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Culpable fiends forever trying to cover their bloody Balkans footprints predictably leapt at mass killer Anders Breivik’s “Serbian connection” that was predictably played up in news reports. (Still waiting for Timothy McVeigh’s Iraqi and al Qaeda connections to be “unearthed” and played down.) Breivik’s Serbian connection consisted not only of his having had internet contact with “cultural conservative” Serbs and having been set off in 1999 by NATO’s orgiastic bombing of civilians in furtherance of Albanian territorial ambitions, but of the fact that among the like-minded extremists from England, France, Germany, Holland, Greece, Russia, Sweden, Belgium, Norway and U.S. who were part of Breivik’s group, one had been a Serb in Liberia.

The day that the news broke I got the following two emails:

name = Besi
email = frankie@hotmail.com
comments = How do you feel that your propaganda and the “serbiana” propoganda inspired the Oslo murders.

name = Anders Behring Breivik
email = AndersBehring@Breivik.com
comments = Dumb bitch, you and your sick ilk killed 90 innocent people in Norway. I’m calling the FBI today

That’s one call the FBI would have had an easy time fielding that day and filing into the crackpot folder. But let me see if I have this straight, given that some more “respectable” crackpots weighed in, breathlessly pouncing on the rare morsel that could help their perpetual pursuit of retroactively justifying the West’s war against…Serbs (and of justifying the organized crime and jihad nest that our interventions on behalf of Bosnians and Albanians have turned the Balkans into):

Twenty years into our walloping of the Serbs, an indirect “connection” is managed to be assembled between an attack in Norway and a Serb.

Never mind that an Albanian was “connected” to the Frankfurt shooting of five American servicemen earlier this year — by actually being the shooter — killing two, wounding another, and partially blinding a fourth. (He “may have” been set off by “Islamism,” according to more-candid-than-usual authorities; an update on him popped up just weeks before the Norway massacre: “An immigrant from Kosovo was formally charged Thursday in Germany with the murder of two U.S. Air Force men at Frankfurt Airport.” There have been further updates this week.)

And just never mind the Bosnian connection to the Trolley Square shooting of nine Americans in Salt Lake City for Valentine’s 2007 — the “connection” being that the shooter was a Bosnian Muslim. Never mind the direct Albanian “connection” to the self-described “militant extremist” who was arrested in Maryland just days before his co-Kosovar opened fire in Frankfurt; he was angry at U.S. military involvement in Kosovo, was trained by Bosnian-Muslims (another Bosnian connection there), and also hoped to target Jews.

Just forget about the two Albanian brothers in Sweden who tried to burn down Muhammad artist Lars Vilks’ home. Certainly don’t busy yourself thinking about the Albanian connection to the London and Madrid attacks or the Bosnian connection to both.

Don’t start asking what investigators were doing in Bosnia and Kosovo in the wake of the 7/7 Tube bombings, or what took U.S. investigators to Albania, out of which bin Laden was operating in 1998, and to Bosnia after 9/11. On which subject, never mind any Bosnian officialslinks to 9/11 or the Bosnia leg of the preparations for it. Ignore 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s connection to Bosnia (he was gifted citizenship), where he and Mohamed Atta lived prior to 9/11. (And where Hamas trained, incidentally.) Don’t try to deduce what it is about Bosnia which, according to the 9/11 Commission and others, globalized al Qaeda and which causes it to appear on almost every international report about terrorist threats.

Who cares why in October 2001 U.S. troops found, in a Kabul mansion hideout, Oklahoma City-style bomb instructions written by a Bosnian al Qaeda soldier. Or why at least one Bosnian passport was found in a Kabul house that had been used by fleeing Taliban. Shrug at why Bosnia is a thriving market for DVDs of American troops being killed in Iraq or why, according to Bosnian TV, “US Army members are threatened by local jihadists.” Ignore that Aussie al Qaeda terrorist David Hicks trained and fought with the KLA, and just never mind the Albanian “connection” to the Albanian terrorist whom the British bank NatWest gave a 100% mortgage to for a home he turned into a bomb factory (”I love to see Jews and Americans killed.”) Or the Albanian “connection” to the Brooklyn Albanian who was arrested in Kosovo in 2009 (after his Bosniak would-be accomplice turned him in), for trying to travel to Afghanistan, Iraq and the Balkans to fight against U.S. armed forces and to attack NATO troops in Kosovo. (An update on him just two weeks before the Norway massacre: Misunderstander of Islam convicted of trying to join jihad group and kill U.S. troops: “Betim Kaziu faces life in prison for the jihadi adventure that took him to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and finally Kosovo.”)

Never mind the Bosnian connection to five of the 9/11 hijackers who had either trained or fought in Bosnia, or the Bosnia-hatched and Serb-disrupted plot to attack world leaders at the pope’s funeral in 2005. Never mind the Bosnian and two Albanians of the North Carolina Eight who were targeting a Marine base and countries including Israel, and just never mind that four of the six Ft. Dix plotters/facilitators were Albanian. Never mind the very direct Bosnian connection to a Georgia man convicted in 2009 of aiding terror groups, or the Bosnian arrested last year for his role in the plan to bomb NYC commuters. Never mind the Bosnian “connection” to an international Bosnia-based terror plot thwarted in 2008. Don’t ask how a program to recruit and train Muslims to kill Serbs in Bosnia could morph into a plan to blow up New York’s Lincoln and Holland tunnels and the UN and FBI buildings, “embroiling U.S. military veterans in a jihadist circle with links to al-Qaeda and to a stunningly ambitious homegrown plot to kill thousands of innocent victims in New York City.”

And why take it from a former al Qaeda officer that Bosnian Muslims “play a significant role” in al Qaeda cells? Don’t listen when he talks about how official Bosnia was giving out passports like candy during the war it started (including to bin Laden, enabling him to travel to other countries and organize 9/11 and other attacks), and advising the mujahideen to marry Bosnian women so they could stay after the war. (See the documentary “Sarajevo Ricochet” below.)

Never mind the Bosnian Muslim who made an apparent dry run into the U.S. embassy in Vienna in 2007, or the Bosnian Muslims arrested for plans to blow up Catholic churches and internationals in Bosnia (a suicide bomb belt was found along with guns and 20 kg of explosives), or the ones caught targeting European embassies to protest the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Don’t trouble yourself about the Kosovo connection to the missile fired at the U.S. embassy in Athens in 2007, or the foiled plots against Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, one disrupted by a polygraph administered to an Albanian terrorist and another with its nexus in Serbia’s Bosniak-inhabited Sandzak region.

Pay no attention to Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung pointing out that the man who was to detonate two bombs in Montenegro’s parliament in 2006 was an al Qaeda-connected Kosovo Albanian (17 other Albanians were indicted and/or convicted in connection). Don’t let that remind you of the KLA fighter whose application turned up in an al Qaeda office in Afghanistan in 2001. Block out the Albanian mafia-boss name Princ Dobrosi, who was helping one of the jihadists arrested for the 2006 Oslo synagogue attack — to plan attacks against Prague. And don’t worry about the 15 Bosnians and Albanians that Serbia charged in 2007 with a planned attack on the U.S. embassy in Belgrade — one of many collaborative efforts between Albanian and Bosnian Muslims to carve the Sandzak out of Montenegro and Serbia for Greater Islam.

And by all means, don’t look into the Hezbollah-made bomb used in the staged atrocity at the Sarajevo marketplace (like the one at the bread line), which we bombed the Serbs for. Pay no attention to the American veteran of the Bosnia war, who pled guilty to helping train fellow al Qaeda agents to carry out bombings at European tourist resorts frequented by Americans, as well as at US military bases, embassies and consular offices in Europe.

Nope, no real connections to be made anywhere there, apparently. Give the loudest play to that which the media and political establishments want to seep into the public consciousness, to keep them anchored to the Serb as villain. That way, who cares when NATO starts shooting them any day now to bring in line the last part of Kosovo resisting to live under the rule of Albanian terrorists.

And never mind that above are listed only the attacks and plots that come immediately to mind, or that every time one hears about any such attacks or arrests — for only a minute before the media blackout ensues — one is instructed to draw no conclusions about the “they’re not all like that” peoplehood the culprits hail from, even if they’re much more representative of those people than the wanted Serb in Liberia is of Serbs. Who himself is not known to have committed any terrorism so far. (A STRATFOR analysis noted, “It is interesting that [Breivik] did not contact the Serbian member of the PCCTS for assistance in making contact with Balkan arms dealers.”)

Indeed, after two decades of crying “nationalists” and “extremists” about Serbs, and warning of “Serbian terrorists,” look how excited everyone gets when we finally find a live one. One. Twenty years later. Who wasn’t behind the attack. But when it comes to Serbs, even the lesson of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” doesn’t apply. As blogger Nebojsa Malic put it in an email the day after the Norway attacks (links added):

Oh, they’ve already started bleating about the “evil Serbs” and the yellow media in Serbia are picking it up and amplifying the bleat. Thing is, [Breivik] was WRONG about what happened in Kosovo — Serbia did not try to expel the Albanians, it was Albanians who wanted to expel the Serbs…Correct me if I’m wrong but so far, despite being demonized and bombed (twice) and occupied and, frankly, mind-fucked like no one else in recent history, the Serbs have not committed ONE SINGLE ACT of terrorism, whether in self-defense or in impotent rage. Worth noting.

Malic noted it rather well in a piece titled “Oh No You Don’t” :

Furthermore, over the past two decades of vilest demonization in the Western media — worse by far than the cartoon depictions of Muslims over which there have been riots, death threats and even murders — as well as not one, but two bombing campaigns, there has not been a single Serbian terrorist attack in the West. Not one. As a result of Imperial meddling, Serb populations in today’s Croatia, large parts of Bosnia and Kosovo have become extinct, yet no Serb has ever resorted to terrorism against NATO countries. Let alone shot up a summer camp full of children.

A day after the news hit, an email arrived from retired NYC Police Lieutenant Bob Leifels, who served in Bosnia and Croatia with the International Police Task Force from 1997-1998: “Once while working in Croatia we were warned about Serbian terrorists…by Norwegians. I asked them to give me one example of a Serb terrorist attack. They just grumbled. As a matter of fact I think one of the first in the USA was by a Croat who bombed the Statue of Liberty.” (See here for that incident, and here are other examples of international Croatian terror. In 2008, Croatian terrorist Zvonko Busic — who hijacked a TWA flight in 1976 and planted a bomb at Grand Central Station that killed a NY policeman and wounded three others — was paroled and received a hero’s welcome and traditional fascist salute in Croatia. Whereupon a reader wrote, “[Bosnian-Muslim warlord Naser] Oric is set free, now Busic [not to mention Kosovo’s Agim Ceku and Ramush Haradinaj]…. But fear not, the Karadzic trial will give everyone renewed contempt for everything Serbian.”)

There certainly was a lot of talk in the ’90s about “Serbian terrorists,” including a federal investigator at the scene of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, quoted in a news magazine caption as “Yep, looks like the Serbs to me.” I can no longer find the item to recall which periodical carried the caption, but the assessment was repeated by radio legend Paul Harvey who never did give us “The Rest of the Story” on that one. The false rumor was helped by a bogus claim of responsibility by someone posing as a member of the “Serbian Liberation Front,” though there is no online record of such a group. Even then, Bosnian-Serb president Radovan Karadzic, while denying his people were behind the 1993 attack (yet another one of those cases ofSerbian propagandaproving true), warned of possible terrorism by Serbs in response to Western involvement in the Balkans, according to an AP article scanned by this Bosniak propaganda site. (Speaking of which, pay no attention to the Bosnian-Muslim connection that the 1993 WTC attack did have.)

The Serb-caused WTC terror never materialized. “Serbian terrorism” was a manufactured but ubiquitous faux concern that author Diana Johnstone mentioned in a 1999 article:

A few liberals timidly criticized the NATO bombing on the imaginary grounds that it might provoke Serbian “terrorism”. In reality, throughout the air strikes there was never the slightest hint of any propensity on the part of Serbs to take up terrorism. On the contrary, Serbs were notably shocked by the flagrant violations of the legal order constructed primarily by the very Western powers who were now violating it, and a number of Yugoslavs both in Serbia and in the Diaspora, have tried to seek legal redress.

We so wanted Serbian terrorists. Western hunger for the so-far mythical Serbian terrorist to rear its head was so effective in creating the semblance of a real threat that even as late as 2007 comedian Bill Maher and the editor at Human Events referred to the Albanian-American plotters of the foiled massacre at Ft. Dix as “Serbs…or something.” Similarly, a British paper called a Kosovo Albanian who went on a killing spree at a mall in Finland last year — a “Kosovo Serb.” More intentionally, initial reports linked the London Tube attacks to “eastern Europe” and “Serbia” (the explosives came from Kosovo, and Bosnia served as a coordinating point). It was this hunger — never satiated — that nonetheless provided almost two decades of movies and TV shows capitalizing on the tall tale of Serbian villainy, causing the legend to grow ever larger even as the Serbs’ enemies have been the ones doing all the projected attacking. (In what may be the most egregious example of this kind of projection, a 2010 French horror film has Serbs kidnapping people to steal their organs — apparently timed to be released just weeks ahead of the Council of Europe’s revelations on the very real Albanian murder-for-organs scandal currently under investigation. According to Serbia’s Press, the film had been commissioned by Bernard Kouchner, UN mission chief in Kosovo at the time of the vivisections in which he is himself implicated, at the very least for depraved indifference and obstructing discovery of the operation.)

But the “Serbian connection” to the Utoya camp attack was to be milked for all it’s worth. What could be politically safer? As a reader named Justin wrote, “Once again, the Serbs are the bogeyman in the Western news media….They are going to use it to smear anyone who supports the Serbian cause against Islamic Fundamentalists and Croatian Nazi fascists in Yugoslavia…to silence all criticism of the wars in Yugoslavia [and] to suggest that people like us are obsessed nuts when in fact we just want the facts straight…God help us all. The movement to stop Sharia law from making us all Islamic will [suffer] because of this stupid clown….”

Another one of us “radicals” who were against the ’99 NATO bombing and Kosovo separatism, Andy Wilcoxson, wrote in an email:

This Norwegian guy is no friend of the Serbs…He’s also pro-Croat. I’ve looked at his manifesto and he totally misses the boat on the Balkans. Here’s what he says in his Manifesto about Radovan Karadzic:

“[Radovan Karadzic] even went as far as offering the Muslims certain enclaves. When they refused he wanted to deport them by force. When this was made impossible by NATO he gave the order to fight the people who refused which was his sovereign right and responsibility as one of the primary leaders of Serb forces. This was never about ethnicity but about ridding the country of the genocidal hate ideology known as Islam. I do condemn any atrocities committed against Croats and vice versa but for his efforts to rid Serbia of Islam he will always be considered and remembered as an honourable Crusader and a European war hero.”

The guy is off his nut. Radovan Karadzic wasn’t trying to rid Serbia of Islam, he just didn’t want his people to be governed by Islamic fundamentalists. The only reason he likes Karadzic is because he thinks the allegations against him are true…In addition to supporting Radovan Karadzic for all the wrong reasons, his manifesto characterizes Slobodan Milosevic’s “regime” as “brutal”…he thinks the allegations against the Serbs are actually points in their favor.

In that exchange, Malic added, “He’s also dead-wrong in most of his assertions…Izetbegovic’s faction of Muslims wanted to control Bosnia, while the Serbs wanted to control a PART of it, not the entirety. The other day I argued that Breivik admired an IMAGE of the Serbs — the one created by Western propaganda. THAT is why it is fuzzy and confused.” In that argument, Malic stated (some links added):

…If Breivik saw the 1999 war in the way described above [as directed against “our Serbian brothers (who) wanted to drive Islam out by deporting the Albanian Muslims back to Albania”], he was factually wrong. While Islam is a powerful factor that has shaped and driven Albanian chauvinism for over a century (and certainly underpins the destructive rage against the Serbian Orthodox churches), the Albanian regime controlling Kosovo today systematically oppresses not only the remaining Serbs, but also the Gorani - Muslims by faith, Serbs by language - which indicates that its bigotry is ethno-cultural as well as religious.

If anything, it was NATO - and the U.S. - who saw the war in terms of helping the “good Muslims” against the evil Orthodox Serbs.

The Serbian government fought to defeat a terrorist insurgency seeking to make Kosovo part of an enlarged Albanian state. There was no plan of persecution and deportation - unless one believes the sordid German fiction called “Operation Horseshoe“. Serbia is actually the most multi-ethnic Yugoslav successor state, and home to a substantial Muslim population. These days, Belgrade is entirely too tolerant of a militant Muslim cleric who seeks to foment a rebellion in its southwestern parts [Sandzak]. To argue that Serbia sought to expel the Albanians in 1999 due to their Muslim faith is to accept NATO’s excuse for the bombing. That claim was wrong then, and it is wrong now.

In the previous email exchange, reader Svetlana added that Breivik “exhibits a typical fascist mindset, where the Serbs are accepted into his Aryan clique only by the assumed ‘virtue’ of allegedly committing a genocide over Muslims, in an alleged effort to ‘ethnically cleanse’ that part of Europe of Muslims. When it comes to Balkans, he obviously bought all the propaganda and has no idea what really went on.”

An assessment that was echoed by reader Justin in a separate exchange (internal link added):

[He is] playing on the image of Serbs as violent, racist, genocidal Nazi “ethnic cleansers” and “deporting all Muslims,” which is totally incorrect because Serbia was always a multi-ethnic Balkan republic. Many Albanians escaped north into Serbia, with a large community living in Belgrade. This clown knows NOTHING about the Balkans or Serbia or the 1990s wars. He just believes what he heard from the media and uses media attention to further himself…I bet he doesn’t know that Serbs and Muslims lived side by side or that Milosevic only wanted to crack down on Albanian separatists in Kosovo…[His depiction of the Serbs] more resembles Ante Pavelic and his Ustase group [Croatian fascists] that were ‘chosen by God’ to be the ’saviors from foreign Serbian and Jewish influences’ as part of a crusade against non-Croats to establish a pure Croatian society.

In addition to being pro-Serb as he understands it, Breivik is also pro-Israel. STRATFOR noted, “Breivik did not express any anti-Semitism in his manifesto (something he has been heavily criticized for on U.S. anti-Semitic websites).” Just the opposite, in fact. A couple of Breivik’s passages:

It will be extremely hard to cooperate with anyone who views our primary ally (the Jews/Israel) as their primary enemy. Their Jew obsession and support to Islamic regimes will severely hinder any direct cooperation. They are blinded by their Jew hate to a degree where they fail to see the imminent threat to Europe represented by Islam…

Western Journalists again and again systematically ignore serious Muslim attacks and rather focus on the Jews…So let us fight together with Israel, with our Zionist brothers against all anti-Zionists…

Jerusalem Post reported that Breivik also “expressed his disgust at his government’s awarding of ‘the Nobel peace prize to an Islamic terrorist [Arafat] and appeasers of Islam.’”

So now is pro-Israelism to be discredited by the Breivik massacre? Not likely. Just as the media’s attempts to taint the entire conservative outlook with Breivik’s act flopped. Equally negligible, then, are attempts to discredit those who support the Serbian side in the Balkans and who oppose the West’s violently punitive attitude toward the region’s Orthodox Slavs in favor of its Islamic and Catholic Nazi heirs. (Notice, incidentally, that while Breivik is supposed to reflect on all conservatives and pro-Serbs, every time another Muslim adds to the 18,000 Muslim terror attacks since 9/11, “it has nothing to do with” Islam.) Fortunately, as with the character assassination attempted on conservatives, the attempt on Serbs and pro-Serbs hasn’t gotten much mileage either.

But one fanatical usual suspect really, really tried, devoting almost 2,000 rhapsodic words to a pathetically transparent attempt to use the Norway massacre to reinforce and recycle all the old conclusions about Serbs and our wars against Serbia in promotion of Islam and fascism in Europe. On cue, latching onto the above-mentioned Serbian extremist in Liberia, this die-hard who is buttressed by the institutional prestige of The Weakly Standard was among the loudest proponents of bombing Christians in Europe on behalf of Muslims, which of course unleashed jihadists throughout the region along with rampant organized crime and heroin- and slave-trafficking. He was an activist for getting us into the hole — which we’re digging deeper and deeper to his applause, even while he himself raises periodic alarm bells that Balkans Islam is under threat from more radical forms. (Of course when it was mere Christians who were under threat from those Balkan Muslims, he sided with the more radical side.)

His name is Stephen Schwartz — at least, that’s the name his Jewish mother gave him. In his preemptive surrender to the latest great threat, he became Stephen Suleyman Ahmad Schwartz, leading one to guess when his mother might have killed herself. This reinvention came after a previous reinvention in homage to the previous great threat — communism — to which he bowed by becoming “Comrade Sandalio.” This is his pattern: he identifies the threat, learns its language, changes his name, converts to the religion, buys a costume and becomes a spokesman.

And so now he runs an outfit called Center for Islamic Pluralism. But as we can see, there is no pluralistic thinking to be found when the targeted infidel is Serbian:

Norwegian Demons and the Serbian Connection

The source of Breivik’s horrific act is…intoxication with Serbian propaganda…While reporters and pundits have tried to identify its inspiration in American polemics against Islam or criticism of Islamist ideology, British anti-Muslim agitation, admiration for Israel, Hindu nationalism, and other “easy” explanations, it makes much more sense to look in the direction of Belgrade. [Of course!]

…Worldwide opinion still fails to grasp the political consequences of Serbian aggression [sic] in the former Yugoslavia…Breivik, with his apocalyptic visions and schemes, his fixations on long-vanished secret societies and uniforms, and his hatred of globalism [Note: the fascists were globalist], represents the same fascist politics that emerged in Europe during the similar economic downturn of the 1930s. Its reappearance was a logical and predictable effect of the deep anxieties and increase in conspiratorial beliefs that have accompanied the current global economic difficulties. But as Breivik himself repeatedly states, the seed of this new fascism was sown by Serbia. [ “The Serbs made him do it.” ™]

Breivik’s convoluted, bloated manifesto reveals that he hates the globalization represented by the U.S. and the EU…But Serbia remains the key to Breivik’s convoluted anxieties and plotting, and Serbia followed a similar path in cohabiting with Arab nationalism after its attacks on its Muslim and Catholic neighbors in Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, and Kosovo. After the Kosovo war, Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic received an invitation from the Palestinian Authority to attend an Orthodox Christmas celebration in Bethlehem; the visit could not be made because Israel threatened to arrest Milosevic as a war criminal indicted by the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Serbia received military and energy assistance from the dictatorships of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Mu’ammar al-Qadhdhafi in Libya. Indeed, Serbian media defended the Libyan tyrant when the NATO powers commenced planning military intervention in earlier this year. And an Iranian delegation visited Belgrade, expressing Tehran’s support for Serbia’s refusal to recognize the independence of Kosovo, in July.

Serbia, Arab dictators, Iran. These factors have fascist ideology in common. And that explains the horror in Norway.

Actually, Serbia also received military assistance from Israel. And its presses weren’t the only ones opposing the intervention against Quadhafi on behalf of al Qaeda-connected “freedom fighters.” But shall we go into another isolated, desperate, demonized, de-legitimized state’s “dubious” deals and diplomacies when fighting for survival? Israel’s maintaining a relationship with apartheid South Africa, as well as its weapons deals with China — not to mention its little known request to accept an overture from Saddam Hussein to normalize relations during Bush I (we didn’t allow it) — don’t occur in a vacuum. Nor does the fact that Israel covertly aided Serbia during the NATO bombings. And we can certainly add to Iran a whole list of other Islamic or otherwise unholy states that support Serbia over the “Kosovars,” because they have their own restive separatists, some justified and some not. As if there is anything still holy to contrast them with in a world where America has sold its soul for Caliphate gold and an Islamic future, and where our prophesized betrayal of the Holy Land is upon us. But what fine standards we’ve set for future behavior by bad states with our uniquely criminal manipulation and circumvention of international laws and norms — all for a place that most Americans have never even heard of (Kosovo), despite having waged a recent war there. It is, however, entertaining that Schwartz compares the region’s Christians to Iran and Arab dictators instead of comparing the region’s Muslims to them, given that the latter were supplied with mujahideen, money, weapons and training against those Christians by Iran and several Arab countries. This strained, desperate comparison between Orthodox Slavs and Muslims rather than between Muslims and Muslims was attempted last year in an embarrassing piece by Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin.

Getting back to the point: After toiling through the ’90s to make Europe a more dangerous place than it needed to be, Stephen-Sandalio-Suleyman-Schwartz is one of those scoundrels most interested in covering his tracks. Notice that, unlike in the Norway massacre — where a Serbian connection can finally be wrenched — he offers no dissertations about the much more frequent and direct terrorism and criminal acts involving his beloved Albanian and Bosnian thugs. Like every last politician who filled his campaign coffers with KLA heroin money from the Albanian lobby, and like the very raison d’etre of the international tribunal at the Hague, Schwartz seeks to retroactively justify the West’s clearly unjustifiable — and increasingly questioned — actions. The typically Serb-fixated Schwartz piece above attests to his desperation.

If tenuous connections and inverted labeling of “fascists” are the order of the day, here is a less than tenuous connection: In 1991, six months before the Bosnian civil war started, the cover article of a glossy Bosnian-Muslim youth magazine named Novi VOX ( “New Voice”) was titled “The Handzar Division is Ready…The Fourth Reich is Coming; Wilkomen!” and showed a drawing of a Muslim in a Nazi SS uniform and a fez, with his boot on the blood-dripping, severed head of Karadzic, next to three other severed Serb-leaders’ heads:

The Bosnian-Muslim government apparently thought it was a good idea, and reconstituted this WWII Nazi unit to fight in the ’90s. (See “Reviving Nazism: Bosnian Muslim Government Reformed the Nazi SS Division Handzar in 1993” and “Albanians and Afghans fight for the heirs of Bosnia’s SS past.”)

No wonder Stephen Ahmad Schwartz still wants us to believe that the side fighting against fascists was the fascist one. And if one wants to seize on the Liberian-Serb “connection,” here’s another Liberian connection: Swede on trial for war crimes in Bosnia

STOCKHOLM — Proceedings opened against a Swedish national for war crimes committed when he served as a Bosnian army volunteer…In interviews on the eve of the trial, [Jackie] Arklov has admitted to many of the alleged crimes including threatening and assaulting victims when he served as a volunteer with Bosnian-Croatian forces in 1993.

Although Liberian-born — as a boy he was adopted by Swedish parents — he was part of a neo-Nazi group that [in] 1999 robbed a bank in southern Sweden, and shot two police officers who had set up a road block.

The war crimes probe was re-opened in May 2004 after one of his former victims who lives in Sweden approached authorities.

(Incidentally — like Schwartz — Sweden’s neo-Nazis also oppose the Serb cause and support Kosovo independence: “A group of 20 neo-Nazis were detained by police in Stockholm [in March 2008]. The neo-Nazis were on their way to disrupt a demonstration by 400 Serbs protesting Kosovo’s independence… ‘They were behaving badly and were armed with golf-clubs and stones,’ said police spokesperson Ann-Charlotte Wejnäs to TT.”)

And still, we must thank Schwartz for bringing up fascism. Because in his Serb-Nazi fantasy, there’s another missing link: anti-Semitism. But it’s not missing from Stephen Sandalio Suleyman Schwartz’s beloved Bosniaks. Just look at all the Serb-Bosniak contrast.

Anti-Semitism also happens to be a central feature of the Left, the international establishment, and the globalizing world — all those who point the finger at Serbia after blitzkrieging it. In contrast to the more tortured “common thread” that SS Schwartz pretends to discern in order to buttress his perpetual anti-Serb agenda, the real connection that is truly dangerous is: Nazism, jihad, and Europe (a measure of which is the very anti-Semitic Norway).

Nor should one leave out the U.S. establishment that idolizes such a Europe. (As SS Schwartz himself put it positively: “the globalization represented by the U.S. and EU.”) There’s a reason that when Joe Biden came to the Balkans in 2009, he was greeted by some in Serbia with signs calling him a fascist, or reading, “Biden, you Nazi scum, go home.” One didn’t have to be a “Serb hardliner” or “ultranationalist” to know that this is precisely what Biden — and the “new” Europe — represent. This is the case even if Biden had never called for placing the entire Serb population into concentration camps.

Indeed, the “fascist” inversion that Schwartz engages in is exactly the grand scheme of the international establishment. Rodney Atkinson — author and former British Ministerial Adviser who outlined the Fascist and Nazi foundations of the European Union — called out the inversion being made by the mainstream between itself and the conservative thinkers cited by Breivik: “What is Fascism? The Left’s (Deliberate?) Confusion”:

The totalitarian left (now very much part of the British political class) are trying to associate the lunatic Norwegian mass murderer with “the right” — which they term “fascist”. The history of Nazism and fascism tells a rather different story, where it is quite clear that it is the left which needs to hang its head in shame.

Nazism (the National Socialist German Workers Party) and Fascism are not right wing nationalist movements, although fascists and some extreme nationalists have some attitudes in common. But the right wing nationalist in France, Jean Marie Le Pen joined the resistance to French fascism and fought against the Nazis in the Second World War. The socialist Francois Mitterand on the other hand was a member of the Nazi-collaborating Vichy Government — and received an award “La Francisque” for his loyalty to the cause. Jacques Delors, that other founder of the present European Union and on the left of French politics was in the French equivalent of the Hitler Youth!

In Britain Oswald Mosley, who was at one time in the Conservative Party and became a Labour Minister was later to become the leader of the British Union of Fascists (invited by the young embryo euro-federalist Kenneth Clarke to speak at the Cambridge University Conservative Association!) The Fascist leader of Italy from 1925 to 1945, Benito Mussolini, had previously edited the newsletter of the Italian Socialist Party. “Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism as it is a merging of state and corporate power,” wrote Mussolini, “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” He doesn’t exactly sound like Margaret Thatcher or Norman Tebbit, does he? But he does rather sound like the Advocate General of the left’s favourite empire, the European Union: “Criticism of the EU is akin to blasphemy and could be restrained without affecting freedom of speech”. [Opinion No. C6274/99 P issued by the Advocate-General at the European Court of Justice (The Telegraph, 18 October 2000)]

Fascism, whose principal enemies are communism and liberal democracy, is in fact of the left, the right and the centre, just as its opponents are also to be found on the left, right and centre. It is this very apolitical confusion and its ruthless desire for power and action, which makes Fascism so dangerous. Indeed, fascism appeals particularly to the so-called centre, the “third way” politicians, those who seek a half-baked mixture of left and right, of capitalism and socialism and who seek nothing more than to wield power through the State. No wonder that Tony Blair fits so well into the European fascist tradition — third way, supranationalist, eurofederalist and corporatist — sustained by the donations of big business and big unions. Having sacrificed so much British democracy on the altar of European corporatism Blair has, on retirement, obtained lucrative jobs in large supranational corporate institutions. It was of course the Liberal Lloyd George who said in 1936 that “Hitler is the greatest living German. It is a pity there are not more like him in England”.

[ “Supranationalism” is anti nation-state, Atkinson explains, “and because the large corporations which push such supranational aims to further their interests at the expense of democratic nationhood, supranationalism is the international version of corporatism and collectivism.”]

The opponents of Fascism include communism and democratic socialism and liberal conservatism — the latter promoting free trade and enterprise capitalism. Left-wing socialists (a minority in the Labour Party) share the liberal conservative support for popular sovereignty, the authority of Parliament, common law, democratic nationhood and, nearly always, Protestantism. Orthodox Christianity, with no Pope-like figure, is also based on pluralism and nation states — i.e. Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Serb Orthodox etc…

Serbs getting tagged as the Nazis becomes even richer when actual Nazi revivalists are entering the EU (Croatia), WWII Nazis are dying free men there, or being acquitted of war crimes in certified EU members such as Hungary:

Hungary Nazi war crimes suspect Sandor Kepiro acquitted (July 18)

Ex-police captain Sandor Kepiro, 97, was found not guilty of ordering the rounding up and execution of more than 30 Jews and Serbs in Serbia in 1942…Many of the dozens of people attending the court session cheered and clapped after Judge Bela Varga read out the verdict of the three-judge tribunal…More than 1,200 Jewish, Serb and Roma civilians were murdered over three days by Hungarian forces in a notorious massacre in the city of Novi Sad in 1942…[Kepiro] was convicted of involvement in the killings in Hungary in 1944 but his conviction was quashed by the fascist government…[Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Efraim Zuroff] said… “This is a joke.” Serbian chief prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic said… “I was shocked at the behaviour in the court and the fact that the verdict was greeted with applause,” he said. “It was a nauseating scene.”

Serbia’s Jews undeterred by Kepiro acquittal (July 18)

“It is not unexpected from a Hungarian society which is not yet mature enough to face its past,” said Ana Frenkel of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre and a leader of the Novi Sad Jewish community…The defence had insisted there was no tangible evidence that Kepiro had carried out war crimes….

The evidence went down the Danube to the Black Sea…The Hungarian army had to use dynamite to blow holes in the ice in order to drown the Jews and Serbs.” — John Peter Maher, Professor Emeritus

Acquittal of Kepiro in Novi Sad killings roils Jewish leaders (July 19)

…Applause and cheers broke out in the courtroom Monday as Judge Bela Varga announced the verdict…Kepiro also was suspected of being involved in and responsible for the death of about 30 other civilians who were executed on the banks of the Danube River in Novi Sad, shot through holes cut into the frozen river.

Kepiro had been found guilty of involvement in the massacre twice: once by the pre-Nazi Hungarian courts in 1944, and again after the war, in 1946. By then he allegedly had fled via Austria to Argentina. He returned to Budapest in 1996, where he was located by Efraim Zuroff, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office.

[Zuroff said,] “This verdict contradicts what we know about the events in Novi Sad on Jan. 23, 1942. It is an insult to the victims, an insult to the Jewish community, to the Serbian community, and it’s a very sad day for Hungary.”

Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, said in a statement that “Holocaust survivors view this verdict as a betrayal by Hungarian judicial authorities of the demands of justice and memory. Hungary has turned its back on history in failing to come to grips with its collaborationist policies with the Nazi regime during World War II.

“At a time when extremist elements compromise present day Hungarian politics, this verdict is particularly unsettling.”

Closing with a note on Hungary, member in good standing of the Nazi-founded EU. First, an email I received from a reader earlier this year, who is a senior analyst at Hicks & Associates (parent company SAIC).

I was actually going to mention the ugly things going on in Hungary. Even though Hungary sacrificed hundreds of thousands of its citizens to German racist policies, because they were Jews, theHungarian government claims to be very concerned about ethnic Hungarian populations in Austria, Slovakia, Romania and Serbia. They have gone so far as to issue them Hungarian passports and documents.

Hungary is going to attempt to use these ethnic pretenses to reverse their territorial losses. With the Hungarian Prime Minister having successfully defended the press restrictions and other nationalistic, almost neo-fascist policies of his government, my guess is that Hungary is going to be making territorial claims at least against Serbia and Slovakia, and they are going to do it with the support of the German right-wing press — along with a lot of conservatives within the German government and military. In that case, Serbia will be facing a prospect of losing about another third — and a very valuable third at that [Vojvodina]. Serbia was granted certain territories after World War One, as reparations from the Central Powers. We have to make sure that this does not get reversed through more German, Hungarian and US propaganda. The Germans are strongly behind the Hungarian and Ukrainian demands for territorial restitution because they still have a gleam in their eye for Sudetenland, Pomerania and even East Prussia. The East Germans have slowly been building power in Germany and they want it all back. Even the aristocratic von und zu German Minister of Defence talks longingly about the extensive lands which his family once owned in Bohemia, Poland and German East Africa…

Why is it that the international media isn’t making any fuss at all about the fact that Hungary has effectively eliminated all of the short-lived freedoms of their press? … [T]here are a lot of Israelis buying up land in Hungary — in some cases it’s the same land that was taken from their grandparents. I guess a little insurance never hurts, but they are definitely getting their policies from the wrong insurer.

Another email this year in which Hungary came up, this time from a Russian-Jewish reader who moved to Hungary after 15 years in America (because his family roots are there): “I can’t say anything good about Hungary. It’s a complete mini-USSR. Though today they are all ‘businessmen’.”

Q: Were you aware of the KLA and Bosnian Muslims’ ties to Osama bin Laden at the time you were negotiating with them?

A: Yes.

Richard C. Holbrooke, September 10, 2002

Below I’ve transcribed some of the most compelling parts from this clip of the documentary “Sarajevo Ricochet” by journalist J.M. Berger, which aired in Norway in April.

UN peace negotiator in Bosnia Thorvald Stoltenberg witnessed the arms smuggling and claims the United States directly supplied the Bosnians. “We saw Iranian planes and American planes coming in with arms and military equipment…I saw it myself, the planes.”

Every American official interviewed by Berger denies that the United States directly provided weapons to the Bosnians, but most admitted that all other arms suppliers were welcome.

By 1995 some 2000 jihadists had traveled to Bosnia according to the research of Esad Hasimovich. Soon, the jihadists also started to kidnap and kill soldiers and civilians serving in the UN peacekeeping mission to Bosnia. They created gruesome propaganda videos executing prisoners of war….

[Galbraith: Mujahedeen atrocities not a big issue.]

But Esad’s investigation shows that mujahedeen war crimes rose to new levels in Bosnia during the last year of the war. Serb prisoners were tortured and executed in public places then buried in mass graves.

For Esad, this is not just a Bosnian story. This is a story about the spread of global jihad. “It was something different from the war, because the Bosnian war was over in December of 95. But it was my mistake. For these groups, war was not over.”

[Former NSA Bosnia intelligence chief John R. Schindler:] “By 1995 there were already European governments that were very concerned about some of the al Qaida footprints in Bosnia that was [sic] now spreading out across Europe. It’s not an accident that after 911, many of these governments quietly told Washington, ‘We told you, we were warning you about this a half decade ago and you called us crazy, not a team player, being difficult, paranoid.’ But the reality is it was several European governments who in the mid to late 1990s were far more proactive than the U.S. government in fighting al Qaeda and in my mind they’re allowed to say ‘Hey, we’ve been in this fight longer than you have, we got it long before you did. It was your policies that — certainly didn’t cause it — but facilitated a lot of this badness.”

On December 14th, 1995, the same day as the Dayton accord was to be signed, a key leader of the mujahideen was conveniently killed. The Egyptian Anwar Shaban, commander of the mujahedeen forces and an ally of Osama bin Laden, was ambushed near the Bosnian border. In his bullet-ridden car, a notebook was found. Esad Hasimovic got a copy of the notebook and it reveals the discussions and postwar plans of the mujahedeen. It says they were prepared to attack the NATO forces that were coming into Bosnia to replace the UN peacekeepers. The mujahedeen wanted to use the country as a new European base for the global jihad. For president Alija Izetbegovic this notebook would have been a devastating political scandal. Shaban had invited the president to several meetings with the mujahedeen shortly before the Dayton accord was signed. Shaban filmed the meetings and made detailed transcripts. In defiance of the terms he agreed to during the Dayton negotiations, Izetbegovic continued to promise the mujahedeen fighters they could stay in Bosnia. The record of these meetings was a nightmare for the Bosnian intelligence service. They knew Shaban planned to use the transcripts and photos to blackmail the Bosnian leadership. They also had another reason to be worried. Propaganda videos that included footage from one of the meetings carefully edited out the face of a man sitting next to the president. But the original picture reveals the man was Abu Mali, one of Osama bin Laden’s top allies in Europe. And Bosnian intelligence documents showed that the leaders of the mujahedeen, Shaban and Mali, were in close telephone contact with al Qaeda operatives and with Osama bin Laden personally.

Closing with some quotes:

[Kosovo] is reminiscent of the situation in Bosnia a few years earlier where, according to the Jerusalem Post, the Clinton administration had sought “to keep the lid on the pot at all costs” regarding its role in abetting the Iranian infiltration of the country with mujahedin, military trainers and heavy weapons during the 1992-1995 civil war.

– Christopher Deliso, Balkanalysis.com, June 22, 2007

Western journalists failed to note that the (Bosnia) Muslim ruling party, while portraying itself as thoroughly democratic and impressively multicultural, in fact was run by and for Islamists of a radical bent, whose ideal society was revolutionary Iran. … That the Bosnian jihad was considered a major success by al-Qaida was something no journalist uttered…[Bosnia] has continued its seemingly relentless slide into crime, corruption and extremism. Radical Islam has a stronger hold there than ever before, and it remains a mystery to me why Western governments continue to not give this problem, in the heart of Europe, the attention it deserves.”

– John R. Schindler, professor of Strategy at U.S. Naval War College and former NSA analyst, Town Hall, Oct. 18, 2007

“If you read President Izetbegovic’s writings, as I have, there is no doubt that he is an Islamic fundamentalist,” said a senior Western diplomat with long experience in the region… “This has not changed. His goal is to establish a Muslim state in Bosnia, and the Serbs and Croats understand this better than the rest of us.”

“Bosnian Leader Hails Islam at Election Rallies,” New York Times, Sept. 2, 1996

Osama bin Laden — stripped of his Saudi citizenship in 1994 — is alleged to have retained the Bosnian passport he was issued in Vienna in 1993. According to a Sept. 1999 report in Dani, a Bosnian Muslim weekly paper, Alija Izetbegovic, then president of Bosnia, granted Mr. bin Laden a passport in recognition of his followers’ contributions to Mr. Izetbegovic’s quest to create a “fundamentalist Islamic republic” in the Balkans.

…While no exact numbers exist, it is estimated that between 1,500 and 3,500 Arab volunteers participated in the Bosnian civil war…According to reports, it was the mujahedeen who committed some of the worst atrocities of the war, under Gen. Nasir Oric in the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica. Beheadings of Serbian civilians were commonplace, and in some villages the mujahedeen would dynamite homes with the inhabitants trapped inside.

Alija Izetbegovic was also proud to display the fighting prowess of his mujahedeen volunteers… Mujahedeen warriors had served as the vanguard of the assault force, and were awarded 11 decorations for valour, including the Golden Crescent, Bosnia’s highest honour.

Yugoslav intelligence estimates that citizenship was granted to more than 1,500 mujahedeen, including al-Qaeda members, following the Dayton Peace Accord in 1995…According to Miroslav Lazanski, author of the new book, Osama bin Laden Against America, al-Qaeda members still maintain two bases in Bosnia, one of them reserved for top fighters.

Following the Sept. 11 attacks, FBI and CIA agents uncovered evidence that two of the suicide hijackers had originated from this Bosnian camp. The commander of the camp, an Algerian named Abu Mali, was subsequently arrested while travelling in Istanbul on a Bosnian passport.

Scott Taylor, “Bin Laden’s Balkan Connections,” Ottawa Citizen, Dec. 15, 2001

[There is a] call to Jihad at the beginning [of Izetbegovic’s Islamic Declaration]…Political Islam was the foundation of the Bosnian Government, and the Serbs were right to be concerned…[The Declaration] shows, beyond dispute, that his aim was an Islamic state in which minorities would only be tolerated in so far as they adopted Islamic values and lifestyle (i.e., became dhimmis). In his Unholy Terror, John Schindler quotes a Bosnian newspaper (early 90s) in which a high-up Bosnian Government official also talks of the aim of establishing an Islamist state. Importantly, the tone is very much that of the Islamic Declaration.

– A. Millar, editor of European Son website and contributor to Hudson NY

The “Islamic Declaration” can and should be compared to Marx’s “Communist Manifesto”, a pamphlet that not only defines the objectives of “Islamic revival” (i.e. return to the basics, or fundamentalism) but also lays out the strategy and tactics of waging jihad wherever there are Muslims. The world’s Muslims are normally a fractious lot, so it is important to note that Izetbegovic was honored from Morocco to Malaysia, and by any and all “flavors” of Islam in between. Nobody else on the planet is thought of as highly in Rabat, Ankara, Cairo, Riyadh, Tehran, Islamabad and Jakarta alike. Also note that the awards and recognitions he received were for contributions to Islam as such, rather than some supposed heroism in the Bosnian War. Though one could argue that getting the “Great Satan” to fight his jihad for him is no small feat.

Every Muslim male soldier was [buried as a “martyr”]. Even today, when Muslims talk of their war dead, they speak of “shaheed and fallen fighters” (the latter being the few non-Muslims who joined the “Bosnian Army”). But the clear implication is that all the Muslims who fought and died were martyrs in the jihad. They never call it a jihad, of course (bad press and all) but it is written on every tombstone that it was.

Back in March, there was a story on Bosnian Serb TV of a Muslim woman from Srebrenica (Hasa Omerovic), who refused to have her husband buried under the “path of Allah” sign in Potocari [where the Srebrenica memorial is], and insisted instead to have him buried in Tuzla, under a secular tombstone.

She couldn’t afford this, mind you, so the Bosnian Serb authorities pitched in. She was simply VILIFIED by the Muslim public (”Chetnik whore”, etc.), while the “Mothers of Srebrenica” argued she was defiling their “holy place, their pilgrimage.” (Incidentally, proving correct my thesis from the Bleiburg article.)

– email from Nebojsa Malic, June 2011

Another one of these mass arrests of Our Friends the Albanians.

Kosovo is increasingly looking like a stimulus package for more jobs for the police, DEA and FBI.

In all the reports below, there is a reference to the drug operation functioning for “more than a decade.” Gee, what happened just over a decade ago that could have facilitated so many badasses from the Balkans?

One certainly wonders how Bronx Congressman Eliot Engel is planning on getting reelected if the entire constituency whose bidding he’s been doing is in jail?

Dozens Of Albanians Charged In NY Case Related To Violent Drug Ring (July 13)

NEW YORK (AP) — A ruthless syndicate of ethnic Albanians in the United States, Canada and Europe orchestrated a multimillion drug-dealing scheme spanning a decade, at times hiding shipments of cocaine in luxury cars and using gunplay and other violence to protect its turf, U.S. authorities said Wednesday.

An indictment unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn charged 37 people with multiple counts of conspiracy to smuggle and distribute massive amounts of high-grade marijuana and cocaine.

A strike force of agents and officers from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the New York Police Department and other agencies arrested most of the defendants Wednesday during raids in the New York City area, New Jersey, Colorado and Florida.

U.S. authorities said one reputed ringleader named in the indictment, Arif “The Bear” Kurti, already is serving time in Albania for heroin trafficking, but has continued to give orders from behind bars using smart phones smuggled into prison.

Court papers filed in New York described the ring as a network of “several inter-related ethnic Albanian family clans” that spanned the globe in pursuit of illicit profits and used violence “for the specific purpose of intimidating, eliminating or retaliating against witnesses and law enforcement agents.”

Earlier this year, three of the defendants gave a “clean-cut” patron of a Bronx bar a vicious beating because they suspected he was an undercover officer who was following them, the court papers said. A dispute over a drug debt prompted two ring members to track down another victim June 4 at a busy Bronx cafe, where they pulled guns, chased him out the door and shot him in both legs, the papers added.

A four-year investigation found that the ring smuggled tens of thousands of kilos of marijuana into the United States from Mexico and Canada by hiding it in tractor trailers carrying legitimate cargo, court papers said. The drugs were stashed in warehouses in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx before being distributed throughout the city and suburbs.

The syndicate also smuggled cocaine inside hidden compartments in luxury sedans shipped by U.S. car dealers to Albania and elsewhere in Europe, authorities said. Last year, one of the ring’s couriers was caught at the airport in Lima, Peru carrying clothing saturated with 24 kilos of liquid cocaine, they added.

Raids in New York on Wednesday resulted in the recovery of 18 firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, authorities said. Previous seizures in Manhattan netted nearly $2 million in alleged drug proceeds.

And yes, please do note that the CBS editor’s headline for the AP item above actually reads “Albanians” this time — as opposed to “former Yugoslavs” or “people from the Balkans.” Maybe someone’s catching on?

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office Press Release (37 ALLEGED MEMBERS AND ASSOCIATES OF AN INTERNATIONAL ETHNIC-ALBANIAN ORGANIZED CRIME SYNDICATE ARRESTED: Defendants Charged with Trafficking Cocaine, Marijuana, MDMA and Prescription Drugs, and Laundering Tens of Millions of Dollars in Narcotics Proceeds) we see that the syndicate is referred to as “the Thaqi organization.” Appropriately, the same name as the criminal Kosovo state’s prime sinister Hashim Thaci (alternately spelled Thaqi or Taci, and pronounced ‘Tachi’) — and of course other familiar last names, such as Berisha (Albania’s prime minister), also pop up:

…Most of the defendants were arrested earlier today in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan, Long Island, Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange, Albany, New Jersey, Colorado and Florida…Two defendants were arrested last month following a drug-related shooting, and several others are already in custody for previously charged crimes. One of the alleged ringleaders was arrested by law enforcement agents in Albania, and the United States has requested his extradition…

DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Gilbride stated, “…DEA’s Strike Force and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners were successful in dismantling the Thaqi organization…”

If convicted, the three alleged leaders of the syndicate, Gjavit Thaqi, Arif Kurti and Gjevelin Berisha, charged with operating a continuing criminal enterprise and using firearms in furtherance of their drug trafficking crimes, face a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence and a maximum penalty of life imprisonment…

And a report from The Wall Street Journal (Oh thank you, Your Holiness, for deigning to report something negative about your beloved Albanians/”Kosovars”): Drug Ring Arrests

More than three dozen members and associates of an alleged Albanian organized-crime syndicate have been charged in a long-running scheme to smuggle cocaine, marijuana and prescription drugs into the U.S., as well as Canada and Europe, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

A federal indictment outlined the purported decadelong scheme - and revealed an array of colorful nicknames the defendants allegedly used: “The Bear,” “Juicehead,” “Fat Ange,” “Jo-Jo,” “The Kid,” “Lucky” and “Little Guy,” among others. Some echoed the monikers of Italian organized crime. A man named Faik Mehmeti was known as “Frank Nitti,” according to the indictment.

Prior to Wednesday’s arrests, the syndicate was allegedly involved in negotiations to obtain hundreds of kilograms of cocaine from South America, some of which would be shipped to Canada in exchange for high-grade hydroponic marijuana, prosecutors said.

A small New York press got the drop on all the media, though, months ago, preempting even the Feds’ press release — indicating that at least some in New York are finally waking up to the Kosovo in their midst. Check out this three-part March-to-July series on Albanian organized crime — and check out the picture. This is The Bronx, Folks. The threatening, blood-and-darkness Albanian flag is making its presence known as Kosovo lawlessness entrenches itself on our shores:


A graffiti mural in Albanian featuring the double-headed eagle, off Lydig Ave. in the Bronx.

An introduction to the New York-Albanian mob by Kevin Heldman (March 11)

It’s not every day that two weed dealers from New York City face the death penalty.

These two are a pair of Albanian-American brothers from Staten Island named Saimir and Bruno Krasniqi, ages 29 and 26. They, along with a 27-year-old partner named Almir Rrapo — who was a civil servant in Albania, working for a deputy prime minister at the time of his arrest — led a crew of 15 other men. The other members of their crew were Albanian, too.

I first heard about Albanians and the street in the mid 1980s. They tore through the Westchester County Fair at Yonkers Raceway with baseball bats over some type of beef. They were just beginning to make a name for themselves here for craziness. Do not fuck with the Albanians was quickly becoming conventional wisdom.

New York City has the largest Albanian population in the United States, and for 25 years a small number of them have been popping up in spectacular ways on the blotter: shooting up Scores strip club; putting a hit out on Giuliani and his prosecutor; employing an active-duty cop for crime jobs; muscling in on and pulling guns on the Gambino family during a sit-down at a gas station (allegedly); demanding John Gotti’s old table at Raos (allegedly). Plaurent “Lenti” Dervishaj, the most-wanted fugitive in his native Albania, the alleged head of an organized-crime syndicate, is on the federal authorities’ most-wanted list for New York City. (Among other things, he had rocket launchers.)

Albanian gangsters maintain a serious presence in Europe and a serious reputation among people who study transnational organized crime. They get shouted out in Grand Theft Auto.

We all should know this, but it has to be said: This is just one story about one aspect of a community, and a people. Mother Teresa was Albanian. So was the kind lady in the bakery in the Bronx who schooled me on burek and sudjuk, and so was the man who took me into his home when I rang his bell out of the clear blue at night after bouncing around Albanian businesses in Staten Island all day and depositing a long letter into the Krasniqi family mailbox.

[Notice that journalists don’t bother with these otherwise ubiquitous courteous disclaimers when writing negatively about Serbs.]

Walking through some sketchy urban blight I stumbled upon and into a large building housing the very substantial Albanian-American Institute.

Albania is a small country but special in some unfortunate ways, not least of which is the presence of a significant political-criminal syndicate within the government.

It’s a prime transit zone for heroin….The product goes from Afghanistan to Iran to Turkey and then to the Balkans where “interception efficiency drops significantly…the route is exceedingly well organized and lubricated with corruption,” according to the The World Drug Report 2010, produced by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The report also notes that “…important networks have clan based and hierarchically organized structures. Albanian groups in particular have such structures making them particularly hard to infiltrate.” There is an old Albanian tradition of families and clans (fins, fares) and a code of honor (besa) that criminals appropriate and corrupt.

Albania also has been a very significant corridor for human trafficking (sex work) and smuggling of migrants. Ethnic Albanians are also heavily involved in the fake-passport industry.

There’s reportedly mass production of marijuana there; the government is considered to be statistically one of the most corrupt in the world. (Ilir Meta, the minister Rrapo worked for, recently resigned and is being investigated.) Close to 50 percent of Albania’s young men (the 15- to 24-year-olds, the prime age of lawbreakers) are unemployed. A significant amount of money made illegally by Albanians abroad is sent back home, where, according to reports, it can be laundered.

IN AUGUST 2010 THE U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE IN MANHATTAN unsealed a 37-page indictment against the “Krasniqi Organization” (which is almost certainly not what they called themselves). The FBI, which has a standing Albanian Organized Crime Task Force, and the New York Joint Organized Crime Force conducted the operation…

In the indictment, the crew is alleged to have smuggled marijuana over the border from Canada into Detroit (significantly, they’re charged with operating in the Eastern District of Michigan; more on this later) and Buffalo and then couriered it to New York.

The Krasniqis are supposed to have moved and distributed more than 100 kilos of marijuana. The authorities are seeking millions in asset forfeitures. Three of the crew were on unemployment.

THERE ARE ALBANIAN NEIGHBORHOODS ON EITHER SIDE of East Fordham Road in the Bronx: Pelham Parkway on one side, the Belmont section on the other. (There are smaller concentrations of Albanians on Staten Island, in Brooklyn and in Queens.) It’s an area where you can pick up copies of Illyria newspaper, where you see the double-headed eagle flag fly on rearview mirrors and the stickers proudly advertising “The World’s Newest Country,” Kosovo.

It’s where you walk into cafés and drink strong espresso in the middle of the day as strong-looking adult men do their social-club thing. It’s where the 40-something in a track suit schools me on the food and culture, where the younger Albanian homeboys with ball caps and sneakers talk about cars doing 180 m.p.h and their dreams of opening up a pizzeria one day.

These are the facts, according to the government: In 2005 Erion Shehu was shot and killed in a drive-by in Queens, allegedly by the Krasniqis and Rrapo. Nineteen shots, seven hits. Gambling receipts on his person and a gun in his car.

Six months after this (court records talk about the Krasniqi brothers’ habit around this time of sticking guns into people’s mouths to threaten them), the Krasniqis shot Erenick Grezda in the head and dumped him on the side of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

In part of his guilty plea, Sejdaris said that he was in the car when Grezda’s murder took place (apparently his guns were used; court records indicate he was charged with possession of a machine gun). It was also Sejdaris’ car and it was torched to get rid of evidence. He was reimbursed for it. Sejdaris told the court that they used to call Grezda “Eri” for short; it seems they were friendly. They were all boys at one point.

They were such boys that they were together with the others in on the Shehu killing. Friends told the court that Grezda later laughed about it.

AROUND 2005, GREZDA WAS KIDNAPPED BY A RIVAL ALBANIAN gang the Krasniqis had ripped off. Bruno was kidnapped, too, by four masked men — the same ones who had taken Grezda.

They were driven to Michigan.

Grezda was beaten so badly he could barely walk. He gave up the Krasniqis as the robbers. He was left bloody and naked in downtown Detroit. A good samaritan put him on a bus to New York.

Meanwhile, Bruno called Saimir, who was living in Michigan at the time (the Eastern District) and told him that he had to pay a $350,000 ransom for his life. Saimir, supposedly in the crime game since 2003, and having just killed someone four months earlier (Shehu), called the FBI.

A news account from the time says that the Bureau mobilized 50 agents. Saimir cooperated in a sting and they arrested the bagman during the money drop-off. The bagman, a political asylum seeker and restaurant worker, Franc Shestani, refused to cooperate, reportedly saying “just go ahead and shoot me now.” Bruno was later dropped off in a gas station along I-75…

Around this same time, very near where Saimir was living in Michigan, rival Albanian gangs were terrorizing Oakland and Macomb Counties, hanging around a coffee shop named Goodfellows…making people beg for their life at gunpoint, planning at one point to ride in on motorcycles with AK-47s to settle a dispute.

The purported leader of one of the gangs, Ketjol Manoku, 26, used a nine millimeter to shoot four other Albanians in a minivan. (All this was going on literally in Eminem and Kid Rock territory…) Manoku and two other Albanian twenty-somethings are now doing multiple life sentences in Michigan state prisons…

Two months after the whole kidnapping, FBI sting went down in Michigan, the Krasniqis murdered their boy Erenick Grezda in New York in retaliation.

Bruno Krasniqi’s other attorney, Kelley Sharkey, politely told me to leave him alone…Sharkey has defended a Gambino hit man and has been publicly hated by a law enforcement association. She defended a Staten Island banger who killed two undercover detectives, one of them as he pled for his life. She asked a jury to show him mercy, mercy he himself didn’t show; she asked each of them to be a better person than her client was. The reporter in the courtroom wrote that her voice broke, and that she cried for a second. She wasn’t just doing her job, he said.

The trial for the drug charges is scheduled to start on May 23. A separate trial on the racketeering charges, involving both the Krasniqis and a rival crew, will begin in October. I’ll attend both.

Some people I’ve talked to in the course of reporting this story have asked, pointedly, why any of this is interesting, and why it’s worth writing about. There are tens of thousands of Albanians in New York working multiple jobs, raising children and going to church.

Two young men are dead, two more men might be executed. At least 16 other young men will spend years, maybe the rest of their lives, in cages. There are surely many mothers and fathers crying, girlfriends and wives devastated, families wrecked.

It happens all the time, I’ve been told. It’s a valid point.

My answer is that not to bother to try to explain why and how it all happened is like not having a proper funeral service for the dead, and that telling the story is a way of showing we’re better than those who don’t or can’t give a damn about their own lives, or other people’s. […]

The big trial: An Albanian-American crime story, from 15 Mile Road to Pearl Street (June 9)

To understand the story of Albanian organized crime in New York City, where the murder and drug-trafficking trials of the notoriously violent Krasniqi brothers and their associates got underway this week, I had to go to Michigan.

For five hours in a prison on the Canadian border, I sat across a table from Ketjol Manoku. He’s in for murder — 10 felony sentences. His latest motion had been denied the day before I arrived.

He’s 200-plus pounds and six feet tall, with a shaved head and a Viking beard. I told him he looked pretty hard…The only thing that was missing from the classic profile was a tattoo; his corrections sheet stated that he had none. But of course during the interview he pulled up his sleeve and there it was: A prison tat of the doubled-headed eagle, maybe 8 inches tall on the top part of his arm, representing Shqiptar [Albanians] everywhere.

He told me matter-of-factly that prison is too easy. It’s like high school. In Albania, he said, he was once beaten by police until his grey shirt was bright red and the cops were paid off the next day and he was let go. He said he fired his first gun at age 11 — a Russian version of a .45.

He and his friend once saw two men get shot in front of them…A lot of his friends from back home are dead now…

Manoku didn’t like school, and left at 16 or 17. At 19 he did a year in the army, which he described in carefully vague terms as something like special forces. He didn’t say much about the training, other than it taught him how to be good at being violent.

He went to Greece, got involved in some crime there, including counterfeiting money, and was deported back to Albania. He had five different passports.

He came to America in 2001 looking for a new life. He snuck in through Mexico, speaking no English.

He had family in Michigan (in Macomb and Oakland counties). He worked in restaurants, and lived in a ghetto area at first…He did security, helping organize concerts featuring Albanian singers in Michigan, and had a small cleaning company. He was also involved in some muscle work, persuading people to pay debts to criminals. So, say, an Albanian would be smuggled into America for a fee of $12,000; he’d pay $8,000 up front but once he’s here in America he wouldn’t want to pay the rest. Manoku would be the guy sent to convince him to settle up.

…He hung in the Albanian coffee shops in the Detroit area and met the infamous Krasniqi brothers there. Another Albanian gangster named Elton (Tony) Sejdaris introduced them.

He talked about a good Albanian friend getting murdered at a Michigan concert, and about going to New York to visit the Krasniqis and checking out mobster Paul Castellano’s house. He talked about two Albanian friends who went to Chicago on a drug deal with some Latinos and were killed and had their bodies burned. He said he went there to look into it. There were no arrests.

The Krasniqis are his friends, he said. Sometimes they translated for him.

Sejdaris, who is cooperating in the New York trial and has pled guilty, is definitely not a friend. Manoku called Sejdaris a coward, and said he always thought he was the weakest link in his network. He has the same dislike and contempt for a man who took a plea deal — Florjon Carcani, eight years — and testified against him and his two co-defendants: Edmond Zoica, life sentence, and Oliger Merko, 8 life sentences, two aliases. Manoku blames Carcani for lying in exchange for leniency, and for destroying his life.

There was apparently some friction between two groups of young Albanians. It was about north versus south Albanians, or perceived disrespect, or something to do with a woman, or a physical fight, or all of the above. When I pressed for details Manoku offered a lot of “let’s leave it at that.”

Manoku said he called for a peace meeting after an altercation and hands were shook and the beef was supposedly finished.

A week later two north boys jumped his boys. Manoku said he made phone calls and the other crew didn’t yield; they basically said that was how things were going to be.

He said two nights later, on July 17, 2004, at around 11:30 p.m., he was hanging in the parking lot of an apartment complex with his friends…Manoku said a van rolled into the parking lot with five people in it. He called out, “What’s up.”

Manoku said an A.K.-47 was pointed out the window of the vehicle. He said he went under a bush where a nine-millimeter was stashed and pulled it out and said, “Put the gun down.”

Manoku said the car accelerated toward him, and he fired, hitting four of the five young men in the van. One of the men, Marikol Jaku, 20 years old, died; the others were injured. (One of the victims injured that night, Ilirjan Dibra, pled guilty in Macomb County four years later to assault with intent to do great bodily harm.)

Prosecutors say Merko, the friend of Manoku, later tried to retrieve $2,000 and two guns and two boxes of ammo he gave to a friend. He wanted the weapons to kill witnesses [Hello, Kosovo, USA!], the state charged. The friend had turned in the weapons to the police the day of the shooting; Merko ended up assaulting him. Merko’s wife-to-be and family sold their house and business and fled the state; prosecutors say he told them if they talked or went to the police he’d blow up their house. (Manoku disputes this account.) Merko fled to Worcester, Mass. and then to Paterson, N.J., where United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the F.B.I. tracked him down and arrested him about seven months later.

He read the list of the indicted people involved in the upcoming New York trial. He knows the people; he said there are people he and his associates had beef with from Michigan. He wouldn’t speak on it though.

He believes in a god, though he said he’s not really religious. He reads the Koran and the Bible.

The F.B.I. has a task force for organized Balkan crime, in Kew Gardens, Queens. The unit had been dissolved, but it was reconstituted two months ago.

There’s an Albanian double-eagle flag draped over one of the cubicles. The supervising agent, Lou DiGregorio, worked on the Italian mafia for 20 years. He told me a few times that the guys in the Albanian crime game are vicious.

DiGregorio keeps a copy of the Kanun [primitive Albanian honor code] on his desk…He’s right about the desperation of the Albanians, which they seem to take with them, however far they get from the homeland. The Albanians were locked away from the rest of the world during Communism; they went through a genocidal purge [say what?] and an economic collapse. Their children got guns and shot at each other in the streets. They suffered from a horribly corrupt government.

I interviewed the scholar Jana Arsovska, a professor at John Jay College who used to work for Interpol and is an expert on Baltic and Albanian crime. She is working on a book about the kingpins — Acik Can, and the Dacic brothers, Hamdija and Ljutivia, Naser Kelmendi — and their huge networks and business empires; the Chinese immigrants who use Albania for smuggling; and the Kosovo Liberation Army, which produced lots of young men who know how to kill and no longer have a war to fight.

In the book, she documents huge amounts of cocaine seized in ships, and identifies godfathers of the people who inhabit the most-wanted list, with their clubs and hotels and business and government connections. Men like Princ Dobrosh, who had plastic surgery on his face and escaped from prison, and Dhimiter Harizaj, who was arrested in March on charges of involvement in international drug trafficking…

The Krasniqis are small-time, in her estimation, as she considered the weight they moved in the indictment. And they’re not sophisticated. But she allowed that they’re all connected, the Krasniqis and the Detroit players and a recently busted operation in New Jersey.

Of course, some connections to Albanian criminal culture are more real than others.

You have the rappers — the young guns all over YouTube with the Lamborghinis and the rims, posing in parking lots in the Bronx or Yonkers or Staten Island or 15 Mile Road outside of Detroit, wearing double-eagle bandanas stick-up style, brandishing A.K.s or pretending to, smoking weed and calling out real and fake Shqiptar. There are hip-hop groups like The Bloody Alboz, TBA, Uptown Affiliates, and Unikkatil whose names ring bells with young Albanians in the streets and clubs.

Sample lyrics:

“It’s the red and the black, got the warrior blood in my veins

“and

“I got a lotta brothas, terrorists, killaz, mafiaz, drug dealaz
And most of them soldiers, they used to be rebels, living by the mothafuckin gun, so if you
ever even think about fuckin with Albanians, I swear to god you gotta’ run”

Then you have the middle-aged business men, connected and associated with Italian mafia: Alex Rudaj and his Corporation types. Rudaj is still stoic in prison, the F.B.I. says; he won’t say a word. He made his money, then was duly locked up as part of the F.B.I.’s Trojan Horse operation.

You have the middle-management, little sloppy kingpins with their diversified gang members. In 2009 two aging pilots were caught flying 10 kilos of cocaine from Florida to Ocean City Airport in exchange for $15,000. They were caught as part of a four-year-long sting investigation into Balkan criminal enterprises. At least 26 people were charged with distributing and intent to distribute heroin, cocaine, weapons, methamphetamine, ecstasy, Xanax, Oxycodone, Percocet, crystal meth, contraband cigarettes, ketamine (Special K), anabolic steroids and counterfeit sneakers.

The network was headquartered in Paterson (where Merko from Detroit fled and was arrested), and it had ties to Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Canada, the Netherlands, Brooklyn and Staten Island.

…The F.B.I. infiltrated and purchased over 30,000 ecstasy pills, 2.5 kilograms of heroin, a 9 mm handgun, two assault-style weapons and stolen jewelry. Wiretaps and video surveillance at the Royal Warsaw Restaurant and Bar in Elmwood Park and the Borgata Hotel, Casino and Spa in Atlantic City led to the arrests.

The ringleaders were Myfit (Mike) Dika, 44, arrested in an Albanian restaurant in Toronto; Kujtim (Timmy) Lika, 45, still at large (F.B.I.’s Most Wanted in Jersey and supposedly the cousin of the Lika who put a $400,000 hit out on a Giuliani prosecutor); and Gazmir Gjoka, 56, who was arrested in Albania. The group also included a man named Rodan Kote who surrendered to the FBI at Newark’s Liberty Airport.

This was a global operation but it was also ridiculously local. The John Jay professor said that a number of her Albanian students have indictments, charges, connections, warrants due to connections or affiliations with members of the Jersey organization.

You have the lone wolves and freelancers, who are a frightening combination of highly capable and totally unpredictable. This type is exemplified by Din Celaj. Now 27, he started a life of crime at age 10, building up to a sheet that now includes extortion, gun sales, drug sales, burglary, stealing and selling luxury cars, hostage-taking, bank fraud, insurance fraud, credit-card fraud, reckless endangerment, resisting arrest, home invasions, discharging a weapon on the Hutchison River Parkway during a car chase, and shooting out a traffic camera on a highway in the Bronx after he ran a red light.

When Celaj was 16, a bouncer refused to let him into Scores, the strip club. He called some friends, who stopped traffic on the Queensboro Bridge while Celaj leaned across the railing with an Uzi and put six bullets through the windows. In 2009 he recruited an active duty New York City police officer, Darren Moonanto, to help him rob drug dealers.

I’ve gone into seemingly every Balkan bar, café, bakery, and social club in the Bronx and Queens, Staten Island and Detroit. I sent a letter to an Albanian man who was being extorted by two Albanians, who came to his front door with guns, threatening to rape his wife. Both were Krasniqi soldiers. The man shot one dead and injured the other (whose brother is most wanted by the FBI). I’ve called so many disconnected numbers, seen so many Balkan aliases, misspelled and differently spelled names and social security numbers linked to multiple people. I’ve been threatened with violence. I’ve been thrown out and hung up on…

I’ve been asked why I care about Albanians; repeatedly, I’ve had beefy guys ask me “who gives a fuck about the Balkans.”

I’ve talked to a tatted up, patched up, vested up Albanian biker at 3 a.m. while he was hanging with twenty other bikers on a curb in Queens. His cousin turns out to be one of the men under indictment in the upcoming NY trial. He’s from the Bronx and has the Albanian Eagle patch on his vest [so much to be proud of!] not far from his RIP patch…

I met the kindest sweetest old man, an Albanian shop owner in the Bronx named Gjin Noku…Noku said his wife was disabled from 9/11 cleanup, and that his son has somehow gotten caught up in crime. He was an innocent young boy, Noku said; a doorman and a student at Fordham. The son, Spartak Noku, was arrested — something to do with Ecstasy. The father said he wrote to Michael Bloomberg to help clear the son’s record, but didn’t get a response. He asked me for help, and said his boy is innocent. Now Spartak is depressed and wants to do accounting work but this record comes up and he’s not allowed. He gave me an Albanian flag, a beautiful Pristina snow globe, and a statue of the anti-Ottoman warrior-hero George Kastrioti Skanderbeg, who every Albanian knows [and unfortunately whom the Albanian Nazi division was named after].

Before the shopkeeper there was an anonymous tipster who sent me a message with names of unarrested criminals. And after that I met an Albanian criminal who said he’s the owner of six cafes and has been arrested six times.

The criminal has a bullet wound and carries a money clip with 100 dollar bills. After a while of back and forth — I can’t tell you that, I shouldn’t be telling you that — he decided to tell me that he’s working for the F.B.I. as a confidential informant.

I’ve been lied to on this story before over the simplest of things. A 50-something owner of a restaurant in Detroit said he didn’t know any Albanians anywhere in the area, and never heard or saw anything related to Albanians; an hour later I found out his restaurant was across the street from where Manoku shot up the car. The first people I ran into in the nearby housing complex were Albanian, and I found six Albanian cafés and clubs within a two-block radius.

The C.I., a gregarious, back-slapping goodfella, told me that he helped set up one of the meetings between the Gambinos and the Alex Rudaj operation. He mentioned two cafés: Tony’s and Shelia’s. He told me that in an act of violence and disrespect, Rudaj stripped Joe Gambino and maybe some of his men naked. Albanians aren’t scared of an Italian mafioso, he said. They’re only scared of another Albanian, maybe.

He said he’s not scared of anything either, except one thing: He’s scared for his child’s health. He touched the Christian symbol hanging from his rearview mirror…He knows Gjovalin Berisha, a defendant in the upcoming trial, who he says owned a café down the block from a café I’d been at earlier…The C.I. also told me that the owner of a bar I had been in earlier was a major drug dealer, and that his brother is a driver for a minister in Albania.

He gave me two names that seemed to check out: Gjelosh Krasniqi and Ened or Edward Gjelaj. One is in prison in Albania for war crimes; the other, an associate of the Genovese crime family, was in federal custody and now is in a New York prison. The C.I. had them doing way more than they’re in prison for, and named two of their crime partners who are still free.

He said a large bust was coming soon in New York, of up to 50 people, Albanians and Italians. [Probably the one that opened this post.]

I asked him if he could live his life over again what he would do. He didn’t miss a beat: he would be an F.B.I. agent. He loves the agency.

There was a fairly popular Albanian singer named Anita Bitri who had her first hit when she was 16, and who came to the United States in 1996 to make music here. She lived on Staten Island. In 2004, in a tragic accident, she, her mother and her small daughter died from carbon monoxide poisoning. At the time, Anita happened to be dating an Albanian man by the name of Parid Gjoka.

Gjoka wants to write a book about it, and other parts of his life. He’s already written 375 pages.

Gjoka himself is already famous, in a way. He’s not on any of the scores of databases a reporter might check to find out about him. But one aspect he’ll cover in his book is that for years he’s been the most criminally active Albanian felon there is.

Gjoka, 33, came to the United States when he was 17 on a 3-to-6-month temporary visa with no intention of returning to Albania. He said he came for a better life. He did some construction work, valet parking and roofing and hung out in Albanian coffee shops in Ridgewood, Queens. That’s where he met Kujitim Konci, a homeboy from Tirana, who he said had a reputation as one of the biggest gangsters in Albania. Gjoka wanted that lifestyle. From 2000 until his last arrest in 2008 all he did, everyday [sic] he said, is commit crimes.

He’d drive to Michigan to pick up 40 to 50 pounds of weed from Canada and he’d take it back to New York City, Konci tailing him in case he got pulled over. (The emergency plan was for Konci to smash into the police car and say he fell asleep at the wheel.) He said he was trafficking 50 to 100 pounds of marijuana every 10 days. He’d meet a female contact in rest stops near Buffalo and Syracuse, get into her back seat and drop thousands of dollars in a compartment, and she’d drive it across the border to pay the suppliers in Canada. He’d sit in dark cars, negotiating drug deals worth more than $100,000, sometimes with people he’d robbed in the past. These guys would demand to see each other’s families and to be shown where they lived before they did business together, so they’d have leverage.

Gjoka had a crew, and the Krasniqis had a crew, and the two of them worked together obtaining and distributing hundreds of pounds of marijuana from Canada. In 2005 a fight broke out between the crews in a bar. Someone pulled a knife on Gjoka. Gjoka didn’t man up and fight back…The Krasniqis don’t play. They sensed weakness and they were going to take over. They started causing mayhem at Gjoka crew hangouts. A war was on.

The Gjoka crew, which included Erion Shehu, Skender Cakoni, Cela, Gentian Cara and a man named Visi, strapped for combat…The Krasniqi crew killed Shehu…The Krasniqis won. They’d pretty much cornered the weed business. Two members of the Krasniqi crew went back to Albania. One was Almir Rrapo, the civil servant to an Albanian minister. Another was Gentian Kasa, who was later shot to death in Brooklyn in 2007, one of the two soldiers who showed up on that doorstep threatening to rape someone’s wife.

Muscled out of the weed game, Gjoka and others branched out into alien smuggling and ecstasy distribution, in addition to straight-up stealing.

Then there was an arson request for a factory in Jersey by a man named Louie, followed by two other arson jobs.

I heard a defense lawyer say that Gjoka will have spent $180,000 on him, and that he’ll wind up getting a new name, a new identity, and a spot in a special witness-protection program.

The first New York Albanian-mob trial started this week, in a federal courthouse on Pearl Street in Lower Manhattan. Originally there were nine to 11 defendants; Six have since pled guilty….Also pleading was Gentian Nikolli, 34, who came from Albania when he was 21, had guns and…had a reputation in the community for stabbing, punching, kicking people in the face, and committing other acts of violence a “remarkable” number of times. (He assaulted his own father.)…

On May 13, 2011, the U.S. Attorney requested that a plea deal for the Albanian civil servant, Almir Rrapo, be unsealed…The 28-year-old Rrapo, holder of a Masters degree in political science, pled guilty to nine felony counts and agreed to provide assistance to the U.S. government. He said that from 2003 to 2010 in Manhattan, Queens, Detroit and elsewhere, he was part of an operation that distributed 100 kilograms of marijuana (street value $3 million), robbed a marijuana dealer, kidnapped a rival drug dealer, conspired to murder a marijuana supplier, murdered Erion (Lonka) Shehu. Rrapo also copped to possession of ecstasy with intent to distribute, and to supplying guns to others, including one with a silencer…Two men connected to the case are still at large: Dukajin (Duke) Nikollaj and Visi (last name unknown). The Canadian kidnappers, assaulters and drug suppliers are still free.

The tipster also mentioned a “big-time mafioso” responsible for multiple killings in France, Canada and the U.S., who was arrested in Chicago in 2008 and let go eight months later…He mentioned another two Albanians out of Chicago (trafficking 600 pounds of marijuana a week for 10 years, he said), and another Albanian who before 9/11 was bringing kilos of heroin into the U.S. and kilos of cocaine from the U.S. to Europe.

“What you got is just kids,” the tipster told me. “The real gangsters never get caught … the FBI knows it all, they have cut deals with these people and let them work and commit crimes as long as they give somebody from time to time, that’s the way it works… I have just lost faith in the American justice system. They catch the small fish and the big ones are out while everyone knows who they are.” […]

And the last part of the series: The verdict: Feds chip away at the New York-Albanian mob, with bigger battles to come (July 6)

I spent about ten months reporting on Albanian organized crime, all leading up to three weeks in a New York federal court house for the first trial of a group Albanian-Americans with ties to the organized international drug trade.

The jury decided the case in one day.

I was called in by the clerk for the verdict on June 23. Six of the defendants in the case had pled out. The two defendants who didn’t plead out — Plaurent Cela and Skender Cakoni — were convicted on both the counts they were charged with: Narcotics conspiracy, for possession with intent to distribute 100 kilos or more of marijuana; and the possession and use of a firearm in relation to a narcotic trafficking conspiracy. They’ll be sentenced on Sept. 23.

The trial, the first of two involving a large group of Albanian-American organized-crime figures, was the culmination of years of investigation and case-building by the feds…The second trial will take place in October, when two brothers named Bruno and Saimir Krasniqi, the alleged ringleaders of a particularly brutal crew (which warred over turf with Cela and Cakoni’s gang), will be tried along with two or three of their associates. They’ll be facing a RICO trial, for more severe crimes: murder, racketeering, narcotics conspiracy, kidnapping, interstate robbery and extortion…

The trial of Cela and Cakoni was a riveting spectacle, for whoever cared to watch. (Media coverage, other than me, amounted to a Daily News reporter who showed up for half of the first day and never came back.)

And there was an F.B.I. intelligence analyst with a Master’s degree who has spent five years, on and off, charting cell-phone frequency patterns on spreadsheets, studying subscriber sheets and pen registries of guys who used to make pizza or fix roofs but had drifted into drink and drugs and clubbing and, eventually, organized crime.

Elsewhere, the cat-and-mouse game between Albanian-American organized-crime figures and federal law enforcement continues. I was told by the F.B.I. that the kingpin who started all these young men off, Kujitim (Timi) Konci, was arrested in Dallas and is currently in federal custody under the name Kujitim Gonxhe, awaiting trial. (I did some research and found out he’s actually being held as Shpetim Konci.)

Franc Shestani, a bag man arrested by the F.B.I. for the 2005 kidnapping of Bruno Krasniqi (snatched from the Bronx, brought to Detroit), made bail and, according to a New York agent, “has disappeared.”

Meanwhile, sources with connections to the New York-based Albanian-American criminal underworld continue to feed me names (19 of them, at last count) of people they say are still at large and mixed up in serious criminal activity…

Plaurent Dervishaj, Albania’s most wanted criminal and a prominent figure on the F.B.I.’s Most Wanted list, shared the same exact address in Ridgewood, Queens with a man named Gentian Kasa. Kasa was a major figure in the Krasniqi crew, and his name came up repeatedly during the trial. Kasa shared the same exact address with Saimir Krasniqi when they lived in Michigan. Kasa was shot dead in 2007 when he and Plaurent’s brother, Redinel Dervishaj, showed up with guns at the Ridgewood house of a man named Lulzim Kupi, threatened his family and demanded extortion money. Kupi had his own gun and there was a firefight in the streets.

Across the ocean in Albania, in March of this year, the Albanian press reported that “two hundred kilograms of cocaine has ‘disappeared,’ together with evidence against all the people implicated in issuing the orders, and seizing and later dealing with the largest cocaine haul ever seized in our country.” Law enforcement agencies in seven countries were in the loop tracking this cocaine as it made its way from Colombia. […]

A ‘Normal’ Life That Vanished in a Terrorist Attack (NY Times, March 8th)

FRANKFURT — To hear family, friends and neighbors tell it, Arid Uka was a model youth: never involved in violence, or in trouble with the police, unlike many other young men in his predominantly immigrant neighborhood in Frankfurt.

Mr. Uka, 21, they said, was calm and quiet. In 2005, he and some classmates won a government prize for a school project on how to prevent violence in society and posed proudly with Gerhard Schröder, then chancellor of Germany.

So this young man did not succumb to the pull of criminality that swallows up so many Albanian males; instead he opted for jihad. Fitting rather neatly into one of the two categories that Srdja Trifkovic outlined for us: 1) secular, pro-Western, Washington-approved gangsters and Serb-killers. 2) Islamic terrorists (and Serb-killers). So Uka is actually better than the Ft. Dix guys, who had run-ins with the law their whole lives until they finally succumbed to the most popular racket, jihad.

The young man from Kosovo helped his mother at home, cleaned floors, took out the trash and even gave her half his salary for the pilgrimage to Mecca.

He was a devout Muslim who prayed five times a day, but also liked to play video games on a PlayStation and watch “The Simpsons” with his brothers, 27 and 12.

Pause. Considering that the usual explanation given about jihadist-minded Albanians is that they’ve been radicalized like any number of “other Western” Muslims and it has nothing to do with their Kosovo identity; considering that an Albanian’s increased religiosity that leads him to violence usually takes place outside of parental guidance (see the Ft. Dix boys); and considering we were told that the “Kosovars” aren’t religious, what was this boy’s mother doing taking half her son’s earnings to fund her trip to Mecca? It was THAT important to a non-Muslimy Albanian? Then again, the grandfather is an imam in Kosovo.

“He was always thinking about others first and then about himself,” said his mother, Fevzije, 53. According to her, he wanted to become an engineer, have a family and live a normal life.

But last Wednesday, that vision of normal life vanished. German security officials say Mr. Uka perpetrated the first terrorist attack on German soil since Sept. 11, 2001, killing two American airmen and wounding two other men in anger at the U.S. deployment in Afghanistan…

Hey Germany, let’s just make a mental note here: The first post-9/11 terrorist attack on German soil was committed by an Albanian from Kosovo. So maybe 9/11 was a cause to reevaluate your war on their behalf two years earlier and your ongoing policies in the Balkans? As opposed to being anti-terror only outside the Balkans?

Mr. Uka’s 27-year-old brother, Hastrid, said his brother had never shown hatred toward anyone. The two brothers arrived with their mother in Germany when Arid was four years old; their grandfather was an imam in their native Kosovo, but they had been raised to respect other religions; Hastrid’s girlfriend is Jewish, and all three would go to the movies.

Indeed, as noted on this site repeatedly, Albanian Muslims don’t have it in for Jews. In many senses, Albanian defenders are right when they say, “They’re not like that.” The problem is that they create their own, mutated version of “like that.” I suppose I can admit that Albanian jihadism is a bit more charming than that of the soulless, glassy-eyed mujahideen, so I can see why Westerners get confused and even find them endearing. There is a bit of the wacky Balkan charm in them. But once Albanian stop confusing themselves and us, they’re going to get more dangerous.

The family exuded pride that Arid went to high school. “Our dream was to buy a house and live all together with our families one day,” said Hastrid Uka, who like his father is a roofer.

Whether Arid actually finished high school is unclear. He told his family that he had been unable to get an engineering job at a big chemical company last year, so he did social service at the Green Crescent, a Frankfurt group that cares for elderly Muslim immigrants with no family.

Moustafa Shahin, head of the Green Crescent, said he had a school report for Arid Uka only for the 2007-2008 year.

“He was a hardworking person. He did not talk much,” Mr. Shahin said. “He was very loved by the patients and was always on time for the job.”

Last December, Mr. Uka told Mr. Shahin he was quitting because he needed another job to support his family. He then went to work at the post office.

“It’s incomprehensible what happened here,” Mr. Shahin said. “It is totally opposite to how we have known him.”

At the Uka home, the phone rang continuously. Family members and friends seek answers. The family says it has none.

“I am trying to find an answer but I can’t,” said Arid’s father, Murat Uka, asking a reporter whether the dead men had families, of what age. “We are so sorry,” he and Hastrid repeated.

Mr. Uka was born in Kosovska Mitrovica, but his brother said they had known the former Yugoslav province only from vacations. A family video showed Arid there last year with his mother and 12-year-old brother, Kosovar. Arid, a tall, thin young man with shoulder-length hair, smiled shyly into the camera. “He didn’t like to be filmed much,” his mother said. “So sometimes I had to take surprising pictures.”

Is the boy really named…Kosovar?

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

And he’s 12 years old, which means he was born in 1999 — that is, the same year the nationality was spontaneously born. At least they didn’t name him “Albanian,” though that would have been more authentic and accurate.

By all accounts, Mr. Uka had modest habits. “Unlike me, Arid did not spen[d] much money on clothes,” his older brother said. The apartment has one desk with a computer, where Arid and his younger brother did homework.

In their district, second-generation immigrants often face problems in school or finding a job. But Hastrid Uka insisted: “We had a good childhood and our friends came from all nationalities and religions.”

His father added: “Our children were brought up as Muslims, but also as people who respect others no matter what religion they have.”

According to German security officials and prosecutors, the Internet may have played a major role in Mr. Uka’s radicalization. His Facebook page hints at a side of him his family apparently did not know. He posted a link to a jihadist battle hymn: “I can no longer stand this life of humiliation among you. My weapon is ready at all times.”

A German security official who is involved in the investigation but not authorized to speak about it said that Arid Uka had been friends with men known for their radical interpretation of Islam.

But Boris Rhein, the interior minister for the state of Hesse where the airport is situated, said there was no evidence the suspect was part of a larger group, though he added that there was evidence he had targeted U.S. military personnel for ideological reasons.

According to the prosecutor in the case, Mr. Uka told investigators that he had acted alone and that he had decided to carry out the attack after seeing a video on YouTube that apparently showed American soldiers raping a girl in Afghanistan. There is indeed a video that was posted recently on several jihadist forums and is still available that shows men in U.S. uniforms appearing to rape a young woman.

His family said they heard about the video for the first time from the media. “We had no idea about this — but maybe my brother thought it is true and he lost it,” his older brother said.

In Washington, a Pentagon spokesman said the YouTube video was the work of extremists. “It’s clearly part of a propaganda video and contains no reference to when or where the video was shot,” said Col. David Lapan, the spokesman. “How does one determine if it’s authentic and/or investigate?”

The Uka family has not yet seen Arid. “I want to ask Arid, if he has really done it,” said his father with tears in his eyes. “I will ask him: my son, why did you kill?”

Because. Because if you’re from a culture that’s used to killing, it’s hard to get out of the habit. And if you’re in a country where Serbs aren’t as plentiful, you’re going to kill whatever is nearest. But that’s less legal than killing Serbs, so for the first time Albanians are dealing with consequences of killing.

Meanwhile, don’t journalists ever get tired of writing the same article every time a Muslim kills?

Note also this twice-stated point: ‘We’re Muslims, but we respect others regardless of their religion.’ This is Muslims openly admitting that Muslims do not have regard for non-Muslims.

All the usual sympathies and buzz words begin re the Frankfurt shootings

Kosovo gunman’s father laments Germany killings

PRISTINA - The father of the gunman who shot dead two US airmen on a US Army bus at Frankfurt airport said on Thursday…”I am still in shock; I can not believe what has happened,” Murat Uka told Reuters by phone from his home in Germany. “I am really, really sorry about what has happened.

“I express my deep condolences,” said Uka, whose voice betrayed his emotion.

“The American people are the best friends of Albanians,” he said.

One really has to ask at this point: Do most Americans — whom we’re told are so bound to these people — even know who Albanians or ‘Kosovars’ are? I usually have to repeat and then explain the word “Kosovo” to them — because, as they tell me all too often, they’ve never heard of the place. And they’re not sure who or what lives there. Indeed, most Americans don’t even remember that Clinton had a war. Of course, during times like this they know the word for a day, and have a brief revelation (”Oh, is that that place that Clinton bombed back then?”). And within 1.5 weeks, they’ve forgotten it again.

Indeed, it’s not the American people who are obsessed with Albanians, it’s the American Government that’s worried about it. Very worried.

More, from Winnipeg Free Press:

…German police said he was born in Kosovo…A cousin, Behxhet Uka…said he would be shocked if Arid Uka was behind the shooting, saying that like the vast majority of Kosovo Albanians, the family is pro-American.

The northern town of Mitrovica is best known for the ethnic division between majority ethnic Albanians and minority Serbs. The former mining town has also been the focus of reports that it breeds Islamic extremists. […]

Which, we’ve been assured, Albanians are impervious to.

The sympathy symphony crescendos:

Relatives of the alleged Kosovar gunman who killed two US soldiers in an attack in Frankfurt on Thursday said they were astonished about his reported extremist views.

“He himself only knows what he has done. I would never believe that he could do something like that,” the suspect’s grandfather, Avdullah Bejta, an imam in Mitrovica told Kosovo radio.

The killing of two US airmen “has touched all of us in the heart,” he said, stressing that “the Muslim religion does not preach killing and violence.” [Note here that the religiosity that Albanians regularly profess a revulsion toward is being defended as a good in and of itself.] […]

And the grand finale I was waiting for:

Kosovo’s Unwelcome Role In Frankfurt Terror Deaths (Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, March 3)

It feels like a day of mourning in Pristina. Shock, anger, and dismay are palpable in the streets of Kosovo’s capital against the backdrop of today’s headlines: “Kosovar Kills Two U.S. Army Men At Frankfurt Airport.”

The suspect in yesterday’s tragedy is Arid Uka, a 21-year-old Kosovo Albanian, born and raised in Germany, where his family has lived for four decades.

Police claim he is not registered in any database on alleged terrorist acts within Kosovo, while information on his family is limited and his profile remains unclear.

What is clear, though, is the anger and revulsion that Kosovars felt and continue to feel.

Upon hearing the news, a group of young students from Pristina University gathered in the center of the city to light candles in memory of the U.S. soldiers killed in the shooting.

Candles were lit in Mitrovica, too, Arid Uka’s city of origin, where young people gathered and expressed their condolences to the American people.

The authorities were quick to react, claiming it was “a macabre act against the values of civilization and against the tradition of Kosovo people, to endlessly show gratitude toward the U.S. for its role in freedom of Kosovo.”

When the news came out on RFE/RL’s Albanian-language website www.evrropaelire.org, the flow of the commentaries was unbelievable.

More than 100 commentaries poured in from Kosovo and around the world, and the flow continued with expressions of condolences and demands of capital punishment for the perpetrator.

“He cannot be an Albanian,” one went. Another equated shooting at the U.S. with “being a traitor.” “How can one shoot against a helping hand?” asked another. All seemingly bringing the grim atmosphere dominating Kosovo society today into sharp relief.

The president of the Albanian-American Democratic Club in New York, Alban Dega, wrote an open letter to Kosovo’s highest authorities suggesting that the suspect be stripped of his Albanian nationality and Kosovo citizenship.

“We are the most pro-American and most pro-Western nation on Earth. The Albanian Pro-Americanism is not only a value, but a national cult which honors the Albanians wherever they are on Earth”, Dega proclaims.

“God bless U.S. men and women in uniform and the USA! Amen!” Dega concludes.

Similar expressions of solidarity can be heard today all over Kosovo.

Kosovo’s parliament held a moment of silence today to express condolences to the U.S., its people, its army, and to the families of the victims.

And they’ll do it again next time!

Why, oh why, does this music sound so familiar? I think I’ve heard that song before. Let’s travel back to just under four years ago…to May, 2007…

Jersey Jihadists’ relatives speak: “They shouldn’t dare throw a stone at America”


Albanian brothers seem unlikely terror suspects

3 in Dix Plot From Pro-U.S. Balkans Area

The piece that all three headlines were for:

Three Muslim brothers who allegedly helped plot to kill soldiers at a U.S. Army base have roots in one of Europe’s most pro-American corners — a region that remains grateful to the United States for ending the Kosovo war.

Dritan Duka, 28, Shain Duka, 26, and Eljvir Duka, 23, who were arrested in New Jersey this week in what U.S. authorities said was a bungled scheme to blow up and gun down soldiers at Fort Dix, were born in Debar, a remote town on Macedonia’s rugged border with Serbia’s Kosovo province.

Relatives in the ethnic Albanian-populated town of 15,000 said they had not seen the brothers in more than two decades, but expressed disbelief Wednesday that the three would attack the United States.

“We all have been supporters of America. We were always thankful to America for its support during the wars in Kosovo and Macedonia,” a cousin, Elez Duka, 29, told The Associated Press.

“These are simple, ordinary people and they’ve got nothing to do with terrorism. I expect their release and I expect an apology,” he said, waving his hands. “I see injustice. These are ridiculous charges.”

His indignation captured the mood among Slavic Muslims in Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania — places that have repeatedly expressed gratitude to the United States for intervening in the 1998-99 Kosovo war and a 2001 ethnic conflict that pushed Macedonia to the brink of civil war.

Albania was among the first countries to answer Washington’s call for troops to help support U.S.-led military offensives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, which many expect to gain independence from Serbia later this year, U.S. flags are commonplace. The main avenue is Bill Clinton Boulevard, renamed to honor the president who ordered airstrikes that halted former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic’s brutal crackdown in the province.

Like many Europeans, ethnic Albanians staged a big demonstration after the U.S. led the invasion of Iraq in 2003, but theirs was a pro-America rally, not an anti-war protest.

In and out of Debar, people struggled to reconcile those feelings with the indictment of the three brothers and a fourth ethnic Albanian suspect, Agron Abdullahu, 24. Two other men also were arrested: Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer, 22, a Palestinian born in Jordan, and Serdar Tatar, 23, born in Turkey.

It was unclear whether Abdullahu also came from Debar, but U.S. authorities said he served as a sniper during the Kosovo war, which pitted ethnic Albanian separatists against Serbian troops loyal to Milosevic.

Kosovo Prime Minister Agim Ceku wrote a letter to the U.S. mission in Pristina on Wednesday expressing the “extraordinary feeling that Kosovo’s people have for the U.S.” Ceku also denounced what he called “the disgusting idea” that Albanians could be involved in an attack “against a nation that has been very generous so far.”

The Duka brothers’ grandmother, Naze Duka, was visibly upset as word of their arrests spread….“America is good — you work, you earn money there,” the 88-year-old said. “I have no idea where this all came from. How did this happen?

He said the brothers occasionally phoned. Over the past two years, Elez Duka said, his cousins told him they had grown long beards and had become more devoted to Islam, but he insisted they were incapable of involvement in a terrorist plot.

“They live in America and grew up in the American culture. How can you say they are anti-American? These accusations are totally unfounded,” he said.

Few ethnic Albanians embrace militant Islam. Most are moderate or secular.

Even those in Debar who described themselves as devout Muslims denounced the Fort Dix plot.

“They must have been crazy. They shouldn’t dare throw a stone at America,” said Rrahmi Duka, 70, a distant relative of the brothers, as a loudspeaker blared Muslim prayers in Debar’s main square.

“Who saved us? America,” he said. “We are in America’s hands.”

Cue Press Release from Albanian-American organization:

The National Albanian American Council (NAAC) strongly condemns the planned attack on Fort Dix Army Base by a group of people who reportedly plotted to attack the base, and we congratulate the law enforcement authorities for their swift apprehension of the conspirators, thereby preventing a possible tragedy.

“…[A]s Albanians, we remain the most pro-American people in the world,” NAAC Executive Director Avni Mustafaj said in an official statement… “[Albania] even represented the only nation in Europe that saved 100 percent of its people of Jewish faith during World War II. Furthermore, we provided safe haven for all the Jews that fled the Holocaust to Albania.”

Mr. Mustafaj further stated that, “Fort Dix is a uniquely special place for Albanians for this is where refugees who fled ethnic cleansing from Kosova into Macedonian refugee camps were brought to the US. The refugees were registered and provided numerous services and assistance to begin their new life in America. We are all relieved that this tragedy was avoided and ask that those who sought to harm innocent American service men and women be brought to justice immediately.” […]

I’m not saying they’re not genuine. I do believe they’re sincere, and very upset. So then next time this happens, they’ll be sincerely sad again. And the next time…and the time after that.

The Arid Uka type IS a minority among Albanians, especially while we’re still their chief patrons. Their orientation is not symptomatic of Albanians, but it’s even less symptomatic of, say, Serbs.

Notice that Serbs aren’t lighting candles and affirming their cultish love for America, or apologizing. Because Christian Serbs don’t kill Americans.

Isn’t it better to have friends whose people are not vulnerable to inclinations such as those that Uka and the Dukas fell victim to? By virtue of not being Muslim? And therefore the more obvious friends to have cultivated?

Ah, but U.S. bureaucrats and generals know the Serbs aren’t a threat to us, so that’s why they can afford to pour barrel upon barrel of kerosene onto U.S.-Serb relations in pursuit of the Albanian-Muslim “friendship.”

“He cannot be an Albanian,” said the one comment to RFE/RL. Well what is he more likely to be? Serbian? Those people whom Albanians had us kill on their behalf but who were not American-killers and who otherwise had little to do with us — aside from, of course, being useful against Stalin and, earlier, Hitler?

But by all means, let’s be fair and publish all the standard defenses of Albanians that always gush forth after incidents like these. Even though Albanians weren’t very fair to the Serbian reputation, whose demolition was — in contrast — not based on facts but on fabrications. Frankfurt, Ft. Dix and others, however, are very real.

Amid this rush to defend Albanians and warn the public against generalizing or tainting the wider community, let’s note a strikingly similar dynamic to when more typical jihadists attack. Only in this case, joining the choir to make sure all are on board the “tiny minority”/”they’re not all like that” train — which is otherwise led by leftists and Muslim groups — are conservatives and anti-jihadists. But that contention is only a little less beside the point.

The Albanian-American Democratic Club’s Mr. Dega, meanwhile, certainly nailed the idea of Albanian pro-Americanism as a “national cult.” Again and again I ask, does that fact strike anyone as normal? As not conspicuous? As having no subtext underlying it?

Albanian pro-Americanism actually made the news a few days before the Frankfurt massacre:

There was much chortling across the Balkans last year when Mr Pacolli [the Albanian billionaire who is now Kosovo’s president] took a large party of Kosovars to Libya as part of his attempt to get Mr [G]addafi to abandon his pro-Serbian stance and to recognise the country. At one point the whole party was flown to the middle of a desert to meet the Libyan leader.

On arriving, Mr Gaddafi ordered them to sing and dance. When they ran out of tunes they were reprimanded by an aide. Eventually the good colonel told them they could stop, before dismissing them with words to the effect that he would never recognise Kosovo as long as their leaders remained American poodles. With that, the humiliated Kosovars were sent home.

One is confident that being thus reprimanded by a lunatic, it will reinforce the Albanian resolve to stay American poodles, rather than having the opposite effect. The Albanians otherwise have been lobbying the Arab and Muslim world successfully.

Also the same week as the Frankfurt attack was a little noted arrest in Maryland, of what sounds like an even more atypical Albanian:

Kosovo man sentenced for visa fraud

GREENBELT, Md. (AP) - Federal prosecutors say an ethnic Albanian from Kosovo has been sentenced to five years in prison for visa fraud.

Fifty-one-year-old Brahim Lajqi, who lives in Silver Spring, was sentenced Monday. U.S. District Judge Roger Titus granted the government’s request for an enhanced sentence because of statements Lajqi made about engaging in terrorist activity.

Prosecutors say Lajqi was angry about U.S. involvement in the Kosovo conflict, which he believed led to the deaths of several relatives.

According to his guilty plea, Lajqi made false statements on immigration documents.

Here was the FBI press release:

Self-Described “Militant Extremist” Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Visa Fraud

Sentence Enhanced Based on Statements and Conduct Indicating a Desire to Attack the U.S.

GREENBELT, MD—U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus, sentenced Brahim Lajqi, age 51, an ethnic Albanian from Kosovo residing in Silver Spring, Maryland, today to five years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for visa fraud. Judge Titus granted the government’s requested sentence enhancement based on Lajqi conducting activities to fulfill his pledge to retaliate against the United States for its involvement in the Kosovo conflict, which Lajqi believed had led to the deaths of several family members.

“The evidence showed that Mr. Lajqi repeatedly and consistently made statements and took actions indicating that he planned to engage in terrorist activity,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.

According to Lajqi’s guilty plea, he made false statements on immigration documents. Lajqi admitted that on his application to become a permanent resident in the United States he stated that he had been granted asylum status, when in fact, he had not. Lajqi further admitted that he forged his mother’s signature on a petition for an alien relative that was purportedly filed by her on his behalf.

According to court documents and testimony at today’s sentencing hearing, Lajqi is a self-described extremist militant trained by Bosnian rebels, who on several occasions expressed a desire to “get even” with the United States and discussed obtaining weapons and explosives for an attack on Washington, D.C. According to court documents, Lajqi drove around Washington, D.C. on two occasions to discuss and view potential targets, including Capitol Hill, the courthouse where his immigration proceedings were being held, the White House, the Treasury building, and a Metro train stop during rush hour. Lajqi also stated that he was in the process of renewing his commercial drivers license (CDL) in South Carolina so that he could transport weapons from Canada. Lajqi actually traveled to West Virginia in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain a CDL there. […]

Maryland man gets five years for fraud, after making terrorist threats (Washington Post, Feb. 28)

A Silver Spring man convicted of falsifying immigration documents had threatened to blow up the White House, the U.S. Treasury building, a federal courthouse and a Metro stop, vowing to “slaughter the enemies of Islam,” federal prosecutors said Monday in court.

Brahim Lajqi, 51, was not charged with attempting to carry out any terrorist threats, but prosecutors outlined the allegations in an effort to persaude U. S. District Judge Roger W. Titus to impose a penalty harsher than the six months in prison recommended by sentencing guidelines.

Lajqi, an ethnic Albanian who came to the United States through Mexico in the mid-1980s, is a self-described “extremist militant,” who said he was trained by Bosnian Muslim rebels, according to court papers. He was angry about American military involvement in Kosovo in the 1990s, and “blamed all Albanian deaths in Kosovo on the United States,” the court papers said. He also talked about targeting Jews, court papers say.

Lajqi’s attorney, Gary W. Christopher, a federal public defender, said Lajqi was a “talker” and a “blowhard” who never planned to carry out any attack. He said Lajqi has lived in the United States for 27 years and has had no trouble with the law. [Note: The same thing was said about the Ft. Dix plotters.]

According to court papers, Lajqi and a confidential informant rode around the Washington area to scout out potential targets. Lajqi said the White House was his “number one spot” but also talked about targeting a Metro train at rush hour, the papers say.

During another trip, the documents state, he suggested blowing up the Treasury building to “make them bankrupt and broke,” and noted that a dump truck would be a good place to hold explosives.

Lajqi told the informant that he knew of weapons suppliers in Montana and Canada, and that one of his brothers had connections, authorities said.

The court papers say that Lajqi told the informant they “deserve a good bomb in Capitol Hill…and White House. Maybe Capitol Hill more because lots of Jews live there.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Welsh said in court that authorities arrested Lajqi when they became concerned he might try to seek weapons. “He’s not just a talker,” Welsh said, “he’s also an actor.”

The Washington Examiner also carried the story, which apparently stayed local:

…Lajqi was recorded by a “confidential human source” saying he wanted to carry out terrorist attacks in retaliation for the United States rejecting his requests for asylum and for its role in the deaths of family members in Kosovo in the 1990s.

Lajqi also spoke of blowing up the Treasury building, the D.C. courthouse where Lajqi’s immigration proceedings had been held and military bases, Welsh said. Lajqi took two trips to the District to scope out the places he wanted to bomb and spoke of having connections that would help him get weapons, he said.

But Christopher said Lajqi, who told the judge he was innocent of wanting to blow up landmarks, turned down the chance to meet an arms dealer, which he said shows Lajqi wasn’t serious in his statements.

[Asst. U.S. Attorney Gregory] Welsh said Lajqi used racial slurs in describing Jews and talked of wanting to “slaughter the enemies of Islam.” He also discussed getting a D.C. hotel room where he could watch the landmarks blow up, the prosecutor said.

Three of Lajqi’s siblings were in the courtroom Monday, telling The Washington Examiner after the hearing that Lajqi is not a terrorist but instead a garrulous man who never intended to carry out attacks.

“He’s a dreamer,” said Richard Sica, a friend of Lajqi’s from New York. “He’s a talker.”

On the subject of Jews and Albanians — mentioned in a semi-accurate historical context in the National Albanian-American Council’s press release above — we got the following update on the Frankfurt Albanian jihadist yesterday:

Arid Uka admits terror outrage at Frankfurt airport

THE airport worker who allegedly killed two US soldiers is claimed to have told police: “I did it for Allah.”

Kosovan Arid Uka, 21, is accused of shooting dead the airmen and wounding two others after attacking their bus outside the main airport in Frankfurt, Germany, earlier this week.

He allegedly shouted Islamic slogans and opened fire, later telling police he “wanted to do my bit for Jihad”. Officers said further deaths were only avoided as his pistol jammed.

Last night it was revealed that Uka’s Facebook page contained hate-filled rants against Jews. He was listed on the social networking site under his real name but had changed it to Abu Reyann, his “warrior” title.

The page is littered with ­references to a Holy War and attacks on “non-believers”…He calls German Chancellor Angela Merkel an ­unbeliever, claiming she has sided with Israel, which he described as “a declaration of war”….

This reminds me of another Albanian who was arrested about a year ago:
NatWest handed Al Qaeda terrorist 100% mortgage to buy £93,000 home he turned into a bomb factory

A bank has sparked outrage by handing over a 100 per cent mortgage to an Al Qaeda terrorist who smuggled himself into Britain.

Albanian Krenar Lusha, 30, was given £93,000 after NatWest failed to complete full checks on his UK status. He used the cash to buy a house in Derby, where he stored bomb-making equipment and information on how to carry out attacks.

A jury heard how he boasted to a string of women on dating websites of being a ‘terrorist’ and a ’sniper’ and how he ‘loved’ to see Jews and Americans killed.

Lusha was convicted of possessing 71.8 litres of petrol, computer documents called Ragnar’s Detonators and The Bomb Book, and video films called the Hezbollah Military Instructions Manual and Mobile Detonators.

He was cleared of possessing nearly 4.5lb of potassium nitrate, and documents entitled The Car Bomb Recognition Guide, Middle Eastern Terrorist Bomb Design, Improvised Radio Detonation Techniques, and The Mujahideen Explosives Handbook.

The Mobile Detonators video gave instructions on how to turn a mobile phone into a bomb trigger, the jury heard. Lusha had 14 mobile phones at his address when police called at about 7.30am and found him in bed…there was also gruesome footage of live beheadings by extreme Islamic groups.

He settled in Derby and worked long shifts as a factory machinist at HL Plastics in nearby Denby, which enabled him to send money back to his parents in Puke, Albania.

Police sources said his claim for asylum, on the grounds that he was a Kosovan in fear of persecution by the Serbian authorities, was rejected by the UK authorities.

Lusha also told police that because he and his four brothers didn’t fight in the Balkans war he was persecuted by those that did. […]

And this is all of course without mentioning Bajram Asllani, part of the North Carolina Eight arrested in 2009 with plans to commit terror abroad, including in Israel. (A week before his absentia sentence was passed by Serbia — he’d escaped from his captors in 2007 in Sandzak — he was arrested again in Prizren along with three others in 2009, a month after the Carolina group was disrupted. Police found two Kalashnikovs, five hand grenades and a laptop believed to contain terror plans.)

But back to the Albanian terrorist of the day, about whom there are some updates:

Prosecutors: ‘Islamism’ may have spurred shooting of U.S. airmen

Boris Rhein, the interior minister of the German state Hesse, tells reporters that the suspect, identified as a 21-year-old ethnic Albanian from Kosovo, was apparently radicalized over the last few weeks and acted alone, the DAPD news agency reported.

The suspect’s family says he worked at Frankfurt airport and was a devout Muslim, but Rhein said he did not belong to a wider terrorist network or cell, the Associated Press reports. […]

Notice the last sentence was correctly written as if presenting a contradiction.

As for “…apparently radicalized over the last few weeks…” where does one even find out a factoid like that? Was he on some kind of accelerated track or something? Does overlaying Albanianism with Islamism perhaps produce a spontaneously combustible reaction? In case that just sounds like a gratuitous insult (and I don’t care if it does, since gratuitous insults against Serbs, for example, never bothered anyone), let me point out that it’s based on this:

By concentrating on these centers of Albanian nationalism, the foreign Islamists are banking on the idea that any sort of extremism is just extremism and can simply be redirected, like a stream, as and when needed. Indeed, as one active global charity, the Birmingham, UK-based Islamic Relief makes a point of noting, Skenderaj is “a place with a long history of Albanian defiance of Serbian authority.” Eventually, hopes the foreign Islamic movement, that defiance can be redirected toward the West.

Media and policymakers in the West, however, have always blindly assumed that since the KLA and its supporters were once “pro-American” any Albanian extremists remaining among them will always remain eminently controllable nationalists. However, as has been noted, the end of the national question in Kosovo is the beginning of the religious one…
Chris Deliso, The Coming Balkan Caliphate

Check!

From one of the above-linked news reports:

In Kosovo analysts said the suspect, born and raised in Germany according to Kosovo media, was not a product of Kosovo’s fiercely nationalist but moderately Muslim society.

“He is not a product of the Kosovo society. If he was an extremist he took that identity there, where he was born and has lived, and not here,” religious expert Isa Ukella told AFP.

According to Ukella in this society “the national identity dominates over the religious one.”

Indeed — and like I keep saying — Albanians don’t have to be Islamicized to be terrorists. They’re already radicals.

But that’s never bothered us, so I think our policy toward Albanians should remain consistent in the face of this attack: Let him go. After all, that’s what we pressure Serbia to do with its Albanian terrorists, whose prosecution by Belgrade we label as necessarily “political.” So just pretend that all Uka did was kill Serbs rather than Americans, and release him.

Twenty-one year-old Albanian born and raised in Germany carries out revenge attack on Ser — no, wait — on Americans?

But I thought it was something the Serbs were doing that made Albanians violent. I mean, isn’t it something Israel is doing that makes Palestinians violent? And Macedonians make Macedonian-Albanians violent. No?

Well then this must be because of the “Kosovars’” frustration over the slow pace of getting their independence. No wait! — we just celebrated the third year of that independence. This is so confusing!

Keep on, US Gov. Keep on.

Frankfurt airport shooting: two killed in attack on US military bus

The gunman, believed to be from Kosovo, opened fire on a bus containing US airmen in front of Terminal 2. The bus driver and a passenger were killed and two others were seriously injured.

Police said it appeared an argument had broken out on board the bus before the suspect opened fire. The dead soldier was found outside the bus, which had a US government licence plate marked “AF”, for air force.

What our soldiers have not been briefed on about Our Friends the Albanians — and by design — and what they still don’t know about Our Friends the Albanians is that they kill easily. You’re not supposed to argue with them. Because this is how Albanian males tend to end arguments. Even in church. In fact, as the recent Council of Europe report made abundantly clear, that’s the rule that’s been guiding our entire Kosovo policy meeting maximalist Albanian demands: Don’t argue. As I’ve tried to explain before, the violence of Islam is a redundancy for Albanianism.

The two injured had been shot in the head and chest, police said. The gunman fled from the scene and a suspect was arrested inside the terminal shortly afterwards.

Police would not give out any information on the suspect, but Kosovo said he was one of its citizens.

Kosovo’s interior minister, Bajram Rexhepi, said German police had identified the suspect as 21-year-old Ari[d] Uka, from the northern town of Mitrovica.

Patrick Meehan, a member of the US homeland security committee, said it looked like a terrorist attack.

Note the mention of his town of origin: Mitrovica. That’s the place that’s divided into North and South, with the only relatively safe place for a Serb being in the North. That northern part of Mitrovica is what U.S.-led NATO is trying to bring under the governance of folks like Arid Uka. And the only thing the U.S. government wants Mitrovica to be known for is Serbian lawlessness! So much for that. The fact that way too many Americans just learned the word Mitrovica is sure gonna make it harder to sneak a U.S.-led NATO military operation there later this year to force Christian-Serb capitulation to the ‘non-Muslimy’, ‘non-terrorist’ Albanians.

2 killed in Germany airport shooting, police say

…U.S. President Barack Obama told reporters, saying he was “saddened and outraged” by the attack. “We will spare no effort in learning how this outrageous attack took place,” he said, adding that the United States is working with German authorities.

“Learning how this outrageous attack took place”? I’ve been trying to educate you on how, Mr. President(s): It took place via March 24, 1999 and the continuing, consistent, worldwide impunity and political protection for Albanians as we insist, against all evidence, that they’re the good guys. Pretty effective camouflage, if you ask me. So now the U.S. and Germany are working together to straighten this ‘incident’ out — how ironic. The two chief architects of resurrecting the Third Reich in the Balkans, via Albanian-terrorist proxies who were Hitler’s erstwhile proxies, have been targeted together in an event that is rather symbolic of the U.S.-German marriage that helped make it happen. Or did these two “great powers” envision their pro-terror, pro-Nazi partnership in the Balkans leading to a different sort of outcome? Too bad that, as usual, our soldiers’ blood pays for the sins of the fathers of these policies. And of course those policymakers really care. You can tell by the fact that their policy has changed course [NOT!] since the last time Americans were hurt by it.

“We don’t have all the information yet, and you will be fully briefed when we get more information, but this is a stark reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices that our men and women in uniform are making all around the world to keep us safe…” Obama said.

While you endanger them with your pro-terror policies in the Balkans.

…They were U.S. Air Force airmen from Lakenheath base in the United Kingdom, said the official, emphasizing the information was preliminary.

Two others are wounded, said the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the incident. They were security forces on their way to a deployment, the source said, without saying specifically where they were heading.

Police said they believe the suspect stormed onto the bus as it was waiting at the terminal and began shooting.

…”We don’t know the details but I would like to say how upset I am,” [German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.] She expressed her condolences to the soldiers’ families and stressed that Germany will “do everything we can to try and find out quickly what happened.”

AFTER MAKING THE TOP-10 LIST OF BEING THE FIRST TO RECOGNIZE THE TERROR-GANGSTER STATE OF KOSOVO.

Philip Murphy, U.S. ambassador to Germany, said in a statement he was “grateful for the assistance provided by German government officials in protecting U.S. servicemen and women, and in investigating this terrible act. In difficult times, Germans and Americans support each other.”

No, they support each other to create difficult times.

As police investigated, the scene was covered with sheets, journalist Marc Kohlbecher told CNN. The body of the bus driver remained in the bus, while the other body was in front of the bus, he said.

The U.S. military base at Ramstein in Germany regularly runs shuttles to Frankfurt for commercial flights.

Authorities will be investigating the suspect’s background and associates, likely subpoenaing telephone and e-mail records, Fuentes said.

His background is Albanian. His associates are the same as the U.S. Government’s. There. I finished the investigation.

And in the UK Telegraph report below we have a unique case of a reporter identifying the attacker as Muslim. Wherefore such insolent editorializing?

Ari[d] Uka, a 21-year-old Muslim Kosovar citizen from the northern town of Mitrovica, was arrested after the shooting in a public lane outside the busy airport’s Terminal 2. He was reportedly armed with an automatic weapon and a knife.

During Kosovo’s war for independence from the former Yugoslavia in the late 1990s there were reported links between Osama bin Laden and the now disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army, which had the support of Western powers. The territory’s subsequent declaration of independence in 2008 was wholeheartedly endorsed by the United States, which has had troops in Kosovo since 1999.

What? What’s this? Did you catch that? Someone is bringing up the OBL connection to Albanians? I haven’t seen this reference in the MSM in over a decade! Who dares it? It wasn’t mentioned in the wake of the four Albanians plotting the Ft. Dix massacre, nor when the murder-for-organs story broke, nor in any of the Albanian-involved terror plots in the intervening years. But here — a mainstream journalist, no less — someone is finally venturing to taint the entire, wider, ‘righteous’ Albanian cause — which even murder-for-organs story wasn’t permitted to do — with this ‘isolated incident’? Racism! The mainstream journalist even makes a connection to — what? — Yugoslavia?

Two shot dead as ‘Kosovan’ gunman opens fire on bus picking up American soldiers from Frankfurt Airport — “Two American airmen were shot dead and another left fighting for his life today after a Kosovo Albanian gunman stormed their bus before opening fire at Germany’s busiest airport.”

WHAT? Did someone say ALBANIAN? “Kosovars” are actually Albanian? What?!

Some media reports said the gunman identified as Ari[d] Uka, 21, shouted out ‘Islamic slogans’ before opening fire.

He gunned down his first victim as the soldier stood in front of the vehicle at Terminal 2 before turning his weapon on the driver as he sat behind the wheel.

A fourth man was lightly injured and both he and the gravely wounded man are now being treated at the city’s University Clinic Hospital.

The airport, continental Europe’s second biggest after Paris, is routinely used by American soldiers based in Germany for arrivals and departures.

Eyewitnesses said the man ‘infiltrated’ himself among the GIs before shouting out radical Islamic slogans and then reaching into a bag for his gun.

‘This is a devastating and a tragic event,’ Rexhepi said. ‘We are trying to find out was this something that was organised or what was the nature of the attack.’

It was organized at something called the Rambouillet Conference in February-March 1999.

Although the motives for the attack are still unclear, many Kosovans are Muslims, raising the suspicion that Islamic extremism may have been a factor behind the attack.

WHAT??!!! Islamic extremism is a factor in KOSOVO?! Non-Muslimy Kosovo?!

The incident even made it onto my local news! Local news that not only uttered the word “Kosovo,” but also reported — as did the NY Times and others — that the shooter shouted “Allah Akbar” before firing. That doesn’t sound like Albanian!

Even USA Today let the cat out of the bag:

Family members in Kosovo described the suspect as a devout Muslim, who was born and raised in Germany and worked at the airport. The attacker got into an argument with airmen outside their military bus before opening fire…

In the past, Western intelligence reports have said the region could be an ideal recruitment ground for the so-called “white al-Qaeda” — Muslims with Western features who could easily blend into European or U.S. cities and execute terrorist attacks.

In Mitrovica, family members said the suspect’s name was spelled “Arid” not “Arif,” saying that he was born and educated in Germany where his family moved some 40 years ago.

Uncle Rexhep Uka said the suspect’s grandfather was a religious leader at a mosque in a village near Mitrovica.

Well then, 40 years ago his family must have suffered such tremendous horrors at the hands of Serbs, that the grievance seeped into the family’s genes and compelled this son to avenge it. (See the Blame-the-Serbs defense. It’s only a matter of time before we hear it again.)

Working at the airport, no less. What was that “Albanians only” help-wanted ad by Camp Bondsteel about — because of a concern over Serbianinfiltration“?

Hey, EU, keep whining about the delay in granting Kosovo visa-free travel throughout Europe.

“Citizens of Kosovo are now the only ones in the Western Balkans who need a visa to travel to the EU,” complained European Parliament Rapporteur for Kosovo Ulrike Lunacek in January, blaming EU interior ministers (police) for not liberalizing visa requirements for Kosovo.

“Just give them the benefit of the doubt that they might not be that bad,” said Engjellushe Morina, executive director of the Kosovo Stability Initiative, last month. Indeed. What’s the worst that could happen?

He blamed a lack of political will in the EU. “Kosovo has moved on in the past 10 years, half of the population is young.”

It certainly has moved on! Right on to Europe. Just ask the Air Force bus driver in Frankfurt. No, wait… As for half the population being young, I believe that’s called a profile. (The shooter, for example, was 21.)

Fajon: Kosovo must become visa-free (Oct. 22, 2010)

European Parliament rapporteur Tanja Fajon says it is essential to include Kosovo in the Schengen process and she urges Pristina to meet EU criteria.

“We need to find a way to include Kosovo in the process,” said the European Parliament’s rapporteur on visa liberalisation for the Western Balkans, Tanja Fajon…

“I hope that November 10th, two days after the ministers will take a decision on Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, will be an excellent time to give Kosovo authorities and citizens the good news,” she said.

She noted that there are many reasons why Kosovo is currently out of the process — including border security issues and a lack of biometric passports.

Rexhepi has criticised the EC for not delivering a strategy for visa-free status. […]

There was something the West didn’t deliver on for Albanians? That’s playing with fire.

Kosovo official slams EU, saying it applies double standards in Balkans integration (Sept. 11, 2010)

…Besim Beqaj, Kosovo’s minister in charge of European integration, said the EU is setting conditions for Kosovo that are “not asked from other countries” to earn visa-free travel into EU member states.

“We want to be treated equally as other states in the region,” Beqaj said.

The EU decided on Monday to end visa requirements for Bosnian and Albanian residents by Christmas, leaving Kosovo as the last Balkan country that requires visas to travel to the EU. […]

All together now, Pity Party: Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

Keep it going for: Visa liberalisation for the Western Balkans: Kosovo the ‘ugly duckling’?

But on the bright side: “Bosnia, Albania mark EU visa lifting”

AP, Dec. 15 — Bosnians boarded buses for Western Europe on Wednesday, the first time in 20 years the country’s citizens were allowed to travel to the European Union without visas.

The EU decided unanimously last month to end visa requirements for Bosnian and Albanian residents, but have warned the measure could be scrapped if it is abused for bogus asylum claims and illegal work.

Addressing an open-air party organized in Bosnia on Tuesday evening, the country’s Security Minister Sadik Ahmetovic said the citizens will “finally be free.”

“I am really happy that we will finally be spared the humiliation of waiting in lines before Western embassies in order to go on vacation in Europe,” said one of the revelers, 43-years-old Amra Hadziosmanovic.

MEPs have welcomed a decision by EU interior ministers to end visa requirements for citizens of Bosnia and Albania. (Nov. 8, 2010)

The decision on Monday comes despite fears by some member states that it will increase the number of asylum requests made in the EU by citizens of the two countries.

It follows a similar move by the EU to abolish Schengen visas for the citizens of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia in 2009.

[ALDE human rights spokeswoman Sarah Ludford] added, “Freer travel will broaden the international outlook of Bosnians and Albanians, and in particular these countries’ next generation of leaders.

“Fostering the links between the Western Balkans and the EU will reduce the potential for our south-eastern neighbours to revert to nationalism, conflict and ethnic hatred, making them and us safer as a result.”

“However, the hard work will not be over for Bosnia and Albania. Their authorities like those of the other Western Balkan countries relieved of visa demands must be vigilant that the scheme is not abused, as that could well bring us back to square one.”

She hopes that successful Schengen visa liberalisation may also encourage the UK to review its own visa requirements for Balkan nationals. [Not likely.]

Green MEPs also welcomed the “belated decision” but called for Kosovo, the only Balkan state yet to enjoy similar visa free status, to also be included.

Dutch Green MEP Marije Cornelissen said, “The final obstacle has been cleared for the belated but welcome inclusion of Bosnia and Albania in the EU’s visa free travel scheme.

“We welcome that opposition in council - notably from France - was overcome and that ministers approved the decision unanimously…”

Greens/EFA foreign affairs spokesperson and parliamentary rapporteur on Kosovo Ulrike Lunacek agreed, saying, “Today’s decision is another step in the progress of the Balkan countries towards their European destiny but the case of Kosovo is now all the more pressing.”

Yayyyyyyyyyyyyy:

…[Herman Van Rompuy gave] Albanians the good news that they would be able to travel freely without visas in the EU countries and forget about the long lines of waiting in European embassies.

People from the non-EU member states of Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro have been allowed to travel freely to EU countries since the end of last year, but Albania and Bosnia were left behind. [One wonders why.]

“Albania’s moves to waive visa obligations for the EU neighbourhood countries are seen as a positive step that facilitates people-to-people contacts and enhances regional reconciliation…” (You can say that again!)

In addition to objections from French, British, Italian and Polish EU members, Dutch MP Geert Wilders complained: (Nov. 9, 2010)

Immigration minister Gerd Leers put in an ‘ultimately weak performance’ when EU ministers approved the ending of visas for people from Bosnia and Albania, Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam party PVV says in Tuesday’s Volkskrant.

Leers, attending his first EU meeting in Brussels, said he had little choice but to vote in favour because the decision had effectively already been taken. ‘Our resistence would have been voted down,’ the paper quoted him as saying.

However, ministers did agree visas could to be reintroduced if large numbers of Bosnians and Albanians move to the Netherlands or other countries, EU news websites said. […]

Kosovo isolated after vote on Albania and Bosnia visas (Oct. 2010)

… “I hope that in the near future all people of the Western Balkans region will be able to enjoy visa-free travel to the EU,” EU parliament President Jerzy Buzek said in a written statement on Thursday.

Centre-right Slovak MEP Eduard Kukan noted that: “The EU should not create a situation where citizens of one part of the region remain in isolation.”

“The elephant in the room is that Kosovo remains,” Austrian Green deputy Ulrike Lunacek said. “We must move to immediately resolve this anomaly.”

Say, where did that Yugoslavia go? Things were easier then:

Kosovo analyst Belul Beqaj is one of many Kosovo citizens who easily used to travel in and out of the former Yugoslavia with the old Yugoslav passport. “There was much more free movement at that time compared to today,” Beqaj tells SETimes. That changed when the country split apart in the 1990s.

For Beqaj, the main worry now is that Kosovo could remain isolated even as its neighbours gain the right to free movement within the Schengen zone.

Senior EU officials visiting Kosovo said there are conditions that must be met so that the Kosovo visa liberalisation process can move forward.

Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci expects his government to receive the official visas liberalisation guide soon.

Kosovo analyst Muharrem Nitaj says leaving the young country out of the integration process, while countries surrounding Kosovo are part of it, is nonsensical.

He says Kosovo is not worse than the rest of the region when it comes to economic development, security, legal infrastructure or other process preconditions…

In that case, how does one explain this:

“There has been no reduction in the number of people seeking to leave since Kosovo’s declaration of independence three years ago,” [Swiss migration attahe Grégoire Crettaz] said.

It’s hardly surprising when you consider that little has changed since 2008. The country, with around two million inhabitants is still among the poorest in Europe. Jobs are scarce, salaries are low, while the cost of living is relatively high.

If Kosovo joins the Schengen visa-free zone, migration specialists fear that a much greater number of people would flee their new state to join extended families in Switzerland, already home to some 170,000 Kosovars.

Indeed, it looks like Germany is having some issues even without benefit of visa liberalization for Kosovo (and note the convenient use of the word “Serbian” to describe what are mostly Albanians; same with “Macedonian”):

Europe hit by scores of Western Balkan asylum seekers (Oct. 21, 2010)

Officials are considering removing visa-free travel for Western Balkan citizens as growing numbers of asylum-seekers from these countries hit the borders of Sweden, Belgium and Germany.

The EU decided that from 19 December 2009, the citizens of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia who hold biometric passports should be able to travel to the Schengen area without visas. They are allowed to travel to the Schengen area for up to 90 days per six-month period.

Last March, Belgium and Sweden received waves of ethnic Albanian and Roma asylum seekers from Macedonia and Serbia. They were returned by bus to their countries of origin.

In the German state of Bavaria, the number of asylum seekers coming from these countries has risen drastically over the past year….

So far this year, there has been 130 Serbian and 260 Macedonians asking for asylum in Bavaria compared to 59 in total last year….

In Sweden, the National Migration Board (Migrationsverket) was forced to rent camps and other temporary accommodation to deal with an acute housing shortage, the Swedish press reported.

About 4,000 Serbian citizens have asked for asylum in Sweden this year, compared with only 421 in same period last year.

In September alone, 1,410 Serbian citizens arrived in Sweden, putting a strain on the local authorities to provide services such as health care.

According to Belgrade daily Blic, Serbia will introduce special measures of control at border crossings in order to prevent abuse of the ‘no visa’ regime…

The asylum seekers are mainly of Roma and Albanian ethnicity and their asylum requests are based on economic considerations, Blic writes. However, since their country of origin, Serbia, is seen as politically safe, they will all be returned there on the basis of the readmission agreement between Serbia and the EU.

EXCUSE ME? WHAT WAS THAT? CAN WE HEAR THAT AGAIN?

“…since their country of origin, Serbia, is seen as politically safe, they will all be returned there…”

You mean “War Criminal Central” — ostensibly pursuing at least two genocides a decade ago — is considered safe for minorities? Isn’t that reminiscent of the strange fact that while Belgrade was ostensibly out to kill or cleanse all ethnic Albanians in 1998-99, it oddly didn’t harm any that were living in Serbia proper — including Belgrade? Which is itself reminiscent of the fact that Serbs and Albanians were fleeing together…into Serbia. Are we sure that the genocide and ethnic cleansing campaign — over which we insisted on jump-starting a chain of events leading to yesterday’s Frankfurt news — was all it was cracked up to be? Indeed, is it even possible — or desirable — to cleanse 90 percent of a province?

Meanwhile, a place that is the opposite of ’safe’ for returning minorities is…majority-Albanian Kosovo. Did we invert something somewhere along the way……?

But the measures to contain asylum-seekers do not seem to work smoothly. According to reports, the Serbian police recently sent back to Macedonia a bus carrying passengers who intended to request asylum in Germany. The rejected Macedonian travellers went to protest in front of the Serbian Embassy in Skopje, claiming that Serbia had violated their rights.

Dacic said the greatest number of asylum seekers were Roma from Vojvodina and Albanians from southern Serbia and Sandzak…He noted that false asylum seekers can create the impression that the population from this region wants to emigrate for political reasons, while in fact their only motivation is economic.

According to other reports, some of the asylum seekers are in fact perfectly aware that they will not be granted asylum but they take advantage of the assessment period for their applications, during which they are provided with free accommodation and some pocket money. […]

High number of Serbian asylum seekers linked to travel scam (Deutsche Welle, Dec. 31)

A sudden spurt in applications for asylum in Germany has been linked to an alleged travel scam taking place in the Balkans.

According to the head of the German government’s asylum department, people from Serbia and Macedonia are being encouraged to buy one-way bus tickets to Germany and given “empty promises” that they will find work and money once they get there.

Instead, their applications are swiftly rejected and the applicants are bussed back to the Balkans.

It’s not the first time a scam like this has been attempted. Following the change to the visa rules, several hundred Serbs, Macedonians and Montenegrins tried to leave their countries in search of greener pastures in the EU earlier in 2010.

“Those attempting to leave were predominantly ethnic Albanians - who tend to come from the poorer areas of Serbia and Macedonia,” [head of the asylum department at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees Michael Kleinhans] explained. “Those who tried to make the journey painted a very desperate picture of poverty, and many feel discriminated against.”

EU officials have made it clear that they will not tolerate this so-called ‘phoney asylum.’

Officials from the European Commission have threatened that if similar attempts are made, visa-free travel will be revoked.

EU faces ‘alarming’ rise in Serbia, Macedonia asylum seekers

“Nearly 390 Serbs, 210 Macedonians and 736 Kosovans asked for asylum in Belgium alone between July and August, and another 500 requests from the region are expected this month, Belgian officials said. Sweden and Norway have also struggled with an influx of people from the Balkans….

A Visa of Contention (Oct. 28, 2010)

…In February [EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström] had to interfere into the situation about a sudden increase in the flow of Albanians to Belgium, where they staged protests demanding the government to provide them with asylum, accommodation, job and social benefits.

Austria, Germany, France, Sweden, Belgium, Norway and the Netherlands have been facing an increased flow of migrants from the Balkans, especially from Albania.

…According to the sources in the Belgian government, in July-August some 1,500 residents of the former Yugoslavia, half of them were Kosovan Albanians, appealed for asylum in Brussels. And we can only guess how many others simply vanished in crowds. The situation in Germany is much alike…What is peculiar about this situation is that the EU provides social benefits even to those who have been rejected a residence permit. For example, in Sweden they receive 500 euros. Having got this sum, Albanians move to a neighboring state where the whole procedure is repeated.

Indeed, Belgium meets the benefits of its support for an independent Kosovo, face to face:

Belgium’s EU Presidency and the Albanian Question in the “United Europe”

… Last February and March, Belgium was shocked by massive rallies staged by Albanian refugees and various illegal migrants demanding financial assistance, housing, and jobs…In a letter to European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström, Yves Leterme linked the problem to the December 19, 2009 travel liberalization extended to a number of Balkan countries, thus calling into question nearly the main EU achievement in dealing with the Balkan region…

Across the Balkans, Yves Leterme’s reaction was seen as an attempt to reverse the EU decision on visa-free travel for the Balkan countries if not to freeze their Eurointegration…[There may be] a drift in the European public opinion with regard to the Albanian theme. Belgium was among main proponents of the Albanian separatism in 2006-2008, but the position can be seen in a totally different light given the current separatist tendencies in Flanders.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Triumphantly independent “Kosovars”: “But we’re citizens of Serbia!”

Kosovo citizens go passport shopping in Serbia (Sep. 16, 2010)

…According to sources in both Serbia and Kosovo, more and more Kosovar Albanians are applying for Serbian passports. In fact, Serbia considers Kosovo as part of its territory and subsequently regards Kosovars as Serbian citizens.

But following EU requirements, Serbia agreed to issue passports to residents of Kosovo only in its Coordination Centre in Belgrade. The EU stipulates that those possessing a passport issued there cannot travel to the EU without a visa. Ultimately this means no Kosovo resident, be it with a passport from Kosovo or from Serbia, can travel visa-free to the EU and other Schengen countries.

But many a resourceful Kosovar, with the support of bribed Serbian officials, finds a way to obtain a Serbian passport capable of opening the EU’s gates. Kosovars register as residents in some towns or villages in Serbia and get their passports there. WAZ.EUobserver spoke to some refugees from Kosovo who came to Belgium recently after paying €2,000 to obtain a Serbian passport this way. […]

Kosovo Albanians Only Coming to Serbia for Passports (Aug. 13, 2007)
Serbia issues 220,000 passports to Kosovo Albanians as “only” ID accepted abroad

BBC Monitoring Europe, Serbian newspaper Politika

Nis — What is the business that daily brings senior officials from Kosovo to Nis, Kraljevo, Krusevac, Vranje, Jagodina, and other Serbian towns this summer and what do they want here? What is the need that motivates lawyers, doctors, top officials in the Kosovo judiciary, representatives of the province’s authorities, and ordinary people of Albanian nationality that live in the southern Serbian province to spend days in Serbia? Why do Kosovo Albanians that live and work in Western European countries take time to visit Nis and other Serbian towns?

There is only one answer to all these questions — they request and are granted the right to a Serbian passport. Without it and without other Serbian documents as well, Kosovo Albanians could not stir from Kosovo.

Since the deployment of international peace forces after the air strikes on Yugoslavia in the spring of 1999 and the emplacement of a protectorate over Kosovo, members of the Albanian national minority have been denying that they are part of the state of Serbia. However, for the sake of a passport, they will accept anything: Serbian regulations, documents, and (the fact that they have) the citizenship of Serbia as evident from their personal details…

For a short time of a year and a half after the air strikes, Albanians from Kosovo could take out passports in Pristina. However, after several attacks and murder attempts against Serbian officials it was decided to relocate the province’s Interior Secretariat…to Niska Banja.

Every day, there are huge crowds outside the province’s SUP…”We come here from Kosovo, but people that live and work in Switzerland, Germany, and other Western European countries and who could obtain passports in Serbia’s consular offices abroad also come here, because it is easier and quicker to do it here, in Serbia…I was here once already, about a fortnight ago; now I have brought in my brother and his wife,” Muharem Zeqi told us.

Over the past eight years that Kosovo has been under international patronage, Serbian authorities have issued more than 220,000 new passports to Albanians from the southern province…Nearly 5,000 registers were saved from being destroyed in the devastating attacks of 1999 and were transferred to Serbia. It is only on the basis of these registers that valid documents can be issued: birth, marriage, and death certificates, proof of citizenship, and so on.

Kosovo Albanians take out also new Serbian ID cards which, along with the passports, are the only documents recognized abroad. Documents that are issued by UNMIK…are valid for use only in the province….Because of a [high number] of applicants…an outpost has recently been opened halfway between Kosovo Polje and Pristina and is secured by KFOR and UNMIK; Kosovo Albanians have been availing themselves of the services of this outpost lately.

Muharem Zeqi from the Pristina area explained to us very graphically what the Serbian passport means to him and his ethnic kin: “It is a great asset. Without it all we could do is stay in Kosovo.”

“Albanians pay EUR 3,000 for Serbian passports” (FoNet, Deutsche Welle, March 26, 2010)

An increasing number of Kosovo residents “are looking for passports of other countries”, writes Deutsche Welle. The most wanted are Serbian biometric passports, “which cost up to EUR 3,000″, the article claims.

Those holding Kosovo passports “can only travel visa-free to Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia and Turkey while the western countries, which many see as a way out from poverty, are unreachable”, Deutsche Welle says.

The article continues that “since a vast majority of Kosovo citizens cannot go to Serbia, individuals who have good connections in towns where passports were issued up until recently do this for them for a certain price, and there are even agencies which do it”.

Megacities Consulting agency in downtown Priština was allegedly offering citizenship and passports of British Guyana or Namibia for EUR 6,000 – 10,000, according to Deutsche Welle.

“Kosovo police are ready to combat the negative phenomena, in this case that some companies were unlawfully providing documents and visas. Investigation has been launched and we are waiting for results,” said Kosovo police Spokesman Baki Kelani. […]

Arrests Ongoing in Serbian Passport Scam (Nov. 9, 2010)

…An Interior Ministry source told Balkan Insight that Serbian police were targeting Kosovo Albanians, Serbs and Roma that have obtained Serbian passports by deception, using fraudulent residency documentation.

The arrests have been prompted by allegations that Kosovo residents have been fraudulently registering at Serbian addresses in order to apply for biometric passports.

It is believed that the intermediaries that have been providing Kosovo residents with residency documentation and arranging for the provision of Serbian passports are former employees of the Serbian Interior Ministry, who worked there in the Nineties. […]

More desperate measures:

Kosovars tolerate fake marriages (Nov. 2010)
Kosovar Albanians are increasingly tolerant of men who divorce local wives in order to temporarily marry foreigners and obtain resident status in the West

…Two years ago, her husband remarried a German woman. Not only did Valbona, mother of their four children aged four to 11, know of his plan, she approved it.

This is because Valbona is not really divorced in the eyes of her family or the wider community. Many Kosovar Albanian men divorce their first wives by mutual consent, departing for western Europe where they find new spouses who enable them to obtain residency papers.

They leave their children behind in Kosovo so that they can pose as single men and remarry fast. Once they have permanent residency in Germany, or other EU states, they divorce their second wives, go back to their first ones and bring the family to the West.

Germany is a popular destination for Kosovars because there is already a large Albanian expatriate population living there.

The women that these Kosovar Albanians marry in the West believe they have found ideal, attentive husbands. However, once the men have gained permanent residency in their host country - after five years of marriage to a citizen in Germany - they often demand a divorce. […]

******UPDATE******

Note the specific use of the word “Serbian” in the headline (i.e. gypsies and Albanians) — and the European demand that Serbia do something about this, after giving Serbia a complex over its minorities in the first place:

Serbian asylum seekers jeopardising visa liberalisation (Southeast European Times, May 23, 2011)

Due to the torrent of Serbians seeking asylum in EU member countries, Brussels has warned Belgrade that the future of visa-free travel in the Schengen area is at risk.

Visa requirements were lifted for citizens of Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro in December 2009. Over the course of the following 12 months, 17,000 people from Serbia requested asylum in the EU, mostly in Sweden, Belgium and Germany.

They weren’t fleeing political persecution, rather, they were poor people who believe that in the richer Western European countries, life would be eased by government subsidies. About 95% are Gypsies, the rest mostly members of the Albanian minority in Presevo and Bujanovac in southern Serbia.

Serbian police have arrested 24 people, including 16 fellow officers, for allegedly issuing false documents necessary for obtaining passports. Investigators say some of those police officers charged up to 5,000 euros for their ’service’.

After more than a year of recurring issues with bogus asylum seekers, Belgium sent a letter to the European Commission, which warned that it would request the annulment of the recently granted “white Schengen” for Serbia.

The real possibility that Serbians could lose this new right to freedom of travel has struck a chord.

“It is only by [this] we feel European, if we run out of that, we will again be like in the ghetto,” said Goran Bozinovic, a student from Belgrade.

The government has announced new legislation that will tighten access to passports and travel outside the country, which immediately raised concerns about equal treatment and questions of discrimination.

“We must not apply stricter terms of travel to Gypsies and poor Albanians from southern Serbia than to other nationalities and citizens,” said former State Secretary in the Ministry of Justice Marko Karadzic.

Beyond that, he added, “The state must create better economic conditions and provide greater rights to those people, so they would not be [seeking] it in other countries.”

Interior Minister Ivica Dacic agrees, saying Serbia will work harder on behalf of the Gypsy minority. “We want to work for the inclusion of Gypsies, [so they] feel equal with other citizens, and explain to them that asylum is not a solution,” he said.

Serbia is also considering making it a crime to organise illegal migration, punishing groups that exploit people with false promises of asylum.”Those who organise the departure of asylum seekers will be arrested and prosecuted,” said Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic.

And at border crossings, police will ask for proof to determine whether travellers have return tickets, insurance, enough money to make the trip, where they are heading and why.

******UPDATE******

Just a few additions to the Kosovo passport situation:

Liz, who circulated the item about Albanians shopping for passports in Serbia, passed along the following Sept. 17th, 2010 email from someone on her list:

Just to tell you that Albanians already travel to EU countries with their own passports, that there are regular Lufthansa and Bosnia Air flights to Pristina and Sarajevo and that they do not need go shopping to Serbia as they can do it in Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Paris, Rome , Vienna, and even USA.

Their passports are dark blue with the golden Kosovo region mark and is written Republic of Kosova and the same in Albanian. They are accepted without any problem by EU countries.

Meanwhile, it’s interesting to note which countries didn’t waste any time in recognizing the Kosovo passport, whether they officially recognized Kosovo or not:

Police Minister Says Montenegro Will Recognize New Kosovo Passports
(Text of report by Serbian wide-circulation tabloid Vecernje novosti, on 16 July, 2008)

Montenegrin Police Minister Jusuf Kalamperovic said yesterday that as a member of the United Nations, Montenegro would accept the new Kosovo passports and that “Montenegro is not even considering closing its borders to citizens and goods from Kosovo.”

According to him, this act does not mean that Montenegro recognizes Kosovo independence. [No, that came a whole two months later.]

As was announced in Pristina, issuing new Kosovo passports, which will be blue, with the flag of Kosovo and worded in three languages - Albanian, Serbian, and English - will begin on 21 July. The Pristina authorities claim that “even the countries that have not recognized the independence of Kosovo have said they would recognize the new Kosovo passports and that the only exception for now was Slovakia.”

Djelic: “Serbia Can Never Establish Relations with Itself”
“Serbia will never recognize the independence of Kosovo, nor will it recognize Kosovo passports, which are to be issued by the provisional authorities in the province,” Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic said in a statement to Tanjug Agency and explained that “Serbia will never establish relations with itself” and that as far as Serbia is concerned, this decision by the self- proclaimed authorities in Pristina would be completely null and void.

However, we now know that “never” is a relative term.

This one, of course, didn’t surprise anyone: Germany to recognize Kosovo passports (Aug. 12, 2008)

“The United States of America and the Kosovo Liberation Army stand for the same human values and principles…Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values.” — Sen. Joe Lieberman, April 28, 1999

“This is a just war, based not on any territorial ambitions but on values”; Nato’s war with Yugoslavia was “a battle between good and evil; between civilisation and barbarity; between democracy and dictatorship”. — Tony Blair (a.k.a. “Tonibler“)

“Nowhere [in Europe] is there such a level of fear for so many minorities [i.e. non-Albanians] that they will be harassed or attacked, simply for who they are.” — Report on Kosovo by Minority Rights Group International

We are reminded of these quotes in the wake of the (finally) breaking story of the murder-for-organs scheme by the Kosovo gangster government — condoned by the U.S. and our closest European allies — in an article by British journalist Neil Clark, who continues:

[ “Humanitarian” intervention in Kosovo”] was a fiction many on the liberal left bought into…But if the west had wanted to act morally in the Balkans and to protect the people in Kosovo there were solutions other than war with the Serbs, and options other than backing the KLA – the most violent group in Kosovan politics. They could have backed genuine multi-party negotiations, or offered to lift sanctions on Belgrade if a peaceful solution to the problem of Kosovo could be found. [Note: We never even bothered to back any of Milosevic’s opponents, underscoring that it was the Serbs as a people whom we wanted to bomb — as Madeleine Albright herself said in 1999: “The Serbs need some bombing and that’s what they’re going to get.”]

Instead, a virulently anti-Serb stance led the west into taking ever more extreme positions, and siding with an organisation which even Robert Gelbard, President Clinton’s special envoy to Kosovo, described as “without any question, a terrorist group”. In 2000 the Sunday Times revealed that, prior to the Nato bombing, US agents had been training the KLA. Shaban Shala, a KLA commander, claimed he had met British and US agents in north Albania in 1996.

It was the KLA’s campaign of violence against Yugoslav state officials, Serbian and Kosovan civilians in 1998, which led to an escalation of the conflict with the government in Belgrade….As for democratic advances, Sunday’s elections in Kosovo, boycotted by the Serbian minority, have seen widespread allegations of fraud, with a turnout of 149% reported in one area. […]

For anyone in need of a crash course on Kosovo amid all these revelations (perhaps some folks hadn’t been interested prior to the macabre “Hostel”-like, or “Saw”-like, news hitting last month), Doug Bandow does the story of “Kosovo ‘n US” in four paragraphs. From the American Spectator blog:

It was never easy to understand why the Clinton administration intervened in Kosovo. The U.S. had not made a habit of deciding which European state was obligated to grant independence to which disaffected minority. For instance, Spain told Basques to stuff it without much comment from Washington. And the U.S. never worried about its allies using brutality against guerrillas — the Turkish campaign against the Kurds destroyed thousands of villages and killed tens of thousands of people, while the U.S. provided Ankara with arms.

However, the prospect of getting involved in a conflict with no conceivable relationship to U.S. interests drew the Clinton administration into the Balkans. So Washington joined with a majority of European states in a policy that could be defined as “the Serbs always lose“: Everyone got to secede from Yugoslavia/Serbia, but Serbs could never secede from anyone else, whether Bosnia, Croatia, or Kosovo, irrespective of the principle of ethnic self-determination and threat of human rights violations.

Thus, the U.S. joined with a majority of European states to bomb Serbia for 78 days to force it to relinquish its control over Kosovo. Then the allies presided over mass ethnic-cleansing by the ethnic Albanian majority. Finally, the U.S. and European Union promoted faux negotiations with the understanding that the outcome was already set: independence for Kosovo. And the northern majority Serb areas of Kosovo were supposed to supinely accept their status rather than seek to remain with [the country they’d always been citizens of,] Serbia. When Belgrade refused to go along, the allies backed Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence. But Russia has blocked Kosovo’s entry into the UN and the majority of states do not recognize the new nation.

Great work, both the Clinton and Bush administrations.

It has long been known that Albania’s leaders are, shall we say, a bit “shady.” Now comes a new Council of Europe report on Hashim Thaci, Kosovo’s prime minister…What a great new addition to Europe. But then, that’s what happens when Washington tries to engage in social engineering around the globe.

To continue now with the ongoing coverage of the murder-for-organs affair. The smartest question in all this was asked by, among others, Jim Jatras, of the American Council for Kosovo, which for the past five years has been futilely trying to get the U.S. government to reverse its brutal and self-defeating policy in the region:

U.S.-Backed Kosovo Administration Implicated in Organ-Trafficking Racket – But Will It Matter? (Dec. 15)

One can’t help but wonder how many times we have to be hit over the head before it begins to sink in that America’s intervention in Kosovo was based on a pack of lies from the start. The “accepted” narrative of Kosovo as the great success story parades under the headline: U.S. and NATO Allies Nobly Stepped in to Stop Genocide by Evil Serbs. The reality was U.S. Dragged NATO Allies Kicking and Screaming Into Support for Muslim Mafia Committing Genocide Against Christian Serbs.

Comes now the Council of Europe’s human rights investigator Dick Marty with damning accusations that Hashim Thaci, a/k/a Gjarpër (“Snake”), currently masquerading as “prime minister” of the illegal separatist administration in Pristina, heads a “mafia-like” operation that included murdering captives, mainly Serbs, to sell their organs on the black market. Is even that ghoulish revelation enough to force a reconsideration of the preening self-justification of a “humanitarian” intervention most Americans have long since forgotten? We can hope. But did the plotted attack on Fort Dix changes any minds? No. Now we have organ trafficking. Let’s remember the organ-trafficking story first broke over two years ago and seemed to be withering away in the face of brazen stonewalling by “authorities” in Pristina and Tirana (with full backing from Washington, of course.)

Release of Mr. Marty’s report, just as Thaci is claiming victory in Kosovo’s recent elections, suggests that somebody in Europe wants to jump off this bandwagon to disaster. But for Americans, the question is: How horrible do the facts need to be before we start looking behind the curtain to see what our government is so desperate to conceal?

In the unfortunate partisan myopia that plagues American politics, some of my fellow conservatives might be tempted to blame it on Bill Clinton and leave it at that. Of course, it was largely a “Clinton problem” back during the 1999 NATO war against Serbia. To their credit, most Congressional Republicans voted against the war, which our Razorback Rommel illegally launched even though the House of Representatives had voted down the authorization to use military force. But while Republicans mainly voted No, the neoconservative establishment was whipping up support for the Clinton White House. Unfortunately, with neocon domination of the George W. Bush administration’s foreign policy, and their desperation to win Islamic friends after 9/11, the Bush policy on Kosovo was even more Clinton than Clinton, leading to the decision to try to force the issue of Kosovo’s independence in violation of every principle of international law and national sovereignty.

So, what will Washington do now about “our” guy Thaci?…[E]ven aside from these organ-trafficking peccadilloes, the U.S. establishment did know – from Day One – that Thaci and Co…were a bunch of thugs. So did the intelligence services of our allies. (And make no mistake – it’s not just Thaci. If Thaci needs to be dumped, we can guess that “Plan B” will be to install in his place another of his equally vicious KLA colleagues.) They – our government – knew the KLA were criminals running the drug, slave, and weapons rackets throughout Europe. They knew the KLA was supported by Osama bin Laden (with whom Thaci met personally in Tirana in 1998 to plan the jihad in Kosovo, according to the former head of Albanian intelligence), the Iranians, the Saudis, the Turks, and other supporters of an Islamic re-re-conquest of the Balkans. And we supported them anyway, shredding every rule of law and decency in the process. Now what? In all probability, circle the wagons, hope it will blow over, and keep twisting arms around the world in support of the illegal separatist terrorist entity “KosovA.”

As for Serbia — if there were a respectable government in Belgrade, instead of a group of quislings, they wouldn’t be preparing to meet with representatives of Thaci’s “government” in direct negotiations. Instead, conspiring with their U.S. and European supporters and collaborators in the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade’s recent “contribution” to the Kosovo fiasco is their persecution of Vladika Artemije, Bishop of Ras and Prizren and Kosovo and Metohija, who over two years ago was calling for then-President Bush to refuse to meet with Thaci and demanding an accounting for the organ-selling outrage!

Let us hope that Mr. Marty’s fine work doesn’t get thrown down the Memory Hole with any and all other facts inconvenient to Washington’s policy. But it’s not enough just to track down the individual perpetrators, or even to pack Thaci off to jail (though both would be a good start). It’s time for the lies that have undergirded our entire Balkan policy to be exposed, for the United States to stop its obsessive support for Islamic jihad against the indigenous Christian population, and specifically to back off from our absurd and destructive global lobbying on behalf of the KLA regime.

Some might argue that “we’ve come too far” to reverse course now, that American commitment to “KosovA” is irreversible. But it’s never too late to stop doing the wrong thing and start doing the right thing. If Mr. Marty’s organ-trafficking revelations can be a catalyst for a truthful reassessment of American policy and of the events of recent years, the victims will not have died in vain.

In his blog, writer Lee Jay Walker asks the same question: “[W]ill this be enough to dent America’s pro-Islamic policies in the Balkans which have been so detrimental to the region? Also, will the world wake up to the de-Christianization of Kosovo and how Western governments enabled radical Islamists to enter the Bosnian and Kosovo conflicts? Or will America and the United Kingdom, and others, continue with their policies of being pro-Muslim in both Bosnia and Kosovo?”

Nor does Walker let the complicit media off the hook:

[I]s it credible to believe that the vast majority of major news agencies and national governments did not know about thousands of Islamists in Europe who were sent to slit the throats and behead Orthodox Christians? After all, if the reality of what really happened in Bosnia and Kosovo [were] revealed then people could not be manipulated and national governments who supported America and the United Kingdom would not have been involved in such folly and brutality. Therefore, the mass media was a tool which worked in the favor of America and the United Kingdom and the Muslim “victim card” works well in many circles of the mass media.

In a piece on Slate.com titled “Prime Minister, Mob Boss,” writer Joshua Kucera takes note of the fact that the “revelations” were met with little more than a shrug. Among the Albanian public, this is understandable, since they’ve known all along what their leaders are, which is why it’s taboo to talk about, and which makes the leadership’s staged outrage a bit over-the-top: Everyone living or working in the Balkans knows that Thaci’s notorious Drenica group heads most of the criminal rackets in Albanian itself — and this is whom the Albanian public applauds as it watches their gang transformed into “statesmen” by the U.S. Although most Albanians would prefer less corrupt but more radical leaders (like the Self-Determination movement’s Albin Kurti), Thaci and his goons do represent their public, whose primary career option and ambition is crime. Kucera’s take:

…In most countries, a report by a respected international body that says your prime minister is the head of a mafia ring involved in organ smuggling might cause a bit of a political stir. But not in Kosovo.

You might think that Thaci would pay a political price for dabbling in the flesh trade, but in Pristina, even his political opponents have rallied to his defense, framing the allegations as an insult to Kosovo and the KLA. The head of another political party, former Prime Minister Agim Ceku, said, “Every accusation against the KLA comes from Serbia or its helpers…It’s just an attempt to blacken our war and our victory.”

That is, Albanians are so used to the world not seeing what they’ve done to Serbs, that by now they think only Serbs are able to observe or believe anything about dissected Serbs. So if anyone who isn’t Serbian finally notices that something is amiss, it can only be because Serbia is whispering in their ear. The same Serbia that is eagerly self-immolating in service to Albanians and their Western henchmen.

And notice the zero distinction between the Ceku quote above and the statements that have been coming from the Kosovo government. That’s because there is only one collective Albanian mind, and it functions very much like the Borg collective of “Star Trek.” The only time variations are discernible is when there is infighting; much as it is with the Arabs: when the ‘Zionist Enemy’ isn’t providing a rallying cry, they’re fighting and killing intra-ethnically. And would like to continue doing so as an independent nation, without being hampered by attachments to a more civilized, laws-bound, host society. A few other interesting sentences from Kucera’s Slate article, which also reminds readers that the birth of Kosovo owes to heroin, responsible for half the KLA’s funding between 1996 and 1999:

[A] 2008 U.N. report notes that Kosovo’s position in the World Bank’s rule of law rankings is the lowest in the Balkans, while popular satisfaction with the government is the highest in the region…[T]he influence of the European Union and United States in Kosovo is declining….The E.U. Rule of Law Mission is one of the few remaining international institutions with any authority in Kosovo, and it is increasingly unpopular among Kosovars.

Of course it is! It’s a “law and order” mission. As if in an echo chamber, here was acting president Jakup Krasniqi’s reaction to the Marty report:

Kosovo’s interim president, Jakup Krasniqi, urged the Council of Europe Friday not to endorse an internal report linking Prime Minister Hashim Thaci to organ trafficking and organized crime.

“I welcome your support in not allowing adoption of this report as an official document of the Council of Europe,” a statement quoted Krasniqi as saying in a letter sent to all 47 Council of Europe members. “Horrible accusations in this report aim to hamper international recognitions of the Republic of Kosovo as well as to weaken the position of the government of the Republic of Kosovo in the forthcoming dialogue with Serbia,” Krasniqi said.

That’s what the macabre news all boils down to: something that could, god forbid, finally interfere with Albanian expansion. More echoes from the collective Borg mind:

“The aim of this report is to harm the image of Kosovo, its people and all Albanians in this region, slow down the recognition of Kosovo’s independence, block the start of talks between Kosovo and Serbia, and delay the establishment of new institutions,” the prime minister [Thaci] said.

The Kosovo Chamber of Lawyers in Pristina sounded a similar note. “The report has no evidence and the Chamber is offering legal and professional support to everyone mentioned…to find facts and protect their dignity,” said Musa Dragusha, the head of the Chamber.

But it gets even better, from President Krasniqi again:

The draft report is bluntly biased and even contains racist statements, when it refers to “the structure of clans” in the Kosovo Albanian society and “the lack of a genuine civil society”.

Ultimately, we welcome all legal and political initiatives taken both inside and outside of Kosovo to condemn these absurd and indecent defamations, which do not contribute to making the Balkan a region of peace, stability and safety.

First, the second of those last two paragraphs: Everyone is welcome to condemn the report; that is the allowed reaction. Further, he’s welcoming condemnations against the allegations instead of getting to the bottom of them. And of course, the reason that the ‘defamations’ don’t contribute to peace, stability and safety is that things are less peaceful, stable and safe when you piss off Albanians. As has been the ‘wisdom’ guiding Western policy in the region since 1999.

But I really do need to address the first paragraph in the president’s quote above. This is the first time I’m seeing an official Albanian objection to the less than censored, less than politically-correct, language used to describe Albanian pre-modern society. It’s certainly not the first time we’re reading about their “clan-based” society, about “tight clans,” or a “culture of silence.” Even in the ’80s, there were headlines like this from the NY Times: “Pristina Journal; Blood Will Have Blood; It’s the Code of the Clans.” Albania even has a TV station called Klan, so it’s not like they don’t know they’re all about clans. Nor is it the first time we’re reading something about Albanians with terms such as “blood feud”; “violent, closed society”; “lawlessness”; or “criminal tribe,” as the Hungarian Intelligence Service considers them. Such descriptions are a regular feature of one report after another — whether UN, OSCE, HRW, EU, or any European intelligence agency. And check out this quote from a 1901 British diplomatic cable sent to the Marquess of Lansdowne: “Old Serbia [Kosovo] is still a restive region because of the Albanians’ lawlessness, vengeance and racial hatred.” And don’t just take it from non-Albanians. Here were some adjectives used by Albanian Albanians about Macedonian Albanians earlier this year:

“Hatred towards their own country, extreme Islamism, extremely low culture”. These were the quali[ties] which several Albanian intellectuals used in attacking [Macedonian politician Mundux] Thaci….According to [writer Maks] Velo, there is a frightening, extreme Islamism among the Albanian parties in Macedonia and it is not a coincidence that DPA’s leader Mendux Thaci is on the U.S. blacklist for years.

“The mosques in the villages in Macedonia seem like Iranian missiles. If the Albanians there can not climb to a higher cultural level of social life, not to discriminate against women, to build civil society, you will never be able to go up against the Macedonians in any way, especially not intellectually.

So what is it about these characterizations that the Albanians are suddenly objecting to now? Is it that finally someone could be listening? They didn’t seem to mind when no one was paying attention, but it’s embarrassing now that they’re on the public’s radar — at least temporarily.

(Oh, and here’s a blunt one, from former State Dept. officer George Kenney, who at some point went rogue by turning into a human being: “In the latter phases of Yugoslavia’s Civil War there were an unusually large number of reports from Kosovo alleging Albanian harvesting and trafficking of organs from Serb prisoners. It long seemed to me that…the circumstantial evidence was strong and merited serious investigation….we now have a report [that] lays out the details. How long will it take historians to conclude that America’s Kosovar-Albanian clients are one of the most barbaric criminal gangs in the world?”)

Also using the “racism” card is Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha, who called the accusation that he himself — a well-known crook — was a weapons dealer during the 1998-99 war “racist,” again diminishing the distinction between criminals and Albanians in general while doing the standard evil-Serb deflection trick for good measure:

…Legal documents reportedly identify Prime Minister Sali Berisha of Albania as one of the key arms traffickers during the 1998-99 war in Kosovo.

“Sali Berisha was one of the main arms traffickers during the Kosovo conflict. His name is mentioned by four witnesses in documents from the (Serbian) war crimes prosecutor,” Politika, a pro-government daily, said on its frontpage. [The government being pro-Western, anti-nationalist, U.S.-installed surrender monkey.]

“Claims by Politika, a mouthpiece of Serb ultranationalists and the advocate of the Serb genocide in Bosnia and Kosovo, are nothing but racist slander,” Mr Berisha said.

He linked Politika’s report to an “anti-Albanian hysteria, led by (Council of Europe special rapporteur) Dick Marty, a racist who, without any proof, is trying to do everything to soil the Albanians’ war in Kosovo.”

Politika says the file, number 33-08, of the war crimes prosecutor, quoted witnesses who identify a house belonging to Berisha in northern Albania close to the town of Tropoje, near the border with Kosovo, as “an arms buying centre”. The witnesses, not identified by name, are members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, (KLA)….The men were arrested by Serb security forces during the 1998-99 war and questioned about how the KLA got its arms, according to the daily.

“The slurs that Belgrade’s Politika and Dick Marty are propagating again…prove their blind racism and their big disappointment with the liberation of one nation,” Mr Berisha said. […]

To be fair, while Berisha — in what sounded more like a dare — ultimately “welcomed” an international investigation, Serbian war crimes prosecutor Vukcevic was encouraged by statements coming from another official in Albania, Iljer Neta, who “offered that the matter has to be investigated in Albania.” Vukcevic nonetheless laments the three years lost, as “Three years ago, Serbian prosecutors called for co-operation with their Albanian colleagues, but no joint investigation was ever launched.”

Diplomatic ping pong is what it was called by Philip Alston, a special UN rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, in a press conference in Tirana last February:

Albanian officials had played “diplomatic ping pong” and stalled investigations. There had been “no meaningful cooperation from Albania”, he said…Council of Europe investigators are understood to have been among those who, according to Alston, received only limited assistance from Albania during their inquiries.

Which brings us to the rich, reverberated reaction by the National Albanian American Council — speaking, no less, for the entire Albanian community in America and thereby once again conflating Albanian criminals with Albanians in general: “The Albanian American Community Strongly Denounces Dick Marty’s Accusations“:

The Albanian American community strongly denounces the unsubstantiated allegations made by Mr. Dick Marty…The report is an uncorroborated attack attempting to smear not only PM Thaqi, but also the heroic resistance against the Serbian ethnic cleansing campaign [sic] made by the Kosova [sic] Liberation Army (KLA).

Mr. Marty’s report alleges fresh evidence but presents no new information, contends to have spoken with multiple witnesses, but refuses to publish names. [As you can imagine, not having witnesses’ names is ESPECIALLY frustrating to Albanians, since how else will they be able to kill them? Notice also the way Albanian spokesmen and authorities accuse the Marty report of not being based on facts, while ignoring the facts in it.]

The international community has been extremely critical of Mr. Marty’s report:

Mr. Bernard Kouchner, former Foreign Minister of France and UNMIK Chief at the time of the allegations, responded, “My first reaction, and I read the report very carefully, is that I’m very skeptical about those accusations of the organ trade. My second reaction is to have somebody investigate this, conduct a real investigation.”

Dr. Sali Berisha, Albania’s Prime Minister, stated, “This is a report absolutely not based on any facts, evidence or reality, which shows the clear taking of sides of the author, including a flagrant abuse of the authority of the Council of Europe.” [As if a respectable, real, head of state is being cited here, rather than a fellow gangster. “International community” indeed.]

The Albanian American community fully stands behind the government of Kosova’s demand that Dick Marty step back and allow competent, impartial authorities to look into these unsubstantiated allegations and commit to cooperate fully with any fair and unbiased inquiry. Additionally, we implore the international community to continue to support Kosova’s inevitable membership into Euro-Atlantic institutions. [That’s what’s most important! And “inevitable” — you got that?]

Back to the big question: “Will it matter?” Nebojsa Malic points out that “Reuters speculates that the furor over Marty’s report may eventually amount to nothing, since the Empire [that’s us] has invested too much in Kosovo “independence” to reverse course now. And Srdja Trifkovic writes of how the U.S. media are helping make sure this story once again has no legs through their “feeble and half-hearted reporting”:

The Chicago Tribune, for instance, did not deem it fit to publish a story about the Council of Europe report itself. It published two related items critical of the report instead, on the European Union expressing doubt about its factual basis and on the “government” of Kosovo planning to sue Dick Marty for libel. No major daily has published a word of doubt about Bill Clinton’s wisdom of waging a war on behalf of Thaçi and his cohorts a decade ago, or perpetuating the myth of it having been a good war today.

That Thaçi aka “The Snake” is a criminal as well as a war criminal is no news, of course. The intriguing question is who, on the European side, wanted to end his “untouchable” status, why now, and what is the U.S. Government — his principal enabler and abettor — going to do about it.

…Thaçi’s American enablers and their media minions are already embarking on a bipartisan damage-limitation exercise. Its pillars will be the assertion that the report rests on flimsy factual evidence, an attempt to discredit Dick Marty personally, and the claim the Council of Europe as an irrelevant talking shop.

The good news is that Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are calling for a EULEX probe into Marty’s findings and for Western governments to demand a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation that leads to prosecutions. (Both organizations’ previous calls over the past 11 years for something to be done about Kosovo impunity have fallen on deaf ears.) The bad news is that, knowing that prosecuting our Kosovo friends would be a deadly undertaking for all involved, the Kosovo-based EULEX is already trying to find a way out, citing “no jurisdiction” in Albania.

And yet:

The murder of one man, and the beating of others during the 1999 war in the northern Albanian town of Kukes and in other makeshift detention centres, has recently become the subject of a court case in Prishtina, in Kosovo, although the alleged crimes took place in Albania. Law enforcement bodies there never attempted to inquire into the incidents.

Hand in hand with the “will it matter” issue is the fact that it was known all along to Western governments that their KLA weren’t just terrorists, but an organized crime syndicate:


Kosovo PM Hashim Thaci’s crimes ‘known to the West’

Western leaders have been accused of turning a blind eye to murders, drug running and organ trafficking in Kosovo. The West elevated a man it knew to be a criminal boss to the rank of European statesman…”What shocked me is that most of the facts illustrated in this report were known to numerous organisations, which until now have remained silent,” Mr Marty said at a press conference.

Will Dick Marty’s revelations be dismissed the way all negative things about Albanian-run Kosovo have been? The Kosovo mission itself became — for all involved except a few quickly suppressed exceptions — about just keeping one’s job and not causing any waves. Tom Gambill laid it out clearly in a 2005 CNS News interview titled “Whistleblower: Kosovo ‘Owned’ By Albanian Mafia.” Naturally, anyone wanting to look into the criminality of the powers-that-be was dismissed. After all, this would endanger everyone more than professionally.

Realize, our leaders knew everything even as they invoked Kosovo as a “successful” war, a model they contrasted with our current wars. One Democratic presidential candidate after another — in 2004 and 2008 — flaunted that party’s Kosovo credential to a public they knew wouldn’t know any better, in interviews with hosts who they knew wouldn’t question it, correctly relying on media personalities — of both political persuasions — having been thoroughly propagandized. All the while, as Chris Deliso wrote in The Coming Balkan Caliphate, “longtime UNMIK employees in Kosovo who have watched the process disintegrate over the years express disbelief at how the Western media and politicians can get away with calling the intervention a success.”

But a war is easily going to feel like a “success” if you’re fighting for the enemy, against a non-enemy that’s powerless to do anything about it (as I wrote in my 2007 American Legion article, “The ‘Successful War’ We Lost in Kosovo“).

A particularly odious example of a Western official who knew what was going on is the case of French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner. The following Dec. 22 report is from the German-owned Belgrade paper Blic:

Canadian Captain Stu Kellock, former Chief of the UNMIK Police Department for crime in 2000 and 2001, claims that then first man of the UN mission in Kosovo Bernard Kouchner ‘must have known’ details concerning organized crime in Kosovo. ‘However, Hashim Thaci was among the ‘untouchables’ because he was as early as then chosen to be Kosovo Albanian leader’.

‘I cannot confirm that Kouchner knew about organ trafficking but it is absolutely impossible that he did not have information about organized crime in Kosovo [he was always kept informed of organized crime in Kosovo]…[Kellock] explains that after [the] arrival of the UN mission and the NATO troops, it was the mafia to arrive in Kosovo next. I was completely aware of who Thaci was and of how huge his influence was[, he said]. However, in circles I acted in, any discussion involving criticism of Thaci and his associates would be immediately dismissed. I was a witness to [the] creating of a statesman. It was clear to me that Thaci had been chosen and that he would never been brought [up] in connection with any criminal activities in spite of the fact that he had influence on tax collection, drug, human and arms trafficking and goods smuggling’, Kellock said.

Stu Kellock’s experiences trying to police Kosovo are worth a brief visit as well:

…Kellock says that rumors of [the] Albanian organ trade were circulating during his service in Kosovo – in 2000 and 2001 – but that his staff was so overwhelmed with Albanian crime that, says Kellock, he did not have time to investigate rumors.

“Rumors about organ trade appeared even in my time but were not proven. There was talk about a hospital in Pristina and the criminal activity that is going on there, but at the time there were so many other, burning priorities. I had way too few people to be able to investigate rumors,” Kellock is quoted by the RTS.

Kellock said that the Pristina hospital moved enormous amounts of money whose source was completely unknown.

“In one case, a gun battle broke [out at the hospital] when one security guy was killed and one million Deutsche Marks was stolen. Absolutely nobody could explain to us how and why was there one million Marks at the hospital,” said Kellock. […]

In this breathtaking 2006 interview by Chris Deliso with Detective Kellock, which details another infamous example of evidence-suppression and -destruction in Kosovo — the 2001 Podujevo Bus Massacre that killed 12 Serbs including two children — “readers get the inside story of how UN investigators in Kosovo sought to crack down on criminals and terrorists — but were systematically stopped, because of the perceived need to safeguard the interests of the Western political elite and their local proteges.

…[F]ighting crime in Kosovo was a tiring and never-ending battle, “a series of shootings, bombings, kidnappings, explosions, rapes and other serious crimes including human trafficking and terrorism…”…National, clan and supranational interests were inextricably interwoven in complex and murky ways, out of all proportion to the size of the territory in question.

[The] audacious arrest of a leading KLA founder got Kellock’s superiors sweating, and may have restricted the reach of further investigations. Most ominously, says Kellock, “I certainly did feel threatened after the arrest and detention of Sabit Geci”…dubbed at the time “a kingpin in Pristina’s underworld with highly placed political allies in the PDK [of Hasim Thaci]….Detective Kellock emphasizes how astonished some of his peers were by his vigorous action against the crime lord…how dare I arrest a modern war hero!”

…Kellock recalls “a very interesting statement made to me by a very senior police officer after [Geci’s] conviction – along the lines of ‘we did not know whether or not to allow you to continue your investigation…’” The investigation had cemented for him something that had been apparent at least since January 2000 when according to AFP, UNMIK Chief Administrator Bernard Kouchner ordered police that his explicit permission would be required if they sought to raid the premises of any of Kosovo’s leading families.

…As has been repeated again and again by internationals working in Kosovo and the independent media, prosecuting the warlords would cause a backlash against KFOR and UNMIK — meaning that for the past six and a half years, the UN has been living as a virtual hostage to the “decommissioned” leaders of the KLA….

Which brings us back to Kouchner. That is one Western player in Kosovo whose culpability in all this is worth emphasizing.

In March of this year, I wrote: French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who was the UN chief in Kosovo from 1999 to 2001, was asked to comment on the KLA’s 1999 organ-removal operation…and respond to accusations that he himself bore some responsibility in either covering it up or else turning a blind eye. This was his over-the-top reaction, which included mimicking human dissection:



“Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Organ trade? But you are sick, aren’t you? Do I look like someone who would traffic organs? You are insane, to believe all kinds of nonsense like that. What’s the yellow house? Why yellow? Sir, you should consult (a doctor). There was no yellow house, there was no organ trade. People who talk about things like that are bums and murderers.”

If only his outburst mocking the Voice of America reporter had stopped at calling the man crazy for thinking that he [Kouchner], a doctor by profession, could be involved with such a thing. But Kouchner didn’t stop there. He went on to scoff at the idea of the now infamous “Yellow House,” where it all took place and which has been the subject of more than one active investigation…So far, I hadn’t suspected Kouchner of anything close to knowing about the operation at the time, much less being involved in it…The closest thing to elaboration on this accusation came from the Serbian newspaper Vecernje Novosti (”Evening News”) in May, 2008. As translated and excerpted by the de-construct.net blog:

“Serbian officials were an inch away from the kidnapped [victims] in Kosovo and Metohija on a number of occasions, but were always prevented from reaching them”, the members of the former investigative teams of the state’s Coordinating Center for the province said.

“This is why not a single search had produced any results, even though many of the kidnapped were still alive at the time, and were imprisoned in Kosovo and Metohija”, Serbs who were leading the investigations after the war said, adding that the whole “business” took place in the years 2000 and 2001…when the Western officials, including Kouchner, [had] already been firmly established in the southern Serbian province….Milorad Pejcinovic, leader of the Serbian investigative team assigned with the task of finding the secret makeshift prisons and concentration camps in Kosovo and Metohija, said that there can be no doubt UNMIK [had] been purposely thwarting every single investigation.

“There is no question that every serious search of our team has been thwarted by the UNMIK police, claiming that the locations for which we had solid evidence that they contain our kidnapped people, are not safe. Whenever we would come within an inch of uncovering them, UNMIK police would forbid us to move further, claiming that the Albanians have learned about our intentions and that our lives are at stake,” Pejcinovic said.

He revealed that the UNMIK police was also preventing every individual attempt by the families to find their kidnapped loved ones, telling them that they must have a court order to enter certain locations, which “served to provide sufficient time for the Albanians who held kidnapped Serbs imprisoned to move them to other locations”.

“The biggest problem was the fact that Albanians had their men in UNMIK, who would inform them about each of our intentions to search the terrain. The same thing happened during one of the most complex searches which lasted three days. When we came to the entryway of one of the secret locations, UNMIK ordered us to turn back, because ‘they can’t guarantee our safety’,” Serbian investigators said.

According to a report last week, Serbia has filed a claim against UNMIK at the ICTY for hiding organ-harvesting and is demanding an investigation.

While Kouchner’s role may fall short of direct “involvement,” as he has been accused of by some in regional media, it does qualify as complicity if one is helping cover something up. And why would he have such a laugh — so forcefully deny — something he knew nothing about, if he in fact knew nothing about it? Interestingly, in 2008 then-State Dept. spokesman Sean MacCormack had the same reaction — laughter — to the only question asked about the grisly affair. Ridicule has been an effective tool by Western governments to deal with the rare occasion that some strange, lowly human being dares confront them with something Kosovo-related, which they’d thought was successfully swept under the rug.

Kouchner’s behavior is all the more egregious because he is the founder of Doctors Without Borders. Not that this group’s record on Kosovo Serbs was clean to begin with, as Stella Jatras documented:

Even the 1999 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, France’s Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) or Doctors without Borders (DWB) expelled the Greek arm of DWB because the Greeks showed compassion by treating those injured or dying Serbians in Yugoslavia during NATO’s bombing campaign. Apparently the Hippocratic Oath by France’s Medecins Sans Frontiers stopped at the Serbian border.

And of course, here is the doctor-humanitarian (second from left) with two of the organized-crime chiefs who have been overseeing all the rackets:

Now we know what was meant by this, from March:

“President Sejdiu thanked Mr. Kouchner for the unwavering support that Republic of France has provided to Republic of Kosovo…saying that [Mr. Kouchner] has always remained a friend and a supporter of human freedoms.”

The human freedoms to kill, rob, rape, plunder and dissect.

Western leaders knew. They knew. And it didn’t matter. The sadness of the Kosovo reality is conveyed in the poignant fact that the news in Serbia is that the organs story is actually considered newsworthy to the world. They’re not used to Serb suffering being of concern to anyone but Serbs.

Indeed, international media are incredulous. “Is it possible?” asks Berlin newspaper Tageszeitung, according to a report mistitled “Was Europe Blind?” (Just the opposite, actually.) The rest of it:

Is it possible that people could have been kidnapped on orders from the prime minister of a European state? That he had them murdered in order to extract organs from their dead bodies, e.g. kidneys for rich customers…asks the Tageszeitung (TAZ). “Is it possible that Hashim Thaçi, the prime minister of Kosovo, unanimously backed by Berlin, London, Paris and Washington, owes his political power to wealth he amassed in criminal activities?”

“If Eulex, the EU mission in Kosovo, wants to remain credible, it will now have to conduct an impartial investigation into Thaçi & Co – which it has refrained from doing so far because a number of Albanian politicians are former guerrilla commanders and still have armed groups at their disposal.”

So how will Brussels react? Hard to say: “In September 2010, the War Crimes section head for EULEX made statements that completely, or almost completely, contradict Dick Marty’s report”, notes Le Temps. There was “no evidence”, according to Finnish police officer Matti Raatikainen, to corroborate the charges of organ trafficking made against Thaçi’s entourage, recalls the Swiss daily. [And we now have a clearer understanding of why that is.]

And yet, adds the paper, “The European Union knows that everything that emerges about Thaçi’s criminal involvement will put the EU in the dock. How can it then keep demanding that Belgrade arrest Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb general still on the lam? Above all, how can it argue against those, like the young nationalist Kosovar politician Albin Kurti, who call for EULEX to get out after its shady concessions to the power elite?”

U.S. government and media, in contrast, are immune to any such sober questions, or questions of morality. Much like Kosovo’s ambassador to Switzerland — who complacently said the allegations wouldn’t “affect bilateral relations between the two countries” — we had State Dept. spokesman Michael Murphy in Kosovo justifying this complacency with an almost identical statement that the Marty report will have “no impact” on U.S.-Kosovo relations. Or, as Serbianna.com paraphrased it: “US State Department said that extraction of organs out of Serbs is unimportant and Washington will continue to cooperate with Thaci irrespective of his involvement in that crime.” The news site also quoted an analyst explaining that “To the US, in particular, Marty’s report and the extraction of Serbian organs is just another little obstacle in their grand design to extract Kosovo out of Serbia.”

Which puts the likes of Austria and Switzerland on a higher moral plane than the U.S. Switzerland called for a probe, and as for Austria:

Leader of the Freedom Party of Austria Heinz-Christian Strache [on Dec. 16] said that Hashim Thaci should be urgently arrested and extradited to the Hague Tribunal. He said [he was not] surprised at all [at the] allegations against Thaci. “Three years ago I insisted that Thaci, according to a report by the German intelligence service, is connected with the organized crime.”

That’s, of course, despite the side-show aspect to these two countries on the matter, with Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey hedging her bets and pointing the finger at Austria:

“…The declaration of independence and its recognition by many states does not depend on [Thaci],” she said in an interview published on Wednesday in the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper. She added Switzerland had not been the first country to recognise the independence of the former Serb province. “Austria did it before us, if that is any reassurance,” she noted.

Which of course begs the question: So why did she cancel the Dec. 21 award ceremony to be hosted by Switzerland’s Kosovo Albanian community for her support for their state — if Thaci is no reflection on the wider community or the wisdom of Kosovo independence?

All the more since Switzerland has had a clue for a long time:

Thaci was banned from entering Switzerland

CoE [Council of Europe] rapporteur Dick Marty has stated that Switzerland has known for years about outgoing Kosovo Prime Minister Hasim Taci’s alleged involvement in drug and organ trafficking and even banned him from entering the country.

One does not do that to respectable persons, Marty stated for the NZZ am Sonntag, a Swiss weekly. Taci’s name can be found in police records, said Marty….[T]he Federal Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that Switzerland denied visa to Taci [in the late ’90s]….

Numerous Kosovo rebels lived in Switzerland during the ninetees. Taci also studied in Zurich, before he became KLA political leader. Switzerland was of strategic importance for KLA. This is where the organization recruited members and handled the financing of the resistance [sic], the paper reads, adding that about 200,000 people from Kosovo live in Switzerland today.

Owing to his efforts in the fight for Kosovo’s independence [such as blowing up refugee convoys and killing cops of varying ethnicity], Taci became an important political figure, which earned him persecution by a certain state. This is why a decision was made that he be denied a visa, the directorate’s statement reads, adding that the Swiss authorities did not want Taci in the country as he was wanted by Serbia for war crimes.

[So you see — everything is relative. If it’s just Serbia that’s after you for atrocities, it’s for persecution, not prosecution. So Serbian warrants aren’t taken seriously.]

During the debate on Kosovo’s recognition in 2008, Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey did not inform the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council on Taci’s ban on entry, the then committee chairman Gary Miller stated.

Marty claims that the alleged mafia network around Taci took over the control of the money that KLA received from the Kosovo diaspora. The money was deposited into accounts in Swiss and German banks. President of the Foreign Affairs Committee Christa Markwalder seeks a clarification of the accusations according to which the money from drug and organ trafficking was paid into accounts in Switzerland [including into radical Islamic charity accounts.]

If the allegations are confirmed, the state prosecution must react, she underlined. The serious accusations that Marty made, particularly against Taci, will be discussed by the Foreign Affairs Committee at its next session on January 10-11, when Minister Calmy-Ray will have to provide some answers as well, the Swiss paper reads.

Of course, we know about the deep and dirty role played by Swiss bank accounts in Kosovo. From June 2007:

Bexhet Pacoli, the richest Kosovo Albanian in the world from whose telephone, according to BND findings, a transaction in the amount of two million euros was arranged from a Swiss bank to one in Cyprus in the name of Kosovo special envoy Martti Ahtisaari, openly claims that he is paying 60 people just in Washington who are lobbying for the independence of Kosovo.

In terms of financial power [Pacoli’s company] Mabetex is among the 70 strongest companies in Switzerland, with representative offices in the USA, Austria, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, China, Russia, the Ukraine, Moldava, Kazakhstan, Slovenia and elsewhere.

His decision to make his economic empire work for political purposes is confirmed by the newly founded organization of Kosovo Albanians in the USA called the Alliance for a New Kosovo, which he finances directly….The Alliance for a New Kosovo is headed by two lobbyists from the U.S. offices of Jefferson Waterman, former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council Samuel Hoskinson and former deputy assistant secretary for East-West trade in the State Department Kempton Jenkins.

This lobbying group will also act through its advisory body, which includes former U.S. secretary of defense and deputy CIA director Frank Carlucci, who served as secretary of defense in the Reagan administration and the long-time president of the Carlyle Group, a powerful military-industrial corporation.

Among the senior advisors of Carlyle is former U.S. president George Bush, and until the September 11 attacks its executive board also included the Bin Laden family.

Upon arriving in Kosovo, BND agents uncovered a clear and frequent relationship and communication between the leading figures of the Albanian mafia, their intermediaries and [UN envoy] Martti Ahtisaari.

According to what the agents uncovered, several calls were made to the building of the special envoy for Kosovo, Martti Ahtisaari, from numbers known to belong to Albanian billionaire Bexhet Pacoli.

The content of the conversation from this number related to an unknown monetary transaction in the amount of two million euros from a Swiss bank in Basel, from account number 239700-93457-00097, protected as an offshore sub-account under the code XS52-KOLER, which is owned by Exhet Boria, the right hand of the head of the Albanian mafia, to account number
3459346699004533, account code VOLANND, at the Bank of Cyprus.

(See also: Evidence That UN Special Envoy for Kosovo Marti Ahtisaari Received Albanian Mafia Bribes for Kosovo Independence)

Well now, how could anyone compete with a deck stacked like that? Kosovo was going to get independence ten times over. Organs for everyone!

Meanwhile, Thaci “swore” to avenge himself at the international court and seems to already have a sense that “justice will [not] be neutral towards [Marty].” He told Reuters that “Under no circumstances will Dick Marty escape justice for this slander,” adding that Marty should “prepare good lawyers to defend him” — by which he probably meant bodyguards.

Also calling Marty the real criminal here was Thaci’s co-accused, former head of the KLA’s secret service, Kadri Veseli: “But since [Marty] is trying to manipulate the facts by imposing his version of the truth, he has committed a crime.”

Responding to Thaci’s tantrums about suing him, Dick Marty (who points out that Thaci knows Council of Europe rapporteurs have immunity), said in an interview with Serbian daily Vecernje Novosti that in addition “Thaci should sue the German police, the Italian secret services, the FBI, because his name appears in all of their reports” — and furthermore:

He lashed out at what he called a climate of fear and political opportunity in Kosovo that allowed the alleged crimes to go uncovered and called for an end to what he described as a double standard — applying one set of justice for winners and another for losers.

“Most of the facts mentioned were known…and there is a silencing of facts,” Marty told the press conference. “Those things were known to intelligence services of several countries. They were known to police services, to many people who told us in private, ‘Oh yes, we know this,’ but chose to remain silent for reasons of political opportunity.”

Marty said such investigations were not possible earlier because of the tightly-knit clan structures of Albanians, and because potential witnesses were scared to testify. He said his team had to convince witnesses that their security and confidentiality would be preserved in order to get them to talk.

Marty accused the Albanian authorities of shying away from the investigations, leaving the alleged crimes undiscovered….“The Albanian authorities told us, ‘we have no reason to investigate, because we were not party to the war, so our territory has nothing to do in this story,’” Marty said.

“It is now sufficiently proven that…the KLA exercised the power in all the region and in this period the criminal actions took place,” he said…“One of the taboo aspects Kosovars knew but never spoke about was that the KLA killed also Albanians, not only Serbs,” he said. […]

Nonetheless, here is the Albanian president doing his part for the tribe:

Albania President Condemns Organ Harvesting Report (Dec. 17)

Albania’s President Bamir Topi condemned on Friday the Council of Europe report linking top Kosovo politicians to organised crime and organ-trafficking, as baseless and hearsay.

“The president condemns forcefully all accusations not based on concrete proof and allegations spun in a web of hearsay, which seem to have been cooked up in a démodé kitchen of ultra-nationalistic circles, which unfortunately continue to exist in the Balkans – a territory where time after time the mass graves of the genocide of Milosevic’s forces are discovered and war criminals wanted by the Hague tribunal find sanctuary,” Topi said in a statement. [Again, the requisite “Milosevic” deflection that’s reached-for any time Albanian criminality is noticed.]

In his statement Topi said that the dangerous smokescreen created by the report not only undermined Albania’s image but also risked peace and stability in the region. [CODED THREAT ALERT]

He suggested that the best way to put an end to the allegations [not “to get to the bottom of them,” mind you] would be through renewed cooperation between national and international investigative bodies, like EULEX, the Hague tribunal and national prosecutor’s offices, which, he said, despite thorough investigations have found no proof to bring anyone before the courts. […]

Carla Del Ponte — who, as Nebojsa Malic points out, only after retiring from her post as the ICTY prosecutor felt “free to reveal that she had considerable evidence of KLA’s macabre atrocities” would beg to differ:

“They [the tribunal staff’s 2004 organ investigations] were stopped,” she said, rejecting claims that the tribunal had ever concluded that the allegations were unfounded. A thorough criminal investigation into the allegations has never been carried out, she said.

More:

…Del Ponte also questioned whether the EU mission in Kosovo, known as Eulex, has the resources and political support to handle the case.

“I fear that Eulex will not be able to do this investigation because you can imagine the obstacles they would face with personnel based in Kosovo,” she said. Del Ponte said investigators and witnesses face serious threats from the Albanian mafia and former Kosovo Liberation Army operatives.

Del Ponte praised Marty and his final report. “Dick Marty is a courageous man and he’s not under political pressure or looking to score political points.” […]

Former Yugoslavia war crimes prosecutor demands Thaci inquiry

In an interview with the German Press Agency dpa, del Ponte - now Switzerland’s ambassador to Argentina - cautioned however that such an investigation should not be handled by either Albanian or Kosovar authorities. ‘They have already said that everyone is innocent,’ she said about the regional authorities’ position on allegations about illegal human organ trafficking which had surfaced in the past.

She said that at the end of her work as chief prosecutor she had been ’shaken’ when she learned that evidence of the possible extraction of organs in Albania had gone missing at the tribunal.

‘There were blood samples, lobes, photos and similar (materials) from the yellow house in Rribe in northern Albania,’ she said. ‘It was clear to us at the time that in that house something to do with medicine had gone on there.’

The initial investigations of the Yugoslavia tribunal became stalled when Albania broke off its cooperation. ‘We had heard about mass graves with possible victims of the extraction of organs in Albania and I wanted it to be investigated, but the Albanian authorities blocked us,’ del Ponte said.

In addition, witnesses refused to testify. ‘They were afraid because several of our witnesses had been murdered,’ she noted.

Ex-prosecutor details Kosovo organ trafficking (Dec. 17)

…”We, that is the prosecution of the Yugoslavia tribunal in The Hague, were ourselves in the so-called yellow house in northern Albania where the crime took place,” Ms Del Ponte told the daily Tages-Anzeiger.

“We found traces of blood there, and we saw clothes that were stained with blood. That was evidence that something surgical could have taken place there.”

Ms Del Ponte…said she had seen photos and reports, and had witness accounts to support suspicions of organ trafficking. “These showed that something was done there - not to animals but to humans,” she added, also pointing to evidence of a mass grave for the victims in Albania.

She said her team had to stop the investigation before they could gather more evidence to warrant a formal prosecution, after being blocked by Albanian officials and the court’s limited mandate, which did not cover the Balkan state. […]


Carla Del Ponte feels vindicated by Kosovo report

The ICTY said it had never seen evidence to substantiate her claims, and Thaci and the Albanian prime minister Sali Berisha publicly rejected them. [Readers, note this lie from the ICTY; it gives a sense of how the tribunal operates.]

[Del Ponte] said the claims in her book were backed by “credible and verifiable physical evidence“ obtained by researchers from the ICTY and the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (Unmik) during a mission to Albania and in the presence of an Albanian government prosecutor.

“The reason I included these claims in my book was to provoke a serious follow-up, so that, if the findings warranted it, a criminal investigation would be launched,” she explained.

Del Ponte said she was glad the Council had taken over the investigation, describing it as the “only credible one ever carried out by any competent body, either local or international”.

“Neither the Kosovo authorities nor the government or judiciary of the Republic of Albania have carried out any investigation into the statements in my book, and have now just dismissed the serious accusations contained in the Council of Europe report,” she told swissinfo.ch.

“So I beg the European Union, the United States, other interested countries and the United Nations to give Eulex every political and material support to conduct a criminal investigation into these accusations and to bring to trial all those suspected of involvement in these crimes,” she said. […]

Del Ponte has also stated that her team knew there were mass graves in Albania and that had they not been obstructed they might have found bodies with organs missing. A translated French report quoted her as saying, “The clues were in Albania and the Albanian authorities refused to investigate, claiming that they had already done [so] without success…The UN Mission in Kosovo could have resumed the investigation, but did not…We worked in very difficult conditions…We did not have the support of NATO because it was allied to the KLA, UNMIK did not give us the documentation we asked for. It was a general problem.” And another French report quoted Del Ponte’s spokeswoman Florence Hartmann as saying that the latter “had asked NATO to provide satellite images that would have helped locate them [the mass graves]. She never received anything. Today, Dick Marty seems to have received information from Western officials who held [it] for years without ever do[ing] anything with it.”

Albania’s Minister of Interior: “This is Dumb!”

Albania’s Minister of Interior Lulzim Basha has denied assisting an ICTY expert who travelled to the country in 2003 to investigate claims that the Kosovo Liberation Army harvested organs of Serb prisoners.

“This is a dumb declaration, I have never been in any yellow house,” Basha told reporters in the city of Shkodra….

The allegations that Basha assisted the ICTY as a translator were made by former forensics expert Pablo Baraybar.

In an interview for Swiss newspaper Le Temps, Baraybar said that [he] had visited northern Albania incognito to investigate the claims in 2003, and had been assisted by Basha, who worked as a legal expert for UNMIK in Kosovo at the time.

“My translator was Lulzim Basha, he became interior minister in Albania later and I have heard him say that the allegations were nonexistent, while he was with me,” said Baraybar. “I know that he knows, we were together and he has seen the dossier,” Baraybar added. […]

Albanian prosecution: We did not obstruct investigation

The Supreme Court of Albania dismissed all accusations…The Albanian prosecution stated that all insinuations that Albanian institutions obstructed the investigation on this issue are groundless…the prosecution’s media advisor Plator Nesturi…claims that…the prosecution was not informed about it, nor were any requests for investigation submitted by international bodies, he added.

Which would certainly make it hard to explain this report:

…The Ministry of Justice failed to respond to requests from the EU rule-of-law mission in Kosovo, EULEX, for assistance in investigating alleged crimes that Kosovo Albanians committed in Albania.

Officially, Albania was not party to the Kosovo war. But it played a crucial role in the conflict. It sided with its ethnic brethren across the border and the KLA had access to training facilities throughout the country. Albania rejoiced in the fact that some of the world’s leading powers supported the Kosovo Albanian cause.

The government in Tirana let the Kosovo Albanian guerrillas use northern Albania as a base from which to organize their armed resistance [sic] to the Serbs. Different factions in the Albanian government, army and intelligence services all gave them a hand.

The Marty report also says that Thaci operated “with the support and complicity not only of Albania’s former governance structures, including the Socialist government in power at the time, but also from Albania’s secret service and the formidable Albanian mafia.” (And, of course, recall from earlier in this post that Albania’s current prime minister Berisha directly trafficked weapons for the insurgency against Yugoslavia — as well as the fact that the mass graves of the missing dot the Albanian landscape.) This is all without even mentioning the fact that NATO’s 1999 bombing raids were part of an assault coordinated not only with the KLA but also with the Albanian military. According to an Oct. 2005 Milosevic trial dispatch by Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), former Yugoslav Army colonel Vlatko Vukovic testified that on at least two occasions “Albanian troops had even crossed over into Yugoslav territory…He also asserted that the army of neighbouring Albania helped in the attack against Serbian and Yugoslav security forces by shelling over the border into Kosovo.” In addition, it came out during the Milosevic trial that KLA radio communications showed “NATO instructors were training as many as 10,000 KLA terrorists at camps in Albania and Turkey.”

As author Diana Johnstone wrote in her article “Criminal Kosovo: America’s Gift to Europe” (published Jan. 10, so this is an update to this post of Jan. 5):

A striking and significant political fact that emerges from the Marty report is that:

“The reality is that the most significant operational activities undertaken by members of the KLA – prior to, during, and in the immediate aftermath of the conflict – took place on the territory of Albania, where the Serb security forces were never deployed” (paragraph 36).

Thus, to a very large extent, the Serbian province of Kosovo was the object of a foreign invasion from across its border, by Albanian nationalists keen on creating “Greater Albania”, and aided in this endeavor by diaspora lobbies and, decisively, NATO bombing. Far from being an “aggressor” in its own historic province, Serbia was the victim of a major two-pronged foreign invasion.

Had Albania helped mount such a war against any country other than the designated eternal pariah Serbia, that country would be within its rights to invade Albania. Especially after Marty’s findings, which add that “Albanian intelligence and military officials took part in interrogating people detained by the Kosovo Liberation Army in Albania.” Writer Gregory Elich adds, “Prisoners were beaten with sticks or metal pipes and tortured not only by KLA soldiers but also at times by Albanian intelligence officers.” This is all of course in addition to the already stated fact that most of the organ-stealing operation took place in Albania, from which the organs were shipped overseas for profit.

Imagine American citizens being kidnapped by foreign nationals and the U.S. not prosecuting them because doing so would be seen as “politically motivated” — one reason that the Serbian government won’t prosecute those responsible for the organ scheme, particularly Thaci.

In case the Albanians need any help obscuring the finally-surfaced ugliness of their path to statehood, so that they can slip back under the world’s radar, several news outlets have been diverting attention to the fact that a disproportionate number of the Albanian organ ring’s customers have been Israeli. And Slate.com addressed the “wider” story: “The Kidney Trade: Can economists make the system for organ transplants more humane and efficient?

Ah, that’s the problem — not enough flexibility in the kidney supply system. Ol’ Snakey was just an entrepreneur/philanthropist trying to fill a gap caused by market failure and thereby alleviate human suffering. A regular humanitarian! Indeed, the whole thing boils down to a health/medical story, with the closing line: “[P]reventing any American from seeking an organ on the black market…would reduce incentives for unscrupulous and often dangerous cartels to supply them. And if the United States can solve its kidney problem, it might encourage other countries, all the way to Kosovo, to solve theirs.” Yes, that’s it: Kosovo is looking for a solution to making money.

Warning, unheeded. From a blogger in Albania during Bush’s 2007 visit:

“Washington learned the hard way what the costs are of turning a blind eye to corruption and human rights abuses. America should be reminded of its past mistakes. We Albanians would be grateful if Washington would remember the principles and values that so many of us have come to admire about the United States of America.”

The rest:

…[M]y predominantly Muslim countrymen draped our streets with star spangled banners and lined up by the thousands to shower [President Bush] with praise…As the Western press pointed out during the visit, we were taught in history class that President Woodrow Wilson stood up for Albania’s independence about a century ago…

But here’s what the press didn’t report: our government, led by Prime Minister Sali Berisha, has abused this relationship with Washington, using it as cover to shore up his increasingly tyrannical rule…With seemingly unconditional US support, Berisha is slowly undermining respect for human rights and democracy.

Media crackdowns have become a routine, and most of the public is only exposed to governmental airwaves, which often accuse critics of being ‘jews’ and ‘faggots’…Berisha talks about progress and reform, but these are euphemisms for cracking down on the independence of the judiciary, redistributing private property, solidifying his grip on secret services and stacking the public administration with hardcore supporters of his Democratic party irrespective of their competence.

There are no McDonalds or ClubMeds in Albania, and not because we oppose globalization. On the contrary, we welcome it — but businesses here are constantly harassed, extorted and shut down if not found favourable with the ruling regime…In the 1990s, he was our president…and he proved very adept at jailing his political opponents, shutting down newspapers and stacking the security services with party loyalists…Washington turned a blind eye to his autocratic tendencies.

This policy came back to bite the United States, however, because Berisha’s government became so corrupt and abusive, that it eventually imploded. In 1996-97, a string of fraudulent pyramid investment schemes collapsed, bilking tens of thousands of people out of their lives’ savings. They took to the streets and demanded his resignation, but not before they raided the country’s armories. Many of these weapons they looted eventually wound up across the border in Kosovo, provoking yet another war in the former Yugoslavia….

So they celebrate those who support their self-determination even while suffering under the chains of this “independence.”

I don’t know what to make of these boys. Whether these brothers did or didn’t rape the girl is not for me to determine, but I did find interesting two things that they and their family said:


Brothers who fled Kosovo sentenced to 10 to 40 years for Kentwood rape
(Dec. 8, The Grand Rapids Press)

GRAND RAPIDS — After brothers Nesret and Imer Gashi were sentenced to 10 to 40 years behind bars Wednesday after pleading no-contest to raping a young woman, the men’s family said they see the prison terms as a grave injustice visited upon their family by the American judicial system.

“The Serbs have not done anything to us compared to what the Americans have done,” said Vahide Gashi on Wednesday, not long after Kent County Circuit Judge George Buth handed down the sentence for her sons, 22-year-old Nesret and 20-year-old Imer.

The brothers were Albanian refugees when they came to America as children in 1999, along with their family.

The 19-year-old victim reported that on Feb. 24, she had stopped with a friend at the Kentwood apartment of Nesret Gashi. The young woman said he carried her to a bedroom and then he and his brother sexually assaulted her multiple times before letting her leave the room.

The young woman said she did not report the assault because she was frightened of them. She also said that after the alleged rapes, she grabbed her friend who was in another bedroom with a different young man, and the two left right away.

In 2008, an accusation of rape against the brothers ended with the prosecution deciding there was not enough evidence to convict. Those charges were dropped.

But this second accusation had the brothers facing life in prison if convicted. They were charged with six counts of rape for each separate act against the woman and for aiding the other brother in their rape of the woman.

Instead, lawyers for the brothers worked out an agreement with the Kent County Prosecutor’s office that had the pair pleading no-contest to one count each of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, with a sentencing agreement that the minimum sentence would fall between five and 11 years.

“There is a pattern of assaultive behavior here,” Buth said. “The court believes these charges are valid.”

Before sentencing, the brothers told the judge there was no rape and the sex was consensual.

Nesret Gashi wept as he spoke about his newborn son, whom he has not seen because he was born while his father was in jail. Now, he’s headed to prison for at least a decade.

“I am not a rapist,” Nesret Gashi said. “I would never do that. I believe if someone does rape, they should not go to prison, they should be hung.”

Imer Gashi asked the judge to pay attention to the actions of the victim, who was in the courtroom and at times laughed as the two spoke. Neither she nor her family made a statement.

“They think this is a joke,” he said.

The sister of the two men was outraged with the sentence and said it showed that racism against her people continues, even in America.

“If my brothers were American, this case never would have made it to trial,” said Mira Kajolli. “That they take away brothers, sons, grandsons and a father with no other evidence except her words is a despicable thing for America to do.”

How big an inferiority complex does a people have to have to attribute this rather typical he-said-she-said rape case…to racism? How well does the sister even think Americans know what Albanians are? I’ve never had a Kosovo conversation without having to explain to someone what Kosovo is (the site of our most recent pre-9/11 war), or what Albanians are. And when did the supposed “anti-Albanian racism by Serbs” become a general “racism against her people,” which “continues”? Was it known to be a wide phenomenon? Who knew it was America’s racism against this little-known tribe that caused us to bomb their ethnic rivals for them.

Obviously, Mira, your brothers’ being Albanian did not register in any way, since this girl was coming over their place to hang out. In fact, if the girl had even one racist friend or relative to warn her about doing that, then your brothers would have been spared this “racist” sentence.

Actually, someone might have warned her to steer clear of these brothers for another reason. The article above mentions that there was a 2008 case. Readers of this blog will remember being introduced to the Gashi brothers that year. The rape case against them by another girl was dropped because the alleged victim was deemed not credible. But get a load of the similar victim-mongering the Gashi family was doing at the time:

The boys’ mother, Vahide Gashi, talked of her children’s fearful nights remembering the horrors of war and ethnic cleansing they witnessed or heard about in their homeland.

“The children come to our bed, I tell them go back to bed,” said Vahide Gashi back when her sons were 9 and 11. “They tell me they are too scared.”

The same news item gave us further insight into “American anti-Albanianism”:

In 1999, The Press ran a series of articles tracing the lives of the Gashi family as they made their way in West Michigan — among 150 families who did so that year.

Michigan must be real proud of their model refugee family now.

In addition to the Albanian inferiority complex which I’ve pointed out — and which, like other groups’ inferiority complexes, has led Albanians to a supremacy agenda — I will also point out that what we have here is yet two more 1999 “refugees” who have gotten themselves and others into a pickle. (Ft. Dix plot weapons procurer Agron Abdullahu, and the guy who flooded a prison cell in Greenwich, CT last month are just two other examples off the top of my head — and that’s not to mention the Kosovo “refugees” who run London crime.)

And again, “refugees” from what threat? Now that the brothers themselves have informed us that whatever it was the Serbs were supposedly doing to them was NOTHING compared to doing five to 10 years in prison. So either prison time is worse than genocide, torture, rape, repression, oppression and ethnic cleansing — or that’s not what was going on. Noted.

Meanwhile, the phenomenon of the Albanian inmate becoming a father while in jail is becoming familiar as well. As the judge in the Ft. Dix case said, “Congratulations.”

A hagiography to keep Tudjman out of the Hague? See how that worked out here. Watch the trailer here. Amazon Kindle edition here. Facebook page here.

IMAGINE this scenario. You’re a sci-fi writer. In fact, you’re a humorous sci-fi writer, the only book under your belt being The Official Alien Abductee’s Handbook: How to Recover from Alien Abductions without Hypnotherapy, Crystals, or CIA Surveillance.

You’re one of those broke, recently divorced, 40-something New York writer/producer/director/playwright types who’s managing to stay afloat by maxing out credit cards and filling up on appetizers at art openings while trying to figure out which girlfriend to move in with after your impending eviction.

That’s Joe Tripician in 1997. “So when a job came by that looked too good to be true, I took it,” he writes in the early pages of Balkanized at Sunrise: How a Sci-Fi Author Was Recruited to Keep a President from a War Crimes Indictment. Thanks to which we have this gem of a book.

Tripician is spared his destitute fate by an angel from hell in the form of Croatia’s U.S. cultural attache — film director Jakov Sedlar — an introduction made by his Long Island doctor (and pal of local mobsters), Tony. Naturally, this “Leni Riefenstahl of Croatia” (as he’s known in Croatian cultural circles) had already made a film attempting to exonerate the notorious WWII Catholic Archbishop Stepinac, who presided over Croatia’s genocide of close to a million Orthodox Serbs and 75% of the country’s Jews. Indeed, any creative project of use to Croatia’s national interests, and Jakov had made it — and recruited Martin Sheen to the cause.

Jakov taps the obscure sci-fi writer Tripician to write the official biography of Franjo Tudjman, Croatia’s wartime president, for American consumption; he is told HarperCollins is publishing.

There are some things that Tripician already knows about Tudjman, such as his book Horrors of War (or Wasteland of History, depending on the translation) — in which Tudjman goes on about Jews “helping run Jasenovac,” which Tripician recognizes as the “Croatian Auschwitz.” Before giving his final answer, then, the author wants to do some additional research on Tudjman, a process he describes thus:

With each atrocity a blister appears in my mouth, followed by another, and another, until they fight each other for space. After a while I name them for areas with the most war crimes: Gospic, Ahmici, Stupni Do, Krajina…

He tries to reject the assignment, telling Jakov to hire a PR firm. But Jakov insists, and Joe is after all penniless. So he demands full creative control. “Yeah, of course, Joe. We give you.”

The first $10,000 check arrives, and so Joe pumps himself up for the project. He is looking forward to having access to “all the resources of the Croatian government, and free rein to write the official biography of its sitting president, Franjo Tudjman, the man who came out the big winner in the recent war in former-Yugoslavia, the man both vilified as a neo-fascist, and praised as a freedom-fighter.”

First, Joe buys books. Books about how “America aided Tudjman in the war, pushed him to forge an alliance with the Bosnian Muslims in the fight against the Serbs, looked the other way while Croatia imported arms from Iran, deployed some 30,000 troops to NATO’s peace-keeping operation….”

That’s where Sunrise immediately distinguishes itself. Indeed, all this information which is so little-known even today was available in 1997, and Tripician had the diligence to find it. Unfortunately, he’s still under the impression that 200,000 died in the Bosnian war, though the updated figure stands at around 100,000. But he can be forgiven this much, especially since he offers a glimpse into the workings of the rabid Croatian diaspora when the second $10,000 check arrives.

It’s drawn from the bank account of an Italian restaurant in Queens. As Joe explains: “In addition to directing government-financed films, Jakov is a master in raising money from the Croatian diaspora, the ferociously loyal group of Croatian patriots whose $5,000 and $10,000 donations also helped import arms into their homeland during the war.”

Joe hires one of them as a research assistant. “A young patriotic son of Croatian emigrants,” George had traveled to Croatia during the war and served as an interpreter and press agent for the Bosnian Croats as well as a driver for visiting diplomats. An all-around too-useful guy whom Joe starts to wonder if he can trust.

Joe summarizes George’s annoyance with his countrymen’s obviousness: “They don’t get that you don’t let rightwing, Sieg Heil-saluting extremists align themselves with your party and expect the US to understand. You don’t rebury the bones of Ustasha leaders alongside their victims and expect world leaders (except for Germany) to attend the ceremony. You don’t honor indicted war criminals by decorating them as war heroes and expect recognition in the UN.”

Wrong on almost all counts, as history has proved: You can get away with it all.

But thank you for the uncommon mention of such things. Indeed, it’s Tripician’s innate fair-mindedness that contributes to his almost comically constant misgivings throughout the book: “Do I really think I can take Jakov’s money and turn in a fawning hagiography without becoming a whore?…[A]m I stupidly putting myself at risk? If word gets out that I’m at work on a negative portrait of the president, will I be labeled an enemy spy, targeted for assassination, tortured or, worse — forced to refund Jakov’s advance?”

George also tells him to watch out for the women in Zagreb, who are all five-foot-ten and dangerous.

Soon Joe’s Balkans odyssey begins and he is off to Croatia. He finds a populace gripped either by nationalism, or by fear of not being nationalist enough for the ubiquitous loyalists of the non-dictator dictator, the neo-fascist democrat Tudjman. In 1997 even a Croatian teenager could tell you, “You have to write what they tell you to write,” a reference to Tudjman’s tight control of the media and widespread political surveillance and repression — which Joe was warned about. Meanwhile, he baffles one contact after another for being the chosen joe to write a book on Tudjman — including the skeptical U.S. embassy spokesman who says, “This is a most interesting project, Joe. So little correct information about Tudjman makes it to the Croatian people; so little information about Croatia makes it to the States.”

Before long, a long-legged Croatian vixen in need of a U.S. embassy job attaches herself to him (at arm’s length), and quizzes his “understanding” of the region to see how well his point of view is Croatianizing. In another funny encounter, he finds himself in the back of a helicopter with a pair of rabbis whom the Croatian government is wooing to help with its public image. One of them offers, “I met him [Tudjman], and I don’t think he’s anti-Semitic or neo-Nazi, or in any way sympathetic to Nazism. I didn’t see any of that.”

Never mind Tudjman’s Holocaust-minimizing ( “It was 900,000, not six million!”) or his revival of Nazi-era currency, symbols, and school and street names — or the demolition of Holocaust monuments and the 1996 appointment of a senior Ustasha official to ambassador (plus restoring 13 Ustasha army officers to their original ranks). Never mind all that — apparently Tudjman was supposed to call the rabbi a kike to his face to convince him. They’re in the helicopter to go to a mass grave in the town of Vukovar, whose story the author relates with all the attendant distortions and omissions, such as the Serbs killing “300 men in a hospital” — without mentioning that these were Croatian soldiers who disguised themselves as patients after shooting from inside the hospital and endangering the actual patients.

But the author is working from the disadvantage of a very entrenched popular mythology that’s hard to get around. This bank of misinformation strikes again when he tries to peg down Bosnian-Croat president Mate Boban. “Boban never had the opportunity of killing as many civilians as his Bosnian Serb brothers in Christ. That personal best was achieved by Radovan Karadzic….”

Understandably, in 1997 one was forced to operate from the premise of the “official truth” of Bosnia, so it might be asking too much for someone to have already figured out what Karadzic was or wasn’t, and what did or didn’t happen on his watch and which side was really behind it. Still, one doubts that the author is currently following the second-most-unwatched Trial of the Century (Milosevic’s being the first), to see how accurate his trite assessment of Karadzic is.

Nonetheless — and despite also buying into the widely held but inverted premise that the Serbs were the aggressors — the author gives the subject fairer treatment than what one is used to.

Tripician also operates under the misconception that the Bosnian Muslims were innocent, attributing virtually no war crimes or concentration camps to them — and that “Sniper Alley” could only mean “Serbian Sniper Alley.” Which is how we get a typical devoid-of-context paragraph such as:

August 28, 1995: Another mortar hit the Sarajevo market, killing 38 people this time. President Clinton pressed NATO into running bombing raids against Serbian military targets. After 16 days, this bombing campaign finally pushed the Serbs to negotiate a settlement.

A little more diligence and Tripician might have learned that even at the time, these mortars’ origins were questionable, and since then they’ve been demonstrated to have come from the Bosnian side (not to mention that some of the bodies from a similar incident the year before weren’t bleeding and still had ice in their ears — meaning corpses from the morgue refrigerator). To know these kinds of things, one could read a single day’s transcripts from the unwatched Trial of the Century.

The only time Tripician gets an inkling that the Muslims are ever up to anything is when he happens upon a political gathering at a mosque in Sarajevo, which ends up being his most menacing encounter. And we do get at least some acknowledgment of Muslim violence in the conflict:

These are the same extremists whose mujahideen soldiers committed their own share of atrocities against Serbs and Croats in Bosnia. They are connected to murder, rape, brutal mistreatment, and one barbaric ritual beheading.

(One wonders which barbaric beheading — singular tense — the author is referring to. Just off the cuff, is it this oneor one of these? Or maybe this one, that one or this one?)

Tripician attributes the violence to “extremists,” but we learn that the other woman he falls for — a Bosnian — became a single mother when her husband came home from the war unrecognizable after committing “his share of atrocities.” In other words, it didn’t take an extremist.

Compensating for such assuming blunders, Sunrise has plenty of payoffs, such as the deadpan delivery of the contradiction of Croatianism: “In 1989, Tudjman established the first democratic party in Croatia, and reintroduced Ustasha flags and symbols to the streets of Zagreb….”

Of course, two paragraphs later we get: “Under Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic (’the Butcher of the Balkans’), both Croatia and the more homogeneous Slovenia were labeled fascists, and, for a time after the war started, the label stuck.”

Here the author falls into the usual trap of attributing to “Milosevic” documented facts which the author himself has already authenticated two paragraphs earlier. (Incidentally, Slovenia had the highest proportional number of Nazis collecting pensions from Germany in the 90s. Nor is its “homogeneity” by chance, since Slovenia is a country that, with overwhelming public support, revoked citizenship and all rights associated with it from minorities soon after the illegal secession. Only Hungarians and Italians were exempted.)

Indeed, what sort of “strongman” was Milosevic when he told the Croatian Serbs not to react to the sudden and illegal secession by their historical slaughterers who would now govern them? Such a strongman and nationalist was he that Croatia’s famous “Captain Dragan” tried to assassinate him for abandoning his fellow Serbs. It’s a far cry from Belgrade “inciting the Serb minority to rebel,” as Tripician predictably has it.

What is refreshing, however, is that he casts an almost equally suspicious eye on Croatian designs, assessing that Tudjman was indeed looking to expand Croatia. Such little-seen terms as Greater Croatia, Croatian paramilitary, Croatian Mafia (and the government’s intimate relationship with it), as well as “war crimes” and “ethnic purity” being associated with someone other than Serbs are what — in addition to the book’s personalized charm — make it stand out. He also has the savvy to note that Bosnia was an “ultimately avoidable” war, though he doesn’t explain why. (Because the three sides had already agreed to a peace deal, until the West stepped in.)

Tripician tries to get to the bottom of whether Tudjman is really a communist or a fascist, or a communist-turned fascist, or a fascist-turned-communist-turned-fascist, while allowing that he was undeniably supported by fascists and for sure would have gone to the Hague had he not died in 1999 (indeed, the Tribunal was taking its time handing down both his and the Bosnian president’s indictments).

The author is acutely aware of the Balkans paradox in which painting “a complete picture of Tudjman without lauding him or vilifying him means I can please no one…In former Yugo, taking a middle-road position doesn’t win you any friends…” And so, ever navigating the tightrope of finding a story, finding the truth, steering clear of becoming a paid propagandist/mouthpiece/rehabilitationist, he does do Tudjman the favor of putting himself in his shoes — and ticks off the man’s achievements from a Croatian standpoint:

…He wagered his country and his people on his vision of an expanded Croatia, and was able to build a credible army almost overnight. By bullying and manipulating his Bosnian Croats he was able to co-opt them, and use the Croat-Muslim alliance to fend off the Serbs. He also kept the Muslims at bay and unbalanced through his close negotiations with Milosevic…And he placated [human rights] demands by sacrificing Boban.

In the course of his adventure, the author briefly meets his subject and annoys him with a question about his grip on the media and another about his knowledge of concentration camps, plus one about the ten Bosnian Croats offered up to the Hague for war crimes the day after Croatia gets a $40 million IMF credit.

More entertaining is the author’s interview with the walking ego named Richard Holbrooke, in which the first question comes from Holbrooke: “Did Galbraith take credit for the Erdut Agreement? He can’t, because that was mine.”

The promise of Balkan intrigue is just barely delivered on, making the odyssey more of a hilarious escapade. Throughout, Joe imagines all the Balkan-style dangers he could fall prey to but usually falls short of, and so the tale ends up being as funny for what doesn’t happen as for what does. So suspicious is he of everyone and everything concerned with this assignment that his eyebrows get raised when he finds that, night after night, no one sends prostitutes to his hotel room to bribe his loyalty.

It’s Balkans reading that won’t hurt your head, and possibly the cutest Balkans story an American has told. As well, Tripician mercifully keeps to a minimum the requisite ruminations on man’s inhumanity to man and what “separates us from similar barbarity.” (Nothing, if you look at our 1999 bombardment of civilians in our Kosovo misadventure.)

In one of his more profound thoughts, the author compares himself to American foreign policy, which “habitually resembles nothing more than the wanderlust of an aging womanizer.”

With just a minimum of depth, even a lay American can start to “get” the Balkans from this great little commercial piece of writing which one won’t be able to resist reading in a single day.

*******
Appendix to the above review:

Balkans enthusiasts will appreciate what comes after the book is over, in “Addendum 2,” which lists the objections by Tripician’s handlers to the product he turns in. They also happen to be a showcase of his most incisive assessments:

…Serbs are presented as a majority in the anti-fascist movement, and Chetnicks as yet another anti-fascist group…The draft is overburdened with the paradigm of Ustasha: Serbs feared new Ustashas; Tudjman partially adopted Ustasha ideology; Tudjman was supported politically and financially by Ustasha émigrés; Hercegovci are still Ustashas today; Serbs did to Muslims in this conflict the same that Croats did to Serbs during the NDH; there is a historic alliance between Croatia and Germany…From the manuscript we take a couple of quotes:

– Croatian checkered coat of arms even today evokes horror in the hearts of WWII survivors (p. 7)

– Ustasha reign of terror is virtually unparalleled in modern history (p.12)

– Stepinac, the archbishop of Zagreb, supported Ustashas and blessed Pavelic (p. 13)

– The difference was that Croatian liberals saw the injustice, but also a danger in the declaration of independence without addressing and finding a solution for the worries and fears of the Serb minority….(p. 57)

– As one Hercegovac explained: “Here only three things grow: snakes, rocks and Ustasha.” (p. 58)

– However, the propaganda in Croatian media was equally as fierce (p. 60)

The new nationalist government took a direct control over radio, television and principal print media….In the schoolbooks all stories about the Partisans and the anti-fascist movement were deleted…. (p. 64)

– Fear and hate, imported by extremists on both sides… (p. 73)

– If we say that Serbs returned ethnic cleansing to life, then we can say that Croats perfected it. (p. 83)

– Both Serbs and Croats blocked food delivery to Bosnians (p. 104) [The author seems aware that Bosnians did at least as much of that.]

– Majority [of POW’s in B&H] were held by Bosnian Croats (p. 112)

– During ‘The Storm,’ Croatian soldiers looted and burned more than 20,000 Serbian homes. (p. 133)

Final note: Some years after his trip, the author learns of audio tapes released in 2000 which reveal “conversations Tudjman had with his aides that disclosed his direct knowledge and cover-up of Croatian war crimes.” Imagine if Tripician found out that since then the Hague has released documents including a transcript — discovered by Hague observer Andy Wilcoxson last year — in which “Tudjman is planning the operation [Storm] together with his top military brass…’We have to inflict such blows that the Serbs will to all practical purposes disappear.’ …Tudjman explains that, for the benefit of propaganda in the international community, leaflets should be given to Serbian civilians saying, ‘We are appealing to you not to withdraw…This means giving them a way out, while pretending to guarantee civil rights etc.’”

New York Republicans chose Joseph DioGuardi to be their candidate against Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand in this week’s Senate elections, but post-primary polls showed they know nothing about their candidate. “What’s really noteworthy about this [primary win],” read an NPR election blog, “is that…DioGuardi is more of a blank slate…Sixty one percent [of those surveyed] didn’t know enough about him to form an opinion.”

The same day, Newsmax reported, “A new Quinnipiac poll shows Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand leading her Republican rival, virtually unknown Joe DioGuardi, by just 48 percent to 42 percent….‘DioGuardi makes a race of it against her, even though three-fifths of New Yorkers don’t know much about him.’”

DioGuardi benefits from his being unknown, something that is pretty odd for a former Congressman and ethnic lobbyist about whom tons of information is available on the internet, along with information about his criminal and terrorist friends from the al Qaeda-supported Kosovo Liberation Army.

And yet a recent press release boasted, “DioGuardi Senate Campaign Gaining Momentum With PAC Support; California-based conservative PAC will air ads in key NY Markets,” and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa headlined a DioGuardi fundraiser.

Joe DioGuardi is masquerading as an off-the-shelf, GOP, pro-life, small-government conservative. But what he also is — and the typical Tea Party candidate is not — is a supporter of a radical terrorist organization tied to Albanian organized crime, which is rampant in New York. (”Top Albanian Aide Arrested in NYC Crime Ring Bust“; “Ethnic Albanian Thugs…So Violent Prosecutors [including Giuliani] Need Guards”; “FBI: Albanian mobsters ‘new Mafia’”; “Feds bust Albanian mobsters’ Astoria gambling ring.”)

Is this a cynical and discriminatory ploy to taint Joe DioGuardi, and an entire nationality, with the criminal element that every ethnic group is entitled to? If only. The sad fact is that the Albanian mafia and DioGuardi’s’s KLA are inextricably intertwined. And thanks to him, the United States is now intertwined with them both.

The short version of the sordid DioGuardi tale appears on what seems to be an entirely accurate attack ad (youtube has a visually censored version):



Joe DioGuardi Tied to Muslim Terror Group, Albania… - MyVideo

But the longer story of Joe DioGuardi is worse.

As founder and president of the Albanian American Civic League, DioGuardi has been lobbying Capitol Hill since the 1980s to promote the Greater Albania agenda, starting with the “liberation” of Kosovo. A Feb. 1998 statement on the AACL website reads: “The Civic League issues a public declaration, ‘In Defense of the Albanian National Cause,’ in which it announces its support for the Kosova Liberation Army….”

The KLA is a narco-terrorist crime syndicate that traffics internationally in heroin, humans, weapons, cars, etc. — and has ties to a slew of garden-variety terrorists and radicals. A month after the “Kosovars” unilaterally declared Kosovo theirs in Feb. 2008, a Washington Times editorial titled “Europe’s New Jihadist Statelet?” reminded readers, “The KLA was among the first international terrorist groups linked to al Qaeda in the late 1990s.” It’s a warning bell that was sounded in the months after 9/11 by Wall St. Journal-Europe, in a piece titled “Al Qaeda’s Balkan Links.”

The equation is simple. Joe DioGuardi supports the KLA. The KLA is a criminal and terrorist organization. Therefore, Joe DioGuardi supports crime and terror. There is no easy way around it.

In May 1999, at the height of our bombing Europe on the KLA’s behalf, former counter-narcotics agent Michael Levine made the following comments in an interview with The New American magazine’s William Norman Grigg:

Backing the KLA is simply insane. My contacts within the DEA are quite frankly terrified, but there’s not much they can say without risking their jobs. These guys [the KLA] have a network that’s active on the streets of this country. The Albanian mob is a scary operation. In fact, the Mafia relied on Albanian hit-men to carry out a lot of their contracts. They’re the worst elements of society that you can imagine, and now, according to my sources in drug enforcement, they are politically protected.

It’s the same old story. Ten years ago we were arming and equipping the worst elements of the mujahideen in Afghanistan — drug traffickers, arms smugglers, anti-American terrorists. We later paid the price when the World Trade Center was bombed, and we learned that some of those responsible had been trained by us. Now we’re doing the same thing with the KLA, which is tied in with every known Middle and Far Eastern drug cartel. Interpol, Europol, and nearly every European intelligence and counter-narcotics agency has files open on drug syndicates that lead right to the KLA, and right to Albanian gangs in this country.

In his piece last February explaining the Islamic “Green Corridor” (or “Green Route”) that is to infiltrate Europe via the Balkans (dismissed, like all Serbian warnings, as “propaganda” even as it takes shape before our eyes), author Srdja Trifkovic wrote, “By the end of 1998 U.S. DEA officials complained that the transformation of the KLA from terrorists into freedom fighters hampered their ability to stem the flow of Albanian-peddled heroin into America.” (Footnotes in the article include The Washington Times from May 4, 1999: “KLA Rebels Train in Terrorist Camps; bin Laden offers Financing Too,” preceded the day before by “KLA Finances Fight with Heroin Sales – Terror Group Linked to Crime Network.”)

A London Daily News article last year titled “Albanian hit men on hire in London for £5,000” read:

In an undercover investigation into criminal gangs operating in north London Albanians who fought in the KLA during the bloody Balkans conflict against Serbia, now have established themselves as formidable figures in [London’s] underworld. Experienced users of guns and knives the Albanians are one of the most able assassins in London. The war in Kosovo fuelled the spread of the Albanian Mafia after numerous gangsters disguised as Kosovar ‘refugees’ found their way into European countries….

Similarly, a few years earlier in an item titled “FBI: Albanian mobsters ‘new Mafia’,” CNN.com reported, “Thousands of Albanians and others who fled the Balkans for the United States in recent years have emerged as a serious organized crime problem….”

This reality was intimated by reporter Grigg back in another May 1999 article:

U.S. soldiers called upon to enforce a “peace” accord that turns Kosovo over to the KLA might be interested to know that they are risking their lives on behalf of a criminal syndicate that for years has pumped heroin into the U.S. and threatened the lives of American law enforcement officials…Unlike other ethnic criminal syndicates…the Albanian narco-mafia was willing to make war directly on U.S. law enforcement officials. One U.S. Attorney active in prosecuting “Balkan connection” gangsters learned that a contract had been taken out on his life by an ethnic Albanian defendant, as well as upon Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan M. Cohen and Drug Enforcement Administration agent Jack Delmore.

As for the Kosovo that DioGuardi’s “freedom fighters” had us wrest, former chief prosecutor of mostly Serbian defendants at the Yugoslavia tribunal, Carla Del Ponte, agrees with the characterization of it by international human rights organizations, UN workers and countless of others, describing it as “a land with no laws or institutions, a land of blood feuds ruled by the thugs who present themselves as heroes of the alleged suffering Albanian people.” The Sunday Times of London put it more bluntly in an April 2006 headline reading “Albanian Gangs Running Kosovo.”

Even during the KLA’s fight for “freedom,” a May 1999 London Times article read, “Reports from Macedonia and Albania confirm that KLA ‘minders’ ensure that all refugees peddle the same line when speaking to Western journalists. KLA gangsters rob them of any remaining cash. And KLA pimps driving Mercedes kidnap refugee girls for prostitution in Italy.”

In her 2008 book The Hunt: War Criminals and Me, Del Ponte mentions what law enforcement personnel refer to as “the Albanian reach.” Serbian newspaper Glas Javnosti reported:

She claims that UNMIK [UN Mission in Kosovo] and KFOR [NATO in Kosovo] officials and even some ICTY [International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia] judges in the Hague tribunal are fearful for their lives if connected to the KLA crime investigations, and feel threatened by the so-called Albanian reach. In her book, Del Ponte says that those few and far between investigations of the terrorist KLA were the hardest during her appointment as the ICTY chief prosecutor, that her researchers were confronted by the clans, vendettas and political pressures, and that “policemen from Bern and Brussels and all the way to Bronx” are well aware about the insurmountable difficulties when it comes to the attempts to investigate Albanian organized crime.

A site monitoring the criminal activity of the KLA and its variously-monikered affiliates (which employ plenty of the same fighters) — and monitoring the 2001 Albanian insurgency in Macedonia, which Americans missed despite opening that door — relates the following about our new best friends, who moved on like clockwork to terrorize that neighboring country and southern Serbia:

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that “Albanian clans are funnelling the [sex trade] profits into the coffers of former Kosovo Liberation Army strongmen who are fighting Serbs in the Presevo Valley and attacking their Slavic neighbours in Macedonia.” …The Financial Times reported that “diplomats said the [Albanian] diaspora, which has a significant presence in drugs and prostitution rackets, particularly in Switzerland, Belgium and Germany, is providing financing and weapons to the rebels.”…Business AM reported that “there was ample evidence available two summers ago about the ties of the so-called Albanian national liberation struggle to organised crime, and how intertwined the Albanian mafia was — and still is — with the political militants.”

It is somewhat surprising that DioGuardi doesn’t want voters to know all this, considering how proud he is of his lobby’s achievement in getting us to train and arm the Albanian insurgents while bin Laden and Iran were doing the same in order “to turn the region into their main base for Islamic armed activity in Europe,” as The London Times reported in March 1998. And in an October 2004 bulletin, World Net Daily’s Joseph Farah noted, “Credible intelligence indicates that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps…[had] been training KLA members and funneling millions of dollars through Bosnia and Albania to buy arms for the KLA…corroborated by Director of the U.S. House Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare Yossef Bodansky…” Meanwhile, Grigg had it as early as 1999: “Iran is actively arming and supporting the KLA, and Iran’s terrorist network has extended its reach into Italy by way of KLA-aligned ethnic Albanians residing there.”

Nonetheless, in his 2008 endorsement of John McCain, an early Albanian purchase who introduced a resolution calling for U.S. ground troops to further the KLA insurrection (defeated by fellow Republicans), DioGuardi gushed, “McCain did everything that we asked of him to the benefit of the Albanian people, including arming the KLA.”

Also in 2008, in an article titled “Group Tied to al-Qaida Backs McCain for Prez,” World Net Daily quoted DioGuardi saying, “We support any politician, Republican or Democrat, who understands the problems of the Balkans the way we do.”

This should give Republicans some pause. DioGuardi reveals that his priorities aren’t ideological but tribal, and he flaunts them heavily. Similar sentiments were expressed by other Albanians when asked whom they were rooting for, McCain or Obama, with one replying, “Kosovars will love either candidate as long as they continue to love us.” There is your Albanian “pro-Americanism” in a nutshell. Highly conditional.

Lest the McCain connection cause too much cognitive dissonance in conservative minds and hearts, remember that the KLA is impartial: “Kerry Campaign Financed by Terrorists;” indeed, the group is as bipartisan as its congressional supporters.

Futilely trying to warn New York Republicans before the primaries with his article “Joseph DioGuardi, Terrorist Enabler,” writer Eugene Girin noted:

During NATO’s assault on Serbia, DioGuardi was pictured burning a Yugoslav flag at a pro-KLA demonstration…DioGuardi’s noxious activism also extended to Macedonia. During that country’s September 2001 offensive against the NLA [KLA extension] insurgents in the Tetovo region, DioGuardi and his wife demanded that President Bush intervene on the insurgents’ behalf and warned that “massive human rights violations” are taking place. What the duo really demanded was American help in the dismemberment of Macedonia and the creation of another Kosovo-like enclave in the Tetovo region of Macedonia…The DioGuardis had the gall to release their report on September 12, 2001….

Similarly, in a late 2001 article, Chris Deliso — author of the 2007 book The Coming Balkan Caliphatewrote the following (internal documentation added):

The AACL has been a major fundraiser for Albanian ventures abroad, and has contacts with other, less peaceful, Albanian groups: for example, the AACL was involved in a 1999 rally in Washington, where it marched with the KLA and the militant “Homeland Calling” group. This organization sent fighters to Kosovo in 1999, and more recently it sent volunteers to fight for the NLA. A New York Times article (March 19, 2001) chronicled a typical Albanian fundraising event. At a bar in New York, $500,000 was raised in one night at a private party. The newspaper quoted Dervish Jahjaga, editor of the Albanian-American newspaper (Bota Sot), as supporting a war on Macedonia. In attendance were representatives of the NLA, who recruited several [Albanian-]Americans to fight for them…


Ethnic Albanians in Macedonia burn the Macedonian flag.

[The Albanians] became a potential threat to their former allies. And so in Kosovo, US troops cowered in the relative luxury of Camp Bondsteel, rather than chase down the gun-runners and guerrillas trying to cross the Macedonian border. In Macedonia, the new fear of the Albanians has caused the US to go along with all of their demands — lest they might perhaps open fire on NATO.

This position was stated way back in March, in an article in London’s Guardian ( “Why NATO is ignoring Macedonia,” by Simon Tisdall, 22 March, 2001). The author maintained that the NLA had the upper hand — and knew it — because of the perceived American fear of casualties…Quite simply, they know no one is going to stop them…The Albanian-American lobbyist groups are both well-organized and well-funded, and they have the ear of influential lawmakers…Macedonia, unfortunately, does not have similar legislative influence in the US.

Indeed, if anyone thought our alliance with the KLA and its criminal partners ended with Kosovo, note that as the drug-funded expansionist terror continues, we’re being dragged along for the ride. This is how the U.S. military came to be obstructing European investigators and protecting KLA heroin factories and even transporting their narcotics and weapons.

The previously cited 2008 World Net Daily article reported that DioGuardi dismissed a 1999 U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee white paper warning “that the KLA was closely associated with ‘the extensive Albanian crime network that extends throughout Europe and into North America, including allegations that a major portion of the KLA finances are derived from that network, mainly proceeds from drug trafficking; and Terrorist organizations motivated by the ideology of radical Islam, including assets of Iran and of the notorious Osama bin-Laden….’”

Attributing the concerns in the Senate committee report to “Serbs and Greeks,” and reinforcing the utter distaste he helped plant on the American palate for at least one of those national origins, he added, “The Serbs and the Orthodox Christian church are fighting a medieval battle. To them, anybody who is a Muslim is a problem.”

In other words, when confronted with the potential threat to Americans of the KLA and its associations, DioGuardi deflects attention to Serbs and Greeks. So concerned is this Tea Party-endorsed candidate with American security that when someone raises a red flag, he wants Americans to dismiss the warning as an ethnic rivalry that’s trying to turn them against Albanians, a case of projection if ever there was one.

In a June 2006 Legal Times article — between cursing that took reporter Andy Metzger by surprise when it was let loose “barely two minutes into [the] interview” — DioGuardi called Orthodox Christians “some of the most fundamentalist people in the world.”

So amid increasing Albanian criminality and terror recruitment, and amid the constant threat of Albanian violence (which, make no mistake, is what has been driving our pro-independence policy since 1999), “Republican” Joe DioGuardi wants to shift your focus to Serbs and Greeks who have never attacked us, nor been a threat to us, and are not expansionist societies. DioGuardi sees Belgrade, Skopje and Athens as the enemy, and anyone who has paid the slightest attention to American behavior in the region will discern that at some point, we began to as well.

But it wasn’t Greeks and Serbs who were behind the Fort Dix plot that was interrupted in May 2007. Out of six co-conspirators, four were ethnic Albanians. The man who supplied the guns, Agron Abdullahu, had been a sniper in Kosovo and, despite being “rescued” by the US — entering through the makeshift refugee camp at Ft. Dix in 1999 — at work he would refer to bin Laden as “Uncle Benny”. While in jail in 2007 he etched “UCK” in his cell (Albanian for “KLA,” which prosecutors explained to reporters as “a paramilitary organization with a history of war crimes”). He also drew a gun pointing toward the letters “FBI.” It came out during the trial that the gang had been deciding between hitting Ft. Dix and firing on the White House.

Ft. Dix was just the most high-profile Albanian-involved terror news in America. Skipping all the regional terrorism they’ve been engaging in in the Balkans — incidents too numerous to recount — KLA veterans have turned up in jihad theaters beyond the Balkans, as Damir Bajrami’s application at an al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan showed. “I have Kosovo Liberation Army combat experience against Serb and American forces. I need no further training. I recommend (suicide) operations against (amusement) parks like Disney,” USA Today quoted in 2001.

In September of last year, Brooklyn-born Betim Kaziu was indicted for “conspiring to commit murder overseas and helping terrorists…[He] traveled abroad to try to join several terrorist groups….He also allegedly tried to travel to Afghanistan, Iraq and the Balkans to fight against U.S. armed forces.” (Indictment here.) In August 2009 four men, one of them a U.S. citizen, were arrested in Kosovo “for illegal possession of weapons and endangerment….police found two Kalashnikov rifles and five hand grenades….” And a month earlier we all heard about the North Carolina crew led by Daniel Patrick Boyd, which included two Albanians and meant to target the Marine base in Quantico and to wage terror abroad.

There have been some disrupted plots against our Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, at least one that was exposed through a polygraph administered to a local Albanian terrorist.

In the foiled 2006 bomb plot against Montenegro’s parliament, the Austrian newspaper that broke the story — Kronen Zeitung – reported that the man who was to detonate two bombs in the building was an al Qaeda-connected Kosovo Albanian named Dodu Ljucaj. Following the Zeitung story was Mickey Bozinovich, proprietor of a Serbian news site, who learned that Ljucaj had been extra nervous upon arrest, as he’d just been “turned” by the CIA to be a mole in al Qaeda.

Similarly, Deliso writes in his Caliphate book, “One Kosovo jihadist in particular, Samedin Xhezairi, worked for the CIA and Austrian and German intelligence when those countries were helping train the KLA for war against the Serbs in the late 90s — all while acting as an intermediary between Albanian extremists and al Qaeda.” (Much like the way London tube co-conspirator Haroon Rashid Aswat and Daniel Pearl kidnap-mastermind Omar Sheikh had been utilized by British intelligence to stir up protests and terror against Serbia in the 90s.)

In late 2007 Serbia charged 15 people with a planned attack on the U.S. embassy in Belgrade, the names being mostly Bosnian, but with at least two Albanian ones among them — one of many collaborative efforts between Albanian and Bosnian Muslims to carve out the Sandzak (or Sanjak) region from Montenegro and southern Serbia. (“Suspected terrorists, members of the Sandzak Liberation Army (SLA) were hiding in Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia this [2007] spring, Tirana’s daily Korrieri said.”)

And to cite just one of a multitude of such associations, it came out that an Albanian mafia boss named Princ Dobrsi (or Dobroshi) had been helping one of the jihadists arrested for the 2006 Oslo synagogue attack, to plan attacks against Prague.

One hazy incident that went unreported involved six Albanian-American fundamentalists who arrived in the village of Skenderaj in the weeks before 9/11, according to the Caliphate book. Says Tom Gambill — a former OSCE security chief who in 2005 blew the whistle on the Kosovo mission in an interview with Cybercast News Service — the men had “spread anti-American slogans and stated, one week before 9/11, that the US would soon be attacked.”

According to Gambill, the radicals were “linked to a wealthy Mafioso in Mitrovica” — a shock admission linking Islamic radicals and the Albanian mafia. More shocking, however, was the utter disinterest with which UN authorities greeted this apparent “smoking gun” case. While investigators elsewhere were racing furiously to track down anyone and everyone with foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks, the CivPol [UN police] officer who identified the agitators, according to Gambill, “was frustrated that no one above him [in rank] was interested, and no one above him really pushed [for this investigation] — there was little said about it — and no follow-up.

Specific plots and attacks aside, Kosovo has become a useful den for Wahhabi and terror activity, a point of transit, organization, explosives-procurement (video here), and refuge for terrorists. Kosovo was eyed as the possible origin of the weapons used in both the 2007 attack on the U.S. embassy in Athens and the 7/7 attacks in London. As well, evidence entered in the trial of would-be dirty bomber Jose Padilla included some itemized spending in Kosovo (see items 56, 58, 59, 60, 63, 70, and 71 of link). Indeed, Greater Albania is an ideal zone for hiding or operating in the shadows, given the triple advantage of the Western powers not wanting the region exposed, the media not trying to expose it, and the public not being interested anyway.

According to one memorable exposé by the UK Sunday Mirror in 2003:

Posing as members of the Real IRA, we…made our deal in Kosovo, a breeding ground for fanatics with al-Qaeda links. Our contact was the deputy commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army Niam Behljulji….Hulji is said to supply terrorists across Europe and has been accused of massacring Serbian women and children during the war. He even posed grinning for a photograph, holding the severed head of one of his victims…Hulji said: “The plastics (Semtex) is the old type. No metal strips inside. It cannot be detected at airports.”

Until recently, an otherwise blacklisted “charity” was functioning freely in Kosovo, and an Albanian in a suicide vest was arrested last year in Kosovo.

Assistant Director of Columbia University’s Harriman Institute, Gordon N. Bardos, put it well over the summer:

…In the somewhat intellectually perverse foreign policy salons of New York and Washington, the more ties a Balkan politician has to drug smuggling, human trafficking, and al-Qaeda, the bigger their fan club is likely to be…The Fort Dix bomb plot….A 2009 plot “to engage in violent jihad” in Gaza, Israel, Jordan and Kosovo. Another 2009 attempt by a Brooklyn resident to attack US targets in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Balkans. September 11th. The organized crime gangs who have taken over heroin distribution along the eastern seaboard. The terrorists who beheaded Daniel Pearl.

What is the common denominator here? All were carried out or planned by individuals who had fought in the Balkans, or who come from the region…Yet despite the grave, direct nature of this threat, it is practically ignored in Washington.

Joe DioGuardi made sure of that. In a 1999 article titled “Buying an Intervention: Kosovo and Albanian PAC Money in Congress,” military affairs analyst and then director of the Strategic Research Institute of the United States, Benjamin Works, recalled DioGuardi sponsoring a House resolution, which had a companion Senate resolution proposed by Bob Dole, in 1986 — a time when American newspapers were reporting the stated Albanian goal of a Greater Albania, and reporting the exodus of Serbs and other non-Albanians. Yet DioGuardi’s and Dole’s resolutions decried “Yugoslavian official oppression of the Albanian population of Kosovo,” writes Works, which is what we called the boycott of Yugoslav institutions by Albanians building a parallel system in preparation for war. (A parallel system which banned Serbian books, the Serbian language and the Cyrillic alphabet, and fired Serbian workers while killing non-racist Albanian “collaborators” with the host society such as police and postmen.)

Works emphasized, “That’s 1986, when the Albanian Autonomous government was still fully operational [and Slobodan Milosevic wasn’t yet in power]….both of [the resolutions] never emerged from committee.”

But DioGuardi stayed busy. He convinced Dole and other legislators to visit Kosovo in 1990, and when Clinton’s special Balkans envoy Robert Gelbard in Feb. 1998 said about the KLA that “I know a terrorist when I see one, and these men are terrorists,” DioGuardi pushed for a House International Relations Committee hearing “in which now retired Democratic representative Lee Hamilton hammered Robert Gelbard,’” according to a 1999 Village Voice article titled “New York’s Kosovo Kingpin.” Afterwards, Gelbard allowed that the KLA had never been “classified legally” by the U.S. as a terrorist organization, and started referring to them simply as “guerilla rebels.”

The same phenomenon was transplanted to Macedonia, as Deliso wrote in 2001:

[A]n increasingly ominous pattern has been visible in the Western media’s Macedonia coverage. What began as a cautious position of neutrality towards the NLA became, by August, downright cheerleading. While in the beginning of the war the NLA had been called “terrorists” by EU security chief Javier Solana, and “murderous thugs” by NATO boss Lord [Robertson], these appellations were quickly forgotten in favor of more romantic names like “ethnic rebels” and “freedom fighters.” The Macedonians, on the other hand, became known as “angry Slavs,” or worse. Amazingly, after each and every outrage against Macedonia…the bombing of Leshok Monastery…and others, each ensuing Macedonian protest was dealt with more and more harshly by the media and Western diplomats.

This is Macedonia we’re talking about, Deliso wrote in his book, which

took in over 400,000 Kosovo Albanian refugees. However, when the country was no longer needed for Clinton’s military adventures, it was forgotten, and the long-term consequences of Kosovo — an emboldened pan-Albanian Balkan insurgency — were ignored…[America] began secretly supporting the NLA from its Kosovo base, Camp Bondsteel, through logistical and communications support as well as secret arms airdrops to Albanian-held mountain villages in northwestern Macedonia.

For Macedonians, the nadir was reached in June [2001], during a three-day battle at the Skopje-area village of Aracinovo, where NATO ordered the Macedonian Army to stop its operations and then spirited the heavily armed Albanian fighters off to freedom…[T]he public was shocked when it was reported that Islamic fighters and 17 American military contractors from the Virginia-based Military Professional Resources Incorporated (MPRI) had been found amongst the NLA’s ranks.

In another analysis by SIRIUS’s Ben Works, Works cited New York-based reporter Marko Lopusina, writing for the Yugoslav magazine Interview and describing

a May 1987 Dole-DioGuardi Albanian-American fund-raiser in New York City that collected some $1.25 million: ‘In their speeches, Dole and Dioguardi acknowledged those present for their contributions of $1.2 million for Dole and $50,000 for Dioguardi’s campaign.’

Joseph DioGuardi must be given credit for a sustained campaign to influence Congress beginning in the mid-1970s. DioGuardi, an Albanian American whose ancestors came from an Albanian transplant community in the heel of Italy, sat in Congress for several years in the mid-1980s as a Conservative Republican from New York’s Westchester County, but creating a Greater Albania was his agenda as a map on his website shows [since removed]. His Political Action Committee (PAC) activities are easy to follow from 1988 on.

What makes the PAC and individual contributions to campaigns more interesting is the demonstrated connection between the Kosovo Heroin Mafia, its “pizza connection” distribution (”inherited” from the Gambino crime family) and money-laundering networks, and the number of pizzeria owner-contributors listed in DioGuardi’s filings. The Croats and Albanians came up with big pots of laundered money, then spread it around selectively, with American politicians helping to persuade other members in Congress.

…[F]oreign policy, in a democracy, can be “bought”–that is precisely what happened in the case of the Kosovo Air War…In particular, most of the Congressmen speaking loudest against Serbia and Serbs are those receiving money from DioGuardi’s PAC. Some have simply been beguiled, others may be more disingenuous. Recipients come from both sides of the aisle but are mostly members of the House or Senate foreign relations committees: Joseph Lieberman and Jesse Helms, Benjamin Gillman [sic] and Tom Lantos. [The] records do not reveal monster sums of money, but demonstrate the tip of the iceberg, where “soft money,” individual declared contributions and bags full of $100 bills also find their way to select candidates.

The author of the aforementioned Village Voice article was impressed:

While reports have appeared in the Times of London and elsewhere linking members of the Albanian Mafia to the KLA, as Stacy Sullivan demonstrated in her examination of the group in the November 22, 1998, New York Times Magazine, a substantial amount of the KLA’s money comes from the worldwide Albanian diaspora…Indeed, New York is a KLA cash cow. “The KLA keeps getting more money,” says DioGuardi, noting that contributions from New York’s Albanian community have run into the millions. “Albanians work hard, work together, and are good at raising capital,” he adds, noting that recently $385,000 was collected in one night in Dallas.

Hard work and other things. Citing the infamous Johnny Chung on fundraising, as well as an unnamed Dole aide, Works wrote:

Albanian Mafiosi, meanwhile, were dealing heroin from communities in New York’s Brooklyn and Bronx boroughs, from Boston, Detroit and Chicago. From 1991 Albanian Mafia “crews” were also robbing supermarkets, ATMs and check cashing services in New York and other cities around the nation to raise campaign money and to buy arms for what became the Kosovo Liberation Army.

Scenes like those the Village Voice described were on display in a documentary — based on a book by the aforementioned Stacey Sullivan — titled “The Brooklyn Connection,” which PBS aired in 2005. It profiled Brooklyn-based roofing contractor Florin Krasniqi, who admits on camera to working with al Qaeda, and who is filmed smuggling American sniper rifles to Kosovo. (In 1998 he was buying weapons in Pakistan.) This promotional PBS page describes DioGuardi as “a politician with whom Florin Krasniqi worked closely during the build-up to the Kosovo War.”

As does another pro-KLA book by a Chicago professor:

Congressmen David Bonior and Joseph Dioguardi worked tirelessly to build support in the U.S. Congress, as did Senator Robert Dole. They were consistently encouraged by such leaders of the Albanian American Diaspora as Florin Krasniqi, Hary Bajraktari, and Dino Asanaj. At one point, Krasniqi took Dioguardi to visit KLA resupply camps in Tropoja.

Tropoja was a KLA stronghold, and hailing DioGuardi’s primary victory as “shaking up the Republican Party” was a Wall St. Journal blog post by a businessman named Sahit Muja, “President of Albanian Minerals & BYTYCI SHPK, Tropoje, Albania.” A village along the Kosovo-Albanian border, Tropoja (or Tropoje) was a common staging area for bin Laden’s network and the KLA, as WND’s Joseph Farah revealed in his aforementioned bulletin, citing intelligence documents obtained by The Washington Times in 1999. (The Times also called it “a center for Islamic terrorists.”) The place was identified in 1994 as the Kosovo headquarters of the Albanian drug network by European Commission investigators at the France-based Observatire Geopolitique Des Drogues.

“United Nations doesn’t know what we are capable of,” DioGuardi’s pal Krasniqi tells the documentary’s director. “If we were capable of getting NATO to help us, I think we are capable of throwing the UN out of there also. And we will throw the UN out if we have to.”

When the director asks Krasniqi if there will be war, he replies, “If Kosova does not get its independence there will be a war.” Which led Balkans observer Andy Wilcoxson to wonder whom it was the Albanians would have their war with, since “the Serbs all withdrew in 1999 after the NATO bombing,” adding, “These terrorists have already shown that they are not afraid to attack the UN. In September [2004], UCK [KLA] sniper attacks on UN vehicles forced the UN to stop using the Kosovska Mitrovica-Leposavic road between 9:00 PM and 6:00 AM. [This was just one of scores of attacks or threats of attack on UN property and/or personnel, causing UNMIK to issue at least one memo for staff to check under their cars before starting the engines.]

Krasniqi raised $30 million from the Albanian-American community for the Kosovo war. He also contributed to the political campaigns of John Kerry, Wesley Clark, John McCain, the late Henry Hyde and Tom Lantos, the last one subsequently hailing the American creation of a Muslim state in the heart of Europe. In the film, the Krasniqi family attends a party at an Albanian catering hall, where Florin is reminded to write a check to “Hyde for Congress” and the guests dance on dollar bills strewn about the dance floor like confetti, to a song about Kosovo and the KLA. Later they are seen writing out thousand-dollar checks at a 2003 Kerry fundraiser, where they share a few laughs with Wesley Clark and ambassador Richard Holbrooke after Krasniqi calls Clark over to come shake hands with “your KLA.”


Holbrooke, Krasniqi and Clark


Clark with then KLA commander and now former “prime minister” and indicted war criminal Agim Ceku to his right, and the current “prime minister” Hashim ‘The Snake’ Thaci on the left


Richard Holbrooke with his terrorist pals

Krasniqi was giving money to Lantos to the very end, as well as to Lantos’s daughter Katrina Swett for her 2008 Senate campaign in New Hampshire. (The money also continued flowing to McCain, Biden and Lieberman.) And so it was that DioGuardi’s wife, Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi, could boast Tom Lantos’s “‘commitment, and that of his daughter, Katrina Swett, to help Albanians wherever they live in the Balkans,’” proprietor of the Serbian-American website Serbianna.com Mickey Bozinovich quoted Cloyes. “‘Just as he played a critical role in internationalizing the Albanian issue in Kosova, Tom Lantos is now prepared to do the same for Albanians in Montenegro.’”

It was no surprise, then, that Montenegro — whose government was known to have good relations with the Albanian minority — started hearing from American lawmakers such as Tom Lantos and Carl Levin, expressing concern for the human rights of 18 Albanian men who were arrested in the 2006 bomb plot against the Montenegro parliament. Levin pledged to continue “efforts to ensure that Montenegro follows all domestic and international laws with those under arrest, while his nephew Sander met the protesting Albanians in Washington assuring them that [the] Levins will seek ways to prove that Montenegro is violating human rights of the arrested terrorists and on basis of that violation get them free.”

One of the four U.S. citizens rounded up in that plot was named Kola Dedvukaj, who along with a relative and co-conspirator named [Rrok] were campaign contributors to Lantos and his daughter. According to Bozinovich, in October 2003 Lantos had organized a hearing to make recommendations to the Bush administration regarding human rights in Montenegro; presenting testimony that Montenegro was made up partly of “annexed Albanian lands” and that Albanians there suffered genocidal discrimination was Lantos’s star witness Kola Dedvukaj.

“On August 24, 2005,” continued Bozinovich, “Congressman Dana Rohrabacher also went to Montenegro on a fact-finding mission and Kola Dedvukaj was the man in his delegation as well…In Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives have Penetrated Washington the author Paul Sperry uncovers that radical Muslim groups have contributed substantial amounts of money to Rohrabacher in order to have him support anti-Jewish groups including Hamas, as well as violent Albanian groups across the the Balkans.” (Note : After being exposed, Rohrabacher did a one-eighty vis-à-vis Israel; as for Hamas’s Albanian counterparts who have been giving Rohrabacher all kinds of goodies for his loyalty, well who’s going to complain about that? Where is that dastardly Serbian lobby?)

DioGuardi has openly advocated carving out a Greater Albania. The Christian Science Monitor reported in 1998, “The league not only supports the KLA and its goal of independence for Kosovo, but advocates the ‘liberation’ of areas of Macedonia, Montenegro, and Greece…a recipe for a regional cataclysm.” In the early 2000s, DioGuardi’s AACL website still blatantly exhibited “a picture of an idealized ‘Greater Albania,’ incorporating parts of Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Greece,” wrote Caliphate author Deliso. The map has since been removed and today the site sports two eagles — American and Albanian — above the Capitol dome.

Obviously, the map was not demonstrating a commitment to “freedom and democracy,” as the Albanian claim has been, but something else altogether. To that end, Shirley Cloyes has been writing about “human rights violations” in southern Serbia’s Presevo (or Presheva) Valley, stoking the Albanian-separatist fires to start a Kosovo-style war there. There, where Serbian — and again “collaborator” Albanianpolice are being targeted (including at stations shared by KFOR). Just as it began in Kosovo and Macedonia. (Albanians had tried to seize this “East Kosovo,” as some call it, in 2000 on the heels of the Kosovo conflict, but NATO brokered a peace deal with Belgrade.) Imagine Presevo Valley and Montenegro separatism being put on the Senate’s agenda, as they surely will if DioGuardi is allowed back inside the Capitol Building. Will he again push for ground troops, which reporter Grigg characterized correctly the first time: “The KLA gets U.S. arms to continue its irredentist campaign, and U.S. servicemen get the dubious privilege of dying on behalf of ‘Greater Albania.’” We’re seeing again, what coexistence the Serbs and Albanians have managed there can’t be allowed to stand.

Grigg had interviewed Cloyes for that May 1999 article which quoted the former DEA agent Levine, and revealed:

When the conversation turned to the question of the KLA’s larger designs, Cloyes stuck close to her scripted talking points. “I have no time for talk about ‘Greater Albania,’” Cloyes emphatically told The New American. “The only quest for hegemony in the Balkans is Milosevic’s quest for a ‘Greater Serbia….’” When asked if it is the KLA’s intention to change existing borders in the Balkans, as the map distributed by the group suggests, Cloyes once again parried the inquiry by condemning “Serb aggression”: “There are no borders to change. The only borders that have been changed were changed by Serbia.” It will be interesting to see how this line of reasoning plays with those residents of Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia, and Greece who live within the KLA-defined boundaries of “Greater Albania.”

(Note the technique of bringing every question about the Albanian side back to “Milosevic” or “Serbs,” a habit that U.S. officials also picked up, as Cato Institute’s Gary Dempsey noticed in 2000, when Albanian snipers shot two French peacekeepers and State Dept. spokesman James Rubin was asked about it. “‘When things go bad,’ explains Rubin, Milosevic ‘feels like he had a good day.’”)

Grigg hit another brick wall in his interview with Cloyes as she stunningly attributed what every law enforcement agency in the world knows to be true about the KLA — to “Serbian propaganda”:

Asked by The New American about accusations that the KLA is implicated in drug smuggling and terrorism, Shirley Cloyes…dismissed the charges as “absolutely preposterous” products of “Serb propaganda.”…”As the atrocities of Milosevic’s regime have been exposed to the public, the Serb propaganda machine has stepped up its rhetoric about the supposed connections between the KLA and drug traffickers and Islamic fundamentalists. There is simply no merit to any of these charges.”

(Here is DioGuardi also in denial, on Fox News Channel in 1999.)

As for the “Albanian National Cause” that the non-Muslim DioGuardis trumpet, like so many other national causes it predictably has long since been hijacked by jihad, whose elements were involved from the beginning and whose handiwork can be seen in the 400 mosques that have gone up in Kosovo since 1999, with funding from Saudi Arabia, UAE and Turkey. While 150 churches have been destroyed.

The Wall St. Journal-Europe article “Al Qaeda’s Balkan Links” noted that “Albanian separatism in Kosovo and Metohija was formally characterized as a ‘jihad’ in October 1998 at an annual international Islamic conference in Pakistan.” In his 2006 memoir, then Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf casually referred to “the Kosovo jihad,” and in November 1998 The London Times mentioned a KLA volunteer from Saudi Arabia telling a Dutch interviewer that Kosovo was his “eighth jihad.” Aussie terrorist David Hicks also trained with the KLA. So it doesn’t really matter how we insist on seeing Kosovo, the Islamic world sees it for what it effectively was.

But despite being Catholic, DioGuardi is undeterred. Being Albanian for a living has made him a lot of money and besides, almost all Albanians share the same nationalist goals (well, the ones still living do; the others have been done away with). You’ll rarely find one without an Albanian flag either in hand or affixed to his car, clothes, or business.

The bigger picture is of course that DioGuardi’s still predominately moderate Muslims (though they weren’t moderate nationalists, an extremism that is easily channeled in new directions) were the long-term target of the radicals who “helped” them in their territorial war against Balkan Christians (and are still helping).

Chris Deliso explained it succinctly shortly after the unilateral secession (internal link added):

Kosovo’s Albanian leaders have sought to reassure the West, and especially Israel, that an independent Kosovo will present no threat of Islamic radicalism. And with the past couple weeks of constant cameras panning over a province awash in American flags, while helpful Western journalists make a point of witnessing Muslim Albanians drinking beer, the average reader might be forgiven for believing them. The reality, however, is more complex…In every case, it only takes a radicalized minority to present a problem. To claim that Kosovo does not have such a population, let alone to deny that it is slowly increasing, is simply whistling in the dark…The establishment of strong cross-border logistical networks, ‘safe houses’ and propaganda channels blossomed after August 1999, when the United Nations began administering Kosovo following NATO’s bombing campaign. At that point, Wahhabi proselytizers from the Arab world descended on Kosovo in force.

…American and European police investigators and advisors within Kosovo’s UN administration have noted a slow yet steady increase in the number of committed Islamists being inserted into positions of influence within the Kosovo governmental bureaucracy…Indeed, regardless of what its leaders may say, the Islamist internationale sees a definite opportunity in the new Kosovo.

Even its original “national” struggle bore uncanny resemblances to violent jihad. To win its Kosovo turf, in addition to the intimidation and ambushing of an ethnic array of Yugoslav officials, the KLA was involved in torture, in rape, beheadings, organ-harvesting, and church-burning. In 2001 Human Rights Watch reported:

…abductions and murders of Serbs and ethnic Albanians considered collaborators with the state. Elements of the KLA are also responsible for post-conflict attacks on Serbs, Roma, and other non-Albanians, as well as ethnic Albanian political rivals… widespread and systematic burning and looting of homes belonging to Serbs, Roma, and other minorities and the destruction of Orthodox churches and monasteries.

Church-destruction and cemetery-desecration continued into the present. The orchestrated March 2004 riots only spurred our leaders to agitate more intensely for Kosovo independence.

“In the name of supporting a convoluted and hypocritical interventionist policy,” Deliso wrote in his book, “…the West has ironically created all the conditions for radical Islam…to take root. In short, Western interventionists in the Balkans have become desperately wedded to a policy of disaster.”

Deliso then asks the ultimate question: How will America compel the world to stand against terrorists when it in fact coaxed the world into sponsoring them — and continues to do so?

A case in point is another DioGuardi pal, the U.S.-backed former “prime minister” of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj, currently being retried at the Hague after some witnesses started dropping dead the first time around and others backed out — resulting in an “insufficient evidence” acquittal. (Upon Haradinaj’s re-incarceration over the summer, DioGuardi’s KLA “veterans” threatened war.) Haradinaj has been an honored guest at AACL events and DioGuardi made an appearance at his friend’s trial in March 2007.

As a KLA commander, Haradinaj ordered the murder of 40 Serb civilians in Glodan, Kosovo, including six whom he killed with his own hands. His atrocities are too numerous to name, but one in particular was when he stopped a bus in 1998 to look for two Albanians — because they had Serbian wives. The men were never seen again. Haradinaj was also involved with the KLA’s kidnapping-and-organ-removal slaughter which, according to former prosecutor Del Ponte, was overseen by current U.S.-backed “prime minister” Hashim Thaci. The site of the operation was near Tropoja. As author Trifkovic wrote after the primaries, “The horrors of Tropoja and the KLA are light years away from DioGuardi’s New York State audiences and his usual sales pitch: standard fiscal conservatism, family values. No mention of the KLA anywhere, of course…a sad testimony on the decrepitude of the GOP and on the state of this country’s politics.”


Biden, DioGuardi and indicted war criminal/terrorist Ramush Haradinaj, whom Biden publicly saluted in 2007 (In this video Biden lays it on thick, earning his narco-dollars; his son Bo gets in on the act with a fiery, oh-so-risky anti-Serb performance at the 2008 Democratic Convention)

Such are the friends we’ve made through Joe DioGuardi, with the U.S. and UN exerting heavy pressure on the tribunal to not try Haradinaj at all, and U.S. NATO soldiers being ordered to remove evidence from the scene of one of his crimes. Nor should we forget U.S.-backed former Kosovo prime minister Agim Ceku. From Chris Deliso’s Caliphate:

Embarrassingly for Ceku, two of his KPC (Kosovo Protection Corps) men were involved in an ANA (Albanian National Army) bridge bombing attempt on April 12, 2003, near the northern Kosovo town of Zvecin…[UNMIK Chief] Harri Holkeri, had infuriated Agim Ceku on December 3 [2004] by ordering the suspension of [the] two KPC generals….Ceku darkly intoned that “this decision is unacceptable for us.”

And what was this “leader” in our “multi-ethnic” Kosovo doing during the March 2004 pogroms?

Most embarrassing for the UNMIK authorities, Agim Ceku’s KPC officers actively aided the mobs. The suspicious complicity of leading Kosovo Albanian politicians and KPC commanders was attested to by other internationals, such as the Greek policeman who pondered, “Why did Thaci and Ceku not say ‘stop’ until three days into the riots?…And why, once they did say ‘stop,’ did everything suddenly stop?”


Condoleezza Rice with Agim Ceku on the right and then president Fatmir Sejdiu on the left


DioGuardi with Ceku


Cindy McCain visits with “prime minister” Thaci in 2008


Madeleine “the-Serbs-need-some-bombing-and-that’s-what-they’re-gonna-get” Albright reaches for a smooch from then KLA commander and spokesman Hashim Thaci in 1999, shortly after he executed six of his lieutenants

The UN folks caught on quickly, adds Deliso:

The international administration that set up shop in July 1999 had to deal with the hardened fighters of the KLA, most of whom were dangerous and some of whom controlled powerful, clan-based organized crime networks, while moonlighting as politicians. Since such men had the capability of causing everything from political liquidations to mass armed resistance at the snap of a finger, UNMIK officials quickly realized it was better to come to an understanding with the ex-KLA than to cross it; “the 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.”

This helps explain why we see all these disparate names — Engel, Dole, Bush, Albright, Rice, Biden, Clinton, Helms, Hyde, Schumer, Lantos, Gilman, McConnell, Wexler, Kyl, Rohrabacher, Clark, (George) Mitchell, Traficant, Lieberman, etc — patting one another on the back in agreement on Kosovo, with no partisan distinctions. Every one of them has been an ardent supporter of independence and will tell you that this is the “mainstream” and “American” position when it’s rather the only position to be found or heard on the subject. (Most have a boulevard, building, square, street, store, statue, or children named after them in Albania/Kosovo.) Republican objections in 1999 are long forgotten, and like a mantra every one of them repeats that full statehood is “the only solution.”


DioGuardi with the late Henry Hyde, and Dana Rohrabacher smiling on

Essentially, our trusted lawmakers got us bought into a kidnapping. Explains Deliso:

By the time the West realizes that Albanian demands will never end, it may be too late. Like spoiled children, the Albanian negotiators will keep complaining that their “rights” are being denied them- and they will have the firepower of the NLA/ANA as leverage. The general trend with Western diplomacy is to avoid embarrassment at all costs, and indeed, to completely deny making any mistakes. In this sense, Macedonia suffers because of Kosovo. Western leaders do not want to admit that supporting the KLA/NLA has been a disaster–because it implies that all of the actions leading up it, including the Kosovo campaign, and the earlier anti-Serbian interventions, were fundamentally flawed. Pulling one thread would indeed unravel the whole cloak; but the emperor does not wish to be seen standing naked.

Our leaders were roped in by foreign interests and when they didn’t know how to extricate us from it, they got us roped in deeper and called it a “success.” So complete has the graft of Albanian interests been onto American “interests” despite that being a direct conflict of interests — so entrenched is this policy by now — that even squeaking up that there is another, more sober view, one that’s more in synch with a post-9/11 world, is branded as promoting “foreign interests.” If you should question or object to the official “American” policy, then you’re the propagandist, you’re the fringe — and you’re hijacking American policy! (As DioGuardi accused a belated and underfunded effort at a counter-lobby of doing.)

Certainly complicating these otherwise straight-forward accusations is the fact that the US government made the KLA out as ‘pro-American freedom fighters’ and whitewashed their record because of foreign policy considerations at the time. While it is naive to suppose that the US has not embraced terrorists and mobsters for policy considerations before — the wisdom of which we can differ on — that does not mean that terrorists and mobsters are not terrorists and mobsters. Nor does it grant DioGuardi immunity for his ties to them. One doesn’t whitewash his ties just because we made use of them at one point. In WWII the Italian mob facilitated our entry into Italy, but that didn’t make it immune from future scrutiny.

Why should DioGuardi’s associations not be of interest? Why are Christine O’Donnell’s high school Wicca dabblings a bigger story than DioGuardi’s connections to the greater Albanian crime syndicate? Which of course begs the next question: With all the Albanian mafia money sloshing around New York and making its way to lawmakers for decades, it would take a great leap of faith to think that it hasn’t been fueling his campaign. But again, no one has bothered to check.

Given the bipartisan nature of our lawmakers’ treachery, a Gillibrand win won’t change our policies in the Balkans, as she will no doubt toe the same line the rest do. But we’re talking about electing the very genesis of America’s self-destructive, pro-crime, pro-narcotic, and pro-jihad orientation there, now spanning four presidential administrations. It can all be traced back to Joe DioGuardi, who nonetheless has the gall to run for office. Letting this KLA public relations organ, this terror financier and lobbyist, this gangster back into the Capitol Building where he first started America down a disastrous road will help ensure that ever new tasks at Albanian bidding, will receive greater priority than they otherwise might. And with the KLA’s American godfather in Washington, there’d be even more string-pulling on their behalf, and more protection. Republican New Yorkers essentially would be directly placing the KLA, whose ethnic supremacy has come to guide U.S. foreign policy in the region and has been endangering American lives for more than a decade, into the Capitol.

If one can’t bring oneself to vote for a sharia-compliant Democrat instead of DioGuardi, feeling that choosing one over the other is like choosing typhoid fever over a bullet, write in a friend’s name. But anyone who still plans to vote DioGuardi should at least know who and what the man is. Consider that if he does win, at some point his ties are going to come out. How will Republicans look then?

It would really be something if conservative New Yorkers, who want politicians to take a stronger stand against the Islamic sprawl, vote in a terrorist like Joe DioGuardi. Indeed, one fears that all he’ll have to do from here is object to the Ground Zero mosque to win favor. As a French anti-jihad activist I met recently put it: “Ah, so ze Repooblicans who are against ze Gwound Zero Mosque voted for a man who helps spread ze terror?” Exactly.