Blair: I Know Nothing of KLA Organ Claims (Balkan Insight, Fatmir Aliu, June 19)

One of the most vocal supporters of NATO intervention in Kosovo in 1999, Britain’s Tony Blair says he heard nothing about organ harvesting by KLA rebels during the conflict with Serbia.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that during his time in office he heard nothing about organ harvesting allegations in relation to the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, during the Kosovo war.

“I never heard of organ harvesting and cannot comment on it,” Blair said in Pristina, when asked about the Council of Europe report in 2010.

This alleged that a criminal network linked to Hashim Thaci, now Kosovo’s Prime Minister, executed kidnapped civilians and sold their organs after the 1999 Kosovo war.

As Prime Minister of Britain, Blair was one of the most vocal supporters of NATO intervention in Kosovo in 1999…. [In which case, why is it surprising that he wouldn’t have heard anything about it?]

“I saw first hand what happened here and I did what I could with others to make things better,” he recalled. [Which means that all he can do is make things worse.]

Blair, who visited Kosovo on Monday, said the country had made progress since the end of the conflict, and deserved wider recognition.

“Kosovo is a fact. Even if some countries may be slow in recognizing it, Kosovo is a fact…” [It’s also, uh, f*cked.]

Blair was in Kosovo to launch two new programmes as part of his Faith Foundation’s work, and sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Kosovo’s government.

He also signed partnerships with Kosovo’s Public University and the American University of Kosovo, aimed at helping understanding of the role that religion plays in society.

Blair met local leaders, including the Foreign Minister, Enver Hoxhaj, and the EU Integration Minister, Vlora Citaku.

“We bow to you, with a great recognition for what you did for the freedom of Kosovo,” Hoxhaj said.

“We express our greatest gratitude to hundreds, thousands of British soldiers, who prevented our physical liquidation and contributed a lot for Kosovo,” he added. […]

The only reason to run an article like this is to cast doubt on the already long suppressed story of the KLA killing people for their organs. But why would anyone give weight to what a head of state did or didn’t hear about the picture on the ground? The KLA went to great lengths to conceal its operations. And it got help concealing it from the NATO and UN people who couldn’t afford this public relations disaster. So if the information wasn’t acted on and was contained, why does it mean anything that a head of state wasn’t made to know about it either? All the article does is reaffirm the blackout on entire grisly chapters of the most suppressed war story in recent memory.

Of course, the writer is Albanian Fatmir Aliu, whose motivations for his Albanian-shilling we just discussed a few days ago.

Anyway, having established this figurehead’s ignorance, we’re then supposed to listen to his opinion on the region with any weight? Moments after it’s been proved worthless? If anything, the article tips off even those who don’t know anything about the conflict that if Blair didn’t know much about the organ-harvesting funding the KLA, there’s a lot else he might not know about, and got wrong — including his judgment to get into that conflict.

Indeed, it appears Tony Blair isn’t much less air-headed than the actors who have portrayed him. And it seems that wars are utilized by politicians and journalists alike for their own glory –mere vehicles for their own careers, given how divorced, disinterested, and often bemused they are a few years later when confronted with subsequent revelations about the very conflict off which they got a Pulitzer or a place in history.

[A]n amazing scene I witnessed one night in the autumn of 1999 while watching CNN. The Clintons were in Kosovo…sitting and chatting with a refugee child. Television cameras were burring away, but then a print cameraman leaned down with his Nikon. Bill Clinton noticed him — I saw it. And at that point he moved his head close to the first lady’s, so that their heads touched as they looked soulfully, together, at the poor children. It was — there is no other phrase for it — cringe-making.

– Peggy Noonan, The Case Against Hillary Clinton

Politicians, like journalists, are egomaniacs, who search for a vehicle through which to leave their mark and attain prominence. This is why actors, singers and other artists are actually superior to politicians and journalists. They channel their egos into something creative, which doesn’t play with the world as if a chessboard, wreaking havoc and destruction in their wake. An egomaniac’s vehicle should always and only be the arts, not statecraft, religion or journalism.

Meanwhile, if the reaction of Kosovo officials over the past two years since the Council of Europe’s organ report came out sounds genuinely indignant and unknowing, recall this line from an article in the May-June 1999 issue of Foreign Affairs, by The NY Times’ Chris Hedges: KLA leaders are “given to secrecy, paranoia, and appalling mendacity when they feel it serves their interests, which is most of the time.”

One also notes that on the day of Blair’s arrival in Kosovo to sign a partnership between his Faith Foundation and the American University of Kosovo — June 18th — a typically strange Kosovo death was downgraded from homicide to suicide: The director of Kosovo’s privatization agency, who “was associated with several controversial deals…including the expropriation of land for a new campus for the American University in Kosovo,” seems to have stabbed himself 11 times:

Asanaj murder raises Kosovo questions
(June 14)

Kosovo privatisation head took own life - autopsy (Jun 18)

The head of Kosovo’s state privatisation agency mortally wounded himself by stabbing himself 11 times and was not murdered as initially thought, Kosovo and European Union justice officials said on Monday.

Dino Asanaj, 55, was found in his office on Thursday with stab wounds and was rushed to hospital, where he died hours later due to severe blood loss.

The autopsy report has been met with some scepticism in Kosovo media that a person could self-inflict so many wounds.

But a Western official close to the investigation told Reuters that there were no “defensive wounds” on Asanaj’s body of the kind that would be expected had he tried to protect himself from an attacker. [No chance he was restrained, is there? Especially given that the linked report (above) for some reason uses the plural term “unknown assailants.”]

Asanaj ran the Privatisation Agency of Kosovo, in charge of selling state-owned companies. He was also a successful businessman who built a new residential development of more than 100 luxury houses in the suburbs of the capital Pristina.