There was no profound geopolitical rationale for the war that Bill Clinton initiated against Serbia in 1999. The Europeans were unable to contain an ethnic conflict in the Balkans, and needed the United States to screw the lid back onto the pressure cooker.
Mr. Clinton got to burnish his global multilateralist credentials, and the media obliged him with a wealth of grotesquely one-sided propaganda designed to make the Serbs look like bloodthirsty racist demons. It provided justification for the United States and NATO to violate the territory of a sovereign Christian nation on behalf of the Muslims of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) — which was at best a ruthless guerilla force, and at worst a gangster mob with extensive connections to organized crime, Al Qaeda, and other unsavory players throughout Europe and beyond.
Ten years have passed, and the narrative has remained largely unchanged. Nonetheless, there always was another story behind the war in Kosovo, but the media outside Serbia largely failed to report it. The TV news reports set the Serbs up as neo-Nazis and made the KLA look like a brave band of freedom fighters, but that was not the end of the story.
The ethnic Albanians of the KLA were at least as ruthless and bloodthirsty as any of the other armed groups in the Balkans. As soon as UN protection afforded them the opportunity, they ethnically cleansed their territory of Serbs and made a concerted effort to rid Kosovo of every vestige of Christianity.
But it was even worse than that. For a long time the horror stories were restricted to the Serbian and Serb-expat media, and were thus relegated to “fever swamp” status and could be safely ignored in the rest of the West. However, detailed reports of Albanian Kosovar atrocities against Serbs have now moved into the MSM.
According to the latest articles, the KLA abducted Serb civilians and gathered them into prison camps where they were beaten, tortured, starved, and killed.
Even more horrific was the systematic harvest of organs from Serbian victims. The KLA mafia moved their chosen targets to special locations (some of them in Albania), surgically removed what was useful and lucrative, and then sold the organs on the black market through their organized criminal networks — along with heroin, arms, and teenage prostitutes.
What remained of the victims was buried in mass graves, and evidence of the atrocities was later destroyed by the International War Crimes Tribunal — presumably to preserve the image of the Serbs as evil aggressors and the Kosovars as innocent victims.
This is the UN in action, and these are the people that George W. Bush put in charge of the brand spanking new nation of Kosovo.
The BBC has recently run a series of reports on the atrocities in Kosovo. Here’s a brief introductory video on the topic (thanks to Vlad Tepes for posting it to YouTube):
And this is from an article about the KLA prison camps:
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Horrors of KLA Prison Camps Revealed
The man spoke plainly as he explained the horrors he lived through in a Kosovo Liberation Army prison camp 10 years ago. He told me about how he watched people beaten with steel pipes, cut with knives, left for days without food, and shot and killed.
“What can you feel when you see those things?” he said. “It’s something that is stuck in my mind for the rest of my life. You cannot do those things to people, not even to animals.”
Soon after the war ended in Kosovo, I started looking into the thousands of civilians who disappeared during and after the conflict. Many Albanian victims were dumped in wells or transported to mass graves as far away as Belgrade.
But others — mainly Serbs — simply vanished without a trace. There were no demands for ransom, no news of any kind.
I had met sources who spoke vaguely about secret camps in Albania where Kosovo Serbs, Albanians and Roma were interrogated, tortured and in most cases killed.
I met another source who agreed to share important details about KLA prison camps. This man cut a very different profile.
He had returned from a successful career abroad to join the KLA in its fight for Kosovo’s independence from Serbia.
The man was still proud of the goals he fought for, but he had become haunted by the treatment of civilians he had seen at a KLA prison camp. More than that, he said he felt angry and betrayed by KLA commanders who tolerated and even ordered the abuses.
“It didn’t seem strange at the time,” he told me as he described seeing desperate civilians locked in a filthy agricultural shed.
He said the civilians were Serbs and Roma seized by KLA soldiers and were being hidden away from Nato troops. The source believes the captives were sent across the border to Albania and killed.
Yet another source spoke of driving trucks packed with shackled prisoners — mainly Serbian civilians from Kosovo — to secret locations in Albania where they were eventually killed.
He recalled hearing two of the captives begging to be shot rather than tortured and “cut into pieces”.
“I was sick. I was just waiting for it to end,” the source told me. “It was hard. I thought we were fighting a war [of liberation] but this was something completely different.”
It has taken these men 10 years to speak to an outsider about the dark side of the war. They were breaking a code of silence that has held strong in Kosovo.
This is from a UPI story based on the BBC reports:
The BBC on its Web site Thursday quoted sources as saying the Kosovo ethnic Albanian liberation army kidnapped civilian Kosovo Serbs, Romanies and ethnic Albanians and maltreated them in the Kukes camp.
About 2,000 civilians were missing before and after an armed conflict in Kosovo, which ended in June 1999.
A number of the abducted people taken to Albania were killed and allegedly their body organs were sold on the black market. At least 18 people were killed in the Kukes camp, the BBC said.
Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, a former Kosovo Liberation Army leader, rejected the allegations, telling the BBC he was told about individual abuses but the Kosovo Liberation Army distanced itself from these acts.
This is from another BBC report:
The BBC News investigation also studies claims that some of those held in Albania were killed for their organs, and that physical evidence gathered by UN investigators in Albania was destroyed by the International War Crimes Tribunal.
A former prisoner of the KLA, an ethnic Albanian from Kosovo who was held in a KLA prison in Kukes, northern Albania, agreed to speak to us on condition of anonymity. His family are terrified for his life.
“They ill-treated people in the corridor,” he says. “They also came into the rooms in groups of five or six to question us. And they used knives, guns, and automatic rifles.”
His testimony confirms that people of different ethnic backgrounds were kept there, including Serbs.
He told the BBC: “When a person is mistreated… he cries out ‘oh mother’ in his own language.
“The nights were very quiet, so you could hear them crying out… while they were being beaten, or afterwards.”
There’s no doubt that the Kosovars weren’t the only ones engaged in ethnic cleansing and other atrocities. Serbian crimes are also well-documented. But if you get all your information from the network news or The New York Times, you’d never know that the ethnic Albanians were at least as bad.
And probably worse. There have never been any stories of Serbs harvesting organs from Kosovars, and you can bet that if there were, they would have been on the front page of every Western newspaper.
These events will probably never get much more play than this — the forces that want to bury them are too powerful and determined.
But the BBC is acting against the interests of Whitehall by making this story public. It makes me wonder what the game is, and why it’s being played out now, ten years after the fact.
Hat tip: Tuan Jim.