June 03rd 2011 12:50:22 PM
So check out what the fair town of Pittsburgh has in its midst:
Ingrid Burke is a former legal intern in the Kosovan prime minister’s office and worked as a polling station adviser during Kosovo’s elections in December 2010. She studies at the University of Pittsburgh school of law, Pittsburgh, USA.
David N Gibbs suggests that Nato’s 1999 aerial campaign in Serbia set an abysmal precedent for future humanitarian interventions, including the current intervention in Libya (A template for disaster, 22 March).
…Gibbs cites two comments — attributed to Britain’s former prime minister Tony Blair, and former defence secretary George Robertson — which appear to show they both viewed the Kosovo Liberation Army as a threat equal to or greater than that of Serb forces. This is entirely misleading.
Under Milosevic’s rule, fundamental rights were denied to Kosovo’s Albanians in an effort to secure power for the region’s Serbs.
Not getting your ass kicked on a daily basis is “power.”
The KLA emerged after Kosovo’s Albanians had endured forced unemployment and denial of the right to an education for nearly a decade. Its first public appearance came after Serbian police had killed a schoolteacher in 1997 because he taught Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian youth in their native language. Nato entered the picture only after images of massacres of ethnic Albanian civilians surfaced and after numerous diplomatic endeavours had failed.
What an excellent student she is. As an intern for the “Kosovar” government, naturally she got her “facts” direct from the KLA, and she took diligent notes — which she is now infecting an international readership with.
Her “schoolteacher” is Adem Jashari, the “schoolteacher” with an assault rifle — the guy who organized the first KLA out of his clan, and died in a siege by Serbian police.
The problem wasn’t that Jashari was teaching Albanian kids in Albanian; hell, they had an ENTIRE SCHOOL SYSTEM doing that, for DECADES (while Enver Hoxha in Albania proper had all the literate folks SHOT once he came to power, just so no one could challenge him). Albanians ran Kosovo for decades in Tito’s Yugoslavia; the problem was that Jashari was KILLING PEOPLE.
And about those images surfacing:
[German journalist Franz Josef] Hutsch was in Kosovo, as a journalist, from September 1998 until December 1999. He described the scene when he arrived in Kosovo as being tense but not violent. [As corroborated by OSCE observers as well.]
Hutsch made contacts in the KLA and said that he could be called an “embedded reporter” with the KLA.
He testified that the KLA’s tactics during the time of the “Milosevic-Holbrooke agreement” in late 1998 included staging hit-and-run attacks on Serb patrols designed to “force them into a trap and try to provoke an excessive reaction.”
The KLA also tried to lure the Serbs into attacking civilians in early 1999 so that the images could be shown during the talks taking place in Rambouillet, France, he added.
He said that the KLA took advantage of the cease-fire agreement. When the VJ went back into its barracks, the KLA took the opportunity to take more territory, Hutsch said.
Hutsch testified that the KLA was prone to staging events for public relations purposes. For example, he said that the KLA would force Albanian refugees to stay exposed to the elements out in the woods until reporters would come and see them, and that the KLA forced Albanian civilians to stay in combat areas to be used as human shields.
He testified that the KLA funded itself by trafficking drugs, and forcing women into prostitution. He said that drugs and women would be trafficked out of Kosovo by the same channels as weaponry was smuggled in.
So this is pretty simple to figure out: The little girl is defending the mobster she worked for (either Thaci or Haradinaj), and while loyalty is an admirable quality, one is left puzzled that this girl’s personal affinities for the criminal side supersede editorial considerations at The Guardian. And yet she persists:
Contrary to Gibbs’s contention that “after [the campaign ended] Nato forces in effect put the KLA in charge of Kosovo,” administrative control of Kosovo was handed over to the United Nations. No former KLA members gained power in any real sense until democratic elections were introduced several years later.
This reminds me how that National Guard duo of “information officers” corrected me for attributing certain acts to the KLA when — ohmygosh — it was formally disbanded. Ha ha ha ha ha ha!
Gee, when all the policing structures are removed from an area, who do you think has free run of the place? The KLA, and all the criminals using that affiliation as cover, did as they pleased; even as the formalized “Kosovo Protection Corps” they terrorized the place. I guess Ms. Burke might have missed that chapter since she was probably a fetus at the time. But it’s nice to know she’s trying to catch up by relying on the KLA’s version of events. Let’s help her out:
Eventually, KLA members were absorbed into the “Kosovo Protection Corps” (KPC), put on the UN payroll, and tasked with providing emergency response and rebuilding…However, the UN later reported that KPC members had acted as de facto police officers, torturing or killing local citizens, illegally detaining others, extorting “liberation taxes” from businesses, and threatening UN police who attempted to intervene.
More from the same article:
[UN human rights rep Jiri] Dienstbier reported that the province was left “without a legal system, ruled by illegal structures of the Kosovo Liberation Army and very often by competing mafias.”
In August 1999, Human Rights Watch estimated that more than 164,000 Serbs, Roma (or Gypsies), Ashkali, Croats, Muslim Slavs, and other minorities had been driven out of Kosovo during the wave of violence. That number later grew to an estimated 220,000 who fled Kosovo in fear for their lives. According to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), UNMIK (United Nations Interim Mission in Kosovo), KFOR (NATO’s Kosovo Force), and various human rights groups, entire villages were burned down and cities emptied of minorities. Thousands of buildings owned or related to minorities, including homes, churches, seminaries, and cemeteries, were burned, blown up, or otherwise vandalized. Knifings, bombings, abductions, murder, threats, and intimidation have been used to cleanse the province of any remaining minorities.
Reports by the OSCE—self-described as the world’s largest regional security agency—documented how minority groups became the targets of “executions, abductions, torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, arbitrary arrests…house burnings, blockades restricting freedom, discriminatory treatment in schools, hospitals, humanitarian aid distribution and other public services…and forced evictions from housing. [T]here 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.
Today, the property rights of minorities have disappeared as ethnic Albanians help themselves to what’s left of the former owners’ cars, homes, furnishings, and businesses. According to UNMIK’s Housing and Property Department, over 700,000 property units in Kosovo have been illegally occupied, along with an unknown number of businesses…
Moderate Albanians have been targeted as well, including those who had been content with Serbia’s rule or who enjoy socializing with Serbs. Political rivals have been assassinated and, in at least one case, dismembered.
Does little Ingrid think that all this happened because the UN was in charge?
Former Labour MP Alice Mahon “just about hit the nail on the head,” wrote the UK Spectator’s Tom Walker in “Kosovo Goes to Hell” in 2004, “when she said, ‘Kosovo is a monoethnic state run by the Mafia, with ethnic minorities living in guarded enclaves.’ …Saddest of all, perhaps, are the decent Albanians who have to sit by in silence. I would too; Kosovo is the sort of place where dissenters get sniffed out then snuffed out pretty quickly.”
In 2000, Benjamin Schwarz and Christopher Layne wrote the following in the Washington Post piece titled “We Were Suckers for the KLA“:
The war in the province itself never ended. Moreover, despite the presence of U.S. and NATO peacekeepers, once Yugoslav forces left Kosovo the KLA began a new campaign of terror, this time targeting the province’s Serbian and Gypsy populations. This campaign of ethnic cleansing continues unabated. Albright’s assertion March 8 in a speech in Prague that the KLA “disbanded” is a fiction. Politically, the KLA leadership constitutes the backbone of Kosovo’s de facto government. Militarily, it has merely gone underground; the continuing violence against the province’s remaining Serbs bears — according to NATO officers on the ground — the hallmarks of the KLA. Meanwhile, across the border from Kosovo in Serbia proper, the KLA — as part of its effort to carve out a greater Albania — is waging guerrilla war in the Presevo Valley region, which is populated largely by ethnic Albanians…Impartial observers recognize that in postwar Kosovo, the KLA has been the heavy. Until now, the United States and NATO have been hesitant to confront it, fearing — with good reason — the KLA will turn on them.
And from Chris Deliso’s The Coming Balkan Caliphate:
[After the bombing,] U.S. Military Police removed the old Yugoslav police dossiers compiled on Albanian criminals and paramilitaries, and handed them over to the KLA’s leaders. Evidence about the most dangerous men in Kosovo was thus destroyed, but not before the KLA could assassinate Albanian police informers and other “Yugoslav loyalists” named in the files. The KLA, and its criminal partners, it was tacitly understood, would not be touched. “[T]he deal was, you leave us alone, we leave you alone,” a former Swedish OSCE official in Kosovo sums up. “It had its benefits, mainly, that we were allowed to live.”
Does that sound like the UN was running the joint, Ingrid? The whole trouble was that NATO and UN couldn’t control the Albanians and therefore were stepping over dead Serbian and Roma bodies every morning. Talk about missing the point, little girl. If the KLA wasn’t running things, how could KLA men be stationed outside of Albanian businesses to make sure, for example, that the grocer didn’t sell any food to Serbs? Back to our student:
Gibbs says: “Another myth … is that bombing improved the human rights situation.” Yes, it is a known fact that the ethnic cleansing committed by Serb forces increased after the Nato campaign began. But it is also a fact that Nato’s intervention forced Milosevic to pull his forces from Kosovo after 78 days, hence preventing what then had seemed inevitable: the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo.
Try reading a single day’s transcript from the Hague, Sweetie. That institution reluctantly found that there was never any ridiculous Serbian plan or intention to cleanse the province of 90 percent of its population. Why is this chick still propagating 13-year-old “information”? Every war crime that any Serb defendant was ever convicted of by the ICTY was alleged without exception to have happened DURING — not before — the NATO bombing. Additionally, in all of the evidence related to ICTY trials of Serb defendants for war crimes in Kosovo, no military, political, or police official is on record in any of the transcripts, documents, or trial exhibits discussing or referring to any kind of a plan, policy, or conspiracy to terrorize, kill, or expel the Kosovo Albanian population. And here, from journalist Hutsch again: “He denied claims made by the indictment that in the spring of 1999 Serbian forces undertook an operation to force Albanians to leave Kosovo. The alleged plan, which the prosecution calls Operation Horseshoe, ‘was something invented by German Ministry of Defense’ Hutsch said.”
If Gibbs considers the Nato intervention a disaster, I wonder how he would classify the international community’s failures to act in Rwanda and Srebrenica. Had the world again failed to act, Kosovo would probably have become another stain on our collective conscience.
When Gibbs says “it is wrong to remember the Kosovo intervention as being inexpensive or of brief duration”, he’s correct. The long-term and financial costs of the international community’s investment in Kosovo have been high. But a valuable lesson can be learned here. As an international community, we are responsible for the protection of civilians in cases of genocide and ethnic cleansing. But we are not obliged to project our values and ideals on other nations in the state-building process.
Perhaps part of the reason Kosovo has proven so costly is because individual nations and donor organisations have allowed their own interests to take precedence over those of Kosovo’s people. And while some aid will be necessary for newly established nations, they should be trusted to carve out their own destiny.
Now she argues they ought to be “free to carve out their own destiny,” just like they carved out all those Serb livers, kidneys, and oh, a WHOLE PROVINCE perhaps? So what she’s saying is that we should have spent only enough money to help them win their piece of land and then left them to their own devices, to create whatever kind of state they’re inclined to, with no pressure to go in anything resembling a Westward direction, value-wise. Which, with a few exceptions and a few official pieces of paper with signatures, is exactly what we’ve done. She just wants even the pretense of and pressure toward Westernization removed.
That Pittsburgh law school really sucks if this is the best it can produce.
Over a decade late, Kosovo’s stewards are finally, if momentarily, being called out for the terrorists that they are, but this dingbat foot soldier takes exception even to that. They got everything they wanted and got political protection for all their crimes, and it’s still not enough — you shouldn’t even call them any names for doing what they’ve done and gotten away with. And this is coming from a Woman, no less a college student whose sense of justice and women’s and minorities’ rights are supposed to be in a constant state of being offended. Instead of constantly perceiving someone’s rights about to be infringed upon, this whore is defending a status quo of a criminal elite, chauvinistic male power structure (if female-trafficking can be called ‘chauvanism’) of hyper-capitalist gangsters. It’s as if she’s skipped the Marxist Samantha-Power-as-college-student-and-perpetually-outraged-journalist, and gone right to the Samantha Power of today, licensed to kill. She’ll go far in life.