Prague, July 12 (CTK) - Two Czech lawyers, Adam Basny, 35, and Petr Klement, 36, who help wipe out the mafia in Kosovo within the EULEX mission, told yesterday’s issue of daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) that they have got used to the danger they face in performing their duties.
State attorney Basny, an expert in fighting corruption, told the paper that the first thing he got when he arrived in Peje was a bulletproof vest, a gas mask and a kevlar helmet.
He has been on a year-long mission together with colleagues from other EU countries in western Kosovo since the beginning of the month, the paper writes.
“It was a challenge to fight crime in Kosovo,” Basny told HN.
Klement has been working in Kosovska Mitrovica since last October. Until then he was an international expert of the Czech Supreme State Attorney’s Office (NSZ) in Brno.
“Back at home I go to work by tram, here, in Kosovo, I use a service car and I always have to report it to the centre via a walkie-talkie. The state attorney’s office in Brno is not covered with barbed wire, runaway dogs are not running there and electricity is always available,” Klement told HN.
“I must think of how to transport Albanian witnesses to court in the north because it is dangerous for them to walk around streets alone,” he added.
HN writes that Klement and Basny’s work is adventurous because the EU mission aims to push through law in Kosovo, a country divided by disputes between Albanians and Serbs and from which drugs are smuggled to the whole of Europe, HN writes.
Klement has already successfully solved several cases.
“I now have some 20 to 30 cases on the table, I have won everything to date. I only had to appeal in one case,” Klement told HN.
He has dealt with murders, robberies, customs frauds as well as massive environmental pollution, HN writes.
Klement said his worst case ended only last month. “A brother shot dead his sister who went out with her boy friend in the evening without the family’s permission. The brother was responsible for her safety under common law. The daughter put the family to shame, therefore he together with other relatives attacked her in the night in a car on her way back home,” Klement said.
“The proceedings ended with an agreement on guilt and punishment, approved by court. I will never forget the father who was another victim of this absurd act. With tears in his eyes he deplored the judge for the mildest possible punishment for his son who killed his daughter,” Klement said.
Kosovo that declared independence after wars with Serbia only three years ago is haunted mainly by corruption and gangs, HN writes.
That is why, it says, the prosecutors who are dealing with these cases are often in danger.
“One gets used to it. I paradoxically felt the biggest fear in a case that was not that serious. It was a drug case in which the relatives of one of the perpetrators did not like me asking him such questions that resulted in his proving himself guilty,” Klement told HN.
He will return to the NSZ in Brno in the autumn.
Basny also has some cases on his table, but he said they cannot be talked about. “They are the heaviest crimes, organised crime in its heaviest forms,” he said.
Basny told HN he does not fear for his life, also because he received thorough EULEX training.
“If you were afraid of physical liquidation, you would go nowhere. If they decide to get me, they will do it,” he told HN, adding that he always has a walkie-talkie on him.
It’s interesting that the cases in Kosovo which international justice workers tend to find the most memorable and horrifying are…honor killings. Nothing Muslimy about that.
But it’s just so hard. After all, this is the life that they fought for. Like I keepasking, things were so bad under civilized Belgrade? Life is so much prettier for “Kosovars” under the lawlessness of their own rule?
Another in a steady stream of blood feud stories coming out of the region:
GRACKE — Outside the Neziri family compound in this Kosovo hamlet there is no sign of life, not even a sound indicating that 45 relatives with seven children are holed up inside afraid of a vendetta attack.
His eyes darting from side to side, the head of the clan, Haki Neziri, 77, emerged cautiously from the house to receive AFP journalists.
“My family has not been able to go out for 17 months. Men and women cannot go to work on the field. Children cannot go to school,” he complained bitterly.
The Neziris fear any one of them could be shot by members of the rival Veseli family in an “honour killing” to avenge a murder, in this ethnic Albanian area that broke away from Serbia in 2008.
The ancient Albanian tradition of the blood feud has forced the Neziri family — even the children — to barricade themselves inside their homes, the only place they are safe. Under the old customs, a vendetta killing of someone inside their own home would bring shame on the perpetrator.
The drama in Gracke, set on the slopes of the Nerodime mountains some 50 kilometres (31 miles) south of the capital Pristina, started in February 2010 when an old dispute between the two families culminated in the killing of Brahim Veseli, 40.
Four Neziri brothers were arrested and are currently on trial for murder.
So-called “honour killings” — known as gjakmarrja, the Albanian law of vendetta — have been deeply rooted in local lore for centuries as part of mediaeval tribal laws known as the “Code of Leke Dukagjini”.
The code, or “Kanun”, says “if one man kills another, a male member of the victim’s family must respond in kind.”
Prominent human rights activist Behxhet Shala described “gjakmarrja” as “a relic of the past that was used to settle disputes by meting out justice by yourself” in stateless societies.
“It is an anomaly nowadays,” he said. “But it has resurfaced as there is no strong and functional rule of law” in Kosovo, where the EU rule of law mission (EULEX) is still monitoring and mentoring authorities.
Other observers also said such “honour killings” had risen in recent years though there are no official figures available.
Under the code, drawn up by an Albanian aristocrat during the 14th-century struggle against Ottoman rule, a murderer’s family can request assurances from the victim’s family — in the form of their word of honour known as “besa” — that they will not be shot if they step outside.
In the Neziris’ case, the family of the dead man has refused to make any such pledge, even for children aged seven to 14.
Shabani’s school has tried to help by sending teachers to the Neziri household weekly so the children do not fall behind. Police also escort the children to school when they have to take exams.
Fidan Veseli, the 20-year-old nephew of the murder victim, said that for now the prevailing view was that the Veselis would not touch the Neziris.
“Let’s see what the justice will do,” he said, referring to the court case — though justice moves slowly in Kosovo and it was uncertain when the trial would end.
The nephew would not explain why his family would not agree to a pledge not to harm the Neziri children.
As the oldest Neziri brother, Shyqeri, with his father, feels the weight of responsibility for getting the family out of a situation with “no future”. Blocked in their compound, they have started selling off property and cattle piece by piece “to earn a living”.
The frustration shows on Shyqeri’s face and the desperation in his words.
“I will send word to them. Let them chose the time and place and I will go there.
“If it is a condition for my family to get rid of ‘gjakmarrja’ let them kill me,” he said. “They will be forgiven by my family.”
I’ve written repeatedly about Jews being duped by the Albanian PR that’s been making the rounds since 2005 — about Albanians in Albania (though not in Kosovo) not turning in Jews during WWII. Earlier this year the Albanian PR machine pulled the same dog-and-pony show on the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and last year it got a St. Louis synagogue to host and promote the Jew-saving exhibit, not long after the New Haven Register did its part to promote the PR that the Southern Connecticut State University’s Ethnic Heritage Center along with the Jewish Historical Society of Greater New Haven, Congregation Mishkan Israel and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven all fell for. These join Yad Vashem, the 92nd St. Y, the UN, the Holocaust Museum of Houston, and the Jewish sucker press which includes the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, The Forward, NY Jewish Week and others who dutifully printed the Jew-saving PR since 2006. (Again, this is a Yad Vashem-sponsored traveling exhibit by a Jewish photographer named Norman Gershman who thought it would be a good idea in the middle of Jihad to divert attention to the good things that some Muslims did over half a century ago. An effort that is of course approved by caliphate enablers (“We must strive to highlight these [commonalities] as Gershman has done…”) in the same spirit as all those “bridge-building” and “interfaith” events that have sought to inure Islam to the West (but not vice versa) at breakneck speed since its real intentions were revealed 10 years ago.)
Again, while there is nothing inherently wrong with recognizing the Righteous — they should be recognized — there is a supremacist Albanian agenda underlying the timing of this, and hyping the Muslimness of the rescuers as Gershman has been doing serves to confuse an already easily confused public that doesn’t get the bigger Islamic picture. I’ve written repeatedly what’s problematic about the timing and motivation of this new round of Albanian PR which aims to secure Kosovo’s illegal secession, and therefore what’s problematic about facilitating it. (See here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)
So now the latest successful target — of related Albanian PR — is “Jewish Heritage Europe,” an “online resource guide for Jewish heritage tourism in Europe,” as well as the publication “Jewish Ideas Daily” which ran this otherwise decent piece last month by Alex Joffe, research scholar with the Institute for Jewish and Community Research:
On the southwest coast of Albania on the Ionian Sea, opposite the Greek island of Corfu, beneath the modern town of Saranda, lies the ancient city of Onchesmos.
That ancient city had a synagogue, the remains of which can be seen from the modern street as a large hole filled with stumps of walls, columns, and young palm trees. Built in the 2nd or 3rd century CE and enlarged in the 5th and 6th, it bears a unique mosaic floor depicting a menorah flanked by a shofar and an etrog, as well as geometric designs and fish.
The site was noted by Albanian archaeologists decades ago but was excavated in 2003 and 2004 by a unique joint team from the Albanian Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Archaeology at Hebrew University. Unfortunately only two seasons of excavations took place.
An ancient synagogue on the Mediterranean is not in itself unique. But the story of Jews in Albania and the synagogue of Saranda are distinctive and point to a larger question of Jewish responsibility to the past — and, by extension, to the present.
Small numbers of Jews arrived in Illyria (as Albania was then known) during the Roman period and many more after the expulsion from Spain. But enough Jews were present in those early years to build the synagogue at Onchesmos, and to keep it in use for several centuries.
Much later, in 1939, Albania was occupied by Italy. Albanian Jews, numbering only a few hundred and supplemented by refugees from elsewhere, were removed to the country’s interior. But the Italians and Albanians refused to turn them over to the Nazis. When Albania was occupied by the Germans in 1943, Christian and Muslim Albanians sheltered Jews and provided many with false papers. Although some were eventually sent to their deaths, it appears that Albania actually ended the war with more Jews than when it started. [The ubiquitous catch-phrase that has been successfully circulated by Albanian PR masters.]
The Albanian relationship with Jews during the Holocaust was defined not by religion but by Besa, a local code of honor that literally means “to keep a promise.” Having lived alongside Jews, and received them as refugees, this sense of honor kept Albanians from turning them over to the Nazis. Albanians are justifiably proud of their role saving Jews during the Holocaust, a story that took decades to be recognized due to the Communist isolationist regime that virtually cut Albania off from the world.
Rebuilding itself after this regime, Albanians saw this synagogue as a potential tourist attraction, a boon to a struggling domestic industry. After all, heritage tourism — even the smaller subset of Jewish heritage tourism — is big business these days…But tourism is not just a recreational and aesthetic experience for the tourist. It is a business, and as such it poses moral questions as to the specific experiences that are bought and sold…Do Jewish tourists have a special responsibility toward living Jewish communities?
Even among the dead, the ethical questions are real, and the ironies are evident. While Albanians had hoped to use their commendable historical story to draw tourists, their synagogue now languishes and decays. Meanwhile, Nazi concentration and death camps, above all Auschwitz, are sites of pilgrimage and remembrance — and a source of significant tourism revenues to Germany and Poland…
You can see that parts of this 2008 Jerusalem Post article by Albania’s ambassador to Israel seem to have made their way into that piece above. In it, Ambassador Gjuraj tries to entice Israeli visitors with the dilapidated synagogue in Saranda:
…Albania is a country well worth visiting for Israelis, and well worth investing in.
Hospitality for guests in Albania is exceptional. There is no concept of “stranger” or “foreigner” in the case of Albanians. This is strongly based on Albanian customs, as well as on today’s democratic values. This may also explain the development of strong feelings for Jews both in the past and present.
The visa exemption agreement between the Republic of Albania and the State of Israel, which came into effect on July 27, has marked a significant achievement, which is expected to further bolster bilateral relations.
Our countries belong to different regions and face different kind[s] of problems. But this agreement will certainly strengthen economic and cultural ties, especially in the light of the commitment of the Albanian government and its citizens to a free and open society.
In fact, economic ties are already growing. Israeli companies are looking to invest in Albania - in real estate, the energy sector, construction, the fishing industry, etc.
… Albania’s 450 kilometers of coastline offers a unique example of tourism development. Israeli tourists may also want to visit the synagogue in Saranda (in the south), and see how this country shines a light on Jewish history and how it respects human dignity.
It is in the tradition of Jews to look for new destinations. Albania is now a new European destination, a new passion for visitors and investors.
Israeli tourists will visit the country that saved the lives of every Jew during World War II, a strong advocate of the interests of Israel in various international organizations, a multi-religious society that represents a model of religious harmony and ecumenical relations, a would-be NATO member (in April next year), and an EU [aspirant]. Come see for yourselves.
Perhaps my favorite was the part about Albania respecting human dignity. I guess that explains why organ-harvesting victims still lie in mass graves in Albania and international authorities are denied the right to excavate them and are blocked from investigating.
But to stick to the point, I’ll quote my friend Ricky, who sent me the “Tourist’s Dilemma” item and who publishes a Jewish paper on the East Coast: “Albania is used as a metaphor for all the wrong things.”
One aspect that has gone unmentioned even in all of my repeated contextualization of the Albanian PR about Jews during WWII is that among the Jews saved via Albania — which exclusively Albanians are given credit for at the intended expense of their hated Serbian neighbors — are Jews who got to Albania because Serbian families risked their lives hiding them. Below is one example:
BELGRADE — Israel’s Ambassador to Serbia has presented Righteous among the Nations awards to the children and grandchildren of Serbs who helped Jews during World War II.
The award is the highest honor given by the state of Israel to non-Jews around the world over the last 55 years, and the medals were awarded today to the relatives of Borivoj and Grozdan Bondžić, Ljubica Mandušić-Gazikalović and Jelica Ranković.
The awards are given to people who helped save and protect Jews during the Holocaust in occupied Serbia, risking the safety of their families and their own lives.
German racial laws were very rigorous and anyone discovered offering refuge to Jews faced extreme punishment.
“With great respect, we are fulfilling our duty today to confer medals to the children and grandchildren of the righteous Borivoj and Grozdan Bondžić, Ljubica Mandušić-Gazikalović and Jelica Ranković. Their courage and selflessness will stay in our memories forever,” [Ambassador Arthur] Koll said.
The Bodžić, Knežević and Zdravković families helped the Dajč family, which had to leave their jobs and then homes in Aleksandrovac due to German race laws.
Julija Dajč hid with the Bodžić family for three years, and gave birth to her son in the family home. Both now live in Israel.
Ljubica Mandušić-Gazikalović and Jelica Ranković saved Josef Levi and his family, who later fled to Albania.
Another one of these mass arrests of Our Friends the Albanians.
Kosovo is increasingly looking like a stimulus package for more jobs for the police, DEA and FBI.
In all the reports below, there is a reference to the drug operation functioning for “more than a decade.” Gee, what happened just over a decade ago that could have facilitated so many badasses from the Balkans?
One certainly wonders how Bronx Congressman Eliot Engel is planning on getting reelected if the entire constituency whose bidding he’s been doing is in jail?
NEW YORK (AP) — A ruthless syndicate of ethnic Albanians in the United States, Canada and Europe orchestrated a multimillion drug-dealing scheme spanning a decade, at times hiding shipments of cocaine in luxury cars and using gunplay and other violence to protect its turf, U.S. authorities said Wednesday.
An indictment unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn charged 37 people with multiple counts of conspiracy to smuggle and distribute massive amounts of high-grade marijuana and cocaine.
A strike force of agents and officers from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the New York Police Department and other agencies arrested most of the defendants Wednesday during raids in the New York City area, New Jersey, Colorado and Florida.
U.S. authorities said one reputed ringleader named in the indictment, Arif “The Bear” Kurti, already is serving time in Albania for heroin trafficking, but has continued to give orders from behind bars using smart phones smuggled into prison.
Court papers filed in New York described the ring as a network of “several inter-related ethnic Albanian family clans” that spanned the globe in pursuit of illicit profits and used violence “for the specific purpose of intimidating, eliminating or retaliating against witnesses and law enforcement agents.”
Earlier this year, three of the defendants gave a “clean-cut” patron of a Bronx bar a vicious beating because they suspected he was an undercover officer who was following them, the court papers said. A dispute over a drug debt prompted two ring members to track down another victim June 4 at a busy Bronx cafe, where they pulled guns, chased him out the door and shot him in both legs, the papers added.
A four-year investigation found that the ring smuggled tens of thousands of kilos of marijuana into the United States from Mexico and Canada by hiding it in tractor trailers carrying legitimate cargo, court papers said. The drugs were stashed in warehouses in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx before being distributed throughout the city and suburbs.
The syndicate also smuggled cocaine inside hidden compartments in luxury sedans shipped by U.S. car dealers to Albania and elsewhere in Europe, authorities said. Last year, one of the ring’s couriers was caught at the airport in Lima, Peru carrying clothing saturated with 24 kilos of liquid cocaine, they added.
Raids in New York on Wednesday resulted in the recovery of 18 firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, authorities said. Previous seizures in Manhattan netted nearly $2 million in alleged drug proceeds.
And yes, please do note that the CBS editor’s headline for the AP item above actually reads “Albanians” this time — as opposed to “former Yugoslavs” or “people from the Balkans.” Maybe someone’s catching on?
From the U.S. Attorney’s Office Press Release (37 ALLEGED MEMBERS AND ASSOCIATES OF AN INTERNATIONAL ETHNIC-ALBANIAN ORGANIZED CRIME SYNDICATE ARRESTED: Defendants Charged with Trafficking Cocaine, Marijuana, MDMA and Prescription Drugs, and Laundering Tens of Millions of Dollars in Narcotics Proceeds) we see that the syndicate is referred to as “the Thaqi organization.” Appropriately, the same name as the criminal Kosovo state’s prime sinister Hashim Thaci (alternately spelled Thaqi or Taci, and pronounced ‘Tachi’) — and of course other familiar last names, such as Berisha (Albania’s prime minister), also pop up:
…Most of the defendants were arrested earlier today in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan, Long Island, Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange, Albany, New Jersey, Colorado and Florida…Two defendants were arrested last month following a drug-related shooting, and several others are already in custody for previously charged crimes. One of the alleged ringleaders was arrested by law enforcement agents in Albania, and the United States has requested his extradition…
DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Gilbride stated, “…DEA’s Strike Force and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners were successful in dismantling the Thaqi organization…”
If convicted, the three alleged leaders of the syndicate, Gjavit Thaqi, Arif Kurti and Gjevelin Berisha, charged with operating a continuing criminal enterprise and using firearms in furtherance of their drug trafficking crimes, face a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence and a maximum penalty of life imprisonment…
And a report from The Wall Street Journal (Oh thank you, Your Holiness, for deigning to report something negative about your beloved Albanians/”Kosovars”): Drug Ring Arrests
More than three dozen members and associates of an alleged Albanian organized-crime syndicate have been charged in a long-running scheme to smuggle cocaine, marijuana and prescription drugs into the U.S., as well as Canada and Europe, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
A federal indictment outlined the purported decadelong scheme - and revealed an array of colorful nicknames the defendants allegedly used: “The Bear,” “Juicehead,” “Fat Ange,” “Jo-Jo,” “The Kid,” “Lucky” and “Little Guy,” among others. Some echoed the monikers of Italian organized crime. A man named Faik Mehmeti was known as “Frank Nitti,” according to the indictment.
Prior to Wednesday’s arrests, the syndicate was allegedly involved in negotiations to obtain hundreds of kilograms of cocaine from South America, some of which would be shipped to Canada in exchange for high-grade hydroponic marijuana, prosecutors said.
A small New York press got the drop on all the media, though, months ago, preempting even the Feds’ press release — indicating that at least some in New York are finally waking up to the Kosovo in their midst. Check out this three-part March-to-July series on Albanian organized crime — and check out the picture. This is The Bronx, Folks. The threatening, blood-and-darkness Albanian flag is making its presence known as Kosovo lawlessness entrenches itself on our shores:
A graffiti mural in Albanian featuring the double-headed eagle, off Lydig Ave. in the Bronx.
It’s not every day that two weed dealers from New York City face the death penalty.
These two are a pair of Albanian-American brothers from Staten Island named Saimir and Bruno Krasniqi, ages 29 and 26. They, along with a 27-year-old partner named Almir Rrapo — who was a civil servant in Albania, working for a deputy prime minister at the time of his arrest — led a crew of 15 other men. The other members of their crew were Albanian, too.
I first heard about Albanians and the street in the mid 1980s. They tore through the Westchester County Fair at Yonkers Raceway with baseball bats over some type of beef. They were just beginning to make a name for themselves here for craziness. Do not fuck with the Albanians was quickly becoming conventional wisdom.
New York City has the largest Albanian population in the United States, and for 25 years a small number of them have been popping up in spectacular ways on the blotter: shooting up Scores strip club; putting a hit out on Giuliani and his prosecutor; employing an active-duty cop for crime jobs; muscling in on and pulling guns on the Gambino family during a sit-down at a gas station (allegedly); demanding John Gotti’s old table at Raos (allegedly). Plaurent “Lenti” Dervishaj, the most-wanted fugitive in his native Albania, the alleged head of an organized-crime syndicate, is on the federal authorities’ most-wanted list for New York City. (Among other things, he had rocket launchers.)
Albanian gangsters maintain a serious presence in Europe and a serious reputation among people who study transnational organized crime. They get shouted out in Grand Theft Auto.
We all should know this, but it has to be said: This is just one story about one aspect of a community, and a people. Mother Teresa was Albanian. So was the kind lady in the bakery in the Bronx who schooled me on burek and sudjuk, and so was the man who took me into his home when I rang his bell out of the clear blue at night after bouncing around Albanian businesses in Staten Island all day and depositing a long letter into the Krasniqi family mailbox.
[Notice that journalists don’t bother with these otherwise ubiquitous courteous disclaimers when writing negatively about Serbs.]
Walking through some sketchy urban blight I stumbled upon and into a large building housing the very substantial Albanian-American Institute.
Albania is a small country but special in some unfortunate ways, not least of which is the presence of a significant political-criminal syndicate within the government.
It’s a prime transit zone for heroin….The product goes from Afghanistan to Iran to Turkey and then to the Balkans where “interception efficiency drops significantly…the route is exceedingly well organized and lubricated with corruption,” according to the The World Drug Report 2010, produced by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The report also notes that “…important networks have clan based and hierarchically organized structures. Albanian groups in particular have such structures making them particularly hard to infiltrate.” There is an old Albanian tradition of families and clans (fins, fares) and a code of honor (besa) that criminals appropriate and corrupt.
Albania also has been a very significant corridor for human trafficking (sex work) and smuggling of migrants. Ethnic Albanians are also heavily involved in the fake-passport industry.
There’s reportedly mass production of marijuana there; the government is considered to be statistically one of the most corrupt in the world. (Ilir Meta, the minister Rrapo worked for, recently resigned and is being investigated.) Close to 50 percent of Albania’s young men (the 15- to 24-year-olds, the prime age of lawbreakers) are unemployed. A significant amount of money made illegally by Albanians abroad is sent back home, where, according to reports, it can be laundered.
IN AUGUST 2010 THE U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE IN MANHATTAN unsealed a 37-page indictment against the “Krasniqi Organization” (which is almost certainly not what they called themselves). The FBI, which has a standing Albanian Organized Crime Task Force, and the New York Joint Organized Crime Force conducted the operation…
In the indictment, the crew is alleged to have smuggled marijuana over the border from Canada into Detroit (significantly, they’re charged with operating in the Eastern District of Michigan; more on this later) and Buffalo and then couriered it to New York.
The Krasniqis are supposed to have moved and distributed more than 100 kilos of marijuana. The authorities are seeking millions in asset forfeitures. Three of the crew were on unemployment.
THERE ARE ALBANIAN NEIGHBORHOODS ON EITHER SIDE of East Fordham Road in the Bronx: Pelham Parkway on one side, the Belmont section on the other. (There are smaller concentrations of Albanians on Staten Island, in Brooklyn and in Queens.) It’s an area where you can pick up copies of Illyria newspaper, where you see the double-headed eagle flag fly on rearview mirrors and the stickers proudly advertising “The World’s Newest Country,” Kosovo.
It’s where you walk into cafés and drink strong espresso in the middle of the day as strong-looking adult men do their social-club thing. It’s where the 40-something in a track suit schools me on the food and culture, where the younger Albanian homeboys with ball caps and sneakers talk about cars doing 180 m.p.h and their dreams of openingup a pizzeriaoneday.
These are the facts, according to the government: In 2005 Erion Shehu was shot and killed in a drive-by in Queens, allegedly by the Krasniqis and Rrapo. Nineteen shots, seven hits. Gambling receipts on his person and a gun in his car.
Six months after this (court records talk about the Krasniqi brothers’ habit around this time of sticking guns into people’s mouths to threaten them), the Krasniqis shot Erenick Grezda in the head and dumped him on the side of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
In part of his guilty plea, Sejdaris said that he was in the car when Grezda’s murder took place (apparently his guns were used; court records indicate he was charged with possession of a machine gun). It was also Sejdaris’ car and it was torched to get rid of evidence. He was reimbursed for it. Sejdaris told the court that they used to call Grezda “Eri” for short; it seems they were friendly. They were all boys at one point.
They were such boys that they were together with the others in on the Shehu killing. Friends told the court that Grezda later laughed about it.
AROUND 2005, GREZDA WAS KIDNAPPED BY A RIVAL ALBANIAN gang the Krasniqis had ripped off. Bruno was kidnapped, too, by four masked men — the same ones who had taken Grezda.
They were driven to Michigan.
Grezda was beaten so badly he could barely walk. He gave up the Krasniqis as the robbers. He was left bloody and naked in downtown Detroit. A good samaritan put him on a bus to New York.
Meanwhile, Bruno called Saimir, who was living in Michigan at the time (the Eastern District) and told him that he had to pay a $350,000 ransom for his life. Saimir, supposedly in the crime game since 2003, and having just killed someone four months earlier (Shehu), called the FBI.
A news account from the time says that the Bureau mobilized 50 agents. Saimir cooperated in a sting and they arrested the bagman during the money drop-off. The bagman, a political asylum seeker and restaurant worker, Franc Shestani, refused to cooperate, reportedly saying “just go ahead and shoot me now.” Bruno was later dropped off in a gas station along I-75…
Around this same time, very near where Saimir was living in Michigan, rival Albanian gangs were terrorizing Oakland and Macomb Counties, hanging around a coffee shop named Goodfellows…making people beg for their life at gunpoint, planning at one point to ride in on motorcycles with AK-47s to settle a dispute.
The purported leader of one of the gangs, Ketjol Manoku, 26, used a nine millimeter to shoot four other Albanians in a minivan. (All this was going on literally in Eminem and Kid Rock territory…) Manoku and two other Albanian twenty-somethings are now doing multiple life sentences in Michigan state prisons…
Two months after the whole kidnapping, FBI sting went down in Michigan, the Krasniqis murdered their boy Erenick Grezda in New York in retaliation.
Bruno Krasniqi’s other attorney, Kelley Sharkey, politely told me to leave him alone…Sharkey has defended a Gambino hit man and has been publicly hated by a law enforcement association. She defended a Staten Island banger who killed two undercover detectives, one of them as he pled for his life. She asked a jury to show him mercy, mercy he himself didn’t show; she asked each of them to be a better person than her client was. The reporter in the courtroom wrote that her voice broke, and that she cried for a second. She wasn’t just doing her job, he said.
The trial for the drug charges is scheduled to start on May 23. A separate trial on the racketeering charges, involving both the Krasniqis and a rival crew, will begin in October. I’ll attend both.
Some people I’ve talked to in the course of reporting this story have asked, pointedly, why any of this is interesting, and why it’s worth writing about. There are tens of thousands of Albanians in New York working multiple jobs, raising children and going to church.
Two young men are dead, two more men might be executed. At least 16 other young men will spend years, maybe the rest of their lives, in cages. There are surely many mothers and fathers crying, girlfriends and wives devastated, families wrecked.
It happens all the time, I’ve been told. It’s a valid point.
My answer is that not to bother to try to explain why and how it all happened is like not having a proper funeral service for the dead, and that telling the story is a way of showing we’re better than those who don’t or can’t give a damn about their own lives, or other people’s. […]
To understand the story of Albanian organized crime in New York City, where the murder and drug-trafficking trials of the notoriously violent Krasniqi brothers and their associates got underway this week, I had to go to Michigan.
For five hours in a prison on the Canadian border, I sat across a table from Ketjol Manoku. He’s in for murder — 10 felony sentences. His latest motion had been denied the day before I arrived.
He’s 200-plus pounds and six feet tall, with a shaved head and a Viking beard. I told him he looked pretty hard…The only thing that was missing from the classic profile was a tattoo; his corrections sheet stated that he had none. But of course during the interview he pulled up his sleeve and there it was: A prison tat of the doubled-headed eagle, maybe 8 inches tall on the top part of his arm, representing Shqiptar [Albanians] everywhere.
He told me matter-of-factly that prison is too easy. It’s like high school. In Albania, he said, he was once beaten by police until his grey shirt was bright red and the cops were paid off the next day and he was let go. He said he fired his first gun at age 11 — a Russian version of a .45.
He and his friend once saw two men get shot in front of them…A lot of his friends from back home are dead now…
Manoku didn’t like school, and left at 16 or 17. At 19 he did a year in the army, which he described in carefully vague terms as something like special forces. He didn’t say much about the training, other than it taught him how to be good at being violent.
He went to Greece, got involved in some crime there, including counterfeiting money, and was deported back to Albania. He had five different passports.
He had family in Michigan (in Macomb and Oakland counties). He worked in restaurants, and lived in a ghetto area at first…He did security, helping organize concerts featuring Albanian singers in Michigan, and had a small cleaning company. He was also involved in some muscle work, persuading people to pay debts to criminals. So, say, an Albanian would be smuggled into America for a fee of $12,000; he’d pay $8,000 up front but once he’s here in America he wouldn’t want to pay the rest. Manoku would be the guy sent to convince him to settle up.
…He hung in the Albanian coffee shops in the Detroit area and met the infamous Krasniqi brothers there. Another Albanian gangster named Elton (Tony) Sejdaris introduced them.
He talked about a good Albanian friend getting murdered at a Michigan concert, and about going to New York to visit the Krasniqis and checking out mobster Paul Castellano’s house. He talked about two Albanian friends who went to Chicago on a drug deal with some Latinos and were killed and had their bodies burned. He said he went there to look into it. There were no arrests.
The Krasniqis are his friends, he said. Sometimes they translated for him.
Sejdaris, who is cooperating in the New York trial and has pled guilty, is definitely not a friend. Manoku called Sejdaris a coward, and said he always thought he was the weakest link in his network. He has the same dislike and contempt for a man who took a plea deal — Florjon Carcani, eight years — and testified against him and his two co-defendants: Edmond Zoica, life sentence, and Oliger Merko, 8 life sentences, two aliases. Manoku blames Carcani for lying in exchange for leniency, and for destroying his life.
There was apparently some friction between two groups of young Albanians. It was about north versus south Albanians, or perceived disrespect, or something to do with a woman, or a physical fight, or all of the above. When I pressed for details Manoku offered a lot of “let’s leave it at that.”
Manoku said he called for a peace meeting after an altercation and hands were shook and the beef was supposedly finished.
A week later two north boys jumped his boys. Manoku said he made phone calls and the other crew didn’t yield; they basically said that was how things were going to be.
He said two nights later, on July 17, 2004, at around 11:30 p.m., he was hanging in the parking lot of an apartment complex with his friends…Manoku said a van rolled into the parking lot with five people in it. He called out, “What’s up.”
Manoku said an A.K.-47 was pointed out the window of the vehicle. He said he went under a bush where a nine-millimeter was stashed and pulled it out and said, “Put the gun down.”
Manoku said the car accelerated toward him, and he fired, hitting four of the five young men in the van. One of the men, Marikol Jaku, 20 years old, died; the others were injured. (One of the victims injured that night, Ilirjan Dibra, pled guilty in Macomb County four years later to assault with intent to do great bodily harm.)
Prosecutors say Merko, the friend of Manoku, later tried to retrieve $2,000 and two guns and two boxes of ammo he gave to a friend. He wanted the weapons to kill witnesses [Hello, Kosovo, USA!], the state charged. The friend had turned in the weapons to the police the day of the shooting; Merko ended up assaulting him. Merko’s wife-to-be and family sold their house and business and fled the state; prosecutors say he told them if they talked or went to the police he’d blow up their house. (Manoku disputes this account.) Merko fled to Worcester, Mass. and then to Paterson, N.J., where United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the F.B.I. tracked him down and arrested him about seven months later.
He read the list of the indicted people involved in the upcoming New York trial. He knows the people; he said there are people he and his associates had beef with from Michigan. He wouldn’t speak on it though.
He believes in a god, though he said he’s not really religious. He reads the Koran and the Bible.
… The F.B.I. has a task force for organized Balkan crime, in Kew Gardens, Queens. The unit had been dissolved, but it was reconstituted two months ago.
There’s an Albanian double-eagle flag draped over one of the cubicles. The supervising agent, Lou DiGregorio, worked on the Italian mafia for 20 years. He told me a few times that the guys in the Albanian crime game are vicious.
DiGregorio keeps a copy of the Kanun [primitive Albanian honor code] on his desk…He’s right about the desperation of the Albanians, which they seem to take with them, however far they get from the homeland. The Albanians were locked away from the rest of the world during Communism; they went through a genocidal purge [say what?] and an economic collapse. Their children got guns and shot at each other in the streets. They suffered from a horribly corrupt government.
I interviewed the scholar Jana Arsovska, a professor at John Jay College who used to work for Interpol and is an expert on Baltic and Albanian crime. She is working on a book about the kingpins — Acik Can, and the Dacic brothers, Hamdija and Ljutivia, Naser Kelmendi — and their huge networks and business empires; the Chinese immigrants who use Albania for smuggling; and the Kosovo Liberation Army, which produced lots of young men who know how to kill and no longer have a war to fight.
In the book, she documents huge amounts of cocaine seized in ships, and identifies godfathers of the people who inhabit the most-wanted list, with their clubs and hotels and business and government connections. Men like Princ Dobrosh, who had plastic surgery on his face and escaped from prison, and Dhimiter Harizaj, who was arrested in March on charges of involvement in international drug trafficking…
The Krasniqis are small-time, in her estimation, as she considered the weight they moved in the indictment. And they’re not sophisticated. But she allowed that they’re all connected, the Krasniqis and the Detroit players and a recently busted operation in New Jersey.
Of course, some connections to Albanian criminal culture are more real than others.
You have the rappers — the young guns all over YouTube with the Lamborghinis and the rims, posing in parking lots in the Bronx or Yonkers or Staten Island or 15 Mile Road outside of Detroit, wearing double-eagle bandanas stick-up style, brandishing A.K.s or pretending to, smoking weed and calling out real and fake Shqiptar. There are hip-hop groups like The Bloody Alboz, TBA, Uptown Affiliates, and Unikkatil whose names ring bells with young Albanians in the streets and clubs.
“It’s the red and the black, got the warrior blood in my veins
“I got a lotta brothas, terrorists, killaz, mafiaz, drug dealaz
And most of them soldiers, they used to be rebels, living by the mothafuckin gun, so if you
ever even think about fuckin with Albanians, I swear to god you gotta’ run”
Then you have the middle-aged business men, connected and associated with Italian mafia: Alex Rudaj and his Corporation types. Rudaj is still stoic in prison, the F.B.I. says; he won’t say a word. He made his money, then was duly locked up as part of the F.B.I.’s Trojan Horse operation.
You have the middle-management, little sloppy kingpins with their diversified gang members. In 2009 two aging pilots were caught flying 10 kilos of cocaine from Florida to Ocean City Airport in exchange for $15,000. They were caught as part of a four-year-long sting investigation into Balkan criminal enterprises. At least 26 people were charged with distributing and intent to distribute heroin, cocaine, weapons, methamphetamine, ecstasy, Xanax, Oxycodone, Percocet, crystal meth, contraband cigarettes, ketamine (Special K), anabolic steroids and counterfeit sneakers.
The network was headquartered in Paterson (where Merko from Detroit fled and was arrested), and it had ties to Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Canada, the Netherlands, Brooklyn and Staten Island.
…The F.B.I. infiltrated and purchased over 30,000 ecstasy pills, 2.5 kilograms of heroin, a 9 mm handgun, two assault-style weapons and stolen jewelry. Wiretaps and video surveillance at the Royal Warsaw Restaurant and Bar in Elmwood Park and the Borgata Hotel, Casino and Spa in Atlantic City led to the arrests.
The ringleaders were Myfit (Mike) Dika, 44, arrested in an Albanian restaurant in Toronto; Kujtim (Timmy) Lika, 45, still at large (F.B.I.’s Most Wanted in Jersey and supposedly the cousin of the Lika who put a $400,000 hit out on a Giuliani prosecutor); and Gazmir Gjoka, 56, who was arrested in Albania. The group also included a man named Rodan Kote who surrendered to the FBI at Newark’s Liberty Airport.
This was a global operation but it was also ridiculously local. The John Jay professor said that a number of her Albanian students have indictments, charges, connections, warrants due to connections or affiliations with members of the Jersey organization.
You have the lone wolves and freelancers, who are a frightening combination of highly capable and totally unpredictable. This type is exemplified by Din Celaj. Now 27, he started a life of crime at age 10, building up to a sheet that now includes extortion, gun sales, drug sales, burglary, stealing and selling luxury cars, hostage-taking, bank fraud, insurance fraud, credit-card fraud, reckless endangerment, resisting arrest, home invasions, discharging a weapon on the Hutchison River Parkway during a car chase, and shooting out a traffic camera on a highway in the Bronx after he ran a red light.
When Celaj was 16, a bouncer refused to let him into Scores, the strip club. He called some friends, who stopped traffic on the Queensboro Bridge while Celaj leaned across the railing with an Uzi and put six bullets through the windows. In 2009 he recruited an active duty New York City police officer, Darren Moonanto, to help him rob drug dealers.
I’ve gone into seemingly every Balkan bar, café, bakery, and social club in the Bronx and Queens, Staten Island and Detroit. I sent a letter to an Albanian man who was being extorted by two Albanians, who came to his front door with guns, threatening to rape his wife. Both were Krasniqi soldiers. The man shot one dead and injured the other (whose brother is most wanted by the FBI). I’ve called so many disconnected numbers, seen so many Balkan aliases, misspelled and differently spelled names and social security numbers linked to multiple people. I’ve been threatened with violence. I’ve been thrown out and hung up on…
I’ve been asked why I care about Albanians; repeatedly, I’ve had beefy guys ask me “who gives a fuck about the Balkans.”
I’ve talked to a tatted up, patched up, vested up Albanian biker at 3 a.m. while he was hanging with twenty other bikers on a curb in Queens. His cousin turns out to be one of the men under indictment in the upcoming NY trial. He’s from the Bronx and has the Albanian Eagle patch on his vest [so much to be proud of!] not far from his RIP patch…
I met the kindest sweetest old man, an Albanian shop owner in the Bronx named Gjin Noku…Noku said his wife was disabled from 9/11 cleanup, and that his son has somehow gotten caught up in crime. He was an innocent young boy, Noku said; a doorman and a student at Fordham. The son, Spartak Noku, was arrested — something to do with Ecstasy. The father said he wrote to Michael Bloomberg to help clear the son’s record, but didn’t get a response. He asked me for help, and said his boy is innocent. Now Spartak is depressed and wants to do accounting work but this record comes up and he’s not allowed. He gave me an Albanian flag, a beautiful Pristina snow globe, and a statue of the anti-Ottoman warrior-hero George Kastrioti Skanderbeg, who every Albanian knows [and unfortunately whom the Albanian Nazi division was named after].
Before the shopkeeper there was an anonymous tipster who sent me a message with names of unarrested criminals. And after that I met an Albanian criminal who said he’s the owner of six cafes and has been arrested six times.
The criminal has a bullet wound and carries a money clip with 100 dollar bills. After a while of back and forth — I can’t tell you that, I shouldn’t be telling you that — he decided to tell me that he’s working for the F.B.I. as a confidential informant.
I’ve been lied to on this story before over the simplest of things. A 50-something owner of a restaurant in Detroit said he didn’t know any Albanians anywhere in the area, and never heard or saw anything related to Albanians; an hour later I found out his restaurant was across the street from where Manoku shot up the car. The first people I ran into in the nearby housing complex were Albanian, and I found six Albanian cafés and clubs within a two-block radius.
The C.I., a gregarious, back-slapping goodfella, told me that he helped set up one of the meetings between the Gambinos and the Alex Rudaj operation. He mentioned two cafés: Tony’s and Shelia’s. He told me that in an act of violence and disrespect, Rudaj stripped Joe Gambino and maybe some of his men naked. Albanians aren’t scared of an Italian mafioso, he said. They’re only scared of another Albanian, maybe.
He said he’s not scared of anything either, except one thing: He’s scared for his child’s health. He touched the Christian symbol hanging from his rearview mirror…He knows Gjovalin Berisha, a defendant in the upcoming trial, who he says owned a café down the block from a café I’d been at earlier…The C.I. also told me that the owner of a bar I had been in earlier was a major drug dealer, and that his brother is a driver for a minister in Albania.
He gave me two names that seemed to check out: Gjelosh Krasniqi and Ened or Edward Gjelaj. One is in prison in Albania for war crimes; the other, an associate of the Genovese crime family, was in federal custody and now is in a New York prison. The C.I. had them doing way more than they’re in prison for, and named two of their crime partners who are still free.
… He said a large bust was coming soon in New York, of up to 50 people, Albanians and Italians. [Probably the one that opened this post.]
I asked him if he could live his life over again what he would do. He didn’t miss a beat: he would be an F.B.I. agent. He loves the agency.
There was a fairly popular Albanian singer named Anita Bitri who had her first hit when she was 16, and who came to the United States in 1996 to make music here. She lived on Staten Island. In 2004, in a tragic accident, she, her mother and her small daughter died from carbon monoxide poisoning. At the time, Anita happened to be dating an Albanian man by the name of Parid Gjoka.
Gjoka wants to write a book about it, and other parts of his life. He’s already written 375 pages.
Gjoka himself is already famous, in a way. He’s not on any of the scores of databases a reporter might check to find out about him. But one aspect he’ll cover in his book is that for years he’s been the most criminally active Albanian felon there is.
Gjoka, 33, came to the United States when he was 17 on a 3-to-6-month temporary visa with no intention of returning to Albania. He said he came for a better life. He did some construction work, valet parking and roofing and hung out in Albanian coffee shops in Ridgewood, Queens. That’s where he met Kujitim Konci, a homeboy from Tirana, who he said had a reputation as one of the biggest gangsters in Albania. Gjoka wanted that lifestyle. From 2000 until his last arrest in 2008 all he did, everyday [sic] he said, is commit crimes.
He’d drive to Michigan to pick up 40 to 50 pounds of weed from Canada and he’d take it back to New York City, Konci tailing him in case he got pulled over. (The emergency plan was for Konci to smash into the police car and say he fell asleep at the wheel.) He said he was trafficking 50 to 100 pounds of marijuana every 10 days. He’d meet a female contact in rest stops near Buffalo and Syracuse, get into her back seat and drop thousands of dollars in a compartment, and she’d drive it across the border to pay the suppliers in Canada. He’d sit in dark cars, negotiating drug deals worth more than $100,000, sometimes with people he’d robbed in the past. These guys would demand to see each other’s families and to be shown where they lived before they did business together, so they’d have leverage.
Gjoka had a crew, and the Krasniqis had a crew, and the two of them worked together obtaining and distributing hundreds of pounds of marijuana from Canada. In 2005 a fight broke out between the crews in a bar. Someone pulled a knife on Gjoka. Gjoka didn’t man up and fight back…The Krasniqis don’t play. They sensed weakness and they were going to take over. They started causing mayhem at Gjoka crew hangouts. A war was on.
The Gjoka crew, which included Erion Shehu, Skender Cakoni, Cela, Gentian Cara and a man named Visi, strapped for combat…The Krasniqi crew killed Shehu…The Krasniqis won. They’d pretty much cornered the weed business. Two members of the Krasniqi crew went back to Albania. One was Almir Rrapo, the civil servant to an Albanian minister. Another was Gentian Kasa, who was later shot to death in Brooklyn in 2007, one of the two soldiers who showed up on that doorstep threatening to rape someone’s wife.
Muscled out of the weed game, Gjoka and others branched out into alien smuggling and ecstasy distribution, in addition to straight-up stealing.
Then there was an arson request for a factory in Jersey by a man named Louie, followed by two other arson jobs.
I heard a defense lawyer say that Gjoka will have spent $180,000 on him, and that he’ll wind up getting a new name, a new identity, and a spot in a special witness-protection program.
The first New York Albanian-mob trial started this week, in a federal courthouse on Pearl Street in Lower Manhattan. Originally there were nine to 11 defendants; Six have since pled guilty….Also pleading was Gentian Nikolli, 34, who came from Albania when he was 21, had guns and…had a reputation in the community for stabbing, punching, kicking people in the face, and committing other acts of violence a “remarkable” number of times. (He assaulted his own father.)…
On May 13, 2011, the U.S. Attorney requested that a plea deal for the Albanian civil servant, Almir Rrapo, be unsealed…The 28-year-old Rrapo, holder of a Masters degree in political science, pled guilty to nine felony counts and agreed to provide assistance to the U.S. government. He said that from 2003 to 2010 in Manhattan, Queens, Detroit and elsewhere, he was part of an operation that distributed 100 kilograms of marijuana (street value $3 million), robbed a marijuana dealer, kidnapped a rival drug dealer, conspired to murder a marijuana supplier, murdered Erion (Lonka) Shehu. Rrapo also copped to possession of ecstasy with intent to distribute, and to supplying guns to others, including one with a silencer…Two men connected to the case are still at large: Dukajin (Duke) Nikollaj and Visi (last name unknown). The Canadian kidnappers, assaulters and drug suppliers are still free.
The tipster also mentioned a “big-time mafioso” responsible for multiple killings in France, Canada and the U.S., who was arrested in Chicago in 2008 and let go eight months later…He mentioned another two Albanians out of Chicago (trafficking 600 pounds of marijuana a week for 10 years, he said), and another Albanian who before 9/11 was bringing kilos of heroin into the U.S. and kilos of cocaine from the U.S. to Europe.
“What you got is just kids,” the tipster told me. “The real gangsters never get caught … the FBI knows it all, they have cut deals with these people and let them work and commit crimes as long as they give somebody from time to time, that’s the way it works… I have just lost faith in the American justice system. They catch the small fish and the big ones are out while everyone knows who they are.” […]
I spent about ten months reporting on Albanian organized crime, all leading up to three weeks in a New York federal court house for the first trial of a group Albanian-Americans with ties to the organized international drug trade.
The jury decided the case in one day.
I was called in by the clerk for the verdict on June 23. Six of the defendants in the case had pled out. The two defendants who didn’t plead out — Plaurent Cela and Skender Cakoni — were convicted on both the counts they were charged with: Narcotics conspiracy, for possession with intent to distribute 100 kilos or more of marijuana; and the possession and use of a firearm in relation to a narcotic trafficking conspiracy. They’ll be sentenced on Sept. 23.
The trial, the first of two involving a large group of Albanian-American organized-crime figures, was the culmination of years of investigation and case-building by the feds…The second trial will take place in October, when two brothers named Bruno and Saimir Krasniqi, the alleged ringleaders of a particularly brutal crew (which warred over turf with Cela and Cakoni’s gang), will be tried along with two or three of their associates. They’ll be facing a RICO trial, for more severe crimes: murder, racketeering, narcotics conspiracy, kidnapping, interstate robbery and extortion…
The trial of Cela and Cakoni was a riveting spectacle, for whoever cared to watch. (Media coverage, other than me, amounted to a Daily News reporter who showed up for half of the first day and never came back.)
And there was an F.B.I. intelligence analyst with a Master’s degree who has spent five years, on and off, charting cell-phone frequency patterns on spreadsheets, studying subscriber sheets and pen registries of guys who used to make pizza or fix roofs but had drifted into drink and drugs and clubbing and, eventually, organized crime.
Elsewhere, the cat-and-mouse game between Albanian-American organized-crime figures and federal law enforcement continues. I was told by the F.B.I. that the kingpin who started all these young men off, Kujitim (Timi) Konci, was arrested in Dallas and is currently in federal custody under the name Kujitim Gonxhe, awaiting trial. (I did some research and found out he’s actually being held as Shpetim Konci.)
Franc Shestani, a bag man arrested by the F.B.I. for the 2005 kidnapping of Bruno Krasniqi (snatched from the Bronx, brought to Detroit), made bail and, according to a New York agent, “has disappeared.”
Meanwhile, sources with connections to the New York-based Albanian-American criminal underworld continue to feed me names (19 of them, at last count) of people they say are still at large and mixed up in serious criminal activity…
Plaurent Dervishaj, Albania’s most wanted criminal and a prominent figure on the F.B.I.’s Most Wanted list, shared the same exact address in Ridgewood, Queens with a man named Gentian Kasa. Kasa was a major figure in the Krasniqi crew, and his name came up repeatedly during the trial. Kasa shared the same exact address with Saimir Krasniqi when they lived in Michigan. Kasa was shot dead in 2007 when he and Plaurent’s brother, Redinel Dervishaj, showed up with guns at the Ridgewood house of a man named Lulzim Kupi, threatened his family and demanded extortion money. Kupi had his own gun and there was a firefight in the streets.
Across the ocean in Albania, in March of this year, the Albanian press reported that “two hundred kilograms of cocaine has ‘disappeared,’ together with evidence against all the people implicated in issuing the orders, and seizing and later dealing with the largest cocaine haul ever seized in our country.” Law enforcement agencies in seven countries were in the loop tracking this cocaine as it made its way from Colombia. […]
The following email came to me from Dr. Bill Stinde, business leader, professor, and author (We don’t need no badges: The Use of Governmentally Instituted Civil Litigation to Establish Public Policy and Control Business; Accounting for the Construction and Development Industry; A Military History of the First 30 Years of Islam):
…As I have been viewing the world situation since 2001, I have become more concerned that the events of the 1930’s in Europe are repeating themselves in the world today. I was not yet born when the events of the 1930’s and early 40’s led to the death of over 10,000,000 people in the Nazi death camps. As you know more than half of the number were killed because of their ethnicity. Today based on the vitriol emanating from the Middle East, and the complicity of many in the West, I foresee the specter of another holocaust descending upon our world.
While it is true that genocide has been unleashed upon other peoples and nations – the horrors in Armenia of almost 100 years ago come to mind — the current world situation does not lead me to see a repeat of these events with any people other than the Jews, especially those in Israel within the next decade.
As mentioned before, in the 1930’s and 40’s I was unable to take action to change what occurred, this time I will stand and be counted – and I hope that you will join me. I am the co-founder of Never Again USA whose purpose is to educate and act as a gathering place of people who will join in standing against another holocaust.
I am asking you to please study our website www.NeverAgainUSA.org and if you are inclined, please sign the petition of support. As there is strength in numbers, please contact others to join with us by visiting www.NeverAgainUSA.org to review the content and sign the petition. Additional content will be added to the website as it becomes available.
I got the following alerts back to back, yesterday and today:
SUBJECT: Unmask LGBT discrimination in Turkey
Will LGBT rights be included in Turkey’s new constitution?
Next month, Turkey will be drafting a new constitution — one that protects “everyone’s life style, belief, language, culture and ideas”, according to Prime Minister Erdogan.
But read the fine print carefully: The rights of Turkey’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people may not be included.
Sexual orientation and gender identity are currently not protected under Turkish law. And if key officials in Turkey’s ruling party have it their way, then LGBT people will continue to be regarded as sick and immoral.
In Turkey, LGBT discrimination is permitted in employment, education, housing, health care, public services and credit ratings.
Furthermore, police and others responsible for upholding justice often ignore violent and heinous crimes against LGBT people.
A young, openly-gay man named Ahmet Yıldız was shot down in front of his home three years ago. It took authorities months to investigate the previous series of death threats he allegedly received from his family. It took years before an international arrest warrant was ordered for Ahmet’s father — the single suspect in the case, who fled the country shortly after the murder.
And there’s simply no telling when Ahmet’s killer will finally be brought to justice.
[Small point here: This sort of discrimination and pace of justice — times 10 — doesn’t even raise an eyebrow vis-a-vis Serbs in “democratic,” non-Muslimy Kosovo, so I’m having a hard time getting my outrage going here.]
In the coming weeks, Amnesty representatives will deliver your signatures to Turkish officials as they develop Turkey’s new constitution. We need every name we can get to send a strong message that Turkey’s constitution cannot ignore LGBT rights anymore! The time for a new start is now. The time for human rights is always.
Country Specialist, Turkey
Amnesty International USA
If Turkey wants a new constitution that is truly inclusive, then it must include the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
SUBJECT: Not an illness, not a crime
Tell Turkey to stop violence and discrimination against LGBT people.
According to many officials in Turkey’s ruling party, LGBT people are sick and immoral. They deserve the violence, discrimination and harassment they are routinely subjected to, even from the police who are supposed to protect them.
Member of Parliament Dengir Mir Firat said that the 21st century is too soon to protect LGBT rights in the constitution. Maybe in the 22nd century, he added.
Amnesty will not wait 100 years for human rights.
Amnesty International’s new report, “Not An Illness Nor A Crime”, documents disturbing patterns of government hostility toward LGBT people in Turkey across courts, police stations, the military and the workplace.
For example, gay men are frequent targets of abuse, especially in the military. Turkey has a mandatory service requirement, but gay men are deemed unfit for the military based on their sexual orientation.
To make matters worse, proof of military service is often a prerequisite for employment of men in Turkey - so many gay men attempt to serve despite the ban.
Gay men in Turkey told Amnesty that those who seek an exemption from military service must “prove” their homosexuality by showing photos of themselves having sex or submitting to a forced anal examination. […]
Amnesty International USA
Amnesty should probably have a word with Bill Gates, who is funding the Islamists in Turkey — a natural progression from his otherwise purely leftist destructive causes, which Amnesty presumably never had any objections to.
Since Turkey is the subject again, I’m going to post just the two latest items in my on-again, off-againchronicling of the Ottomans reclaiming the Balkans:
From economics to culture, many see the country taking on the role of a new regional power
By Misko Taleski for Southeast European Times in Skopje
Turkey has played a moderator role between Serbia and the tripartite BiH presidency.
Over the past decade, Turkey has carried out a multi-dimensional and multi-regional foreign policy. With its EU membership prospects in limbo, the country has not only looked to the east, but also towards its “near abroad” in the Balkans.
EU regional player Greece’s increasing social-financial problems provide ample room for Turkey — whose economy now ranks twelfth in the world, with a GNP of $10,000 per person — to take control of the regional rudder.
“After Yugoslavia’s disintegration, Turkey’s strategic interest returned to the Balkans, also a former Ottoman territory. This time around, the influence is economic and cultural but it soon will become geopolitical,” military-political analyst Petar Shkrbina told SETimes. “Erdogan knows that Europe needs Turkey and not the other way around. The main networks of gas and oil pipelines will go through Turkey.”
The Balkan countries, primarily Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), but increasingly Serbia as well, have achieved significant political co-operation with Ankara. In the past several years, the economic ties have strengthened as Turkish investors eye the opportunity to secure a foothold in the Balkans marketplace.
Analysts are unanimous that the pan-European corridor No. 10, which will connect the Balkan countries with the rest of Europe, will command the economic attention of Turkey. The corridor’s left wing will secure a transportation connection between Turkey and the Balkans, and Turkey and the EU.
Though Turkey is keen to develop bonds with Muslim communities in the Balkans, it says it aims to engage all ethnicities and religions in an effort to increase stability in its neighbourhood.
“Turkey has no imperialist ambitions but is trying to help the neighbouring countries as it can,” Turkish Ambassador to Serbia Ali Riza Colak said, answering charges that Ankara is interfering in Serbia’s internal affairs after a senior military delegation visited Novi Pazar, in Serbia’s Muslim-dominated Rashka (or Sandzak) region.
Rashka remains a source of tension in Ankara-Belgrade relations because the Serbs widely believe local Muslim leaders try to obtain autonomy with the help of Turkey, and many Muslims there identify with BiH.
In response, Ambassador Riza Colak says “Sandzak is the bridge for co-operation between the two countries, and Belgrade must understand the sensitivity of the people in this region.” [Sensitivity to not being allowed to establish the caliphate.]
Turkey-BiH relations are particularly important for the region. Erdogan’s election victory statement last month, in which he said his AKP’s victory would benefit Sarajevo as much as it would Istanbul, triggered harsh reactions in Republika Srpska.
The Serb member of BiH’s tri-member presidency, Nebojsha Radmanovic, said that such statements would cause political problems between BiH’s two entities and could lead to new divisions among the three constituent peoples.
“While Bosniak authorities in Sarajevo see a positive effect from Turkey’s role in BiH, Serbian politicians there are reserved and do not accept any political role by Ankara in the Balkans,” Shkrbina tells SETimes.
“Erdogan’s open ambitions to spread the ‘Green Diagonal’ [spread of Islamic influence through a set of connected countries with Muslim populations] in this space have their own limits. Neither the illegal government of the Muslim-Croat federation will help him to do that nor the political pressures on Croats in central Bosnia,” RS Vice President Emil Vlajki said.
Despite any lingering Serbian nationalist suspicion [ha ha ha ha ha ha!], Turkey has been playing a constructive moderator role by bringing together the presidents of BiH and Serbia to encourage a policy of dialogue and regional security.
The most recent example is the July 6th visit of Serbian President Tadic to Sarajevo, which was secured at a summit among all parties in Istanbul last April. Serbia now pledges to guarantee BiH’s integrity and wants to close all open questions.
Turkey has also expressed its desire for BiH and Serbia to enter the Euro-Atlantic community through membership in the EU and NATO.
Although several political issues remain an obstacle to better relations, both Ankara and Belgrade aim to smooth over political differences through greater economic co-operation and interdependence.[Great! Be a hostage of Muslim money. This is why Vlad the Impaler impaled people.]
In December 2010, Turkish Defence Minister Vecdi Gonul and Bosnian counterpart Selmo Cikotic met in Sarajevo to discuss business co-operation in the military industries.
Turkish economic activity extends throughout the region. The Turkish company TAV has already invested 200m euro in rebuilding Macedonia’s airports. Since March 1st, the Skopje and Ohrid airports are under TAV control for the next 20 years. TAV’s executives view Macedonia as a Southeast European hub and have announced they will build a new airport in eastern Macedonia. [Great. Simple solution to Islamic terror: Just let the hijackers run the airports!]
In addition, Turkey’s Shishe Dzam company has announced its interest in a strategic investment of 150m euro in two factories in Macedonia to produce glass.
Politically, Turkey will continue to be Macedonia’s steadfast supporter in Euro-Atlantic integration, advocating membership under Macedonia’s name despite the longstanding dispute with Greece. [Well, as long as it can kick Greece in the ass, it’ll be pals with Macedonia. A bit short-sighted of Macedonia, though.]
But the relations have a deeper cultural and historical context in Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, who spent his youth in Macedonia and was educated at an Ottoman military school in Bitola, adding an emotional dimension to how Ankara — and the Turkish people — view Macedonia.
A joint celebration of Ataturk’s life and achievement is now held annually in Bitola. Such events contribute to increased tourism in both directions. [Capitalizing on Ataturk while undoing his legacy. Good one, Turkey.]
An important element of Turkey’s “soft power” is the increasing number of soap operas and other TV shows that have conquered audiences [cute!] throughout the Balkans. In virtually every Balkan state, Turkish shows are breaking records, as well as the long-held prejudice against Islam. [That’s right — let your guards down! That’s the goal.]
“They are very professionally produced, and they promote not luxury and glamour, but also traditional Islamic customs during marriage and funerals. The series are the cheapest but most effective approach to spread Turkish influence in the region,” Shkrbina said.
Opportunity is in the eye of the beholder. The global investors who never spare a thought for the Balkans are going to miss out on some great money-making prospects, says Philip Khoury, am Istanbul-based “frontier” market specialist.
He relied on gut instincts about the region, most of which still hovers below the productivity levels and living standards it enjoyed before the 1990s break-up. “Slovenia and Croatia have moved on [to join the central European mainstream], so I’m really talking about the former Ottoman provinces [in the western Balkans],” he adds.
In “Quarterly Perspectives”, a newsletter for Impera’s small circle of high net-worth clients, Khoury puts Uzbekistan, Palestine and his home country, Lebanon, in the same “Deep Value/Undiscovered” category….
Serbia, as Khoury sees it, still looks well-placed to emulate the 1990s boom of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, even if the scale is smaller and the onset long delayed.
After the arrest of Ratko Mladic, the fugitive Bosnian Serb general wanted for genocide, larger investment houses noted Serbia’s EU convergence potential.
Montenegro, the smallest ex-Yugoslav republic, is a different story….Egypt’s Orascom Group, sharing Khoury’s wait-for-it investment philosophy, plans to build a resort on the bay in the next decade or so. […]
Why, it doesn’t evenremind you what the Serbs “did” — or explain the poor performance of Turkish/Pakistani/Arab students as a product of their Bosnian and Albanian religious brethren having been abused by Serbs. Instead, Serbs and Croats are counted as a civilized example without any baggage at all:
I am currently working as a school psychologist, and below I will try to decipher the latest school report on immigrant students in Denmark. In Denmark, we use “bilingual” as a word for immigrant student — and according to the report, by far most of these students are Turks, Pakistanis, Arabs and Serbs/Croatians. While Serbs and Croatians perform normally, the Muslim students perform very poorly.
The 2005 PISA Ethnic report (page 5) showed that 64 percent of students with an Arab background in Denmark are “functionally illiterate” — meaning that their reading and writing capabilities are so poor that they will not be able to complete even a simple education…
The report shows that immigrant students are on average two years behind their Danish classmates. Excerpts from PISA Ethnic 2009:
Close to half of all immigrant students are not able to complete even a simple education. The same goes for one third of their descendents (2nd generation immigrants, born and raised in Denmark):
“PISA operates with a threshold that shows the percentage of students who have the functional reading competence making them able to complete a secondary education. In PISA 2009, 13% of students without an immigrant background are below this limit, while among immigrants, 43 percent and 32 percent for second generation immigrants (descendents from immigrants) are below the threshold.”
“In Denmark, pupils without an immigrant background who attend schools with 40 percent or more bilinguals have significantly lower scores in the PISA reading test compared to students without a migration background attending schools with fewer than 10% bilingual.”
In schools with many immigrants, the students feel that the teachers are less caring and fair (are teachers at these specific schools less friendly — racism? — or are immigrant students more prone to complain and exhibit a victim mentality?):
“Fewer students in schools with 40% or more bilingual students respond affirmatively that they get along well with most of their teachers, that their teachers are interested in their wellbeing, and that teachers treat them fairly, compared with students at other schools.”
“78% of pupils in schools with between 40 and 60% bilingual pupils in Denmark have a principal who experiences problems with pupils who destroy the learning atmosphere at the school. Students’ disrespect for teachers also seems to constitute an impediment to learning in schools with between 40 and 60% immigrants.”
Immigrant students’ ability to reflect has become even worse (lack of reflection leads to victim mentality and a black-and-white, good-and-bad perception of the world):
“The ability (of immigrant students) to reflect has diminished by eight points.”
And yet we keep hearing that it’s Serbs who have a problem with self-reflection. Rather than their “victims” who, incidentally, have a black-and-white, good-and-bad perception of the world. Which are an indicator of an inability…to…reflect. Hmm.
It’s almost as if she’s fighting against the jihad alone. Pamela Geller, the face of the resistance in America, is the single most responsible individual for having saved the life of Rifqa Bary, the then 16-year-old Ohio girl who converted to Christianity and had her life threatened by her Muslim father. Now Bary’s parents are suing Geller for defamation in a frivolous $10,000,000 lawsuit that is costing Geller and her pro bono lawyers thousands in travel and court fees. She had to fly to Ohio just this week to be deposed.
Nonetheless — in the midst of the unrelenting legal and media war on Geller and her partner Robert Spencer — there she sat at the airport after the deposition, cross-posting my blog about the Srebrenica fraud, sticking her neck out on an issue that earns lepers a whole new category of leprosy. Recently, it earned her a “Now she’s really done it” by an Atlantic Monthly writer and others.
As Geller relates in the video below, a week after Bary became headline news in 2009, a Florida girl named FatimaAbdallah was dead. More stunning, the very day that a Florida judge ordered Rifqa Bary back to her would-be murderous parents, a Tampa medical examiner ruled the death of the successfully honor-killed Fatima an “accidental suicide.” In other words, this politically sensitive case (because it was an honor killing) was doubly sensitive at the time, since the government was trying to send another young girl to the same fate — and didn’t want a boon to the side trying to save her.
Despite her legal hassles, Geller does not regret saving Rifqa’s life. But she needs help with her legal fund:
Posting will be light, as I am en route to Ohio to be deposed in the $10,000,000 lawfare lawsuit filed against me by Rifqa Bary’s parents’ lawyer. The jihad continues, but in case there is any doubt in anyone’s mind, I would do it all again the same exact way in a heartbeat, despite the cost, the hassle, and the burden of this frivolous lawsuit. We saved that girl’s life.
The legal expenses are in the mid-six figures. Robert Muise of The Thomas More Law Center and David Yerushalmi have been righteous. No one could handle this alone. They are representing me pro bono, and despite this, there are mounting out-of-pocket costs.
Please contribute to my legal fund. You can Paypal your contribution to firstname.lastname@example.org and specify “legal defense.”
On Pamela’s homepage, along the border on the right is a “donate” button.
In a related development, Facebook recently shut down the page for the Geller-Spencer organization “Stop Islamization of America.” It certainly leaves one speechless that the Jewish-founded Facebook would be abetting the worldwide Jihad. SIOA has started a new Facebook page and is asking people to join.
A new American lie about Serbs is born on July 4th. How appropriate.
Longtime AP reporter Mike Corder has pulled a fast one. And if it weren’t for the eagle eyes of reader/source Nikole, this would have gone unnoticed, quietly entering the lexicon of inverted Balkan truths: those ugly things done to Serbs that have been turned around by the press to be remembered as Serbs doing them to others.
It’s not as bad as the disemboweling of Serbian women by Bosnian Muslims, which the world is repeatedly told by mainstream news reports that Serbs did to Bosnian Muslims, but it’s in the same tradition.
Please read the bold-print sentence in the following report written by Mike Corder, with contributions from AP (or remedial?) writers Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade, Serbia, Amer Cohadzic and Sabina Niksic in Sarajevo and Toby Sterling in Amsterdam:
THE HAGUE, Netherlands - He put on a cap, defying the rules of the courtroom. He gestured to the packed public gallery despite a judge ordering him not to. He threatened a boycott because his chosen lawyers weren’t there.
A belligerent Ratko Mladic repeatedly disobeyed and shouted at judges Monday during an arraignment at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal. Finally, the former Serb general was thrown out of the hearing and the court entered not guilty pleas on his behalf to 11 charges of masterminding the worst atrocities of the Bosnian war.
The 69-year-old’s courtroom theatrics came at the start of a solemn week for survivors of the massacre he is accused of orchestrating - the killing of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in 1995 in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica.
Mladic’s actions in court drew anger from survivors of the 1992-95 Bosnian war and raised the prospect of another turbulent trial at the U.N. court that may offer victims more heartache than justice.
Mladic had threatened to boycott Monday’s hearing, only his second public appearance since Serbia extradited him to The Hague in May, because the court had not appointed Belgrade attorney Milos Saljic and a Russian lawyer to represent him.
Shortly before guards escorted Mladic from court, he shouted at Presiding Judge Alphons Orie, “You want to impose my defense. What kind of a court are you?”
He continued yelling in Serbian, “You are not allowing me to defend myself. … You are not allowing me to breathe.”
… At his first hearing in June, Mladic enraged war survivors in the public gallery by looking at them and drawing his finger across his throat.
In Bosnia, hundreds of people gathered in the main square of the capital, Sarajevo, to watch a live broadcast of the hearing, cheering and shouting, “The monster is gone,” as Mladic was escorted from the courtroom.
Now let me ask: Who remembers reading in June about Mladic “drawing his finger across his throat”? Isn’t that the sort of kernel that the press people live for, and jump to disseminate? Yet if you do a search, there is no mention of it — anywhere. It mysteriously just appears in this July report as having happened in June.
But look what does come up when searching for news about the June hearing. And it’s also from the AP, so these “AP” writers couldn’t even check their own archives:
…Wearing a peaked cap, he saluted the gallery with his left hand through bulletproof glass. Observers stood and strained to see Mladic, clearly thinner and weaker than when he led the Bosnian Serb army.
Two UN guards helped Mladic to his feet when the judges entered the courtroom, and he saluted them as well. With his right arm apparently impaired, a guard had to help him put earphones over his head to hear the Serbian translation. When he responded to questions from the judge, his speech was slow and slightly slurred.
Mladic declined to enter formal pleas to the 11-count indictment, but admitted no guilt. “I defended my country and my people,” he said, before presiding judge Alphons Orie cut him short.
Mladic told the three-judge panel he is “a gravely ill man,” but he remained alert throughout the hearing, nodding or shaking his head as Orie spoke. He seemed confused as Orie read a summary of the 38-page indictment, and said he had been unable to read the thick file of legal documents he was given after being extradited from Serbia on Tuesday.
“I would like to read these obnoxious charges levelled against me,” he said. “I need more than a month for these monstrous words. I have never heard such words.”
Orie scheduled a new hearing for July 4. If Mladic again refuses to plead to the charges, “not guilty” pleas will be entered on his behalf.
As the hearing ended, rape victim Bakira Hasecic shouted from the gallery: “Monster man. Butcher.”
Kada Hotic, who has relatives who were killed at Srebrenica, said Mladic taunted her when she threatened him.
“I told him he will pay the price for murdering my son,” she said, adding that she drew her finger across her throat. Mladic could not hear her, but she said he gestured back, holding his thumb and forefinger close together to indicate she was insignificant.
“And I said, ‘No, you are this small,’” she said.
Mladic’s family said after his arrest last week that he had suffered two strokes during his years in hiding. He was given a medical examination after his transfer to the UN detention unit at the seaside suburb of Scheveningen, and doctors declared him healthy enough to appear for his arraignment.
Tribunal spokeswoman Nerma Jelacic said the tribunal’s medical officer had not found any evidence of “life threatening illnesses.” She said his frailty was “due to the neglect of his health during his years as a fugitive.”
At the end of the 1 hour, 40 minute session he seemed stronger and more defiant than at the start.
“I want to live to see that I am a free man,” he told the judges. “I don’t want to be held and helped to move as if I were a blind man. I can walk on my own and if I cannot, then I will ask to be helped. I don’t want to be helped unless I ask for it, because I am Gen. Mladic and the whole world knows who I am.”
He repeatedly referred to himself as “general,” while the court pointedly addressed him as “Mr. Mladic.”
Sitting in the gallery, Munira Subasic, of the Mothers of Srebrenica Association, wiped away tears and hid her face in her hands as Orie read details of the Srebrenica killings.
“Happy to be here to see, once again, the bloody eyes of the criminal who slaughtered our children in 1995,” she said earlier. “And I am sad because many mothers didn’t live to see this — mothers who found bones belonging to their children, buried them without heads and hands, and the only wish they had was for him to be arrested.”
The fierce loyalty Mladic commanded during the war was undiminished in the former Bosnian Serb stronghold of Pale, in mountains close to Sarajevo.
“He was an honest and dignified officer, who taught us to defend our land and our people,” said Novica Kapuran, a decorated Serb war veteran. “He never told us to kill anyone, to slaughter anyone. Even when we captured a Muslim soldier, he used to tell us to hand him over to intelligence services, so this guy could be exchanged.”
(That fact has been corroborated ad nauseum by international organizations, officials, history books, and on occasion even the anti-Mladic media.)
But my point is this: The Associated Morons at the AP took a threatening gesture by a Muslima whose jihadi son was killed either as a POW or, more likely, in combat while trying to break through to Muslim-held territory after killing one or two Serbs of his own (as many of the escaping Muslims had done) — and projected it onto the more love-to-hate character in this drama. Mirroring the way the pack media’s reporting was done all thoughout the 90s that got us here in the first place.
Picking up the AP report and repeating Corder’s false statement about the finger across the throat were the following:
If anyone feels like compiling a list of letters addresses for these publications and the AP, I’ll post them. The AP needs to be called on this, and let those media outlets subscribing to its service know that it does things like this. Even though false reporting about a Serb will induce shrugs and puzzlement over any outrage, it will at least establish a pattern, so that the next time AP writers pull something like this — on someone or on a group other than Serbs — there might be some accountability.
This incident echoes the way the media distorted and mistranslated what Slobodan Milosevic said in that famous “nationalist speech,” as the press dubbed it to permanent effect, in Kosovo Polje in 1987. (There, Milosevic responded to a man who told him the police were beating people to keep them away from the hall where Milosevic was speaking that “they shouldn’t beat you.” But various media including documentary films have him saying — as part of his speech rather than outside afterwards in response to someone — that “Nobody will beat you again!” That is, turning a statement of sympathy into something that could be portrayed as a threat. Another example is mistranslating Milosevic’s national agenda to a “nationalist” agenda.)
As the world bows its collective head this week in shame to mark the 16th anniversary of not rescuing Muslim soldiers from the Serbs they were slaughtering, the Netherlands’ largest internet news portal, NRC, was audacious enough to challenge the official version of the sacred, unquestionable, meticulously constructed lie known as the “Srebrenica Genocide,” heralding a significant change in attitude toward the nature of the incident. As Stefan Karganovic of the Srebrenica Historical Project put it, “The expression of such heretical views would have been unthinkable in Holland [or anywhere else] a short time ago.” Herewith, the translated version:
…Hans Blom (June 1, continued [from] his interview with De Volkskrant of May 28) correctly argues that the Bosnian Serb entry was not planned well in advance, and even less so the mass executions. According to [Blom,] the former head of the NIOD [Netherlands Institute for War Documentation] investigation into the July 1995 Srebrenica events, Mladić was enraged about the surreptitious departure of the majority of Muslim men from the enclave. His objective was to take prisoners of war. The shooting of the captured Muslims of fighting age was an unintended consequence, according to Blom. What started spontaneously in unexpected circumstances, was then systematically continued and completed. That is the core of the professor’s argument.
Thе fact that this historian dared to offer an analytical framework to explain the cruelties of the Bosnian war, which was contrary to the moralistic Dutch image on Srebrenica, reflects some progress on that issue. Yet his comments on the [role] of Mladić’s anger are not convincing. This requires a review of the context in which Srebrenica occurred, which I will now try to sketch on the basis of results of my own investigations in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia.
In the hot summer of 1995 the untenability of Srebrenica and other enclaves painfully came to light. Earlier, the Muslim government in Sarajevo refused to alleviate the plight of tens of thousands of refugees in Srebrenica by [dis]allowing their evacuation to Central Bosnia. As evidenced by his contribution to the NRC last June 7, Joris Voorhoeve, Minister of Defence at the time, was originally in favor of this solution. In Sarajevo, however, his initiative was flatly refused, [ostensibly] because this would imply cooperation with ethnic cleansing. What the outside world preferred to misperceive as a humanitarian issue, for the Republika Srpska was a very serious military and strategic question. Repeatedly, the Srebrenica enclave, which was demilitarized in name only, was used by the Islamists inside it, sometimes reinforced by civilian men and women, as a base for provocative and murderous military assaults on the surrounding Serb villages. To combat and prevent the joining of Srebrenica and the neighbouring southern enclave of Žepa with the rest of the Muslim-dominated areas, many Bosnian Serb forces were tied down, while their army along the main front lines was facing the full burden of conducting the war hampered by a great shortage of military personnel.
Given the situation as outlined above, the Bosnian Serb leadership were keen to find a solution. Great was the surprise when in the second week of July 1995 Srebrenica was captured by a relatively small, not very heavily armed force, which was actually operating only on the south side of the enclave. What actually happened? The leadership of the 28th Division in Srebrenica-based Muslim army was ordered back to Sarajevo.
Thus the protection of tens of thousands of Muslims in the enclave in fact was largely left to the small and weak Dutch battalion. Apparently the political and military leadership of Bosnian Muslims were not really afraid of Serbian revenge and arbitrariness, let alone of the implementation of any genocidal plan.
Or could it be that they were left behind deliberately to be sacrificed for a “higher” purpose? [It turned out to be the latter, with the disappearance of the battalion helping create the impression that the Serbs were attacking an unarmed “safe zone.”]
Shortly before July 11th the vast majority of the male Muslim population of fighting age, led by active military, took to flight, refusing to assemble in the Dutch base in Potočari. Firstly, there was fear of being called to account for atrocities committed against Serb prisoners of war and civilians. At the same time, the main Muslim army did not want to lose men unnecessarily as prisoners of war. Everyone was desperately needed for the combat that was going on elsewhere. After a long, terrible trek barely half of perhaps 15,000 in Srebrenica men and older boys who left managed to reach Muslim-controlled territory, mostly around Tuzla.
But what happened to the rest, who did not reach safety, one could ask? The Dutch media invariably point to mass executions as their only cause of death. According to Mr. Blom[,] the alleged Serbian murderousness following the fall of Srebrenica is explained by Mladić’s intense anger about the military age men’s escape. Yet there is much that is inconsistent in the image of Mladić as a man of great wrath who wanted to put all Muslim men to the sword. The head of the hospital located in Milići [extended] medical care to wounded Muslims from Srebrenica. I spoke with him and found out that after recovering many patients later expressed their gratitude. In Tuzla I was told by young Muslim men from Srebrenica who actually had fallen into the Serbs’ hands as prisoners of war, that they were treated correctly. When Mladić shortly after the capture of Srebrenica went on to Žepa, he refused to take with him men who had reason for revenge. The Serbian takeover of the nearby small Muslim enclave went with little or no bloodshed. For an explanation of the terrible crimes committed in the aftermath of the takeover of the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica, we should consider something else besides the possible criminal intent of Mladić and his men. For instance, not infrequently, small numbers of Serb guards were put in charge of hundreds of Muslim men who had surrendered. In at least in one such case a Muslim from the crowd of prisoners managed to kill a guard, after which all hell broke loose.
It is obvious that Srebrenica fell when the Western powers were looking for a pretext to enter the conflict on the side of the Bosnian Muslims, as well as the Croats, which would enable them to give their protégés massive and open military assistance. It is unlikely that Mladić would in such circumstances knowingly hand his opponents a casus belli on a silver platter. There was simply no chance that crimes of the scope as alleged could be effectively concealed. It soon turned out that for Mladić Srebrenica was a Pyrrhic victory and actually became the long-sought stick with which to beat the Serbs. Soon, with NATO air support elsewhere in Bosnia-Herzegovina Muslims and Croats were on the march. All the more reason to investigate in greater detail evidence of the involvement of intelligence services in the Srebrenica massacre. Several witnesses refer to the fact that the shadowy figures involved in death squad killings were rewarded with gold or money. If that is true, then neither the bloodlust and the desire for revenge attributed to the Serbs, nor the alleged fury of their commander, can serve as a sufficient explanation for these events.
That last part is a reference to the mostly false testimony of the Hague prosecution’s “crown witness” Drazen Erdemovic, a Croatian mercenary who confessed to committing executions of Srebrenica Muslims and named half a dozen other individuals who had been members of his multi-ethnic mercenary group called “Pauk,” all paid to execute Muslims — though Erdemovic “forgets” by whom. In 2000, the Milosevic government arrested several Pauk members and charged them with war crimes for killing Muslim POWs, but when the Western-backed opposition took over, they were released. Leader of the Serbian Radical Party, Vojislav Seselj, testified in 2005 that the mercenary executioners were acting on orders from French intelligence. The fact that today Pauk members’ whereabouts are known to Western governments, that they obtain passports without hindrance and travel freely, serving in other conflict theaters including as part of the French Foreign Legion — and that the Hague has never sought to prosecute any of them despite the testimony of its star witness — makes the assertion hard to dismiss. While such a Western frame-up of the Serbs for “genocide” in Srebrenica could account for the bulk of executions (though nowhere near 8,000), it is not to the exclusion of individual acts of revenge, which despite the Serb military issuing strict orders to soldiers to behave in line with international law in their treatment of civilians and POWs — as even Erdemovic testified. One example is given on a news site in the context of a 1997 interview that Radovan Karadzic gave to the newspaper Vecernje Novosti:
No one is denying that there were individual crimes on the Serb side. Nonetheless, no one can credibly claim that these crimes were a result of the Serb leadership’s policy.
Here is an example. While investigating what really took place in Srebrenica, surrounded by the media fog in which lies, mythomania, and truths met each other, I interviewed a number of direct participants in the events [in Srebrenica]. The testimony by M.R., member of the Republic of Srpska Army who participated in the capture of Srebrenica is typical for most of them.
“They woke us up around midnight. They said, get up, get in truck, straight to Srebrenica. ‘What are we going to do there?’, I asked. The commander responded ‘you’ll see when we get there’.
“When we arrived, Srebrenica had already fallen, and thousands of [M]uslim prisoners were there. I was ordered to escort a bus full of [M]uslim prisoners. There was a full bus of them and I was alone…Then, I spotted two guys from my village (gives the name of the village). They were in the group which burned down my house, raped my sister, and killed my mother. I took them out of the bus and killed them right there, those Turkish motherfuckers…”
Most of the prisoners in Srebrenica, soldiers from the Eight Operative Group, took part in the [M]uslim devastation and slaughter in east Bosnia in 1992 and later. The commander of the Operative Group was the war criminal Naser Oric who had been promoted to a brigadier and decorated by Izetbegovic with the highest decoration in the muslim Army “Golden Lilly”.
“Our soldiers were never decorated for crimes. We do not decorate our criminals. We try them,” said Karadzic.
The preceding lays the foundation for much of what is in the 2010 film “Srebrenica: A Town Betrayed,” which follows interviews and revelations by Bosnian-Muslim investigative journalist Mirsad Fazlic, who doesn’t appreciate the fictitious, black-and-white version of the Bosnian war that is perpetuated by the international community and by Bosnian officialdom, which still honors wartime president Alija Izetbegovic as a national hero when Fazlic and others know he was the opposite. The film really begins only at the four-minute mark, and its main shortcoming is the ubiquitous, stubborn marriage to the notion that the number “7-8,000 killed” is anything other than a concoction that the world has been working backwards for 16 years to make seem real.
Among numerous of the film’s jaw-dropping revelations — including the fact that the humanitarian convoys which the Serbs were allowing to pass to Srebrenica were being intercepted by Bosnian “hero” Naser Oric and sold on the black market (and including Srebrenica police chief Hakija Mehovic describing the meeting at which the Bosnian leadership floated a proposal by Bill Clinton that 5,000 Srebrenica residents be sacrificed) — are the following:
1. “Mladic had four tanks and 400 men. In reserve he also had 1600 armed locals. But Mladic didn’t trust them since they lacked discipline and would use every opportunity to revenge [Srebrenica warlord] Oric’s attacks on the villages. The Serbs were outgunned by NATO’s fighter aircraft, 450 Dutch peacekeepers and Oric’s 5,500 soldiers.” (The first fact is important as a contradistinction to the Mladic that has been presented to the public, and there is more in the film in that regard. The latter factoids are important to illustrate that Srebrenica was set up for the Serbs to overpower, with the Muslim side “winning by losing,” as Nebojsa Malic calls it.)
2. In reference to the 50 Serbian villages that were being attacked by the Muslims of Srebrenica: “Especially disturbing was a religious dimension to the killings. Men were castrated in an anti-Christian gesture of circumcision. Pregnant women were disemboweled with cuts in the form of a cross. Some people were crucified, nails driven through their hands.”
3. “In April 1993 military chiefs from both sides — General Sefer Halilovic and General Ratko Mladic — signed a UN plan for Srebrenica and the other cities to become demilitarized zones. The Muslims promised on their side to stop the aggression against the Serbs around the enclaves and against the 15,000 Serbs still living in the capital Sarajevo.” (The Muslim side naturally didn’t hold to their end of the bargain, but what makes the excerpt exceptional is the word “aggression” for once attributed to the correct side of the Bosnian war.)
4. “Islam will win, since Bosnia is an Islamic country.” (Graffiti on the walls of a destroyed building in Kravica, where on January 7, 1993 — Orthodox Christmas — Muslims destroyed the town, killing 49 men, women, and children.)
On the point of crosses being cut into Serb women’s skin, a reader recently brought my attention to the following Bosnian incidents:
That July 7, 2005 article [linked above, in Serbian] 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.
Back to Srebrenica. If one can’t spare an hour to watch “A Town Betrayed,” below is a seven-minute primer on the subject matter:
In the clip above, look for the sentence by the apparently confused narrator: “Oddly enough, the Serbs cooperated.” One encounters these sorts of surprised musings about Serb reasonableness quite often, since the starting premise of the journalistic and political classes are wrong. Consistently throughout the Balkan wars, the Bosnian Serbs, like Serbian Serbs, were the side that wanted solutions and peace, including supporting every initiative to terminate hostilities in Bosnia (e.g. the “Town Betrayed” film mentions the Owen-Stoltenberg plan of 1993 which was rejected by Clinton, making the Muslims believe they could get more land in a better deal — as was the case when they rejected the 1992 Lisbon plan that would have stopped the war almost before it started.) Indeed, the book To End a War by the late professional Serb-loather Richard Holbrooke demonstrates this fact vividly as he spits venom, accusations, and condemnations at Milosevic even as he describes rather contradictory behavior, with Milosevic jumping through hoops for us and the Muslims. An example from the clip:
The Bosnian Parliament met in a hotel in Sarajevo to discuss the division of Bosnia. The session was used as a chance to invite a delegation from Srebrenica and tell them about the proposal to give up the Muslim enclaves in exchange for a free Sarajevo. Nine prominent Muslims from Srebrenica were invited to Sarajevo including Chief of Police [Hakija] Mehovic, Suljo Hasanovic and commander Naser Oric. They must fly over hostile territory. Mehovic is scared. “Initially the plan was to land in Han-Pijesak or Romanija for inspection. We refused, and then the Serbs let us straight through.”
[Oric didn’t come. No one knows why. Perhaps he thought it was a Serbian trick, because “that year, his Srebrenica fighters had killed many Serbian civilians.”] Others say it was because he already knew about the proposal.
[Chief of Police Mehovic:] “Alija told us about Clinton’s proposal. Chetniks [Serbs] would occupy Srebrenica and kill off 5,000 Muslims. A military intervention would follow. What did we think of that? We rejected this proposal. We thought it was outrageous to murder 5,000 people.”
The idea of an American president proposing that Serbian troops attack Srebrenica and carry out a massacre to justify a military intervention seemed utterly ludicrous. But the UN investigation shows Hakija’s words are not unfounded. UN report: “Some surviving members of the Srebrenica delegation have stated that President Izetbegovic also told them that he had learned that a NATO intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina was possible, but could only occur if the Serbs were to break into Srebrenica, killing at least 5,000 of its people.”
President Izetbegovic denied having made any such remark. He did admit he asked for an opinion on the land exchange.
And in the video below, part of the documentary film “The Avoidable War,” the speakers aren’t named in the segment. In order of appearance, they are:
1. Nik Gowing, an anchor and foreign affairs expert at Britain’s Independent Television News (ironically the network responsible for the skinny-Bosniak-man picture that fooled the world)
2. James Jatras, at the time an analyst for the Senate Republican Policy Committee
3. George Kenney, former desk officer at the State Dept.
4. Colonel David Hackworth, Army veteran and at the time Newsweek’s military correspondent (later becoming a Fox News military analyst who in 1999 told Albanian propagandist Joe DioGuardi that his war wasn’t worth a single American life and that he would drive his son to Canada if he were to be called up for it.)
5. Susan Woodward, at the time working for the Brookings Institution in Washington (and making few friends in D.C. thanks to her dissenting view on the Balkan wars)
6. Ted Galen Carpenter, of the Cato Institute
7. Haris Silajdzic (appearing in a news clip), Bosnian wartime foreign minister and serving as President Izetbegovic’s chief propagandist
8. Alexandra Stiglmayer, then a journalist and later hired by the Office of the UN High Representative in Bosnia (After writing an article for Newsweek about rape in Bosnia, here she answers the question, “Do you believe the numbers [30-50,000 women raped] are credible?” with the following: “They seem very high to me, and I don’t believe the sources because as I’ve investigated, they always go back to one government or another.” As the film exposes, “The European Community Commission, which estimated that 20,000 had been raped, dropped this claim from its final reports. After an exhaustive investigation, the UN concluded that 2,400 rapes had been committed by all three sides in the Bosnian conflict.”)
9. John Peter Maher, linguistics professor emeritus, Fulbright lecturer and formerly of the US Army Counter-Intelligence Corps
This part of the film opens with British ambassador Lord David Owen, who recalls asking French UN General Philippe Morillon why he didn’t make public the UN report warning that the Bosnian government was behind staged attacks such as the Markale bombings, which were being blamed on the Serbs and getting the latter bombed by NATO. To which Morillon replied, “We have to live here.” Indeed, there had been three attempts on Morillon’s life by Muslim forces. In his book The Fall of Yugoslavia, BBC reporter Misha Glenny observed that the majority of UN and relief workers who had died in the conflict were victims of Muslim units. “The Bosnian government was quick to understand that most of the world viewed them as innocent victims. Throughout the war, they used this perception to undertake offensive actions and then portray themselves as victims.”
There is also a clip of recently departed former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger on TV saying that “Muslims are being killed in Bosnia-Hercegovina and this government has tried to demonstrate to the Moslem world we care about that, and want to try to do something about it.”
If you support government transparency, but don’t support the indiscriminate release of classified information, forget Wikileaks and check out the documents below.
The PDF binder linked [here] contains 2,000 pages of previously classified State Department documents on the 1995 massacre at Srebrenica…The cables also describe…the alleged killing of a U.N. peacekeeper by a Bosnian soldier around the time of the attack. [”When the battles for Srebrenica began, one of our thugs, probably on order, killed a soldier from the Dutch battalion. This helped dissolve the entire system of Dutch responsibility.” — wartime Bosnian MP Ibran Mustafic, “Planned Chaos“] …
It’s only a 13-minute video (full version here), but to transcribe the most salient parts:
…UN peace negotiator in Bosnia Thorvald Stoltenberg witnessed the arms smuggling and claims the United States directly supplied the Bosnians. “We saw Iranian planes and American planes coming in with arms and military equipment…I saw it myself, the planes.”
Every American official interviewed by Berger denies that the United States directly provided weapons to the Bosnians, but most admitted that all other arms suppliers were welcome.
…By 1995 some 2000 jihadists had traveled to Bosnia according to the research of Esad Hasimovich. Soon, the jihadists also started to kidnap and kill soldiers and civilians serving in the UN peacekeeping mission to Bosnia. They created gruesome propaganda videos executing prisoners of war….
[Ambassador Peter Galbraith: ‘Mujahedeen atrocities weren’t a big issue.’]
But Esad’s investigation shows that mujahedeen war crimes rose to new levels in Bosnia during the last year of the war. Serb prisoners were tortured and executed in public places then buried in mass graves.
For Esad, this is not just a Bosnian story. This is a story about the spread of global jihad. “It was something different from the war, because the Bosnian war was over in December of 95. But it was my mistake. For these groups, war was not over.”
…[Former NSA chief analyst John R. Schindler]: “By 1995 there were already European governments that were very concerned about some of the al Qaida footprints in Bosnia that [were] now spreading out across Europe. It’s not an accident that after 9/11, many of these governments quietly told Washington, ‘We told you, we were warning you about this a half decade ago and you called us crazy, not a team player, being difficult, paranoid.’ But the reality is it was several European governments who in the mid to late 1990s were far more proactive than the U.S. government in fighting al Qaeda and in my mind they’re allowed to say ‘Hey, we’ve been in this fight longer than you have, we got it long before you did. It was your policies that…facilitated a lot of this badness.”
On December 14th, 1995, the same day as the Dayton accord was to be signed, a key leader of the mujahedeen was conveniently killed. The Egyptian Anwar Shaban, commander of the mujahedeen forces and an ally of Osama bin Laden, was ambushed near the Bosnian border. In his bullet-ridden car, a notebook was found. Esad Hasimovic got a copy of the notebook and it reveals the discussions and postwar plans of the mujahedeen. It says they were prepared to attack the NATO forces that were coming into Bosnia to replace the UN peacekeepers. The mujahedeen wanted to use the country as a new European base for the global jihad.
For president Alija Izetbegovic this notebook would have been a devastating political scandal. Shaban had invited the president to several meetings with the mujahedeen shortly before the Dayton accord was signed. Shaban filmed the meetings and made detailed transcripts. In defiance of the terms he agreed to during the Dayton negotiations, Izetbegovic continued to promise the mujahedeen fighters they could stay in Bosnia. The record of these meetings was a nightmare for the Bosnian intelligence service. They knew Shaban planned to use the transcripts and photos to blackmail the Bosnian leadership. They also had another reason to be worried. Propaganda videos that included footage from one of the meetings carefully edited out the face of a man sitting next to the president. But the original picture reveals the man was Abu Mali, one of Osama bin Laden’s top allies in Europe. And Bosnian intelligence documents showed that the leaders of the mujahedeen, Shaban and Mali, were in close telephone contact with al Qaeda operatives and with Osama bin Laden personally.
…The plane was “fully loaded with arms,” including a number of barrels believed to contain chemical or biological weapons. It was not the first Iranian shipment of arms to Bosnian Muslims either.
The Iranian and Bosnian governments had previously asked permission from Tudjman to ship arms through Zagreb. The last time, Tudjman had said no, so this time all the supplies in the plane was labeled as humanitarian aid from the Red Crescent.
The 20 to 40 mujahideen fighters on the plane were more difficult to conceal. It’s important to note that these were probably not all (or even mostly) Iranians. Iranian nationals in Bosnia functioned more as trainers and intelligence agents, but Iran helped smuggle in fighters from around the Muslim world.
American military veterans were also flying into Bosnia to serve as trainers to the Bosnian mujahideen during the same period. Never-before-reported details of this program will be revealed in my forthcoming book on American jihadists…
As usual, the day after the well-attended ceremony for dead Muslim soldiers this week, Serbs mourned their dead civilians and soldiers alone, to press coverage that continues to vilify them as well as perpetuate all the mythology and inversions. Such as in this AP report by some idiot or Muslim named Radul Radovanovic:
BRATUNAC, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) - Some 2,000 people turned out to remember Serbs - many of them soldiers [most not] - killed by Bosnian forces on Tuesday, claiming their suffering has been ignored as the world focuses on the notorious 1995 Serb slaughter [sic] of 8,000 [sic] Muslim Bosnians [soldiers] at Srebrenica.
The ceremony was held just 6 miles (10 kilometers) north of the site of the massacre and came just a day after 40,000 people solemnly [cowardly] paid their respects on the 16th anniversary of the worst crime in Europe since the Nazi era.
Ethnic Serbs [sic: Muslims] kept Muslim Bosnians in Srebrenica besieged throughout the 1992-95 war for Serb dominance [sic: Muslim dominance] of Bosnia, culminating in the murder of thousands [sic: hundreds] of Muslim men and boys [of fighting age]. The International Court of Justice has ruled [sic: parroted] that the Srebrenica massacre was an act of genocide [sic: of war, revenge and frame-up] and that Serbia could have prevented it. [It already did once.]
However, many ethnic Serbs in Bosnia see themselves as the victims of Bosnian aggression, claiming [there’s that word!] that over 3,000 Serb soldiers and civilians were killed in attacks. Neither the Serbian public nor those living in the Serb part of Bosnia have been ready to fully accept their role in the crime.
Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik complained at the military ceremony that while several Serbs are jailed for Srebrenica, nobody has stood trial for crimes committed against Serbs. [Correction: Naser Oric did, and was promptly acquitted.]
Dodik did not attend Monday’s ceremony, as has been the case for Bosnian Serb leaders for 16 years….The Serb commemoration has previously been used by some participants to insult Muslims by wearing T-shirts with the image of Ratko Mladic - the Serb general who led [sic] Srebrenica massacre. Though he is now facing a genocide trial, many Serbs still see him as a national hero.
Police said two Serbian Parliament lawmakers came from Belgrade carrying flags with Mladic’s image.
Jonathan Moore, the deputy to the U.S. Ambassador in Bosnia, said embassy representatives attended the commemoration for victims in Srebrenica but not the one in Bratunac a day later because they do not attend commemorations for soldiers on any side [What?], particularly not one that honors “criminals who committed offenses against civilians.” [So then what was the main ceremony if not precisely that?]
But, Serb family members of the dead mourned next to their loved ones’ graves. Slavka Matic said she lost two daughters and her husband in a Muslim attack on her village in 1993.
“I am alone in this world since then, and I don’t know what to do,” she said, and then broke into tears.
Even better was this part of an earlier, also inverted AP report:
…Serbs are bitter because the world honors Muslim victims annually but ignores the commemoration for Serbs a day later.
Serbs kept Bosnians in Srebrenica besieged throughout the 1992-95 war. In return, [sic: As a result of the fact that] Bosnians raided the surrounding Serb villages looking for food and weapons. Serbs say 3,267 of their soldiers and civilians were killed in those attacks, two-thirds of them civilians.
So that’s why one rapes, dismembers and beheads: because one is hungry. Only a Tanjug/B92 report was less shameless:
BRATUNAC — It is high time for crimes committed against Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina to be prosecuted, Serb Republic (RS) President Milorad Dodik has stated.
He was attending a commemoration in Bratunac, honoring Serbs killed by Muslim forces under command of Naser Orić’s from Srebrenica during the war in Bosnia.
“We nurture no hatred or desire for revenge, but it is high time for monstrous crimes against Serbs to be prosecuted,” Dodik said, and added that selective justice cannot be accepted as was the case up until now, that is for the Serb side to be considered guilty for everything while no one is held responsible for the numerous Serb victims.
During the three years of conflicts, over 1,300 Serbs were killed in the territory of Srebrenica, Zvornik, Milici, Bratunac, Vlasenica and Osmaci, while a total of 3,267 Serbs, most of them civilians, were killed in the region of the Drina River and Birač.
Nobody has yet been held accountable before Bosnian courts for the crimes committed against Serbs in the region of the Drina River and Birač.
Not mentioned in any of the foregoing is of course the consistent inconsistency in treatment by the international community between the Muslims and the Serbs. The Number One Balkans rule is that what’s good for the goose is never good for the gander. Just one small example — though every international serving in Bosnia probably has a list — comes from retired NYC Police Lieutenant Robert Leifels, who served in Bosnia with the International Police Task Force in 1997-98 in the Zvornik region including Srebrenica:
I am very familiar with the Srebrenica Mothers. We had several operations dealing with their “weeping.” We needed interpreters but all their signs were in English with not a misspelled word. [i.e. international puppet masters] I am also familiar with the Serb moms who never complained.
We also had a couple of larger operations escorting Muslims around Zvornik region [today in Bosnia’s Serb Republic] so they could see their homes and get the “treasures” they hid before fleeing. Some Serbs asked me personally if UNHCR could do the same for them in the [Bosnian-Croat] Federation. The UNHCR flatly told me “We don’t do that.” I asked why and she just repeated herself.
Displaced Persons from Federation were given the royal treatment by the International Community; the Republika Srpska Displaced Persons got ignored.