Happy Kosovo Independence Day?

Not quite …

by , February 18, 2015

Kosovars are celebrating the seventh anniversary of Kosovo’s independence – by leaving in record numbers. By some estimates as many as 100,000 have fled the country in the past few months. Germany is dispatching policemen to the Hungary-Serbia border to stem the rising tide, since most wind up there so they can apply for asylum.

It’s a tragic end to a long and difficult journey, however, as more than 99 percent of asylum applications from Kosovars are rejected. Germany, which supported the US-backed Kosovo "Liberation" Army (KLA), wanted an independent Kosovo: the Kosovars, not so much….

Fourteen years after the end of the Kosovo war, the "liberation" of the Kosovars has delivered them into the hands of a despotic clan of thugs who have turned the country into the crime capital of Europe, and the continent’s major source of heroin smuggling and human trafficking – a place where the former President has been credibly accused of organ harvesting. The Albanian Mafia has ruled the country ever since the "liberation," and Kosovo’s government has taken its place among the most corrupt in the world. The unemployment rate is close to 50 percent. A piece in the Guardian quotes a refugee fleeing with his family:

"I don’t know exactly where I am heading but I am dreaming of a place where my children will have proper education and where they won’t need connections to get a job once they graduate and where neither of us need to bribe the doctor if we need health services. The government did not prove they can provide us with any of this, and I never thought I would be here 15 years after the war."

Associated Press cites a disappointed worker:

“‘I am so disappointed with my own place, I just want to leave,’ said Bislim Shabani, an ethnic Albanian heading to Germany with his wife and four children. Shabani said he worked in a company that went bust in a botched privatization, leaving many workers mired in debt: ‘They owe me 12 months of wages. I couldn’t provide for my family any longer.'”

The last official in charge of privatizing Kosovo’s state-own industries, Blerim Rexha, had to resign after questions were raised when the agency sold off entire industries on the cheap to buyers with political connections. The previous privatization minister had been found dead at home with 11 stab wounds – officially ruled a "suicide." Under Prime Minister Hacim Thaci, leader of the KLA, and his Democratic Party, the wholesale looting of the economy took place: not only the privatization agency but also the Central Bank (whose chieftain was arrested), and virtually every other government body is rife with corruption.

The Drenas mine, worth billions, was snapped up by an Israeli company for a pittance. PTK, the state-owned telecommunications company, was bid on by Albright Capital – former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s investment consortium – but was forced out by the pretty obvious conflict of interest. Albright was a prime architect of the Kosovo war during her tenure at Foggy Bottom and apparently became quite enthralled with tall, dark and handsome Hacim Thaci, who later became Kosovo’s chief executive and de facto strongman. The PTK sale has been canceled twice due to a power struggle within the ruling party.

Organized violence against the Serb minority, which began during the civil war and continued, unabated, after independence, is worse than ever. Over 100 Serbian Orthodox churches have been burned to the ground by Kosovar mobs. In March, 2004, the "Kristallnacht of Kosovo" saw Serbs murdered in the streets, entire towns ethnically cleansed, hospitals burned to the ground, and thousands of Serbs forced to flee their homes: an estimated 50,000 Kosovars took part in the rioting. NATO’s "peacekeeping" force stood by and watched.

The Kosovo war was sold to the American people under the rubric of a "humanitarian intervention" – a precedent and a pretext that was used many times since. It was also the first phase of Washington’s post-cold war regime change campaign, which sought to push Russian influence out of Europe – and eventually threaten regime change in Russia itself. While today we hear much talk of a new cold war, there is nothing all that new in the present policy: it began with the Clinton administration, when Gen. Wesley Clark threatened to start World War III by attacking Russian peacekeepers in Pristina, and NATO started bombing Serbia.

It is continuing today in Ukraine, another country where corruption is a way of life, and where the regime-changers have been busy for years. In coordination with the European Union, Washington finally succeeded in ousting – by force – the elected government, perceived as "pro-Russian," and installing the oligarch Petro Poroshenko. A civil war ensued, pitting the pro-Russian east against the puppet regime in Kiev: the war is going badly for Poroshennko, who has recently begun arresting journalists and has threatened to impose martial law in response to rising dissent on the home front.

Along with Albright, and, of course, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton was one of the prime movers of the Kosovo intervention. Her biographer, Gail Sheehy, documents that it was pressure from Hillary that finally hectored the President into ordering the first air strikes. There’s a "Bill Clinton Boulevard" in Pristina, which sports a ten-foot statue of the Great Pants Dropper, and near it is a store – "Hillary" – which sells clothing associated with the former First Lady and putative presidential candidate: red pants suits are a hot-selling item.

Hillary’s story about having come under fire in a visit to the region has been thoroughly debunked, but her lies haven’t stopped there: in spite of Kosovo’s ever-worsening condition, she defends the US invasion to this day, hailing the war as more than a mere triumph of American "global leadership": "For me, my family and my fellow Americans this is more than a foreign policy issue, it is personal," she blabbers.

The Clintons, in short, own the Kosovo war – and what a sorry heritage it is.

The coalition that bamboozled us into war in Kosovo – neoconservatives like Bill Kristol and his friends, in league with "humanitarian interventionist" progressives and billionaire speculator George Soros – is identical to the one trying to push us into a new cold war with Russia over Ukraine. Back then, groups like the "Balkan Action Council" sprang up like mushrooms after a rain, fueled with Soros money and long lists of neoconservative endorsers, along with their "progressive" comrades-in-arms.

The media joined in the fun, with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour playing the role of Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter who played a key role into lying us into the Iraq war. Amanpour greatly exaggerated the charges of "ethnic cleansing" and "mass murder" aimed at the Serb authorities and played a major part in demonizing Belgrade to the point where US planes were bombing civilian targets – such as a television station, in which 16 staff members were murdered in cold blood – without so much as a peep from either the Western media or our resident "humanitarians." Over 5,000 citizens of Serbia were killed by NATO’s war planes.

And what was the result? The creation of a gangster state where corruption is the first principle of "governance" and US and European "peacekeepers" stand by while savages destroy churches and murder their ethnic rivals with impunity. In short: yet another failed state, just like Libya and Syria, two other sites where the Clintonian murder machine has been hard at work creating chaos out of order.

Speaking of Kosovo: Antiwar.com was founded in opposition to the Kosovo war. This column, in its previous incarnation as "Allied Farce: A Wartime Diary," inveighed against the brazen criminality of Bill and Hillary’s glorious adventure on a daily basis. I warned from the very beginning what would happen in the end, and I take absolutely zero pleasure in reminding everyone how right I was. The human costs of that war are simply incalculable.

We’ve been speaking truth to power since our founding in 1995 – and as far as I’m concerned, Antiwar.com has more than earned your support. You may have noticed that our seasonal fundraising drive is now in progress – and, yes, we sure could use a little more progress!

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NOTES IN THE MARGIN

You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.

I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).

You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.

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