Jihad in New Jersey

There are plenty of good reasons to be suspicious when the Empire announces something, be that the "mission accomplished" in Iraq or a revelation the FBI had stopped a terrorist plot. Over the past several years, the American public has been fed a diet of lies, which though barely edible provided the illusion of nourishment: Iraqi WMDs, Niger yellowcake, Jessica Lynch, Pat Tillman…

So when news came that the FBI had arrested six men allegedly plotting an attack on Fort Dix in New Jersey, it was reasonable to suspect this was yet another propaganda stunt. Except for one thing – the amount of effort by the media and the government to obfuscate the identity of the alleged terrorists.

It is now known that of the six suspects, three were in the US illegally. One was Jordanian, another Turkish, and four were Albanians. But not just any Albanians – ethnic Albanians from Kosovo, commonly referred to as "Kosovars" when the mainstream media spins a tale of their suffering at the hands of evil, genocidal Serbs, or makes a case for secession of that Serbian province, occupied by NATO since 1999.

They were not "Kosovars" this week, though; instead, the four Fort Dix suspects were "Yugoslavs" or "from former Yugoslavia," and even now are described as "Albanians," as if someone, somewhere decided that under no circumstances would their connection to Kosovo be allowed to emerge.

Perception Management

Rewind for a moment to Valentine’s Day 2007, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Shots are fired in a busy shopping center. Five people die and four are wounded before the assailant is killed by an off-duty police officer who happened to carry his weapon. The moment the shooter was identified as Sulejman Talovic, a Bosnian immigrant, coverage of the rampage changed dramatically. Instead of the victims’ names and features about lives cut short, the public was treated to an onslaught of tear-jerking drivel about Talovic, painting him as a victim of the Bosnian war. Within a day, the Trolley Square massacre was being blamed on Serbs, because Talovic was from an area affected by the 1995 "genocide." Of course, he was long gone from Bosnia by then – but facts can never be allowed to interfere with a good sob story. When it comes to the Balkans, lies will get you awards, and truth will get you fired.

On Wednesday, the Washington Times published an unusually straightforward editorial criticizing the coverage of Ft. Dix suspects. Perhaps with Talovic in mind, the Times editors called the transformation of the suspects’ identities "familiar," and continued:

"Surely some leeway is warranted when the facts are up in the air, and a news organization’s first priority is to get it right and get it right first. One day’s worth of confusion is not so terrible in the grand scheme of things. But when a fact – "Albanian" – emerges, report it. The public has a right to know. The sanitization of language is at war with the public’s right to an understanding of the facts. […] ‘Yugoslav’ is a sanitizer. […] As long as our news organizations fail to report the facts they know to be true, they are failing to do their job. They should not engage in ‘perception management.’"

However, all Balkans coverage since the very first shots fired in 1991 has been "perception management," whether by reporters themselves, their editors, or paid PR agencies contracted by various governments.

Connecting the Dots

A New York Times feature describing the Ft. Dix Six was titled "Six Ordinary Lives That Took a Detour to a World of Terror." But was it really a "detour"? One of the men, Agron Abdullahu, was a member of the KLA; he would know about terror first-hand. The three Duka brothers were described as "roofers." Oddly enough, that is the listed occupation of Florin Krasniqi, a major KLA weapons supplier and Democratic campaign contributor. Krasniqi, an illegal immigrant living in Brooklyn, was a major persona in a book about the Albanian diaspora, and was filmed hobnobbing with Richard Holbrooke and Gen. Wesley Clark.

Fort Dix also has an Albanian connection – it was the place where Albanian refugees from the 1999 Kosovo war first arrived into the U.S.

Finally, the specific method of attack alleged by the Federal prosecutors is chillingly familiar to those who recall terrorism by Kosovo Albanian separatists. In 1987, the New York Times reported that Aziz Kelmendi, a young Albanian conscript in the Yugoslav Army, had shot up a dormitory in his barracks in Paracin, killing six other soldiers and injuring many others. Kelmendi’s act prompted an internal investigation, and the Army discovered other Albanian separatist cells plotting similar attacks.

Not surprisingly, little of this has been mentioned in the mainstream media. Bloggers, however, have been busy for days.

Pandering to Jihad

On April 15, the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing dedicated to "independence of Kosova" (sic), chaired by Albanian separatist supporter Tom Lantos (D-Ca.). The special witness at the hearing was Nicholas Burns, Deputy Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs. At one moment, Lantos said:

"Just a reminder to the predominantly Muslim-led government[s] in this world that here is yet another example that the United States leads the way for the creation of a predominantly Muslim country in the very heart of Europe. This should be noted by both responsible leaders of Islamic governments, such as Indonesia, and also for jihadists of all color and hue. The United States’ principles are universal, and in this instance, the United States stands foursquare for the creation of an overwhelmingly Muslim country in the very heart of Europe." (emphasis added)

Had it not been for the bloggers again, the American public would have never known about this remark. All that the mainstream media chose to report from the hearing was Undersecretary Burns’s commitment to the separation of Kosovo from Serbia.

Empire’s officials have revealed more than once that part of what motivated Washington’s actions in the Balkans has been a desire to assure the world’s Muslims of America’s fairness and impartiality. But the expected gratitude of Empire’s Balkans wards turned out as ephemeral as that of the "liberated" Iraqis – who are now "liberating" U.S. troops of their lives on a daily basis.

Of course, given the mixed messages the Empire is sending its populace (Kill the Muslim terrorists! Love the Muslims!), it won’t do to trumpet the support for Muslims and "jihadists of all color and hue" so publicly. Thus Albanians are always described as "secular" and "moderate" when critics try to point out the systematic destruction of Serb churches and construction of Saudi mosques, but suddenly become Muslim when it is convenient to pander to jihad. Same with the Muslims of Bosnia – one day they are "moderate" and "secular," the next they are "Muslims in the heart of Europe."

What does it take for the lies to stop? There are volumes of reports on al-Qaeda presence in the Balkans, facilitated and indeed encouraged by U.S. support for Bosnian Muslims and Kosovo Albanians in their efforts to achieve "national liberation" by becoming more Islamic and subjugating or expelling their Christian neighbors. In the Muslim world, Kosovo and Bosnia are considered parts of the jihad. Only the West, completely compromised by attempting to disguise naked aggression as a "humanitarian" and "human rights" cause, refuses to admit the truth. Not even when it delivers a punch in the face.

Denying Reality

For years, the Empire has insisted that Balkans Muslims – be they Bosnian, Albanian or some other kind – absolutely loved America and were the living proof of Imperial fairness, having been "rescued from genocide" at the hands of the evil Serbs. All attempts to present a growing body of factual evidence about terrorist camps, smuggling routes, recruitment efforts and support in "multiethnic" Bosnia and "liberated" Kosovo were dismissed as "Serb propaganda." But Florin Krasniqi was not Serbian propaganda. Neither were the photos of KLA terrorists holding severed Serb heads, or the Pristina café owner who poses as Hitler, or the militant imams and Saudi mosques all over the region, or the four men who plotted to go Kelmendi on Fort Dix. To no avail. All this belongs firmly in the "reality-based community." The Empire cannot be bothered with the facts; it is too busy making up its own.

By mid-day Wednesday, the train of denial had already begun: AP reported that the suspects’ relatives (found in Western Macedonia) dismissed the charges as bogus and declared their love and admiration for their "liberator," America.

Author: Nebojsa Malic

Nebojsa Malic left his home in Bosnia after the Dayton Accords and currently resides in the United States. During the Bosnian War he had exposure to diplomatic and media affairs in Sarajevo. As a historian who specializes in international relations and the Balkans, Malic has written numerous essays on the Kosovo War, Bosnia, and Serbian politics. His exclusive column for Antiwar.com debuted in November 2000.