Amorality of US Kosovo Policy: Friends with the Snake
By Vojin Joksimovich | No amount of human rights violations against the Serbs; no amount of dead Serbs nor any amount of Serbs whose organs are gruesomely extracted by the Kosovo Albanian KLA terrorists is sufficient for Washington to at least re-examine its wrong policy in the Balkans.
On April 17, 2008 I published article titled Bankruptcy of Moral Values: Butchering of Serbs Condoned by the West. It was written in response to the revelations in Carla Del Ponte’s book translated into English as Madame Prosecutor: Confrontations with Humanity’s Worst Criminals and the Culture of Impunity. Del Ponte, for nine years the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribune for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), based on credible reports and witnesses revealed existence of macabre German Nazi/Croatian Nazi style of crimes, including organ trafficking from the Serbian prisoners, committed by the current Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and his fellow Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) cohorts. Nebojsa Malic said: “Here we have the KLA, whose conduct would make the Waffen SS blush.” While the ICTY chief prosecutor, Del Ponte did not submit evidence of organ trafficking to the ICTY judges, claiming that the court rules didn’t allow her to pursue war crimes beyond June 1999, when the war ended, and that the court lacked jurisdiction in Albania. She also revealed that some elements of the proof taken by the ICTY investigators from the notorious “Yellow House” in the Albanian town of Rripe were destroyed at The Hague thus enabling stonewalling by Pristina and Tirana with full support from the KLA apologists in Washington and some European capitals to claim that there was no evidence for the organ trafficking allegations. Del Ponte story withered away. After the book publication Del Ponte was bundled off to Argentina as the Swiss Ambassador. The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs banned Del Ponte from promoting her book both in Milan and her hometown of Lugano. “Any public presentation of this work is incompatible with the author’s status of Swiss ambassador.”
Over the years Del Ponte never concealed her dislike of Serbia and even Russia. Her court, over the 15 yr existence indicted 161 individuals, 92 Serbs. Fifty have been sentenced for over 700 years. Therefore she should have been highly credible in the West. Washington was informed about the book content, and being aware of Del Ponte’s credibility rushed to orchestrate the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) as of February 17, 2008 before her book hit the streets. So called U.S. allies responded rapidly to support the U.S. in the spirit of western solidarity. European superpowers like Germany, France and Italy (Great Britain acts typically as the U.S. lapdog) chose not to stand up to the U.S., while some small countries, such as the Czech Republic and Poland, didn’t dare to challenge the U.S. “leadership.” There were, however, those who did: Spain, Slovakia, Rumania, Greece and Cyprus, which refused to recognize the UDI. The EU countries, which did recognize Kosovo, did not act in the interest of their taxpayers. They inherited the royal mess created by the U.S. and now are paying huge bills including the EU Rule of Law (EULEX) mission of 1,800 persons. Switzerland, not an EU member, compromising its reputation for neutrality, was in the forefront of the craze to recognize Kosovo.
Washington, using the propaganda lies asserted that Kosovo deserved independence because the KLA thugs were in fact martyrs, rather than the crime perpetrators as everybody interested in the truth has concluded. The U.S. had a plan to convince about 100 countries to rapidly recognize Kosovo, This plan did not materialize. Even as of today only 72 countries recognized the Republic of Heroin out of 192 UN members. However, Del Ponte revelations influenced no country to de-recognize the mafia state of Kosovo. Thus, revealed macabre Nazi/Croatian-Nazi style crimes have been condoned by the West using the rationale of pragmatism, i.e. promotion of short-term stability at any price and ignoring the principles of justice. It is the same West (NATO countries), that violated seven major international laws, including the UN and NATO Charters, to launch an allegedly “humanitarian war” (a new oxymoron) based on a bunch of lies of “humanitarian catastrophe,” “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing.” NATO thus became an international law pariah. NATO de facto provided the air force for the KLA insurrection from Albania. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair characterized it as a just war in his Chicago April 1999 speech. “We cannot let the evil of ethnic cleansing stand.” This despite the fact that seven German courts had ruled that there were no pre-March 24, 1999 bombardment genocide or ethnic cleansing.
Council of Europe Report
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) was shocked with disclosures in Del Ponte’s book, trafficking in human organs in particular, and that the crimes had gone unpunished hitherto and had not been the subject of any serious investigation. In April, 2008 seventeen European parliamentarians signed a motion for a resolution. The Assembly has charged its Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights to conduct an investigation led by Swiss Senator Dick Marty, as its Special Rapporteur. Marty, Swiss-Italian politician and prosecuting lawyer, belongs to the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. Marty has gained notoriety for his exhaustive 2007 probe into the CIA “black flights” (U.S. rendition flights and secret prisons) in Europe. After the two-year investigation, Marty has submitted the 27 page report in draft form on December 12, which was immediately disclosed by the British Guardian newspaper. The draft resolution was unanimously approved December 16 in Paris at the meeting of European diplomats from all 47 member states. Next, The Parliamentary Assembly is to debate the report during its winter plenary session in Strasbourg on January 25, 2011.
The resolution says that “numerous concrete and convergent indications confirm that some Serbs and some Kosovar Albanians were held prisoner in secret places of detention under KLA control in northern Albania and were subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment before ultimately disappearing. Numerous indications seem to confirm that organs were removed from some prisoners at a clinic in Albanian territory near Fushe-Kruje to be taken abroad for transplantation.” The resolution comes out with damning accusations of Hashim Thaci, aka “The Snake,” Washington backed criminal mafia leader, who served as the KLA political leader during the war and now is serving as the “prime minister” of an illegal separatist administration. The resolution says that Thaci heads a “mafia-like” operation that included murdering Serbs, but also Kosovo Albanians accused as Serb collaborators (no mention of Roma and some Eastern European women), and prior to that extracting their organs like kidneys, hearts for sale on the black market. The New York Times reported that “captives” were “filtered “for their suitability as donors, based on sex, age, health and ethnic origin. Marty told the Times: “We heard numerous references to captives not merely been handed over, but also ‘bought’ and ‘sold.’ Some of the guards told investigators that a few captives understood what was about to happen and ‘pleaded with captors to be spared the fate of being chopped into pieces.” Mercy however was never a part of the KLA culture. Of course, to individuals such as me who has written two Kosovo books, the information presented in the CoE report is no news.
The report further says: “Thaci and these other ‘Drenica Group’ members are consistently named as ‘key players’ in intelligence reports on Kosovo’s mafia-like structures of organized crime. We found that the ‘Drenica Group’ had as its chief—or, to use the terminology of organized crime networks, its ‘boss’—the renowned political operator and perhaps most internationally known personality of the KLA, Hashim Thaci.” “The Parliamentary Assembly strongly reaffirms the need for an absolutely uncompromising fight against impunity for the perpetrators of serious human rights violations and wishes to point out that the fact that these were committed in the context of the violent conflict could never justify a decision to refrain from prosecuting anyone who has committed such acts. There cannot and must not be one justice for the winners and another for the losers. Whenever a conflict has occurred all criminals must be prosecuted and held responsible for their illegal acts, whichever side they belong to and irrespective of the political role they took on. This amounts to a stinging condemnation of the Clinton and Bush administrations as well as their European allies and Tony Blair in particular for ignoring disgusting crimes committed by Hashim Thaci and his KLA cohorts.
The report concludes that in the name of short-term stability the international organizations in Kosovo, UNMIK replaced with EULEX at the end of 2008, sacrificed “important principles of justice.” EULEX has done little or no investigation into “organized crime and its connections with representatives of political institutions, or in respect to war crimes committed against Serbians and Albanian Kosovars regarded as collaborators or as rivals of the dominant factions. This last-named subject is still truly taboo in Kosovo today, although everybody talks about it in private very cautiously. The report points out that the pressing priority from the humanitarian viewpoint is to account for the fate of missing persons. After providing an account for the 6,005 missing persons initially identified by the ICRC, 470 persons disappeared after the arrival of NATO troops, 95 Kosovo Albanians and 375 non-Albanians, mainly Serbs.
I have failed to find in the CoE report a reference to the Serbian government 40,000 page investigation submitted to the ICTY in 2001. Then the Serbian Justice minister Batic provided the evidence to the UN Special Representative in Kosovo Harri Holkeri. Anna Filmonova in her Strategic Culture Foundation blog Thaci’s Regime of Butchers and Europe Moral Weakness says the Holkeri letter, which became available to the media, presents the worst atrocities since WWII. “7,000 proven cases of terrorist attacks which led to over 12,000 deaths, 1,350 injuries, almost 1,000 kidnappings, 340,000 expulsions of non-Albanians, the burning of 107,000 residences, and the killing of 70 children. Some of the victims were ritually beheaded and detention camps to hold Serbs were set up. The ‘international Community’ promptly intervened and had the investigation suspended.” Holkeri, former Prime Minister and President of Finland as well as the president of the UN General Assembly, resigned in May 2005, claiming ill health. Presumably, the Batic letter made him sick.
ORGAN TRAFFICKING WAS KNOWN BY COUNTRIES WHICH RECOGNIZED KOSOVO
Dick Marty, in an interview with the Swiss Le Temps stated that the reports by the intelligence services—the German, British, Italian, Greek ones—as well as reports from the FBI—were sent to various ministries of foreign affairs and all of them noted gruesome crimes committed by the KLA. These countries gave priority to diplomatic policy, Marty said. He was critical of own country, which played a pioneering role in recognizing Kosovo. As a result, Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey decided not to receive an award by the Albanian Kosovo diaspora for her contribution to the recognition of Kosovo UDI. The Swiss took hard line: “The Swiss Foreign Ministry calls on the affected countries and particularly Kosovo for clarification on these accusations. The appropriate and international authorities must lead legal steps to assemble potential evidence.” The Swiss called on EULEX and its War Crimes investigation unit to “drive investigation.” EULEX, however, responded that they may not have jurisdiction over the case, even if the perpetrators are in Kosovo, because the body parts were removed in Albania. Thaci has been prohibited from entering Switzerland “for a certain period of time.” The Swiss media, like Geneva’s Le Temps took Switzerland to task by questioning how much responsibility should it bear, considering it was one of the first countries to recognize Kosovo. The Swiss Parliament is expected to debate the Thaci accusations on January 11-12.
The Swiss will have another headache. The Serbian war crimes prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic asserted that Thaci used bank accounts designated to Islamic charities, such as Al-Haramain which played a key part in the Bosnian jihad, to deposit profits from the organ trafficking proceeds in the Swiss, German and Albanian bank accounts. He also pointed out that the FBI had also uncovered those accounts after 9/11. Christa Markwalder, President of the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, called for an investigation.
A country which might also have headaches is France. Its foreign minister Bernard Kouchner served as Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Kosovo at the time when the KLA crimes summarized in the Marty report had been committed. Ironically he is a co-founder of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning medical charity Medecins Sans Frontiers or Doctors Without Borders. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Pristina for his services in Kosovo. Needless to say, Kouchner denies any knowledge and was surprised when Del Ponte published her book. He disputed a number of findings in the CoE report and urged EULEX investigation.
It is not credible that Kouchner didn’t know anything about organ trafficking although needless to say he denies it. Canadian Captain Stu Kellogg, head of UNMIK police for hard crimes in 2000-2001 when Kouchner served, said in an interview with the Belgrade media—Blic, Politika, Vecernje Novosti, Press —that Kouchner was regularly briefed on organized crime and must have known about the organ trafficking but Thaci was untouchable at the time. Furthermore he said that Thaci and his buddies controlled everything in Kosovo, including the police and the borders. The Americans selected Thaci and he was untouchable. Kellogg said that he knew who Thaci was adding yet that any critic on Thaci’s account was discarded immediately. Thaci’s buddies enjoyed the ambassador status. Kouchner’s deputy was an American Jock Covie, who was involved in every major decision. This was a part of Holbrooke’s methodology to have an American as a deputy to closely oversee what an UN appointee was doing.
The Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha may spend some sleepless night although he was not directly implicated by Senator Marty. Berisha’s ranch was used as a detention camp for the unfortunate victims. A Serbian lady, interviewed by Belgrade’s Vecernje Novosti, who visited four detention camps in Albania and named the Serbian prisoners she saw there, implicated Berisha and his wife in addition to Bernard Kouchner.
CARLA DEL PONTE REACTION
She has expressed skepticism that EULEX is capable of any meaningful and impartial investigation as she recalled that her investigators in 2004 were threatened with death by the Albanian mafia. “I am afraid that EULEX will not be in position to lead the investigation because you can imagine the problems with which it will be faced.”
NO REACTION FROM AHTISAARI
I have failed to find any reaction from Marti Ahtisaari. In my book Kosovo is Serbia I dedicated the whole chapter to his Independence Proposal. There is no question that this former Finnish President played a key role in securing the Kosovo UDI. He knew as everybody else involved about the macabre crimes committed by Thaci and his cohorts. The Finnish News Agency (STT) published two articles alleging that Ahtisaari was “bought” by the Albanian mafia. The UN Secretary General requested and obtained from German BND a detailed report. A connection between the Albanian mafia and Ahtisaari was established but the report was locked up by the UN.
Ahtisaari was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2008. While most legal experts testified that there was no legal case for independence the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Oslo proceeded with the award and characterized Ahtisaari as a tireless negotiator in conflicts in the Balkans. His mediation was nothing short of a farce. His job was only to choreograph the predetermined outcome: independence. Did the Oslo committee also know about Thaci’s macabre crimes?
Within days of the Guardian’s report, there has been an avalanche of articles mostly in the European press. Some of them were nothing short of brilliant. This was not the case in the American mainstream media, which was timid and obviously embarrassed because of their biased Kosovo reporting amounting to demonization of the Serbs and extolling the KLA virtues as the freedom fighters. Srdja Trifkovic called it U.S. Damage Limitation and Self-Censorship.
Neil Clark, writing in the Guardian assailed the “myth of liberal intervention.” Far from being Tony Blair’s “good war,” the assault on Yugoslavia was as wrong as the invasion of Iraq. “It was a fiction on the liberal left bought into. In 1999 Blair was not seen as a duplicitous warmonger in hock to the US but as an ethical leader taking a stand against ethnic cleansing.” As the war in Iraq has become discredited, Clark concludes:”So it is even more important for the supporters of ‘liberal interventionism’ to promote the line that Kosovo was in some way a success. The Council of Europe report of the KLA’s crime makes the position much harder to maintain. And if it plays its part in making people more skeptical about any future western ‘liberal interventions,’ it is warmly welcomed.”
Stephen Glover in the Daily Mail said: “Tony Blair has some bizarre friends, but a monster, who traded in human body parts beats the lot.” He concludes: “What happened in Kosovo helped shape subsequent events in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is richly ironic that ‘liberated’ Kosovo should now be a failed, gangster state…With his messianic certainties, the morally bipolar Tony Blair liked to divide the world into ‘goodies’ and “baddies,’ having presumptuously placed himself in the first category. How fitting that this begetter of war after war end up receiving the Golden Medal for Freedom from a monster who traded in body parts.”
Geoffrey Wheatcroft, author of Yo Blair, writing in the Financial Times wrote: “Ardent spirits such as Mr. Blair and Mr. Lieberman (U.S. Senator from Connecticut, who was Al Gore’s VP candidate) in their desire for moral clarity, forgot what an Oscar Wilde character says when asked for the ‘truth plain and never simple:’ the truth is rarely plain, and never simple.” Wheatcroft recalled Roy Jenkins, a Labour cabinet minister who had admired Mr. Blair, but came to regret what he called his Manichean tendency to view everything in black and white. President George W. Bush suffered from Manichaeism as well. Tony Blair visited Kosovo last July, met with Thaci and several children who had been named after him.
In contrast the Independent (UK) published The Human Organs of the Council of Europe: Evidence Please written by Dennis MacShane, a former Labour Minister. “Senator Marty is his own man and his sincerity is not up for question. He believes in what he believes. But in reading of his 19,000 word report throws up one problem. There is not one single name or a single witness to the allegations that Thaci was involved in the harvesting of human organs from murdered victims.” Mr. MacShane, had Senator Marty revealed the names they would have been dead by now and there is tons of evidence with names collected by the Serbian war crimes prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic. Then MacShane, in an attack dog style, talks about terrible crimes committed by Serb soldiers and para-militaries without naming a single witness. Alleged Serbia’s plot to exterminate Albanians, so called “Operation Horseshoe” was a fraud and so called “Racak Massacre” was staged as Thaci himself admitted.
While the British press has clearly discredited Tony Blair’s war, no such thing happened in the U.S. Srdja Trifkovic wrote in Kosovo’s Thaci, Human Organs Trafficker that no major daily has published a word of doubt about “Clinton’s wisdom of waging a war on behalf of Thaci and his cohorts a decade ago, or perpetuating the myth of it having been a good war today.” In the Wall Street Journal article more space was allocated to denials by Thaci and his cohorts than to the content of the Marti report.
In contrast there is Tom Burghardt column in the Pacific Free Press titled Gangsta State: Kosovo’s Drugs, Slaves, and Organ Farms. Burghardt has provided an overview of the CoE report plus previous reporting on the issue of the KLA’s macabre crimes. He concludes: “The impunity enjoyed up till now by Thaci and his minions merely reflect the far-greater impunity enjoyed by the American secret state and the powerful actors amongst the U.S. elites who have profited from the dirty work allegedly performed by Kosovo’s Prime Minister and others like him, who are counted amongst the most loyal servants of imperial power.”
There is another American pearl written by Daniel Greenfield Terrorizing Our Own. He makes the point that airline travelers are degraded in public in order to spare Muslim feelings. “In a war we terrorize the enemy. In a siege we terrorize our own. And we have been terrorizing our own for a long time. In 1999, we dropped thousands of tons of explosives on Yugoslavia, bombing trains, fuel depots, homes, bridges and people. We did that in order to give the Muslim drug dealing terrorists of the KLA their own state. Today that state is a gateway for drug trafficking and sex slaves in Europe, and a training ground for terrorists.”
The German media is pretty unanimous saying that there is nothing new in the report and urging EULEX to conduct an investigation.
WILL THE U.S. DEFEND OR DUMP THACI?
On December 16, the State Department spokesman Phillip Crowley stated that the U.S. will continue to cooperate with Thaci regardless of the report by special CoE rapporteur Dick Marty linking him to a crime ring. Furthermore, Crowley stated that these claims will not change fundamentally the relations between the U.S. and Pristina. “At this point, since any individual anywhere in the world is innocent until proven otherwise, he is the current prime minister, and will continue to work with the government”. One should recall that the State Department treated the Serbian President Milosevic as a war criminal before he ever made it to The Hague. As a Serb he was treated as guilty until proven innocent. Many analysts of the Milosevic Hague trial concluded that he did prove his innocence. But then his human rights were violated as he was not allowed to receive treatment as a heart patient despite the Russian government guarantees. He died in prison. This duplicity is a key ingredient of the U.S. foreign policies. Crowley did suggest that the State Department fully supports any investigation by a legitimate authority into the charges presented in the CoE report.
Subsequently Thomas Countryman, undersecretary of State, in an interview with the Voice of America, stated that all countries should participate in the investigation related to the Marty report. He continued by suggesting that the U.S. would welcome the commitment from Pristina and Tirana to participate.
After denouncing the CoE report and threatening to take a legal action against Dick Marty for slanderous accusations, Thaci is planning a trip to some European capitals and Washington for “consultations.” Marty dismissed Thaci’s legal threat: “Mister Thaci knows very well that Council of Europe rapporteurs have immunity and filing a suit in such cases means nothing.” Subsequently, Thaci promised to reveal names of Albanians who helped Dick Marti. So what will Washington do? James Jatras, in his brilliant piece U.S.-Backed Kosovo Administration Implicated in Organ-Trafficking Racket—But Will it Matter? makes the point that a Google image search with Thaci’s name will show “almost any top U.S. figure of either party you can think of and you’ll see him in a warm handshake, often a chummy embrace with a virtual Who is Who of the American establishment: George W. Bush, Condi Rice, Bill Gates, Clinton (both of them), Joseph Biden, Madeleine Albright, Wesley Clark, etc.” Jatras has assembled a photo library of all above mentioned U.S. foreign policy heavyweights with Thaci and called it Snake and Friends. Hopefully, President Obama will not join Thaci’s fan club. In addition, there should be an international photo library of Snake and Friends headed by Tony Blair.
Furthermore, Jatras says that all of those U.S. heavyweights knew from Day One that Thaci and Co. were a bunch of thugs. “So did the intelligence services of our allies. They knew that the KLA were criminals running the drug, slave, and weapons rackets throughout Europe. They knew that the KLA was supported by Osama bin Laden, the Iranians, the Saudis, the Turks, and other supporters of an Islamic re-re-conquest of the Balkans. And we supported them anyway, shredding every rule of law and decency in the process. Now what? In all probability, circle the wagons, hope it will blow over, and keep twisting arms around the world in support of the illegal separatist terrorist entity ‘KosovA..’’’
An indication that the Jatras prediction might carry the day, can be concluded from the statement of the Serbian President Tadic and his quisling government, who has indicated that he would not preclude a dialogue with Thaci until the accusations were confirmed or disapproved. However, foreign minister Vuk Jeremic, after saying that the Marty findings show “the true face of Kosovo,” said that he was not going to meet with Thaci.
Anna Filmonova and Julia Gorin pointed out to recent presence of William Walker in Kosovo. Walker is a veteran U.S. Foreign Service diplomat who headed the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM) and played a key role in staging so called “Racak Massacre,” which president Clinton used as the casus belli. Previously, Walker served as the chief of the U.S. Embassy’s political section in El Salvador and as the ambassador. He armed and trained contra death squads and was implicated in the massacre of six Jesuit priests. He worked with Oliver North to overthrow the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua. He headed the United Nations Transitional Administration in Eastern Slavonia. Clinton’s administration imposed him on other OSCE members to be the head of KVM. He was ideal for the job as he was good at covering up massacres and staging phony ones.
Walker said: “There’s a lot of things around, a lot of criminal activity. I fault the international community as much as the Albanians. They feel that the PDK (Thaci’s party) represents stability.” Has Walker said anything bad about the Albanians before? He was granted an honorary Albanian citizenship. In the Kosovo elections Walker supported so called Self-Determination movement, led by Albin Kurti, which advocates a plan for Greater Albania. Walker also blasted EULEX for its failure to annex Northern Kosovo. It is difficult to believe that Walker is acting on his own. Hence, at least two questions need to be asked. Is there a diplomatic war between the U.S. and the EU over Kosovo? The Europeans might be fed up pushed to clean the mess the U.S. has created. Is the U.S. willing to dump Thaci and pursue the Greater Albania concept with the Self-Determination movement, whose leaders are presumably “clean?” Thaci’s Kosovo is an economic wasteland as the foreign investors shy away from investing in the Republic of Heroin. Second, there are plenty of precedents for the U.S. dumping previous darlings and sending them even to the “gallows.” To name a few: Noriega, Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein.