Search Results for 'drenica'


This past Cinco de Mayo, the eagle-eyed Ruth S. King, board member of Family Security Foundation and columnist for Americans for a Safe Israel’s Outpost, alerted me to what she called an “appalling whitewash of Albania in American Thinker.”

Of course, it’s less appalling if one recalls my own bumpy Balkans history with American Thinker, as I’ve had with almost every other publication that had the momentary courage (or blissful naivete) to publish my minority view (a.k.a. the truth) about Kosovo and who the real aggressor was. Publisher Thomas Lifson had followed the familiar pattern wherein an editor is at first thankful that I put the subject on his radar and did the hard research — then feels immediately overburdened by the subject as soon as it causes real controversy and shows how unpopular the actual history is. Often, they turn on a dime when the hyenas of the majority view start screeching about the rare appearance of something other than the monopoly perspective — that only allowable, only existing (as far as you’re supposed to know), recent recorded history of the region.

And so American Thinker, like American Legion, Baltimore Sun and others before it, went from respect and gratitude to resentment, avoidance and annoyance at the name Julia Gorin. After kindly allowing one or two more Gorin pieces on the subject in 2007, Mr. Lifson declared that A.T. would stay away from the Balkans all together. The way the rest already do (except when it’s a rehash or tangent of the permitted narrative).

But then on Christmas 2010 he reprinted a majority-view article titled”A Srebrenica Christmas,” and when he again broached the Balkans in March 2011 with a good piece by Victor Sharpe titled “Hillary’s War” and I thanked him, he said he almost didn’t run it, since “Nobody is ever convinced to change his/her mind on the Balkans, and it is not worth the trouble focusing on it.” To which I replied, “Publishing the occasional piece on the Balkans amid the avalanche of standard-issue stuff isn’t exactly ‘focusing.’ Interesting that it feels that way to you. Sort of underscores my point about the lack of American palate, fortitude and stamina vis-à-vis the Balkans, where world wars and Orwellian societal experimentation by our elites begin. (Coming soon to Americans.)”

And so now comes the A.T. article forwarded by Ms. King. In the midst of ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the Allied Victory in Europe, it must have seemed harmless and appropriate enough to promote Albanians who saved Jews. Who could object to that, after all? Indeed, the piece is the least objectionable of this variety. Still, it must be said that it’s in line with who our clients in the Balkans are. Not only is Yad Vashem toeing that line by emphasizing the Albanian Righteous over the more numerous and more risk-taking Serbian Righteous, but so is the so-called conservative press, as evidenced by what it consciously or subconsciously chooses to highlight in the region. Which differs not at all from mainstream news sources. Which differ not at all from U.S. policy.

So it seems that on Cinco de Mayo, American Thinker went the carefree route that everyone else goes, instead of the hard way on the Balkans. They whooped it up and joined the party — ala Bush going all Clinton in Albania in 2008 — by printing an article on the hyped-up Albanian Righteous and the righteousness of Albanians — eight years after that PR started making the rounds and suckering in all the other conservative and Jewish outfits. Which makes American Thinker a latecomer to suckerhood. (And I thought Simon Wiesenthal Center was slow.) It’s like going back to school to get a degree in Flat Earth Sciences. As always, I’ll stress that it’s not wrong to let people know about the Albanian Righteous, but by this point the A.T. editor knows there’s probably more to the story, on a subject he was ostensibly steering clear of in the first place.

An excerpt:

Albania’s History of Saving Jews By C. Hart

…In a recent ceremony at Yad Vashem, Albanian government minister Edmond Panariti and his cousin Agron were acknowledged because the Panaritis saved a Greek family from Thessaloniki, hiding them in their home in Albania.

Edmond Panariti serves in the Albania government today as Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development, and Water Administration, and previously served for a short time as Foreign Minister. He shared why the Albanians are a people who have a custom of providing refuge to others.

“This is a part of our tradition. Albanians are a very friendly people and hospitable people…They think that a guest enriches them.”

[Just let’s not mention what happens when you’re the host and they’re the guest, which the welcoming Yugoslavia found out all too painfully.]

Meanwhile, very few Jews survived in Thessaloniki, while Albania did not lose one. In fact, there were 202 Jews living in Albania before the war, and 1,800-2,000 after the war. At least 600 of them came from Greece. Not a single Jew living in Albania died at the hands of the Nazis. Albania is the only country in Europe with this record of success.

Albania’s Foreign Minister told this writer in an interview last year that his country could assist the EU in understanding the plight of the Jews in Europe today, who are experiencing a sharp increase in violent anti-Semitism. [By whom, did this foreign minister of a Muslim country mention?] Because of the experience that Albanians had in hiding the Jews during the reign of Hitler, there is an unusual sensitivity to this particular people group that is unique to the Albanians.

Edmond said it not only has to do with Albania’s tradition and culture. “We are the only country in the region that has a religious tolerance. This is not the case with our neighbors. The most amazing thing, and we are taking pride in it, is that we have coexistence between religions.”

Which neighbors? Greece? Macedonia? (Which is 25-33% Albanian and where the Albanian party is a permanent member of the ruling coalition and which has the “fifth-highest proportion of Muslims in Europe” after Turkey, Kosovo, Albania, and Bosnia.) Or did he mean Montenegro? Which is 17% Muslim. Or perhaps he means, more accurately, Kosovo? Surely he doesn’t mean the Christian but rapidly Islamicizing Bulgaria? Or Serbia, which is back to kneeling before its Bosnian and Albanian Muslims, and houses the world’s oldest Jewish choir.

But don’t expect to hear any such begged-for questions from the writer, Mr. or Ms. Hart, since even so-called ‘alternative’ U.S. media take down what Albanians say uncritically — still. Just as the journalistic establishment did with the Kosovo war. There simply is no American Thinking going on when it comes to the Balkans.

Notice that, like everyone else, A.T. had nothing about the April attack by the Albanians’ beloved KLA (”dismantled” by NATO in 2000), on a Macedonian police tower, demanding the creation of an Albanian state. Just as they’d done shortly after the Kosovo war, by starting another war, which I’ll guess you didn’t hear about. A war with Macedonia, which had harbored 400,000 Kosovo refugees. There were only short news items about the recent attack, such as this, but no commentary, no dissection, none of the usual analyses to tell us what it means. Because it’s the Balkans, and Americans simply don’t know what to think until an Albanian, Bosniak, or Croat tells us. Macedonia’s “ethnic tension,” as we in the West like to call it to keep the public from figuring out there’s an aggressor, renewed two weeks later, with a 36-hour-seige starting May 10th in Macedonia’s largest municipality, Kumanovo, on the border with Kosovo. Eight Macedonian police officers and 14 of 44 Albanian terrorists were killed, and another 37 officers wounded.

Interior Ministry spokesman Ivo Kotevski referred to the attackers as “one of the most dangerous terrorist groups in the Balkans.” This would be the selfsame American BFFs: the KLA and affiliates. In fact, almost all the attackers were from Kosovo. UK Guardian reported further, “[Kotevski] said the group entered Macedonia at the start of May with an aim to launch attacks on state institutions. It was sheltered in Kumanovo’s western neighbourhood of Diva Naselba and police found a huge arsenal of weapons at the location….” Bulgaria had to send its army to the border with Macedonia, to stem any possible terror on its borders as well as a potential refugee crisis. These are all still reverberations, outgrowths, and results of the war that Bill Clinton got us into “to keep the conflict from spreading.” And “to stabilize the region.”

But hey, as long as we’ve found a set of Muslims who don’t mind Jews, who cares what they do to Slavs or what havoc they wreak in the region? Just let’s not think how they might feel about Jews if the host society they settled in was Jewish rather than Slavic, and it was Jewish land they coveted instead. Or how well Albanian hospitality could take a Jewish guest in WWII or the 90s telling his host that his people really shouldn’t be wantonly slaughtering Serbs. No, let’s not get into higher thinking. Besides, the “Kosovars” have a statue of Bill Clinton in the center of town, haven’t you heard.

Of course they do. As Professor Ilia Toli, who has experienced Albanianism from the inside — as an Albanian — put it: “Bill Clinton risked WW3 attacking Serbia in order to draw attention away from his Lewinsky [and Broaddrick] affair…I don’t know whether this is a compliment to be worshiped in the stronghold of the scum of the mankind.”

But it’s certainly fitting. Bill Clinton is a caveman’s caveman.

While I’ve responded extensively to the Albanian Jew-saving PR (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), I’ve only peripherally made the point that, in the end, all the Jews left Albania. Because while it may be “the most pro-Israel” Muslim country, or at least the least anti-Israel Muslim country, that doesn’t necessarily translate into a sense of security and comfort for a Jew living in its borders. That is, a tolerant national policy or orientation may not come across in close proximity, as some anecdotal (in addition to numeric) evidence suggests. Here is just one vignette, offered by Professor Toli in a 2013 email exchange that was mostly about Albanian Righteous:

I had a friend one year older in university…He returned from Canada and we were traveling together in the bus home, towards south [Albania]…He greatly annoyed me with his ardent Albanian patriotism all the way home. At some point to silence him I asked, “Are you Christian or Muslim?” “Muslim,” answered he, completely proud. “Well, I am Christian,” I answered back. That silenced him, but I did notice that he was very much uncomfortably quiet, agitated, and had a fight inside him. A few years later I came to know that this friend was Jewish pretending to be Muslim. He lives in Canada now, Jewish in the open. He didn’t dare to come out as a Jew in tolerant Albania.

I remember in his memoirs [Albania’s Soviet-era ruler] Enver Hoxha wrote about a very educated friend of his in childhood… “Samuel was the son of Haham Kofina, the poorest Jew in Gjirokastra…Haham occupied a small shop, there grew up Samuel, our friend. We loved him, because he was a very good person, honest, and not a ‘Jew’ in the bad meaning of the word.” [Note: “Jew” being implicitly bad was rampant in Communist Eastern Europe all around.]

Certainly there were many instances of righteous Albanian Muslims and Christians. That’s a very long shot from claiming that zero Jews were killed…And judge the following factors: Germans came to Albania only in September 1943 and left in November 1944. (In some parts of the country they never entered at all.) …Also, the pants-down test didn’t work in Albania because the Muslim population was also circumcised…In school in Albania at some point Comrade Hoxha told us that only 10 Jews perished in Albania, 2 of them partizans. At a later point the number became 2, then later on 0. He too was fond of the 0 Jews killed tale.

Indeed, “zero killed” was more like 10 to 12, according to the project The Holocaust Chronicle, while the rest of Albania’s 200 Jews were able to successfully disperse and blend in with the population, which provided them with cover and Muslim names. In Blowback: America’s Recruitment of Nazis and its Effects on the Cold War, author Christopher Simpson noted that relatively few Jews were captured and killed in Albania, but “not for lack of trying by the Balli Kombetar organization and the Albanian SS,” historian Carl Savich quoted him in 2007, adding:

In a July, 1944 [OSS] report on Albania entitled “Political and Internal Conditions”, it was reported that “[Albania’s Interior Minister, Kosovo Albanian] Xhafer Deva, [and Albanian prime minister] Rexhep Mitrovic[a] and Midhat Frasheri [president of the fascist Balli Kombetar, later imported by the U.S.] are with the Germans… Anti-semitic measures are being adopted now.” A captured SS document “revealed that Deva had been responsible for the deportation of ‘Jews, Communists and partisans’ to extermination camps as well as for punitive raids by the SS Skanderbeg Division. The small mountain territory had few Jews, so relatively few were captured and killed.”

(It also helped that Serbs and Roma were hiding Jews from Deva.)

The “Ballistas,” as America’s soon-to-be BFFFs (Best Fascist Friends Forever) were sometimes called for short, “carried out a campaign of deportation and murder of Serbs in 1943 and 1944,” Vojislav Milosevic wrote in 2012. “…Many of these Kosovo Albanians had seen prior service in the Bosnian Muslim and Croatian SS divisions which were notorious for slaughtering civilians…[In 1945,] remnants of the Kosovo Albanian fascist groups continued fighting the Yugoslav government for six years, with a major rebellion from 1945 to 1948 in the Drenica region…Sporadic violence continued until 1951. It is literally true to say that the last shots of World War II were fired in Kosovo.”

Kosovo certainly has a less pretty WWII record than Albania (see block quote under the Yeshiva World News item here), but if one considers that Albania’s borders at the time included Kosovo, the numbers of Jews killed or handed over to the camps change dramatically.

On the subject of Drenica, meanwhile, this last holdout of WWII fascist Kosovo would later become a KLA stronghold as well as the birthplace of Mr. KLA himself, “prime minister” Hashim Thaci. It was a bastion of violent Albanian nationalism, a phenomenon that spurred the following question in writer Milosevic above: “Why such passionate hatred for non-Albanians? A big factor was militant Islam. The Fundamentalist ‘Second League of Prizren’ was created in September 1943 by Xhafer Deva…to work with the German authorities…. Albanian religious intolerance was shown by their targeting Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries for destruction.”

There’s no way around it. Fascism, Islam and extreme nationalism all inform the Albanian identity. The Wikipedia entry on the SS Skanderbeg division reads:

Members took a religious oath using the Quran, pledging “jihad against unbelievers.” …Its garrison was located in the town of Prizren…Early on, it became clear that most of the division’s Muslim Albanian members seemed to be interested only in settling scores with their Christian Serb adversaries, who became the target of numerous atrocities. In order to put a stop to the crimes, the Germans had to disarm battalions of the division in the towns of Peć and Prizren and arrest the Albanian officers…It was generally better known for murdering, raping, and looting, mainly in ethnic Serb areas, and for arresting Jews, than for participating in combat operations on behalf of the German war effort. In addition to indiscriminately killing Serbs and Montenegrins, the division was responsible for the expulsion of up to 10,000 Slavic families from Kosovo as new Albanian settlers arrived from the poor areas of northern Albania.

One is never sure whether it was originally Islam that informed the Albanianism that so hates Serb Christians and destroys their churches, or whether the hyper-nationalism against the Serbian identity resulted in targeting their churches as Serbian symbols, which is what Albanians and their defenders still claim today, what with Albanianism long overshadowing Albanian Islam. It’s a means of justifying their continuing supremacist “but not anti-Christian” violence, perhaps themselves forgetting that’s what it was when it started.

The Albanian public’s record on Jews during the world war remains impressive and touching, so certainly one can understand the temptation for Jewish people to be suckers for anything that Albanians seek henceforth. But why is it human nature to be won over by the tender mercies of those who accept whatever alliance or identity — and its attendant privileges — that an era’s bully is extending (e.g., Fascism, Islam), as opposed to being won over by fellow sufferers and untermenschen under those systems, whom Jews owe something to as well? That would be the Serbian side, the implicit loser of Jewish (though so far not Israeli) support in the Kosovo tug-of-war that underlies this whole WWII Righteous promotion.

Serbs likewise managed to save Jews, and in greater numbers, despite being in a much more difficult position than Albanians. The Serbs were targets and victims of the Nazis too (100 killed — sometimes hung from trees — for every German soldier killed in Serbia), while simultaneously under assault from Albanians and Croats. It’s only touched on in this late 2010 email by late Jewish-Serbian scholar Jasa Almuli (who interviewed several Jews rescued by Serbs, who never contacted Yad Vashem for Righteous status on their behalf):

In Serbia there was not much time to save the Jews as all males were shot by the Wehrmacht during three months at the end of the first year of occupation and about 7000 women and children gassed during three months next spring…All anti-Jewish measures during the German occupation of Serbia were enacted by the Germans. [But there were] two decrees enacted six months before the war by the Yugoslav coalition government in October of 1940, passed under German pressure. One introduced Numerus Clausus for Jewish pupils and students and the other forbade the Jews to trade with foodstuff…The government which introduced these measures was composed of Serbian, Croat and Slovene politicians who acted in this way when the country was surrounded by allies of Germany.

But this is all still tug-of-war, and it’s probably not in good taste to compare one ethnicity’s Righteous to another’s. There’s a reason that it’s important to simply do the right thing in any given conflict, and not go by whether this one or that one was good to Jews, exceptional as it may be. For example, the icing for Dr. Toli on the Albanian Righteous cake: “What absolutely got to my nerves was reading an article about Jew-saving Muslim Albanians on the homepage of Hamas-CAIR.”

And therein lies the rub. Taken to the next level, while most Albanians are not jihadists, as Muslims they are vulnerable to recruitment (”Kosovo ranks eighth overall and first per capita among 22 Western states“). As opposed to Christian Serbs. So why buttress the more enemy-prone side against a comparatively problem-less ally of two world wars? Indeed, one development in the increasing number of Albanians joining Islamic State (as well as in Albanian would-be terrorists before them) is the tendency now to rail against Jews and Israel.

We supported the Albanian-Muslim side against the Serb-Christian side, as we had supported the Bosnian-Muslim side against the Serbs. Even in the Croatian war, we opted for the fascist Jew-killers of WWII. Meaning that in all three cases the West chose the Axis. In all three cases, the Jewish (albeit not Israeli) position was consistent with the prevailing, pro-Axis policy. And so we find ourselves today hearing Bosnian Muslims in Vienna shouting “Kill Kill the Jew!“; counting Albanians in ISIS; and witnessing the Simon Wiesenthal Center beseech Croatia to stop paying Nazis pensions as their clergy continue delivering masses for the Croatian fuehrer. (”It is hard to believe that in the center of the capital of a member of the European Union…hundreds of people gathered yesterday to commemorate the memory of one of Europe’s biggest mass murderers…It is also a badge of shame for the Catholic Church, which allowed such a ceremony to take place in the Basilica of the Heart of Christ….” — Efraim Zuroff. Indeed, there were just two recent years that Croatians skipped the Fuehrer Mass, or at least that we didn’t hear about it: December 2012, the eve of their EU entry the following July, and the bookend year of entry, December 2013. And yet the EU has deemed Croatia more suitable for membership than Serbia. In a way, one supposes it is.)

With such contemporary realities, one can certainly understand nostalgically turning to the past for its irrelevant comforts. But we must live in our time. And it was in our time that Albanians — including those from Albania this time — drove out the remaining Jews of Kosovo. Why did the Jews have to go? No one interrupts the Albanian self-back-patting to ask that uncomfortable question. Maybe it’s just impersonal ethnic supremacy — not aimed at Jews, who were merely collateral damage in 1990s Kosovo. Besides, it seemed to be mostly Serbian-speaking Jews who had to go, while 50-some Albanized Jews remain.

Maybe it’s just like Croatian soccer star Mario Mandzukic, who sometime after his fascist salute to Croatian fans seven months before EU entry (flanked by Albanian teammate Xherdan Shaqiri) got a Hebrew tattoo, as if saying that the seig heil is just part of the Croatian identity and need not be about Jew-killing, so don’t take it personally — and when Serbs do, it’s just Serbs not letting Croatians be Croatians. A message that’s as backwards as the Hebrew letters written from left to right. Naturally, not one among the Jewish media reporting on the internet stir this caused caught that this was the same player who last made international headlines when he did the Nazi salute.

It’s just soccer, after all, where Croatian fans can shout “Kill, kill the Serb!” to little notice, as well as “For the homeland, ready!”; and where Albanians can “harmlessly” fly a drone over a Belgrade stadium, toting a banner depicting a Greater Albania and two infamous Serb-haters, while the media go on to blame Serbs for the ensuing melee, even as Albanian politicians laud the “splendid little provocation” and the Albanian team return to a hero’s welcome.

They wanted an Albanian-run Kosovo, and they got it:

Parliamentary candidate shot dead in Kosovo (AP, June 15)

Kosovo police say a parliamentary candidate from Prime Minister Hashim Thaci’s ruling party was shot dead early Sunday as he walked out of a restaurant…Elvis Pista — a flamboyant politician recognizable for his spiked hair — was shot four times at close range shortly after midnight in the western town of Orahovac, his hometown. Authorities believe a handgun with a silencer was used.

Police did not discuss possible motives behind the attack but the slaying comes amid heightened tensions between political rivals after Kosovo’s June 8 parliamentary election. The final results were not in from Pista’s race but preliminary results showed him leading.

Thaci’s center-right party won the most votes last week but lacks a coalition partner to form a government. Rival parties have vowed not to govern with Thaci, citing widespread corruption and mismanagement.

In Orahovac, hundreds gathered Sunday to pay their respects.

Thaci, who called Pista “an associate and a friend,” condemned the killing and urged police to swiftly find who was responsible. Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga also condemned the shooting, saying it threatened the rule of law in Kosovo.

Past elections in Kosovo were often marred by irregularities and violence between rival groups but no incidents were reported in the June 8 poll, the second such vote since Kosovo seceded from Serbia in 2008.

Belgrade still rejects Kosovo’s independence.

How unreasonable.

Meanwhile, another associate of Thaci’s:


High-profile war crimes suspects escape Kosovo hospital
(Reuters, May 20)

Police in Kosovo launched a manhunt on Tuesday for three high-profile war crimes suspects who appeared to have fled a hospital where they were each being treated under guard while standing trial.

They include Sami Lushtaku, a close ally of Kosovo’s prime minister and former guerrilla commander, Hashim Thaci.

“The Kosovo Correctional Services have informed the presiding judge that they cannot locate three out of seven defendants in the so-called Drenica case,” said a spokesman for the European Union’s police and justice mission….He said all three had been due in court on Thursday.

Their escape will stir fresh suspicion about corruption in police ranks, in a country where former guerrillas enjoy hero status and often close ties to the political elite.

Some background on Lushtaku:

EU in Kosovo Indicts 15 for War Crimes (AP, Nov.8, 2013)

A European Union prosecutor on Friday indicted 15 former ethnic Albanian rebels suspected of torturing, mistreating and killing civilians detained in central Kosovo during the 1998-99 war against Serbia.

Many of those indicted are members of the governing Democratic Party of Kosovo of Prime Minister Hashim Thaci. He had led the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army, which fought a separatist war against Serbia… [Really? Not a war for human rights, but a separatist war? Are we admitting that these days?]

The indicted include Sami Lushtaku, now a mayor of the town of Srbica, and Sylejman Selimi, Kosovo’s ambassador to Albania, as well as one of Thaci’s bodyguards.

Lushtaku is suspected of executing a fellow ethnic Albanian by shooting him in the head….A protected witness told the prosecution that Lushtaku allegedly executed an ethnic Albanian because “the man had killed his cousin.”

“Sami Lushtaku put the pistol to the prisoner’s head behind his left ear and he shot him,” protected Witness D is quoted as having told the prosecution. “He fell to his knees and Sami shot him twice more in the head.”

Selimi, a former top military rebel commander, faces four charges of war crimes, including beating detainees with fists and wooden sticks, and being part of a group of rebels that pinched a detainee’s “genitals with an iron tool and subsequently dragged him on the floor with it,” according to the indictment.

Salustro also alleged that two other suspects, Sahit Jashari and Sabit Geci, allegedly used a chain saw to behead a Serbian policeman, Ivan Bulatovic, in June 1998…Bulatovic was kept in detention and frequently walked to a village square by Jashari for people to beat him in public, according to a witness described in the indictment as Witness C.

Sometime in June 1998, Geci “took the chain saw and beheaded Bulatovic with it. Then Geci made some deep cuts into Bulatovic’s chest, thigh and legs,” according to the witness testimony quoted in the indictment.

…EULEX works alongside Kosovo justice authorities, but the two have often clashed because the mission has targeted high-profile individuals and former rebels, some of whom are considered heroes by majority ethnic Albanians.

Albanian heroes.

War crime accused takes the oath in Kosovo (Xinhua News Agency, Jan. 4, 2014)

Newly elected mayor of the Municipality of Skenderaj/Srbica, Sami Lushtaku, was briefly taken from the Mitrovica detention center on Friday to his hometown to take the oath for third term in office.

Even in detention, Lushtaku was elected the mayor of the municipality on Nov. 3 elections with an overwhelmed support of 88 percent of the voters….Lushtaku returned to the detention center immediately after taking the oath…

The Cruelest Cleansings (Der Spiegel, Sept. 21, 2002, By Renate Flottau)

…Twenty-four Albanians were shot, among them 13 children, and their houses were burned down…

“Everyone in Kosovo knows but none dares to speak about it,” says the former prime minister of the exiled Kosovars and current chairman of the New Party for Kosovo, Bujar Bukoshi. “After the war the cruelest cleansings took place among the Albanians. Under the pretext that they were ‘Serbian collaborators’, the leaders of the KLA liquidated their political opponents; old blood feuds were settled, and Albanian civilians were executed by the Albanians themselves.”

The number of the victims is estimated to be more than a thousand. The perpetrators or instigators were usually former senior KLA leaders; after the war they were integrated nearly without exception into the KLA successor organization, the civilian Kosovo Protection Corps.

Also awaiting trial…are once legendary KLA commanders Sami Lushtak[u] and Rustem Mustafa (”Remi”). The latter is accused, along with three other KLA officers, of having raped Albanian women and killed at least five civilians in private prison camps during and after the war.

…Belgrade presented the chief prosecutor in The Hague with a disk with 27,000 pages on the alleged war crimes committed by the top KLA triumvirate [Thaci, Ceku, Haradinaj]… “We know a lot,” says UNMIK spokesman Lindmeier, “but our problem is witnesses. They have a gun pointed at their head. Many withdraw their original statements after threats by their former KLA fellow fighters”.

The heroic elite which ended up in jail is guarded by about twenty prison wardens from Germany flown in by plane to do the job. Albanian guards received death threats if they attempted to prevent escape attempts.

For many Albanians the imprisoned KLA leaders are still war heroes. Every Friday demonstrators lay flowers in front of the prison in Pristina. They accuse UNMIK of developing “Milosevic tendencies”. The chairman of the journalist federation, Milan Zeka, has even called on his colleagues to fight against the “police dictatorship” of UNMIK chief Michael Steiner. The German, they say, is insulting a whole generation of Albanians. […]

Kosovo’s Mafia: How the US and allies ignore allegations of organized crime at the highest levels of a new democracy (GlobalPost, March 27, 2011)

“There was interference by the U.S. mission [to Kosovo] preventing effective investigation and prosecution of senior Kosovo officials,” said a U.N. official….The official said that the senior Kosovo politicians were being investigated for being allegedly involved in organized crime, and that U.S. officials prevented searches of the suspects’ homes and in one case were involved with U.N. officials in preventing a sentence from being carried out. The U.N. official said that these phone calls were “well known” and deeply frustrated many of the international prosecutors who were working for the United Nations and wanted to prosecute these Kosovo officials.

On June 14, 2008, the most senior U.N. official in Kosovo, Joachim Ruecker, issued an executive decision suspending the prison term of a former KLA commander named Sami Lushtaku, who had been sentenced to a total of 11 months in prison…In his order, which GlobalPost has obtained, Ruecker notes that Lushtaku’s sentence would make him legally ineligible to be mayor and “such an outcome would be politically highly sensitive at this stage and contrary to the public interest.” It is unknown if American officials influenced Ruecker’s legal decision, but a former senior NATO official in Kosovo said that CIA officials in Kosovo had tried to prevent NATO soldiers from arresting Lushtaku prior to prosecution.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s what may have prompted it:

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

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

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

Luard Kullolli

Petition by

Luard Kullolli

clinton twp, MI

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

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

Sincerely,
[Your name]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, Canada.

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

The Albanian-Jewish Paradox

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pristina, Kosova, 28 April 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So much for that.

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

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

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

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

Pogrom of the Dead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Someone Please Fire the Incompetent Minister of Genocide

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


Balists murdering Serb civilians in the road, 1941.


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


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


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


Kosovar Albanian political leaders with German and Italian occupation officials.

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


Serbian gravestones destroyed…in Srbica in 1985.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And you thought Facebook was a dangerous place before.

APPEAL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Albanians, meanwhile, demonstrated the depth of their humanity:


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


And fans at a basketball match in Pristina.


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


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

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

Bosnian Radical Islamists Preparing to Join Syrian Rebels (Dalje.com (Croatia), June 26)

Nine armed and masked Bosnian radical Islamists have announced in a video message their departure for Syria to fight alongside the opponents of President Bashar al-Assad, Bosnian media said on Tuesday.

The video, posted on the LiveLeak video website, showed the nine men, who identified themselves as followers of the Bosnian Salafi order, singing and in the end chanting Allahu akbar, or God is great…

The FTV television network has said earlier that a group of 52 Bosnian fighters have gone to Syria since the outbreak of fighting there, 32 have returned in the meantime and two have been reportedly killed. According to security agencies, citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina travel to Syria using a well-established route through Turkey. The Bosnian authorities have not officially launched an investigation into organised departures of Bosnian Salafists to fight in Syria.

The Bosnian intelligence agency OSA has earlier warned that about 3,000 persons believed to be members of radical Islamic organisations live in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

******

A sort of follow-up to the related story of Syrian “rebels” learning from the “former” KLA that we put in charge of Kosovo — and put in touch with the Syrians. And so one supposes that to U.S. officialdom, the below developments are nothing alarming. Wonderful news, in fact. After all, we organized the Syrian-Albanian note-sharing on how to win an insurgency and have an unfree “liberated” country afterwards.

Comment from American Council for Kosovo director Jim Jatras, who circulated the item below:

“Albanian Islamists”?? What? There’s no such thing!

Shouldn’t that be, “Secular, Democratic, Pro-American Kosovo Albanians Paradoxically Join Jihadists in Syria”?

Funny how US support for political and military empowerment of secular, democratic, pro-American (etc., etc.) Muslims always seems to morph into more jihadists.

Albanian Islamists Join Syrian War

Ethnic Albanians are getting more and more involved in the Syrian war as they join Syrian Islamist groups, writes Mohammad al-Arnaout. (Al-Hayat, Apr. 29)

In recent months, the “Albanian world,” which consists of five contiguous states (Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro), has been increasingly interested in what is happening in Syria and the controversy over whether Albanians should go fight there.

This coincided with the growth of political Islam, which in the past few weeks expressed itself in an unprecedented way with the emergence of Kosovo’s first officially registered Islamist political party: the Islamic Movement to Unite (LISBA). [Didn’t see that coming!] It is headed by Arsim Krasniqi and supported by Sheikh Shaukat Krasniqi and a former Yugoslavian army officer, Fuad Ramiqi [who is al Qaeda-connected]. The latter made no secret of his goal to change Kosovo’s secular constitution in order to “defend the Islamic identity of Kosovo’s Albanians, who make up 95% of the population.”

[Digital Journal on March 6th reported that the party — Levizja Islamike Bashkohu — is actually “the first fundamentalist Islamist political party in the Balkans.” That is, the American-sponsored, “secular”, “nominally Muslim” Kosovo which we’re still feverishly trying to prop up as a fully-fledged state that is Muslim and pro-U.S., has the distinction — a decade-and-a-half after our “help” — of housing the region’s first official Islamist party. Digital Journal quoted a Weekly Standard article by Stephen “Suleyman” Schwartz — Muslim Kosovo’s biggest advocate and war proponent — now “warning” that “‘exponents of Saudi-financed Wahhabism and of the Muslim Brotherhood have penetrated the highest levels of the official Kosovo Islamic apparatus,’ though they are not readily welcomed by the secular population…Kosovans struggling in poverty have been paid (by Gulf-sponsored charities) to the wear the hijab or grow beards…” What was expected to happen after NATO handed Kosovo to ‘Kosovans’?]

There has long been behind-the-scenes talk that young Albanians, influenced by political Islam’s rise in Syria, are participating in the fighting there among the ranks of Islamist groups (Jabhat al-Nusra and others). [Hmm, young, Albanians. Surely they don’t see parallels in Syria to their own “no religious component” struggle in 1998-99 Kosovo?] When news emerged in November 2012 that the first Albanian martyr, Naaman Damoli, had fallen in Syria, the Kosovar newspaper Koha Ditore brought that issue to light in its Nov. 12, 2012, issue.

Koha Ditore returned to that subject in its March 13, 2013, issue when 22-year-old Mohammed Koprona became the 10th Albanian martyr to die in Syria. The story’s headline was: “Syria’s land is soaking in Albanian blood.” According to unidentified “intelligence sources,” many martyrs in Syria are Albanians from Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia and Serbia (Preševo valley). But Koprona’s case was unique. During the “great exit,” he migrated with his family from Kosovo to Sweden, where he grew up in a liberal European atmosphere. [What might that great exit be? The 1999 exodus we helped the KLA stage, then relocated a bunch of them here and throughout Europe?] He suddenly fell under radical Islam’s influence [most unexpected!] and was recruited to fight with Islamist groups in Syria, where dozens of Albanians are fighting.

The intelligence sources mentioned some of the names of Albanians killed in Syria (such as Naaman Damoli from Kosovo and Moussa Ahmadi from Serbia). Others are known by their noms-de-guerre such as Abu Omar al-Albani, who was one of four Albanian martyrs. The intelligence sources also mentioned Mounir and Bahloul al-Arnaout, who were killed by the Syrian army in Qadam. The intelligence sources also revealed that the number of Albanians in Syria stands at about 140. They are fighting among the Islamist groups in northern Syria.

By publishing this information for the first time, Koha Ditore was sharply criticizing the Kosovar government led by Hashim Thaci for remaining silent as young Kosovars fight alongside Islamist groups in Syria and the effect that phenomenon has on Kosovo: These young people will return home with military experience inspired by the spirit of jihad.

[One wonders if this has anything to do with Thaci’s ‘puzzling’ silence: “Kosovo’s foreign policy toward the Arab world has recently begun to emphasize Kosovo’s Islamic character, as a means to gain support and improve bilateral relations.” After all, one needs a back-up plan, and counterweight, to U.S.-E.U. sponsorship as those annoying Western demands about democracy and human rights become too oppressively civilizing, relatively speaking.]

On April 13, 2013, the newspaper Shekulli reported…that Kosovo security sources have put their finger on two Kosovo mosques (Makovitz mosque in the outskirts of Pristina and Mitrovica mosque) that are gathering Albanians to go fight with the Islamists in Syria.

Because many local observers are accusing the new Islamist party LISBA of being involved in Syria, the paper spoke with LISBA’s leader Arsim Krasniqi, who had donated a plot of land to build the Makovitz mosque. Krasniqi denied that his party was recruiting fighters but admitted that “[fighters] are going [to Syria] on an individual basis, not as part of a group. … I support those who are participating in fighting Assad’s regime.”

There is no doubt that opening this file by Kosovar and Albanian newspapers has revealed that the secular world is worried about this phenomenon. In other words, political Islam worries “official” Islam. The latter is represented by al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya, which represents the Muslims vis-a-vis the state and cares for their religious and cultural affairs. In this context, the position of al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya, which is headed by Sheikh Naim Tarnafa, calls during its Friday sermons to donate money for the Syrian refugees in Turkey and elsewhere.

If the last paragraph above has it right, then the “official” Islam — headed by Naim Tarnafa (or Ternava) — is worried about political Islam. Yet we know Ternava is an ‘Islamist’ himself. Even The Weakly Standard’s Balkans expert Stephen “Suleyman Ahmad” Schwartz says so. As if he’d been sounding the warning bell all along rather than threatening reporters’ careers if they asked about jihadism in Kosovo or Bosnia, here was an article by him last year (opening, of course, with the ‘indisputable’ premise that’s meant to keep you on the pro-Albanian, anti-Slav program):

Kosovo Continues Fight Against Wahhabi Infiltration (Weakly Standard, March 19, 2012)

The great majority of Kosovar Albanians take pride in their reputation as the most pro-American Muslims in the world. Their Sunni Islam is conventional and moderate, and spiritual Sufism is a powerful force among the believers. Since 2009, however, a serious effort has been visible in the Balkan republic to turn Kosovar Islam in the direction of Wahhabism [2009? Try 1999.]….

Kosovo defines itself constitutionally as a secular state, and female students are forbidden to wear headscarves in public schools, [yes and no; see this article by Asifa Akar] with religious instruction barred from state-subsidized primary and secondary education. But anti-extremist imams and professors of Islamic theology have been physically attacked and fired from Islamic teaching at the university level.

On March 8, Kosovo saw a new front open against radical Islam, in the beautiful region of Kacanik near the Macedonian border. The town of Kacanik has special resonance for Kosovars. In 1990, Kosovo Albanians met there to adopt a constitution proclaiming their independence from a collapsing Yugoslavia. The document was memorable for bearing the Statue of Liberty on its printed cover. [Keep laying it on thick. Don’t forget to mention all the American flags everywhere or the Clinton statue, the Bob Dole Street or Hillary Square]…

That day Sabri Bajgora, a former religious instructor who had been named chief imam of Kosovo – a new position in the Muslim institutions of the republic – claimed he was attacked on the street in the capital, Pristina, by Musli Verbani, who had been removed as imam of the Kacanik mosque. Bajgora is viewed widely as a lackey of Naim Ternava, the Wahhabi head of the Kosovo Islamic Community since 2003. Ternava had invented the job of chief imam, which did not exist in the established regulations of the Islamic structure, to accommodate Bajgora.

In Kacanik the next day, a crowd demonstrated at the local office of the Islamic community, protesting against the suspension of Verbani from the Gazi Sinan Pasha mosque…Six days later, prayer in the Gazi Sinan Pasha mosque was interrupted when members of the congregation proclaimed their opposition to the ouster of imam Verbani…Two Wahhabi interlopers were arrested at the mosque, according to Kosovo police regional chief Jaser Jaha.

The Kosovars are victims of Islamist intrigue, [victims again! — as “Kosovars” can only be — but never victims of their own alliances] but are fighting back. A handful have succumbed to divisive propaganda, including Arid Uka, the convicted murderer of two American servicemen in Germany last year. Kosovars point out that those susceptible to terrorist delusions are typically loners, separated from their ethnic roots, or opportunists, like Fuad Ramiqi, a Kosovar who had served in the Yugoslav army, and was involved in the 2010 Islamist attempt to break the Israeli naval blockade at Gaza. [Here he’s inserted a disclaimer by mentioning some of the unwelcome news about Albanian terror or anti-Israelism.] But in their homeland, Kosovar Muslims continue to demonstrate their friendship for America and their commitment to an Islam without radicalism.

Schwartz goes the extra mile, quoting Albanians from the comments section:

Their attitude was, as previously during these confrontations, stated in eloquent terms by notes in the online comment sections of the Kosovo daily newspapers. [Though not as eloquent as the typical Albanian comments section calling for death to Serbs.] An individual signing as “Sadriu” wrote in the lively daily Express that the believers in Kacanik were not to blame [never!], but that the problems were caused by imams contaminated by “Arab-Turkish-Taliban culture” and forgetful of Albanian traditions. In the Kosovo newspaper of record, Koha Ditore (Daily Times), reader Rita Lumi addressed the Wahhabis as follows: “Go to the Arab world, because there is your proper place.”

The case was put most directly by readers of the sensationalist daily Bota Sot (World Today). A post by an anonymous Kosovar declared, “Musli Verbani, the imam of Kaçanik, with a master’s degree in law, was a freedom fighter [a.k.a. Serb-killer]. . . . But the officials of the Islamic Community prefer someone who is uneducated…Let the local community side with the educated imam.”

In the same site, “Danir” wrote, “Well done, imam Verbani, for being educated to a standard far above the others. Well done, for being among the first to join the war for our freedom. [No connections made between that war, and the one Albanians are now finding themselves in with radical Islam. This “freedom-fighter” is also befuddled by the Islamic phenomenon taking over.] You deserve to be a leader, unlike Bajgora and Ternava – where were they when war was raging?” [Obviously preparing for the logical conclusion of your war, Dingbat.] Other readers denounced the Wahhabi religious functionaries as corrupt and dishonest. The fight for the soul of Islam in Kosovo will continue, it seems, with great potential for positive results.

And great potential for negative ones, which Suleyman Schwartz apparently hadn’t seen coming while pushing for yet another war against Christians on behalf of Muslims in 1999. (No one misses the obvious like an expert.) Laughably, since 2006 he’s been sending up grave warnings about all this — after making it a reality. For example, here was Schwartz on Ternava the previous year: Kosovo Islam in Crisis (June 22, 2011)

… [S]ince the end of the main conflict in 1999, the country has been targeted by extremist Muslim preachers and flooded with fundamentalist literature. [How about that!] …[T]he chief Islamic cleric since 2003, Naim Ternava, has drawn considerable criticism for his encouragement of a new offensive among local Muslims in favor of Saudi-financed Wahhabism and similar incendiary doctrines. Wahhabis and other radicals, including Pakistanis, have entered these territories, bent on drawing the Albanian Muslims toward Islamist militancy. Dissatisfaction with Naim Ternava’s indulgence toward fanaticism and prejudice is a recurrent theme among Kosovar Muslims…Ternava purged the Faculty of Islamic Studies in Prishtina…replacing them with radicals. […]

That was soon followed by this one:

Moderate Clerics Purged from Kosovo Muslim Leadership (Oct. 5, 2011)

Kosovo’s top Islamic cleric, Naim Ternava, last month purged the two most outspoken anti-radical preachers from the local Sunni religious apparatus….Musliu was brutally attacked in 2009 by a gang of fundamentalist Wahhabis….[T]he conflict between a minority of radical sympathizers in the Kosovo Islamic leadership and the moderate majority of Kosovar Muslims has widened….

Next, contentious Muslim demonstrations began unexpectedly [unexpectedly?] in Kosovo, summoned by a movement called “Join!” to hold prayer sessions in public. Its leader, Fuad Ramiqi, had been involved in last year’s attempt by an Islamist flotilla to break the Israeli naval blockade at Gaza, and is associated with the Qatar-based fundamentalist cleric Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, as well as Al-Qaradawi’s academic partner, Tariq Ramadan.

“Join!” demanded the erection of a “mega-mosque” in Pristina, a city that already possesses 22 mosques. Albanian Catholics have also been the object of hate speech by a proud Wahhabi exponent, Imam Shefqet Krasniqi. …

The main effect of the contretemps has been the open description of Ternava as an “extremist” in Kosovo media. The online comment section of Express included a post signed by “Uqalija,” from rural Kosovo, warning that Ternava, the anti-Christian preacher Shefqet Krasniqi, and Ramiqi all have radical ties, and calling on the Kosovo authorities to “isolate and punish these terrorists. Tomorrow, when Kosovo is Pakistanized, it will be too late.” A writer from Pristina, identified as “Flamuri” …declared succinctly, “Once, Serbia was the enemy of the Kosovar Albanians. Now the enemy of all Albanians is political Islam … down with political Islam.”

As if that wasn’t what Chris Deliso’s 2007 book The Coming Balkan Caliphate was all about. Schwartz is still working backwards to justify a backwards policy. Only now is he worried — after he got his war — that moderate Muslims are imperiled by extremism. When it was just Christians imperiled by the ‘moderate’ Muslims, he had us help those moderates imperil them. Which in turn imperiled the moderates. As Jatras put it in his February article “Crocodile Tears over ‘Kosovo Radical Islamists in New Political Offensive‘”: “[A]bout the only one writing in the American MSM about Islamic radicalism in Kosovo is one of the strongest voices in support of Balkan Muslims…for the precise purpose of defending the myth of the intervention – which opened the door to the very influences he pretends to decry.” Back to Schwartz:

…[M]any prominent Kosovar Albanian Muslims, who now decline to speak for attribution…have said for some time that radical Islam would be a worse threat to the Albanians than their Slavic adversaries…[Really? You think?]

Sudden forgetfulness about the Serbian campaign, backed by Putin’s Russia, against independent Kosovo, and increasing religious polarization among Albanians, is deeply alarming. [Oh no! Albanians are finding they care more about life, limb and actual freedom than about their ethnic supremacy or the Serbian “oppression” ploy they justified “liberation” with. So Schwartz can’t even keep his “Kosovars” on program.] Some Albanians claim Islamist aggression is backed by Serbs avid to divide the Albanians.

Wow, so he’s not even above quoting the staple Albanian conspiracy theory: anything bad that happens to Albanians can’t be a consequence of their own actions or choices, but must be happening because the Serbs are behind it. One wonders if he’s also respectfully quoted Kosovo officials calling Council of Europe rapporteur Dick Marty a Serbian spy.

So now, with Kosovo’s Islamic character changing, Schwartz has taken to portraying Kosovo as a “front line against radical Islam” (precisely what Serbian Kosovo had been historically, until we had the Albanians take over), while somehow still blaming the surrounding Slavs for “tempting” radicalism in Albanians:

Kosovo borders on Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia — all Slav countries….[U]nsympathetic neighbors offer tempting opportunities for disruptive agitation in the name of fanatical Islam. This may explain why Kosovo has become, more than a decade after the NATO campaign against Belgrade, the leading Balkan battleground between traditional, local Muslim habits and the doctrines of radical Islamist interlopers…Still, Kosovo has achieved an unfortunate distinction: Early in February, its most prominent radical Islamist adherents announced the formation of the first fundamentalist Muslim political party in the Balkans, the “Islamic Movement to Unite,” or LISBA, its Albanian-language acronym…Known more generally as “Bashkohu!” or “Join!” […]

The Weakly Standard’s Balkan “expert” sounded yet another warning just last week, noting that the “pro-Wahhabi, Muslim-Brotherhood-affiliated” Ternava was a prominent participant in a Blair Foundation event last month called “A Week of Tolerance and Reconciliation.” Schwartz was good enough to notice that the week of “kumbaya” didn’t mention that which truly worries the locals now that they’ve made their bed: “the infiltration of radicalism into the highest level of the Kosovo Islamic apparatus.” He also mentioned that Ternava had just “applied for status as a veteran of the KLA, although he did not fire a shot in the 1998-99 Kosovo combat.” One supposes that means Schwartz sees Ternava as unworthy of KLA veteran status, but goes on to explain that both Ternava and his assistant Bajgora base the claim to veteran status “on their work organizing food and sanitary assistance for refugees. Ternava declared that he reported, during the war, to former KLA general staff chief Sylejman Selimi, currently Kosovo ambassador to Albania, and another former KLA commander, Sami Lushtaku, mayor of the city of Skenderaj. On June 1, the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) reported the arrest of Selimi, Lushtaku, and five more former KLA members for alleged war crimes.”

Presumably, Schwartz is pointing this out to say that Ternava and Bajgora are implicating themselves via the bad company they reported to. But one puzzles at this, given that Selimi and Lushtaku et. al. were representative of Schwartz’s much trumpeted KLA. A criminal outfit waging war will, by definition, commit war crimes. And the KLA was certainly defined by them. And so, without skipping a beat, Schwartz ends by shifting the subject back to the usual object of his loathing — Slavs:

Another local concern involves the undiluted dedication of Serbian Orthodox clerics to the claim that Kosovo is part of Serbia. Kosovo has attempted to reach an agreement with Serbia on its northern border….Yet as the conference in Pec came to a hospitable end, Kosovars learned that their president, Atifete Jahjaga, had been excluded from a regional meeting of heads of state in Ohrid, Macedonia….Kosovo’s attempts at good-faith negotiations with its Slavic neighbors seem doomed….

Ah yes, those good-faith negotiations whose results were predetermined by a decade of Albanian threats of war if the one and only permissible outcome wasn’t handed over on a silver platter — all reinforced by Kosovo’s Washington patrons.

There were two further items this month about the Albanians-in-Syria phenomenon, one of them including Bosnian Muslims, Schwartz’s other proteges:

Balkan Militants Join Syria’s Rebel Cause (The Atlantic, June 10)

Several hundred Bosnian Muslims might have joined the fight against Assad’s regime.

NOVI PAZAR, Serbia — Eldar Kundakovic was fighting to free Syrian rebels from prison in May when he was killed by a hand grenade…Kundakovic came from Novi Pazar in Serbia’s mainly Bosniak Muslim region of Sandzak.

His death notice, posted on the Internet by Syrian rebels, calls attention to a growing trend: young Muslims from the Balkans are traveling to Syria to join the rebel cause.

The journey from the Balkans to the Middle East has been made by Muslims from Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Albania.

Kundakovic’s father said that he last spoke with his son by telephone when he crossed into Syria from Turkey in late March.

Esad Kundakovic says his son immediately joined a rebel unit with about 30 fighters from Sandzak. [Sandzak being the next Balkan front that Washington has its eye on as a stick against Belgrade, which has been appeasing the Muslim parallel state there to avoid the constantly threatened “internationalization” of the problem.]

Bosnia-Herzegovina has the strongest Salafist presence in the Balkans due to aid and investments by Saudi Arabians who are members of the fundamentalist sect.

Tellingly, many Bosnian fighters in Syria have joined Al-Nusra Front.

Relatives of those Bosnians claim that Nusret Imamovic, the leader of the predominantly Salafist Bosnian village of Gornja Maoca, was their recruiter. Imamovic refuses to be interviewed about the allegations.

Salafists established themselves in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the 1992-1995 Balkan conflict [How about that!] when foreign jihadists arrived to help Bosnian Muslims fight against Serb and Bosnian-Serb forces.

Some foreign Salafist fighters stayed in Bosnia after the war. Financial support for reconstruction also poured in from Saudi Arabian Salafists, strengthening their Balkan foothold.

What?! There’s an Islamic foothold in the Balkans?

Here was the second item this month, and notice that “jihad” appears in quotes. That’s intended to tell us — as the media and politicians told us re Kosovo and Bosnia — that just because the jihadists are plainly telling us what this is, doesn’t mean we can’t keep lying to ourselves about it.

Kosovo Muslim Embraces ‘Jihad’ in Syrian War (Balkan Insight, June 13)

A Kosovar who has fought twice in Syria’s civil war, says belief in Islamic holy war has drawn him and many other Albanians into the Middle Eastern cauldron.

S.T., a two-time veteran of the sectarian war raging in Syria, says it is not hard to get from Pristina in Kosovo to the heart of the fighting in the Middle East’s latest war.

All you need is a plane ticket to Turkey, which does not require visas from Kosovars, the 30-year-old ex-schoolteacher says.

There, volunteers cross over the porous Turkish border and join the opposition….The former English teacher in a primary school in southeast Kosovo now sports a long Islamic beard.

Sitting in a café and drinking a macchiato, he takes no notice of the Kosovo police officers sitting nearby.

“Everyone here knows that I was fighting in Syria,” says S.T. who wants to keep his identity secret from the media.

ST says he fought in the northern city of Aleppo and in Sakhur, which, according to him, is known for its brave fighters.

“It’s like our Drenica,” he said, referring to the area of central Kosovo that spawned many rebels in the past.

[Gee, that couldn’t be referring to the ’secular’ separatist ‘freedom-fighters’ known as the KLA, could it? Drenica, the birthplace of Kosovo prime minister Thaci’s now international criminal outfit.]

He says he carried a Kalashnikov into battle and fought in the front line. “…I always fought in the front line,” he maintained.

He says his reasons for joining the war were wholly religious. “I went to war because of jihad, the doctrine of holy war according to Islam, not for material reasons,” he added.

S.T. says the mosques of Istanbul act as meeting places for volunteer fighters heading towards the war zone.

In Syria, he says that he communicated in a mixture of English and Arabic.

S.T is far from the only Kosovar fighting in the Middle East.

Vedat Xhymshiti, a Kosovar journalist who reported from Syria for several weeks, c[a]me across many other Albanians who were fighting a jihad.

“In general, all the Albanians I met had joined the war for the same reason; jihad, holy war,” he said.

Xhymshiti says he came across 100 to 150 other Albanians fighters in Syria.

At a press conference on 17 May, leaders of Kosovo’s main Islamist party, the Islamic Unification Movement, LISBA, called on the government to help the Syrian opposition, even if only symbolically.

At the same time, LISBA denied organizing volunteers for the Syrian war.

“We do not know the exact number of Albanians from Kosovo, or other Albanian areas, fighting in Syria, as we do not organize or sponsor them,” the leader of LISBA, Fuad Ramiqi, said.

The movement, which was established as a political party in March, has protested several times so far, demanding more rights for the Islamic community, which they say is discriminated against.

Abit Hoxha, from the Centre for Security Studies in Kosovo, said…there are two incentives for people to join the war in Syria. The first is religious faith and the second is the social status these people hope to acquire once they return home. […]

In closing, a gem of a blog piece by Jim Bovard:

Butcher of Belgrade Offers Tips for Syria (JimBovard.com, June 18)

The New York Times op-ed page has a piece by retired General Wesley Clark headlined: “To Get a Truce, Be Ready to Escalate.” The Times summarizes Clark’s wisdom: “The threat of force might get talks over Syria moving, as it did in Kosovo.”

Clark opines as if the military campaign which he headed was a stellar moral and strategic success…It is stunning that anyone [would] showcase Clark as a wise man – considering the fiasco that he unleashed in the Balkans. For instance, NATO repeatedly dropped cluster bombs into marketplaces, hospitals, and other civilian areas…

NATO worked overtime to explain away its “mistakes.” On April 12, [1999] a NATO pilot sent a missile into a passenger train on a railway bridge, killing 14 people. Clark took to the press podium to show the video from the nose of the missile, emphasizing that the pilot was focused on the bridge, “when all of a sudden, at the very last instant, with less than a second to go, he caught a flash of movement that came into a screen and it was the train coming in. Unfortunately, he couldn’t dump the bomb at that point…” The video was endlessly replayed on Western television stations, driving home the point that, with the speed of modern missiles, there was sometimes nothing pilots could do to avoid catastrophe.

However, in January 2000, the Frankfurter Rundschau revealed that the video was shown at the NATO press conference at triple the actual speed, thus making the attack on civilians look far more inevitable than it actually was. NATO officials had become aware of the deceptive nature of the video several months earlier but saw “no reason” to publicly admit the error, according to a U.S. Air Force spokesman.

On April 14, 1999, NATO bombs repeatedly hit a column of ethnic Albanian refugees a few miles from the Albanian border, killing 75 people. NATO spokesmen initially claimed that Serbian planes carried out the attack and used the incident to further inflame anti-Serbian opinion. Five days later, NATO spokesmen admitted that the deaths had been caused by NATO forces. NATO then released the audio tape from the debriefing of a pilot identified as involved in the attack.

As Newsday reported, “According to officials, the American pilot was selected because he gave a graphic account of Milosevic’s forces torching a series of ethnic Albanian villages near the Kosovo town of Dakojvica Wednesday. The pilot told how he selected a three-truck military convoy for a laser-guided bomb strike when he saw it pulling away from a village where fires were just starting.”

However, this gambit backfired when high-ranking military officers protested that NATO, at Clark’s urging, had released the tape of a pilot who had nothing to do with bombing the refugee column. The pilot’s words were a red herring to distract attention from the carnage inflicted on the refugees.

The main achievement of the war was that, instead of Serbs terrorizing ethnic Albanians, ethnic Albanians terrorized Serbs [as they had done all along]; instead of refugees fleeing south and west, refugees headed north.

Unfortunately, few Americans paid close enough attention to the Kosovo war to recognize the danger of permitting the U.S. government and military commanders to go crusading with bombs dropped from 15,000 feet.

Thus, Clark is treated with respect when he recommends unleashing the same recipe for carnage in Syria.

And, also thus, we get the same sort of editorial from The Washington Post this week: “Kosovo Offers United States a Roadmap for Syria” (June 20)

One certainly wonders why it took The Post over a year to catch up to Wall St. Journal idiocy (A Kosovo Model for Syria: Bill Clinton stood up to Milosevic. Barack Obama can confront Assad.); and to Financial Times idiocy (Kosovo shows how the west can intervene in Syria); and five months to catch up to Christian Science Monitor idiocy (To deter extremists in Syria, Obama must heed lessons of Kosovo intervention, by Andrew Burt); and nine months to catch up to National Post idiocy (Learning lessons about Syria from our experience in Kosovo and Libya, by Art Eggleton).

As Jatras closed his article: “Meanwhile, the band plays on, with al-Qaida and Albanian Mafia-linked weapons shipments from Bosnia and Kosovo going to jihadists…in Syria (DebkaFile — “…The Muslim factions of the Syrian revolt have received their first heavy weapons consignments, mostly Kornet and Fagot anti-tank missiles. Their improved armaments account for the new edge they display in battles with Bashar Assad’s army….These arms are coming from two sources: radical Islamist organizations in Bosnia and Kosovo, some of them associated with al Qaeda – at least ideologically. It is hard to say who is organizing and bankrolling the new weapons sea route to Syria. According to one theory, it is the Albanian mafia. For the first time, Syrian rebels are taking in arms unsupervised by any of the Western or Arab agencies involved in the Syrian revolt. Most of the incoming weapons are destined for the Islamist Jabhat al-Nusra, the rebel faction identified with al Qaeda. The Jabhat al-Nusra, newly armed with hardware from Bosnia and Kosovo, have pushed across the border into Lebanon, our sources reveal, and are harassing Hizballah in its home bases in the Beqaa Valley…Both are designated terrorist groups by the United States government.”)

As usual I’m about a month late, but in the first week of April someone at an outfit called The Washington Free Beacon actually noticed Washington’s love of war criminals, mobsters, terrorists and organ-traffickers. Despite the fact that the terrorized, trafficked, and lynched people were mere Serbs.

A writer there named Adam Kredo wrote the article below, and The Washington Times blog actually picked up the link, as did Matt Drudge. Perhaps this owes to election year partisanship, but one is grateful even for that small favor, since the Democrats’ terrorist war should have been seized on by Republicans in Election 2000 (the year the fiction leading to the war was exposed); Election 2004 (the year our Kosovo project exploded and NATO peacekeepers were killed); and Election 2008 (when our Dem-driven pro-jihad policy there culminated in “inevitable” Bush-supported state recognition). As American Council for Kosovo director Jim Jatras wrote in an email responding to the circulated item below: “When it comes to tempting targets, you’d think the Romney folks would be interested in this. GOP grassroots would love it! But then it would expose the Bushies’ and neocons’ identical support for these same KLA criminals, Hashim ‘Snake’ Thaci foremost.”

Biden’s Buddy: Organ Trafficker
Biden to welcome accused trafficker of human organs to White House


[Caption flashback: “Now if I had a head of hair like THAT!” “Joe, I can get you a transplant!” “Of a head?” “That too.”]

Vice President Joe Biden is set to welcome to the White House a man who is currently under investigation for trafficking human organs on behalf of a “mafia-like” crime ring.

Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci is schedule to meet with Biden this Thursday at the White House, according to the vice president’s public schedule.

Thaci is accused by the Council of Europe of being one of the central players in a crime syndicate that smuggled guns, drugs, and human organs in run-up to the 1998 Kosovo war.

The Guardian newspaper outlined the case against Thaci in a 2010 article:

“Hashim Thaçi is identified as the boss of a network that began operating criminal rackets in the runup to the 1998-99 Kosovo war, and has held powerful sway over the country’s government since.

“The report of the two-year inquiry, which cites FBI and other intelligence sources, has been obtained by the Guardian. It names Thaçi as having over the last decade exerted ‘violent control’ over the heroin trade. Figures from Thaçi’s inner circle are also accused of taking captives across the border into Albania after the war, where a number of Serbs are said to have been murdered for their kidneys, which were sold on the black market.”

“This is striking — even for Joe Biden,” said one GOP operative. “Talk about being out of touch. And can you imagine if the president does a drop-in on the meeting?”

The European Court of Human Rights named Thaci as the head of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), a “mafia-like” militant [group] that is said to have trafficked in human organs and committed routine assassinations and beatings.

Biden — who has not shied away from public meetings with Thaci — met with the leader in 2010 “as part of the Administration’s frequent consultations with our European partners on our shared agenda,” according to a White House press release.

Actually, it didn’t take the human rights court to “name Thaci as” its head. He was the KLA capo whom the Clinton administration dealt with officially. And the nature of the KLA was being reported by The Washington Times in 1999.

Meanwhile, one has to express some puzzlement over the unnamed GOP operative’s appropriate denunciation of Biden, since it was at least as “striking” when Bush — not a vice president — met with Thaci in August 2008. Talk about being out of touch, GOP.

Or are friendly meetings with terrorists and criminals only noticed in election years?

Come to think of it, 2008 was an election year. And this woman’s husband was the GOP candidate:

About the Soros-funded John McCain, thankfully in 2008 we did have World Net Daily noticing “Group Tied to al-Qaida Backs McCain for Prez” (with honorable mention to the Stop Islamic Conquest blog for “McCain’s Ties to Islamic Terrorists — and Heroin Traffickers” ; to Serbianna for “John McCain Armed Kosovo Islamic Terrorists” ; and to Accuracy in Media for “McCain Supports Radical Muslims in Kosovo” ).

It would have been a great talking point for the 2008 Obama campaign, except it would de-legitimize the “model war” which Democrats tout in “contrast” to Iraq. Similarly, the 2000 Bush campaign could have, but didn’t, seize on the lie-driven Kosovo war that was spreading that year, despite Bush’s opponent being vice president of it; and again in 2004 the Bush campaign didn’t seize on the Democratic Convention having John Kerry pal Hashim Thaci as an invited guest.

Also apparently missed by the GOP operative is that McCain’s top fundraiser — as well as the GOP candidate in the 2010 New York Senate race — was terror financier and father of an American Idol judge, Joseph DioGuardi.

I also note the irony of a Washington Times blog cross-posting the Free Beacon item, given that despite The Times‘ 1999 research into, and objections to, the KLA — and despite my 1400-word effort in 2010, at their request, to inform the public about the real Kosovo — the paper closed 2011 by printing a standard pro-Kosovo whitewash praising the province’s “president” Atifete Jahjaga after her propaganda tour on which the Washington Times editorial board was a scheduled stop. (Not that this is the first time they decided to balance truth and propaganda on the Kosovo front, an interesting equilibrium indeed, and unique to Balkans coverage.) Yet Jahjaga represents the government of the very gangsters and ghouls that the Times-linked Beacon piece balks at.

It was so outside the norm to see any objections in the U.S. — even in supposedly “alternative” media — to American officials’ close relationship with proud monsters, that Serbian news agency Tanjug was compelled to cover the coverage, quoting most of the Washington Free Beacon piece:

Biden criticized for announced meeting with Taci (April 3)

Washington Free Beacon expressed criticism of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden for his decision to meet with Kosovo Prime Minister Hasim Taci…Taci has arrived in Washington, and according to Pristina press, he is now expecting to be received by U.S. President Barack Obama, though there is still no confirmation that the meeting will take place. [It did not. Which is more than can be said of his predecessors.]

Unused to Washington’s friendship with terrorists, mobsters and traffickers not going unnoticed, during his meeting with Thaci Biden felt he had to express some disapproval over the past year’s worth of attacks on churches and monasteries by Thaci’s stable, democratic, law-abiding, EU-ready populace. (Damage control requires some condemnation of Serb-killing while hosting a Serb-killer at the White House.)

Thaci also met with Madeleine Albright, Ban Ki Moon, and gave a press conference with Hillary Clinton; meanwhile, Serbian president Boris Tadic — who was to be in Washington at the same time — canceled.

Washington-based analyst Obrad Kesić explained rather generously, “The American administration has decided that, at least for the time being, Hashim Thaci despite all his shortcomings represents the best solution for them….” And the most apt summary of the situation unsurprisingly came from David Yeagley, of the Bad Eagle blog, with a caption under the above picture reading, “…Kosovo mobster Hashim Thaçi, head of the newly US-created crime center in Eastern Europe. Kosovo was literally robbed from Serbia under Bill Clinton’s Administration.”

White House Celebrates Crimes Against Serbia (April 2)

In an endless stream of national denigrations, the Democrat administration has now invited Kosovo’s Albanian Muslim mobster Hashim Thaçi to the White House. Vice-President Joe Biden has met with thug Thaçi before (2010). This is a continuation of America’s greatest crime of the 20th Century: the international theft of Kosovo from Serbia, and the creation of a new, East European Muslim state and haven for every species of international crime known to man. Bill Clinton started it, George Bush celebrated it, and [Obama] continues it.

…[The KLA is] a violent para-military group known for trafficking humans, human organs, weapons, drugs; for committing routine assassinations, extortion, and brutal beatings…Hashim Thaçi has a long history of antagonism against Serbia. He became Prime Minister of Kosovo in 2007, and vowed to make Kosovo independent from Serbia then [as well as a decade earlier, actually]…This is the kind of man celebrated by the White House. This is a hero in the eyes of our national government.

The American liberal news is all well-aware of the criminal process in Kosovo. Thaçi has been watched carefully for some time. Even Pravad.ru congratulated the monster, just last year:

“Hashim Thaçi should be congratulated. He has managed to declare himself Prime Minister of a country which does not exist (and under international law, never will), after leading one of the most monstrous terrorist organizations to acts of barbarism and terrorism, torture and rape, kidnapping and murder. He is the example of a monster-turned-Prince, unethically fêted by members of the international community, despite having an arrest warrant issued against him for terrorist activities.

“Congratulations to Hashim Thaçi, former commander of the Albanian terrorist group Ushtia Çlirimtare ë Kosovës, or Kosovo Liberation Army, a group which he admitted perpetrated terrorist acts against civilians to create trouble for the Serbian authorities. As leader of the Partia Demokratike e Kosovës (Democratic Party of Kosovo), he now claims to be Prime Minister after this weekend’s legislative elections, the first since the self-proclaimed ‘independence’ of this Serbian Province. The problem is how can he be the Prime Minister of a country which does not exist according to all the norms of international law?”

Moscow has at least notions of concern about Serbia, a [Slavic] state, more than for a US-created Muslim criminal state in Eastern Europe.

BadEagle.com has said many times in the past, the mistake Serbia made was letting Muslim Albanians migrate into Serbia. The lesson of Kosovo is simple enough: enough foreigners move in, then they claim the territory. But, just how and why the United States decided to support such an international crime, a global theft, so obvious, so outrageous, is a mystery which is as yet unsolved.

(Well, I solved part of it with my do-as-Albanians-say-or-else article, and the other parts involve a) trying to win Islamic favor; b) Clinton needing a war to displace “Lewinsky” and “Broaddrick” from headlines; c) Kosovo fitting in with the longer-range goal of destroying the nation-state and having open borders and a one-world government; d) our encroaching into Russia’s neighborhood and having a practice run for the eventual break-up of that country, again using Muslims to help achieve it; and e) the nature of foreign policy being only forward-looking and never reevaluating: we’ve made a mistake, so let’s keep making it until we make it work for us. That’s precisely why neither Democrat nor Republican campaigns ever seize on the 800-pound Kosovo gorilla (and Romney won’t either): Cowing to Albanian blood blackmail even before it was that dangerous not to, both sides have decided there’s “no way out” of Kosovo, and have figured out how to mine it to their advantage. If both sides agreeing to agree doesn’t say that something is rotten in Denmark, nothing will.)

Heroine, arms, sex, whatever any organized crime has to offer, apparently Clinton approved of it, and the Bush administration covered for it, and [now] the White House openly celebrates.

The White House honors Hashim Thaçi. This is truly beyond the pale. This fantasy nationhood. There is no dignity, no pride, no honor, and no strength in the United States government. It cannot be. Not now. It is about power and money, in the hand[s] of a few players. Nations are only cards or chips in the game, tools in the trade. Nationhood is nothing to them. These elitist power mongers think themselves above nationhood, above humanity.

It is blasphemy.

In a footnote that’s even more twisted (if you can imagine), last Friday Thaci penned an
essay for Foreign Policy Magazine praising the Obama administration for establishing the Atrocities Prevention Board. Whatever Satanically-orchestrated events had to come together for the magazine to come up with a known murderer and torturer to be its author for this piece, it all inspires one to request an early check-out from this earth.

To my knowledge, only The American Conservative’s Daniel Larison mentioned it: “Leading Kosovo War Criminal Praises the Atrocities Prevention Board

Kosovo Prime Minister and former KLA leader Hashim Thaci has written a paean to the new Atrocities Prevention Board. This is both utterly hypocritical and disgraceful. Thaci is one of the men implicated in a 2010 report in human and drug trafficking and organ-harvesting during 1998 and 1999:

“…The report alleged that the ICTY, United Nations, NATO, and individual Western governments had failed to thoroughly investigate serious war crimes committed by the members of a KLA unit known as the Drenica Group during the 1998-1999 conflict with Serbia. According to Marty’s report, the unit had violently seized and operated the lucrative trading routes across the Prokletije mountain range on the Kosovo-Albania border. He alleges the group amassed considerable fortunes supplying weaponry to local forces — and trafficked in human beings, heroin, and organs taken from Serb and Albanian prisoners of war. Marty’s report identified the leader of Drenica Group as a man called “The Snake” — a.k.a. Hashim Thaqi, who two days earlier had been named prime minister re-elect of the Republic of Kosovo…”

The Atrocities Prevention Board may be mostly useless, or it may provide the means for increased military interventionism in the future, but it’s absurd to take seriously arguments for it from a war criminal. Indeed, the empowerment of Thaci and his associates since 1999 is a sobering reminder of [the atrocities that] can result from “humanitarian” military interventions carried out in the name of halting atrocities.

One can only imagine what additional atrocities we have in store for the Serbs this year, given that it’s an election year. As I’ve pointed out before, U.S. election years tend to be most violent in Kosovo. Election 2000: Roma- and Serb-killing spree; Election 2004: province-wide riots and fires to expel remaining Serbs; 2008: secession recognition leading to Serb protests violently disrupted by NATO troops. Especially if 2012 is set to be the end of supervised independence, then that means our final solution for the resisting Serbs — whose final stages were set in motion last July and erupted again in September-October — will occur very soon.

As we know, while the KLA was being formed and trained by Germany and British SAS in preparation for a U.S.-led attack on Yugoslavia for some reason, for years its Albanian founders and other associated criminals were living in Switzerland, from which they directed their international crime syndicate before we could set up their Kosovo headquarters.

And so every so often, Switzerland — which has intimate familiarity with the nature of empowered Albanians and therefore has expressed some buyer’s remorse over an independent Kosovo — comes up in Albanian-related news. Such as in the past two months:

Alleged Kosovo criminals have Swiss residency permits (Jan. 23)

A report says two Kosovo politicians closely linked to the government and who are accused of involvement in alleged organ trafficking have Swiss residency permits.

The SonntagsZeitung newspaper said the Swiss Federal Migration Office has confirmed that both Azem Syla and Kadri Veseli have C permits, which they are only entitled to if their main residences are in Switzerland.

In mid-December, Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty issued a report into criminal activities involving members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), many of whom are now in the Kosovo government.

Syla and Veseli held top posts in the KLA and the political party that succeeded it and forms the current government, the Democratic Party of Kosova.

Both men are suspected of involvement in trafficking in human organs and murder. The newspaper says the German secret service listed them in 2005 as important figures in organised crime in Kosovo.

The SonntagsZeitung added that neither Syla, who has been reelected to the Kosovo parliament, nor Veseli hide the fact that they live in Kosovo. […]

The upshot, from this month:

Court expels Kosovan politician (March 1)

A Swiss court has issued an expulsion order against a former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) who it said should never have received a residency permit.

Azem Syla, a Kosovan parliamentarian and former defence minister, was granted asylum in Switzerland in 1994 and received a C permit in 1999.

But the Administrative Court of Solothurn ruled that as defence minister Syla should never have left his country during a time of war. It ordered he leave Switzerland by May 15.

The court said Syla had violated a series of laws in Switzerland, including serious abuse of the social security system, according to the written judgment obtained by the Swiss News Agency.

Unable to work because of a physical condition, Syla received some SFr425,000 ($469,000) in social security payments between 2002 and 2011. The payments were stopped last year when authorities became aware of his position as a Kosovan parliamentarian.

Syla has also been accused of trafficking in human organs and murder during his time with the KLA. He is additionally accused of having ordered the execution of his rivals at the end of the war in 1999.

Now, if Syla’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he was featured in the 1999 article below by Chris Hedges in The New York Times — an article that emphasizes, as usual to no effect in policy, public outrage or media follow-up — this very execution that the Swiss media are understated-ly reminding us of.

I easily found the old article below in my files, because I’d tagged the subject line “Hedges: Thaci Executes his Rivals; KLA to be Modeled on the National Guard.”

Leaders of Kosovo Rebels Tied to Deadly Power Play
By CHRIS HEDGES, June 25, 1999

The senior commanders of the Kosovo Liberation Army, which signed a disarmament agreement with NATO, carried out assassinations, arrests and purges within their ranks to thwart potential rivals, say current and former commanders in the rebel army and some Western diplomats.

The campaign, in which as many as half a dozen top rebel commanders were shot dead, was directed by [now prime minister] Hashim Thaci and two of his lieutenants, Azem Syla and Xhavit Haliti, these officials said. Mr. Thaci denied through a spokesman that he had been responsible for any such killings.

Although the United States has long been wary of the Kosovo Liberation Army….after the war, the United States and other NATO powers have effectively made Mr. Thaci and the rebel force partners in rebuilding Kosovo. The agreement NATO signed with Mr. Thaci, for example, envisions turning the rebel group into a civilian police force and leaves open the possibility that the Kosovo Liberation Army could become a provisional army modeled on the United States National Guard.

[Done and done and done. Except the National Guard isn’t murderous to ethnic minorities as the KLA is. Unless it’s in Kosovo, of course, where it’s been modeling itself after the KLA.]

While none of the rebel officials interviewed saw Mr. Thaci or his aides execute anyone, they recounted — and in some cases said they had witnessed — incidents in which Mr. Thaci’s rivals had been killed shortly after he or one of his aides had threatened them with death.

Remembering the beginning of fighting more than a year ago, Rifat Haxhijaj, 30, a former lieutenant in the Yugoslav Army who left the rebel movement last September and now lives in Switzerland, said: ‘’When the war started, everyone wanted to be the chief. For the leadership this was never just a war against Serbs — it was also a struggle for power.'’

The charges of assassinations and purges were made in interviews with about a dozen former and current Kosovo Liberation Army officials, two of whom said they had witnessed executions of Mr. Thaci’s rivals; a former senior diplomat for the Albanian Government; a former police official in the Albanian Government who worked with the rebel group, and several Western diplomats.

The Western diplomat in the Balkans said, however, that Mr. Thaci’s ruthless tactics are legendary in the region.

‘’Thaci has a reputation for being pretty tough,'’ the diplomat continued. ‘’Haliti and Syla are not known for their sweet tempers. This is a rough neighborhood, and intimidation and assassinations happen.'’

Former and current rebel officials also charge that a campaign of assassinations was carried out in close cooperation with the Albanian Government, which often placed agents from the Albanian secret police at the disposal of the rebel commanders.

The Western diplomat in the Balkans said he knew of at least two Albanian secret police officers who were fighting with the guerrillas. ‘’The two officers are brigade or battalion commanders, and they’ve been in the field fighting,'’ the diplomat said. ‘’They’re volunteers from Albania.'’

Albania has long waged a campaign to unite with Kosovo, a Serbian province where Albanians are in the majority. Such unification was briefly achieved during Fascist occupation in World War II and was held out as a goal by radical groups financed and backed by Tirana in the later part of the century.

Indeed, the close relationship between Mr. Thaci and the Tirana Government, which has a reputation for corruption and has been linked by Western diplomats to drug trafficking, is one of the factors that disillusioned many former fighters who were interviewed in Germany, Switzerland and Albania. The fighters said they had fought to create a more Western, democratic state, free from Albanian influence and control.

Two former rebel leaders and a former Albanian police official, interviewed in Tirana, said that Mr. Haliti, who is officially Mr. Thaci’s ambassador to Albania, was working in Kosovo with 10 secret police agents from Albania to form an internal security network that would be used to silence dissenters in Kosovo.

Mr. Thaci, 30, has named a government, with himself as prime minister, and denounced Ibrahim Rugova, who for nearly a decade was the self-styled president of Kosovo and ran a successful campaign of nonviolent protest after the Serbs stripped Kosovo of its autonomy in 1989.

Mr. Thaci has long had ties to radical groups that called for the violent overthrow of the Government in Belgrade. He joined a clandestine organization known as the Kosovo Popular Movement that existed on the fringes of Pristina University.

The group was financed and backed by the Stalinist dictator of Albania, Enver Hoxha, until his death in 1985. Its members, including Mr. Syla, whom Mr. Thaci appointed his defense minister, and Mr. Haliti, have become the core of the leadership that dominates the Kosovo Liberation Army.

Violence has long swirled around Mr. Thaci, whose nom de guerre was Snake. In June 1997, in an incident that many in the underground guerrilla movement found ominous, a Kosovo Albanian reporter who had close links with the movement was found dead in his apartment in Tirana, his face disfigured by repeated stabbings with a screwdriver and the jagged edge of a broken bottle.

The reporter, Ali Uka, was supportive of the rebel movement, but also independent enough to criticize it. At the time of his death he was sharing his apartment with Mr. Thaci.

Mr. Thaci inspired fear and respect in his home base of the central Drenica region in Kosovo as he organized armed units and carried out ambushes against Serbian policemen…

There were persistent reports at the time that he personally carried out executions of Kosovo Albanians whom he had branded as traitors or collaborators, but no witnesses have surfaced.

Mr. Thaci was involved, along with Mr. Haliti, in arms smuggling from Switzerland in the years before the 1998 uprising, say current and former senior rebel commanders.

Mr. Thaci and Mr. Haliti both have wives and children in Switzerland, although Mr. Haliti has formed a new family in Tirana, where he has a large villa and close links with senior Government leaders, say former and current rebel officials in Albania.

When the uprising began, and money and volunteers flooded into Albania from the 700,000 Kosovo Albanians living in Europe, Mr. Thaci and Mr. Haliti found themselves in charge of thousands of fighters and tens of millions of dollars.

In April 1998, a rebel commander who transported many of the weapons, Ilir Konushevci, accused Mr. Haliti of profiting from arms transactions, according to commanders present at the heated meeting. A few days later, he was ambushed and killed on the road outside Tropoja in northern Albania.

The commander had charged that Mr. Haliti was buying boxes of grenades at $2 apiece and charging the movement $7 for each grenade. The killing, although it took place in a rebel-controlled region in northern Albania, was blamed on the Serbs.

Other killings of rebel commanders and political rivals ascribed to Mr. Thaci are attributed to a struggle to consolidate control and eliminate potential challengers.

‘’Cadavers have never been an obstacle to Thaci’s career,'’ said Bujar Bukoshi, the prime minister in exile in Mr. Rugova’s administration, which is often at odds with the rebel force. One Western diplomat, citing intelligence reports, said that Mr. Thaci planned the assassination attempt on Mr. Bukoshi last May. The plot failed. ‘’Thaci has a single goal and that is to promote himself, to be No. 1,'’ Mr. Bukoshi said.

As tensions rose, Mr. Thaci and the Albanian authorities decided to eliminate [Albanian ex-Yugoslav colonel Ahmet] Krasniqi, according to former rebel commanders and two former Albanian officials interviewed in Tirana.

They said that in the middle of September 1998, Albanian police stopped Mr. Krasniqi and several aides and confiscated their weapons. Mr. Krasniqi’s office in Tirana was raided by about 50 policemen and emptied of guns and munitions. On Sept. 21 at 11 P.M. on the way back from a restaurant in Tirana, Mr. Krasniqi ran into a police checkpoint about 300 yards from his office…When Mr. Krasniqi and his two companions got out of their gray Opal jeep they saw three men emerge from the shadows with black hoods over their faces. The men, speaking with an Albanian accent that distinguished them from Kosovo Albanians, ordered the two men with Mr. Krasniqi to get down on the ground.

‘’Which one is it?'’ asked one of the gunmen, according to one of the commanders who was prone on the asphalt.

‘’The one in the middle,'’ said another. The gunmen, who held a pistol a few inches from Mr. Krasniqi’s head, fired a shot. He then fired two more shots into Mr. Krasniqi’s head once he fell onto the pavement.

After Mr. Krasniqi’s death, former rebel commanders said, the killings, purges and arrests accelerated. Rebel police, dressed in distinctive black fatigues, threw into detention anyone who appeared hostile to Mr. Thaci. Many of these people were beaten.

One commander, Blerim Kuci, was taken away in October 1998 to a rebel army jail and hauled before a revolutionary court, rebel commanders said. He was held for weeks on charges that he collaborated with the Serbs , and then was suddenly released in the face of a large Serbian offensive and allowed to rejoin the fight.

‘’I saw an accused collaborator tried before a revolutionary court and then tied to the back of a car in Glodjane and dragged through the streets until he died,'’ said a former rebel officer in Albania. A senior State Department official and a Western diplomat in the Balkans confirmed this account.

As NATO bombs fell on Kosovo this April, two more outspoken commanders, Agim Ramadani, a captain in the former Yugoslav Army, and Sali Ceku, were killed, each in an alleged Serbian ambush. […]

Below is just another recent Swiss-Albanian item, for which I’d previously had an update because of the Albanian protests that ensued in Switzerland over the extradition:

Court rules Kosovar can be extradited (Dec. 2)

A Kosovar wanted for war crimes may be extradited to Serbia, the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona has ruled.

The man, a former member of the Kosovo Liberation Army, was detained last April at the request of Serbia which sent Switzerland a formal extradition request in March.

He is accused of committing war crimes against Serb civilians and Albanians in 1999, in Gnjilane, about 50 kilometres from the Kosovan capital, Pristina.

In a ruling published on Friday, the court said Belgrade’s extradition request fulfilled the necessary legal requirements for the man’s extradition.

The court rejected the contention that the extradition was politically motivated “on the grounds that there is no serious reason to consider that the prosecution by the Serbian authorities is motivated by a particular social group, his race, religion or nationality”. […]

Once again, I call attention to the persistent attempt to paint any and all Serbian investigation or prosecution of non-Serbs as “politically motivated.” And Switzerland, increasingly fed up with these Balkan antics, made the atypical move of treating a Serbian warrant or extradition request with the same weight it would another country’s. I also couldn’t help notice the increasingly freer use of words such as “criminal” with regard to Kosovo-Albanian politicians — at least when they’re on Swiss shores (as opposed to Serbia’s).

I’ve been meaning to do an update on Sami Osmakac, the Albanian would-be Tampa bomber. Of course, now we know that the name “Osmakac,” which caused me to question whether the offender was Albanian at all, is actually “Osmankaj,” as this caption makes clear: “A general view of the house where naturalized American citizen Sami Osmakac, 25, was born, in the Osmankaj family compound in the village of Lubizde, Kosovo.” As we learn in the article below, “U.S. officials are using a different spelling for his last name.” Hmm.

Alleged bomb plotter’s kin shocked

(Alternate headlines used: ‘No better kid around,’ relative says of terror suspect; and Relatives react with dismay as Kosovo-born man charged with plotting US attack)

The 25-year-old Kosovo-born American suspected of plotting an Islamist-inspired attack in Florida came from a “very good family” that moved from place to place in search of economic opportunity and respite from conflict in the former Yugoslavia, an aunt said Tuesday.

The allegations against her nephew, Sami Osmakac, have left her in shock and disbelief, the aunt told The Associated Press in an interview.

“It felt very strange to hear what he was being accused of,” Time Osmankaj said. “I don’t believe he did what they accuse him of doing. There was no better kid around here.”

Then that ain’t saying much for Albanian kids.

…U.S. officials are using a different spelling for his last name — Osmakac — than what his relatives use here in Kosovo.

(One wonders why U.S. officials are using a different spelling. Is it a coincidence that the latter sounds less Albanian and more Slavic? One is impressed, however, that the article actually discloses this information, thanks most likely to the reporter not realizing the potential significance.)

Osmakac’s aunt lives in a two-story house in a remote hillside in Kosovo’s southwest bordering Albania. She said her nephew’s family left the secluded hamlet of Lubizde in the early 1990s for Bosnia where Sami’s father ran a bakery…

The family was caught in the whirlwind of Yugoslavia’s violent breakup during the 1990’s. They moved initially to Germany and then to the United States…

A police official in Kosovo told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Osmakac was “known to Kosovo authorities” and that “security agents were aware of his whereabouts during his last visit in Kosovo.”

He declined to disclose other details, including whether authorities tracked Osmakac at the request of the United States…

Drumroll for this next, requisite, insert-stock-Albanian pro-Americanism paragraph:

Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians are predominantly Muslim, while a small minority is Roman Catholic. The population is a staunch supporter of the U.S. because of America’s lead role in NATO’s 1999 bombing of Serb forces that drove them out of Kosovo and ended a brutal crackdown on separatist ethnic Albanians.

Spoken like a true Albanian press release. (See from the 2007 Ft. Dix plot: “…as Albanians, we remain the most pro-American people in the world,” NAAC Executive Director Avni Mustafaj said in an official statement. )

But maybe, worded this way ( “…because of America’s lead role in NATO’s 1999 bombing of Serb forces”), the paragraph can help the journalists parroting it to notice they’re actually putting their finger on a very specific, non U.S.-centric, reason as to WHY someone likes us. Then they can ponder the question whether it’s a lasting reason for liking us.

FLASHBACK to the same, requisite Albanian shock-and-pro-Americanism paragraphs in Western news reports in the wake of the Ft. Dix arrests:

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

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…expressed disbelief Wednesday that the three would attack the United States.

In Pristina…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.

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?”

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…

And here’s a FLASHBACK to the 2009 North Carolina Eight arrests:

…Sherifi’s grandfather and his neighbors said they could not believe the 24 year old could have been plotting terrorism in the United States, a country that is loved in Kosovo for leading the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia that ended its rule in Kosovo.

“I do not believe he is one of them,” Baki Sherifi, the suspect’s grandfather, told AP Television News. “This is something unbelievable. We live in this neighborhood for centuries, and the whole family never expected such news. We are all shocked. What more can I say?,” the tearful 70 year old said outside his mosque in Gnjilane, 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of Pristina, Kosovo’s capital.

“Everybody in the neighborhood is shocked. We feel sorry for the family. We cannot believe that has happened,” said Hakim Rasimi, who lives near Baki Sherifi in Gnjilane.

(As I wrote at the time, they live in Gnjilane — where the Gnjilane Group gave “How to Kill Serbs” lessons and abducted elderly peasants to be pulled apart by cars and others had their nails pulled out — and these ones are “shocked” by their kin’s behavior elsewhere.)

Another FLASHBACK from 2009:

[Betim Kaziu] was charged with conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists…The allegations shocked Mr. Kaziu’s family in Brooklyn. “This is totally unlike him,” said a sister, Sihana Kaziu, who added that he was never violent and had a “big heart.” Ms. Kaziu said her brother, a Muslim, did not grow up particularly religious.

One of four siblings, he played football in high school before dropping out, she said. He later got his high school equivalency diploma and around age 18 became interested in the Koran and said he wanted to dedicate his life to God, a prospect that pleased his parents, she said. He told his family that he was going to Egypt to study Arabic, and kept in touch regularly by e-mail.

Now FLASHBACK to last year’s Frankfurt military killings:

…German police said [Arid Uka] 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.

[And this of course had nothing to do with Serb-Albanian “tensions.”]

…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.

And this:

…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.”

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

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.”

The president of the Albanian-American Democratic Club in New York, Alban Dega, wrote an open letter to Kosovo’s highest authorities…. “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….”

Maybe I missed it with the Tampa plot, but unlike in the previous cases, I didn’t see one of those standard shocked-and-outraged-isolated-incident press releases from the Albanian American Civic League or National Albanian American Council. Did their wrists get tired from the last six times they had to write it?

The Osmakac article continues:

Kosovo authorities say they work closely with U.S. officials in tracking down potential Islamic radicals but are puzzled as to what has led some individuals to target Americans.

As always. Albanians puzzled about Albanians. They were also puzzled in 2007:

Kosovo Shocked at Arrests of Albanian Terror Suspects: “Kosovo has been shocked by the arrest of four Islamic radicals of Albanian origin who were allegedly plotting to attack the US military base at Fort Dix, close to New Jersey…News of the arrests has caused something of a furore in Kosovo, with politicians and institutions strongly condemning the alleged plotters and offering to help the US government with their enquiries.”

Of course, Albanians are used to feigning shock over their own terrorism:

Kosovo officials arrested after huge weapons haul (December 2006)

PRISTINA, Serbia (Reuters) - Two officials of Kosovo’s governing coalition have been arrested after police found a minibus packed with heavy weapons and ammunition.

A police source said the haul included a 12.7 mm anti-aircraft gun and more than 100 rocket-propelled grenades.

Local media reports said the find, made late on Wednesday in the Drenica region of central Kosovo, was the largest in Kosovo since the 1998-99 war and the deployment of NATO peacekeepers.

Three men were arrested, including a senior adviser to the Kosovo labor minister and a member of the governing Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), which emerged from the guerrilla Kosovo Liberation Army.

The Kosovo government issued a statement expressing regret for what it said was an isolated case. The AAK, a junior member of the governing coalition, said it was “surprised” that two of its members were involved.

Don’t even try squaring all the shock and outrage with the fact that, elsewhere, Albanians protest the arrests of Albanian terrorists (and of course war criminals) — and recruit American politicians to free them. Then they act surprised when an Albanian is caught being a terrorist in America.

But back to the current Albanian-terrorist-against-America story. The opening item about Osmakac had the following closing paragraphs:

A 21-year-old ethnic Albanian from Kosovo, Arid Uka, is on trial in Germany for killing two and wounding two more U.S. airmen at the Frankfurt airport last year.

Another Kosovo-born man, Hysen Sherifi, faces up to 15 years in jail in the U.S. for allegedly being part of a group that raised money, stockpiled weapons and trained in preparation for jihadist attacks against American military targets and others they deemed enemies of Islam.

A FIRST. LET THE RECORD SHOW IT. As lacking as this standard report is, it’s the first mainstream news article to reference other specifically Albanian-related attacks or plots against Americans. Usually, you get just some scribble about the current episode and that’s it — no one puts any of it together. As perfunctory and incomplete as this list is, it’s a first. Maybe one day others will see that these particular Muslims (from the Balkans) are deserving of their own category, given that it’s blowback.

One must also add: Thanks to all the Albanian attackers and would-be attackers, I’m rather getting a kick out of Americans having to read obscure, hard-to-pronounce location names like Lubidze, Gnjilane, Mitrovica, Drenica, Pec and Urosevac/Ferizaj, considering they didn’t even remember hearing the word “Kosovo” after bombing it. Before we’re through, we’ll have learned Kosovo geography in detail, 13 years after we infiltrated it with jihadists, organized crime, and Saudi “charities.” It reminds me of a corollary situation: Like other Americans, I only started learning Israeli geography because of Muslim genocide bombings introducing the place names to us one by one as they were blown up.

Pamela Geller wrote on the Tampa/Osmakac matter last month:

And the U.S. still supports an independent Kosovo state, a militant Islamic state, in the heart of Europe. That is our policy. America refuses to own up to the terrible mistake we made in Europe — worse still, we continue to prosecute the Christian Serbs.

Media reports said that Osmakac, a devout Muslim, was “self-radicalized.” You have to wonder if Western dhimmis stay up nights thinking up new terms for jihad. Pathetic. Soon after his arrest, video emerged that showed how pious and violent Sami Osmakac really was, as he attacked and bloodied Christian street preachers. The pious Osmakac, who was completely the aggressor, then cried victim to the police, saying that he had been “insulted”…

The police, in what has become standard practice in dealing with Islamic supremacists, treated the perpetrator and the victim with equal contempt, actually charging the bloodied Christian with battery. This was in the same town, Tampa, that classified what was obviously an honor killing of a Muslim woman, Fatima Abdallah, as a “suicide.”

Even worse, after the terrorism arrest, Hassan Shibly, director of the Florida chapter of CAIR, cried “entrapment.” This is, of course, typical of jihadis, but what is really outrageous is that the FBI briefed Shibly prior to Osmakac’s arrest. Hamas-CAIR was briefed? Was Qaradawi briefed, too?

“The weapons and explosives were provided by the government. Was he just a troubled individual, or did he pose a real threat?” Shibly asked. Hey, Shibly, he was a devout Muslim. […]

The news item where Shibly said this went as follows:

Leaders in the local Muslim community urge caution, saying it is important for the courts to determine if Osmakac posed a real threat or was just a big talker entrapped by the FBI.

“Would there have been any real plot without the support and assistance of the FBI?” asked Hassan Shibly…who had been briefed by authorities before the arrest was announced.

Avni Osmakac told Bay News 9 that his brother is not a terrorist and wouldn’t have had money to put toward buying any such weapons…

So now Shibly is defending Osmakac, whom on the previous day this same CAIR professional had called “very disturbed” and “very angry” and encouraged area Muslims calling in about him to “contact the authorities as soon as possible.”

In answer to Shibly’s question — from another update:

“When a person’s got an AK-47 which he believes is operable, when he has explosives which he believes are real, and when he has an explosive pack and a car bomb which … he is going to utilize against Americans, that makes it a crime,” Robert O’Neill, U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Florida, told reporters. “Was it real? It was very real.”

Two law enforcement officials…said the suspect does not appear to have any ties to al Qaeda, and early information indicated he was “self-radicalized.”

“We arrested him when the attack was imminent,” O’Neill said. […]

Let’s pause a moment, however, on the brother’s denial, which is like being in the movie “Groundhog Day,” where we get the same thing over and over: an Albanian Muslim loner growing increasingly pious, eventually “shocking” his relatives by trying to kill Americans now instead of mere Serbs. FLASHBACK to 2007:

Eljvir Duka’s lawyer stood in U.S. District Court in Camden this morning and told the judge his client wanted a Koran.

All six of the [Ft. Dix] suspects are immigrants in their 20s. And by most accounts they had been typical teenagers. But at some point between high school and adulthood, the men became radicalized and adopted the violent and extreme philosophy of jihad, authorities said.

Some of their relatives differ, saying the men are victims of religious persecution.

Also:

“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,” [cousin Elez Duka] said, waving his hands. “I see injustice. These are ridiculous charges.”

His indignation captured the mood among 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.

…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.

Compare with today’s case: Friends: Fla. bomb plot suspect was radical, loner (AP, Jan. 15)

The Kosovo-born American citizen accused of plotting bomb attacks around Tampa was a loner who had grown increasingly radical in his Muslim faith and publicly railed against Jews and Christians in videos he posted on the Internet, according to relatives and friends.

Sami Osmakac’s life in the U.S. began about a dozen years ago, when he was 13 and his family immigrated to the U.S., according to a video he posted on YouTube. Those who know Osmakac said he mostly kept to himself as a high school student who loved rap music and rapped about bombs and killing in a song he made with a friend. As he grew older, they said, he grew increasingly confrontational: One Tampa-area activist said Osmakac physically threatened him, and Osmakac was jailed on charges that he head-butted a Christian preacher as the two argued over religion outside a Lady Gaga concert.

His family in Florida has said the charges are untrue.

Now FLASHBACK to this guy in February 2011, just days before the Frankfurt attack:

…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.”

Now back once more to the current Albanian terrorist:

Family members told The AP that Osmakac was born in the village of Lubizde in Kosovo, a tiny hamlet of scattered houses near the Cursed Mountains, a row of snowcapped peaks that divide Kosovo from Albania…

Osmakac spent his early years in a home shared by his father and two uncles, but difficult living conditions and simmering ethnic intolerance sent the family searching for prosperity elsewhere…

Osmakac’s family was in Bosnia during the bloodiest of the ethnic wars of the 1990s, which left more than 100,000 dead, and eventually fled to Germany and then the U.S. [Read between the lines to see this for the trace-the-crime-back-to-Serbs caveat that it is.]

As a child, Osmakac was “a quiet and fun boy,” said his aunt, Time Osmankaj. She said his family regularly sent money home to relatives trying to eke out a living as the wars left those who remained extremely poor.

Osmankaj said the family returned to Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, for visits during the summer months. But in recent years they noticed a change in Sami, who grew a beard, donned religious garments, and was frequently accompanied by two devout Muslims from Albania and two from Bosnia. He also began to shun his relatives during his trips to Kosovo.

His aunt said she learned of his last visit in October 2011 through neighbors and that she did not meet with him. Authorities in Kosovo have said he used those visits to meet with Islamic radicals there.

Islam came to Kosovo with the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans in the 15th century, but it had not grown political until more recently. For instance, hundreds of Muslims have taken to the streets to protest a ban imposed by Kosovo authorities on wearing headscarves in schools. Protesters also have demanded that new mosques be built to accommodate a growing number of faithful after a Roman Catholic cathedral was built last year in the center of the capital, Pristina.

The increase in religious tensions has raised concerns that U.S. soldiers serving as part of a NATO-led peacekeeping force could be targeted in attacks.

REALLY? Gee, this eminently foreseeable scenario when one is playing for the enemy’s team isn’t what I’ve been warning about for 13 years at all, is it? And yet when I brought the issue up in 2007 in American Legion magazine, I was accused by two National Guard “information officers” of “trying to scare the troops’ loved ones.” But here we have a mainstream AP writer finally connecting Islam to Kosovo and, gee, twying to scare the twoops and their famiwies.

The mainstream is finally catching up to what a Kosovo vet warned about in 2008, letting us know that saying “soldiers could be targeted” ain’t exactly the whole story:

Islamic extremism is on the rise in Kosovo. KFOR soldiers have been attacked in Gjilan [Gnjilane], Ferizaj, and Prizren when I was there. You just won’t see or hear about it in the news. More Mosques have been built in Kosovo in the last five years than schools, roads, health clinics, and all other [sanitation] projects combined. Compliments of Muslim charities from the Middle East.

So now the question is: Are they finally going to use the body armor that the Command previously had them boasting they patrolled without? (Incidentally, mentioning the no-armor factoid got me compared by the same PR duo to a New York Times reporter who publicized our problematic armor in Iraq — despite this DoD press release advertising in 2005 that our troops patrol Kosovo without armor.)

Back again to Osmakac:

Avni Osmakac told WTVT-TV in Tampa that his brother had tried to travel to Saudi Arabia last year so he could study Islam, but that he had problems with his visa and never got farther than Turkey. Sami Osmakac wanted to become an imam and teach Islam in the Middle East, his brother said.

Osmakac’s family had settled in Pinellas Park, Fla., where his father opened a bakery and bought a home. There, Osmakac attended at least two high schools and was mostly a loner, classmate Alan Stokling wrote in an email to The AP.

Stokling said the two did have something in common: a love of rap music… “Sami’s part came on and he was talking about murder and bombing and stuff,” Stokling recalled. “I wasn’t surprised by that. It wasn’t anything different from regular hip-hop songs.”

What was different was the song’s ending: Stokling said Osmakac rapped about killing Jews.

“The weirdest ad libs I’d ever heard,” Stokling said. “They were so beyond the realm of what was accepted back then as far as what was a consistency in the realm of a rap song that it was comical.”

The two discussed religion only once, when Osmakac asked about Stokling’s religion. Stokling recalled that when he said he was a Christian, Osmakac “got kind of quiet then started laughing to himself under his breath in a smug fashion. In his own mind he seemed to be an elitist. That’s the vibe I got from him.”

Osmakac’s run-in with the preacher outside the Lady Gaga concert in April 2011 was far less subtle. According to police accounts of the fight, which the preacher recorded on video, Osmakac said, thumping his heart with his fist for emphasis: “My message is, if you all don’t accept Islam, you’re going to hell.”

At the mosque where Osmakac began worshipping in 2010, he mostly kept to himself. However, he occasionally had run-ins with other area Muslims. At the mosque, he and another man were cited for trespassing in November of that year after a heated discussion with Ahmed Batrawy, vice president of the Islamic Society of Pinellas County.

In another instance, he accused the Council on American-Islamic Relations of being an “infidel organization,” said Hassan Shibly, executive director of the council’s Tampa office. And Ahmed Bedier, a Muslim community activist and radio host, said Osmakac had threatened him because Bedier’s organization encourages minorities to get involved in politics.

“He thought I was taking people out of the faith,” Bedier said. “On at least one time, he got very close as if he was going to hit me, and someone held him back.”

Bedier reported Osmakac’s behavior to authorities more than a year and a half ago. However, he said Osmakac’s hatred was so overt that many people suspected he may have been a government informant.

Bedier asked: “What terrorist goes on YouTube?”

A lot. And this one went on “Canadian Idol.”

Some details about the youtube videos:

…In the first video clip, a man who appears to be Osmakac, confronted Christian protesters and assaulted one outside the Tampa Bay Times Forum - leaving the man bleeding from the mouth…In the second video with the title ‘Convert to Islam NOW! To all Atheist Christian (Non-Muslims)‘ a man who looks and sounds like Osmakac threatened members of other religions.

The message from Abdul Samia, believed to be one of Osmakac’s aliases, warns viewers to convert to Islam ‘before it is too late’. The YouTube videos were posted in December 2010 and in April last year…In the eight-minute video he is seen cross-legged on the floor with a pistol in his hand and an AK-47 gun behind him. […]

Another interesting Osmakac report — and note the caption under the photo conveniently reverting, as usual, to the resurrected-when-Kosovo-or-Bosnia-proves-embarrassing: “former Yugoslavia”:


Sami Osmakac, 25, from the former Yugoslavia, was charged in a plot to attack crowded locations in the Tampa area with a bomb, assault rifle and other explosives, federal authorities said Jan. 9.

Official: Alleged Florida bomb-plotter met radical Islamists during visits to Kosovo (Jan. 11)

PRISTINA, Kosovo — The man accused by U.S. authorities of plotting to bomb Florida nightclubs and a sheriff’s office met with radical Islamists during visits to his native Kosovo, a senior official in the country said Wednesday.

International agencies had alerted Kosovo authorities that Sami Osmakac could be linked to Islamist extremists, the official told The Associated Press. He said the 25-year-old, an ethnic Albanian and naturalized U.S. citizen, discussed “issues in support of radical elements” with the individuals he met.

So one goes to Kosovo to meet with Islamists? So Kosovo IS a jihad destination? That is, it IS what our officials say it isn’t and promised it wouldn’t be? The article continues:

…Some 1,000 American soldiers serve as part of the NATO-led peacekeeping force that is in charge of security in the country, where tensions persist because Serbia has refused to accept Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence.

So THAT’S why there are tensions. In case you didn’t know, the AP has explained it all to you. In case you had any doubt, it’s because of something Serbia isn’t doing. And not because Albanians terrorized Serbia into the position it finds itself in today: being pressured by the West to recognize our criminal-led narco-terrorist “pro-American” jihad-exploitable mafia state, to the world’s unanimous criticism when Serbia “stubbornly” refuses to.

…Osmakac arrived in the U.S. around 2000, when he as 13, according to a video he posted online.

That’s just after the war, making him one of the Clintons’ goodwill refugees — another “rescuee” from the Serbs, like the KLA sniper Agron Abdullahu, who provided the guns for the three Albanian brothers who wanted to kill “as many American soldiers as possible” at Ft. Dix.

…In Sept. 2003, he had his first brush with the law. According to a police report, Osmakac got into a fight with some other students and punched a teacher at Pinellas Park High School during the melee…

Really? An Albanian having brushes with the law before becoming a terrorist? That doesn’t sound familiar at all from this FLASHBACK:

Prior to their arrest on terror charges, the Duka brothers ran into trouble with the law on numerous occasions. Shain Duka has been arrested on charges of making physical threats, obstruction of justice, and hindering apprehension. He has also been cited for traffic violations five times. Eljvir Duka has been arrested on drug charges and amassed two motor vehicles citations. And, Dritan Duka was arrested for disorderly conduct, drug possession, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Moreover, he was ticketed for speeding or driving with a suspended license a total of six times.

Back to today:

At some point, Osmakac became deeply religious. In 2010, Osmakac began worshipping at a local mosque. [Again and again and again: If you’re not getting away with straight-up crime, give it a higher, religious purpose.]

In November 2010, Osmakac and another young man — an American convert to Islam — had a heated discussion with Batrawy at the mosque. The American convert, Batrawy said, was the one “radicalizing things.” Osmakac later started to “trash talk,” Batrawy said.

“We don’t condone that in our place of worship,” Batrawy said he told the young men. When they wouldn’t calm down, Batrawy called police, who cited Osmakac and the other man for trespassing.

A month later, Osmakac posted his first video on YouTube, ranting about Christians and Western life. It was titled “A Question For All Christians: What Are You Worshipping???” …CAIR said Osmakac was banned at two Tampa-area mosques.

Indeed. He was too volatile and risked blowing Jihad’s cover vis-a-vis the long-term goal. (Imagine, though: a non-Muslimy Albanian blowing the cover.)

Earlier in this post I mentioned Hysen Sherifi, one of the two Albanians in the 2009 North Carolina plot. There have been two updates on him. Last month he was “convicted of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism and conspiracy to carry out attacks overseas,” plus “two counts of firearms possession, and conspiracy to kill federal officers or employees by discussing an attack on the Quantico, Va., Marine Corps base with ringleader Daniel Boyd, who had lived on the base as a child with his Marine officer father.” The other update, which many readers have already seen, was on Jan. 24th:

[Hysen Sherifi] has been accused in a federal court document of plotting to kill witnesses who testified against him at trial.

An affidavit unsealed in federal court Monday accuses Hysen Sherifi of plotting against the witnesses from his jail cell. Authorities say an FBI informant posing as a hit man met with Sherifi’s brother and a female friend and accepted $5,000 and a photo of an intended victim.

FBI agents have arrested the brother, Shkumbin Sherifi, and Nevine Aly Elshiekh, a school teacher. Now in federal custody at the New Hanover County Jail, each is charged with a felony count of use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire.

The informant soon befriended Sherifi, who requested help in hiring someone to kill three people who had testified against him at his trial, according to the affidavit. Sherifi specified that he wanted the witnesses beheaded and that he would be provided photos of the severed heads as confirmation of the deaths, according to the document.

FBI agents said in the document that they arranged for a second informant to pose as a hit man and monitored Sherifi during a series of jailhouse visits with Elshiekh.

Following a Dec. 21 visit at the jail, Elshiekh left a voicemail on the fake hit man’s cell phone, identifying herself as “Hysen Sherifi’s friend,” according to the affidavit. It added that the FBI observed and recorded subsequent meetings between Elshiekh and the fake hit man, during which she provided names, addresses and photos of those targeted and $750 in cash toward the first murder.

Agents also observed Elshiekh meeting with Shkumbin Sherifi, who met with the FBI’s fake hitman on Jan. 8, the court document said. According to the affidavit, the brother traveled from Raleigh to Wilmington to provide the hit man another $4,250 in cash.

The Sherifi brothers and other family members emigrated from Kosovo following the wars that ravaged the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. A call to the Sherifi family home in Raleigh on Tuesday was not returned.

DEAR AMERICANS,
What we have here is a Kosovo Albanian importing — at our invitation — the way Kosovo justice goes down. Witnesses are the ones who go down. This is why former “prime minister” Ramush Haradinaj is being re-tried at The Hague. His 2007 trial was plagued with witness deaths. The only difference between that documented criminal-slash-Kosovo leader and the current documented criminal-slash-Kosovo leader is American muscle keeping the latter (Hashim Thaci) out of The Hague. Witness death and intimidation are why Albanians are used to not going to jail. No wonder Sherifi’s family are in shock over his arrest. (Incidentally, witness safety is also a big stumbling block for Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty in the Albanians’ organ-harvesting operation.) I’ve been warning that America would be Kosovized, which is why it’s important to pay attention to America’s Kosovo. So now the U.S. is getting a taste of the beast it “saved.”

Note that Sherifi wanted the witnesses’ heads. The first point about this is, gee that’s strange for non-Muslimy Muslims like the “Kosovars,” no? (And note that his brother and the woman who was going to help him accomplish this didn’t even require radicalization themselves to get it done.)

Second point: We were told that the Albanian beef with Serbs was Serb-specific. We were told that this would not be happening in America or to Americans by our friends the Albanians. This was just a “Serbian problem”:


1998-99

Enjoy, America. You’ve worked hard for it.

A few FLASHBACKs:


Kosovar Albanian ultra-nationalists decapitated a Kosovo Serb in Pec, who is prepared for burial. Only the head was found. Pec, Kosovo, late 1800s.


Metropolitan Amphilohije of Montenegro serves the funeral for three murdered Serbian men of the village of Belo Polje, near Pec, June 1999

The body of Fr. Chariton Lukic found near Prizren, Aug 2000. Fr. Chariton was kidnapped by the KLA Albanian extremists on June 14th 1999 in the streets of Prizren. His body was found one year later on August 8th 2000 near Prizren. According to the post mortem report Fr. Chariton’s body was decapitated and severely mutilated. He was stabbed several times by knife. The perpertrators of this murder have not yet been found.

An Orthodox priest killed by an Albanian Nazi in WW2, Kosovo. Dozens of priests and monks were killed by Albanian Nazis including the Bishop of Raska and Prizren Rt. Rev Vladimir who was sent to prison in Albania and killed in a prison.


In 1912, Kosovar political leader Isa Boletini, front and to the right: “In the spring, we will manure the plains of Kosovo with the bones of Serbs.”

And so they did yet again in 1999, this time backed by the Red, White and Blue.

“The Serbian population of Kosovo should be removed as soon as possible. Serbian settlers should be killed.” — Mustafa Kruja, Nazi-fascist Prime Minister of Greater Albania, June, 1942

“The time has come to exterminate the Serbs. There will be no Serbs under the Kosovo sun.” — Ferat-bey Draga, Nazi-fascist Kosovar Muslim political leader, 1943

Mission just about accomplished.

An update to the update on Sherifi trying to behead witnesses: Man must stand trial in plot to hire hit man (Jan. 27)

A North Carolina man must stand trial in a plot to hire a hit man to behead three witnesses from his brother’s terrorism case, a federal magistrate judge ruled on Friday….

Sherifi, 21, was arrested last weekend after FBI agents tracked him to a Jan. 8 meeting in the parking lot of a Wilmington Food Lion grocery store with a government informant posing as the representative of a hit man. He is accused of paying the informant $4,250 toward the first killing while his mother waited nearby in a Honda minivan.

On Jan. 22, prosecutors said Sherifi met with the informant again, this time receiving fake photos that showed the blood-covered witnesses lying in a shallow grave and what appeared to be the man’s severed head.

Those targeted for death, according to the government, were three confidential informants who testified against Hysen Sherifi and his co-defendants….

The Sherifis are naturalized U.S. citizens who emigrated from Kosovo in 1999 following a bloody sectarian war. On Friday, one of their three sisters took the stand as a character witness and asked the judge to let her brother go home. Hylja Sherifi, 24, said her younger sibling was a primary caregiver to their ailing father, who has lung cancer.

Shkumbin Sherifi has also volunteered as a youth soccer coach and is an aspiring songwriter, she said. Several of his rap songs are available online on a website intended to promote his music.

“He has a lot of passion,” Hylja Sherifi said, a college student. She added that her family loves the United States. [THERE IT IS! Never mind the terrorism, Albanians are pro-American!]

“I have hope in the American government and support America,” she said. “I supported my boyfriend when he was fighting in Iraq for 13 months.” [And there’s the ubiquitous served-in-the-armed-forces card that’s supposed to be a conversation stopper in all cases.]

The soldier she spoke of sat with the family in the courtroom, along with about 25 other people who made the two-hour drive from Raleigh to show their support for the defendant. Many were members of the Islamic Association of Raleigh, the city’s largest mosque. [Similarly, see in the Jan. 13th AP report: “Dozens of members of Raleigh’s Muslim community made the five-hour drive to coastal New Bern to witness the fate of men their supporters believe were unjustly convicted.”]

Farris Barakat, a 21-year-old college student who attended the hearing, said Elshiekh was his second-grade teacher at the mosque’s school. At the time of her arrest, she was also teaching at a secular Montessori academy in suburban Morrisville. Elshiekh is charged with using interstate facilities for murder for hire.

Barakat stressed that he did not in any way support the type of violence of which the Sherifis are accused of plotting. Islam is a religion of peace, he said.

However, he questioned whether an overzealous government was seeking to prosecute Muslims for terror offenses using questionable tactics, such as using paid informants with criminal records.

Hylja Sherifi echoed those sentiments, suggesting the full story had not been told in the courtroom.

Asked on the witness stand if any of the evidence presented Friday changed her positive view of her younger brother, she replied: “Not at all.”

Closing with an update on Arid Uka, the Albanian from Kosovo who killed two U.S. servicemen in Frankfurt this time last year:

Germany jails Kosovo man for life for murder of US airmen (Feb. 10)

FRANKFURT — A German court sentenced a Kosovo man to life on Friday for killing two US soldiers and attempting to kill three more at Frankfurt airport last March in Germany’s first deadly jihadist attack.

[Again, note that Germany’s FIRST deadly jihadist attack was committed by a supposedly non-Muslimy Albanian from Kosovo. Germany having of course provided a Serb-killing training base in 1996 for the Kosovo Liberation Army.]

Presiding judge Thomas Sagebiel said 22-year-old Arid Uka — who was born in Kosovo but brought up in Germany — was found guilty on two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder when he opened fire on March 2 last year on a group of US soldiers on their way to serve in Afghanistan.

“The degree of guilt is particularly grave,” Sagebiel said, which means Uka is unlikely to be released early after 15 years.

“Yes, this is indeed the first Islamic-motivated terror strike to have happened in Germany,” the judge said.

US soldiers Nicholas Alden, 25, and Zachary Ryan Cuddeback, 21, were killed in the shooting. Two other soldiers were wounded. [One of whom lost an eye.]

Sagebiel told the court: “He would have shot at a third, but the weapon got jammed.”

The verdict had already been postponed twice since the trial opened with Uka apologising to his victims and their families.

[OK, that’s non-Muslimy, I’ll admit.]

“On March 2, I killed two people and opened fire on three others. Today I can’t understand myself how I could have acted this way,” he said.

He said he had been influenced by “lies” and “propaganda” after seeing a video on the Internet purporting to show US soldiers in Afghanistan raping a local woman.

[Notice that his Serbian-Orthodox enemy, which we grafted as our enemy, has yet to be influenced by any lies or propaganda leading to dead Americans.]

Defence lawyer Michaela Roth had not contested Uka’s guilt but argued that extenuating circumstances should allow him to be eligible for release after 15 years in jail.

“A jihadist would never have asked for forgiveness as Arid Uka has done from the first day of his trial. On the contrary he would have been proud of himself,” Roth told the court earlier.

Sagebiel also said the court had found no evidence that suggested he had accomplices or had been to ideological and military training camps.

The brother of one of the murdered soldiers was present for the verdict and the judge concluded his statement by addressing the court’s “commiseration” to the victims’ families.

“The attack was not only cowardly and perfidious, but also damaged Germany’s reputation,” Sagebiel said.

[So Germany’s reputation, such as it is, has been damaged by an Albanian Muslim, of all things.]

The court “hoped that by our bringing the perpetrator to justice swiftly, you can find some comfort… and will not harbour any rancour towards Germany,” he said.

A “saddened and outraged” US President Barack Obama said the day of the killings that Washington would “spare no effort in learning how this outrageous act took place.”

[How about: by marking the wrong enemy in 1999, and not regarding our new ‘friends’ with a tad bit of suspicion.]

…The September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States were planned in part in the German port city of Hamburg by an Al-Qaeda cell led by Mohammed Atta, the hijacker of the first plane to strike New York’s World Trade Centre. […]

Note: In the course of doing research for his book Revenge of the Prophet, author Vojin Joksimovich learned that German investigators had discovered that Mohammed Haydar Zammar, a Syrian-German citizen who was a senior commander of the Al Mujahid unit in central Bosnia, was assigned by Osama bin Laden to recruit the Hamburg cell consisting of Atta et al.

Note also that the sentencing had been delayed in light of possible new evidence by German reporter Franz Feyder, who testified that Uka had been recognized by several people as having attended a terror training camp in Zenica, Bosnia in the summer of 2010, under the name Abu Reyyan, the same name that Uka used on Facebook. Ultimately, there wasn’t sufficient evidence to satisfy either the defense or the prosecutors and the last-minute testimony was dismissed.

But what we do know is this:

Under his Islamist handle he spread jihadist hymns on YouTube online, professed hatred of Jews and Shiite Muslims and took part in violent computer games. Within just four or five weeks, Uka is thought to have established contact to radical Islamist preachers including the Moroccan Sheik Abdellatif and German Muslim extremist Pierre Vogel.

So yet another Albanian jihadist who doesn’t like Jews (See the aforementioned Lajqi who wanted to blow up Washington landmarks but was arrested in Maryland last March for visa fraud; see also the Albanian in Britain who had a bomb factory in his apartment; and of course see our Tampa guy, whose fondness for Jews is mentioned earlier in this post. Relatedly, let’s not forget that Jewish-cemetery-desecration business in December in Kosovo’s capital, which clueless Jewish students from Dartmouth had just cleaned up over the summer.) On this point, I would direct readers to note the names of Uka’s defense attorneys: Michaela Roth and Jens Joerg Hoffman. Roth and Hoffman. I guess Uka made the same exception that other Jew-haters make for lawyers and doctors.

In the Jihad Watch item citing the article about Sherifi having his brother and Elshiekh behead witnesses, were these two opening paragraphs by Robert Spencer about an unrelated case:

According to former Detroit Public Schools Superintendent Eddie Green, Kifah Jayyousi was “a great guy, one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.” While Green was superintendent, Jayyousi oversaw the Detroit school district’s capital improvement program.

Jayyousi was charged, according to the Detroit Free Press, with “conspiring to kidnap, maim and murder by providing money, recruits and equipment for Islamic struggles in Bosnia, Kosovo and Chechnya from 1993 to 2001.”

WHAT Islamic struggles in Bosnia and Kosovo?!?! We were told these conflicts had nothing to do with Islam beyond the Serbs targeting people allegedly for nothing more than being Muslim. Kind of like we and our judicial system are now targeting all these innocent Muslims like Sherifi, Osmakac, Uka and Duka. And in the years 1993-2001, no less! When jihad in the Balkans was perfectly OK — and often funded — by the West? Most confusing! Sounds like someone is being prosecuted ex post facto. Or at least ex post 20/20-hindsighto.

******And Huffington Post had this Feb. 10th update on the Uka case******

Arid Uka, Frankfurt Airport Shooter, Sentenced To Life

…Uka, an ethnic Albanian from Kosovo, killed Senior Airman Nicholas J. Alden, 25, from South Carolina, and Airman 1st Class Zachary R. Cuddeback, 21, from Virginia in the March 2 attack on the Afghanistan-bound servicemen as they were boarding a bus at the airport.

Judge Thomas Sagebiel ruled that Uka bears “particularly severe guilt,” citing the nature of his ambush on the soldiers, the fact he shot unarmed people from behind and the severity of the injuries he inflicted.

That means he won’t immediately be eligible for parole after 15 years as is usual in Germany.

“I’m satisfied. I’m at peace. There’s a huge weight off our shoulders,” Nicholas Alden’s brother, Joe, said in the courthouse after the ruling.

“I think justice has been served – I think he got what he deserved and I think the court did a great job,” said Alden, of Indianapolis. “I wish there was more they could do but he got the maximum.”

Prosecutors said Uka was an example of a lone-wolf extremist who became radicalized on his own by reading and watching jihadist propaganda on the Internet. During the trial, they introduced as evidence dozens of files containing songs and written material pulled from his cell phone, music player and computer.

Although Germany has experienced scores of terrorist attacks in past decades, largely from leftist groups like the Red Army Faction, the airport attack was the first attributed to an Islamic extremist.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, there have been about a half-dozen other jihadist plots that were either thwarted or failed – including a 2007 plan to kill Americans at the U.S. Air Force’s Ramstein Air Base.

The airmen at Frankfurt airport were part of a security team traveling from an air base at Lakenheath in Britain.

As they loaded their bus in front of the airport, Uka approached the soldiers and asked for a cigarette, then asked if the group was headed for Afghanistan. Told that it was, Uka pulled a pistol from his backpack and shot the unarmed Alden point blank in the back of the head.

He then boarded the bus and fatally shot Cuddeback, the driver, before turning the gun on two more airmen, Staff Sgt. Kristoffer Schneider and Edgar Veguilla. The weapon jammed as he pointed it at Staff Sgt. Trevor Brewer, who testified that Uka had “hate in his eyes” and said “Allahu akbar” – Arabic for “God is great.”

Schneider, who testified by video link from an Air Force base in Grand Forks, North Dakota, was shot in the right temple and lost the sight in one eye. The right side of his face had to be rebuilt with titanium and titanium mesh, and he testified he suffers continuing eye and head pain and has had a seizure. Part of his skull had to be removed after an infection.

Veguilla was hit in the jaw and arm and testified he has numb fingers because of nerve damage.

Kosovar akbar!

UPDATE: It occurred to me only after I posted the blog below that it is an apt reminder on the 12th anniversary of the end of the war and the start of our occupation of Serbia — June 10, 1999. In addition to the additional significance of that date (the day the Prizren League adopted the plan to create a Greater Albania in 1878 and the day in 2007 that Bush flew to Albania to give the nod for the Kosovo theft), I’ve learned today, thanks to Aleksandra Rebic, that June 10th was also the start of the Mihailovic “trial” in 1946.

In an Israel National News article that I missed during the 2009 Gaza war, writer Martin Sherman explained how NATO’s war against Serbia can be used against the internationals who terrorize Israel and Serbia:

Proportionality and hypocrisy: Why are military ops in Gaza, Kosovo judged by wildly disparate criteria? by Martin Sherman

“There is always a cost to defeat an evil. It never comes free, unfortunately. But the cost of failure to defeat a great evil is far higher.” — Jamie Shea, NATO spokesman, BBC News, May 31, 1999

It was in these words that the official NATO representative chose to respond to criticism regarding the numerous civilian casualties incurred by the alliance’s frequent air attacks during the war in Kosovo between March and June of 1999. He insisted NATO planes bombed only “legitimate designated military targets” and if civilians had died it was because NATO had been forced into military action. Adamant that “we try to do our utmost to ensure that if there are civilians around we do not attack,” Shea emphasized that “NATO does not target civilians…let’s be perfectly clear about that.”

However, hundreds of civilians were killed by a NATO air campaign, code named “Operation Allied Force” - which hit residential neighborhoods, old-aged sanatoriums, hospitals, open markets, columns of fleeing refugees, civilian buses and trains on bridges, and even a foreign embassy.

Exact figures are difficult to come by, but the undisputed minimum is almost 500 civilians deaths (with some estimates putting the toll as high as 1500) - including women, children and the elderly, killed about in 90 documented attacks by an alliance that included the air forces of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Holland, Italy, Turkey, Spain, the UK, and the US. Up to 150 civilians deaths were reportedly caused by the use of cluster-bombs dropped on, or adjacent to, known civilian areas.

By contrast, the military losses inflicted by NATO on the Serbian forces during almost 80 days of aerial bombardment, unchallenged by any opposing air power, were remarkably low - with most estimates putting the figure at less than 170 killed.

Meanwhile, NATO forces suffered no combat fatalities! This was mainly due to the decision to conduct high altitude aerial attacks which greatly reduced the danger to NATO military personnel in the air, but dramatically increased it for the Serbian (and Kosovar) civilians on the ground. Moreover, the civilian populations of the countries participating on Operation Allied Force were never attacked or - even threatened - in any way by Serbian forces.

The significance of all this for Israel, beset as it is by a maelstrom criticism and censure regarding its military campaign in Gaza, should be starkly apparent. It raises three trenchant issues which it would fail to address to its great detriment:

1. The irrelevance of proportionality in military engagements
2. The unlimited hypocrisy of international politics
3. The disastrous incompetence of Israeli international diplomacy

The issue of proportionality, or rather, the alleged lack thereof, has been the basis for the fierce condemnation of Israel’s conduct in its military operations in Gaza because the number of Palestinians casualties far outweighs that of Israeli ones. However, the conduct of military operations in Kosovo by many of Israel’s present detractors shows that this was never a consideration or constraint which they felt bound by.

Quite the contrary, the very modus operandi they adopted - i.e. high altitude bombing - demonstrates that they deliberately aspired to disproportionality. As noted, this ensured an almost zero casualty rate among their own combatants but inevitably resulted in less accurate targeting of alleged military objectives on the ground, exposing a virtually defenseless civilian population to far greater danger and far higher casualties.

All of this serves to underscore vividly the crass hypocrisy of Israel’s critics. Indeed, in stark contrast to NATO’s willful disregard for enemy civilians, the IDF has often placed Israeli soldiers in mortal peril to prevent Palestinian civilians from being harmed. Furthermore, Israel’s use of military might has invariably been in response a tangible threat - or actual assault - on its citizens.

The blatant disregard for any semblance of proportionality by democratic belligerents and the shameless hypocrisy of their self-righteous and misplaced criticism of Israel highlight a crucial deficiency…in the overall structure of its international strategy: the incompetence - indeed impotence - of Israeli diplomacy. For the documented data on the conduct of the war in Kosovo by the world’s leading democracies should provide ample material with which to resolutely rebuff much of the pompous tirade of condemnation being hurled at Israel today.

I’m glad Mr. Sherman brought up the civilian deaths caused by NATO, and makes the point that the operation was designed to be disproportionate and imprecise while we suffered no casualties of our own from such great heights. Even with this, however, he understates the case. NATO didn’t just hit a lot of civilians. It TARGETED them. Eventually, Jamie Shea, Wesley Clark, Gen. Michael Short, and Sen. Joe Lieberman admitted this fact — the latter two boasting about it. But it goes even deeper still: When NATO found pockets in Kosovo where the Albanians hadn’t yet fled or were returning (which of course belies the claim that the Serbian plan was to empty Kosovo of its Albanian inhabitants), NATO bombs would TARGET those Albanians. (This was in furtherance of the earlier KLA-NATO-coerced exodus of Albanians and others — Albanians for one reason, and others for another: “How NATO Staged Albanian Flight during 1999 Bombing“; “Driven from Kosovo.”)

A report related to the general targeting of civilians by NATO, no longer available online, from Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR):

Serb General Blames NATO for Kosovo Casualties: Serbs and Albanians fled their homes because of NATO attacks, Vladimir Lazarević tells court.
By Marija Radovanovic in Belgrade (TU No 525, 9-Nov-07)

The man who commanded Serbia’s army in Kosovo during the war against separatist rebels denied this week that troops had forced Albanians from their homes, blaming NATO for the civilian casualties and the refugees.

As he testified in his own defence this week, Lazarevic denied having ordered his troops to use murder, rape, harassment, destruction of property and other forms of intimidation to force Albanians to leave the province….

“Both Serbs and Albanians were leaving their homes due to daily NATO attacks,” he said, adding that his units strictly obeyed the rules of war and did their best to help the surviving civilians, to enable evacuations and to even give blood transfusions.

“I personally ordered my commanders to leave all of their ongoing actions and get engaged in helping the wounded.”

…Of the more than 2,000 NATO attacks in the Kosovo region, he said 37 per cent were deliberately aimed at civilian targets.

Momčilo Bakrač, Lazarević’s lawyer, denied a mass campaign of terror had been unleashed in Kosovo.

“Although crimes did happen during the Kosovo war, they were isolated and individual acts, and by no means systematic,” he said.

Lazarević said operations in Kosovo during 1999 were intended solely to defend the province against Albanian terrorist organisations in the regions of Podujevo, Dragobilja and Drenica, and to, in his words, “neutralise terrorist actions” and “to clear the region of Albanian terrorists”.

More damningly still, we have this from the Birmingham Post of May 25, 1999:

ALLIES KILL HUNDRED IN AIR RAID ON ‘STAGING POST’ PRISON

At least 100 people were killed and 200 injured in NATO attacks on a prison in Kosovo… All buildings of Dubrava prison were destroyed and the bodies were still lying in the prison’s courtyard…An investigating judge from Pec, Mr. Vladan Bojic, accused NATO of committing the most massive murder of prisoners in modern civilization and confirmed an investigation had began.

…The Serb Media Centre said Mr. Bojic himself was slightly injured in a second raid on the prison on Sunday….NATO said an attack did take place on the prison. It said the target was legitimate because the grounds were being used as a barracks and staging area by Serbian special police accused of atrocities against ethnic Albanians. […]

There was no follow-up, at least that I’m aware of, as to whether this ‘atrocities’ charge too fell apart like 99% of the other tales, but unless we’re slow learners or trapped — as most Americans seem to be when it comes to the Balkans — in a “Groundhog Day” scenario (or “50 First Dates” or “Clean Slate“), where every new day is not built on what we’ve learned in previous days and so the same day just keeps repeating — it’s probably safe to assume there was a reason for the lack of follow-up to this story too.

Still trying to retroactively cover their rears on the civilian-targeting front, NATO countries such as the U.S. have even sent out their operatives and minions to announce before the international tribunal that there’s “No such thing as civilian target, says U.S. expert“:

“What civilian targets, there’s no such thing, targets are always military,” [U.S. colonel Geoffrey] Corn told the panel of judges [during the trial (concluded last month) of Croatian general Ante Gotovina], and went on to explain that it is always up to military commanders to appraise whether the expected military gains would outweigh possible civilian losses.

He likened the August 1995 Croatian military onslaught against ethnic Serb areas, known as Operation Storm, to the 1999 NATO attacks on Serbia, saying that orders to shell targets in the Krajina towns of Knin, Obrovac, Gračac and Drvar were comparable to NATO’s attacks, carried out with hundreds of cruise missiles and bombs, against Belgrade.

Indeed! And not defensible in either case. Yet here we have it from the horse’s mouth — defending the very crimes Sherman points out that the heavy-handed NATO is guilty of. (As the person who posted the above item asked: If civilian victims are no such things, then why did the U.S. make such a fuss
about the Bosnia and Kosovo war zones to begin with? Especially given that the Serbian war effort was far more surgical than NATO’s, with soldiers risking their lives much as the IDF does with door-to-door operations to weed out hostiles.)

I’ve been waiting more than a decade for people to finally start citing, as Sherman has done, that NATO war to say “Piss off.” First, I thought the Republicans would use it against the Democrats when the latter objected to the Iraq war on the basis that Saddam Hussein hadn’t attacked us, as well as on the basis that the Iraq war would anger the Muslim world and create more terrorists — peaceniks who supported a Democrat allying us with al Qaeda and arming and training terrorists just three years earlier simply didn’t have a leg to stand on. But the moderate Right being too shallow, and too programmed to react to a debate rather than set the terms of it, hadn’t bothered looking at the aftermath of the Democrats’ last war once cued by the liberal media to move on. Conservatives simply followed the media’s orders like the rests of the herd, and because no sustained investigation of that conflict has been conducted by any government, NGO, newspaper, court or other institution, the Right still believes all the old information that the otherwise distrusted MSM originally fed it.

In hindsight, of course, the fact that Republicans didn’t help their pro-war arguments by using the Kosovo example, is neither here nor there, given that Iraq turned out to be not about winning or Westernizing, but about submitting and Islamisizing. Ever since Iraq, rather than spend our time and resources civilizing barbarians, we’ve accepted to barbarize civilization.

I’ve also been waiting for Israel and its defenders to start using the example of the 1999 Operation Allied Force, not only to protect Israel from the precedent set by that operation, but to tell hypocritical Israel critics to buzz off — as Sherman has done. Fortunately, someone else in Israel caught on and filed this lawsuit: “Israeli Human Rights Group to Sue NATO for Attacking Serbia.” (See also “MK Eldad: Charge Spanish Officials with War Crimes in Serbia.”)

Of course, the exercise of pointing out double standards between what NATO countries are allowed to do and what their targets are allowed to do is laughable — since double standards are the whole point.

In 2001 six Yugoslav citizens brought a suit against NATO to the European Court for Human Rights, over the 16 civilians that NATO targeted and killed when it bombed Belgrade TV, the case being that the attack breached Europe’s human rights charter. The court threw the case out on the grounds that the country attacked wasn’t a signatory to the European Convention of Human Rights — even though the listed defendants were. (What was problematic, however, was that the two most guilty NATO members were excluded from the complaint — U.S. and Canada — since they were also not signatories.)

Two years earlier, Belgrade went to the International Court of Justice to stop the NATO attack and was rejected, with the ICJ ruling that Yugoslavia had no standing (i.e. that it wasn’t a member of the UN, since its membership had been put on hold during the country’s breakup — never mind that it was a founding member). Quoting Diana Johnstone from 1999:

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. The Yugoslav government itself tried on April 29 to institute proceedings at the International Court of Justice in The Hague against NATO governments for a broad range of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Western media, in brief reports, let it be known that such an initiative was “not serious”. It was finally thrown out of court because the Genocide Convention, the legal basis for Belgrade’s suit, has never been recognized by the United States as applying to itself, although Washington is willing to let it apply to others.

In 2003, however, the ICJ easily agreed to hear the genocide case that Bosnia’s wartime Izetbegovic regime filed in 1993 against Yugoslavia for the “siege” of Sarajevo, deciding it had jurisdiction and that Serbia was subject to it, and “rejecting Yugoslavia’s claim that it does not fall under the court’s jurisdiction” — the very basis that the European Human Rights Court had used to throw out the 2001 suit on behalf of NATO’s TV station victims. So, suddenly the non-existent, has-no-standing, non-state of Yugoslavia — as it had been in 1993 — was nonetheless suable, and in 2003 no less, with “Yugoslav lawyers argu[ing] that the nation was readmitted as a new state in 2000.” At least that was the standard phrasing used by the AP when in fact Yugoslavia had been stripped of its UN status in 1992 (staying on the member roll as a technicality), and after the 2000 coup the new government applied for membership as a new country, which Serbia-Montenegro was granted. This is a FACT, not something “Yugoslav lawyers argue.” So a new country was being held responsible for what Yugoslavia did or didn’t do while it had no standing as a UN member. It’s all very “Alice in Wonderland”: a country is recognized as existing or treated as non-existing, depending on the needs of the New World Order. (In the end, the case became about Srebrenica in 1995 rather than Sarajevo in ‘92-’93, as one count after another got tossed out for lack of substance. Against all odds, trends, and political pressures, in 2007 the court determined that Serbia was not guilty of committing genocide, only of not doing enough to prevent a genocide by the Bosnian Serbs — a genocide whose designation as such the court did not investigate but merely accepted the International Criminal Tribunal’s word for it.)

In another example, the ICJ also easily accepted to hear Croatia’s genocide suit against Serbia in 2008, and the whole tango was replayed: “[Serbia] said the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was not party to the UN’s genocide convention nor even a member of the UN when the complaint was filed [in 1999]. Most of the alleged crimes were committed before the current republic was formed, it also argued. However, ICJ judge Rosalyn Higgins said the 17-strong panel had dismissed Serbia’s challenge to the court’s competence.

Serbia’s expectations were based on an ICJ ruling of 2004 when the court ruled it could not try Serbia’s case against ten NATO countries….But more recently, the ICJ said it had the jurisdiction to hear the genocide case brought by Bosnia-Herzegovina against Serbia.

And, finally, we also have the example of both the ICTY and EULEX claiming no jurisdiction when it comes to the murder-for-organs that the KLA was engaging in before, during and after the Kosovo war.

But it is a loathsome practice the way the U.S., while insulating itself from these Orwellian international institutions, zealously wields them as a weapon against others, ensuring that while we — for now — are spared the Kafka existence, others are living the nightmare. It has come to a point where international justice surpasses even the predictable levels of farce, as the above-cited Johnstone article illustrates:

Nobody doubts that the NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia initiated on March 24, 1999, were in flagrant violation of international law on numerous counts…On May 7, a team of lawyers from Canada and Europe submitted a brief to Louise Arbour, the Canadian chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, accusing U.S. and other NATO officials of war crimes including “wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity, attack, or bombardment, by whatever means, of undefended towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings”…

This and a number of other initiatives by international jurists pointing to the illegality of the NATO action were widely ignored by mainstream media. Instead, considerable space was given to pundits developing the notion of “humanitarian intervention” which henceforth, it was said, superseded the outworn notion of “national sovereignty”.

In fact, there is absolutely nothing new about appeals to a “higher justice” to excuse violating the law. Nineteenth century imperialist conquests were usually undertaken “to defend” some group or other, and Hitler (the real one) marched into Czechoslovakia and invaded Poland, setting off World War II, in order to rescue allegedly abused German ethnic minorities. Respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity were incorporated into international law after World War II precisely in order to protect weaker nations from humanitarian crusades of this sort.

The big news was, of course, the indictment of Milosevic…Some of the charges were substantially identical to those filed earlier against the officials responsible for the NATO bombing, to wit: “the widespread shelling of towns and villages; the burning of homes, farms and businesses, and the destruction of personal property”.

The indictment of Milosevic and the others was hardly the act of an impartial body, rising above the conflict between mighty NATO and little Yugoslavia. Ms Arbour signed warrants for the arrest of Milosevic and the Serbian leaders on the basis of material turned over to her the day before by a party to the conflict, the United States government…

Part of Arbour’s job as chief prosecutor has been fund-raising in the “international community”, notably among the governments of NATO member states. She and chief Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald (a former Federal Judge in Texas) frequently appear in public with Madeleine Albright (”the mother of the Tribunal” in the words of Judge McDonald, who before the war had already judiciously branded Yugoslavia “a rogue state”) and praise the U.S. for its financial and other support to the Tribunal. When asked on May 17 what would happen if NATO itself were brought before the Tribunal, NATO spokesman Jamie Shea retorted that without NATO countries there would be no such tribunal, since it was the NATO countries which had been in the forefront of getting it set up and which funded and supported its activity on a daily basis. The International Criminal Tribunal gets material as well as political support from the United States government, other NATO governments, financial tycoon George Soros and even private corporations. If the Clinton administration cannot count on “higher justice”, it may get a helping hand from hired justice.

In July, the Connecticut-based International Ethical Alliance also filed charges against President Clinton and Defense Secretary William Cohen for “non-defensive aggressive military attacks on former Yugoslavia”. At the same time, IEA general counsel Jerome Zeifman called for the dismissal of prosecutor Arbour, charging her with “selective prosecution by intentionally failing to consider and act on evidence which incriminates defendants Clinton and Cohen, […] conflicts of interest, or the appearance thereof, in receiving compensation from funds contributed in whole or in part by governments of NATO; and bias in favor of the attacks by NATO on former Yugoslavia”. Zeifman called for replacement of the prosecutor and recusal of five judges, including McDonald, and selection of a truly independent prosecutor as well as new judges and staff from non-NATO countries who would not be compensated directly or indirectly by funds from NATO countries. Such a truly neutral tribunal, suggested the IEA, could then go on to weigh the charges against leaders on both sides, including Milosevic, Clinton and the rest.

In April 2009 Amnesty International also took note of NATO’s impunity — specifically with regard to the bombing of Serbian Radio-Television: “Ten years after NATO forces bombed the Serbian state television and radio (Radio Televisija Srbije - RTS), no one has been brought to justice for this serious violation of international humanitarian law committed by NATO….”

Closing with some quotes:

Even in Kosovo, I couldn’t escape the sound of Mr. Shea’s voice on satellite TV. It haunted me at the strangest times, denying things I knew to be true, insisting on others that I had seen were false.

Los Angeles reporter Paul Watson

Amid increasing reports of civilian casualties, NATOs top military commander, Gen. Wesley Clark, said the alliance was operating under tight rules of engagement, targeting military sites and not civilians. We know which villages are occupied. We know which are not, and were going exclusively after military targets. We would never do it any other way, Clark said on CNNs Late Edition.

CNN

The 9/11 Commission — notwithstanding its many faults — listed the occasions when Clinton could have ordered an attempt to kill or capture bin Laden based on information provided by CIA officers and on many occasions corroborated by signals intelligence or overhead imagery. On one day in particular, Clinton had the U.S. Air Force drop tons of bombs on the Serbs — who had not harmed or even threatened Americans — while refusing to sanction an attack on bin Laden.

– retired CIA officer Michael F. Scheuer, in a letter to American Conservative magazine, via Greg Pierce at Washington Times, Oct. 9, 2006

How can Western societies that pride themselves in their justice system support such an unaccountable court?

comment poster “Hainer” at Atlas Shrugs blog

I got the following email from a source:

Dear Julia,

Are the talking heads on US news shows using Kosovo to justify Libya? [Yes, they were.] The Brits sure are. It is disgusting.

Below is a note I sent to the MP representing the constituency I reside in. I doubt that it will make much difference, but maybe. He has a very small majority (about two thousand votes), and there is a substantial British Serbian population in East Oxford. He might pay some heed. I live in hope. Unfortunately, many Serbs in Oxford do their best to avoid being identified as Serbs. This, of course, diminishes their political clout. The Albanian immigrants Tony Blair blessed Oxford with have a rather higher profile — not just for voting I should add.

Regards,

Tom

———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: 20 March 2011 13:06
Subject: British Serbs in East Oxford
To: Andrew Smith

Dear Andrew,

As you no doubt know[,] East Oxford has a large and vibrant British Serbian community, but you may not be aware of the prejudice that these East Oxford residents frequently encounter.

Here’s an example, several years ago residents in Iffley mounted a sustained effort to prevent a British Serb from taking up residence in “their” village. They failed, but the racist rumours spread about this man and his family by the residents were vile, and the slurs they made against Serbs in general offend me to this hour. Now I see anti Serb propaganda being reintroduced into the public discussion.

Over the past 48 hours I have been listening to commentator after commentator (e.g. Col. Bob Stewart, MP) justifying actions taken against the Libyan regime by making comparisons to what happened in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s. By in large these comparisons have tended to demonise the Serbian people, and to celebrate Bosniaks and Albanians.

These rants typically describe all Balkan atrocities as Serbian atrocities: they never mention KLA or Bosniak atrocities committed against the Serbs. (Such reporting and commentary unjustly portrays the Serbian people as an ethnic SS. This is especially galling given the heroic resistance of the Serbian people to German aggression.)

On 13 April 1941 Churchill broadcast the following statement to the Serbian people, ‘Serbs we know you. You were our allies in the last war, and your arms are covered with glory. . . . Your fame as warriors spread far and wide on the Continent.’ According to Lord Owen, as many as 750,000 Serbs may have perished in concentration camps, and 1.7 million Yugoslavs in total were killed in Second World War. It is estimated that somewhere between 6 and 36 German divisions were tied down by predominately Serbian guerilla fighters in WW2.

Britons of Serbian heritage are rightly proud of the contribution that the Serbian people made to that war effort.

In more recent times the Serbs have been unjustly vilified.

When the Balkan civil wars are discussed there is seldom a reference made to what happened to the Krajina Serbs. (I recommend Brendan O’Shea’s balanced account found in Crisis at Bihac. Dr. O’ Shea was a serving officer in the Irish Defence Forces (Army), and an EC Monitor in the Former Yugoslavia (1994-5).)

Few outside of the British Serbian community seem to recall, and none outside that community reference[,] Madeleine Albright’s admission [to BBC in late 2000 or early 2001] that she knew that the KLA was a “terrorist organisation” and that she “crossed her fingers” hoping they would not commit any atrocities that made headlines before she could get authorisation to bomb Serbia. I was with a number of East Oxford Serbs when I first saw that interview: to a person, they were angered by Sec Albright’s admission [at a time when Albanians were next trying to seize southern Serbia and western Macedonia]. Oddly, no one outside of the Serbian community seems to care that Albright misled the public.

More recently the former chief prosecutor of the UN’s Yugoslav war crimes tribunal, Carla Del Ponte, has indicated that rather unspeakable crimes were committed by the KLA against [mostly] Serbian prisoners. Her allegation is supported by a report prepared by the Swiss senator Dick Marty for the Council of Europe. According to Marty (as reported by [pro-Albanian writer] Tim Judah):

“In a report for the Council of Europe which took two years to compile, he has accused Hashim Thaci, the prime minister of newly independent Kosovo, not only of being a mafia boss, a murderer and a drug dealer – but of having been involved with a group that in 1999 killed prisoners to sell their kidneys.”

I have a copy of the Marty report and would be happy to forward it to you, if you would like to see it. If such allegations had been made against the Serbian people, they would no doubt be used to justify our actions in Libya today. As it is[,] the commentariat seems happy to portray people of Serbian heritage as uniquely having Nazi criminality in their DNA. However, it is the KLA that stands accused of slaughtering people like cattle for their organs.

By the way, what do we know of the rebels we are indirectly supporting in Libya?

Judah continues:

“There are, however, other allegations that are very real and very current. A courthouse in Pristina heard last week how seven Kosovars were part of an elaborate international ‘organs for cash’ network, in which donors from poor countries such as Moldova, Turkey and Kazakhstan donated their body parts to wealthy patients on the promise of payments of up to EU 15,000 at a time…While no connection has yet been found between the current trafficking allegations and the “organ harvesting” claims of a decade ago [indeed it has], some doubt whether it can be purely coincidence. Defending his report on Thursday, Mr Marty added that he [has] often seen “terror” in the eyes of witnesses he had talked to…”

Andrew, shouldn’t humanitarian interventions protect all innocents, and not merely some favoured few? And, shouldn’t we take care not to vilify a people for the crimes of the very few? [As has been the general insistence, in contrast, on behalf of the Albanians and their ill-gotten Kosovo — despite their far more gruesome, more confirmed, and more widespread and iron-fisted terror.]

I want to provide you with one last illustration of how hatred against the Serbs has been stirred in the past. Tony Weymouth (University of Central Lancashire) has written an excellent analysis in his “The Media: Information and Deformation”. Weymouth writes:

“. . . the front-page headline of the Independent of 12 April 1999 asserted that, ‘Nato hits Serbs as fears rise for 100,000 “disappeared” . . .’ On 18 April 1999 an American government official claimed on ABC television that: ‘Tens of thousands of young males have been executed . . .’ On 19 April 1999 the US State Department announced that: ‘500,000 Albanian Kosovars . . . are missing and feared dead.’ Western television and radio also put out what in retrospect appear to be grossly inflated figures of Kosovo Albanian casualties from Serbian violence. . . .Sometimes the politicians led the way with exaggerated and ill judged references to ‘genocide’. Prime Minister Blair, two weeks into the bombing campaign, spoke of the Serbian situation thus: ‘I pledge to you now, Milosevich and his hideous racial genocide will be defeated . . .’ In the aftermath of the conflict, such assertions were found to be significantly exaggerated . . . .”

I hope that you will encourage your colleagues to find better examples to use to justify their support for actions taken against Libya, and that I can assure my Serbian friends in East Oxford that you understand their concerns, and will do your best to protect them from unjustified condemnation.

With warm regards,

Thomas Tait

There is exactly one subject, and one place, whose narrative is immune to evidence — no matter how much of it accumulates, no matter how recently, no matter how prominently. That subject and place is the former Yugoslavia. Indeed, even in the face of daily — nay, hourly — reports of the badness that Albanians, Bosnian Muslims, and the unreformed Nazi populace of Croatia are up to (and were found to be up to at the time), the dated and debunked but still designated villain is trotted out on cue for utilization in whatever current context requires him. And the obsolete official truth is always left unperturbed and untainted.

Regardless of more recent findings, testimonies, hard evidence, and anecdotal evidence provided by clear world trends, none of it ever causes a questioning — from ANYONE, EVER — of the original Western premises, positions and policies, still in effect and still wreaking havoc. Only the fast-fading organs story came close. The Balkans chapter is to remain suspended out of context, uninterpretable by trends or rationality which apply to all other subjects and places; no critical thinking (i.e. obvious thoughts) allowed. Or else Bosnia and Kosovo won’t have been “successes”; the Muslim genocide industry would be jeopardized; policy would have to be reevaluated; prominent journalists would be exposed and Pulitzers would have to be revoked; and a lot of Western politicians and generals alike would have to be brought up on war crimes charges. And lost would be the following refuge of Islam-critical pundits: “I’m not anti-Muslim! Look — I supported the Muslims against the Christians in the 90s!” (Clue to the clueless: It’ll still serve if you revise to “But I supported the Muslims against the Christians in the 90s, even though I was wrong.”)

No matter what we learn about what these people are — whether an Albanian kills U.S. soldiers in Frankfurt, a Bosnian massacres Americans in Salt Lake City, or Croatians brandish swastikas at the Australian Open while punching and spitting at a photographer and menacing fans with flares — all the world complies in not questioning whether we didn’t get something backwards along the way.

To cite just one random example, here is an excerpt from an article published in the days following the release of Dick Marty’s organ report:

Hilmi Gashi, a member of Switzerland’s 200,000 strong Kosovan diaspora…said the Kosovo community was “a little bit annoyed” about the report, especially coming shortly after a survey showing the unpopularity of Albanians in Switzerland and the vote on deporting foreign criminals… “They say [the report] is trying to change the roles of victim and perpetrator…” Gashi added, referring to crimes committed by the former Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic against ethnic Albanians during the 1998-99 war.

So in the 12 years since the intervention, which have allowed Europeans to get a more intimate sense of Albanians, the latter have proved “unpopular.” But whatever the traits and activities causing their unpopularity, don’t let them cause you to invert the inverted roles of good guy and bad guy.

As for Albanians being unpopular in the Diaspora, one wonders why the Serbs whom they originally invaded were supposed to get along with them so much better — though they did. And still do.

MP Andrew Smith, of the Labour Party, was decent enough to send the following response to Thomas:

Dear Thomas,

Thanks for this. I do well understand your concerns. Over the years, I have had a number of contacts with local people from the Serbian community, and do believe I understand their perspective and experience.

Before the whole Yugoslav tragedy unfolded, I met a number of constituents of Serbian background at Westminster, and it was all too clear what was likely to happen following the precipitate recognition of Slovenia. (If Slovenia can unilaterally secede from Yugoslavia, why can’t Srbska secede from Bosnia-Herzegovina? Etc). Now, many awful things, war crimes indeed, were carried out in the wars that followed, and some Serbs were amongst the worst perpetrators; but the brutality and criminality was as you say also carried out by others, including Croatians and Bosnians, but because of the way Milosevic exploited the situation, a disproportionate share of blame became associated with Serbia, when in fact of course ordinary Serbs had few ways of exerting influence; then there was the whole issue of Kosovo, where again a very one-sided perspective took root in the western media and political establishment. So I hope you will appreciate I do have some understanding of this and can sympathise with how people of Serb origin must feel as a result of the “demonization” you describe. I agree with you that it is wrong to brand whole people for the crimes of a few.

I suppose the best hope for the future is that over time there will be a new generation of leaders in the Balkan states, closer co-operation between them, closer relations in Europe, as well as the bringing to justice of war criminals. An important part of the reconciliation will need to be at the people-to-people level – as happened between French and Germans after the Second World War; this is the way to try and ensure the enmities of the past do not contaminate the future.

I will do what I can. If there are any specific points on all of this which you would like me to put to government ministers, I should of course be happy to do so.

Best wishes

Andrew

Thomas and I are still trying to find the transcripts from the program where “Not-at-Albright” said the bit about keeping her fingers crossed that the KLA wouldn’t commit any headline-making atrocities before she could get Serbia bombed, but Thomas adds that in the same interview she “described how she used bobbles and fashion to impress other diplomats — it was hard not to wretch when listening to her.” In the meantime, another BBC transcript of interest came to our attention. I close with an abridged version of it, my comments and bolding interspersed.

“MORAL COMBAT : NATO AT WAR”
A BBC2 special, 9pm Sunday 12 March 2000
Reporter Allan Little

ALAN LITTLE
It is almost a year since NATO went to war in Europe.

Kosovo, November last year. Five months after NATO won its war to end the oppression of one group by another, a Serbian family drove, by chance, into a crowd celebrating Albanian Independence Day.

Anonymous woman
This group flipped over the car, set the gas tank on fire, the car started to burn, so my parents had a choice either to burn alive in the car or to get out. These bunch of people just grabbed them and started to hit them with fists, punched them, with metal bars with everything … the rest were just standing watching and cheering. It was a lot of people, it was a big crowd. They were determined to kill them. And then somebody shot my father.

LITTLE
Her father died instantly. His wife and her mother were beaten to unconsciousness. One British UN police officer saw the mob make murder part of their festivities.

BERNIE COWAN
UN POLICE
It was like a victory for them, the fact that this - they were celebrating their independence [sic] for the first time for so many years - this was like the icing on the cake for them and you could see it in their faces.

LITTLE
Vengeance has been unleashed in Kosovo - in streets patrolled by NATO troops.

BERNIE COWAN
That night I just thought these are three innocent Serbian people. Just how could they do that to three innocent people?

Just how? Just the way they’d been doing it all along. Indeed, when a designated victim kills so easily, and with relish, one might question whether they hadn’t been practiced in the art all along. But no. No questions allowed.

LITTLE
Dragoslav Besic was a professor of civil engineering who’d taught at the Universities of Oxford and Berkeley.

Anonymous woman
It was basically a highlight of their celebration. It was a lynch. It was not an ordinary killing.

BERNIE COWAN
They were chanting UCK! I found out, later on, through one of the interpreters, that they had
been chanting: “three more Serbs dead”.

LITTLE
UCK is Albanian for KLA, the Kosovo Liberation Army. The KLA hold the whip hand here now. There is a state of lawlessness that grew directly out of the manner of Kosovo’s liberation. The KLA sprang from the desperation of a brutally oppressed [sic: ambitious] people for whom peaceful resistance had failed. The war in neighbouring Bosnia taught them the value of a resort to the gun. Even the children understand it. [And even the children are armed.]

VETON SURROI
KOSOVO ALBANIAN POLITICAL LEADER
There is a message that is being sent to the Kosovars - if you want to draw international attention you have to fight for it. That is exactly it. You need to use violence to achieve your goals.

LITTLE
From the remote wooded hillsides of rural Kosovo, they embarked on a strategy to draw the world’s most powerful military alliance into their struggle. They began in the villages from which they sprang, a shadowy civilian militia force emerging from - and melting back into - the civilian population that sustained them. They aimed to make the roads that held Kosovo together too dangerous for the Serb forces to control them. [As they’ve now made the roads too dangerous for NATO and UN to patrol.]

DUGI GORANI
KOSOVO ALBANIAN DELEGATE
It was a hit and run strategy, done usually by very small groups of three to four people and the aim of these ambushes was to promote themselves.

GENERAL NEBOJSA PAVKOVIC
COMMANDER, YUGOSLAV ARMY IN KOSOVO
We saw the KLA as a serious threat as something which could endanger the Yugoslav army.

LITTLE
They began to ambush Serb patrols, killing policemen, then disappearing as rapidly as they had struck, an invisible Commando force. Serb casualties mounted. Would the West see them as victims of terrorism, or of legitimate peoples’ uprising?

JAMIE RUBIN
US ASST SECRETARY OF STATE
Killing postmen or killing Serb civilians in cold blood - those are terrorist acts that we do believe were wrong and unfortunately that was what the KLA was pursuing at the time.

LITTLE
It was a calculated but dangerous gamble. The KLA’s political leader Hashim Thaqi now admits that he knew the Serbs would retaliate against innocent civilians.

HASIM THACI
KLA LEADER
Any armed action we undertook would bring retaliation against civilians. We knew we were endangering a great number of civilian lives.

LITTLE
Their desperate calculation was to draw the world into Kosovo’s feud.

DUGI GORANI
KOSOVO ALBANIAN NEGOTIATOR
The more civilians were killed, the chances of international intervention became bigger, and the KLA of course realised that. There was this foreign diplomat who once told me ‘Look unless you pass the quota of five thousand deaths you’ll never have anybody permanently present in Kosovo from the foreign diplomacy.

[Similarly, recall the Bosnian-Muslim police chief of Srebrenica “telling a Dutch TV station that Clinton had promised [Bosnian president] Izetbegovic NATO military intervention against the Serbs as far back as 1993 if at least 5,000 Muslims could be killed in Srebrenica.”]

LITTLE
The western world was still haunted by a profound collective guilt: it knew it had waited too long to intervene [sic: to help kill infidels] in Bosnia. Now one woman resolved not to make the same mistake again.

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT
US SECRETARY OF STATE
I believed in the ultimate power, the goodness of the power of the allies and led by the United States. We were dealing which such a basic evil, that could not be tolerated.

LITTLE
…In the west, many came to believe that the lessons of Bosnia could now be applied to the very different circumstances of Kosovo…On March 5th 1998, Serb forces began an action that illustrated that very point of view. They attacked the home of a leading KLA commander called Adem Jashari, in the stronghold of Prekaz. The Serbs regarded this as legitimate anti-terrorist policing. It was the start of a brutal campaign that would lose them Kosovo.

VILLAGER
About six o’clock or seven o’clock in the morning we just saw about two thousand or two hundred soldiers or police, they were coming up…

LITTLE
As their home was being destroyed even the Jashari children understood the value of appealing to the world. As though heirs to an ancient tradition of epic tale telling. [And this tall tale was EPIC.]

NEBOJSA PAVKOVIC
COMMANDER, YUGOSLAV ARMY IN KOSOVO
There was a standard police operation in that village, I don’t know all the details. I know it involved the arrest of a notorious criminal, someone condemned for criminal offences. And that it was successfully executed. I don’t remember the other details.

LITTLE
These are the details he doesn’t care to remember. Fifty three members of the Jashari family were killed. What were KLA ambushes compared to this? Albanian leaders appealed to the wider world.

“Fifty three members” of a prominent Muslim-Albanian terrorist family were killed. Doesn’t that just pull at your heart strings? “What were KLA ambushes compared to this?” I think one might call them the reason. What’s better, Americans: Dead police, or 53 dead members of a terrorist cop-killing family? Take your time figuring that one out. Let’s not even go into the number 53, demonstrating the simultaneous demographic war that was in progress to help take over the area.

As Kristian Khars, a Norwegian former NATO officer in Kosovo who recently apologized to the Serbs, admits: Not only does even Wikipedia no longer accept that there was a massacre in Račak (it’s now called “Operation Račak” instead of the “Racak Massacre,” but “the operation against Adem Jashari was also legitimate…” (See “The first KLA armed groups in the region of Drenica were led by Adem Jashari of Donji Prekaz, and the membership was composed mainly of his close and distant relatives, usually persons prone to violent behavior and petty crime.”) Check out some of these Jashari family members!

And what were 53 family members doing at the Jashari “home”? Here’s a clue: the “home” was a compound, a veritable fortress, with guns blazing — guns being something that, as the reporter explained above, “even the children” understood the value of. Which helps explain some of the “civilian” deaths that occurred:

VETON SURROI
KOSOVO ALBANIAN POLITICAL LEADER
As soon as we got the photographs we put them on the internet because that was the most horrendous thing we had seen until then. Kids, shot dead, were images of a war that people needed to see. We were shocked and we thought that other people needed to see this because this was getting out of control.

LITTLE
Four days later, foreign ministers from allied countries met at Lancaster House in London: The ghosts of Bosnia were there too. [Whatever.]

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT
Not only was it a deja-vu about the subject generally, but we were in the same room that we had been in during Bosnian discussions. I thought it behooved me to say to my colleagues that we could not repeat the kinds of mistakes that had happened over Bosnia, where there was a lot of talk and no action and that history would judge us very, very severely.

ROBIN COOK
FOREIGN SECRETARY
She was very vigorous in making it clear that we had to prevent Milosevic from repeating in Kosovo what he had attempted to do in Bosnia. [i.e. that we had to repeat in Kosovo the war propaganda we did in Bosnia.]

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT
I think I probably seemed quite harsh to my colleagues. But I decided it was worth it.

LITTLE
…Milosevic regarded the KLA as a terrorist organisation funded by drug barons. [sic: The KLA was a terrorist organization founded on and funded by drugs.] But the US wanted to reach out to them. Richard Holbrooke - the US envoy who’d brokered Bosnia’s peace deal - went to seek them out.

RICHARD HOLBROOKE
We got into this Albanian village, we met with the village leader and as we were meeting with him seated in his living room upstairs, on the floor , Albanian style a guy sat down, wedged himself in between him and me cradling his Kalishnikov. This guy was very good at photo ops and he got photographed with me. He understood how to handle the world media beautifully and this photograph became the first official photograph of an American official with a member of the KLA. Snap!

GENERAL NEBOJSA PAVKOVIC
COMMANDER, YUGOSLAV ARMY IN KOSOVO
When the official ambassador of another country arrives here, ignores state officials, but holds a meeting with the Albanian terrorists, then it’s quite clear they are getting support.

RICHARD HOLBROOKE
Albanians were very encouraged.

LITTLE
With renewed confidence that the world was now at last taking heed, the KLA made astonishing advances[.] From countryside strongholds they now held major cities in their sights. In the city of Pec, half the population was Serb. The rise of the KLA terrified them. Pec is the home of Serbian Orthodox Christianity. They call it the cradle of Serb identity.

They were terrified because they, in contrast, did know what the KLA are, and had been their victims all along. Today, about 40 remain, huddled in a 12th-century monastery, plus a few token families that were returned in a 2006 project, whom the KLA were instructed to protect to show how Kosovo allows Serbs back.

FATHER MIRJLKO KORICANIN
PARISH PRIEST, PEC
Serbs could not move around freely during the day, let alone at night. Our youth couldn’t stay out after 10pm. We panicked if they weren’t back on time.

LT GENERAL MIKE SHORT
COMMANDER, ALLIED AIR FORCES
…We had just sat down when Milosevic leaned forward without any small talk or breaking of the ice and leaned forward and said ‘So you are the man who is going to bomb me’. And I will admit that I was stunned.

LITTLE
Milosevic agreed to an immediate cease-fire. He agreed to allow international observers into Kosovo and to limit his troop numbers.
It seemed that the threat of force had worked…

LITTLE
…A senior American diplomat was summoned to the State Department. The head of the political office made him an offer that surprised and offended him.

WILLIAM WALKER
HEAD, KOSOVO VERIFICATION MISSION
I remember thinking to myself he can’t be serious sending me to Kosovo. I’m a very senior career officer. How could Kosovo be important enough to require my services?

LITTLE
The cease-fire agreement made it important enough. In October Walker was received by Milosevic. His job was to make sure that Milosevic’s forces complied with the cease-fire. He set up the headquarters of the Kosovo Verification Mission in the capital Pristina. It was conceived as an independent, international body. But Walker had spent a life time loyally serving the US State Department. He saw the world from Washington’s perspective.

RICHARD HOLBROOKE
The selection of Bill Walker was made by the Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. She knew him.. and made the choice herself.

CAPTAIN ROLAND KEITH
KOSOVO VERIFICATION MISSION
Ambassador Walker was not just working for the OSCE. He was part of the American diplomatic policy that was occurring which had vilified Slobodan Milosevic, demonised the Serbian Administration and generally was providing diplomatic support to the UCK or the KLA leadership.

LITTLE
Walker’s cease-fire monitors drove round Kosovo in brightly-coloured orange vehicles. Their job was to watch as Milosevic withdrew his police and returned his troops to barracks. In the beginning, he complied. The German General Klaus Naumann had helped broker the cease-fire deal[.]

GENERAL KLAUS NAUMANN
CHAIRMAN, NATO MILITARY COMMITTEE
He really did what we asked him to do, he withdrew within 48 hrs some 6,000 police officers and the military back into the barracks. This was also confirmed by the OSCE Verification Mission.

LITTLE
…Where the Serbs withdrew, the KLA moved forward, filling the vacuum. For the cease-fire agreement had a fatal flaw. It was one sided. It had required nothing verifiable from the KLA.

GENERAL AGIM CEKU
KLA MILITARY LEADER
The cease-fire was very useful for us, it helped us to get organised, to consolidate and grow.

WOLFGANG PETRITSCH
EU SPECIAL ENVOY TO KOSOVO
They were really growing ever stronger from day to day, and there was nobody to really stop them.

GENERAL AGIM CEKU
KLA MILITARY LEADER
We aimed to spread our units over as much territory as possible, we wanted KLA units and cells across the whole of Kosovo.

LITTLE
At Podujevo, in the north of Kosovo, the KLA now filled the very positions the Serbs had vacated. The pattern was repeated across the province. William Walker’s Deputy was a British General. He and his colleagues could see what the KLA was doing, but had no means of stopping or even discouraging it.

MAJ GEN JOHN DREWIENKIEWICZ
KOSOVO VERIFICATION MISSION
The Kosovo Liberation Army infiltrated forward.

WOLFGANG PETRITSCH
EU SPECIAL ENVOY TO KOSOVO
The KLA basically came back into its old positions that they held before the summer offensive.

MAJ GEN JOHN DREWIENKIEWICZ
KOSOVO VERIFICATION MISSION
And this started to be a factor in dealing with the Serbs. Because the Serbs said to us, well hang on, the deal was that we withdrew from these things, and you were going to police the agreement. So can you just get these Kosovo Liberation Army out of the trenches that we were in a month ago?

LITTLE
But they couldn’t. At NATO headquarters there was growing disquiet. We’ve obtained confidential minutes of the North Atlantic Council or NAC, NATO’s governing body. They talk of the KLA as “the main initiator of the violence and state…” It has launched what appears to be a deliberate campaign of provocation”. This is how William walker himself reported the situation then, in private[.]

GENERAL KLAUS NAUMANN
CHAIRMAN, NATO MILITARY COMMITTEE
Ambassador Walker stated in the NAC that the majority of violations was caused by the KLA.

LITTLE
Walker didn’t admit that in public at the time. He still doesn’t.

WILLIAM WALKER, HEAD KOSOVO VERIFICATION MISSION

Q: You told the North Atlantic Council that it was the KLA side who were largely responsible.

A: I would have to go back and re-read my notes. I don’t remember. Most of the briefings I gave to the North Atlantic Council was that both sides were in non-compliance. Both sides were doing things that were wrong. Obviously it was easier to point at the government.

LITTLE
With US backing for the KLA now barely concealed, Milosevic sent the army back into action to clear the KLA out of Podujevo. The doomed procession to war with NATO had begun. The KLA continued to smuggle arms over mountain passes from Albania. Albanian civilians were press ganged into service.
Before dawn on the fifteenth of December, they walked into a well prepared Serbian ambush. Most of those taken by surprise fled back into Albania. But 31 Albanian men were killed. Later on the same day in an apparent act of revenge, what remained of ethnic co-existence in the city of Pec nearby, was to be torn apart. A group of hooded, masked men drove up to this bar which was popular with young Serbs.

LAZAR OBRADOVIC
The doors opened and then we heard the machine gun fire.

LITTLE
Lazar’s teenage son, Ivan, was in the bar. He was a bright and promising school boy, who’d come top of his class..

LAZAR OBRADOVIC
It was a horrifying sight. We tried to help those that were still moving. There was blood everywhere. Ivan didn’t stand a chance. He was sitting right by the door. So he was the first one to be hit.

FATHER MIRJLKO KORICANIN
PARISH PRIEST, PEC
The situation in Pec became unbearable. The Serbs couldn’t stand the Albanians because they had killed 6 children. And the Albanians couldn’t stand the Serbs. Nobody knew what would happen next.

LITTLE
Walker condemned both the ambush on the border and the killings in the bar in equal measure.

WILLIAM WALKER
HEAD, KOSOVO VERIFICATION MISSION
It really looked like this was a tit for tat again. KLA hearing about their people being killed up on the border had done this in Pec.

WILLIAM WALKER

Q: There is a huge difference, isn’t there, between people killed in a legitimate military exchange and a bunch of hooded unknowns walking into a bar and killing some teenagers..?

A: I think the point is, we really didn’t know what had happened in Pec. Yes the government was saying it was KLA gangsters who had come in and sprayed this bar. When you don’t know what has happened, it’s a lot more difficult to sort of pronounce yourself.

LITTLE
One month later Walker was to break this rule to spectacular effect. He pronounced himself with absolute certainty about a massacre that occurred here, in the village of Racak. Even now, more than a year on, important questions about what happened here remain unanswered. This is the story of that massacre, of the political uses to which it was put, of how it galvanised the west to go to war, and of the pivotal role played by William Walker. There is nothing remarkable about Racak. Except that by January 1999, the KLA had moved in, most of the villagers had fled, and trenches had been dug on the edge of the village.

PAULA GHEDINI
UN REFUGEE AGENCY
We encountered many villages where the villagers themselves told us in very clear terms that they would prefer to be left completely alone. Often times they felt that if a KLA group were to come into their village, that would put them under greater threat.

LITTLE
From camouflaged positions near Racak the KLA launched well prepared hit and run strikes against Serb patrols. In early January, they killed four Serb policemen.


LITTLE
International observers watched from safe high ground as Serb forces took control of the village. They moved from house to house. Most were empty. The KLA had gone. When the Serb forces pulled out in the afternoon, they announced they’d killed 15 KLA men in action. The international monitors entered the village and reported nothing unusual. Only next morning did the full force of Serb retaliation become apparent [sic: staged]. William Walker went to see for himself.

WILLIAM WALKER
We progressed up the hill and about every 15 or 20 yards there was another body as we kept going up the hill, and I don’t know how many bodies we passed before we got to a pile of bodies.

LITTLE
By the time Walker arrived the KLA had retaken control of Racak[.]

Walker [archive]
The facts as verified by KVM include evidence of arbitrary detentions, extra-judicial killings, and the mutilation of unarmed civilians [sic: forensics found that mutilation was done post-mortem; staged] of Albanian ethnic origin in the village of Racak by the MUP and VJ.

LITTLE
In other words, he blamed the Serbian police and the Yugoslav army. Walker was supposed to be an independent international official. But did he seek direct instruction now from the Americans?

WILLIAM WALKER
Without calling any of my capitals I told what I thought I had seen, which was the end result of a massacre.

RICHARD HOLBROOKE
William Walker, the head of the Kosovo Verification Mission, called me on a cell phone from Racak.

WILLIAM WALKER
Q. But you don’t remember calling Washington at all?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK
SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER EUROPE
I got a call from Bill Walker. He said there’s a massacre. I’m standing here. I can see the bodies.

WILLIAM WALKER

(No reply to question)

Q: And you didn’t speak to Gen Clark or anybody like that?

LITTLE
Walker’s comments gave America the green light to enter Kosovo’s war. The KLA had pulled in it’s mighty ally.


DUGI GORANI
KOSOVO ALBANIAN NEGOTIATOR
With Racak, and with lots of others, the Serbs were playing into KLA hands. It will remain I would say an eternal dilemma whether the KLA initiated these battles in the civilian inhabited areas because it knew that the Serbs will retaliate on them…

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK
Clearly, after Racak, extraordinary measures had to be taken.

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT
It clearly is a galvanising event, and the President really felt that we could then move forward
, make clear that the US was going to be a part of an implementing force.

LITTLE
But Albright knew that the galvanising effect of Racak would not last long. She had to get her European allies on board. She insisted there could be no more diplomacy without the credible threat of force. The Europeans agreed. There would be one last diplomatic effort. The mesmerising splendour of the Chateau Rambouillet near Paris became the most luxurious last chance saloon in diplomatic history? Would the grandeur of Rambouillet beguile and seduce old foes to reconciliation?

DUGI GORANI
KOSOVO ALBANIAN DELEGATE
We became used to rare wines. We became used to delicious and I suspect tremendously expensive French specialities. We became used to a luxury which the main aim was to see us taking up a pencil and signing a piece of paper. So luxury was there, everything was there: you just sign the damned document.

LITTLE
As the delegates arrived, the last ditch nature of the talks became clear. The atmosphere was tense, it was the first time these old enemies had sat in the same room. The Europeans, some reluctant converts to the threat of force, earnestly pressed for an agreement both the Serbs and the Albanians could accept. But the Americans were more sceptical. They had come to Rambouillet with an alternative outcome in mind.

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT
If the Serbs would not agree, and the Albanians would agree, then there was a very clear cause for using force.

LITTLE
The Europeans clung to the formal purpose of the talks - an agreement by both sides.

JAMIE RUBIN
Obviously, publicly, we had to make clear we were seeking an agreement, but privately we knew the chances of the Serbs agreeing were quite small.

LITTLE
The Serbs did not object to the political aspects of the peace plan - including wide ranging autonomy for Kosovo. But their delegation refused even to consider the military part - a NATO peace implementation force. [Occupation.]

GENERAL NEBOJSA PAVKOVIC
They would have unlimited rights of movement and deployment, little short of occupation. Nobody could accept it.

LITTLE
Focus now shifted to the Albanian delegation. They’d elected the young and inexperienced KLA man [sic: former petty thief and budding mobster] Hashim Thaci as their leader. The entire delegation urged him to accept. But he refused because the agreement on offer did not include a referendum on independence.

DUGI GORANI
Thaci was really blunt to the delegation stating that look this document this actual presentation is completely unacceptable.

VETON SURROI
He used language which could be threat.. could be understood as threatening.

DUGI GORANI
And whoever signs it now, I would treat him or consider him as the enemy of the nation. [Paraphrasing Thaci]

The following sentence in a summary of a BBC documentary film elaborates: “A KLA commander tells how he threatened to blow up his own delegation to the Ramboulliet peace conference if they signed an agreement which didn’t secure Kosovo independence.”

LITTLE
It was a graphic illustration of the power the gun now wielded among the Kosovar Albanians. Thaqi’s intimidation of his fellow delegates did not stop a warm relationship developing between him and his international sponsors.

JAMIE RUBIN
He was somebody who was a younger member of the delegation more my age and so there was a certain natural rapport. I think I used to tease him a little bit about how he might look good in a Hollywood movie and I think he appreciated that sort of basic teasing back and forth.

LITTLE
Thaqi did not respond to this flattery. The Americans sent for their diplomatic big gun. Madeleine Albright arrived on St Valentine’s Day. She was absolutely focussed on getting a yes from Thaqi. She spent four days wooing him…Deadlines came and went, Thaqi still held out[.]

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT
I must say I was unbelievably frustrated. We needed clarity then and there.

VETON SURROI
She was saying you sign, the Serbs don’t sign, we bomb. You sign, the Serbs sign, you have NATO in. So it’s up to you to say. You don’t sign, the Serbs don’t sign, we forget about the subject[;] it was very explicit.

LITTLE
It took three weeks, but America’s chief diplomat got there in the end. The Serbs said no. The Albanians, finally, said yes…

CAPTAIN ROLAND KEITH
KOSOVO VERIFICATION MISSION
There was a lot of disquiet as our very lengthy convoys of international orange vehicles motored out of the province. I guess foreboding of what was coming next. I personally felt frustration, betrayal? Yes to some extent.

RICHARD HOLBROOKE
We [Milosevic and Holbrooke] sat alone in this vast white palace surrounded by Rembrandts or fake Rembrandts who knows, and we were totally alone and I said “You understand what will happen when I leave here?” and he said very flatly, no emotion, Milosevic said “Yeah, you’re gonna bomb us, you’re a big powerful country, you can do anything you want”. And I said “Well that’s it Mr President I have to go now”. And there was dead silence in this room where there had rarely been silence. And he said as we walked out “I wonder if I’ll ever see you again”. And I said “Well that depends on your actions Mr President”. And we shook hands and that was it. The bombing started twenty nine hours later.

[Fast-forward to mid-hostilities…]

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK
It wasn’t a War. There was no declaration of War. It wasn’t legally a War…And I don’t think there was a single member government of NATO that sought to go to war with Slobodan Milosevic.

LITTLE
All out war came to Belgrade on April 3rd - Day 11. NATO hit the Interior Ministry, the campaign headquarters of Kosovo’s ethnic cleansers. For the head of the air campaign, the real war had finally begun. But it was to prove a false start.

LITTLE
That difficulty came from France. Paris claimed not to have been consulted. President Chirac was furious to learn of the attack only afterwards. He and his foreign minister determined they would be consulted from now on.

LT GENERAL MIKE SHORT
For strategic reasons and, quite frankly, for signal reasons, I wanted to strike what had become called the rock ‘n roll bridge, the bridge that the Serbs were dancing on during the campaign to demonstrate their defiance. I wanted to bring that bridge down, and by one country we were denied the ability to strike that bridge. And in fact, what was relayed to me was that, the leadership of that country had said “Don’t even ask”.

Q: Which country?

A: It was France.

HUBERT VEDRINE
FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER
We tried hard to avoid targets affecting the economic life of the country, in other words people’s day-to-day lives in the most fundamental sense.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK
Nations beginning to ask us, in the region, said please get rid of Serb Television it’s just a huge propaganda weapon for Milosevic, its the way he maintains command and control. It’s a legitimate military target you need to disable this. And so we looked at a number of different techniques that could have been used to disable it. We finally concluded that the best way to do it was to bomb it.

LITTLE
RTS pictures were beamed around the world. Western television journalists in Belgrade used them too.

LITTLE
The American network CNN was based in the RTS building itself.

LITTLE
When these pictures hit western television screens they became a real threat to NATO’s ability to sustain the war. Whenever NATO made mistakes Western journalists were taken to film civilian casualties. At Djakovica, the allies bombed a convoy of Albanian refugees, wrongly believing it to be a Serbian military column, RTS pictures had an impact around the world.

ALESSIO VINCI
CNN, BELGRADE
…It was also a time when NATO started making the first mistakes, hitting civilian areas, and RTS was obviously prominently showing that… they were concentrating 99.9 per cent of their coverage on the mistakes or so-called mistakes that NATO would do…..and of course we were using those pictures because they were the only pictures that we had available.

TONY BLAIR
This was one of the problems about waging a conflict in a modern communications and news world…we were aware that there would be pictures coming back, the convoys were the, in many ways the worst of the refugees, that were hit by NATO bombs. We were aware that those pictures would come back, and there would be an instinctive sympathy for the, for the victims of the campaign.

LITTLE
RTS journalists openly taunted the west.

Newsreader
Let Clark take a shot, we are waiting for him. Our address is 10 Tarkovska street, I wont give you the co-ordinates, you’ll have to work them out yourselves.

ALESSIO VINCI
CNN, BELGRADE
And then at some point we were told that it was better to just leave the building altogether, because the risk of staying there, even during the day was too high because NATO had started 24-hour bombing, and that there was no way to find out when exactly RTS may get bombed.

LITTLE
Although the foreign journalists had pulled out local technicians continued to work their nightshifts. Kasenja Bankovic was among them. She believed that if the building was to be bombed the RTS bosses would warn the staff in advance.

BORKA BANKOVIC
I had the crazed look of a person searching through a crowd. Someone asked, Madam, was someone you know working here tonight? I said yes, my daughter.

LITTLE
Ksenija Bankovic and fifteen others, mostly technicians, died. When Belgrade woke the next morning, RTS was triumphantly back on the air. They were re-running the interrupted Milosevic interview. RTS had made a contingency plan in the event of bombing. It did not include evacuating their own staff [which of course would have required knowing when one was to be bombed].

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK
We knew that when we struck it there would be an alternate means of getting out the Serb television. There’s no single switch to turn off everything. But we thought it was a good move to strike it and the political leadership agreed with us[.]

BORKA BANKOVIC
This was an outrage. I can’t just condemn RTS and say NATO was right, because NATO killed my child and RTS were accomplices. NATO is the murderer.

LITTLE
American stealth bombers flew missions directly from bases inside the united states. The French government accused the Americans of flying unilateral bombing raids of their own outside the NATO command structure.

HUBERT VEDRINE
All the countries in the Atlantic Alliance acted as part of NATO, with full discussion about what to target, but the US was also carrying out a separate American operation. They deployed national forces, with a national decision-taking mechanism commanded from the US, and the European allies did not know about these other actions.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK
With all due respect the French foreign minister that’s incorrect.

Q: Why would he say it?

A: It’s incorrect I am not going to speculate on his motives. I can simply tell you it’s not correct. I commanded all assets and all assets were integrated into the NATO plan.

LITTLE
NATO had sent twelve thousand troops to neighbouring Macedonia, to go into Kosovo only once Milosevic had agreed to a peace deal. Britain now argued that they could be turned into a ground invasion force.

TONY BLAIR
I became convinced that we had to have that option there, and I became convinced even more so once I had visited NATO and sat down and talked to the guys who were fighting the campaign.

LITTLE
Clinton told Blair that NATO would not be allowed to lose. Blair took this to mean that US troops would be committed if needed.

LITTLE
But in the Pentagon there was intense opposition. When General Clark took a ground invasion plan to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he was cold shouldered.

LITTLE
The American military was closing off Blair’s ground option. Instead, the alliance stepped up the bombing campaign. Graphite bombs cut off the electricity. The targets were no longer purely military.

GENERAL LEONID IVASHEV
RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY
NATO, led by the USA, was flouting all the principles of international law. These principles had been in place since World War Two.

[Fast-forward to the Russian-brokered peace plan]

PRESIDENT MARTTI AHTISAARI
EU PEACE ENVOY
Both [Chernomyrdin] and I didn’t believe for a moment that we could get agreement in Belgrade…We went to the guest house where [Milosevic] was waiting….I actually read the peace offer, and he said “can we have a copy?”. They got it, and then they asked me if they could start improving the proposal. I said, unfortunately not, that this is as good as we can come up with, and if we can’t agree on this, then the next offer will be worse than this, from your point of view.

LITTLE
NATO had agreed [to] two key compromises.

PRESIDENT MARTTI AHTISAARI
For them I think the important points were the whole thing would happen under UN auspices and secondly that Kosovo would remain a part of Yugoslavia. That made the deal acceptable to the Russians. It also gave Milosevic something that had not been on offer before the bombing started: a UN mandate. There was a sort of sigh of relief, and I congratulated Chernomyrdin, and hugged him in a brotherly fashion.

LITTLE
But the relief was premature. The Russian military had expected their own sector of Kosovo, independent of NATO. They now felt double crossed.

GENERAL LEONID IVASHEV
RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY
I felt as if I were the defeated one. That was the feeling I had, as if I myself had been defeated. I felt that evil was triumphing over good.

LITTLE
They decided to try to take what they had been denied. Russian troops stationed in Bosnia rolled towards Kosovo.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK
They had informally conveyed information that they might be an advance party for an airborne operation that would go into Pristina Airfield and potentially partition the country.

LITTLE
There was a way to stop the Russians. In a Macedonian cornfield, Clark put five hundred British and French paratroopers on immediate standby to launch an air-borne assault. But Clark’s British subordinate told him the plan risked sparking World War Three.

LT GEN SIR MICHAEL JACKSON
COMMANDER, KOSOVO FORCE
We were standing into a possibility - let me put it no more strongly than that – a possibility of confrontation with the Russian contingent, which seemed to me probably not the right way to start off a relationship with Russians who were going to become part of my command.

LITTLE
British and French objections thwarted Clark’s plan. The two hundred Russian troops passed through Kosovo and were greeted as liberating heroes by local Serbs. They took the airport unopposed. The world watched nervously. The Russians were planning to fly in thousands of paratroopers, who would then cut Kosovo in half, leaving Milosevic in control of the North…Clark asked neighbouring countries to try to stop Russian aircraft flying towards Kosovo. The Rumanian defence minister took great pleasure in warning Moscow not to try to fly over his country.

LITTLE
June 12th 1999, Force Entry Day, with the agreement of Slobodan Milosevic, fifty thousand NATO troops entered Yugoslavia at last. They went more in relief than in triumph…

LITTLE
The Kosovo Liberation Army recruited NATO to its cause. An old injustice [sic] was defeated here. But NATO’s moral war rewarded those who took up arms.

RICHARD HOLBROOKE
I don’t believe that any of the liberation forces, or guerrilla forces of our lifetime moved more rapidly, or more successfully, from total obscurity to international standing and recognition than the Kosovo Liberation Army[.]

LITTLE
The Serbs that remain live in ghettos now. At Gorazdevac, near Pec, six hundred Italians stand between them and the vengeance [sic: continued violence] of their old neighbours. The war started as a moral
crusade to end such intolerance. But in the end it wasn’t about morality. It wasn’t even about Kosovo. It was about saving NATO from collapse.

TONY BLAIR
The bottom line was we couldn’t lose. If we lost, it’s not just that we would have failed in our strategic objective; failed in terms of the moral purpose - we would have dealt a devastating blow to the credibility of NATO and the world would have been less safe as a result of that.

Of course, as we all know, the war itself is what dealt a devastating blow to the credibility of NATO, and the world is far less safe as a result of that war, and of NATO’s designs for this world.

LITTLE
And NATO’s leaders did not know, when they led us into it [the war], that [NATO’s credibility] is what they were jeopardising. How closely they courted catastrophe, or how hollow the moral victory amid the ruins of a Kosovo where the oppressed, once liberated, themselves oppress.

But, like Glenn Beck said in February 2008 upon Kosovo’s illegal secession flouting the international agreements cited herein, “Who cares about Kosovo?!”

An article last week in Foreign Policy magazine makes some key points. I’m excerpting them below:

Thug Life

Think Mubarak was bad? Kosovo’s leaders are accused of being organ-smuggling, drug-dealing goons — and the United States is looking the other way.

BY WHIT MASON AND BRONWYN HEALY-AARONS | FEBRUARY 17, 2011

…While the United States grappled with its inability (whether for lack of a fulcrum or fear of meddling) to use leverage to remove the regimes in Tunis and Cairo, it actually does have the power to affect change and promote transparent and accountable governance in Pristina — where a coterie of thuggish leaders, holdovers from a Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) unit accused of war crimes and weapons dealing, now run the country. But, thus far, Washington has been unwilling to exert the necessary pressure on Kosovo’s leaders — and in its impotence pours billions of dollars down the drain and risks condemning the state to thugocracy.

While much has been made of America’s financial support of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime and other autocratic dictatorships in recent weeks, Kosovo’s democracy has received far more direct American aid in recent years — in 2010, Kosovo received more than twice the American bilateral foreign assistance per capita than Egypt. Yet, after more than a decade of immense international investment and the best-resourced humanitarian mission the world has ever seen, Kosovo enters its fourth year of independence amid its own internal turmoil.

…As it turns out, U.S. support for the world’s youngest democracy has been almost as bad for economic security, political stability and democratic principles as backing the globe’s oldest autocracies…But support for Kosovo has been premised on developing a politically stable, democratic country.

In actuality, it has entrenched deep political divisions in an already fragmented government and ensconced an elite that now operates above the law. Having failed to improve Kosovo’s moribund economy and human development indicators, the former-KLA power brokers of the central government have somehow managed to accrue personal wealth vastly out of proportion with their declared activities. Their development and state-building policy has largely consisted of maintaining its own power over institutions of state, security, and law and order.

Until last year, keeping Kosovo stable — or at least appearing so — had been prioritized by the international community over pursuing clear evidence of increasing corruption among senior government officials. But, as the international money poured in throughout 2010, the veneer cracked. A wave of organized crime, war crime, and corruption allegations swept the senior membership of the Kosovo government and the leaderships of its major political parties.

On April 28, 2010, international police raided the offices and home of Transport and Telecommunications Minister Fatmir Limaj in connection with a corruption probe into a €700 million infrastructure project. Suspected of soliciting bribes and laundering up to €2 million from the public purse, the raid on Limaj was the result of a two-year investigation that started shortly after he took office in January 2008. At that point, he had only just returned in September 2007 from his second trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia ICTY — indicted but never convicted of illegal imprisonment, cruel treatment, and inhumane acts during the war with Serbian forces in 1998-1999.

At the time of Limaj’s arrest, the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) announced he was only one of seven ministers being investigated for links to organized crime and corruption in office.

Two months after the raid on Limaj, on July 21, 2010 popular former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj was indicted for a second time by the ICTY to stand trial for war crimes including torture, rape, and crimes against humanity. His application for provisional release was denied and he currently awaits trial in remand at the United Nations Detention Unit in The Hague. On Jan. 31, it was announced that the opposition party he leads from his cell, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, placed fourth in the general election — taking a substantial 11 percent of the vote.

Two days after Haradinaj’s arrest, Kosovo police arrested central bank governor Hashim Rexhepi on charges of corruption, tax evasion, and money laundering.

…Marty’s report identified the leader of Drenica Group as a man called “The Snake” — a.k.a. Hashim Thaqi, who two days earlier had been named prime minister re-elect of the Republic of Kosovo. He has officially taken office in time for Kosovo’s third Independence Day celebrations.

All of the condemned leadership have been quick to accuse the international community of “political lynching,” interfering with domestic affairs of state, and inappropriate investigations into an independent government. Hardly.

In fact, the most disturbing aspect of these events were the revelations that Kosovo’s thugocrats owe their rise and continued impunity to the toleration or outright support of the international community — particularly the United States.

…It was [American officials’] lobbying and support that gave the KLA the legitimacy they needed to transition from armed gang to political powerbrokers.

In 1999, the U.S. endorsement of Thaqi as hero was sealed with a kiss planted on his cheek by then Secretary of State Madeline Albright on her post-intervention visit to Kosovo. In 2004, every American staffer at the U.S. Embassy was invited to attend Haradinaj’s wedding — and, despite his links to organized crime and impending indictment on war crimes, they went. Most recently, the night after the raid on Limaj’s home and offices, U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo Christopher Dell was seen laughing and chatting with the minister at a well-attended party in Pristina.

It is difficult to see how democracy or respect [for] the rule of law could develop and flourish amid such overt displays of American support for a corrupt and criminal leadership. As in Egypt and across the Middle East, this policy of impunity comes at significant cost to the objectives and perceptions of the United States and its Western allies. This backing for Kosovo government officials has undercut efforts to pursue indictments for war crimes and investigate high-level corruption. The war crimes taking place throughout the 1998-1999 conflict and in the immediate aftermath have never been fully investigated — in fact, in some cases they have been covered up.

International judicial experts…allege international political interference stopped some cases from going before a court because “the political ramifications would have been too great.” And only days before the independence celebrations, their accusations were given considerable weight with the leaking of classified U.N. documents that show UNMIK ran an incomplete investigation into the organ trafficking case brought to light by Marty in late 2010. The documents date from 2003 — when UNMIK was in full control of the internal war crimes investigations and prosecutions.

So, that Kosovo holds elections should be small consolation to those in U.S. foreign policy who advocate championing principles over personalities. Democracy has not stopped the West from supporting and installing its preferred leaders in countries of geopolitical strategic importance — local strongmen who hold the tumultuous societies of war-torn countries together with an iron fist rather than a rule of law.

…The first principle in aiding the construction of new democracies must be to support conditions that prevent anyone from operating above the law. Even in a place like Kosovo, where Western influence might seem overwhelming, allowing space for impunity vitiates virtually everything else accomplished by even the most extravagant intervention.

Whit Mason worked for the United Nations in Kosovo and Afghanistan. He is the co-author of Peace at Any Price: How the World Failed Kosovo and editor of The Rule of Law in Afghanistan: Missing in Inaction, to be published in February. Bronwyn Healy-Aarons recently spent six months in Kosovo and is completing a PhD in post-conflict peace-building at the University of New South Wales, Sydney.

(On the point of the disproportionate aid that tiny Kosovo gets, while remaining Europe’s poorest ‘country,’ Freedom House makes the comparison that “since 1999 Kosovo has received 25 times more international aid per capita than Afghanistan. At a donor conference in Brussels in 2008 alone 1.2 billion Euros were raised from 37 countries and 16 international organizations.”)

****UPDATE****

A blogged response on The Conservative American website by Daniel Larison had a few additional good points:

It’s not exactly shocking news for some of us that supporting an independent Kosovo run by terrorists turns out to be a waste of U.S. resources. The article is valuable for reporting on the extent of the criminality and misrule of Kosovo’s new rulers, including war crimes…but going back to before the 1999 war there was good reason to suspect the KLA of most or all of the crimes that their leaders have been committing. Back then, the enthusiasm to support self-determination and to oppose Milosevic was too great, so naturally the solution was to start a war and set up an impoverished statelet run by hoodlums.

The authors note: “As it turns out, U.S. support for the world’s youngest democracy has been almost as bad for economic security, political stability and democratic principles [bold mine-DL] as backing the globe’s oldest autocracies.”

Who would have guessed that? It’s almost as if mindlessly endorsing separatist movements and following abstract Wilsonian principles lead to bad outcomes…The better time to think through all of this was in 1999 and the years immediately following. At the very least, not recognizing Kosovo’s independence would have been wise. Kosovo might still be run by thugs, but they wouldn’t have the seal of approval that comes with being recognized as the elected government of a supposedly sovereign state. The article details at some length the extent to which the U.S. was responsible for empowering and legitimizing the KLA. That is the real legacy of “humanitarian” intervention.

Obviously, it’s too late for undoing critical mistakes, so what can be done now that the U.S. has saddled itself with a criminal gang-dominated dependency? The article makes no recommendations, but I’ll propose one or two to start. The easiest option would be to suspend all aid to the current government. Even if U.S. aid isn’t directly fueling the leadership’s corruption, it is subsidizing a government that is rife with it. Another would be to target the leadership’s financial assets to be frozen, or at least make it more difficult for them to benefit from their illicit profits. The U.S. should also be willing to assist in arresting and transporting indicted leaders to stand trial. Washington is quite directly responsible for the current situation, so there is some obligation for the U.S. to attempt some remedy.

We all understand that Washington probably won’t do any of these things, because propping up Kosovo as an independent state never had much to do with the quality of governance in Kosovo or the well-being of its population. That much was obvious from the beginning of the 1999 war. Bombing and then partitioning Serbia were statements of U.S. power and influence, and Washington isn’t going to be eager to draw attention to how badly all of this turned out.