New In Kosovo
The Occupied Province, Same Old Terror
the past couple of days, two prominent leaders of the "Kosovo
Liberation Army" (KLA) have been arrested by the NATO
forces occupying Kosovo. Rrustem
Mustafa, better known as Commander Remi, is accused of
torturing and murdering several people. Ramush
Haradinaj was charged with "violent behavior"
– a polite way to describe a shooting of a rival politician
two years ago.
the arrests have been touted as a signal of NATO’s determination
armed extremism" in the province. They are, of course,
nothing of the sort. Considering the violent record of Haradinaj
and Mustafa, present charges against them are a joke. Since
their political views are shared by most Kosovo Albanians,
the two are not "extremists," either. The most accurate
description would be "terrorists," but despite the
Empire’s propensity for throwing the term around, it has been
carefully avoided in this instance. Strange, perhaps, but
not new. Not in Kosovo.
and Ramush’s Greatest Hits
interesting thing about both arrests is that they refer to
events that occurred a while ago. In the meantime, Mustafa
helped the "human rights cause" in Macedonia, while
Haradinaj and his party took part in the elections last fall.
Haradinaj was frequently welcomed in Washington’s halls of
power, in Foggy Bottom as well as on Capitol Hill, despite
common knowledge such as this:
"Haradinaj could face charges over what may be the biggest
atrocity carried out by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).
Forty civilians were killed during several months in 1998
in the village of Glodjane in western Kosovo, where Haradinaj
was then the KLA commander. Many of the bodies of Serbs,
Albanians and gypsies [sic] bore marks of torture."
(The Sunday Times, April 29, 2001 – see
crimes are similarly documented (see
here; scroll down to "Commander Remi"): abductions,
murders, bomb attacks against cafés, convenience stores
and marketplaces… Among his victims were both Kosovo Serbs
and those Albanians who had not joined the KLA. Most significantly,
fellow KLA members testified he was responsible for organizing
an exodus of some 220,000 Albanians from northern Kosovo
(The Guardian, June 30, 1999) during NATO’s assault
in 1999. As this demolishes the NATO thesis about Serb "ethnic
cleansing" (and thus removes the justification for both
the 1999 invasion and the occupation), the absence of these
crimes from Remi’s indictment is not surprising.
the obvious amount of knowledge about these two characters
and their actions, their arrests on minor charges amounting
to "assault" and "manslaughter" seems
more of a PR move than genuine concern for justice and peace.
Let’s not forget, NATO’s illegal attack made it possible for
Remi and Ramush to run wild around Kosovo in the first place,
and for over three years.
concept of "justice" in Kosovo is generally a sick
joke. Just last week, a local Albanian "judge" decided
two plots of land that belonged to the Visoki Decani monastery.
The monastery land had been stolen before, by the Communists
in 1946. Some of it was restored in 1997, by the (gasp!) government
of Slobodan Milosevic. Now the Albanians have "liberated"
it, as they have "liberated" the entire province.
Needless to say, the UN/NATO occupation authorities have done
absolutely nothing to prevent, stop, or reverse this theft.
says plenty for the Serbian government’s commitment to justice
that its only response was a timid pronouncement by the Ministry
of Faith, saying that the land-grab "certainly is not
in the best interests of anyone well-intentioned and wishing
to establish peace and tolerance in Kosovo-Metohija."
What was their first clue?
and Rumors of Plans
only the schemers in Empire’s corridors of power were nearly
as clueless about their plans for Kosovo! Alas, that is not
so. Last month, the U.S. Institute of Peace published Special
Report 91, titled "Kosovo Final Status: Options and
Cross-border Requirements." Now, USIP is run and funded
by the US Congress, and employs mostly State Department personnel
on hiatus from official government duties. Though "unofficial,"
the USIP reports are a good indicator of what Empire’s policymakers
are thinking. And judging by SR 91, all options for Kosovo
involve some form of independence.
this is not surprising. Half the people who worked on the
report have worked for the ICG
at one time or another, and the International Crisis Group
has been an outspoken champion of the Albanian cause. It has
own report on final status favoring independence,
of course. Its late 1999 proposal to seize the Trepca mines
was followed – almost to the letter – by the occupation authorities
in 2000. Just recently, the ICG proposed the elimination
of the last Serb enclaves in the province, as a "threat"
to peace and security.
to form, occupation governor Michael Steiner recently
spoke against "partition" and "parallel
structures" in Kosovo (meaning the vestiges of Serb government,
not the KLA, of course). He also categorically rejected "status
quo ante" 1999, effectively saying that chances of Kosovo
reintegrating into Serbia were less than zero. Behind Steiner’s
talk of "democratic,
safe and multiethnic Kosovo on its way to Europe"
is independence, hiding in open sight.
there is the House Resolution 467, proposed by Representatives
Benjamin Gilman (R-NY) and Tom Lantos (D-CA) on June 27 this
year, expressing the support for independence of something
called "Kosova" (read
PDF). Fortunately for Kenya, this does not mean support
for separatists in the Nyanza
province, if there are any. It means Gilman, Lantos and
their ilk desperately need a lesson
in remedial English. Given the amount of contributions they
received from Albanian separatists,
they might need remedial ethics as well, together with such
luminaries as Viagra pitchman Bob
Dole and Senator Joseph
are still some naïve
moralists who are trying hard to reconcile the aggression
and occupation with an ethical solution for Kosovo. However
rational their arguments against independence may sound, however
close to the mainstream rhetoric and thinking, the Empire
seems to have made up its mind already. The question isn’t
"if," but "when."
Covic, Serbian kommissar for Kosovo, can ask for as
as he wants, and try to reason
with the occupiers till the cows come home. His boss,
Zoran Djindjic, is Empire’s obedient servant, who will find
a way to rationalize and spin whatever his masters decide
to do with Kosovo. And if he doesn’t, NATO can always bomb
Serbia. It worked the first time, didn’t it?
glimmer of hope in this deluge of depravity is that the Empire
seems to be in no hurry to actually let the Kosovo Albanians
declare independence. Perhaps the feeling is that such a radical
move might remind the rest of the world of the criminal nature
of NATO’s attack, the illegal nature of the occupation, and
the fact that the US and NATO, with UN’s tacit approval, invaded
and seized a piece of a sovereign nation’s territory. That
last bit might be the toughest sell to the world, since anybody
can be the next victim.
given that the Empire has used the Kosovo war to assert the
right to do whatever it pleases, whenever it pleases, with
or without an excuse, the hesitation can only mean the occupation
of this Serbian province still serves a purpose.
long as that is the case, there is hope – however slim – that
the Empire will refrain from actually proceeding with an agenda
as obviously stupid as Kosovo independence. Not because it
is wrong, immoral, illegal or unjust, mind you, but because
it might be counterproductive.
prosecuting Remi and Ramush for terrorism might be, for instance.