad: Charge Spanish Officials with War Crimes in Serbia.”)

Of course, the exercise of pointing out double standards between what NATO countries are allowed to do and what their targets are allowed to do is laughable — since double standards are the whole point.

In 2001 six Yugoslav citizens brought a suit against NATO to the European Court for Human Rights, over the 16 civilians that NATO targeted and killed when it bombed Belgrade TV, the case being that the attack breached Europe’s human rights charter. The court threw the case out on the grounds that the country attacked wasn’t a signatory to the European Convention of Human Rights — even though the listed defendants were. (What was problematic, however, was that the two most guilty NATO members were excluded from the complaint — U.S. and Canada — since they were also not signatories.)

Two years earlier, Belgrade went to the International Court of Justice to stop the NATO attack and was rejected, with the ICJ ruling that Yugoslavia had no standing (i.e. that it wasn’t a member of the UN, since its membership had been put on hold during the country’s breakup — never mind that it was a founding member). Quoting Diana Johnstone from 1999:

A few liberals timidly criticized the NATO bombing on the imaginary grounds that it might provoke Serbian “terrorism”. In reality, throughout the air strikes there was never the slightest hint of any propensity on the part of Serbs to take up terrorism. On the contrary, Serbs were notably shocked by the flagrant violations of the legal order constructed primarily by the very Western powers who were now violating it, and a number of Yugoslavs both in Serbia and in the Diaspora, have tried to seek legal redress. The Yugoslav government itself tried on April 29 to institute proceedings at the International Court of Justice in The Hague against NATO governments for a broad range of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Western media, in brief reports, let it be known that such an initiative was “not serious”. It was finally thrown out of court because the Genocide Convention, the legal basis for Belgrade’s suit, has never been recognized by the United States as applying to itself, although Washington is willing to let it apply to others.

In 2003, however, the ICJ easily agreed to hear the genocide case that Bosnia’s wartime Izetbegovic regime filed in 1993 against Yugoslavia for the “siege” of Sarajevo, deciding it had jurisdiction and that Serbia was subject to it, and “rejecting Yugoslavia’s claim that it does not fall under the court’s jurisdiction” — the very basis that the European Human Rights Court had used to throw out the 2001 suit on behalf of NATO’s TV station victims. So, suddenly the non-existent, has-no-standing, non-state of Yugoslavia — as it had been in 1993 — was nonetheless suable, and in 2003 no less, with “Yugoslav lawyers argu[ing] that the nation was readmitted as a new state in 2000.” At least that was the standard phrasing used by the AP when in fact Yugoslavia had been stripped of its UN status in 1992 (staying on the member roll as a technicality), and after the 2000 coup the new government applied for membership as a new country, which Serbia-Montenegro was granted. This is a FACT, not something “Yugoslav lawyers argue.” So a new country was being held responsible for what Yugoslavia did or didn’t do while it had no standing as a UN member. It’s all very “Alice in Wonderland”: a country is recognized as existing or treated as non-existing, depending on the needs of the New World Order. (In the end, the case became about Srebrenica in 1995 rather than Sarajevo in ‘92-’93, as one count after another got tossed out for lack of substance. Against all odds, trends, and political pressures, in 2007 the court determined that Serbia was not guilty of committing genocide, only of not doing enough to prevent a genocide by the Bosnian Serbs — a genocide whose designation as such the court did not investigate but merely accepted the International Criminal Tribunal’s word for it.)

In another example, the ICJ also easily accepted to hear Croatia’s genocide suit against Serbia in 2008, and the whole tango was replayed: “[Serbia] said the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was not party to the UN’s genocide convention nor even a member of the UN when the complaint was filed [in 1999]. Most of the alleged crimes were committed before the current republic was formed, it also argued. However, ICJ judge Rosalyn Higgins said the 17-strong panel had dismissed Serbia’s challenge to the court’s competence.

Serbia’s expectations were based on an ICJ ruling of 2004 when the court ruled it could not try Serbia’s case against ten NATO countries….But more recently, the ICJ said it had the jurisdiction to hear the genocide case brought by Bosnia-Herzegovina against Serbia.

And, finally, we also have the example of both the ICTY and EULEX claiming no jurisdiction when it comes to the murder-for-organs that the KLA was engaging in before, during and after the Kosovo war.

But it is a loathsome practice the way the U.S., while insulating itself from these Orwellian international institutions, zealously wields them as a weapon against others, ensuring that while we — for now — are spared the Kafka existence, others are living the nightmare. It has come to a point where international justice surpasses even the predictable levels of farce, as the above-cited Johnstone article illustrates:

Nobody doubts that the NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia initiated on March 24, 1999, were in flagrant violation of international law on numerous counts…On May 7, a team of lawyers from Canada and Europe submitted a brief to Louise Arbour, the Canadian chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, accusing U.S. and other NATO officials of war crimes including “wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity, attack, or bombardment, by whatever means, of undefended towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings”…

This and a number of other initiatives by international jurists pointing to the illegality of the NATO action were widely ignored by mainstream media. Instead, considerable space was given to pundits developing the notion of “humanitarian intervention” which henceforth, it was said, superseded the outworn notion of “national sovereignty”.

In fact, there is absolutely nothing new about appeals to a “higher justice” to excuse violating the law. Nineteenth century imperialist conquests were usually undertaken “to defend” some group or other, and Hitler (the real one) marched into Czechoslovakia and invaded Poland, setting off World War II, in order to rescue allegedly abused German ethnic minorities. Respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity were incorporated into international law after World War II precisely in order to protect weaker nations from humanitarian crusades of this sort.

The big news was, of course, the indictment of Milosevic…Some of the charges were substantially identical to those filed earlier against the officials responsible for the NATO bombing, to wit: “the widespread shelling of towns and villages; the burning of homes, farms and businesses, and the destruction of personal property”.

The indictment of Milosevic and the others was hardly the act of an impartial body, rising above the conflict between mighty NATO and little Yugoslavia. Ms Arbour signed warrants for the arrest of Milosevic and the Serbian leaders on the basis of material turned over to her the day before by a party to the conflict, the United States government…

Part of Arbour’s job as chief prosecutor has been fund-raising in the “international community”, notably among the governments of NATO member states. She and chief Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald (a former Federal Judge in Texas) frequently appear in public with Madeleine Albright (”the mother of the Tribunal” in the words of Judge McDonald, who before the war had already judiciously branded Yugoslavia “a rogue state”) and praise the U.S. for its financial and other support to the Tribunal. When asked on May 17 what would happen if NATO itself were brought before the Tribunal, NATO spokesman Jamie Shea retorted that without NATO countries there would be no such tribunal, since it was the NATO countries which had been in the forefront of getting it set up and which funded and supported its activity on a daily basis. The International Criminal Tribunal gets material as well as political support from the United States government, other NATO governments, financial tycoon George Soros and even private corporations. If the Clinton administration cannot count on “higher justice”, it may get a helping hand from hired justice.

In July, the Connecticut-based International Ethical Alliance also filed charges against President Clinton and Defense Secretary William Cohen for “non-defensive aggressive military attacks on former Yugoslavia”. At the same time, IEA general counsel Jerome Zeifman called for the dismissal of prosecutor Arbour, charging her with “selective prosecution by intentionally failing to consider and act on evidence which incriminates defendants Clinton and Cohen, […] conflicts of interest, or the appearance thereof, in receiving compensation from funds contributed in whole or in part by governments of NATO; and bias in favor of the attacks by NATO on former Yugoslavia”. Zeifman called for replacement of the prosecutor and recusal of five judges, including McDonald, and selection of a truly independent prosecutor as well as new judges and staff from non-NATO countries who would not be compensated directly or indirectly by funds from NATO countries. Such a truly neutral tribunal, suggested the IEA, could then go on to weigh the charges against leaders on both sides, including Milosevic, Clinton and the rest.

In April 2009 Amnesty International also took note of NATO’s impunity — specifically with regard to the bombing of Serbian Radio-Television: “Ten years after NATO forces bombed the Serbian state television and radio (Radio Televisija Srbije - RTS), no one has been brought to justice for this serious violation of international humanitarian law committed by NATO….”

Closing with some quotes:

Even in Kosovo, I couldn’t escape the sound of Mr. Shea’s voice on satellite TV. It haunted me at the strangest times, denying things I knew to be true, insisting on others that I had seen were false.

Los Angeles reporter Paul Watson

Amid increasing reports of civilian casualties, NATOs top military commander, Gen. Wesley Clark, said the alliance was operating under tight rules of engagement, targeting military sites and not civilians. We know which villages are occupied. We know which are not, and were going exclusively after military targets. We would never do it any other way, Clark said on CNNs Late Edition.

CNN

The 9/11 Commission — notwithstanding its many faults — listed the occasions when Clinton could have ordered an attempt to kill or capture bin Laden based on information provided by CIA officers and on many occasions corroborated by signals intelligence or overhead imagery. On one day in particular, Clinton had the U.S. Air Force drop tons of bombs on the Serbs — who had not harmed or even threatened Americans — while refusing to sanction an attack on bin Laden.

– retired CIA officer Michael F. Scheuer, in a letter to American Conservative magazine, via Greg Pierce at Washington Times, Oct. 9, 2006

How can Western societies that pride themselves in their justice system support such an unaccountable court?

comment poster “Hainer” at Atlas Shrugs blog

This means he was given the signal by us. So now he is preparing the public.


Tadic welcomes “Greater Albania”
(June 3)

Serbian President Tadic told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that formation of Greater Albania is dangerous but that if done with dialogue with Serbia, he welcomes that outcome.

From his interview to FAZ translated via Google:

“As a unilateral intention of this plan is very dangerous, but we can live with it if we have agreed solutions. An agreement where all sides get something and creates a viable solution, peace and stability can be extremely helpful for all parties. I am opposed to the avoidance of solutions, but for dialogue and negotiations. I’m not saying that Greater Albania is a great solution. I do not believe that Greater Serbia is a good solution. Just as I am against the partition of Bosnia. I am against creating a policy that larger states. But let us try to find practical solutions to problems.”

Tadic: Great Albania, the solution for the conflict (June 4)

Union of Kosovo and Albania may be a solution to the perennial conflict said the Serbian President Boris Tadic for the German press. “Who knows how to interpret history, will recognize that the formation of a Great Albania was an Albanian political long term plan, ” Tadic told for the German newspaper FAZ.

According to Tadic, Greater Albania is a risky project, but may be part of a larger settlement and the Serbs “can live with this (resolution). ” [It’s probably the only way they’ll be allowed to live.]

German newspaper estimates that Tadic hinted that Belgrade expects in return for Kosovo, joining Serbian part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. /albeu.com/

It sure is a good thing we bombed those Serbs.

And bought ourselves all that Bosnian and Albanian good will.

Muslim militant arrested in possession of TNT

SARAJEVO — A member of a militant Muslim group was arrested in the Bosnian town of Brčko along with four kilograms of TNT explosives.

According to reports, Adnan Rečica belongs to the Salafi movement.

Rečica was also in possession of 300 grams of plastic explosives at the time of the arrest.

Other items confiscated by police in the district in northern Bosnia included trigger mechanisms activated by telephone, radios, military equipment, and printed propaganda in Arabic.

The arrest was made in Rečica’s family home in Brčko. Police also discovered a lab used to manufacture illegal drugs.

“We found drug and explosives-making capacities. The operation came after lengthy preparation,” a source was quoted as saying by the Sarajevo-based daily Dnevni Avaz.

This is not the first time that a member of the Salafi movement was caught in possession of TNT, according to reports.

A hand grenade contains 38 grams of the explosive, while anti-tank mines, designed to penetrate armor, are made of four to six kilograms of TNT.

2 EU police cars set on fire in Kosovo capital

A European Union official in Kosovo says assailants set fire to two cars of the EU’s rule of law mission. No one was injured.

Nicholas Hawton, a spokesperson for the 3,000-strong police and justice mission, said the cars were burned early Tuesday in the capital, Pristina, outside the apartment of a member of the mission. Hawton says there is no evidence the official was the target of the attack.

The force, known as EULEX, helps Kosovo authorities fight organized crime and deals with past war crimes.

The force has been attacked by members of Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian group which opposes EULEX because it does not treat Kosovo as an independent state. Five of the EU’s 27 members refuse to recognize Kosovo’s 2008 secession from Serbia.

FLASHBACK to 2009, the year after Albanians got the independence they wanted, as well as the hurried transition from UN to EULEX oversight which they demanded:

EU mission vehicles damaged in Kosovo (Aug. 25, 2009)

Members of Kosovo’s Self-Determination Movement damaged Tuesday in the capital Pristina 28 vehicles of EU Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) in Kosovo.

They used stones and sticks to destroy the vehicles parked in the yard of the Youth Center near the city center at an unannounced move. Some of the vehicles were overturned, while some had their glasses broken or tires pierced.

Attackers said the move was an expression of their refusal to “the EULEX presence and all its actions in Kosovo including the protocol agreement with Serbia,” which is due to be signed in the days to come.

Kosovo police reacted and detained 21 members of the movement. EULEX praised “Kosovo police’s fast and efficient response,” as it condemned the attack.

A member of the Self-Determination Movement was seriously wounded and so were three members of Kosovo police during the police action.

The Self-Determination Movement action followed objections by Kosovo institutions to the planned signing of a protocol on police cooperation between EULEX and Serbian Interior Ministry.

Representatives of Kosovo institutions recently said that by signing this protocol, EULEX risks a deterioration of relations with the Kosovo government. […]


EU police officers inspect the scene where activists of an Albanian group called “Self-Determination” rolled over and vandalized dozens of vehicles of the EU mission in Kosovo’s capital Pristina, on Tuesday. Tensions between ethnic Albanians and the EU has been on the rise due to an agreement that EU mission officials in Kosovo want to sign with Serbia on exchange of information. Twenty activists were arrested. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

So that’s what happens when you veer off the Albanian agenda by even an inch. About the protocol:

Kosovo blocks border control protocol between EU and Serbia (DPA, Aug. 27, 2009)

Kosovo’s government on Thursday blocked the signing of a protocol on border cooperation between the European Union’s law-enforcement mission in Kosovo (EULEX) and neighbouring Serbia.

‘As of today, all debates and talks on the subject of the protocol have ended,’ Kosovo Premier Hashim Thaci and President Fatmir Sejdiu said in a short statement after meeting with the EU special representative in Kosovo, Pieter Feith, and EULEX chief Yves de Kermabon.

The protocol’s rejection by Kosovo’s authorities comes after protests earlier this week by the Albanian movement Vetevendosja (Self-Determination). The group vandalized 28 EULEX cars in downtown Pristina because of the protocol and called [on] the government ‘to question their cooperation with EULEX.’

The protocol, which regulates operational cooperation with EULEX, is one of the technical conditions that Serbia must fulfill before acceding to the Schengen white list, allowing visa-free travel in and out of Serbia with other Schengen signatory states.

EULEX is having separate negotiations with Belgrade over the protocol, without Kosovo’s participation, because Serbia does not recognize Kosovo’s independence.

EULEX said earlier that the protocol would primarily focus on exchange of information relevant to the fight against organized crime and other illegal activities. Similar protocols have already been signed with neighboring Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro. […]

So now we know why Albanians didn’t like the protocol:

The expected signing of a co-operation protocol between EULEX and Serbia’s Interior Ministry represents a constructive step towards strengthening the rule of law in Kosovo (Aug. 18, 2009)

…Following a spate of incidents in southern Serbia, including a grenade attack on the Gendarmerie near Bujanovac and an explosion in Presevo, Serbia’s Interior Minister, Ivica Dacic, emphasized how “such cooperation is necessary when at issue are groups crossing the administrative line, whether it is about terrorism, illegal trade in drugs or arms or the smuggling of goods… it is in our interest to prevent as much crime in our region as we can”. Dacic also specified that the protocol is based upon UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which reaffirms Serbia’s sovereignty over Kosovo, the decision of the EU Council of Ministers on which the mandate of EULEX is based, and the six-point plan of UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.

The draft protocol has, however, been rejected by the Kosovo government, which maintains that EULEX does not have the mandate to sign international agreements and complains that it has been neither informed nor consulted about the protocol. In response, EULEX insists that it possesses certain authorities, agreed upon before the mission was deployed, that enable it to enter into such arrangements, whilst Serbia’s Interior Ministry added that the agreement was very similar to the one previously signed with UNMIK’s Police and Justice Pillar.

The expected protocol comes at a sensitive time for issues related to policing and war crimes investigations. On the seventh anniversary of the murder of two Serb children in Gorazdevac, near Pec, on August 13th, for which no-one has ever been charged, Oliver Ivanovic maintained that the “solving of that crime, as well as of many other crimes, is a test for EULEX”.

Serbia’s minister for Kosovo and Metohija, Goran Bogdanovic, meanwhile, has requested that Yves de Kermabon, EULEX’s head of mission, take a central role in the investigation into the murder of an elderly Serb couple in the village of Partes, near Gjilan, on August 7th. Bogdanovic pointed out that since 1999, a vast number of crimes committed against Serbs and other non-Albanian communities in Kosovo have remained unsolved and unpunished…[T]he failure to adequately investigate and prosecute [these] crimes…continues to severely undermine attempts to strengthen the rule of law and transform latent conflicts.

Violent protests against EU mission in Kosovo (Aug. 26, 2009)

The European Union’s law enforcement mission in Kosovo (EULEX) was on Tuesday (25 August) the target of violent protests by Albanians opposed to the presence of the international community in the country.


The group was protesting the signing of a police co-operation agreement with Belgrade (Photo: Pim de Kuijer)

Twenty eight EULEX vehicles near a youth centre in downtown Pristina were damaged during the events, organised by the Vetevendosja (Self-Determination) group, which launched its assault in reaction to co-operation between EULEX and Belgrade.

The vehicles were attacked with sticks and stones or overturned.

Kosovo police arrested 21 members of the group, which said that the demonstration was organised against “the EULEX presence and all its actions in Kosovo including the protocol agreement with Serbia.” […]

The Albanians were still mad about the protocol a month later:

Two EU cars attacked with Molotov cocktails in Kosovo (AFP, Sept. 16, 2009)

Two cars of the EU rule of law mission (EULEX) in Kososvo were damaged Wednesday when unknown attackers threw Molotov cocktails at them, a mission spokesman said.

“Two Molotov cocktails were thrown at the two cars. One of them was burned inside while the second one had only a broken window,” EULEX spokesman Christophe Lamfalussy told AFP.

The incident occurred in the town of Gnjilane, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) east from the capital Pristina.

“It is a regrettable but isolated incident,” Lamfalussy said.

Some 1,000 Kosovo Albanians on Monday demonstrated in Pristina against the new crime-fighting accord between EULEX and Serbia, considering it as an infringement of the newly declared state’s sovereignty. […]

Kosovo activists plan protests against Eulex agreement with Serbia (Sept. 11 2009)

About 20 organisations in Kosovo are planning protests against a planned agreement between European Union rule-of-law mission Eulex and Serbia’s interior ministry on fighting international organised crime and corruption – an agreement that Kosovo sees as “denying” its self-declared independence. [Its independence to be the narco-terrorist mafia state that its KLA leaders set out for it to be.]

In a joint statement on the website of the US embassy in Pristina, International Civilian Representative for Kosovo Pieter Feith and the diplomats representing the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and the US set out their perspective on the agreement.

They said that the Eulex deployment had been accepted by Kosovo.

“The Republic of Kosovo’s support of this mission, which includes the participation of police, customs and justice officials from European countries, the United States and other nations, is a clear expression of its desire to combat cross-border criminality in the Western Balkans.”

The joint statement said that based on the signatories’ “detailed examination of the legal issues”, Eulex’s instruments of technical co-operation were consistent with its mandate to strengthen border management and had “no bearing” on the question of Kosovo’s independence.

“The Republic of Kosovo is not a party to this technical arrangement, but we commend the commitment and interest of the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo in combating illicit cross-border activities,” the joint statement, released on September 10 2009, said.

“We strongly support the work of the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo for the Euro-Atlantic future of the Republic of Kosovo,” the statement said. [With these last two sentences, the internationals are reminding the Albanians that they’re supposed to be against criminality, at least on paper, and that they want to join the civilized world.]

The same day, media in Pristina said that the EU had rejected claims that it was applying political pressure on Kosovo on the issue of the police co-operation protocol with Serbia.

“You know that all EU member states gave their full support to the Eulex mission in Kosovo and to the signature of the police co-operation protocol between Eulex and Serbia. Consultations are continuing intensively between the EU and Pristina and we do not see this as pressure but simply as negotiations, dialogue and consultation,” an EU diplomatic source was quoted as having told Kosovo daily Koha Ditore.

However, about 20 organisations in Kosovo, led by Kosovo self-determination movement Vetevendosje were expected to protest in coming days against the protocol being signed. “It has become obvious that Eulex is going ahead with signing the document with Serbia, which denies Kosovo’s independence,” according to Avni Zogjani of the Çohu association, one of the organisations due to take part in the protests.

Kosovo Hackers Deface 15 Serbian Websites (Sept. 15, 2009)

A group of hackers from Kosovo defaced 15 Serbian websites on Tuesday night, including those of high profile firms, government departments and museums.

The hackers, known as Kosova Hackers Group, posted the same, Albanian double-headed eagle and message on each website. The targets included the Serbian Ministry of Defence.

Many of the websites remain inaccessible, although the hackers’ message has disappeared.

Their message reads: “Hello Serbs, now wonder why you see it on this particular page?? We do it because we can and we will continue to do so.

“Now the fact is that we are p*ssed off at both you and EULEX [for] sign[ing] agreements which do not concern you.”

“Our final word is that we honor all families who lost someone in the war against you. We want justice and we want our missing people back.”

The group also hacked into the website of EULEX, the European rule of law mission in Kosovo, last month in protest against plans to sign a policing protocol with Serbia’s interior ministry.

This was on the heels of hacking a EULEX website:

Hackers break EU’s Kosovo mission Web site (Aug. 29, 2009)

Hackers posted messages on the European Union’s Kosovo mission official Web site claiming the bloc’s police mission wants to return Kosovo to Serb rule.

Friday’s attack on the Web site comes a day after a local court sentenced 20 ethnic Albanians to a month in prison for puncturing tires and smashing windows on some 24 vehicles of the EU mission, known as EULEX.

Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian leaders object to a EULEX deal with with Serbia’s police to exchange information, fearing it undermines Kosovo’s statehood.

The hackers posted a message saying: “You can not sell our country back to Serbia…As we said Welcome, we can say Goodbye, too.”

EULEX and Serbs had been targeted together before in Kosovo — the year they got what they wanted, just before EULEX was to take over:

Unknown Kosovo Albanian group threatens Serbs and EU (DPA, Nov. 27, 2008)

An unknown Albanian group on Thursday claimed responsibility for a bomb attack on a European Union office in Kosovo earlier this month and warned of attacks against the Serb minority.

The obscure group, calling itself “Army of the Republic of Kosovo - ARK” sent its threatening e-mail to authorities, the media and international organizations in Kosovo.

It warned of “strikes with full force” because of a new United Nations plan for Kosovo…The UN and Belgrade have agreed that the EU’s mission, Eulex, would be “status-neutral” and remain under UN command in areas dominated by Serbs - which Albanians fear would be a step toward an ethnic partition of Kosovo.

“Unless the UN plan is withdrawn … we will strike with our full force. There will be no security for Serbs who live in Kosovo,” the ARK e-mail said, promising to “chop off Kosovo Serb heads and send them to Serb politicians.”

The purported group also threatened to bomb Eulex if it remains neutral to the status of Kosovo and to “start a new conflict, not only in Kosovo.” […]

The internationals always run into problems when they treat Serbia as a party to negotiations over Kosovo, or consider the situation of the Serbs still living in deadly Kosovo.

Now, these more extreme Albanians have made it clear that they see the Serbs as one of us. When will we?

Before EULEX came around, when the UN people would try to enforce some semblance of legality, even on matters of property, they were attacked.

Driving much of the activity against the UN and EU is the fact that the international presence — in addition to ostensibly combating the society’s lawlessness and corruption — may obstruct the formation of Greater Albania. (Even though it was the international presence that made the Kosovo leg of the plan possible in the first place — go figure).

In July and August of 2009 weapons and explosives caches were discovered in southern Serbia’s Presevo Valley, smuggled from Kosovo. All the while, Kosovo Albanians call for a union with Albania, as does the prime minister of Albania. It’s meant to test the waters for how far the international community will go toward such an eventuality.

Just a reminder that such a possibility was never on the table for imperiled Serbs in Croatia or Bosnia, although they represented a higher percentage of the population than Albanians in Serbia. Nor is it on the table for the north of Kosovo, where the majority of the province’s imperiled Serbs live.

Just closing with an Ian Bancroft perspective that came a month after the whole protocols-vehicles-burning protest:

The EU’s Awkward Mission in Kosovo (Oct. 2, 2009)

…The protocol on police co-operation between Eulex and Serbia’s interior ministry is primarily concerned with the exchange of information relevant to the fight against corruption, organised crime, arms smuggling and other illicit trade….an important and constructive step towards strengthening the rule of law in Kosovo.

It has, however, been vehemently opposed by the Kosovo government, which maintains that Eulex does not have the mandate to sign international agreements on its behalf and complains that it was neither informed nor consulted about the protocol. The cabinet of Kosovo prime minister, Hashim Thaçi, has warned that “by ignoring relevant Kosovo institutions, it [the protocol] will worsen the relations between the European mission and the Kosovo government”.

The Joint Action of February 2008, however, which provides the basis for Eulex’s mandate, clearly states that the mission can enter into agreements independently of the Kosovo authorities. Having publicly demanded Serbia’s constructive engagement with Eulex, the need for a similarly firm stance towards the Kosovo government is becoming increasingly apparent.

With Eulex planning further agreements with Serbia in the areas of customs and the judiciary, attempts to undermine and impair Eulex by Kosovo Albanians will have important ramifications for the EU’s crisis management capabilities elsewhere in the region….

The problems facing Eulex…stem in part from attempts to impose outcomes…Developments in the north of Kosovo best elucidate this point, with reconstruction in the highly sensitive Brdjani neighbourhood contributing to sporadic clashes and heightened tensions; tensions that will continue to grow without reciprocal measures to support the safe and sustainable return of Serbs and other non-Albanian minorities, particularly the Roma community…

If Eulex is to reinforce its own often ambiguous role, while stabilising Kosovo and strengthening the rule of law, then it must re-emphasize that its legitimacy derives from UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and reassert, both rhetorically and in practice, its neutrality towards Kosovo’s status. Steps to impose measures, especially in the north, will only prompt and provoke further confrontations with and between both ethnic Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo….

Which is of course the whole point — to inflame, not defuse.

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