As we know, Facebook is a place — nay, a world — where people make just a little more of themselves than what they really are. Where they’re something other, something greater, something better. Quite often, it’s also the epicenter of ‘Thou Dost Protest Too Much.’

Take one Facebook friend of a friend, who posts things like, “At least my kids know they have a mother who loves them more than anything else in this world.” This being a mother who, when the kids were just out of kindergarten, found a new love more exciting than their father, bringing on divorce and lost custody, and now makes the kids commute between states every month to see her. Sounds like there’s something she loved, or at least chose, over the kids.

Or how about another acquaintance who, every time her husband does something else stupid, takes to Facebook to reaffirm how happy she is to have found him, and professes her undying love.

Or take my dad, the dog lover. He’s always posting heart-warming doggy pictures and writing things like, “I’d have a hundred if I could.” This is a man who said that the deaf blue-eyed terrier I adopted doesn’t know how to behave and has strange eyes; who sent my mother’s adopted beagle mix to the shelter after two months because he couldn’t be bothered to keep an eye on the dog so it wouldn’t bite the furniture (”He has angry eyes, anyway.”); who more recently, when my mom said she wouldn’t mind getting one more dog, said, “I already have a dog, but do what you want since I won’t have anything to do with that dog”; and who randomly hurls insults at family but is prone to posting Rockwellian scenes of blissful family life.

On Facebook, you are what you’d like to be, and would like to be perceived as being. And so, if Kosovo is a country on Facebook, that probably means it’s not a country.

Then again, Facebook recognition could make it official, despite the social network’s protestations of modesty:

Kosovo Gets A Facebook ‘Like’ (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Nov. 20, 2013)

The world’s largest social network, Facebook, has finally listed Kosovo as its own country — more than five years after the breakaway territory proclaimed independence from Serbia and after more than 100 countries…have extended formal recognition.

…Kosovars who wanted to create or promote a Facebook account would now have the option of choosing “Kosovo” as their location. Until now most users simply had the option of “Serbia.”

Kosovo’s prime minister, Hashim Thaci, welcomed the move, saying that senior Facebook executives had informed him earlier in the week about the company’s decision…Kosovo’s minister for EU integration, Vlora Citaku, went even further in her enthusiasm, stating on her Twitter account that Facebook now “recognizes Kosovo as a state.” She included the hashtag #digitaldiplomacy with the tweet, underscoring the increasing importance that social-media websites have for smaller, emerging countries like Kosovo.

Facebook confirmed the move to RFE/RL, though was quick to tamp down any suggestion that Facebook had the power to “recognize” Kosovo (or indeed any other country)… “Companies have clearly no role to play in the formal recognition of countries as this is a matter for the international community to decide. We do try to ensure that our service meets the needs of our users….”

The move appeared to validate the activities of groups like DigitalKosovo and others who have tried to raise public awareness of the importance to the economy of being correctly identified by websites like Facebook (as well as other e-commerce sites like hotel-bookers, car-rental agencies, and internet retailers).

In addition to helping Kosovo, the move underscores the overwhelming — and sometimes uncomfortable — importance of Facebook with its approximately 1.2 billion monthly active users.

Facebook did not comment on what prompted it in this instance to identify Kosovo as a location, but clearly the move has vast implications — and not just for Kosovo’s relatively small user base. […]

Here’s what may have prompted it:

[A] Group of Facebook users recently launched an online campaign to gather signatures for the letter addressed to Mark Zuckerberg, founder and the owner, asking him to recognize Kosovo.

“Asking” appears to be a subjective term. I did a search to find this appeal, this ‘letter’ that surely must have been an effective piece of digital diplomacy and political sophistry to have achieved such swift and defined results. Here is what I found:

Kosovo is not Serbia Mark Zuckerberg: We want from Facebook to recognize Kosovo as an independent state

Luard Kullolli

Petition by

Luard Kullolli

clinton twp, MI

Kosovo is recognized the world over 100 countries and is an independent state, we regret that still qualifies facebook.com Kosovo as Serbian province. As every country in the world and Albanians in Kosovo have the right to be represented at Facebook.com them as citizens of Kosovo.

To:
Kosovo is not Serbia Mark Zuckerberg
We want from Facebook to recognize Kosovo as an independent state

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Indeed, the “letter,” and the “asking,” come across more like an order, to the extent they come across at all. This is the sort of thing that Facebook high-ups respond to? Meanwhile, do they have any clue that in a few years they’ll have to change the Kosovo designation again, from Kosovo to Kosova, the usurper pronunciation. (Already by 2010, the ‘Kosovo passport’ accepted by EU countries was marked “Republic of Kosova.”) Then, a few years later when the full Albanian jig is revealed, Facebook will have to change the designation yet again, to Albania, after the temporary ‘country’ merges with the fatherland then adds pieces of Macedonia, Montenegro, more Serbia, Greece and maybe Bulgaria.

Thank You, or Else. From “Europe’s Youngest State.” (So Young, it’s Not Even a State .)

The tone of the Albanian ‘request’ is reminiscent of something in a July email from Canadian military reporter Scott Taylor:

Just a heads up. The ‘Kosova’ Foreign Minister is in Ottawa today. He did an interview with my colleague at Embassy magazine and then demanded that he be allowed to see the copy before it goes to press. When she advised him that is not the magazine’s policy, he berated and verbally threatened her [raised voice, insults, menacing presence]. She was reduced to tears and very frightened! These guys are total thugs. And his reason for being in Ottawa? To thank Canada for recognizing ‘Kosova’ and all of our past support. Unbelievable.

The foreign minister was there also to get — as with all things Kosova — a little ahead of himself, and of his not-yet-country: to seek “Canada’s support for Kosovo’s eventual bid to join NATO.”

Ah, but this is all too inside-baseball for the blind leaders of the blind, the American media who give Kosovo’s thugs (’leaders’) carte blanche ink, without caring to know the nature of those they’re promoting in toe with the State Department. Huffington Post, for example, knew only to publish the minister’s seemingly humble thanks:

“Thank You, Canada!” From Europe’s Youngest State (Enver Hoxhaj, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kosovo, July 22, 2013)

On my official visit to Canada this week, I want to thank Canadians for all that you have done to support the sovereignty and security of the youngest state in Europe and a new member of the worldwide family of multi-ethnic democracies. [Or, at least, the illusion of such. See also “Young Albanians Reject Serb Friendship.”]

Shortly after Kosovo declared independence on February 17, 2008, Canada recognized Kosovo on March 18 [incidentally, the fourth anniversary of the 2004 pogroms against non-Albanians], and now our nations have full diplomatic relations. Earlier, Canada sent some 1,300 troops to NATO’s Kosovo Force peacekeeping mission, and 20 Canadians gave their lives in the former Yugoslavia. Additionally, Canada contributed $135-million in development assistance to Kosovo from 1992 through 2010.

Today, there are few if any excuses for countries not to recognize Kosovo’s statehood. We ask that they do so to cement our region’s Euro-Atlantic integration on a durable foundation of peace and democracy.

Thank you, Canada.

Facebook got the message, apparently, and laid some of that cement. As always, exceptions are made for Albanians and they get what they want. But really, what Jewish C.E.O. could resist an appeal from Michigan (that ‘letter’ from Luard Kullolli), where the ever so eloquent petition originated? Keffiyeh Central, with its Greater Dearborn headquarters of Hizbullah rallies that bring the Muslim community closer together. Particularly during Israel’s 60th birthday in 2008, the same year Muslim Kosovo declared its own birth (again). Which brings up an interesting inconsistency by Facebook: Unlike Kosovo, if one tries to fill in “Palestine” as the country option, that still doesn’t work. And yet, all things being relative, Palestinian terror has gone about achieving statehood over the decades far more ‘legitimately’ and patiently.

The Albanian-Jewish Paradox

A December follow-up on the Facebook recognition somewhat illuminated “what prompted” it, bringing little surprise to those who have been following the aftermath of the least discussed and least analyzed war in American history, the little war that happened just when Americans decided that what a president does in his private life doesn’t affect how he runs the country (or ruins others). And so, as ever, the name Eliot Engel popped up, the wide-smiling congressman whose job description is to please his dangerous constituency in the Bronx (links added):

Kosovo’s independence is Facebook-official (Boston Globe, Dec. 26, 2013)

The small Balkan country of Kosovo might not have a seat at the United Nations, but it has won recognition from an organization that may be more influential: Facebook…Facebook generally only lists UN-recognized countries, but a lobbying campaign by Kosovars and by New York Representative Eliot L. Engel, a steadfast supporter of the country, convinced Facebook to make the change.

Recognition by Facebook is just one entry on Kosovo’s wish list. The government also wants a slot in the ever-popular Eurovision song contest [especially after the dreaded Serbs won it on their first go] and the right to field an international soccer team. And who knows? In light of how Tonibler — an Albanian-language rendering of Tony Blair — has become a popular boys’ name in honor of the former British prime minister’s role in the NATO air strikes, it’s possible that the first Kosovar winner of the Eurovision song contest will be named after Mark Zuckerberg.

Or, perhaps, after Simon Wiesenthal. In a microcosm symptomatic of, and embodying all, the Kosovo dilemmas, contradictions, and historical blasphemies, a month ago the Simon Wiesenthal Center proudly announced: “Wiesenthal Centre Partners Yom HaShoah in Kosova.” The press release:

SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTRE - EUROPE
Tel. +33-147237637 - Fax: +33-147208401
E-mail: csweurope@gmail.com
For further information contact Shimon Samuels on 0033609770158

Pristina, Kosova, 28 April 2014

By invitation of the The Kosova-Israel Friendship Association - Dr. Haim Abravanel, and its President Leke Rezniqi, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre-Europe co-sponsored its 2014 Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Day) commemoration.

This followed an October 2013 visit by the Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels who stated:

“I travelled through Kosovo to meet with children and grandchildren of the rescuers of Jewish fugitives from the Nazis who were escaping from other regions of the ex-Yugoslavia”, adding, “I visited, with the KIFA, the mountain passes through which the refugees were taken to safety in neighboring Albania, where they survived the Holocaust”.

Samuels continued, “I was greatly moved by the story of ‘the 100 White Hats’ — the egg-shaped headgear worn by Kosovar peasantry — purchased by Leke’s grandfather, Arsilan Mustafa Rezniqi, to disguise the fleeing Jews.

For this, Arsilan was recognized by Yad Vashem as a ‘Righteous among the Nations’”[.]

The ceremony was held on 24 April and featured the opening of the exhibition: “Rescue of Jews in Kosovo during the Holocaust - Uncovering a Hidden Legacy”

Samuels stressed that “this exhibition sets a remarkable example by Muslim Kosovo to the Muslim world”, continuing, “the naming of your Kosovo-Israel Friendship Association for Dr. Haim Abravanel is testimony to our interdependent humanity. Leke’s Muslim grandfather who was his rescuer, was, in turn to be saved by this Jewish physician”.

The Centre congratulated KIFA for the essay contest it is launching in Kosovo’s schools and universities, in association with Verbe et Lumiere — Vigilance — on “The Holocaust and Jews in Kosovo”.

“These initiatives have brought together three heroic figures who overcame ethnic and religious boundaries to care for ‘the other’: Arsilan Mustafa Rezniqi, Dr. Haim Abravanel and Simon Wiesenthal. May they be our guides through the dark passages of contemporary hate”, concluded Samuels.

So much for that.

Apparently, there’s a lesson that organized Jewry still hasn’t learned. A monster who favors Jews is still a monster. He’s just more interesting than most. Put another way, just because someone likes or saves Jews, it doesn’t mean he gets to kill Serbs. Therein lies the Albanian-Jewish contradiction. If one cares to notice it. The Wiesenthal people can be assured that if it were Jewish lands that neighboring Albanians were after, they’d redefine the word anti-Semitism.

One might also care to notice that, for all the de-Jewifying of the Holocaust lesson, diluted to general messages of “tolerance” and applied to every aggrieved group, here is one case where the application would actually serve, given the very direct Jewish-Serb Holocaust connection. But sure enough, here one finds the aggrieved group’s case being callously ignored and even quashed.

Meanwhile, the blatant historical perversion of such high-minded blather as “overcoming ethnic and religious boundaries to care for ‘the other’” almost goes without saying. The sentence is being uttered, after all, in a state founded on ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic cleansing, and murderous racism of ‘the other’, morphing into a current state of apartheid. In March 2004, National Review deigned to publish the fact that “A pogrom started in Europe on Wednesday. A U.N. official is quoted as saying that ‘Kristallnacht is under way in Kosovo.’ Serbs are being murdered and their 800-year-old churches are aflame…[T]oo many of Kosovo’s Albanians have shown that all the speeches about democracy and multi-ethnicity…are false.”

It’s also really something to see Simon Wiesenthal Center using the terro-Fascist pronunciation “Kosova.” Then again, who ever heard of Jewish escapees from the Nazis being described as “fugitives”?

Pogrom of the Dead

The Wiesenthal-’Kosova’ partnership ceremony came just two days after one of those ‘responsible’ and ‘mature’ officials — as we’re constantly assured Kosovo’s governorship is — threatened to demolish an Orthodox church going up in Pristina (and to turn it into a “war crimes museum” in memory of Albanians); it came a week before the Kosovo prime minister himself called the church a “Milosevic monument,” a tag used for 15 years now to cleanse everything non-Albanian; it came days before a (supposedlydismantled‘) KLA commander announced to a local TV station his intention to destroy the UNESCO-listed Decani Monastery, which was built in 1327 and which sheltered Albanian women and children during the 1999 war, and which last year was forced to shut its doors (despite our NATO’s “protection”), as Albanian terror celebrated five years of independence by trying to take land that churches are “occupying” (the plan being to then hijack the landmarks asKosovo history” so as to remove evidence that anyone predated Albanians there) — and by smashing or desecrating any Serbian headstones still standing, this time ostensibly because a monument to Serb-killers was disallowed in Serbia proper. Just some scenes from what Reuters saw as “signs of a thaw with Serbia as Kosovo turns five“:

This is all without mentioning the KLA (”UCK”) graffiti that was going up on Decani’s walls in April while the Wiesenthal people were en route back to Israel and Los Angeles.

The Judeo-Albanian lovey-doveys capped a month that opened with continued unlawful seizure of monastic land by Albanians, this time near Orahovac, another town that has been almost entirely cleansed of Serbs (with early help from the UN, OSCE and KFOR, which “supported the KLA’s violence most openly, on the principles that ‘every Serb is a war criminal’ and that anyone has the right to accuse, try and sentence a Serb,” as the otherwise Serb-unfriendly Humanitarian Law Center laid out in February 2000). Orahovac became a sort of “barbed wire-enclosed concentration camp for Serbs,” whose “freedom of movement was limited to a circumference of 500 meters,” outside of which they needed an armed KFOR escort, even for ambulances. The monastic land seizure there in April involved the Saints Cosmas and Damian Monastery, which is being threatened by local Albanians while it undergoes restoration after being blown up in 1999 and its flock driven out. (What we in the West called — and still call — ethnic cleansing of Albanians.)

The previous month, amid graffiti reading “The only good Serb is a dead Serb” on the Church of the Dormition in Djakovica (which had been burned to its foundations during the March 2004 anti-Serb riots and where four elderly nuns are what remain of the Serbian community), a group of Serbs was prevented by Kosovo police from visiting the convent and a nearby graveyard on the Saturday of the Reposed; and on Orthodox Christmas Eve this past January, “Albanians held mass rallies in front of the convent, stoning two buses of Serb pilgrims, preventing them from visiting the convent and preventing the sisters from attending a Divine Liturgy on Christmas.

After creating this environment for Christians, the American embassy had the courtesy to post the following advisory this Easter:

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Pristina (Kosovo), Easter Holidays

The upcoming Easter holidays are of particular religious significance for Catholic and Orthodox Christian communities, and it is expected that their places of religious worship will likely be significantly more crowded than normal. Given occasional threats against religious institutions in Kosovo, particularly the more prominent churches located in urban centers, the U.S. Embassy would like to remind all U.S. citizens in Kosovo to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the Kosovo Police.

Funny thing, Easter was never a dangerous time in the Yugoslav region under communism; the West has really outdone everyone, not least of all when we bombed right through that “religiously significant” Easter, both in ‘99 and ‘95. We take only Ramadan off from that sort of thing.

Someone Please Fire the Incompetent Minister of Genocide

Jewish Albanian-appreciation is complicated further by the glaring Serbo-Israeli parallels that are swept under the rug: Everything that Albanians have done to the Serbs successfully — including the image war that turned the world against them — has been right out of the Palestinian playbook, as blogger Pamela Geller recently nailed it. Particularly nasty is the similarity wherein Palestinians are trying to achieve a Jew-free Middle East while claiming ethnic cleansing and genocide — and while growing in population.

Likewise, the ever-growing Albanian population shouted ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘genocide’ in pursuit of a Serb-free Kosovo.

U.S.-NATO Alliance with Extremists and Fascists Spawns Vicious Web of Deceit

“Kosova” is founded on torture, slaughter and remnants of WWII Fascism. It is with the architects of such a ’state’ that Simon Wiesenthal Center and too many other Jewish organizations and institutions are bonding — while the remnants of a people whose Jerusalem this was are under siege. Never mind the additional fact that the besieged belong to a nation that was first to endorse the Balfour Declaration, breaking the icy international silence and referring to “Israel” 30 years before the name was adopted. And never mind the words of Israeli ambassador Yossi Levi last year upon the 14th anniversary of the NATO bombing: “We Jews will never forget the incredible human and heroic role of many Serbs who saved Jews during the Holocaust…[T]he Serbs provided arms to the Jews…and were often killed together in the same pits.”

Similarly, Serbia provided one of the first loans to America, whose independence it recognized as fast as America recognized against Serbia’s sovereignty in 2008. Washington may be too deep in a moral abyss as regards these people, but Jerusalem and those who love it are not.


Albanian Nazi slaying a Serb Orthodox priest in Devic, Kosovo in WWII


1944. The Kosovo-Albanian SS Skanderbeg division, which rounded up Kosovo Jews later killed at Bergen-Belsen


Karl-Gustav Sauberzweig, commander of the Nazi SS Division Handzar in Bosnia. He is shown wearing the Albanerfez, or national Albanian skull cap made by the SS for the [300] Nazi Albanian Kosovar Muslims in the division.


Xhafer Deva…interior minister of the Nazi-created Greater Albania…helped form [Skanderbeg].


Troops of the fascist Balli Kombetar (’balists’), a volunteer Kosovo Albanian Nazi organization formed in 1939


Balists murdering Serb civilians in the road, 1941.


The Balli Kombetar (also spelled Bali i Kombetar) insignia on a Pristina wall in 2006.


Gjon Marka Gjoni, the fascist leader of the Albanian Roman Catholics, whose followers were in the Skanderbeg SS Division.


Kosovar Albanian Skanderbeg Nazi SS Division on the move in Kosovo, 1944.


Kosovar Albanian political leaders with German and Italian occupation officials.

And the images below are from the 80s. Like WWII, the 80s came before the 90s, the decade that supposedly caused all the Serbs’ ills:


Serbian gravestones destroyed…in Srbica in 1985.


Kosovo Serbs flee en masse from Kosovo, June 20, 1986.

But hey, the perpetrators of all this have nothing against Jews (historically and for now). Congratulations, Wiesenthal folks. What a ringing endorsement.

They’re not entirely out of order, of course. Between killing Serbs in WWII, Albanians did save Jews. (Though not the Jews of Kosovo).

But Pope Pius XII also saved Jews. And yet the Jewish community repeatedly has asked the Vatican to hold off on canonization until more information could be learned, for a fuller picture of Pius’s role during WWII. Why isn’t the same analysis required for the full “Kosovar” story, and the same prudence exercised? As ever, the Albanians get a pass on their hasty path to the next prize.

It goes without saying that the Alba-Judeo humanity fest did not end with an appeal to the victorious-but-still-punching Albanians that they put into practice the ideals they were being honored for demonstrating in WWII, by showing the pummeled Serbs even a fraction of the non-barbaric side they once showed Jews.

And it goes without saying that the 2013 Facebook recognition, which on November 20th came just in time for Albania’s independence day of November 28th, was bestowed with nary a raised eyebrow over the way that year opened: with a pogrom of the dead that was kept out of the presses, their bones scattered in honor of Kosovo’s fifth anniversary. As with the “letter” to Zuckerberg itself, primitiveness gets rewarded.

Now to determine if Kosovo statehood is to be celebrated on February 17th, when it immaculately self-birthed in 2008; on November 28th, as ‘Kosvoars’ have been celebrating Albania’s holiday all along; or on November 20th, when the Albanians’ latest Jewish sucker made the unilateral declaration “official.”

And you thought Facebook was a dangerous place before.

APPEAL

The May rains in Serbia and Bosnia poured for days before there was any coverage of the floods in the West, prompting tennis star Novak Djokovic to implore media to raise awareness, and to accuse CNN and BBC of “virtually ignoring a ‘total catastrophe of biblical proportions’,” as The Guardian deigned to report five days in. He added, “Half the country is in danger of not having any electricity, there is total immobilisation, evacuations…I see that on CNN, the BBC and other big networks there is a lot about the miners in Turkey, and so forth. This is another disaster, but there is no broadcast [about] Serbia and Bosnia, nothing about the biggest floods that we have ever seen, that maybe Europe has ever seen. This is incredible. I just hope that people can find [some] common sense and broadcast this….We need help.” (Djokovic pledged his $750,000 Rome Masters prize to aid, and is asking everyone to help through his foundation.)

Three days into the flooding, Canada’s Globe and Mail finally started reporting (though the government hasn’t issued so much as a press release or any aid, a pattern among Western governments, prompting a petition that leaders speak publicly about the events, and one that they send aid). Another three days later, Reuters relented and reported that Russia and the EU were helping, the latter somewhat reluctantly at first: “The European Union has been half-hearted, even cold, asserting its bullying posture over admitting Serbia to the club but indifferent to its times of need. In the words of Svetlana Maksovic, writing for the Serbian monthly Geopolitika, “many Serbian people are upset by the…lack of reaction…especially after EU Foreign Policy Head Catherine Ashton did nothing more than send her condolences.” And while a massive Macedonian charity drive collected $165,000 just over the first weekend after the flood, U.S. ambassador Michael Kirby offered $100,000 from the embassy, after first lecturing Serbia about gay rights. Pretty pathetic, considering we didn’t help rebuild after the NATO-assisted terrorism against a country that, unlike some under the Marshall Plan and more recent examples in the Middle East, did not declare war or attack us first.

Such a natural disaster and state of emergency occurring anywhere else in the world would be headline news, and every American celebrity would be doing a telethon (on that point, thank god for Billy Idol and Russell Crowe; Angelina Jolie also pitched in). However, since the floods happened where Serbs live, and humanity had sympathy for them surgically removed, only Russia took notice in the early days, sending food, water, rescuers, boats and diving equipment. Only once landslides started dislodging landmines, it appears the wrathful flooding was finally newsworthy. That, and the sappy stories they realized they could write about former belligerents — Serbs, Bosnian Muslims, Croats, and Abanians — reaching out to help one another, something that UNLV professor Dr. Michael Pravica wrote about from a more intimate perspective in his Pravda.com op-ed this week, adding a few other important observations from his visit to the region:

Doctors, nurses, and other aid workers from a variety of [Slavic] nations were working in Hotel Slavija, rushing to and fro….and I found very few (if any) citizens from Western nations. [M]y government (USA) gave next to nothing in aid…and neither did Canada (roughly $30,000 CAD). In two days of fundraising, Serbian-Americans in Las Vegas collected some $50,000, to give some comparison….[T]he West and NATO squandered billions of dollars illegally arming combatants…and illegally bombing Serbia, [under the guise of] “humanitarian concern” …This demonstrates that the “humanitarian” intervention in the former Yugoslavia then was really political and regime-changing in nature…and that Western governments could[n’t] care less about helping these peoples when they really need it unless there is something in it for Western leaders.

(Note that he wrote “Western leaders,” not “Western countries,” for which there is no national interest in the “help” we’ve been raining on the Balkans.)

Americans shouldn’t let Russia be the only good guy in the region yet again, and should help the victims even if they’re the politically incorrect Orthodox Christians and not, for example, our kindred Muslims (sarc). Though to be sure, Muslims were affected, with the AP reporting that almost a third of Bosnia “resembled a huge muddy, lake,” so there’s at least hope for that region, the only one that NY Times seems to be mentioning. As Nebojsa Malic wrote me, “I get the ‘Serbs aren’t people, so their suffering can’t be human interest’ mentality of the Western press, but Muslims have died and lost property in the flooding too.” As for the Serb part of Bosnia, consider that it’s Israel’s best friend in the Balkans, and Israel has been delivering aid to Serbia. The region has not seen such a catastrophe since the last time we “helped” it, in 1999.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (incidentally which in 2012 also made the usual unusual move of accepting Kosovo membership despite its not being a country) so far estimated the damage at $4 billion. Here is a list of needed items, and here are additional instructions. British-Serb publication “eBritic” also has a helpful Flood Issue and update, this weekend adding a Red Cross SMS number at this full directory of how to help. Three other donation sites, with the last two being most reliable are http://brussels.mfa.gov.rs/cir/, International Orthodox Christian Charities in Baltimore (already on the ground), and lifeline.org. There are also the good people at the Serbian diaspora organization 28June, whose efforts can be helped via PayPal at 28jun.org@gmail.com. And this accidental Serbia-lover on Huffington Post recommends this site.


25-year-old Kosovo refugee Slobodan “Jumbo” Nedeljkovic, who lost his entire family in 1999 and is now looking for his wife and two-year-old son, has been on the front lines of flood rescue

Albanians, meanwhile, demonstrated the depth of their humanity:


While Albania sent five search and rescue units (to Bosnia), and Pristina took the opportunity to help Serbia, giving the appearance of good faith as it seals the Kosovo deal this year, Albanian fans of Kosovo’s Drenica football club went to a recent Sunday match with Pristina.


And fans at a basketball match in Pristina.


Shefqet Krasniqi, imam of Pristina’s Grand Mosque: “What is happening in Serbia is undoubtedly God’s punishment for all the…injustice against the Albanian people. NATO stopped but did not condemn Serbia for all the crimes and genocide against the innocent population in Kosovo. I am sorry for the children who got born after 1999 because they have the least guilt.”


SMS 1003, http://t.co/EqIhQfxkK3, serb.in/my, #SerbiaFloods, #SerbiaNeedsHelp

…than it’s deservedly treated to yet another hallmark of all things Kosovo-involved (that is, in addition to bribery for entry):

Kosovo national team cause a stir by posing with guns before first ever international fixture (The Independent, March 7, 2014)


Kosovo fired a blank against Haiti in their 0-0 draw but a picture of them holding handguns at a shooting range has caused quite a stir in neighbouring Serbia

Kosovo created a moment of history this week when they took part in their first ever international football match, having been approved by Fifa as a recognised nation.

They drew the match against Haiti 0-0, but having had their first taste of the international stage, they’ll be gunning for their first victory in their next match.

However, a picture that has emerged of a selection of players posing at a shooting range before the game has caused quite a stir, with reports that an image of them holding guns has gone viral in neighbouring country Serbia.

At a time of great political uncertainty and with eyes in Belgrade looking on, the timing of the picture isn’t the greatest. Saying that, when is the best time to pose with handguns? […]

Another hallmark of Kosovo scandals: It only really causes a stir in Serbia. No one else cares that, for America’s Albanian clients, guns are an appendage that forms in the womb. No one cares, as long as those guns are used only against Serbs and other locals.

Now, on the point of having been “approved by Fifa as a recognized nation,” that was presaged as early as 2012 (’2018 World Cup stadiums approved, Kosovo in‘), so it was — as with all approvals for Kosovo — just a matter of conditioning the Serb side to the next set of reneged-on conditions. That is, the boiling Serbian frog scenario:

Kosovo national team approved for play (Vienna Review, June 17, 2012)

After prolonged reluctance, FIFA approved the participation of the Kosovo national football team in friendly matches with its 208 member countries, but then suspended its decision due to protest from the Serbian Federation.

Behind closed doors at the annual FIFA Congress, held in May in Budapest, President Sepp Blatter announced the initial decision after a vote in which one federation, UEFA, voted against the move.

In a statement on its website, FIFA had announced: “the Executive Committee has given its approval for FIFA member associations to play friendly matches with the Football Federation of Kosovo in accordance with Art. 79 of the FIFA statues.” Article 79 stipulates that non-members of FIFA such as Kosovo may play against members only with the approval of FIFA.

On 25 May, at the end of the week-long Congress, FIFA reversed their decision, announcing that officials from UEFA and Serbia would convene in Zurich on 29 June to clarify the decision on paper.

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke told the AP, “it’s not recognition of Kosovo as a country, but it’s recognition that it’s a country where you play football.”

How do you like that one? It’s not a country, it’s just a country where you play football.

Oh, and the match last month just had to be played in Mitrovica:

Kosovo To Play First Recognised International Football Match (Isportstimes, March 4, 2014, By Shea Robinson)

Kosovo is only recognised by 23 of the 28 countries in the EU but will play their first FIFA-sanctioned match on Wednesday.

Kosovo will play in their first ever FIFA approved match against Haiti in a game that signals the end of a long and arduous battle to gain recognition in the world of football and the beginning of a new era for the sovereign state. The fixture will be played in the small mining town of Mitrovica, within view of Serbian homes and an area that has a NATO peacekeeping force of over 5,000.

The Kosovo national football team was finally recognised by FIFA in January when Sepp Blatter announced they would be allowed to play international friendlies. However, there were several strings attached - there will be no national anthems, no flags, no national signs or symbols and no matches against any of the other former Yugoslav nations.

[For now.]

…The bigger picture for Kosovo is the hope they will be granted full UEFA and FIFA membership in the future which will allow them to compete in World Cup and European Championships Qualifying. [Bank on it.] Interestingly, if this becomes a reality there will be a whole new set of FIFA rules under review.

[As usual, making over the world for Albanians.]

Kosovo has produced a large talent pool who have gone on to play for Switzerland, Albania and other recognised countries due to their families leaving their homeland. Players such as Bayern Munich’s Xherdan Shaqiri and Napoli’s Valon Behrami will be going to the World Cup with Switzerland but are eligible to play for Kosovo. FIFA will need to determine if these players would be allowed to represent Kosovo if they choose to.

This match is the first step on the road to much bigger things for this football loving nation and the passion is summed up perfectly by striker Albert Bunjaku, who represented Switzerland at the World Cup in 2010 but will play for Kosovo on Wednesday, “We want to send a signal to UEFA and FIFA that we have a right to be part of the football family. We haven’t played a game in two years, but I want everyone to remember: This game will be when Kosovo start on their road to the World Cup after over 25 years of isolation”, he said.

As I’ve asked before, what other group gets talk of all these international memberships before it’s even a country?

As Kosovo is increasingly legitimized through various memberships, those governing bodies should prepare themselves for more and more Albanian “shocks” (recall this one from September). But, as with all things Alban, it’ll all eventually be greeted with a shrug, and the world will — as ever — come to see things the Albanian way, instead of the other way around.

I last had an update on the Muslino/Sparabic phenomenon last July. But I could have included this revealing article, which I’d missed that April. Note the first sentence. It should be harder to paint me as “anti-Catholic” when I say Catholicism is a good stepping stone to Islam and, conversely, that it’s good for weening someone off of Islam. That is, Catholicism is a gateway drug when one is heading in the wrong direction, and methadone for when one is heading in the right one:

Mexico becoming more Muslim, one person at a time (April 5, 2013, By BC & Agencies)

Gathering from different countries at the sleepy beach of Tijuana, a growing number of the city’s population are becoming Muslims, finding Islamic values close to the country’s Catholic traditions.

“The Catholic emphasis on family and family values meshes a lot with Islam,” Dr. Khaleel Mohammed, a professor of Islamic and religious studies at San Diego State University, told KPBS network on Thursday, March 28.

“The difference, however, is that whereas many Catholics see the Roman Catholic values being eroded in the United States in particular, a lot of them are seeing in Islam a difference in that there are more Muslims trying to stick to the traditional Islamic values than leave them aside,” Mohammed added.

This is another way of saying what I’ve said myself: that as Christianity is undefended and banished by Western countries, only one religion sweeps in to fill the void. Of course, in the context of Catholicism specifically, this reveals that Islam is a definite draw for people who are used to being part of something that dominates.

Enjoying a welcoming atmosphere from Tijuana people, the Muslim population was growing steadily in the small city, with people coming from India, Costa Rica, the Middle East, Mexico and the United States.

At the city, Muslims have established a new Masjid al-Islam mosque to give the estimated 200 practicing Muslims in Baja California a place to worship.

This mosque is one of two new Islamic centers within a mile of one another, both of which have opened within the past three years.

According to WhyIslam’s 2012 annual report, 19 percent of the some 3,000 converts it assisted in 2011 were Latinos, and more than half of those (55 percent) were women. [See Islamabimbos.]

The 2011 US Mosque Survey, which interviewed leaders at 524 mosques across the country, found the number of new female converts to Islam had increased 8 percent since 2000.

Of that number, Latinos accounted for 12 percent of all new converts in the United States in 2011.

“It changed my life, you know,” Amir Carr, a native Californian, and a convert to Islam, told Fronteras Desk.

Carr, a tall man wearing glasses and a taqiyyah, or prayer cap, sits in a wheelchair across from his wife, Na’eema, who is wearing a loose blouse and a head scarf.

“I was a — a street kid, you know. I got put in this wheelchair for hanging out and hanging out with gangs and stuff like this, and I got shot.” [See ‘Why call it crime when you can call it relgion’]

When he got out of prison in California, his wife Na’eema, a Mexican national, was deported.

“They pulled us over for speeding, and they deported her within about an hour. It was so quick that you just couldn’t even believe it,” Carr says, shaking his head.

Coming to live in Playas, Tijuana, he was introduced for the first time to Islam, which changed his life for good.

“And for the first time I sat down in my life and listened, and when I listened to Islam…” Carr said. [Because badasses have respect for bigger badasses, so he listened.]

Same as Carr, the life of Samuel Cortes, another convert, changed when he came to live in the sleepy beach city of Tijuana.

Growing up Glendale, on the outskirts of Los Angeles, Cortes was a longtime gang member who was deported after spending time in prison for aggravated assault.

“But for the time being, I’m just mostly concentrated on my daughter, Islam, and work.”

Coming to Tijuana either by choice or no, many Muslims ended up staying in Mexico rather than trying to get back into the United States.

“When we open a masjid here they don’t even blink,” Carr said.

They look with curiosity and they ask, but for sure they don’t march. I mean, for sure nothing negative comes out of them.

“They just accept it as they would accept anybody else.”

They’re Mexican. What few observations they make, they make with a shrug.

A translation of a Serbian TV report from yesterday (original here), thanks to Nebojsa Malic, president of the Reiss Institute:

First Balkans Suicide Bomber (Radio Television Serbia, April 2)

Blerim Heta of Urosevac is the first Balkans suicide bomber. Heta blew himself up in Baghdad a week ago, killing 52. Before going to Iraq, Heta worked at Camp Bondsteel.

The investigation into the March 25 suicide bombing in Baghdad revealed that the perpetrator was Kosovo Albanian Blerim Heta of Urosevac, who called his family a day earlier and told them he would “meet Allah” soon.

Heta’s death was confirmed by his family. Kosovo authorities have not commented on the case.

The news of Heta’s suicide attack was confirmed by the website of “Islamic State of Iraq and Shem” (ISIS), an organization tied to Al-Qaeda. ISIS refers to Heta as “Abu Habbab al-Kosowi”.

This is the first documented case of someone from the Balkans engaging in a suicide bombing attack. There were several unconfirmed reports of suicide bombers of Bosnian origin during the Iraq War.

Heta’s family believed Blerim was fighting somewhere in Syria.

“After everything that happened, I don’t want to hear about faith.” said Heta’s father, Remzi. “My son was seduced. We are a family that shares European values, not extremists.”

The family claims that, prior to going to Iraq, Blerim attended sermons by Shefqet Krasniqi in Kosovo, as well as Bekir Halimi eid-Omar in Macedonia.

Yes, of course, like most Albanians — as we keep hearing ad nauseum — this one too was of a secular, “Europe-facing” orientation. So were the Albanian Fort Dix plotters, so was Arid Uka, who in 2011 shot five American servicemen in Frankfurt, and so were the other Albanians getting in on the jihad action. It’s interesting that Heta’s family thought their secular son was off fighting in Syria. (Though to be fair, they may have already been shaking their head on that count.)

So, we’ve got another one who was seduced — as The Weakly Standard’s long-resident Balkans shill, Stephen Suleyman Ahmad Schwartz, protests is the case for Albanians joining the jihad. “Nothing exceptional to see here,” we’re constantly told, “Albanians and Bosnians are like everyone else — susceptible to indoctrination.”

I believe it. But the point is, you know who wasn’t susceptible to Islamic indoctrination? The Orthodox Christians we bombed on the susceptibles’ behalf. Giving exactly this trend a leg up.

Now, on to the most interesting detail of all. The bomber worked at (drum roll) our Camp Bondsteel, which if I recall my previous research correctly, is the second-largest from-scratch U.S. military base since Vietnam, and the largest in Europe. Still nothing to see here, Folks? Kosovo — still obscure and insignificant? Even as its logical conclusion comes crashing down around us as we mark the 15th anniversary of that “successful” “humanitarian” war? (The crashing is a reference not only to Crimea and this bomber, but Georgia 2008 as well as all the secession movements on the table, not to mention a host of other complications, repercussions and reverberations discussed at length.)

What timing. March 25th. Fifteen years almost to the date (March 24th) of our coming to his rescue from those uncivilized Serbs. Maybe he too was marking our ’success.’

As Nebojsa Malic points out, Bondsteel is situated just outside Urosevac (or, as we call it by its Albanian-usurpation name, Ferizaj), where the bomber is from. The TV report didn’t tell us whom he killed, or in what capacity Heta worked at Bondsteel. Maybe as one of those helpful Albanian translators? The RTS broadcast also didn’t tell us when he worked there, Malic continues, and whether he was fired and then turned to jihad, or whether he was already a jihadist when hired.

“Or was he recruited there to go to Syria?” Malic asks. After all, fighting alongside the rebels would mean he’s fighting on “our” side, wouldn’t it, as in Kosovo and Bosnia.

Again, that’s Camp Bondsteel, where few Serbs are hired, it’s been explained to us, for fear of infiltration. The Serbs were the designated enemy, after all, as opposed to a potentially real enemy, whom we welcomed with open arms.

Once again, that’s Camp Bondsteel, named for Vietnam soldier and Medal of Honor recipient James Bondsteel. Which, in another cosmic twist of Balkans irony, sounds a lot like James Bond, a character based on the Serb who infiltrated the Germans and tried to warn us about Pearl Harbor.

(It would be more appropriate if the camp were named after the mugger/rapist James Bondsteel who once killed his roommate, given that the leader we installed in Kosovo reputedly did the same.)

Now, although this is the first confirmed successful suicide bomber from the Balkans, it’s not the first would-be Balkans suicide bomber, as an Albanian in an explosive vest had been arrested in Kosovo in 2009, on the one-year anniversary of U.S.-bestowed independence from Serbia. And who can forget Mirsad Bektasevic, whom police subdued “as he assembled a suicide vest attached to a detonator” the same year. That’s after the previous time he was arrested and a raid on his Sarajevo apartment “turned up suicide vests, exploding bullets, rifles and a machine gun, to be used on the British embassy,” to quote myself from November 2009.

Heta’s anti-Christian imam Shefqet Krasniqi, meanwhile, has been mentioned here previously, and the Macedonian one here, here, and here.

To close, this may be a good time to check in on Sami Osmakac, or more accurately Osmankaj, the would-be Tampa Bay bomber of 2012 and fellow “Kosovar”:

New details emerge in case of alleged plot to destroy Tampa Bay bridges, attack sheriff’s facility (Tampa Bay Times, March 13)

Sami Osmakac thought four or five people in a fishing boat would be enough to take down several Tampa Bay bridges, according to federal court documents filed Wednesday.

An attack on the bridges would leave people terrified and bring the area to a halt for at least a month, he told an undercover agent.

The August 2013 report from Evan Kohlmann, a private international terrorism consultant, is based on evidence provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

He thought he could take down at least five bridges with help from five people in a fishing boat, though he said “nobody wants to do it” and considered using a cell phone to detonate explosives, the report said.

Osmakac also wanted to assault a sheriff’s operations center in Ybor City and kidnap people from the building, the report said. He had a desire to attack “army people” but said “their bases are so locked up, I have to, I have to do something else.”

He talked about plans to bomb a South Tampa bar and shoot first responders, the report said. He showed the agent some planned targets, saying he had seen videos of preachers who “insulted God and the Prophet” while working near nightclubs on busy nights.

Osmakac planned to take hostages to exchange for imprisoned jihadist leaders, the report said. He vowed to shoot a hostage every 30 minutes unless the jihadists were released.

Osmakac, 27, a Kosovo native and naturalized U.S. citizen from Pinellas Park, was charged in January 2012 with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. The investigation began in 2011 when an informer told the FBI that Osmakac had been shopping for flags representing al-Qaida. The informer introduced Osmakac to an undercover FBI agent posing as someone who could provide weapons.

And another report:

Osmakac considered several terrorism options, court documents say (Tampa Tribune, March 13)

Sami Osmakac toyed with the idea of blowing up the bridges crossing Tampa Bay or detonating bombs at the sheriff’s office and police departments before settling on a plan to plant explosives in Tampa’s Hyde Park party district and then spraying first responders with automatic gunfire, according to recently released court documents.

The planned January 2012 attack, Osmakac said in a “martyrdom video,” would be “payback for Sheikh Osama Bin Laden, may he rest in peace. ”

The plots are detailed in a 37-page report by a terrorism expert hired by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa to help in its case against Osmakac, a self-described jihadist who said he was too radical even for Hamas and other fringe Muslim groups.

In one recording Osmakac says: “My dream was always here. It’s better for, to get it, for them to get it here … ‘cause that’s why America loves to go to war with people, ‘cause they think nobody can attack them in their country. That’s why they’re so shocked about the Muslims. Because they brought it here … ”

Osmakac discussed a plan to use fishing boats to plant bombs on the bridges that span Tampa Bay and even one bridge in Sarasota. All he needed, he said was five people, maybe fewer, to carry out the plot.

“They’ll really be terrified,” he told the confidential informant. “Just take down the bridges, they can’t do nothing for a month. Nobody’s going to work, that’s gonna stop like three million people. They gonna be stopped…”

This is always reassuring. One supposes it was always the logical conclusion of Western media coverage of Kosovo. I’m sure he won’t be biased or anything. Note the year he was picked up by AP.

AP names news director for east-central Europe (The Associated Press, Feb. 7, 2014)

LONDON (AP) — Fisnik Abrashi, an Associated Press correspondent and editor who covered wars and their aftermath on three continents, has been appointed all-formats news director for central and eastern Europe, responsible for leading video, photo and text coverage in a region stretching from the Balkans to Poland.

Abrashi will be based in Prague and lead the AP’s eastern and central European team in reporting on the politics, economics, security, social issues and everyday life of 13 countries — Poland, Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Moldova.

“We’re excited to see Abrashi put into action his vision for aggressive coverage of one of Europe’s most dynamic regions,” [Europe editor Niko] Price said.

“Abrashi combines outstanding news judgment across all formats with in-depth knowledge of the region,” Hicks added.

The 37-year-old Abrashi joined AP in 2000 in his native Kosovo, where he helped cover the aftermath of the war that led to the withdrawal of Serbian forces from the former autonomous province of Yugoslavia. He later spent three years as a correspondent in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he helped cover the expansion of the Taliban insurgency, the rise of drug production [but not its passing through Kosovo?] and the cooling of relations between the Afghan leadership and its Western sponsors. Since 2010, he has been an editor at AP’s European headquarters in London.

Abrashi has traveled on assignments around the world for the AP, including witnessing conflict in Iraq, Sri Lanka’s first elections after its civil war, and the World Cup in South Africa in 2010.

Prior to AP, Abrashi worked for the BBC and for the Kosovo newspaper Koha Ditore.

He holds a master’s degree in East and Central European Studies from University College London and speaks Albanian and Serbo-Croatian, as well as some Bulgarian, Macedonian and Slovenian.

This was telling:

Balkans remembers Holocaust victims (World Bulletin - Turkey, Jan. 29)

People from all walks of life gathered around the Balkans Monday to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day and reflect on their own personal losses.

Thousands gathered in front of Bosnia’s Cathedral of the Sacred Heart to raise placards emblazoned with slogans such as “Nationalism kills,” written in Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian.

Why not also in Montenegrin?

In 1995, some 8,000 Muslim Bosniak men and boys were killed in Srebrenica when Serb forces overran the Bosnian town. The incident has become known as Europe’s worst massacre since World War II.

So much for HOLOCAUST Remembrance Day.

Edvin Kanka Cudic - a Coordinator for Social Research and Communications - said in a statement Monday that although the day commemorates those that died in the Holocaust, Bosnian genocide is proof that mankind did not learn from history.

In the Serbian capital, Belgrade, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic told members of the capital’s Jewish community that a main cause of the Holocaust was “national socialism.”

The “ideology was a monster,” he said to those gathered on the grounds of a former World War II concentration camp. “Because it implied the complete destruction of the Jewish people and the method to achieving the goal was designed to the smallest details.”

He reminded those present that outside of the millions of Jews who died, 16 percent of the Serbian population lost their lives in the World War II occupation of Yugoslavia.

Notice how the Serb faction stays on topic.

Even the Croatian faction mustered the class to do so (below), albeit conveniently leaving out that last bit of Holocaust history Nikolic mentioned (which he all too classily put entirely on the “German occupation”), for which the Croatians share the worst of culpability:

In the Croatian capital Zagreb, Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic told dignitaries gathered at a ceremony - including those from both Catholic and Muslim religions - that the Holocaust was “the worst thing that happened in the history of mankind.”

In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly designated January 27 Holocaust Remembrance Day.

So, at least as far as this Turkish report highlights and prioritizes, to all in the Balkans but the Muslims, Holocaust Remembrance Day is about the Holocaust. Then again, their co-religionists in England were boycotting Remembrance Day all together, until it included others’ losses, such as, for example, the Bosnian Muslims’. I guess it’s not enough that they could get a remembrance day all to themselves as the only valuable lives lost in the war they started. A truly tasteless, infantile, base and masturbatory lot.

MNLF eyes ‘Kosovo-style’ campaign (The Philippine Star, Feb. 3, 2014)

MANILA, Philippines - The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) has warned it will carry out what it calls a “Kosovo style” struggle to “decolonize” southern Mindanao and some parts of Malaysia, including Sabah and Sarawak.

MNLF founding chairman Nur Misuari called on his followers to renounce armed struggle and adopt the Kosovar model by carrying out peaceful assemblies in attaining their political objective for self rule, spokesman Emmanuel Fontanilla said yesterday.

Fontanilla was referring to the 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence where participants unanimously declared Kosovo as independent from Serbia. [Which was of course after the armed-struggle part of the Kosovo campaign.]

“Armed struggle is already obsolete as proven in other countries. [But not in Kosovo.] We will bring our cause to the people,” Fontanilla said.

He said their struggle is now on the second phase after Misuari declared the independence of the Bangsa Moro Republik in Sulu in last year.

According to Fontanilla, peaceful assemblies are scheduled next month in key cities in Mindanao and Sulu.

“The MNLF is just expressing its desire to be an independent state and it will be the people who decide, it’s a war in winning the hearts and mind of the people,” he said.

Fontanilla said the MNLF is now taking the next step that will involve a series of assemblies for every province where Muslims, Christians and tribal groups will express their desire for self-rule.

Here is a flashback to just some of the other Kosovo toll booths, which made themselves known in 2008 itself:

Salahuddin congratulates Kosovo people, Urges world to ensure Kashmiris get freedom (GK NEWS NETWORK, Feb. 20, 2008)

United Jehad Council chairman, Syed Salah-ud-Din has congratulated the people of Kosovo on gaining independence and urged the world community to take a cue from Kosovo and ensure that the people of Kashmir are granted right to self determination and the issue is solved as per the promises made in the UN resolutions.

Salah-ud-Din paid tribute to people of Kosovo who sacrificed their lives for independence. “India should read the writing on the wall that…The only thing that comes in the way of Kashmir resolution is the stubborn attitude of India,” he said. “The world community should break this stubbornness so that the nation is liberat[ed] from the 60-year-old illegal military occupation.”

Kashmir separatists buoyed by Kosovo declaration (Islamic Republic News Agency, Feb. 19, 2008)

…Pro-independence leaders in Srinagar, buoyed up by the Kosovo declaration, have already started making calls for meting out similar treatment to Kashmiris by the International community.

Yasin Malik, Chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) said, “The international community, particularly the European Union, should play a pro-active role now towards the resolution of Kashmir issue as they did in case of Kosovo.”

Kosovo, a tiny land-locked nation of two million and one of the poorest in Europe, with no functioning industry, declared independence from Serbia….Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday reiterated India’s position saying that the “territorial integrity of all countries should be fully respected by all states” and that the Kosovo issue should have been resolved by dialogue.

Malik said the Kosovo development has strengthened belief in Kashmir that an Independent Kashmir is possible.

“Kosovo is yet another example” of new nations coming into existence “despite repression and suppression.”

Independence of Kosovo, according to Malik, “immortalizes the fact that sacrifices of martyrs for freedom of their motherland never go in vain.”

Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani sounded more enthusiastic over the creation of an independent Kosovo.

“It is a moment of delight for Muslims all over the world,” Geelani was quoted as saying by the Srinagar media.

Geelani, who heads a faction of Hurriyat Conference, said the creation of a Muslim state within the European heartland has strengthened the resolve of the people of Kashmir to achieve their right to self- determination.

“The day is not far away,” Geelani said, “when the people of Kashmir will announce their Independence from imperial India.” Geelani’s rival and the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference went a step ahead and said they have started the process of unification of the pro-freedom parties in order to speed up the freedom struggle. […]

Separatist Moldovan region wants to have Kosovo style independence (Feb. 19, 2008)

CHISINAU, Moldova - The Moldovan separatist region of Trans-Dniester said Tuesday it would like to be recognized as an independent state like Kosovo.

A statement from the foreign ministry said that Kosovo represented “a new way of resolving conflicts all around the world,” the Olvia state news agency reported.

“A speedy international recognition of Trans-Dniester will help the international community to consolidate stability and security in the
region,” the statement said.

Trans-Dniester, in eastern Moldova, is not recognized internationally but receives support from Russia. It is mainly populated by Russian and Ukrainian citizens.

Moldova has had troubles with the separatists since a war in 1992 left more than 1,000 people dead.

Moldova said Monday that it would not recognize Kosovo’s independence, referring to Trans-Dniester and saying that Kosovo’s declaration created “deep concerns.”

Supporters of Kosovo’s independence, including the United States and major Western European powers, have insisted that Kosovo is a special case and does not set a precedent for other breakaway regions.

Corsican separatists “delighted” over Kosovo (Tanjug, B92, Feb. 19, 2008)

PARIS — The Independent Corsican Nation (CNI) welcomed with “delight” Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence.

They also saluted Kosovo and the “brotherly Kosovo people”, the French media reported.

CNI said that they hope that a delegation of the provisional Kosovo government would shortly take part in the International Days, an annual event held each August in Corsica.

The International Days, consacrated to nationalism in Corsica, rally separatist European organizations from the Basque country and Catalonia in Spain, the French Bretagne, Sardinia and Sicily, Tyrol and other regions in Europe.

Yesterday, other separatist movements, such as the Basque regional authority in Spain, and Chechens in Russia, welcomed the development.

ETA to follow Kosovo example (B92, Jan. 5, 2008)

BILBAO — The Basque separatist group ETA will base its calls for independence on the example set by Kosovo, says local daily Gara.

ETA, which the EU considers a terrorist organization, stresses that its fight “is not utopia” and cites the examples of Kosovo and Scotland….

“This nation has a right to its own development,” says ETA, which has been responsible for 819 murders in the last 40 years in Spain in its fight for the Basque country’s independence.

Kosovo officials say that they will soon declare independence against the wishes of the Serbian authorities.

In Scotland, the Scottish National Party secured a majority in elections to the Scottish parliament in May, and is looking to hold a referendum for independence in 2010.

Basque leaders wish to hold a similar referendum in the same year.

Blogger Bhaskar Dasgupta wrote the following at the time:

Separatist Movements Seek Inspiration in Kosovo (May 31, 2008)

A whole bunch of comments on various places (here and here for example) were placed on my previous essay where I said that the current Kosovo declaration will cause problems. Here’s a well arguedarticle on this topic. The six cases they quote are:

Spain: The Basques and the Catalans
Cyprus: The Turkish Cypriots
Romania: The Magyars in Székely Land
Bulgaria: The Muslim Pomaks
Greece: The Turks of Western Thrace
Slovakia: The Hungarian Minority

I wonder if those who are getting all excited about Kosovo independence will also join in asking for independence for these and the other minorities such ashere, here, here and here.

I was just reading this piece of tripe from Toronto Star last August, by writer Olivia Ward, who has been the paper’s Kosovo correspondent for 14 years, and I took note of her last paragraph:

And so, the war was over. Shortly, the owners of our flat would inherit a month’s supply of pasta. And next week, or next month, Allah willing, the water would be flowing again…

Nice to see that 14 years later, the “journalists” who brought us the Kosovo war are so casually open about the Muslim aspect, which at the time was downplayed at all costs.

I meant to get to this earlier:

Greek uproar over UCK support picture (ekathimerini.com, Sept. 5, 2013)

Albanian international Ergys Kace Wednesday eliminated his Facebook page after causing an uproar in the Greek press with a picture he posted supporting a Kosovar militant group.

The 20-year-old PAOK midfielder had posted a picture where he was seen wearing a tee-shirt of the UCK, the Albanian abbreviation for the ethnic-Albanian paramilitary organization the Kosovo Liberation Army.

Before erasing his Facebook account Kace appologised for his actions saying the tee-shirt belonged to a friend.

“Those who know me know my character and know that I do not (support) the UCK. I respect Greece,” Kace wrote.

The Thessaloniki club did not issue a statement but team officials have told the Greek press that they feel the case is closed.

The UCK sought the separation of Kosovo from Yugoslavia during the 1990s and members of the group have recently made provocative statements claiming parts of Western Greece belong to Albania, which have been criticised by the Greek government. [AFP]

Well now, here’s a paradox. The kid is being faulted for supporting allies of the U.S. and NATO in the above-described 1990s joint venture and beyond. This rarest of Albanians claims he does not, in fact, support the KLA, which the United States Government does support and which is now the ‘legitimate’ government of U.S.-backed Kosovo.

Of course, it’s hard to believe Kace that he doesn’t really support the KLA, given that the shirt belongs “to a friend.” How does he manage to fit in?

Silly Serbs, lobbying is for Albanians. For those who already have the upper hand.

Emphases added.

Response of James George Jatras to Belgrade lawyers with respect to the false and unjustified accusations against His Grace, Bishop Artemije of Ras and Prizren
January 27, 2014
Washington DC

Dear Friends:

The following statement is posted on www.savekosovo.org at http://www.savekosovo.org/?p=9&leader=0&sp=599 :

On December 27, 2013, I received a letter from a law firm in Belgrade asking for details of my past lobbying work on behalf of His Grace, Bishop Artemije of Ras and Prizren, and his suffering flock in the Serbian Province of Kosovo and Metohija. As is evident in that letter, and in my response dated today, this inquiry is in furtherance of the vendetta to which His Grace has been subjected since 2010 by persons in the Serbian State and Church, at the behest of Western governments, sadly led by the government of the United States.

…The Belgrade lawyers’ letter is here. The English text of my response is here, with a Serbian translation here.

January 27, 2014
Aleksandar Todorović, attorney
Dušan Radosvljević, attorney
Advokatska kancelarija [Public Prosecutor]
“Todorović & Šebek”
Svetogorska br. 22
B e o g r a d
VIA EMAIL to toseb@open.telekom.rs

Dear Mr. Todorović and Mr. Radosavljević:

This is in response to your letter to me of December 27, 2013, inquiring about specifics of lobbying activities under the direction of His Grace, Vladika Artemije of Ras and Prizren…

First, since you are attorneys with a private law firm and not public officials, it seems to me that professional ethics and courtesy should have led you to include in your letter a disclosure of the entity on whose behalf you are acting and the scope of your responsibilities. In any case, since you clearly directed this inquiry to me in furtherance of the unjust and unwarranted accusations made against Vladika Artemije, my response is being made public contemporaneously with its delivery to you.

Second, there is nothing in your inquiry that has not been already publicized in detail, either as posted on the website of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) unit of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ; at www.fara.gov), or included in my “Statement by James George Jatras Regarding Allegations of Misuse of Funds to Support Lobbying in the United States on Behalf of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija” of February 18, 2010… [my blog on that here] or my response to the scurrilous attack by the Greek publication Romfea….

Third, on the face of it the purpose of your request is unclear. You state: “Since the objective of Serbian Orthodox Church is not to pursue [His Grace] without merit, and since the reasons of payments to ‘Venable LLP’ are not completely clear, . . . it would help to put the case ad acta and thereby avoid the conduct of proceedings for offenses against” him if the amounts paid for lobbying could be “covered,” presumably to dispel “doubt” as to “the real motive” of the payments. Regarding this aspect:

o It is unclear whether you are inquiring on behalf of the Public Prosecutor (which the subject heading on your letter would suggest) or on behalf of the Serbian Orthodox Church (per the above quotation from your letter). Your clarification is requested.

o If there is no desire to pursue His Grace and Fr. Simeon (Vilovski) “without merit,” and if you (or the entity on whose behalf you are working) wish “to solve this unpleasant case, that burdens both Orthodox Christians and the public in the Republic of Serbia,” then by all means advise your client to desist from this pointless, unfounded, and destructive vendetta.

o Perhaps most puzzling is the novel suggestion that there is any doubt that the “real motive” for the payments at issue was anything other than lobbying and related services. Indeed, until receiving your letter, my entire understanding of the unjustified accusations against Vladika Artemije and Fr. Simeon (and by association, against me) was that funds intended for another purpose (church repairs to be made by substandard Albanian firms, so that the churches would be in a presentable state for renewed desecration and demolition) were used for supposedly illicit purposes, i.e., lobbying. With respect to such use, as I asked in my February 18, 2010, statement, referenced above, for which no answer has yet been provided by any of Vladika Artemije’s accusers:

“When all is said and done, there is only one legitimate question [that] can be asked that relates to the lobbying issue: did the funds for it come from some specific source for which it was absolutely impermissible to be used for any other purpose, such as lobbying? Not being party to the Eparchy’s ledgers, I would strongly doubt it. First, money is fungible. If money is given to the Eparchy for various purposes and then is spent for a number of legitimate activities, how is it determined which money went for what purpose? Second, I categorically reject any suggestion that Vladika Artemije, Fr. Simeon, or any of the monastics and laity associated with him would perform any clearly improper action, financial or otherwise. If, on the other hand, we are talking about questions of judgment, that should be left to the Bishop’s discretion.”

Vladika Artemije having decided that due to the emergency situation and extraordinary pressures on his flock it was imperative to devise a sustainable security and protection program, including a deterrent against any further destruction and desecration of Orthodox holy places, and that such a program took precedence over non-sustainable repairs, such use of funds would better serve the same objective in a much more efficient manner. Indeed, this would be an appropriate decision corresponding to accepted “best business practices” of budget administration. Instead of “throwing good money after bad” he wisely sought to eliminate the political root cause of the danger to his people: the wrong-headed policy of the western powers, particularly of the United States. To that end, His Grace chose lobbying among the very few peaceful and effective options open to him, to engage professional services with the required qualifications and capabilities to present the case of those under the care of his Eparchy in order to put a halt at the source of the problem to the suffering of his people and to set conditions for securing their lives and property. Keep in mind that there was nothing secret about any of this at the initiation of this program, or at any time since.

o But the current suggestion – which I emphasize, is totally new to me – that the funds in question were not used for lobbying is an even more outrageous and baseless speculation. If you have any shred of evidence that payments made for lobbying were for some other, surreptitious purpose (“the real motive”), simple decency would suggest that you provide it. If you are unable to do so, I expect your prompt and public apology for this groundless, unsubstantiated, and defamatory conjecture.

Let me now address your specific questions.

1. “Were there any reports on performed legal and lobbying activities?”

The activities described were not in the nature of legal services but were confined to lobbying and related media services. As required by FARA, these were duly reported to the FARA unit at DOJ, which later posted some of them – but for some reason not all of them – at www.fara.gov…

However, let me draw your attention to two reports that are publicly posted at the FARA unit, at:

http://www.fara.gov/docs/5435-Supplemental-Statement-20060630-4.pdf
http://www.fara.gov/docs/5435-Supplemental-Statement-20061229-5.pdf

These are for two six-month periods of 2006, during which time the “Registrant” (Venable LLP) performed the described services for the Republic of the Philippines, the Embassy of India, the Rodina Political Party (of Russia), and the Serbian National Council of Kosovo and Metohija (the account in question). The various contacts, meetings, media placements relevant to the Kosovo work are listed in a manner comparable to those pertaining to the other matters, which you may take as a representative – but not exhaustive – description of the lobbying work performed under Vladika Artemije’s direction. (Please note that it was probably unnecessary to register this project under FARA at all, since His Grace is not a foreign official under the meaning of FARA. However, since the Serbian National Council could conceivably be construed as a “political party,” and since we anticipated close scrutiny for our opposition to U.S. policy on Kosovo, we decided to register under FARA in an excess of caution.)

2. “If not, what actions were taken in order to justify the amount of 700.000,oo USD, which was paid by invoices (that we have) for a period of 6 months, as of 22 March, 2006?”

Per the response to the first question above, I presume the phrase “if not” in this question is inoperable, since there is indeed a publicly available, representative listing of such actions, per the links provided above.

Concerning the amount of payments, please note the following, from my February 18, 2010, statement:

“With respect to the money, there is a curious assumption behind the accusation that moneys were ‘diverted’ to lobbying: that while Serbia’s enemies should take full advantage of all the influence money can buy, Serbs should rely solely on goodhearted, voluntary, nonprofessional efforts. That assumption is a large part of why Serbia and Serbs ended up where they did in the propaganda wars of the 1990s. It is an assumption Vladika Artemije wisely understood he had to reject if he was to have any hope of saving his flock. In any case, the cost for services in the agreement signed between SNC and Venable in March 2006 was for an initial six-month period for $600,000, and continuing thereafter unless cancelled at the same rate of $100,000 per month. Any search of lobbying records for international clients shows that is this is well within the range of such services, with two provisos:

” * First, that the payments under the SNC/Venable agreement were inclusive of out-of-pocket costs (like media buys, travel, conferences, etc.), and was not just for professional fees to the firm for its work. This is not usual. In most agreements the contract amount is what goes for the work, with costs added on top. This means that out of the SNC/Venable contract from one-third to up to forty percent of the funds paid went not for professional fees but for things like ads in papers read by officials, like Roll Call and The Hill; in well-read political sites like DrudgeReport and Daily Kos; conferences at locations like the Capitol Hill Club (Washington’s most well-regarded Republican gathering place); for travel around the U.S., Britain, Germany, Russia, India, Israel, Belgium (EU), Rome, and other locations; and similar expenses. This also means that the actual amount paid for the work of Venable’s professionals was far exceeded (by a factor of two or three times) by the amount of time devoted to the mission.

” * Second, that funding ($600,000) for the initial six months, which was paid out over the period March-December 2006, virtually exhausted the sources available for support of the representation. In February 2007, because I had changed firms, the agreement with Venable was reassigned to Squire Sanders Public Advocacy , under the signature of Fr. Simeon (Vilovski), continuing at $100,000 per month, though by then no further funds were available. Notwithstanding, the work continued at the same intensity throughout 2007 and 2008, and into 2009. Since then, it has been necessary to scale back the work but it has never fully ended despite having, in effect, ceased to be professional effort and transformed into essentially a volunteer activity.

“So, that means that since the signing of the March 2006 contract, that initial $600,000 for six months has bought almost four years worth of work of varying levels of intensity. That’s an average of about $12,500 per month, of which, as noted above, a sizeable portion went to costs.”

+++++

In closing, allow me to again address the absurdity and injustice of the persecution to which Vladika Artemije (with Fr. Simeon, and others loyal to him) have been and continue to be subjected. The underlying premise of these false accusations is either that His Grace “wasted” funds on lobbying or (as your letter now suggests) that the lobbying payments were a cover for some mysteriously unidentified “real motive.” It should be patently obvious that the opposite is the case: that Vladika Artemije is being maltreated precisely because the lobbying and media services he procured for even a limited time were far too effective and had become a threat to the policy of those governments (sadly, that of my own country in the forefront) wishing to wrest Kosovo and Metohija from Serbia, and a discomfort to their Serbian collaborators. As observed in my February 18, 2010, statement:

“We believed we could win only by changing the terms of debate. When we began, ‘Kosovo’ meant only ‘the place where America stopped genocide of peaceful Albanians by evil Serbs.’ Due to our efforts, for many, many Americans ‘Kosovo’ now means ‘the place where our government insanely helps jihadists and gangsters terrorize Christian Serbs.’ [ . . . ]

“Let us remember that when we began our efforts Washington fully expected smoothly to arrange the ‘final status’ of Kosovo well before the end of 2006. The architects of American policy expected minimal resistance from Belgrade and were sure the Russians were not serious in their opposition to independence. And of course there were virtually no dissenting voices in the United States. While our efforts may not have been early enough to have accomplished a reversal of American policy, I am confident that if not for this campaign under Vladika Artemije’s guidance and direction Washington would have moved much faster than it did to “resolve” the issue. Instead, we threw enough sand in the gears that contributed to a delay of almost two years, by which time the Russian position had become rock-solid and it had become impossible for anyone (openly, anyway) in Serbian politics to consent to losing Kosovo. Even when Washington did make its move in early 2008, in concert with the KLA kingpins and with unprecedented bullying of our European allies, they did so with the increasingly desperate knowledge they were losing ground and that it was ‘now or never.’ The result – the ongoing, unresolved crisis – is not one anyone wants to see but is far better than what likely would have been the case if we had not moved when we did at Vladika Artemije’s initiative. I sincerely believe we helped give Serbia a fighting chance, which it is still her option to take advantage of or not.”

The proof of our effectiveness is in the fact that there is reason to suspect that the campaign (of which you evidently are a part) to eliminate His Grace as an obstacle to the policy of the Western powers was undertaken in direct response to a NATO, and perhaps specifically U.S., initiative. As reported by NATO, U.S. Admiral Mark P. Fitzgerald, then Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, and Commander, Allied Joint Force Command (JFC) Naples, “with operational responsibility for NATO missions in the Balkans, Iraq and the Mediterranean,” took part in meetings in Kosovo in January 2010 (“JFC Com Visits Kosovo” at http://www.jfcnaples.nato.int/page8840506.aspx ; note, this occurred on January 8, the second day of Orthodox Christmas according to the Old Calendar) and February 2010 (“JFC Commander visists [sic] Viskoki [sic] Decane [sic] Monastery” at http://www.jfcnaples.nato.int/page8840281.aspx ). During his January visit the Admiral publicly stated that he considered Serbian so-called “parallel institutions” – that is, the legitimate structures of the sovereign Serbian state, as opposed to the Albanians’ illegal separatist administration installed under NATO patronage – to be a “security threat.” Further, an unconfirmed report indicates that a high NATO officer – whether Admiral Fitzgerald or someone else is not specified – stated in the course of one of the January meetings (this is verbatim or a close paraphrase) “What we need here is a more cooperative bishop.”

Again, I cannot confirm this report or firmly identify the speaker of the comment. But the timing is indicative. Just over a month after Admiral Fitzgerald’s earlier visit, and just before his later one, Vladika Artemije’s authority over his Eparchy was “temporarily” suspended. This was followed in due course by his physical removal from the province of Kosovo and Metohija and by an unlawful and legally void declaration of the Holy Hierarchical Assembly of the Serbian Orthodox Church that he had been stripped of the Episcopal dignity and reduced to the level of a monk. (For a further account of these developments, see “ANY PRETEXT WILL DO: Totalitarianism in Service to the West: Serbia Betrays God, Helps Evict Last of Kosovo Christianity,” by Julia Gorin, at http://www.juliagorin.com/wordpress/?p=2324; the speaker in question is identified, perhaps imprecisely based on available information as “a KFOR officer”; and “Eleven Years Later: NATO Powers Prepare Final Solution In Kosovo,” by Rick Rozoff, http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/11-years-later-nato-powers-prepare-final-solution-in-kosovo/ .)

There is little question that the removal of Bishop Artemije was undertaken in the service of a broader policy initiative to “resolve” Kosovo’s status. I will leave it to those in the upper echelons of the Serbian State and Church who behind the scenes unworthily acted to comply with NATO’s evident wishes, to explain their motives and answer to their consciences.

I trust this answers your questions, if not quite to your satisfaction.

James George Jatras, Esq.

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