April 2012


*****SEE 2 UPDATES AT BOTTOM*****

I meant to blog this when the item first appeared last month, so while this comes belatedly, it’s too rich to let go without comment:

Libya Seeks Kosovo’s Help in Peace Transition (March 21)

A delegation from Tripoli has visited Pristina as it believes Kosovo’s post-conflict transition process could serve as a useful model for Libya, a government official told Balkan Insight.

Kosovo’s Deputy Security Forces Minister, Shemsi Veseli, told Balkan Insight that a delegation from Tripoli had visited Pristina recently to learn about Kosovo’s experience in reintegrating former Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, fighters after the conflict in Kosovo ended in 1999.

That is, they wanted to know how Albanians managed to get terrorists legitimized and weaponized by the West.

“They wanted to know… what we did first after the end of the war, how we transformed the KLA into the Kosovo Protection Corps and then the Kosovo Security Forces, and how the transition period, the amnesty and disarmament processes went,” he said.

What they did first was ethnically cleanse every town and village of its Serb and Roma populations and of any Albanian opposition, with NATO help. And disarmament? Like the Albanians laugh: “What disarmament?!” (“No one can disarm Albanians. That’s just NATO propaganda.” — Florin Krasniqi, arms smuggler in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, 2005)

…Shemsi Veseli said the Libyan delegation was also interested in getting training from Kosovo Security Forces, an emergency response force built up by NATO.

He said the Kosovo government has expressed its readiness to help Libya with the experience it had gained throughout the transition period.

“We were asked [by the Libyan delegation] if we could help Libya in training their future forces, and said ‘Yes’,” Veseli said.

“We even said we were ready to send our troops on a peacekeeping mission to Libya as we have expertise in demining, search and rescue operations, and paramedics. Whether NATO will allow that, we don’t know,” he added.

The Kosovo Security Force is a professional, multi-ethnic, lightly armed and uniformed force that is subject to democratic and civilian control. It numbers 2,000 soldiers.

Its primary mission is to conduct crisis response operations in Kosovo and abroad; civil protection operations within Kosovo; and assist the civil authorities in responding to natural disasters and other emergencies.

The government has announced a possible further transformation of the force by the end of this year, making the KSF into a regular army.

Exactly what international law stipulates it could never turn into. That’s why when in March 2008 Bush backed the NATO-assisted transformation of the KLA=>KPC=>KSF into Kosovo’s own regular army, Russia was aghast:

…By supplying weapons to Kosovo’s government, the United States was arming “former terrorists” [that’s generous] and the move could stoke violence in the region, Tass quoted Russia’s ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin as saying.

U.S. President George W. Bush on Wednesday authorized arms supplies to Kosovo, saying it would “strengthen the security of the United States and promote world peace”, according to a document on the White House Web site.

“They (Washington) say the weapons will help fight terrorism. At the same time, it is namely former terrorists who are in power in Kosovo right now,” Itar-Tass quoted Rogozin as saying in Brussels.

“How can you fight terrorism, supplying weapons to former terrorists?”

“I have addressed NATO’s secretary-general with a proposal to hold an emergency meeting of the Russia-NATO council to discuss U.S. plans to supply weapons to Kosovo.”

“Under the Ahtisaari plan, which is the basis for Kosovo’s supervised independence, Kosovo is allowed a lightly armed 2,500 person security force,” The White House said in a written statement. “The Kosovo Security Force (KSF) would be subject to NATO oversight and training.”

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov insisted that the only legitimate basis for the Kosovo settlement was U.N. Security Council resolution No. 1244 adopted before the region’s official declaration of independence.

“This resolution does not allow Kosovo to create its own army and allows no arms supplies to Kosovo, except for equipping an international contingent deployed there,” Russia’s Vesti-24 channel showed Lavrov saying during a news conference in Israel.

“Any other (arms) supplies are illegitimate.”

Kosovo’s ethnic Serbs, who want to remain part of Serbia, clashed this week with U.N. and NATO security forces.

“I would hate to think that these arms supplies aim to coerce Serbs and other ethnic minorities by force to stay within the borders of an illegally proclaimed state,” Lavrov said.

“I don’t believe this will add stability to the Balkans — probably, just the other way round.”

No sooner did I finally get to this blog than this came in:

Syrian activists turn to Kosovo for advice (Israel News, April 26)

A Syrian dissident says the country’s opposition is turning to Kosovo’s former rebels-turned-politicians for advice on how to topple Bashar Assad’s regime in Damascus.

Ammar Abdulhamid, an exiled anti-Assad activist, said Thursday that seeing a new country “emerging out of the nightmare and emerging as a state” could be inspiring for Syrian dissidents.(AP)

About those Syrian “dissidents”:

We want war, and we want it now (Pepe Escobar, Asia Times, Apr. 6)

…Picture Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal - who seems to have a knack for sending US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton into rapture - feverishly arguing that the House of Saud, those paragons of democracy, had “a duty” to weaponize the Syrian “revolutionary” opposition.

And picture al-Faisal ordering an immediate ceasefire by the Bashar al-Assad government, guilty - according to the House of Saud - not only of cruel repression but crimes against humanity.

No; this was not a Monty Python sketch.

To make sure he was milking the right cow, al-Faisal also said that the Gulf Counter-revolution Club (GCC), also known as Gulf Cooperation Council, wanted to get further into bed with the United States. Translation, if any was needed; the US-GCC tag team, as expressed by the weaponization of the Syrian “rebels”, is meant to body slam Iran.

But then into this mess in Istanbul Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki - whose power is a direct consequence of Washington’s invasion and destruction of Iraq - steps in with quite a bang… “We reject any arming [of Syrian rebels] and the process to overthrow the [Assad] regime, because this will leave a greater crisis in the region … The stance of these two states [Qatar and Saudi Arabia] is very strange … They are calling for sending arms instead of working on putting out the fire, and they will hear our voice, that we are against arming and against foreign interference … those countries that are interfering in Syria’s internal affairs will interfere in the internal affairs of any country … It has been one year and the regime did not fall, and it will not fall, and why should it fall?”

Maliki knows very well that the ongoing and already escalating weaponizing of Sunni Syrians - many of the Salafi and jihadi kind - will inevitably spill over into Iraq itself, and threaten his Shi’ite-majority government. And that irrespective of the fact that his administration supports the close Iran-Syria relationship.

Maliki, by the way, was back in power in the autumn of 2010 because Tehran deftly intervened to make sure the Sadrists would support him…So Washington is now merrily embarking in a remix of the 1980s Afghan jihad - which, as every grain of sand from the Hindu Kush to Mesopotamia knows, led to that ghostly entity, al-Qaeda, and the subsequent, transformer “war on terror”.

The House of Saud and Qatar have institutionalized that motley crew known as the Free Syrian Army as a mercenary outfit; they are now on their payroll, to the tune of $100 million (and counting). Isn’t democracy wonderful - when US-allied Persian Gulf monarchies can buy a mercenary army for peanuts? Isn’t it great to be a revolutionary with an assured paycheck?

Not missing a beat, Washington has set up its own fund as well, for “humanitarian” assistance to Syria and “non-lethal” aid to the “rebels”; “non-lethal” as in ultra battle-ready satellite communications equipment, plus night-vision goggles. Clinton’s silky spin was that the equipment would allow the “rebels” to “evade” attacks by the Syrian government. No mention that now they have access to actionable US intelligence via a swarm of drones deployed all over Syria.

Maliki can clearly see the writing on the (Sunni) wall. The House of Saud invaded Shi’ite-majority Bahrain to protect the extremely unpopular Sunni al-Khalifa dynasty in power - their “cousins”. Maliki knows that a post-Assad Syria would mean Muslim Brotherhood Sunnis in power - sprinkled with Salafi-jihadis. In his worst nightmare, Maliki sees this possible dystopian future as an al-Qaeda in Iraq remix on steroids.

So this is what the Istanbul-based “Friends of Syria” bash turned into; a shameless legitimizing - by Arabs allied with the US - of civil war in yet another Arab country. The victims will be average Syrians caught in the crossfire.

This US-GCC weaponizing entirely dissolves the United Nations Syria envoy and former secretary general Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan. The plan calls for a ceasefire; for the Syrian government to “cease troop movements” and “begin pullback of military concentrations”; and for a negotiated political settlement.

There will be no ceasefire. The Assad government accepted the plan. The weaponized “rebels” rejected it. Imagine the Syrian government beginning the “pullback of military concentrations” while swarms of weaponized “rebels” and assorted mercenaries (from Libya, Lebanon and Iraq) keep deploying their torture tactics and launching a barrage of improvised explosive devices.

[Yes, just imagine it! OR, refer to weaponized KLA violently filling in the void after the pullout that the Serbs accepted to do. And this is of course without equating Belgrade with Damascus.]

I landed in Beijing eager to learn more about the upcoming joint Russia-China naval exercise in the Yellow Sea, but instead I was stuck with a Henry Kissinger op-ed in the Washington Post. Here it is, in Dr K’s own words:

“The Arab Spring is widely presented as a regional, youth-led revolution on behalf of liberal democratic principles. Yet Libya is not ruled by such forces; it hardly continues as a state. Neither is Egypt, whose electoral majority (possibly permanent) is overwhelmingly Islamist. Nor do democrats seem to predominate in the Syrian opposition.

“The Arab League consensus on Syria is not shaped by countries previously distinguished by the practice or advocacy of democracy. Rather, it largely reflects the millennium-old conflict between Shi’ite and Sunni and an attempt to reclaim Sunni dominance from a Shi’ite minority. It is also precisely why so many minority groups, such as Druzes, Kurds and Christians, are uneasy about regime change in Syria.”

Well, China scholar Dr K at least got this one right (and in total agreement with Maliki, no less). A full-fledged mercenary army paid for by autocrat Arabs to overthrow an Arab government is pure and simple regime change - US rhetoric about “democracy” and “freedom” notwithstanding. It’s all about classic, imperial divide and rule, profiting from pitting Sunnis against Shi’ites.

And then my divine roasted duck revealed to me that realpolitik stalwart Dr K is not getting much traction in Washington these days.

Sharply catching the Kosovo-Libya-Syria terror state parallels, Jim Jatras wrote in a general email, quoting a recent MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute) analysis paper: “Saudi paper spells it out: Syria = Chechnya = Bosnia”:

…III. Russian Minority Rule in Chechnya akin to ‘Alawite Minority Rule over a Sunni Majority’

Some write[r]s claimed that it was no surprise that Russia supported Assad’s ‘Alawite minority rule over a Sunni majority, considering that Russia itself rules over and oppresses a Muslim majority in Chechnya and the Caucasus. Some also claimed that Russia employed the same tactics as Assad in oppressing and murdering the minorities under its rule.

Jasser ‘Abd Al-’Aziz Al-Jasser, a columnist for the Saudi daily Al-Jazirah, wrote: “…Lavrov has adopted the mentality of a spy or a gangster. He is denying 80% of the Syrian people the right to rule over their own land, and claiming that ‘a Sunni regime in Syria will support terrorism in the region.’ These are the same claims the Russians made in supporting the Serbian rule in Yugoslavia and in justifying the murder of Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which only ended with NATO’s military intervention. The Russians do not want the Muslims to rule their own countries and to break free of the minority governments that sustain themselves through killing and oppression – as the Russians themselves do in Chechnya and the Caucasus, where the Muslim majority is subject to a Russian minority that rules it with fire and the force of arms…”[23]

Jatras: “The common denominator? In each case — Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya, Syria, and of course Chechnya — U.S. and NATO come down on the side of Saudi-supported Sunni jihadists, while Russia is against them.”

Closing with a flashback segment about our “demilitarization” of the KLA before our uber-militarization of it under new names: NATO Must Disarm the Kosovo Liberation Army — Now (by Kate Joseph and Christina Hertzler, of the British American Security Information Council, L.A. Times, June 18, 1999)

As long as officials fail to address Kosovo’s light weapons, KLA fighters with guns will erode the control of the international peacekeeping force, or KFOR. Reports indicate that the KLA has installed checkpoints, seized Serb weapons and harassed departing troops. Near Gnjilane, 200 KLA fighters refused to hand their guns over to French troops, preferring to retreat into the mountains. In Prizren, Kosovo fighters can be found directing traffic with AK-47s in hand and holding press conferences declaring the city under KLA control in defiance of KFOR’s mandate.

…[M]any members of the KLA are retaining their arms in hopes of achieving independence…The weapons could be used to carry out revenge attacks on Kosovo Serbs or ignite tensions elsewhere in Serbia or in Macedonia. The massive outflow of Serbs is a testimony to NATO’s failure to address these possibilities…In a tense situation, armed citizens or militias might turn their weapons on the peacekeepers themselves…It won’t be easy to [disarm the KLA], but if we don’t try, future conflict is certain. KFOR must stop alluding to disarmament and take action to initiate it.

And so it came to pass. NATO basically said, If you can’t beat the terrorists, join ‘em.

Here was that transition in action:

NATO to Consider Letting Kosovars Set Up New Army as Rebels Agree to Disarm

By STEVEN LEE MYERS

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia — The agreement reached early Monday to disband the Kosovo Liberation Army included, at the insistence of its commanders, a pledge by the NATO allies to consider letting the rebels form a provisional army for Kosovo modeled on the National Guard in the United States.

The agreement, signed in the dead of night after a frenetic weekend of military and political wrangling…gave no timetable for creating an army and no details of its size or mission.

But the inclusion of the pledge ensures that even after laying down its arms, the Kosovo Liberation Army can pursue its ambition to remain an organized political and military force in the Yugoslav province.

For their part, the rebels agreed to a phased demilitarization, an immediate cease-fire and a cessation of hostilities. [This is how the masters of the universe work: For the sake of immediate gratification and appearance of calm under their watch, they accept flimsy, for-the-moment signatures from the violent side in exchange for permanent concessions that will permanently cripple the region. But what the hey. Like Churchill said when questioned about handing Yugoslavia over to the Communists: “Do you intend to live there?”]

While NATO stopped far short of endorsing the idea, promising only to give it “due consideration” as the future of Kosovo is debated in the months ahead, the rebel group’s leaders spoke Monday as though an army for a free Kosovo was, in their minds, a foregone conclusion.

“We will form an army according to NATO’s standards, while at the same time staying loyal to our national and historical traditions,” Gen. Agim Ceku, the Kosovo Liberation Army’s commander in the war against Yugoslav forces, said in an interview after the announcement.

What to do with the rebel group — said to include 10,000 hardened fighters and some 30,000 irregulars…has proved to be one of NATO’s foremost challenges as its peacekeepers have moved to exert control over Kosovo.

The consideration of an army — let alone the creation of one — is sure to infuriate Yugoslavia, which accused NATO of aiding the rebels’ cause throughout 78 days of bombing. But even some NATO members, particularly Germany, opposed including the pledge in the final document. The objections, from NATO’s political arm, delayed its approval and signing until the early hours Monday morning, even though rebel commanders and NATO military officials had reached agreement late Saturday night, toasting it with Bushmill’s Irish whisky at Ceku’s wartime home in the mountains of central Kosovo.

Germany relented only after Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met the German foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, over dinner on Sunday night at the conference of the major industrial powers in Cologne and explained that the rebel leaders would not agree to disarm unless the agreement included the provision.

The State Department’s spokesman, James Rubin, who appeared at a news conference here Monday with the rebels’ political leader, Hashim Thaci, said the paragraph outlining the idea of an armed force was “an expression of the aspirations of the Kosovo Liberation Army” and, for now, nothing more.

Before the war with Yugoslavia, the United States and other NATO nations strongly opposed independence for Kosovo….

Under the agreement, the rebels must immediately respect a cease-fire and renounce the use of force. They must also stop setting up checkpoints, laying mines or conducting any other “military, security or training-related activities,” though the agreement did not deny them the right to self-defense….

[The KLA] spread to virtually every city and village in Kosovo as the Serbian forces withdrew over the last 11 days…Thousands of Serbian civilians have fled Kosovo, citing the presence of the fighters, whom they fear as terrorists bent on violent domination.

At his news conference, Jackson again pledged that NATO would be even-handed in enforcing the peace, protecting all of the province’s civilians, Albanians, Serbs and Gypsies. “I hope all — and I stress all — who left in fear will return,” he said.

Jackson also apologized for the widespread looting and burning of Serbian homes on Sunday — in several instances under the watch of NATO troops — as the last Yugoslav army and police units withdrew…

Underscoring the sensitivity of appearing to endorse the creation of a provisional army, he insisted that this was not a formal pact with NATO, like the one with Yugoslav generals that laid out the deadlines for withdrawing their troops.

That part of the agreement proved to be the final obstacle in talks that began on the military level in Albania on Tuesday and continued straight through Saturday, when Thaci become involved as the rebels’ “commander in chief.” The paragraph dealing with an army was repeatedly inserted and taken out, until NATO’s negotiators realized that the rebels would not agree without it.

With the concessions, the rebel leaders clearly were pleased with the agreement, even though, for now, it means handing over their weapons to NATO…Once the deal was signed, President Clinton and Albright called Thaci to express support for the rebels’ willingness to abide by NATO’s demands and begin a transition to civilian life.

“They understood that it was a very difficult decision for the KLA after for so long pursing their objectives through military means,” Rubin said, “that it was a difficult act of political courage to transform this organization.”

Illuminating for us this “political courage” and “transformation,” along with how “handing over their weapons” went is an excerpt of an excerpt taken by the Kosovo.net site from the 2001 book Fool’s Errands by Gary Dampsey and Roger W. Fontaine of the CATO Institute:

A False Peace

… “Without a doubt,” concedes NATO’s first commander in Kosovo, Gen. Michael Jackson, “the KLA had seen NATO and the air campaign as all part of what they were doing, which was creating an independent state.”

…After a major NATO seizure of KLA weapons in June 2000, for instance, there were multi-day demonstrations by ethnic Albanians calling for the withdrawal of NATO peacekeepers from Kosovo. The protests were the first out­right anti-NATO demonstrations held by Kosovo’s Albanians since the arrival of peacekeepers 12 months earlier. Most of Kosovo’s Albanians had viewed NATO as their savior, and such protests were previously unthinkable. But when NATO started tightening its leash on the KLA, the ubiquity of that support began to slip…Many ethnic Albanians, moreover, are today tiring of the foreign-run government in Kosovo. They have nearly every­where adopted the double-headed eagle flag of neighboring Albania as their own, and popular music now directs open threats at KFOR peacekeepers and UNMIK police. One song, sung in English to maximize the effect, warns NATO and UN personnel, “The future’s gonna be the same as the past if you don’t change your ways very fast / cause there is no bullet-proof vest to protect when I strike and blast.”

(This is a useful reminder that the U.S.-Kosovo “eternal friendship” was fraying as early as 2000.)

There were, however, earlier indications that the KLA and Wash­ington’s nation builders might not see eye to eye. In February 2000, NATO peacekeepers and ethnic Albanians openly clashed in the streets of the divided city of Kosovska Mitrovica. Ethnic Albanian militants, wanting to bring the entire city into their vision of what an independent Kosovo should look like, shot and wounded two French peacekeepers who were maintaining the city’s line of separa­tion. The French responded by killing one rooftop sniper and wound­ing at least four others. NATO soldiers subsequently arrested more than 40 people suspected of involvement in the bloodletting….

On the political front, things were not going as smoothly as Wash­ington’s nation builders had hoped either. In June 2000, the KLA’s former political leader, Hashim Thaci, began a boycott of the Interim Administrative Council, the centerpiece of the unelected structure set up by Special Representative [Bernard] Kouchner to involve Kosovo’s local leaders in decision-making. Thaci said his new political party, the Democratic Party of Kosovo, had suspended formal cooperation with the Interim Administrative Council. That move followed the signing the week before of a memorandum of understanding between the United Nations and leaders of the Serb minority promis­ing them better security and access to local public services in their enclaves. Members of Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian majority expressed anger at the deal, which they said allowed the Serbs to have their own institutions. Specifically, the United Nations promised to “take special measures” to protect Serbs, including creating a neighbor­hood-watch system and a special committee to oversee protection of Serbian Orthodox religious sites. A senior member of Thaci’s party said they found the agreement unacceptable because the arrangement could be a first step toward dividing Kosovo into ethnic regions, which threatens ethnic Albanian aspirations to rule all of Kosovo. Outside observers, moreover, speculated that the memo­randum of understanding was a handy excuse and that Thaci’s decision was a sign of his growing impatience with the United Nations and NATO’s interference with his efforts to consolidate power and create an independent state.

In the first four months after NATO arrived, there were 348 murders, 116 kidnappings, 1,070 lootings, and 1,106 arsons aimed largely at Serbs and other non-Albanians…As early as August 1999, Human Rights Watch estimated that more than 164,000 Serbs and Gypsies had been driven from or had left Kosovo because of the violence aimed at them.

By April 2000, however, Secretary of State Albright approvingly reported, “The murder rate in Kosovo is now lower than in many American cities.” Similarly, in June 2000, National Security Adviser Berger touted, “The murder rate has declined by 90 percent in the past year.” Albright and Berger, however, failed to point out that the murder rate had fallen in Kosovo precisely because the province had been virtually cleansed of non-Albanian murder targets. Indeed, reports at the time estimated that as many as 240,000 non-Albanians, including Goranies, Croats, Turks, and Jews had fled the province since NATO arrived…Unfortunately for Albright and Berger, who were still trying to sell the idea that NATO’s presence — rather than Kosovo’s shrinking non-Albanian population — was responsible for the slow­down in ethnic violence, newspapers such as the London Independent were reporting:

“Trouble in Pristina comes fast, and almost always involves automatic weapons, organized crime, or ethnic hatred. Last Tuesday, two Serbian women in their twenties were strolling through the bustle of Mother Teresa Avenue, the city’s central thoroughfare. It was 9:30 p.m…Two gunmen opened fire on both women, hitting one in the chest and one in the legs. Totally ignored by Kosovo Albanians crowding down the street, they staggered bleeding into the arms of a British soldier. Their crime: being Serbs.”

The GDW, which compiles research from 80 countries, is regarded as Europe’s most authoritative monitor of the international drug trade…. The GDW bulletin identified Albanian nationalists in Kosovo and Macedonia as key players in the region’s accelerating drugs-for-arms traffic and noted that they were transporting up to $2 billion worth of heroin annually into Central and Western Europe “in order to finance large purchases of weapons” from black-market arms dealers in Switzerland. At the time the report was written, more than 500 Albanians from Kosovo and Macedonia were in prison in Switzerland for drug- or arms-trafficking offenses, and more than 1,000 others were under indictment.”

Over the next few years, police forces in at least three European countries discovered evidence that drug money was funding the KLA. In the Czech Republic, police tracked down a drug dealer from Kosovo who had escaped from a Norwegian prison where he was serving a 12-year sentence for heroin trading. A raid on the dealer’s apartment turned up documents linking him with arms purchases for the KLA. In Italy, a criminal court convicted an Albanian drug trafficker who admitted obtaining weapons from the Italian Mafia in exchange for illegal drugs. In Germany, federal police agents froze two bank accounts of the United Kosovo organi­zation when they uncovered deposits totaling several hundred thou­sand dollars from a convicted drug trafficker from Kosovo. By 1999, Western intelligence sources estimated that more than $250 million in illegal drug money had been funneled into the KLA, and an internal NATO report conceded:

Some funds from the drug trade…reportedly are being used to purchase weapons for the Kosovo insurgents…this activity is a significant source of income for the insurgency and other Albanian causes.

From “Terrorists” to Partners

On January 7, 1998, the KLA for the first time took responsibility for attacks outside Yugoslavia, admitting that it had bombed two police stations in Macedonia three days earlier. In a faxed statement, the group said its armed forces complied with orders issued by its chief of staff to begin attacks in “operational zone number 2.” Over the next several weeks the KLA began a killing spree, gunning down unarmed people, including a physical education teacher, a bar manager, and a forest ranger. It also conducted armed attacks on buildings housing the families of Serbian police in Kosovo. By February 23, U.S. special envoy to the Balkans Robert Gelbard had little difficulty in denouncing the KLA in the strongest possible terms. The KLA, he said, “is, without any questions, a terrorist group,” and “we condemn very strongly terrorist actions in Kosovo.”

Gelbard’s remarks came just five days before a KLA attack on Serbian police left two policemen and five KLA members dead. A few days later, Serbian police began a massive security sweep through central Kosovo that resulted in at least 20 deaths, including several civilians and four policemen. Concerned that Gelbard’s earlier remarks about the KLA were interpreted by the Milosevic regime as a “green light” to crack down on the KLA, the House Committee on International Relations asked him to clarify his views. Although the KLA has committed “terrorist acts,” Gelbard told the committee, it has “not been classified legally by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization.”

Over the course of the ensuing 12 months, Washington decided to embrace the KLA as a partner, and demanded that the Serbs meet in Rambouillet, France, to accept a peace plan with Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians…Albright told the KLA that it would be made the official police force of Kosovo under Washington’s proposed peace plan and be given training in the United States. “We want to develop closer and better ties with this organization,” explained deputy State Department spokesper­son James Foley…

The KLA, however, had ideas of its own…After Milosevic finally withdrew his forces from Kosovo in June, following 11 weeks of NATO bombing, the KLA swept across the province, organized its own provisional government, and set up a “Ministry of Public Order.” As quickly as NATO began deploying peacekeeping troops in Kosovo, the KLA began driving out the province’s Serbs and other non-Albanians, seizing property and businesses, extorting money, and intimidating moderate ethnic Albanians. Human Rights Watch, which for years had catalogued abuses committed by Serbian authorities in Kosovo, acknowledged the new reality in August 1999, noting “the most serious incidents of violence . .. have been carried out by the KLA.” “The frequency and severity of the abuses,” added the rights group, “make it incumbent upon the KLA leadership to take swift and decisive action to prevent them.”

KLA officials did no such thing. In fact, the abuses and killings continued, often committed by the “secret police” connected with the KLA’s so-called Ministry of Public Order. By December 1999, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe published a damning report that cataloged the human rights violations commit­ted in Kosovo since NATO peacekeepers had arrived five months earlier. Serbs and other non-Albanians, said the report, were the targets of “executions, abductions, torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, arbitrary arrests … house burnings, blockades restricting freedom of movement, discriminatory treatment in schools, hospitals, humanitarian aid distribution and other public services … and forced evictions from housing.” In many of the cases, the report added, “there are serious indications that the perpe­trators of [these] human rights violations are either members of the former KLA, people passing themselves off as members of the former KLA or members of other armed Albanian groups.”

The KLA was also implicated in efforts aimed at silencing moder­ate ethnic Albanians with a terror campaign of intimidation, kidnappings, beatings, bombings, and killings. In October 1999, Kosovapress, a news agency tied to the KLA, issued a veiled death threat to Veton Surroi, editor of the popular Albanian-language newspaper Koha Ditore, when he criticized the widespread violence directed at Serbs and other non-Albanians in Kosovo. Surroi was singled out for expressing the following view in an editorial:

“Today’s violence … is more than simply an emotional reac­tion. It is the organized and systematic intimidation of all Serbs simply because they are Serbs…. Such an attitude is fascist. It will dishonor us and our own recent suffering which, only a few months ago, was broadcast on television screens throughout the world. And it will dishonor the mem­ory of Kosovo’s Albanian victims….we are ourselves becoming per­secutors and have allowed the specter of fascism to reappear. Anybody who thinks that the violence will end once the last Serb has been driven out is living an illusion. The violence will simply be directed against other Albanians.”

Kosovapress’s response to Surroi’s editorial was immediate. In a strongly worded column, it warned that he risked “eventual and very understandable revenge,” claimed that “such criminals and enslaved minds should not have a place in the free Kosovo,” and accused him of having a “Slav stink” about him.”

As worrisome, the KLA was linked to attacks across Kosovo target­ing offices and members of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), a political party whose leader, Ibrahim Rugova, was Kosovo’s most popular politician before the war. LDK party activists who have survived severe [beat]ings have said their attackers claimed to be from the “true KLA” or the “Ministry of Order.” One victim who did not survive his attack was Haki Imeri, a schoolteacher who had recently been appointed a member of a local board of the LDK. He was abducted and killed on November 2, 1999. He was last seen entering a car licensed to an intelligence officer with the KLA. In another incident, Ismet Veliqi, a local LDK activist and schoolteacher, was abducted, beaten, shot, and left for dead on February 23, 2000. Veliqi said his assailants were ethnic Albanians who asked him during their attack, “Why do you still support Rugova?” At the time of his abduction, there were five “unofficial” KLA Ministry of Order police stations still operating in Pristina alone. On June 15, 2000, a moderate LDK politician, Halil Dreshaj, was shot and killed when two attackers forced their way into his home in the western Kosovo village of Nabrdje. The victim’s wife was quoted as saying the attackers wore uniforms with the red-and-black emblem of the Kosovo Liberation Army. Special Representative Kouchner, how­ever, blamed the murder on nonspecific “extremists” who “do not want us to succeed.”

The KLA “Demilitarizes”

According to Secretary of State Albright, Washington’s peace plan for Kosovo had three main elements: “the KLA would disarm, the Serbs would pull their forces out, and there would be an international force that would go in there to help implement it.”

But after Belgrade indicated it was willing to pull its forces out of Kosovo, Washington decided that disarmament was not what it really meant. Indeed, after Belgrade said it would capitulate, a reporter asked State Department spokesperson Rubin if the United States would “press for a complete disarmament of the KLA.” Rubin’s response: “The proper word here is ‘demilitarization.’ I’ll get you a copy of the Rambouillet accords, which describes demilitar­ization as envisaged in those accords…”

Under the demilitarization terms reached between NATO and the KLA, the KLA agreed officially to disband but would form the core of the new Kosovo Protection Corps, which would consist of 5,000 full-time and reserve personnel. According to the agreement, the KLA would turn in an unspecified number of weapons and fully demobilize by September 20,1999. The new KPC would then limit its activities to providing disaster relief, performing search and rescue, delivering humanitarian aid, assisting in demining the countryside, and contributing to the rebuilding of Kosovo’s infrastructure. “We believe the Kosovo Protection Corps will make a useful contribution to the restoration of peace and security for all the communities of Kosovo and its progress towards democracy,” said Secretary Albright in a prepared statement.

After the KLA turned in roughly 10,000 guns, many of them broken or antiquated, NATO declared the demilitarization a success and claimed the KLA no longer existed. “The Kosovo Liberation Army has demilitarized and has been transformed into the Kosovo Protection Corps,” claimed NATO’s supreme allied commander, Gen. Wesley Clark, before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Commit­tee. What Gen. Clark did not mention was that a few days before the KLA was supposed to finish demilitarizing, German KFOR sol­diers stumbled on a secret cache of 10 tons of ammunition.

When UNMIK held a ceremony to swear in some of the first members of the new Kosovo Protection Corps in early 2000, the event was opened with an address by an UNMIK official. In keeping with UNMIK’s claim that the KPC would be an organization of a multiethnic character, the official’s remarks were being translated into both Serbian and Albanian. In the middle of the UNMIK offi­cial’s speech, however, the new members of the KPC — all of whom were ethnic Albanian — disrupted the ceremony by walking out of the room in protest of the Serbian translation. KPC family members and other ethnic Albanians present at the ceremony greeted the action with applause. The KPC members returned to the ceremony only after they were assured the event would continue exclusively in Albanian…

Shortly after the KPC was outfitted and organized throughout Kosovo, Special Representative Kouchner invited journalists to inspect a KPC work group removing ice from the roads in Pristina…Outside the Clin­ton White House, however, few people bought [it], and by March 2000, analysts at the otherwise pro-nation building Interna­tional Crisis Group were reporting that… “Some parts of the old KLA operate openly and essentially as before; others have been transformed; some new elements have been added; and much remains underground.” Just two weeks earlier, UN authorities had warned that the KLA’s official successor, the KPC, was engaged in illegal activities and human rights abuses. More specifically, the UN human rights unit in Kosovo said in an internal report that several members of the KPC tortured or killed local citizens and illegally detained others, illegally attempted to conduct law enforcement activities, illegally forced local businesses to pay “liberation taxes,” and threatened UN police who attempted to intervene and stop the wrongdoing. UN officials also expressed concern about the fact that the KPC distrib­uted 15,000 uniforms despite being limited to a maximum strength of 5,000 members. Moreover, UN police and NATO soldiers voiced worries about seizing hundreds of forged and counterfeit KPC iden­tity cards from people claiming to be members of the organization. To date, Western taxpayers have contributed more than $10 million to the creation and maintenance of the KPC.

Still, advocates of nation building refused to admit that the KLA was responsible for any of the instability in Kosovo, and instead habitually blamed Belgrade for Kosovo’s postwar troubles. Writing in the Los Angeles Times in the summer of 2000, for example. Interna­tional Crisis Group consultant Susan Blaustein did not once mention the KLA and asserted that “allied nations have tolerated a porous border with Serbia … enabling Yugoslav President Slobodan Milo­sevic to pursue his destabilizing agenda in Kosovo.” The harsh reality, however, was and still is that NATO and UN officials find themselves not with a peacekeeping operation in Kosovo, but with a KLA management operation. Indeed, the popular Koha Ditore news­paper warns that KLA elements run “illegal businesses,” exploit “their position and the might of arms” for personal gain, “intrude on the privacy of certain individuals,” and are directly and indirectly “implicated in political developments.”

Although the Clinton administration insisted that the KLA met its requirements to demilitarize in 1999, the rebel organization never­theless has been able to foment an insurgency across the provincial border of Kosovo in Serbia’s predominantly ethnic Albanian Presevo Valley — which Albanian nationalists call “Eastern Kosovo.” In a disturbing replay of the strategy the KLA used from early 1998 until NATO commenced its bombing, ethnic Albanian guerrillas are attacking Serbian policemen and civilians — and ethnic Albanians loyal to Belgrade — in the hope of provoking Yugoslav authorities into a response that will incite the United States and NATO to resume their war with Yugoslavia. As a UN official in Kosovo explained, the guerrillas hope “that the Serbs will retaliate with excessive force against civilian populations and create a wave of outrage and pres­sure on KFOR to respond.”

In March 2000, the guerrillas promised U.S. diplomats that they would end their insurgency. “We’re happy they did it,” said one U.S. official. “We gave them a tough message, and they believed it.” …The rebel group, however, took no steps to live up to its pledge and announced the next day that it “has not ceased its activities” and that it will not stop until “Eastern Kosovo is liberated.” The guerrillas, moreover, continued to wear KLA-like uniforms, to conduct training exercises, and to cross back and forth across the neutral zone between U.S. forces in Kosovo and Yugoslav forces in Serbia proper. Though the leaders of the supposedly disbanded KLA insist they are not tied to the rebels, those killed in the Presevo Valley are buried in cemeteries reserved for KLA martyrs. Moreover, the “Homeland Calling Fund,” which was set up to raise money from the Albanian diaspora to fund the KLA, has been resurrected to fund the Presevo insurgents.

Notwithstanding those facts, Clinton administration officials downplayed KLA involvement in the violence. In fact, Secretary Albright praised the KLA for “having met its commitment to demo­bilize” and she stressed that a “spirit of tolerance and inter-ethnic cooperation” will take root in Kosovo as the province’s “democratic forces” come to power. America’s chief diplomat should have had a better grasp of Kosovo’s realities. The KLA and its supporters are committed to taking power in Kosovo and expanding its dominion, not to practicing multiethnic democracy.

Not all foreign officials were as gullible….Jiri Dienstbier, former Czech foreign minister turned UN special envoy for human rights, submitted a 53-page report to the UN Human Rights Commission in March 2000 [accusing] the leaders of the [KLA] of destabilizing the Presevo Valley with a view to creating a Greater Albania. Voicing similar concerns. Gen. Reinhardt, the former commander of KFOR, warned that tensions between Serbs and ethnic Albanians in the Presevo Valley could result in a new war. Like Dienstbier, Reinhardt also expressed skepti­cism that the rebels were dedicated to peace. “Frankly, when we see them training with mortars … I do not believe them.” Reinhardt’s concerns were underscored by same-day reports of a grenade attack on a Serbian police checkpoint on the other side of the Kosovo boundary. Other attacks followed, and by July 2000 fighting between the ethnic Albanian separatists and Yugoslav security forces intensified to the point that NATO forces could hear automatic gunfire and explosions coming from over the administrative border in Serbia proper. By the fall of 2000, the security situation in the Presevo Valley deteriorated even further as the number of ethnic Albanian guerrillas operating in the area reportedly tripled and the number of attacks on Serb policemen increased. In December, the rebels fired upon a joint American-Russian patrol, and in January 2001, a British patrol was attacked.

As troubling, ethnic Albanians from Kosovo and Albania, includ­ing KLA elements, are also involved in attempts to infiltrate and destabilize Macedonia. News reports, which began appearing as early as June 2000, highlighted the connection among organized smuggling rings, the KLA, and the political leadership in the ethnic Albanian area of western Macedonia. On June 20, 2000, two Macedo­nian border guards were shot near a crossing into Kosovo. The attack was attributed to ethnic Albanians who, beyond smuggling, were said to be forming the nucleus of a KLA-linked armed movement in Macedonia.” In a subsequent incident, four Macedonian border guards were kidnapped, allegedly to be exchanged for KLA activists who were being held in Macedonian prisons…By August 2000, NATO was relaying worrisome reports of paramilitary activity in western Macedonia, including a report that nearly 100 ethnic Albanians were conducting military exercises in the Sar Mountains, which straddle the border of Macedonia and Kosovo. On January 25, 2001, ethnic Albanian guerrillas attacked a Macedonian police station with automatic rifles and rocket launch­ers. A month later, they attacked a Macedonian police patrol near the border with Kosovo, drawing Macedonian army units into a firefight and forcing hundreds of civilians to flee. Fighting also broke out near Macedonia’s second largest city, Tetevo, when rebels entered border villages from Kosovo.

Belatedly awakening to the danger posed by the KLA’s cross-border activities, U.S. forces on March 16, 2000, raided arms caches and other logistical infrastructure used by the rebels to sustain its operations in the Presevo Valley. In mid-April peacekeeping troops in Kosovo arrested 12 ethnic Albanians on charges of illegal posses­sion of arms and other military materiel after the driver of a truck failed to stop when flagged down at a checkpoint. In the truck, peacekeepers found 80 anti-tank mines, 40 hand grenades, and large quantities of guns and ammunition. In May, American peacekeep­ers seized rifles, explosives, hand grenades, and other weapons in a search operation in the eastern village of Ugljare.

On June 17, 2000, NATO peacekeepers discovered the largest cache of illegal weapons in Kosovo to date. In two 30-foot by 10-foot concrete bunkers dug into a hillside in a forested area of central Kosovo, British troops found 67 tons of weapons and explosives, including 20,000 grenades, thousands of mines, and half a million bullets. A KFOR spokesperson said the weapons were enough “to eliminate the entire population of Pristina or destroy 900 to 1,000 tanks.” Brig. Gen. Richard Shirreff, commander of the British KFOR forces leading the operation, told reporters at the scene: “This represents a major weapons haul. It is almost certainly, entirely Albanian, all evidence we got here suggests that it is former KLA material” and the fact they did not divulge any information reflects “a degree of non-compliance” with NATO.

The former military head of the KLA, Agim Ceku, denied any link between the officially disbanded organization and the massive weapons stash. “With full confidence I can say the KLA did not possess these weapons during the war,” said Ceku, who now heads the Kosovo Protection Corps. The statement came as NATO troops announced the discovery of more bunkers containing arms. Ceku claimed the fact that the weapons were found just a half mile from his wartime headquarters was a “coincidence.” The KLA has “handed in all its weapons as required of them” he added. “There is no reason for it to take responsibility for weapons that might be found.” NATO officials, however, announced that documents found at the sites indicated the weapons had, in fact, belonged to the KLA.

In another worrisome incident, KFOR soldiers discovered a com­plex of bunkers and fighting positions only 12 miles from the Kosovo-Macedonia border. Without mentioning the KLA by name, a KFOR spokesperson speculated that the site was a training area “used by extremist elements,” adding that fresh tire tracks and footprints suggested that it was in recent use. KFOR units have since discovered several weapons stockpiles scattered throughout Kosovo. One included sniper rifles, machine guns, more man 80 mines, 100 pounds of TNT, and paraphernalia to detonate bombs remotely — “clear indications of a terrorist capability,” explained a prepared KFOR statement…

Notwithstanding such high-profile discoveries, NATO has been less than exhaustive in its efforts to root out illegal arms and end the cross-border activity. To do so would mean directly confronting the KLA and its supporters. That was something the Clinton admin­istration was loathe [sic] to do because it would have exposed the main flaw in its Kosovo policy. Indeed, had NATO personnel started dying at the hands of the very people the administration said the United States was out to help — a la Mogadishu — then it would have been forced to admit that its de facto partners had not actually given up on their wartime objective and that the peacekeeping operation was a sham. Rather than risk that, the Clinton administration pre­ferred to do as little as possible. Unfortunately, the KLA understood that priority as early as June 1999, and carried out its intolerant and militant activities without fear of serious resistance from the Clinton White House.

The legacy of the KLA has caused a multitude of problems inside Kosovo. For example, in March of 2000, Special Representative Kouchner announced that “private enterprise has restarted very well” in Kosovo. Yet almost everywhere business has restarted, violence and criminality have followed. Gerard Fischer, a senior UN mission economic official, notes that “extortion is a big problem” and he suspects that former KLA members are behind it. Similarly, the Boston Globe reports,

“Extortion is Kosovo’s most robust industry. Nearly every cafe, restaurant, and shop pays tribute. Most business owners simply shrug and pay the mobsters, some of them former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army who have morphed from freedom fighters into shakedown artists…. ‘There is no law here,’ said John Foreman, an Englishman who runs a bar in Pristina. Foreman said he has been threatened repeat­edly by former Kosovo Liberation Army members who are demanding that he pay them about $3,000 a month for the privilege of doing business. They have followed him home, telling him he is a dead man. They have stolen his generators four times. Foreman says his bar has been targeted because it is multiethnic. His staff and clientele are Albanian and Serb…. ‘This is the only multiethnic bar in Kosovo, and they can’t stand the fact that we’re open,’ he said.”

Former KLA members have also been implicated in efforts to collect illegal taxes and fees to fund their postwar activities. On the Kosovo-Macedonia border, for example, they reportedly forced 1,300 or so trucks passing each day to pay a “customs duty” of $20. The leaders of the former KLA deny that any such taxes have been collected. But documents seized by UNMIK police show that Kosovo businessmen have been ordered to pay similar fees and that elements of the former KLA have established an elaborate sliding scale of illegal taxes for cigarettes, alcohol, juices, coffee, and gasoline.

Even more disturbing, many former KLA members are reportedly involved in protection rackets, prostitution, corruption, and bribery. On January 6, 2000, UNMIK police raided the home of Gani Thaci, a brother of former KLA political leader Hashim Thaci. The police seized weapons and a suitcase containing $791,000 in cash. Hashim Thaci demanded — and quickly received — an apology from UNMIK. His brother was released without charge, and his money and weap­ons were returned. Part of the money was from a Canadian con­struction company working in Kosovo that had paid Gani Thaci for what the company euphemistically called his “intermediary ser­vices” in securing lucrative reconstruction contracts after the war.

In another incident, police specialists attached to KFOR’s multina­tional peacekeeping force raided more than 10 premises in and around the town of Djeneral Jankovic on Kosovo’s southern border with Macedonia, arresting 10 men and seizing cash and weapons. Among those arrested was Refki Sumen, a former KLA commander and a senior figure in the guerrilla force’s civilian successor, the Kosovo Protection Corps. “The arrests were carried out as part of an ongoing investigation into an organized crime gang operating in the border area,” explained a special police spokesperson. “We suspect the group to be involved in at least three homicides, extor­tion, and smuggling.”

International law enforcement authorities and drug experts also worry that former KLA members have not severed their ties with the narcotics underworld. Instead, they are now paying their patrons back with political favors and using their new profits to rebuild. “The new buildings, the better roads,” explains Michel Koutouzis of the Geopolitical Drug Watch, “these have been bought by drugs.” There are also indications that former senior KLA figures have pro­vided immunity for the criminal gangs or are directly involved in the postwar drug trade itself. Some analysts have warned that it could become difficult for international organizations to find former KLA members who “are not so tainted with criminality or other serious misbehavior as to be completely unacceptable.” One senior UN official has even lamented that the West might be creating “a narco-mafia style society” in Kosovo.

In addition to daily incidents of ethnic violence and criminality in Kosovo, many people have been left dead as a result of political rivalries between former KLA figures and their ongoing turf battles over lucrative racketeering rings and the economic spoils of war. Indeed, in the first weeks following the end of NATO’s air campaign, the New York Times reported,

“The senior commanders of the Kosovo Liberation Army . . . carried out assassinations, arrests, and purges within their ranks to thwart potential rivals, say current and former com­manders in the rebel army and some Western diplomats. The campaign, in which as many as half a dozen top rebel commanders were shot dead, was directed by Hashim Thaci and two of his lieutenants, Azem Syla and Xhavit Haliti, these officials said…. The charges of assassinations and purges were made in interviews with about a dozen former and current Kosovo Liberation Army officials, two of whom said they had witnessed executions of Mr. Thaci’s rivals; a former senior diplomat for the Albanian Government; a for­mer police official in the Albanian Government who worked with the rebel group, and several Western diplomats.”

On April 18, 2000, former KLA military leader turned KPC com­mander, Besim Mala, was shot in the head by a .357 Magnum and bled to death on the pavement outside a Pristina restaurant. Mala was killed in an internal gangland struggle over protection rackets. Three weeks later, former KLA commander Ekrem Rexha was gunned down outside his home in the southern Kosovo town of Prizren. A known moderate, Rexha was a Thaci opponent. “This could be the first of a series of political murders” as Kosovo gears up for October’s municipal elections, explained one UN official, adding that Rexha would have been voted Prizren’s mayor “for sure” if he ran for the office. In September, Skender Gashi, a KPC district commander and former KLA officer, was found murdered with both hands cut off…

…[T]he moderate Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) party encountered “a climate of intimidation and harassment.” In the months preceding the election, a Srbica-area LDK official was kidnapped from in front of his house and later found dead, and two aspiring LDK politicians were shot and wounded in separate attacks. On September 11, 2000, journalist Shefki Popova was shot dead seven miles from Srbica…

In the area of Prizren, former KLA commander Ramush Haradinaj was wounded in a shootout before the election. According to eyewit­nesses, Haradinaj and a group of KPC members initiated the incident by attacking a home about 1:00 a.m. with automatic weapons. Residents of the village said they suspected the attack was launched because many of them do not support Haradinaj’s party, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, but support the more moderate LDK. “He wants to win the election in Kosovo by force, by killing his rivals,” explained one villager. The following day, UNMIK police arrested two members of the KPC, two miles south of the shootout site. In protest of the arrests, several ethnic Albanians set up roadblocks in the area. The arrested men were later released after members of the KPC surrounded the UN police station where the two were being held and KPC chief Ceku intervened to negotiate their release.

British military personnel, who actually worked with Haradinaj before and during NATO’s air campaign against Yugoslavia, reported that he was a highly questionable figure. One British soldier even described him as “a psychopath” and said he terrorized his own men and the local population into unquestioning loyalty to him. “Someone would pass him some information and he would disappear for two hours. The end result would be several bodies in a ditch.” In contrast, Clinton administration officials, who were determined to keep up the appearance that their Kosovo policy was working, portrayed Haradinaj as a burgeoning democrat. U.S. military personnel removed forensic evidence from the scene of the Haradinaj gunfight — including bullets — even though the incident took place well outside the U.S. Army’s area of responsibility in Kosovo. In addition, Haradinaj was flown to Germany to be treated in a U.S. Army hospital for the wounds he received from the gunfight. During that time UN investigators were denied access to him.

Hashim Thaci…says the ouster of Slobodan Milosevic by the democratic opposition in Belgrade does not change anything in Kosovo. “Kosovo [will] never be a part of Serbia… whether it [is] a dictatorial or democratic Serbia,” he declares…[Albanians] have intentionally depopulated Kosovo of most of its non-Albanian popu­lations and are overtly and covertly resisting the UN’s effort to create a multiethnic democracy. What is more, most of Kosovo’s Albanians say they are still willing to fight for the province’s independence from Yugoslavia…

Though some analysts may claim the “Clinton administration deserves credit for having done several things right” in Kosovo, highlighting the obvious—that not everything has gone wrong—is not a compelling defense; it is a rhetorical diversion. The uncom­fortable truth is that Washington’s nation-building effort in Kosovo rests on a false peace; the KLA has not given up its wartime agenda and Kosovo’s limbo status perpetuates the competing fears of both ethnic Albanians and Serbs. There is not, in other words, a shared reason of state among Kosovo’s inhabitants…

As it turns out, where there is peace in Kosovo is where it is most unlike the Clinton administration’s intended vision for the province. And those ethnic Albanians who tend to be the most content with Kosovo’s current political limbo are those who are most certain that independence is just a question of time. For advocates of Clinton’s policy to then characterize such people and places as evidence of “progress” or a vindication of the previous administration’s efforts is intellectually dishonest.

In an extreme display of the basic incoherence of the Clinton administration’s Kosovo policy, NATO Secretary-General George Robertson warned ethnic Albanian leaders that continuing attacks against Serbs could lead the West to divide the province into sepa­rately administered sections. “Don’t underestimate our determina­tion,” Robertson said. “We are going to protect a multiethnic society here and we’ll do it if necessary by making sure the individual groups are protected in their homes and communities…. If it involves building walls round them, barbed wire round them, giving them the protection they need, then we will do it.” But separating pockets of non-Albanians with walls and barbed wire is not multiethnicity, it is ghettoization…

Obviously, Lord Robertson’s way did not win out, as our KLA masters have been informing us every step of the way as to how things would be panning out Kosovo, especially every time one of us got similarly confused. But the “multi-ethnic” rhetoric continues to this day. Never mind that, from the beginning, we had a vision of Kosovo’s future from the horse’s mouth, as Jared Israel reminded us in a 2000 commentary:

“He, like many KLA officers, says openly that he dreams of a Kosovo without Serbs.” (Description of KLA death squad commander “The Teacher”, Agence France Presse, August 19, 1999, quoted in The roots of Kosovo fascism by George Thompson.)

The “Fool’s Errands” excerpt above opened with quotes from three political personages:

“The Kosovo mission is a success. We are building modern democratic society.”
– Bernard Kouchner, Independent, June 13, 2000

“The United States of America and the Kosovo Liberation Army stand for the same human values and principles…Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values.” — Sen. Joseph Lieberman

“The KLA is without any questions, a terrorist group…”
– U.S. Ambassador Robert Gelbard

According to U.S. officials, then, the U.S. is a terrorist. With ties to organized crime, prostitution, drug-trafficking, organ-trafficking and human-trafficking. This reinvention, all over a seemingly (to Americans) insignificant and obscure place called Kosovo.

*****UPDATE*****
In my descriptions above — of the KPC that is “based on the National Guard” and is to be used as a model for these other newly “liberated” places — I forgot to include this short excerpt from a Sept. 21, 2002 Der Spiegel article quoting “former prime minister of the exiled Kosovars and [then] current chairman of the New Party for Kosovo, Bujar Bukoshi”:

“After the [1999] war the cruelest cleansings took place among the Albanians. Under the pretext that they were ‘Serbian collaborators’, [the KLA’s political opponents were liquidated by] the leaders of the KLA; old blood feuds were settled, and Albanian civilians were executed by the Albanians themselves.”

The number of the victims is estimated to be more than a thousand. The perpetrators or instigators were usually former senior KLA leaders; after the war they were integrated nearly without exception into the KLA successor organization, the civilian Kosovo Protection Corps.”

*****UPDATE*****
From a Feb. 22, 2002 interview by the Reality Macedonia website, with an UNMIK police officer, titled “UN And Other Organizations In Kosovo Harbor KLA Criminals” (”His identity is known to Reality Macedonia, but for his personal safety, it will stay unrevealed.”):

Reality: What is your opinion of KPC? Most of the members of KCP are ex-members of UCK. Did they fit well into the civil organization as KPC?

D.W.: TMK/KPC is the military arm of PDK. Thaqi, in my opinion, controls KPC. KPC is a very corrupt organization that has no interest in rebuilding Kosovo. Most of the members that I was familiar with were only interested in filling their pockets [with] money and carrying guns. My early experience with KPC involved evictions. KPC personnel were evicting Kosovar Albanian civilians from there homes so that the UCK “hero’s” could move in. Because KPC is composed of mainly former UCK members, in my opinion it is still a terrorist organization.

Reality: What is the connection of the KPC commander general, Agim Cheku, with crime gangs in Kosovo?

D.W.: I believe that Cheku is a major figure in organized crime in the Balkans. Unfortunately, I have no evidence to support my opinion.

Reality: There are rumours that Hashim Thaqi [or Thaci] is also involved in criminal activities in Kosovo. Can you add anything to that?

D.W.: Thaqi’s involvement in organized crime seems obvious, but again, there is no direct evidence. Thaqi’s position as a high ranking UCK officer would lead one to believe that he as intimate knowledge of the UCK’s activities before the war, including drug trafficking. It is also very obvious that opponents or enemies of PDK have been assassinated and such an order would come from Thaqi. I am embarrassed that my government recognizes this animal as a leader.

May I just say again: Good job, Free World. This is related to my previous posts about attacks on journalists in Albanian-ruled Kosovo, where Albanian journalists have themselves contrasted this “Newborn” Kosovo with the one from the days under Belgrade, when they could print what they wanted about the “evil Serbian regime” — without getting killed.

SEEMO Condemns Pressure against Journalists in Kosovo (Press Release, March 22)

Vienna, 21 March 2012 - The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), condemns the latest pressure against the reporters of the “Justice in Kosovo” TV program.

On 6 March 2012, the mayor of Prizren, a town 60 kilometers away from Pristina, Kosovo’s capital, allegedly threatened the TV crew of the program “Justice in Kosovo.” He reportedly said that he would break their camera if they did not leave the restaurant where the reporters tried to obtain an official declaration from the mayor.

“Justice in Kosovo” is transmitted on Kosovo public broadcaster Radio Television Kosovo (RTK) and deals with corruption, among other legal topics.

SEEMO has learned that the program team had long sought to interview the mayor, regarding the allegations about irregular financing of political parties and the apparent misuse of public tenders in the Municipality of Prizren. The mayor refused to meet the reporters. When they found him in a local restaurant and tried to record his views on camera, the mayor allegedly threatened the journalist, while his chief of protocol grabbed the reporter by the arm and tried to push him out of the restaurant.

“I urge Kosovo political authorities, especially on the local level, to abstain from pressuring media,” said SEEMO secretary general Oliver Vujovic.

The public has the right to know what their representatives are doing.”

Or the public might prefer to help threaten the journalists trying to tell them.

On SEEMO’s main page, I discovered the following story, which will send me to bed laughing:

SEEMO Supports Kosovo Journalists in Struggle to Change New Criminal Code (April 24)

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), is dismayed at recent changes in the Kosovo Penal Code, approved on April 20, 2012, in the Kosovo parliament.

According to the controversial articles 37 and 38, journalists will be held criminally liable if they do not reveal their sources. These changes, approved by MPs against the opinion of the Association of Professional Journalists of Kosovo and other civil society organizations, as well as against the advice of the Ministry of Justice, appear to benefit those accused of bribery or illicit activities.

One daily illustrated the situation: a journalist could end up in prison if he or she does not reveal a source that has denounced irregularities or bribes.

These legal changes still have to be signed off on by Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga.

“I urge the president not to sign off on these reforms of the criminal code, and to return the law to the parliament,” said SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic. “The new legal provisions violate freedom of expression standards and would make press work extremely dangerous. If Kosovo has opted to construct a democratic society, democratic principles have to be upheld. These amendments have to change and defamation and libel fully decriminalised.”

Yes, let’s see what President Jahjaga “decides.” (Hint: She has no room to decide anything, as she is a mere puppet of the documented criminals that make up the Kosovo government.) This would be the same President Jahjaga that just gave back-to-back Washington-organized propaganda tours around the U.S., to unanimous praise in puff pieces from The Washington Times, Huffington Post, Asbury Park Press The Daily Beast, Patriot Ledger, the student paper at Dartmouth College where she spoke several weeks ago, and others. It’s interesting that the Kill-the-Source legislation (not unlike Kosovo’s Kill-the-Witness justice system) was floated and approved in the first place, given that Kosovo isn’t supposed to make a move without Washington’s approval. Of course, we know that anything that helps Washington cover Kosovo’s tracks — including witness-intimidation, evidence removal/destruction, and investigation-prevention — is welcome indeed. Journalists and their sources aren’t excluded from the hit list. If Washington-Pristina keeps on like this, there will be as few living Albanians left in Kosovo as there are Serbs and Roma.

In the end, at least Kosovo Albanians will have learned the difference between real journalism, and the KLA propaganda they’d previously purveyed under that guise.

Kosovakbar!

“This is a dreadful crime but it’s very difficult to see how that could have been prevented.”
– Liberal Democrat MEP for South East England, Catherine Bearder

Since writing about the predictable, avoidable, savage beheading of 32-year-old restaurant manager Chris Varian in Thame, I’ve gotten some additional, frustrating details about the perpetrator from someone close to the case who prefers not to be named:

…After Chris was murdered in such a horrendous manner I did start doing some research on the net to try and find out just “who was this guy?” It was then that I started to come across articles about Albania, heroin, mafia, Switzerland, and when Interpol turned up his arrest in Switzerland in 1999 for pushing heroin, a connection with the Albanian mafia didn’t seem that far fetched given that one of the Albanian mafia bosses was also called Limani. It fell on deaf ears here though. The Internationality of this case has been a significant factor which the authorities here don’t seem too interested in following up. They just see a murder, got the man, got the weapon, did the forensics, so should get a conviction. To hell with the wider issues of why or even of possible broader connections. Anyway I found out nothing concrete about the guy.

The foreign angle did come up fairly quickly when prescribed drugs for treating a psychotic disorder were found in his room with the name of his Swedish psychiatrist. His defence then determined that the only viable partial defence to Murder was Manslaughter with Diminished Responsibility ie yes he did it but he was crazy at the time and not responsible for his actions. Contacting his Swedish psychiatrist yielded a 120 page report of a psychiatric history spanning 5 years in Sweden. Once that was found the psychiatrists had a field day and the prosecution had little hope of making a murder conviction stick. The perceived wisdom is that he’s a paranoid schizophrenic with probable underlying Antisocial Personality Disorder, although the latter seems just another way of saying that he’s Albanian. He’d check in and out of psychiatric clinics when it suited him and seemed often to be using them just like hotels. Woven into this psychiatric history were threads of a clever person working the system, but everyone ignored that.

For example after being arrested for pushing heroin in 1999 he was remanded for 4 months while the case was being prepared. Then he gets bailed but nobody knows by whom, and then he jumps bail and flees Switzerland presumably back to Kosovo. 2 years later in 2002 he turns up in Sweden asking for Asylum. We don’t know the basis of his asylum claim. But over the next 6 years he goes back to Kosovo/Albania 4 times, sometimes for a 2 week holiday and once for 2 months. Hardly the action of someone fleeing his country for fear of his life. Here’s a guy who doesn’t seem to work in a conventional job but he gets around. He marries a Swedish woman in Nov 2003 long enough to father a child. In March 2004 he goes back to Switzerland and gets arrested to serve the balance of the sentence he got for pushing heroin. Then, within days of returning to Sweden they agree to divorce. This 15 month marriage (of which 12 months was spent in a Swiss jail) even with his dodgy asylum claim was sufficient for him to be granted a Swedish passport in 2010 and the ability to travel all of Europe no questions asked.

Here’s a guy who was in UK for less than 3 weeks, had a 5 year ongoing psychiatric condition generally accepted as paranoid schizophrenia and getting more and more violent, culminating with an assault [in Sweden on 12 June 2010] where he grabbed the arresting officer’s gun, [10 days after being released from a 5 week stay at the psychiatric clinic]. After 2 days in remand he was released and just 30 days after that he had received a formal job offer from the Oxfordshire Golf Club in UK obtained for him by a Swedish employment agency. 3 days after that he breezes into his clinic and his psychiatrist gives him 3 months of drugs and wishes him well in England. All this after an allegedly psychotic assault. So he wastes no time changing countries when the going becomes unpleasant for him. I have to ask myself if this man is acting alone. My gut feeling is that we haven’t scratched the surface of this guy’s history yet.

The assault [in Sweden] coming so soon after his discharge from a significant stay in the clinic should have sent alarm bells ringing at the Swedish Police as well as with his psychiatrist. Here was one seriously dangerous crazy man on the loose.

To repeat the words of MEP Catherine Bearder: “This is a dreadful crime but it’s very difficult to see how that could have been prevented. It’s always easier after the fact.”

As I answered previously: No, actually this was a no-brainer before the fact. We had criminal, psychiatric, and of course geopolitical clues. But the political class, here and in Europe, doesn’t give a damn. It’s only the masses who are endangered by the messes our officials create — not theirs or their loved ones, who are insulated.

…or maybe I mean the opposite of that. But this cartoon — found by reader “Serbstvo” — says it all. Not sure if it’s from 1999, 2004 or another time; would love to know who created it:

Reading typical news items like the one excerpted below, every so often one is reminded that this is how it started in Yugoslavia too:

… It’s frightening at the moment she said France is the worst place in Europe to be a Muslim because the government is so against us. And if Nicolas Sarkozy is re-elected it can only get worse.

Supporters of Sarkozy who is battling for re-election claim that he is being tough on dangerous radicals and protecting France. His opponents point out that stirring up fear of Islamic fundamentalists is a very convenient way of appearing as a strong dynamic president.

A businessman, who also did not want to give his name, said: “The arrests of the Islamic radicals surely proves that there is something bad going on there. We do need our politicians to protect us and protect our values.”

So it is perhaps not surprising that many in France seem to welcome the tough measures Mr Sarkozy has been taking. Over the past fortnight, almost 30 suspected Islamic radicals have been arrested in a series of raids across the country. The arrests on Wednesday were carried out with an accompanying television crew, to the professed astonishment of opposition politician, Francois Bayrou.

Substitute the word “France” with the word “Yugoslavia” and you’re in the 1990s Balkans. I guess the West is going to have to bomb itself. Meanwhile, as Liz, who circulated this item put it: “Sarkozy supports Islamic fundamentalists in Kosovo and Bosnia but not in France?”

Indeed, in Kosovo the Yugoslav government had international film and TV crews accompany police on their raids too. It didn’t help that country, did it, Mr. Sarkozy? Just a word of warning.

Jihad Watch already carried the story last Friday, so I’m about a week late, but it’s hard to keep up with all these Albanian “not like that” terrorists. A follow-up to this jihadist from September. It’s gotten to the point that more and more of the MSM are deigning to report about terrorists even when they’re Albanian:

NY DAILY NEWS!!!

Brooklyn architect pleads guilty to aiding militants (Apr. 12)

A BROOKLYN architect pleaded guilty Thursday to providing material support to militant fighters he hoped to join in Pakistan.

Agron Hasbajrami did not have to admit he hoped to kill American troops under the deal his lawyers hammered out with the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s office.

Instead, Hasbajrami copped to conspiring with the militants to kill “people” overseas, said prosecutor Seth DuCharme.

Hasbajrami, 28, an Albanian national who lived in Bay Ridge, was arrested at Kennedy Airport carrying a one-way ticket to Turkey, a tent, boots and cold-weather gear. Previously he had sent about $1,000 to the militants overseas.

AP TOO!!! : Albanian man pleads guilty in NYC to terror charge

NEW YORK (AP) — An Albanian citizen living in Brooklyn has pleaded guilty to a terrorism charge in New York after admitting he tried to go to Pakistan to join a radical jihadist insurgent group.

Agron Hasbajrami (ah-GRAHN’ hahs-bah-ruh-MEE’) entered the plea Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn to trying to provide material support to terrorists.

(Before, they wouldn’t even let you pronounce “Albanian” or “Kosovan/Kosovar” if it came before the word “terrorist”; you were only allowed to pronounce the wordsformer Yugoslav“; then they tried Slavicizing a terrorist’s name so it wouldn’t sound too Albanian. But NOW they’re even teaching you how to pronounce the distinctly Albanian last name. I guess they figure we’re going to be seeing more and more of these kinds of names in the news, so — just like Americans are having to learn obscure Kosovo place names as one jihadi after another hails from there — the news people have decided it’s time to finally educate ourselves on the people whose war we fought 13 years ago.)

He faces up to 15 years in prison. He also has agreed to be deported.

Authorities say he sent more than $1,000 abroad to support terrorist activities in Pakistan and Afghanistan and communicated with someone in Pakistan who said he was a member of an armed group that had murdered American soldiers. Authorities also say he expressed a desire to die as a martyr.

Hasbajrami was arrested at Kennedy Airport last September, preparing to go to Pakistan.

NY POST!!! : B’klyn Jihadist Pleads Guilty

A Brooklyn architect admitted yesterday that he tried to travel overseas to join a bloodthirsty jihadist terror group in Pakistan.

Agron Hasbajrami, 28, an Albanian citizen legally residing in the United States, was lured away from his New York City architecture career after becoming radicalized on Internet Web sites preaching holy war.

“I tried to help a group of people who I believed were engaged in fighting in Pakistan,” he said.

Hasbajrami also said he “attempted to help the group by providing money and myself in support of their efforts.”

Hasbajrami, who was arrested at Kennedy Airport last September, pleaded guilty in Brooklyn federal court to one count of providing material support to terrorists. He now faces up to 15 years in prison, under the terms of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.

From an earlier NY Post story:

His defense attorney, Steve Zissou, declined to elaborate on why Hasbajrami became disenchanted with a promising architecture career in New York and decided instead to embrace an insurgency in southwest Asia.

Well, it’s harder to build buildings than to blow them up. And certainly I can understand his veering off his career path. I tend to lose focus myself, but that usually just leads me to a slot machine, not terrorism. Then again, I’m not Muslim.

Even The NEW YORK TIMES got in on the action, with its traditional Yoda-style elongation of a headline:

In Brooklyn, a Guilty Plea to Aiding Terror

The man, Agron Hasbajrami, an Albanian citizen who had been living legally in Brooklyn since 2008, was accused of sending more than $1,000 to a contact in Pakistan to finance terrorist activities before deciding to head overseas to become a member of a radical Islamist group. The group was not named in court documents.

Mr. Hasbajrami, 27, pleaded guilty before Judge John Gleeson in Federal District Court in Brooklyn to one count of attempting to provide material support to terrorists. He faces a maximum of 15 years in prison when he is sentenced on Sept. 14. He could have faced up to 60 years in prison if he had been convicted at a trial.

Under a plea agreement, three other counts of providing material support to terrorists were dropped. Mr. Hasbajrami also agreed to be deported after he serves his prison term.

Mr. Hasbajrami was arrested on Sept. 6 after arriving at Kennedy International Airport with a one-way ticket to Istanbul, where he planned to meet with people who would help him join the fighting, according to court documents. He had already obtained an Iranian visa, according to court documents, and was carrying a tent, boots and cold-weather gear.

Mr. Hasbajrami, according to the documents, had written in an e-mail to his contact that he wanted to “marry with the girls in paradise,” a common reference to dying as a martyr fighting jihad.

DOJ press release appears here.

We might as well take this opportunity to update ourselves on the Sherifi family, whose one son is in prison for being part of the North Carolina Eight arrested in 2009, and whose other son is now in jail awaiting trial for trying to kill the witnesses against his brother (i.e., for just being Albanian):

Judge nixes bond for NC man charged in plot to behead witnesses in brother’s terror trial (AP, Apr. 2)

RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal judge in North Carolina says an immigrant from Kosovo will stay behind bars until his trial on charges he tried to hire a hit man to behead witnesses in a terrorism trial.

U.S. District Court Judge Earl Britt decided Monday that 21-year-old Shkumbin Sherifi won’t be released on bond before his trial in November. The FBI says he plotted to kill the witnesses in his older brother’s trial.

Hysen Sherifi was sentenced to 45 years in prison for plotting to attack the U.S. Marine Corps base at Quantico, Va., and targets overseas.

Prosecutors feared Shkumbin Sherifi would flee to Kosovo, which doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the U.S.

I didn’t have anything marking this past March 24th, the 13th anniversary of America’s Greatest Crime. But I did notice the following item about March 24th of last year.

To make things up to Serbia on the 12th anniversary, we dragged Serbia’s face through our shit. This time by holding an “economic conference” March 23-24th in Baltimore, to which the “government” of the “republic” of Kosovo was invited. Thereby breaking another of what few, remaining, pathetic, futile conditions Serbia has tried to set in lieu of any compromises or quid pro quos on the Kosovo matter. (Namely, no Kosovo participation as a state in international conferences — the status of which we got an update on just last month: “Serbia and Kosovo reached a regional cooperation agreement that will permit Pristina to take part in conferences concerning the Balkans without Belgrade recognizing Kosovo’s independence for the time being. The agreement was one of the main conditions placed on Serbia by Brussels to become a candidate for EU admission.” This comes to us from an AFP item titled “Clinton Congratulates Serbia on EU Candidacy” i.e., ‘Congratulations on Getting Raped and Beaten by Us and Some of Your Own.’ Of course, as early as 2009 then EU president, Spain, had announced it would allow Kosovo participation at EU meetings.)

Anyway, our 12th anniversary gift to Serbia — that March 23-24 conference in Baltimore — was actually a triple insult, given that I grew up in Baltimore:

Serbia boycotts U.S.-Balkans Business Summit (Danas, Tanjug; March 14)

U.S. State Department official Thomas Countryman has stated that Belgrade is sending a wrong message by boycotting a conference.

The gathering is to be held between political leaders and businessmen of the Western Balkan countries and the current and potential partners from the U.S., and Serbia has opted not to participate [because] of attendance of Kosovo Albanian representatives.

MFA Political Director and leader of Belgrade’s team in Kosovo talks Borko Stefanović told B92 on Monday in Belgrade that the Baltimore meeting would have Hashim Thaci participate, with Kosovo represented as “the republic of Kosovo”.

Meanwhile, Belgrade-based daily Danas quotes Countryman as saying that the boycott puts politics before economy and diminishes what was once looked upon as sincere effort of Belgrade and Washington to build better economic relations. [SINCERE!]

He pointed out that boycotting the conference, as well as discouraging Serbian businessmen from participating in it together with several hundreds of businessmen and investors from the U.S. and the Western Balkans, is disappointing, not as a political issue, but rather as an economic issue at the time when the U.S. are trying to build economic and business ties with Serbia. [Read: economic blackmail. It’s Washington’s usual toward Serbia: professing friendship and relationship progress while stabbing.]

On behalf of the U.S. Administration, the government of the Federal State of Maryland will organize in Baltimore on March 23-24 a summit between the political leaders and business people from the Western Balkan countries and the current and potential partners from the U.S.

The newspaper writes that while the conference will be attended by many regional leaders,they will not include President Boris Tadić or Prime Minister Mirko Cvetković, “and the presence of other participants from Serbia is also very uncertain”.

The American hosts are disappointed, although not particularly surprised with Belgrade decision not to attend, since, in accordance with the Serbian authorities’ custom to boycott any international event the list of which includes the Kosovo representatives, the organizers of the Business Summit in Maryland were also made clear that they should not count on the participation on Serbia’s representatives in Baltimore, the paper writes.

Make this a quadruple insult, given that Washington — after the story broke in December 2010 about Thaci killing and de-organing Serbs — wasted no time in inviting the slaughterer to a conference, in equal standing to his slaughterees.

Maybe because they want EULEX to stop suppressing the bigger organ-trafficking story while pretending to enforce law, order, and justice with a politically easier case?

Canadian man testifies at Kosovo organ trafficking trial (AP, Nebi Qena, March 23)

A Canadian man testified Friday that he paid more than $100,000 to an Israeli citizen in 2008 to organize a kidney transplant in a Kosovo clinic allegedly used by an international organ trafficking network for dozens of illegal operations.

Raul Fain, 66, of Toronto, told a European Union-run panel of three judges that he sought foreign organ donors after doctors told him he could wait up to 12 years for such an operation in Canada.

Fain testified from Canada via a video link to the trial of seven Kosovars suspected of involvement in the criminal network.

Victims were promised up to about $20,000 while kidney recipients were required to pay as much as $135,000, according to [prosecutor] Ratel.

The case began with indictments in November 2010, and the trial began last year. It is providing a stark look at a crime network that allegedly organized organ transplants and included criminals from countries such as Kosovo, Moldova, Ukraine, Turkey, Russia and Israel.

Ratel said Fain’s testimony helped “crystalize issues that have been outstanding for some time.” He said Russian authorities were withholding evidence and access to crucial witnesses and at least three injured parties.

“These three persons have been located, identified and provided statements to investigative authorities within the Russian Federation,” Ratel said stressing that Russian authorities did not respond to requests for legal assistance from the EU rule of law mission in Kosovo.
“A lot is said and a lot written … All I have had through diplomatic channels has been definite silence,” Ratel said.

Russia does not recognize Kosovo’s secession from Serbia, and Russian authorities are calling for an independent inquiry into allegations raised in a 2008 book by former UN war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte that ethnic Albanian guerrillas killed Serb captives during the 1998-99 Kosovo war and sold their organs.

The claims led to Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty writing a report saying he has witness statements proving Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and other citizens who once served as rebel commanders in the Kosovo Liberation Army had run detention centres on Albania’s border with Kosovo where civilian captives, including Serbs, were killed and their organs sold on the black market during Kosovo’s war for independence from Serbia. […]

Of course, when Albanian or Kosovo authorities don’t cooperate with EULEX investigation, there is no complaining about, or highlighting of, that fact. The cases are simply dropped, and “not enough evidence” is claimed.

Thanks to Draga for sending this in:

Oric is threatening to reveal the truth about Srebrenica (Translation from Vesti Online, Apr. 3)

The Party for Democratic Action (SDA) in Bosnia Hercegovina fears that the wartime commander of the Muslim forces in Srebrenica, Naser Oric, will fulfill his threats and tell the truth about the sacrifices in Srebrenica, if he appears at the trial of Radovan Karadzic in The Hague.

According to “Press” Republika Srpska, Oric has on numerous occasions publicly threatened that he will reveal the real truth about Srebrenica, which he has sent to 17 addresses in the event that something happens to him.

The SDA fears that Oric, under pressure from the Hague Tribunal, as well as the investigation of him, which is still in process by the court for his crimes against the Serbs in Podrinje, may fulfill his threats and talk about the deals made by the Muslim authorities with the high international authorities before the Serbian occupation of the enclave in July 1995.

Political and intelligence sources together with Vasivoj Vidovic, lawyer of the Izetbegovic family and Oric’s defenders in the Hague, are doing everything to avoid the binding order of the Tribunal for the onetime Srebrenica master of life and death to once again find himself in the Hague courtroom.

Oric has communicated that he will not testify in the process against Karadzic and he views any call from the Hague a provocation and cynicism.

Naser Oric understands the risk of prosecuting Radovan Karadzic: that the truth will come out. He knows his testimony will serve the opposite of the desired result. To avoid being brought back before the Hague for any reason, that’s the card he is using. He knows it makes the international political class tremble, as two decades of diplomacy, state-building, and careers rest upon the fiction.

Admittedly, however, in this case it looks like the Albanian stabber was acting in self-defense. (His criminal history and gang-leader brother notwithstanding. And his having brandished a knife at his ex notwithstanding.)

Arrest in Staten Island ‘pee’ slay: Albanian thug is nailed near Chicago (DOUG AUER, March 21)

The reputed Albanian gangster wanted in the slaying of a Staten Island groom-to-be was busted yesterday in a Chicago suburb, law-enforcement sources said.

Redinel Dervishaj, 35, was holed up inside his aunt’s home in Palos Hills, a small community just southwest of the Windy City, when he was collared at 12:30 p.m., the sources said.

Dervishaj, whose brother is an international fugitive wanted for four murders in Albania, is expected to be extradited in a few days in connection with the stabbing death of Anthony Lacertosa, 27, outside the Espana restaurant in Staten Island’s Annadale section.

“It will be a case of whether it’s self-defense or manslaughter or murder, depending on what the evidence shows and what a grand jury decides,” said one source.

Another source said Dervishaj has fully confessed.

The stabbing occurred at 2 a.m. Saturday out of the range of an exterior security camera, but seconds later, Lacertosa is seen stumbling back into the lens’ view, clutching his chest and opening his jacket, sources said.

The deadly brawl began when Espana manager Ridi Zeneli and Dervishaj, who is believed to be an employee, arrived back at the restaurant in Dervishaj’s pickup to close up shop, sources said.

When they pulled into the restaurant’s driveway, they caught two members of Lacertosa’s entourage urinating on the front of the building, sources added.

“Words are exchanged, people start pushing and shoving, and soon more of Lacertosa’s crew pour out of the restaurant,” a source said.

About 12 people surrounded Zeneli and Dervishaj, who is missing a finger, and was “swinging his arms like a madman,” said a source.

“He’s going nuts. At some point, it appears he knocks a guy out,” the source added.

During the fracas, Dervishaj was tossed over the hood of a car parked on the street and landed on the ground, security tapes show.

He quickly bounced back up and retreated into his pickup, but couldn’t open the door and fled into a side entrance of the restaurant, where he allegedly grabbed the butcher’s blade and plunged it into Lacertosa’s torso, sources said.

Zeneli fetched his gun from inside, but he ran off when it jammed, sources said. He has not been charged with a crime.

Dervishaj was shot in 2007 in a gangland extortion attempt and was arrested in 2004 for menacing his then-wife with a knife, sources said. His brother, Plaurent, heads an Albanian gang.

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