July 23, 2001

Justin Raimondo is traveling. His column will return Wednesday. Today we present a classic column from 1999.

October 11, 1999

KOSOVO GOES FASCIST

Months after NATO's assault on the former Yugoslavia, the fruits of that alleged "victory" have begun to appear in all their misshapen ugliness: what is clearly evolving in Yugoslavia's conquered province, is a full-fledged fascist state. And I don't mean that rhetorically, in the sense that I think the KLA are not very nice: I mean that literally, as in self-conscious fascists have seized de facto power in Kosovo. During the war I warned, in this column, that the ideological pedigree of the Kosovo Liberation Army can be traced back to some very dubious sources, including the pro-Nazi Skanderbeg Division of the SS that fought for Germany during World War II, as well as supporters of the late Enver Hoxha, Albania's Stalinist strongman. Now the fascist KLA is coming out of the closet, baring its fangs, and showing its true face for all the world to see: yet, somehow, the world is no longer looking. The Western media, which clamored for – and, indeed, created – this war, would much rather avert its face than confront, head on, the consequences of their enthusiasms.

AMANPOUR'S
"FREEDOM-FIGHTERS"

I cannot forget a CNN special documentary on the KLA, narrated by Christiane Amanpour, commander-in-chief of the journalistic division of the War Party, and wife of State Department spokesman James Rubin. Amanpour's interviews with KLA cadre uniformly depicted them as victims fighting in a righteous cause, and her voice seemed to swell with pride as she continually described them as "freedom fighters." KLA recruits, questioned about their political beliefs and the goals of their movement, typically claimed to be fighting for "democracy" and "a normal life, just like in America." CNN rounded up an "expert" from the pro-KLA "Human Rights Watch" who rationalized KLA excesses and reiterated the US government line that the KLA were admirable and worthy of American support.

GOOSE-STEPPING THROUGH PRISTINA

But even here, in the midst of what was nothing more than a propaganda piece, viewers got a glimpse of the truth: footage of a KLA parade, with smart young soldiers dressed in red and black practically goose-stepping down the street, red banners flying. During the war, KLA commanders were told by their American handlers to quit using the old straight-arm KLA salute: it was just a coincidence, of course, that this open-palmed salute was identical to the Hitlerian version.

"HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH" ISN'T WATCHING

Now that Human Rights Watch is no longer watching, and Madeleine Albright's ardor for Kosovar strongman Hacim Thaci seems to have cooled considerably, the KLA is openly moving to establish an "ethnically pure" fascist state – and it is not only Serbs who are the victims.

FREE TO DIE

The news that the Kosovapress, the official organ of the KLA high command, has denounced Veton Surroi, publisher of Koha Ditore, Kosovo's leading newspaper, as a traitor – and strongly implied that his death may be imminent – hit the NATO-crats like a thunderclap. Surroi is a traitor, according to an article by Marxhan Avdyli, and has all along been a Serbian agent: not only that, but he is now a spy in the pay of nameless Western interests. The editors of Koha Ditore are a "bastard ragtag" band of "ordinary mobsters"; they are also, we are informed, "the garbage of history." Ominously, Avdyli warns that Surroi is at risk of "eventual and very understandable revenge" and further avers that "such criminals and enslaved minds should not have a place in the free Kosovo." This is what the KLA means by a "free" Kosovo – a nation free of all political dissent.

BLOOD AND IRONY

So, what's the KLA's beef with Surroi? If you haven't already, take a look at "Today's Spotlight," on the main page, a commentary by Surroi originally published in Koha Ditore that takes aim at the KLA's evolving fascist regime. He condemns the reverse ethnic cleansing of Kosovo, and denounces "the organized and systematic intimidation of all Serbs simply because they are Serbs and therefore are being held collectively responsible for what happened in Kosovo. Such attitudes are fascist." The irony of the West's "antifascist" crusade against Milosevic and Serbian "racism" is that it has created the makings of a racist fascist state in Kosovo. As Surroi puts it,

"From having been victims of Europe's worst end-of-century persecution, we are ourselves becoming persecutors and have allowed the specter of fascism to reappear. Anybody who thinks that the violence will end once the last Serb has been driven out is living an illusion. The violence will simply be directed against other Albanians. Is this really what we fought for?"

GOEBBELS – THE SEQUEL

Well, yes, as a matter of fact, that is indeed what the KLA was fighting for. They have always been authoritarians, as well as racists and fascists. Why should anyone be surprised and even shocked – shocked! – that today they are denouncing Surroi in explicitly ethnic terms? The Kosovapress commentary excoriates both the editor and the publisher of Koha Ditore in explicitly racialist language, making reference to them as "gospodin" (the Serbian honorific for "Mr."), claiming they have "Slav stink" in spite of the fact that they "unfortunately were made of Albanian blood, or at least were declared as such, because you never know the origin of the pro-Serbs." William Houwen, coordinator of media development for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, aptly remarked that "Goebbels couldn't have done it better."

HEIL THACI!

As to whether or not the KLA intends to reinstate the open-palmed straight arm salute of old remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: the US, the Europeans, and those few politically active Albanian intellectuals with any scruples all knew who and what they were supporting – and describing as "freedom fighters," in the immortal words of Christiane Amanpour. Now, let them squirm out of this one!

AGIM CEKU, WAR CRIMINAL

Of course they knew: just like they knew all about Agim Ceku, the 38-year-old former Croatian army brigadier, who commanded forces that slaughtered hundreds of Serb civilians in the Krajina region and turned the rest – some 300,000-plus – into refugees. With US military assistance, including help from a "private" group of "retired" US generals and intelligence operatives – and with former state department official Richard Galbraith reportedly riding atop a Croatian tank – the Croatians, under Ceku's command, decisively defeated the Serbs, four years ago. The Krajina campaign broke the back of the Serbian military resistance and turned the tide in the Balkan war, putting Milosevic on the defensive. The epic carnage was such that not even the War Crimes Tribunal, which has never taken note of crimes against Serbs, could avoid noticing. Therefore, no one was really surprised when the Tribunal announced yesterday that it was investigating Ceku for possible war crimes.

REWARD AND PUNISHMENT

Now surely no one believes that the NATO-crats were unaware of what Ceku had been up to in the Krajina when they appointed him supreme commander of the "Kosovo Protection Corps" (TMK), a force of some 5,000 recruits described as "lightly armed." Indeed, his present position was awarded to him on the basis of the Krajina campaign, which in a military sense was a success – even if it was not exactly an act of "liberation" but an act of conquest – aided and abetted (and no doubt financed) by the US.

DON'T "LOSE" THAT THUG!

To get some concept of the moral complicity of the NATO-crats in the elevation of a mass murderer – a man who executed hundreds and wantonly destroyed entire communities – to a position of real authority in postwar Kosovo, get a load of what a diplomat described by the London Times as "close to Bernard Kouchner, the head of the UN mission," has to say about the accusations against Ceku: "If we lose him it will be a disaster. When you get to the second level of the TMK, you're down to a bunch of local thugs." In the spectrum of brutality represented by the KLA, Ceku is a moderate – relatively speaking. The NATO-crats are scared to death that they will "lose" a Class-A thug to the War Crimes Tribunal – so this is what the tale of Kosovo's "freedom fighters" comes down to, eh Christiane?

DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH

Naturally, the indictment of Ceku, if and when it comes, will be sealed and not available to the public. After all, could the Western powers really be expected to document their own crimes? At any rate, don't hold your breath waiting for the Tribunal to act, even in the deepest darkest secrecy. According to David Slinn, the senior British diplomat in Kosovo: "There's speculation as to whether he's going to stick around or not." Although an ethnic Albanian, Commander Ceku has a house and a family in Croatia, a nation which has repeatedly refused to hand over to The Hague Croatian citizens accused of war crimes. In view of his services to the Croatian state, Tudjman's regime is likely to treat Ceku as an honorary Croatian. The Times cites another diplomat who is of the opinion that the NATO-crats could not risk a confrontation with the KLA by arresting Ceku.

DOUBLE STANDARD

A few years ago, American intellectuals and their European cousins were screeching that the Allies were letting alleged Serbian "war criminals" slip through their fingers: they demanded that the Bosnian Serb leadership, up to and including Slobodan Milosevic, must be arrested and put on trial. The cry went up: Don't let them get away! The NATO-crats obligingly swooped down on half a dozen or so suspects, all Serbs, and the War Party was temporarily mollified. Now we hear the same crowd, the Susan Sontags and the New York Review of Books crowd, along with the rabid "collective guilt" school of retribution centered around The New Republic, calling for reeducation camps for Serbs and the expunging of all traces of nationalism and "racism" from the Serbian soul. But these same people are strangely silent about Ceku: not a word, not a whisper, not even the feeblest of protests.

OSCE – THE ORGANIZATION FOR SOCIALISM AND COERCION IN EUROPE

What kind of a society are the Allies creating in Kosovo? Certainly by any standard familiar to the West, we are not talking about a democracy in the sense that the concept of democratic rights is protected by the government: indeed, under the rubric of UN rule, the Kosovar media is to be strictly controlled. In the view of the NATO-crats, this latest outburst from the Kosovapress – which, after the war, was converted into the mouthpiece of the self-proclaimed "interim government" of Kosovo, headed up by Hacim Thaci – is an argument to start implementing the Orwellian media plan envisioned by the postwar planners under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Familiarity with this plan should disabuse anyone na´ve enough to believe that we went to war in order to bring the benefits of "democracy" and "freedom" to the benighted peoples of Kosovo.

THE CENSORS

Under the terms of the plan, all media would be licensed and any accused of fomenting "hate speech" would soon find their permission to publish or broadcast curtailed if not eliminated. Control of the media is to be handed over to a "Media Board," comprised of five people described by Daan Everts, head of the OSCE mission, as "well respected intellectuals." They are: Mahmut Bakali, a former leader of the Communist Party of Kosovo, Pajazit Nushi, former head of the Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms in Kosovo, Liri Osmani, a lawyer, Shkelzen Maliqi, of George Soros's Open Society Foundation, and a token Serb, Aca Rakocevic, for purely decorative purposes. Looking over their shoulders will be Everts, and his assistant, Mirjana Robin, but OSCE officials insist that this will be a truly homegrown board of censors. Says Everts: "We don't want to bring foreign dictators or rules here. We would like these things to originate from here and that's why we gave so much importance to the creation and the functioning of a Kosovar Board." Why impose "foreign dictators" – when native dictators are so readily available?

ORWELL'S GHOST

The Orwellian possibilities of a "Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms" engaged in abrogating freedom of the press are virtually endless. The participation of the "Open Society Institute" in closing off free and open debate is likewise emblematic of what is happening in Kosovo today. Under the banner of building a democratic society, basic democratic rights are denied; in the name of a war against "fascism," the NATO-crats are setting up a fascist mini-state in the heart of Europe.

THINGS TO COME

The real danger is that they will use this bastion of thuggery as a battering ram against what is left of the Yugoslav federation. In comparing defeated Serbia to Nazi Germany, justifying media curbs as the price to pay for "reconstruction," and gleefully contemplating war crimes trials and "reeducation camps" for Serbs, one gets the ominous feeling that the NATO-crats will not stop with Kosovo.

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Text-only printable version of this article

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Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com. He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against US Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard.

 


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