Empire Pays For Corporatist US Diplomats in Kosovo

The New York Times published an article yesterday detailing how top former US officials who helped spearhead the Clinton administration’s bombing of Serbia in 1999 are now deeply embedded in lucrative rent-seeking activities with Kosovo’s corrupt semi-government.

Beneficiaries include: former Secretary of State Madeline Albright; GeneralWesley Clark, who led the NATO bombing campaign; James W. Pardew, the Clinton-era special envoy to the Balkans; Mark Tavlarides, legislative director at the Clinton White House’s National Security Council; and countless others not specifically named in the article. 

These crafters of US foreign policy now benefit off the unscrupulous state structure their discretionary war helped establish. US aid since the war has been cultivating a “thugocracy.”

Clark “is chairman of Envidity, a Canadian energy company seeking to explore Kosovo’s lignite coal deposits and produce synthetic fuel,” the Times reports. Albright founded Albright Capital Management, which “has been shortlisted in the bidding for a 75 percent share in the state telecommunications company, PTK,” a venture that “is expected to bring in between $400 million and $800 million.” Pardew has had his eyes on PTK too, though, and has “lobbied top Kosovo officials on behalf of a competing consortium, Twelve Hornbeams S.a.r.l /Avicenna Capital LLC.”

So many former American officials have returned to Kosovo for business — in coal and telecommunications, or for lobbying and other lucrative government contracts — that it is hard to keep them from colliding.

Foreign policy experts say the practice of former officials’ returning for business is more common than acknowledged publicly. Privately, former officials concede the possibility of conflicts of interest and even the potential to influence American foreign policy as diplomats who traditionally made careers in public service now rotate more frequently to lucrative jobs in the private sector.

Indeed, it goes beyond the telecom company:

The biggest infrastructure project in Kosovo’s post-Yugoslav history, a 63-mile stretch of highway connecting Pristina to the Albanian border, was awarded in 2010 to Bechtel of San Francisco in a joint venture with a Turkish company, Enka.

At the time, the prime minister estimated the deal at $1 billion.

Bechtel had help getting the contract from Mr. Tavlarides, the legislative director at the National Security Council during the 1999 Kosovo intervention. According to a lobbying report filed with the United States government, Mr. Tavlarides lobbied on behalf of Bechtel in Kosovo on “highway-related issues” while working for Van Scoyoc Associates, a Washington-based lobbying firm.

Mr. Tavlarides now works at the Podesta Group, which signed a $50,000 monthly contract with the Kosovo government on Jan. 1, advising it on communications and strengthening Kosovo’s ties to the United States government. The Podesta Group was co-founded by John Podesta, White House chief of staff in Mr. Clinton’s second term. Mr. Podesta left the firm in 1993. It is still owned by his brother, Anthony.

In an interview with the Times, Clark said it was “insulting” to suggest there’s any conflict of interest. “My business is aboveboard, transparent and helps the Kosovar people,” he said. His business ventures are benefiting from the thuggish administrators in Kosovo as they “privatize” state-corporate entities – and he thinks he’s still doing the humanitarian thing? The Kosovo government, according to the Times, also denies that any of these former US officials are getting special treatment.

But a leaked memo from a meeting between Pardew and Kosovo’s prime minister tells a different story:

The choice of Mr. Pardew as their emissary was “vitally important,” the memo noted, because Kosovo’s elite “know and love him for his role on the ground during the war.”

After the memo became public, Mr. Pardew withdrew from lobbying for the consortium, and he declined to comment.

It’s quite a set up these American statists have: launch a war to become heroes in a secessionist province of Serbia, and then reap endless financial benefits via crony corporatism going on 13 years hence.

One thought on “Empire Pays For Corporatist US Diplomats in Kosovo”

  1. Thanks for helping to publicize this, John and antiwar.com.

    Those government officials are beyond evil. I hope there's an afterlife in which they get what they deserve. It's also good to see them get some humiliation/bad publicity in this life.

  2. John.., this is how mafia works…, this is what a falsified democracy is about.., this is the result of a corrupt economic and political system in real time, Clinton to no Clinton, same sh…..,t different name in different time.

  3. I often argued with friends and family that BushW was really no worse than Clinton. BushW was the worst except for……..arguable, I guess. While the BushW administration waged war for the benefit of corporate cronies, the Clinton administration obviously bombed and sanctioned for direct personal profit!

    I don't think anything has changed with the present gang-in-charge. BOMB for $$$.

    1. clinton is worse, far more intelligent and calculating, "silence of the lanbs" running the country

      1. Hitlerry and Debill Clinton should be awarded a Nobel Prize for the most immoral human beings on Earth.

  4. How about Trepcha? Serbian mine of mercury and silver, presumed one of the bigest of the kinde in Europe. Who is owing it now?

  5. well for sum1 who is from kosovo and is albanian i will say this…this land has been ours even before midevil times but it is true that americans are making a profit here and so are the local politicians,and on the other hand we are the majority and we have been for so long and in yugoslaa era why didnt we have jobs here? because belgrade gave all the serbz the luxury and jobs and they left the population here with nothing to eat…now the albanians are making money building houses and reshaping citys and building everything that the serbs didnt want to invest into this land and thats how ultimatley they lost it…yes there was a war both sides dont like eachother but just like anyone the public here has no say in anything so lets not come out and call everyone a terrorist..we are all human beings and i got no hate for no1 not even serbs in the long run its the best how things are because it would be 2013 and still feel like its 1950 with nothing here..croats,bosnians,macedonians,albanians,serbs, all need to govern themselves to have peace how would u like it if the germans came into america centurys ago and became the boss of the majority public? i didnt think so and i lived in america and now back in kosovo for teaching english to univeristy students its becoming a great state and it will be even better when they take out these corrupt officials its going to be 2013 and its best that we all be at peace for once in the balkans,serbz screwed everyone and got war in the the states around them and now they got it back because of there fanatik nationlizm like they say what goes around come around..

    1. Oh yeah, you are absolutely right about that one: What goes around comes around. Just wait, and you'll see.

  6. An opportunist will take any job that increases his capital worthand makes no difference ones nationality. Its the color of money in ones bank account that matters and each must find their own rationalitybehind how they are actually are helping the ones in power to get more of that blood colored money.
    Life is what life is and to the one who went back and now gripes about Albanians, lets just remember the name given to the operation bythose very ones who now prgit in not only Kosovo but in every failed society in the area.

  7. Thank you for bringing this issue up, Mr. Glaser. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.

  8. It’s quite a set up these American statists have: launch a war to become heroes in a secessionist province of Serbia, and then reap endless financial benefits via crony corporatism going on 13 years hence.

  9. all of what was just commented on and how bad they are, together could not achieve what
    Halliburton has profitted on and continues to do so….

  10. But here is the problem. Who owns all the stuff they are trying to sell? Serbia. And, of coforurse, Ms. Clinton is doing her best to bully the impoverished Serbia to voluntariliy give up its sovereignty — or else how are her buddies going to legally invest inall that stuff? The land and all the enterprises on it, and resources under it are stolen, so — do you think banks will give money for financing? Apparently, some investors are dumb enough to trust the washed up politicians and generals that Ms Clinton will “fix” it somehow. But Kosovo has no chance to become a recognized member in UN, and that is what counts. Under duress, Serbian government can be forced to sound compliant, but it is not giving up its sovereignty. Under international law, province taken by the force of arms, and then by skirting international law — US and buddies recognize illegal entity for the sake of profiting from the loot. But, I suggest to them not to play hardball with the masters of crime that rule Kosovo. They may end up missing an organ or two.

  11. Albright purposelly used top brag about how she purposly set up the bar for Serbs too high so they would get carpet bombed.
    Albright also said the history will judges us harsh if we dont get involved and stop massacres in Kosovo and all mass graves created by Serbs. Its been over 10 years no mass graves found.
    In Rewanda over 6,000,000 innocent people were slauther she and the Clintons did not even blink?
    So much for "moral rights"
    For the Alabanian above who said Serbs stole all the jobs etc???
    Serbs were working and paying taxes and billions were poured into Kosovo.
    School were built and runned in Albanian language as everythng else.
    If it was so bad why did you and the rest of Kosovo Albanians go back home to Albania?
    I think you know the answer to that one.
    Because in Albania was way way worse.
    Besides in Kosovo the Albanians could live better and have Serbia and its people suport them.
    Truth might not come right a way…but eventually it does.

    Hillarry who is sick???? (since she is called to Senate hearing to explaing for not helping and protecting our ambasador who was killed and draged on the streets)

  12. There really needs to be a reliable, consistent counter-news source who has the confidence and trust of US victim nations to get the straight scoop from their point of view. GÜZEL CALI?MA

  13. hat communities divert law enforcement resources from violent crimes to illegal drug offenses, the risk of punishment for engaging i

  14. most important job is taking your call when you get drunk in Riyadh. You don't get a great job at an influence mill with that on your résumé. You do if Ambassador to Saudi Arabia means what doing the "important work" needed under current policies.

  15. call when you get drunk in Riyadh. You don't get a great job at an influence mill with that on your résumé. You do if Ambassador to Saudi Arabia means what doing the "important work" needed under current policies.

  16. your résumé. You do if Ambassador to Saudi Arabia means what doing the "important work" needed under current policies

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