May 03rd 2011 11:13:04 AM
UPDATE: Kahrs is closing his Serbtrade.no site, and so the Serbian Whitepaper on organized crime and terrorism in Kosovo mentioned below will redirect here and here, and the relevant links for his apology are now available here.
Recently, on the 12th anniversary of the inscrutable NATO bombing of Serbia and the ruination of my life, a Norwegian ex-NATO officer in Kosovo apologized to the Serbian people. His name is Kristian Kahrs and it appears he now works as an independent journalist. The message under his video reads as follows:
On March 24, 2011, 12 years after NATO went to war against Yugoslavia, I apologized to the Serbian people on national TV as a former NATO officer because we were not able to protect the minorities in Kosovo. This clip is from the main news on Radio Television Serbia (RTS).
The fact that he was actually a press officer makes this apology even a little more impressive, since military press officers are supposed to perpetuate any and all lies by the Command. (Remember these two press officers.) Unfortunately, however, even this noble soul remains under the outrageous pop impression that Milosevic actually tried to cleanse a province of 90% of its population — long disproved even at the Serb-hostile Hague. But who cares what actually comes out at the Hague once it gets its Serb.
A NATO officer apologizes
By Kristian Kahrs, former NATO officer
In 1999, my country Norway and the NATO alliance went to war against Yugoslavia, and in January 2000 the Norwegian government sent me to Kosovo as an army major to represent KFOR as a press officer.
Of course there were reasons for the NATO bombing, but I do not know one single country that would accept the Rambouillet Agreement. However, I cannot take responsibility for the bombing because I was not a part of NATO at that time.
Our job in KFOR, according to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and the Military Technical Agreement was to protect Serbs and non-Albanians from repercussions from the Albanians, but we failed, we failed miserably.
Under our watch, 250,000 Serbs and non-Albanians were ethnically cleansed from Kosovo. Of course I do not defend the ethnic cleansing of 800,000 Albanians during the NATO bombing, but the Yugoslav government, not NATO, was responsible for this. [Not, not, not, not, not and not. Who was cleansing whom? See “90 Serb villages cleansed before March 1999″]
In my view, we made two main errors in KFOR:
1. We should have enforced martial law from the first day we came to Kosovo on June 12. Then there would be no question that we were in charge. Anyone out after dark would be arrested and put in a camp with barbed wire around for a week or two, regardless if it was a Serb, Albanian or something else. We were too concerned about playing the role as liberators for the Albanians.
2. We were too cowardly when we allowed the Kosovo Liberation Army (UÇK) to transform into the Kosovo Protection Corps and later Kosovo Police Service in Аugust 1999. Thus, the criminal elements from UÇK were legitimized into the governing structures in Kosovo. [Not that Washington would have let KFOR do it any other way.] The Serbian government has outlined this very well in the Whitepaper on organized crime and terrorism in Kosovo and Metohija. Among officers in KFOR, there were many who didn’t like this, but we made this choice to protect our own forces from attack from the Albanian extremists.
And to hell with the Serbs. In other words, rather than deal with the Albanian extremists now, let’s organize, fortify, weaponize and legitimize them — so that they’ll be stronger against us in the future. BUT NOTICE MOST IMPORTANTLY in what he just said: The ‘threat population’ was clear and known to KFOR immediately: it was the Serbs’ “victims.”
Before I went to Kosovo, I quit my job to study the conditions in Kosovo, and I was therefore prepared for an area where Albanian organized crime was rampant. Still, I was not prepared for the realities on the ground, and while I was working in KFOR, I was not aware that we did not do our job.
That’s funny — because some of us were aware of it from all the way over here.
However, for a long time I have felt a sense of collective responsibility for not being able to protect Kosovo’s minorities. In September 2010, Norway sent back 70 Kosovo Serb refugees who had applied for political asylum. Norway recognized Kosovo as a separate state in 2008, and now I am ashamed that the Norwegian government is sending the Kosovo Serbs back to Belgrade. We created the refugee problem, and this is how we are dealing with it.
After I met Kosovo refugees in the refugee camp in Resnik close to Rakovica, Belgrade as a journalist, I also got a strong personal reaction. I am not talking about post-traumatic stress disorder, but I felt a sense of personal responsibility, and I cried. But my personal reaction can also be used for something good. I hope to raise a debate in Norway and other NATO countries about the heavy moral responsibility of going to war. Can I change something? I don’t know, but I will try.
OK, but can you make it specific to this particular war? You know, the war that no one wants to talk about except indirectly and in generalities? The most under-discussed war of the 20th Century? Can you maybe — for once, — finally raise some awareness about something called the Kosovo War, which I’ve been fruitlessly trying to do for 12 years now? You know, the West’s MOST RECENT and last pre-9/11 war?
As a former NATO officer, I would like to offer my apology to the Serbian people for not being able to protect the minorities in Kosovo.
Kristian Kahrs is a Norwegian journalist and business adviser, living and working in Belgrade, and he was serving in KFOR from January to July 2000.
The best way for Kahrs to apologize is to do something to raise public and media awareness that could finally expose what the policy-making establishment has been up to in that region, and the danger to all of us that these inside-out policies and the careerism that spawns them have unleashed. Expose to the public the fact that at the turn of the 20th Century the West allied itself with Nazis and jihadists. No need to look back to 1980s Afghanistan or WWII to study our “mistakes.”
Again, however, one can’t be entirely confident in Kahrs as a messenger, given his reply to a comment posted under his video:
I do not claim that the bombing was justified. It was not, and it did not come as a result of an UNSC resolution. What I say about the reasons for a bombing was the brutal [sic] security operation before the bombing started, but that was not a good enough reason to start the bombing. An increased presence of Kosovo Verification Mission would have been a better option, but I think Milošević also wanted the bombing to justify his ethnic cleansing.
Indeed, the KVM was saying that all was well; no need for a bombing. As for “I think Milosevic wanted the bombing” to retroactively justify the ethnic cleansing which, from the beginning, existed only in Western imaginations, former ICTY prosecutor Geoffrey Nice tried that one too. This is called by the same name as a Wayne Brady comedy show: “Just Making Shit Up.”
I dare say, living in Belgrade among so many Serbs and all their supposed “propaganda,” it’s interesting to me that no one has managed to set Kahrs straight about the “ethnic cleansing.” Of course, by now the Serbs believe it themselves.
At the bottom of the information screen under his video, Khars adds: “The Serbian government’s assessment of organized crime and terrorism in Kosovo and Metohija from September 2003 could also be a useful resource. I have made that available on Serbian whitepaper on organized crime in Kosovo.” Here it is, with my comments in brackets throughout:
Disclaimer and assessment of information
On this website, you can read the Serbian whitepaper Albanian Terrorism and Organized Crime in Kosovo-Metohija, published by the Serbian government in September 2003. The document is very thorough, and as far as I can assess, the information is mostly factual, even if it is only presenting the Serbian side. [Yet again! “Mostly factual” Serbian “propaganda” — the propaganda that keeps on checking out against reality.] However, I also think the Serbian government’s analysis of the Pan-Islamic factor is exaggerated. [One step forward and two steps back. Indeed, why see what’s coming until we’re all kneeling in mosques?]
When I first published this document in 2005, Western intelligence agencies struggled to gather correct information in Kosovo, the Serbian security services have very long and good experience in the region. [Good thing we dismantled their border controls and handed over all the relevant police documents to the KLA.] Western intelligence within UNMIK Police was weak, while the military intelligence capacity within KFOR was better. I have inside knowledge about KFOR because I served as a press officer in KFOR HQ from January to July 2000.
However, the turnover is quite high in the military intelligence agencies, and one of the major problems has been that the intelligence has not been sufficiently coordinated. In KFOR, there are different national intelligence cells from different countries, and sometimes their loyalty is with their respective countries and not KFOR. [Exactly the kind of non-cohesiveness the terrorists and criminals have counted on.] Furthermore, the Serbian services are not as dependent on translation as the international intelligence services. [Good thing we took over for them, huh! And what reliable translators/interpreters the Albanians make.]
When you are reading this document, you have to be aware that this document is totally one-sided, and in making this information available, it should not be read as support of Serbian crimes and policies against Kosovo Albanians in the 90s. [God forbid it should occur to anyone that those reputed “policies and crimes” were actually law enforcement, misrepresented as the former/embellished to seem like crimes.] In this document, all UCK (Kosovo Liberation Army) activity is described as terrorism, but all sides were guilty of terrorism during the conflict. [Because our governments told us so.] Therefore, there is no excuse for former Serbian strongman Slobodan Milošević when he attempted to ethnically cleanse the Albanian population from Kosovo in 1999. [Even though he didn’t. Is that the “terrorism” Kahrs is referring to?]
Although some of the UCK activity could be described as a liberation struggle against an oppressive Serbian regime [not any more oppressive to Albanians than to Serbs and others], I don’t believe in UCK as a liberation movement. [Maybe that’s because they were only ever a criminal network until we suggested that they pass themselves off as a “liberation movement.”] The Serbian whitepaper does an excellent job in outlining the criminal intentions of UCK and links to the top of Kosovo Albanian politics and institutions like the Kosovo Protection Corps (now transformed into the Kosovo Security Force) and Kosovo Police today. Organized crime is and will be a major problem for Kosovo in the future. [No, it’ll be a major problem for us — for the rest of the world. Kosovo is merely the headquarters that we subsidize.]
Another weakness of this paper is also that the information is old, but it would be very interesting to see what kind of intelligence Dick Marty possesses in his investigation of organ trafficking in Kosovo. He has been in close contact with Western intelligence services, and they have more updated information that the Serbian government provides here. Read the very interesting interview with Marty, Witness Safety Could Hamper Kosovo Organ Trafficking Investigation.
For more information about me, please take a look at my website at serbtrade.no, and any questions should be directed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kahrs’ YouTube channel is here.