Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Killing Fields of Kosovo

There was no profound geopolitical rationale for the war that Bill Clinton initiated against Serbia in 1999. The Europeans were unable to contain an ethnic conflict in the Balkans, and needed the United States to screw the lid back onto the pressure cooker.

Mr. Clinton got to burnish his global multilateralist credentials, and the media obliged him with a wealth of grotesquely one-sided propaganda designed to make the Serbs look like bloodthirsty racist demons. It provided justification for the United States and NATO to violate the territory of a sovereign Christian nation on behalf of the Muslims of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) — which was at best a ruthless guerilla force, and at worst a gangster mob with extensive connections to organized crime, Al Qaeda, and other unsavory players throughout Europe and beyond.

Ten years have passed, and the narrative has remained largely unchanged. Nonetheless, there always was another story behind the war in Kosovo, but the media outside Serbia largely failed to report it. The TV news reports set the Serbs up as neo-Nazis and made the KLA look like a brave band of freedom fighters, but that was not the end of the story.

The ethnic Albanians of the KLA were at least as ruthless and bloodthirsty as any of the other armed groups in the Balkans. As soon as UN protection afforded them the opportunity, they ethnically cleansed their territory of Serbs and made a concerted effort to rid Kosovo of every vestige of Christianity.

But it was even worse than that. For a long time the horror stories were restricted to the Serbian and Serb-expat media, and were thus relegated to “fever swamp” status and could be safely ignored in the rest of the West. However, detailed reports of Albanian Kosovar atrocities against Serbs have now moved into the MSM.

According to the latest articles, the KLA abducted Serb civilians and gathered them into prison camps where they were beaten, tortured, starved, and killed.

Even more horrific was the systematic harvest of organs from Serbian victims. The KLA mafia moved their chosen targets to special locations (some of them in Albania), surgically removed what was useful and lucrative, and then sold the organs on the black market through their organized criminal networks — along with heroin, arms, and teenage prostitutes.

What remained of the victims was buried in mass graves, and evidence of the atrocities was later destroyed by the International War Crimes Tribunal — presumably to preserve the image of the Serbs as evil aggressors and the Kosovars as innocent victims.

This is the UN in action, and these are the people that George W. Bush put in charge of the brand spanking new nation of Kosovo.

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The BBC has recently run a series of reports on the atrocities in Kosovo. Here’s a brief introductory video on the topic (thanks to Vlad Tepes for posting it to YouTube):


And this is from an article about the KLA prison camps:
- - - - - - - - -
Horrors of KLA Prison Camps Revealed

The man spoke plainly as he explained the horrors he lived through in a Kosovo Liberation Army prison camp 10 years ago. He told me about how he watched people beaten with steel pipes, cut with knives, left for days without food, and shot and killed.

“What can you feel when you see those things?” he said. “It’s something that is stuck in my mind for the rest of my life. You cannot do those things to people, not even to animals.”

[…]

Soon after the war ended in Kosovo, I started looking into the thousands of civilians who disappeared during and after the conflict. Many Albanian victims were dumped in wells or transported to mass graves as far away as Belgrade.

But others — mainly Serbs — simply vanished without a trace. There were no demands for ransom, no news of any kind.

I had met sources who spoke vaguely about secret camps in Albania where Kosovo Serbs, Albanians and Roma were interrogated, tortured and in most cases killed.

I met another source who agreed to share important details about KLA prison camps. This man cut a very different profile.

He had returned from a successful career abroad to join the KLA in its fight for Kosovo’s independence from Serbia.

The man was still proud of the goals he fought for, but he had become haunted by the treatment of civilians he had seen at a KLA prison camp. More than that, he said he felt angry and betrayed by KLA commanders who tolerated and even ordered the abuses.

“It didn’t seem strange at the time,” he told me as he described seeing desperate civilians locked in a filthy agricultural shed.

He said the civilians were Serbs and Roma seized by KLA soldiers and were being hidden away from Nato troops. The source believes the captives were sent across the border to Albania and killed.

[…]

Yet another source spoke of driving trucks packed with shackled prisoners — mainly Serbian civilians from Kosovo — to secret locations in Albania where they were eventually killed.

He recalled hearing two of the captives begging to be shot rather than tortured and “cut into pieces”.

“I was sick. I was just waiting for it to end,” the source told me. “It was hard. I thought we were fighting a war [of liberation] but this was something completely different.”

It has taken these men 10 years to speak to an outsider about the dark side of the war. They were breaking a code of silence that has held strong in Kosovo.

This is from a UPI story based on the BBC reports:

The BBC on its Web site Thursday quoted sources as saying the Kosovo ethnic Albanian liberation army kidnapped civilian Kosovo Serbs, Romanies and ethnic Albanians and maltreated them in the Kukes camp.

About 2,000 civilians were missing before and after an armed conflict in Kosovo, which ended in June 1999.

A number of the abducted people taken to Albania were killed and allegedly their body organs were sold on the black market. At least 18 people were killed in the Kukes camp, the BBC said.

Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, a former Kosovo Liberation Army leader, rejected the allegations, telling the BBC he was told about individual abuses but the Kosovo Liberation Army distanced itself from these acts.

This is from another BBC report:

The BBC News investigation also studies claims that some of those held in Albania were killed for their organs, and that physical evidence gathered by UN investigators in Albania was destroyed by the International War Crimes Tribunal.

A former prisoner of the KLA, an ethnic Albanian from Kosovo who was held in a KLA prison in Kukes, northern Albania, agreed to speak to us on condition of anonymity. His family are terrified for his life.

“They ill-treated people in the corridor,” he says. “They also came into the rooms in groups of five or six to question us. And they used knives, guns, and automatic rifles.”

His testimony confirms that people of different ethnic backgrounds were kept there, including Serbs.

He told the BBC: “When a person is mistreated… he cries out ‘oh mother’ in his own language.

“The nights were very quiet, so you could hear them crying out… while they were being beaten, or afterwards.”

There’s no doubt that the Kosovars weren’t the only ones engaged in ethnic cleansing and other atrocities. Serbian crimes are also well-documented. But if you get all your information from the network news or The New York Times, you’d never know that the ethnic Albanians were at least as bad.

And probably worse. There have never been any stories of Serbs harvesting organs from Kosovars, and you can bet that if there were, they would have been on the front page of every Western newspaper.

These events will probably never get much more play than this — the forces that want to bury them are too powerful and determined.

But the BBC is acting against the interests of Whitehall by making this story public. It makes me wonder what the game is, and why it’s being played out now, ten years after the fact.


Hat tip: Tuan Jim.

30 comments:

Natalie said...

Oooh, a Balkans thread... my favourite.

I'm taking a class on geopolitics and my professor said that Clinton's rationale (if I remember correctly) was to break up Yugoslavia to gain access to possible oil pipelines through Kosovo or somewhere around there (I don't remember precisely).

This is pretty much what I've been saying since July 2008, when I discovered the Balkans when Radovan Karadzic was arrested. The Albanians (and of course the Bosnian Muslims) were the true war criminals in this conflict. They perpetrated such disgusting atrocities. Nothing the Serbs did can compare (in all honesty, I've not seen any evidence of true Serbian war crimes). And yet, who is being tried by that kangaroo court that is the ICTY? Poor Radovan Karadzic, a man who did so much for the Bosnian Serbs. Indeed, Republika Srpska may not exist today if it weren't for him. The ICTY is trying an innocent man while letting the true war criminals walk free. Albanians and Bosnian Muslims ought to have been tried and convicted, and I'd love to see Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, Richard Holbrooke, and Wesley Clark hauled up in front of that tribunal as well.

Yes, I know it won't happen, but I can still dream.

Fellow Peacekeeper said...

Hmmm, I note that "Teenage" is a very generous description for the youth of the girls the Kosovo Albanian mafias were willing to traffick/sell into prostitution/slavery.

As for "why" - perhaps there are real journalists still left at the BBC (link)

Czechmade said...

Exactly. Those pipelines make Kosovo very interesting. Also a huge US military base with a good prospect of being always welcome.

Given the Serbian leanings towards Russia, such a base would be as insecure as in Central Asia. Probably unthinkable in Yugoslavia.

Anyhow the primal power behind the dismemberment was Germany. Germany made the first steps without consulting GB, Franve, US. They were quite angry.

Also spliting of Czechoslovakia was a very strange experience. After 2 years of messy democracy - waking up from a deep political coma, the thing was decided quite fast without referendum.

Qui bono? There are always clusters of interests and parties. Anyhow the spliting was undemocratic and noone complained about it in the West. It would take few Western officials to make phonecalls and few MSM to make it public concern. So called "democracy lesson".

The whole thing is difficult to study. One has to understand also the stubborn communist apparatchiks in Yugoslavia - mostly from Serbia and Monte Negro.

I wonder whether the economic collapse was accelerated by stopping some Western help - it made sense as long as Yu was a bolwerk against Russia. Such a thing might have been the real trigger. The pipelines pass Bulgaria also. Nice to have them in EU without preconditions. I guess they might have asked many more favours from EU...

australianmedia said...

Putin said about the support for Kosovo independence that it "Sets a dangerous precedent for the world".

Western Europe will learn the hard way what he meant by that two decades from now when islamist militia demand independence in parts of France, Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden. The media will of course have forgot by that time that these areas were Christian until the muslim mass immigration started. Instead they will portray it as if they've always been muslim somehow. The memory span of the general public seems to be no longer than twenty years.

6p0105371d3222970b said...

The BBC and all of the British press lied about this issue and called refugee camps 'concentration camps,' so I'm not going to watch more BBC bullshit.

It was a horrible thing that Clinton did. He injected radical Islam in Eastern Europe and worked with Iran to kill Serbs. But there were other players in this besides the USA. France led the way. British SAS officers killed a Serb in front of his son, no trial. So don't fecking blame it all on the USA.

Henrik R Clausen said...

To understand the beginning of the madness, one needs to watch The Pictures That Fooled The World. It mercilessly exposes the ITV scam that the so-called 'death camps' were.

Serbs unjustified demonized, everything went downhill from there. To get an understanding of who the real villians were, reading Al-Qaida's Jihad in Europe by Evan F. Kohlman is encouraged.

Henrik R Clausen said...

Also a huge US military base

The name is Bondsteel. Construction of it was initiated immediately after the bombing of Serbs was terminated and the Serbs gave up their authority over Kosovo.

UN Resolution 1244 demanded disarming KLA/UCK, a promise that was obviously never kept, and laid the ground for later taking away Kosovo from Serbia, though it in principle respected the integrity of Serbia.

As far as I know (this is according to my Serbian sources, of course), the EU-monitored Montenegro referendum was rigged against Serbia, too, primarily by granting voting rights to a lot of refugees who could be expected to vote against Serbian interests.

Homophobic Horse said...

More in-depth article about Organ Harvesting atrocities here.

Natalie said...

Of course there were others involved besides the US. Germany pretty much started the breakup of Yugoslavia after being reunited. But there's not a doubt that the US deserves a lot of blame too.

Tuan Jim said...

On a random note, it is interesting to see the references in Euro (or Euro-produced) films in the last decade to Kosovar Albanian crime syndicates and gangsters.

From the Albanian crimelords in "Nid de Guepes" aka "The Nest" - an inspired update to Carpenter's "Assault on Precinct 13" to the more recent LeTerrier (sp?) directed "Taken" starring Liam Neeson on a mission to rescue his daughter from Kosovo/Albanian sex traffickers....in a lot of media they have been supplanting the local gangsters, and in some cases even the Russian mafia.

Just a couple of quick examples though - if I went through my DVD collection at home I could probably find some more. (I have yet to see a single film referring to Serbian gangsters - although perhaps some of the drug runners in "Lay3r Cake" were Serbian? - gotta watch it again.

Henrik R Clausen said...

Germany pretty much started the breakup of Yugoslavia after being reunited.

Helmut Kohl deserves a reward for stupidity for supporting the breakup without having done anything for the safety of the Serbian population in the suddenly existing non-Serbian states. That was a root cause for the whole mess.

Gray Falcon said...

Just the other day there was an article in a Serbian newspaper, wherein a KLA member testified about all sorts of atrocities, and said he didn't mind talking about it now, since "Kosovo" was "independent". So that's part of the explanation, perhaps. Another, more sinister (but also likely) reading is that the BBC is trying to defuse the impact of the atrocity reports by spinning them as "revenge attacks" or something equally banal. After all, they haven't abandoned the official "evil genocidal Serbs forced NATO to intervene on behalf of innocent Albanian civilians" line, have they?

The Poster Formerly Known as Gordon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Henrik R Clausen said...

I most certainly do not want to resume the Serb-genocides. They have suffered way too much already.

We need to reestablish good relations to Serbia instead. That takes a lot of work, and is probably better done by private persons such as ourselves than by governments.

Supporting the Serbian police in combatting organized crime in the Balkans might be useful, though.

Dymphna said...

nodrog-

"Please do not paste long URLs!"

Look in the directions in teh header of the comment box. It has the template for leaving live links. Long URLs mess up the page.

Also, no personal attacks. Referring to someone as having a "fevered imagination" violates the rules, which also can be found in the header to the comment box.

Robin Shadowes said...

I live in a town here in the south of Sweden which has had a lot kosovoalbanian immigrants since the 90's. They are highly unpopular among the natives, hated even. They are extremely criminal. Teenagers robbing banks, more than once and some as young as 15! I just want them out of my country. I'm sick and tired of their ways of living, their criminality and all that. They constantly spit in the faces of their hosts which they view as weak. I don't want them to integrate (and neither do they). I just want them outta here!

Czechmade said...

One Albanian moron from Macedonia killed his ex-girl friend this year, her whole family plus new boy friend... cause this Czech girl left him.

Then he killed himself. His wife lives in Hungary. Married-into-EU Albanian.

Natalie said...

Did ex-Gordon say something bad? I am so curious to know, especially since it was deletion-worthy.

The Serbs were not committing genocide, just to put that out there. They acted in self-defense against people who were committing genocide against them.

Henrik R Clausen said...

Natalie, it wasn't all that bad, actually, and I think it could be handled by ridiculing the comment.

Serb-genocides, like Operation Storm, is certainly not behaviour you would advocate, even in your darkest nightmares.

Natalie said...

Henrik, pardon me if I'm mistaken, but wasn't that Operation Storm instigated by the Croats, not the Serbs?

Henrik R Clausen said...

Natalie, that's my point. Operation Storm was ethnic cleansing against Serbs, aided and abetted by the US government. And if one looks up the definition of genocide, it gets close - but not quite there, of course, as 'only' 150 Serbs were killed. The uprooting of Serbian culture from the area is an aspect of genocide different from killing.

Same applies to Kosovo.

lpcyusa said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
lpcyusa said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Baron Bodissey said...

lpcyusa --

That was way too long. Note the instructions on the comment box: "Please limit each comment to about 500 words; if you need more, leave a link to your own blog."

You also missed this one:

"Please do not paste long URLs!"

Egil said...

After more than ten years, I'm also amazed at how so much of the world hasn't faced or accepted what really happened during the 1990's wars in Bosnia between Muslims, Serbs and Croats. The Muslims were so often portrayed as the victims there too, against the supposedly evil Serbs. While no side was totally blameless, the Bosnian Muslims got away with horrible atrocities that were almost never reported by the mainstream media. Naser Oric used the Srebrenica area to commit terrible crimes, provoking retaliation by the Serbs. Alija Izetbegovich and his Muslims seem to have frequently attacked their own people, making it look like the Serbs were the attackers for the sake of foreign media. If you're interested in this, a fairly reasoned account is the movie "The Avoidable War," which is available on Google videos.

Natalie said...

Henrik, I am slightly confused. I think we may actually be saying the same thing, but in a different way. I am saying that I do not believe the Serbs were committing genocide against anyone else; rather, others (i.e. Bosnian Muslims, Albanians, etc.) were committing genocide against the Serbs (i.e. engaging in mass killings of Serbs).

I hope that makes sense...

6p0105371d3222970b said...

"aided and abetted by the US government
______________________________

aided and abetted by NATO.

Europeans never do anything questionable, do they?

Henrik R Clausen said...

Natalie, for sure we're saying the same, in a different way. I'm so sick of the notion that Serbs executed the genocides that I'm starting to deliberately misunderstand that smear.

6p0105371d3222970b: this is a reaction I'm getting many times when I have the audacity to actually be critical about something done by the US government. It's counterproductive.

What we need, and what I'm asking for, is a bit more mutual respect in figuring out what to do. The Iraq war has turned into a 6 year expensive mess with little in the way of results, and the Jihad is continuing in a lot of other places, undeterred by the fact that we got that Saddam scum to the gallows. I simply can't see it worth the effort, measured in human life, money or goodwill gained.

The process leading up to that war was of intimidating opponents, not addressing the quite serious concerns about documentations, legality and principles we had.

Intimidating your opponents may work in the short term, but feeds long term resentment. I do not want such resentments across the Atlantic. I want genuine solidarity where we stand together as a matter of cause against the challenges we share.

6p0105371d3222970b said...

" this is a reaction I'm getting many times when I have the audacity to actually be critical about something done by the US government. It's counterproductive."

You MUST be kidding me. As if nonAmericans haven't 'criticized' the USA wholesale for over 8 years. It's not being counterproductive -- it's fighting back. Finally. Get it right and there's no problem. It was NATO.

You indignation is hilarious considering the hatred that's been spewed at Americans for the past years.

I would have liked solidarity for the last 8 years while my country was at war on two fronts instead of hatred about how Bush says "nuclear".

6p0105371d3222970b said...

Iraq is not a mess.