Behind the Headlines
by Justin Raimondo

March 15, 2000


The Clinton administration is sitting on a ticking time bomb that could go off well before Election Day, 2000. As a CNN reporter put it,

"Reining in Kosovar hard-liners may be beyond the capability of a NATO-led military force whose stated overriding priority is ensuring the safety of its own men. And that's why, despite the administration's hopes of keeping it out of the election-year headlines, Kosovo may prove too tempting a stick for GOP campaigners to avoid."


Of course, since this is CNN – the Clinton News Network – we are talking about, this needs to be translated from Newspeak, starting with the laughable guff about "Kosovar hard-liners." Hard-line compared to whom – "soft-liners"? There's no such thing in "liberated Kosovo, outside of Ibrahim Rugova and his Democratic League, now decimated and virtually powerless. The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), once effusively praised by Madeleine Albright and little Jimmy Rubin as "heroic freedom fighters," is in full control on the ground, and they have not changed their program of ethnic cleansing and one-party dictatorship one iota. There was a bloodcurdling story in the London Observer last Sunday [(March 12], with a headline so good it made this editor a little envious: "Revealed: UN-backed unit's reign of terror"! Now there's a sight to warm the cockles of my right-wing isolationist heart!


It is a headline that describes everything about the world we are living in. The story relates in horrific detail how the "Kosovo Protection Corps," a "disaster response service" set up by the NATO-crats as a substitute for the "disbanded" KLA, has unleashed a reign of terror on the Serbs and on their own people. According to a secret United Nations report to Kofi Annan, the "disaster response team" has itself been an unmitigated disaster – and a bloody one, at that. Since the inception of the Corps, says the report, these Kosovar "protectors" have engaged in nonstop "criminal activities, killings, ill-treatment/torture, illegal policing, abuse of authority, intimidation, breaches of political neutrality and hate-speech."


Oh no, not hate speech! Hey, these formerly cuddly Kosovars, who first presented themselves as helpless refugees and brave "freedom-fighters," had better watch it: the next thing you know, somebody will discover that Hashim Thaci once spoke at Bob Jones University, and then all the fancy public relations companies in the world won't save the KLA's carefully crafted public image.


Frankly shocked, the Observer notes that the leaked "report's grim message is that the UN is paying the salaries of many of the gangsters." So the big gangsters, the international equivalent of Mafia dons, are subsidizing the activities of the smalltime hoods – this is a surprise? The US and its allies armed and trained the uniformed criminals now rampaging through Kosovo – at American taxpayer's expense – and now they are surprised and shocked – yes, shocked! – at what they have wrought. Ba-loney! To begin with, just look at the man they put in charge of this Kosovar Protection Racket . . .


Putting General Agim Ceku, the Butcher of the Krajina, in charge of a "civilian" police force for Kosovo was nothing but a death sentence for hundreds of Serbs, and certainly the US and its allies knew just what they were doing. For it was Ceku who commanded the 1995 Croatian Army offensive that wiped the Krajina region clean of Serbs, drove 200,000 into exile, and left hundreds of Serb noncombatants dead. Dubbed "Operation Storm" by the "retired" American generals who designed it, Ceku's three-day blitzkrieg was the turning point in the Bosnian civil war. According to the Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, Ceku oversaw the wanton slaughter of 412 civilians, who were summarily executed. Commander Ceku, an ethnic Albanian albeit a Croatian citizen, easily made the switch in allegiance to the KLA, where he was elevated to chief of staff. His many crimes, ably documented by Professor Michael Chossudowsky, would be enough to fill up what remains of this column, and more. Suffice to say that, in Ceku, the NATO-crats knew what they were getting. No one was really all that surprised when rumors he was about to be indicted by the International War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague began to circulate. An internal ICTY report held him responsible for war crimes in the Krajina, and elsewhere, but naturally the indictment was suppressed, lest the role of the Western powers in "Operation Storm" come to light.


The NATO-crats were hoping Ceku would do to Kosovo what he did to the Serbs of the Krajina – drive them mercilessly before his US-trained and funded ethnic cleansers, killing them, raping them, and robbing them of their patrimony. Which is precisely what has happened in virtually every corner of Kosovo – but for a single neighborhood in the northern city of Mitrovica, where the last proudly defiant Serbs are refusing to budge or be pushed out. Here, of course, is where the great "principle" of mandatory multi-ethnicity is carried out in a most militant manner: reinforcements, mostly Americans, are arriving by the hour to make sure that Albanians are escorted back to claimed residences in the Serb quarter. Oddly, the rest of Kosovo, now almost exclusively Albanian Kosovar, seems curiously exempt from NATO's stringent multiculturalist standards.


According to a section of the secret UN report entitled "Activities against minorities, including hate speech," Ceku is accused of being the ringleader in a walkout staged by Kosovo Protection Corps officers at an event where a speech was translated into Serbo-Croat. People have been killed in the streets of Pristina for the same act, but in lieu of that – for the time being, at any rate – Ceku and his fellow Albanian Nazis stalked out. The KLA has never made any secret of its program or its goal: the dream of an ethnically pure "Greater Albania," extending from Kosovo to Macedonia and beyond. Its history, ideology, and methods have long been an open book, but last summer the the US government and its journalistic amen corner were reading from an altogether different script, one that read pretty much like one written by State Department spokesman James Rubin's wife, CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour, whose disgustingly adulatory CNN docudramas pushed the government line that the KLA "were heroic freedom fighters" rising up against the evil "racist" Serbs in a politically correct war for "democracy," "diversity" and "civil rights." Who can forget Madeleine Albright practically swooning in the arms of KLA strongman Thraci – was there ever a nastier sight? In those halcyon days, before the love affair between the KLA and the US Department of State soured, little Jimmy Rubin seemed like he was breathing pretty heavily too. Remember how he used to enthuse to the warmongering press corps every time he spoke to Commander Thraci "somewhere in occupied Kosovo" via cellphone? He sounded like a teenage girl who has just had a chat with Ricky Martin.


My, how times change: now this same gofer is dispatched to Kosovo to lecture the Kosovars on the true meaning of civil rights. However glorious the victory of NATO might be, "this is not an excuse [for the KLA] to take justice into their own hands," said Rubin. "It's a legitimate point to want justice. But the wheel of justice turns slowly. It's not going to happen overnight." In other words, don't worry, guys, you'll get your ethnically cleansed Kosovo, a giant step on the road to a "Greater Albania," but just hold your horses will you please, not just yet: there's the little matter of the upcoming US election to think about. But no dice. The Nando Times reports that

"Despite Washington's considerable leverage with the ethnic Albanians, it was unclear whether the province's factious leadership understood the message. Hashim Thaci, the political leader of Kosovo's rebels during the war, called Rubin "a friend of Kosovo" and said 'we accepted his statements as advice from a friend.' There was, however, no unequivocal pledge to stop the violence, much of which is believed carried out by former Kosovo Liberation Army fighters who were Thaci's allies in the war against the Serbs."


Oh, Thraci understood, alright: he understood only too well how much he has this administration over a barrel. Poor little Jimmy looked crestfallen as he sadly averred that "first there has to be a recognition that there's a problem.." But perhaps love will find a way. With those limpid eyes now practically brimming over with tears, Rubin held out some hope that this marriage could be saved. Speaking at the US Army base at Grijilane, in eastern Kosovo, he opined that ''over time, as [ethnic Albanians] examine their choices here, they'll realize that their best friends are troubled." Oh boo hoo hoo. Breaking up is hard to do. But will it come to that?


As an Albanian "splinter group" that looks, talks, and kills just like the KLA masses on the Serbian border, provoking Milosevic with daily incursions into Serbian territory and carrying out a program of systematic terror, this administration could very well panic – and anything is possible when we are dealing with that man in the Oval Office. To divert attention away from the unraveling situation inside Kosovo, this administration is not incapable of launching its own provocation in volatile Montenegro. The US commander in the region, NATO-crat-in-chief General Wesley Clark, sought to shift the focus to the tiny republic that is still formally is a member of the Yugoslav federation. The real root of the problem is not Albanian expansionism, said Clark, speaking in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital, but Slobodan Milosevic, who for some odd reason insists that Yugoslavia has sovereignty over its own territory. In the purest expression of the NATO-cratic method, the Supreme Commander gave this supremely revealing answer to a question about the possibility of NATO intervention: "We're watching very closely what's happening in Montenegro as Milosevic tightens the noose" around Montenegro, adding: "NATO's actions are incalculable. In other words because there has been no rhetoric about this...I would draw no conclusions about this."


Like a madman stumbling across the globe, drunk with power and emboldened by visions of glory and plunder, American centurions could go on a rampage at a moment's notice, on the President's command, anywhere at all: in that sense, their actions are incalculable, and even deranged. But there is a method in this madness: it is our policy of global intervention, the idea of an American Empire on which the sun never sets. This imperial vision is a mental illness that afflicts large sections of the US ruling elite (it has always afflicted the ruling circles of the old imperial powers of Europe), infecting and largely taking over the leadership of both major parties – with the general public, for the most part, still relatively immune. This is our only hope – that, and the incalculable ability of the KLA to force Clinton's hand in an effort to save a rapidly deteriorating situation.


The above quoted CNN report on linking the November elections with the Kosovo crisis was right about the deep uneasiness the looming Kosovo crisis causes in this administration: it is unfortunately incorrect in its political assessment. In spite of the Republican opposition to the Kosovo operation in the House and Senate, Dubya fulsomely supported the Kosovo war and refused to criticize Clinton except on McCainian grounds: why, asked Bush, had the President ruled out the introduction of ground troops?


The renewed outbreak of the interrupted conflict would benefit one and only one would-be occupant of the White House: Pat Buchanan, who has made opposition to our policy of global interventionism the leitmotif of his campaign. With a war in the Balkans, American soldiers caught in the crossfire, and Buchanan rising in the polls and included in the debates, the ruling elite in this country could be in for some very big trouble. That is a scenario they would like to avoid at all costs: the point is that they may have no choice, with their options limited to making the best of the inevitable – launching a renewed war in Kosovo on their own terms and in their chosen theater of operations. I long ago warned about the danger of the Montenegrin flashpoint, and it is about time for that ticking time bomb to go off. As we get closer to Election Day 2000, keep your ears perked for the sound of an explosion.

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