Of the war against terrorism, President Bush says, "You’re either with us or against us."
A New York Times article of 4 March by Joyce Walder, titled, "Side by Side in Life, and Now, in Death," sympathetically chronicles the deaths of three Albanian-American brothers who went together to Kosovo to fight and die along side the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).
No one should be insensitive to the great loss and the tragedy that has befallen the Bytyqi family. The loss of one’s sons deeply affects every family, regardless of ethnicity. Throughout the conflict in Kosovo, unfortunately, Americans of Albanian descent constantly watched the tragedy unfold before their eyes as portrayed by an anti-Serb, pro-Albanian media and leaders bent on stirring up ethnic hatred. Seeing the long lines of refugees seeking to escape the carnage and hearing exaggerated reports of unspeakable atrocities, who would not be moved or encouraged to join up with their fellow Albanians in what they perceived to be a righteous jihad? The Bytyqi brothers probably never saw or wouldn’t believe anything contrary to what they were told, such as a UPI article of 29 June 1999, titled "Internal refugee numbers overestimated," which reported, "As an international peacekeeping force moves into Kosovo, they are not finding the large numbers of internally displaced people anticipated, based on estimates from the United Nations, according to Lt. Gen. Mike McDuffie, the Joint Staff s director of logistics. We planned for what we thought was a potential disaster…and we just haven’t found it, McDuffie said. KFOR was expecting to find about half a million people displaced from their homes. Instead, peacekeepers have found only small pockets of people as refugees from outside and inside the province surge back home." Furthermore, Jonathan Steele reported in the Guardian of 30 June 1999, that one ethnic Albanian professional "disclosed that it was KLA advice, rather than Serbian deportations, which led some of the hundreds of thousands of Albanians to leave Kosovo."
Unfortunately, the Albanian-American brothers "righteous jihad" is one that further promotes bin Laden’s war of terrorism against the American people. Sadly, they were pawns in that tragic game, victims of the unscrupulous lies and machinations of men like Congressman Eliot L. Engel of New York and William Walker, former U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador and former member of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), who knew the facts but twisted and distorted them for their own purposes. It was William Walker who accompanied the bodies of the Bytyqi brothers back from Kosovo to New York.
On one of his first trips to Kosovo, Congressman Engel stood on the square of Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, and told ethnic Albanians that he wanted to return as its first U.S. Ambassador to an independent Kosova, (as opposed to the official Serbian name, Kosovo) in essence, fomenting anarchy and encouraging revolution against the legitimate government in Belgrade. Congressman Engel should be especially pleased to know that of the 40,000 Serbs who once lived in Pristina, fewer than 250, mostly elderly, are confined in two apartment complexes, too terrified to even go in search of food. It should also be noted that the Serbians, who were once the majority in Kosovo, their Jerusalem, have all but had their culture, society, language and religion eradicated by ethnic Albanians who gained their majority mostly by crossing illegally from Albanian into Kosovo, ably assisted by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), a flawed U.S. foreign policy and a willing media.
As a career military officer’s wife, Stella Jatras has traveled widely and has lived in many foreign countries where she not only learned about other cultures but also became very knowledgeable regarding world affairs and world politics. Stella Jatras lived in Moscow for two years (where her husband, George, was the Senior Air Attaché), and while there, worked in the Political Section of the US Embassy. Stella has also lived in Germany, Greece and Saudi Arabia. Her travels took her to over twenty countries.
Previous article by Stella Jatras on Antiwar.com
It was at the request of the KLA that Walker was asked to investigate the discovery of a number of Albanian bodies in the village of Racak, a KLA stronghold, after a battle had taken place between KLA and Serb forces. Before even reaching Racak, and before any evaluation or independent investigation could be made, Walker immediately pointed his crooked finger of guilt at the Serbs and declared the killings a "massacre." Primarily based on the Racak massacre, President Clinton ordered the bombing of Yugoslavia, a sovereign nation and a people who had not harmed one hair on the head of a single American. The truth eventually came out. The Italian newspaper, Il Manifesto headlined: "OSCE LIED ABOUT RACAK." Rome, April 09, 2000: " There was no massacre in Racak, says today the Italian daily Il Manifesto, citing the results of the inquiry recently launched by the German daily Berliner Zeitung. The evidence clearly shows what really happened: there was no mass murder in Racak. Those were probably the bodies of the KLA terrorists who died [in the battle] on January 15th. "
In her often moving article, Ms. Walder left out a few important facts regarding the KLA for whose cause the Bytyqi brothers died. In 1998, State Department officials listed the Kosovo Liberation Army as a terrorist organization. The KLA was labeled as the "Vietcong of the Balkans" by Mark Almond, Chairman of the British Helsinki Human Rights Group (BHHRG) in the weekly British Spectator of 3 April 1999. Marcia Christoff Kurop in The Wall Street Journal on 1 Nov. 2001, "Al Qaeda’s Balkan Links," reported that "For the past 10 years, the most senior leaders of al Qaeda have visited the Balkans, including bin Laden himself on three occasions between 1994 and 1996." It should be noted that this WSJ European report did not appear in the WSJ national edition for American consumption. Chris Hedges described the KLA s founders as "diehard Marxist-Leninists as well as descendants of the fascist militias raised by the Italians in World War II," in a New York Times article of 28 March.
THE KLA’S HEROIN CONNECTIONS. HOW MUCH PROOF DO YOU NEED?
Jerry Seper of The Washington Times reported in 1999 that "some members of the Kosovo Liberation Army which has financed its war effort through the sale of heroin, were trained in terrorist camps run by international fugitive Osama bin Laden." Furthermore, The Centre for Peace in the Balkans reported Bin Laden’s Balkan Connections and that "Osama bin Laden’s activities in Albania are well known and documented. As a matter of fact at one point the presence of his network in that country was so powerful that US Defense Secretary William Cohen canceled a scheduled visit July 1999 for fear of being assassinated. Bin Laden’s organization was one of several fundamentalist groups that had sent units to fight in Kosovo, the neighboring province of Serbia."
Christian Jennings of The Daily Telegraph reported on 19 Feb. 2002, "Taliban heroin profits arming Balkan rebels," that "Heroin from huge stockpiles in Afghanistan is beginning to pour into European capitals, with much of the profit being used to buy arms for Albanian rebels seeking to start a new round of conflict in the southern Balkans. Senior drug trade analysts from the United Nations Drug Control Program in Vienna and Western police officials say much of the heroin being sold in countries such as Austria, Germany and Switzerland is coming from stocks in Afghanistan, much of it controlled by al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters. European drug squad officers say Albanian and Kosovo Albanian dealers are ruthlessly trying to seize control of the European heroin market, worth up to $27 billion a year, and have taken over the trade in at least six European countries."
Over 80% of drugs going into Europe today originate from Kosovo. The Christian Science Monitor reported on Oct. 20, 1994: "Disrupted by the Yugoslav conflict, drug trafficking across the Balkans is making a comeback as Albanian mafia barons carve out a new smuggling route to Western Europe, bypassing the peninsula’s war zones, according to United Nations and other narcotics experts." To document the increase in traffic through the Albanian Kosovar region The Monitor continued, "For example, just 14 pounds of hard drugs were seized by Hungarian police in 1990, but by August this year  the figure had risen to 1,304 pounds."
WHO WILL PAY FOR THE CRIMES OF THE KLA?
In addition to drugs, the Kosovo Liberation army is engaging in sex slavery, prostitution, (Agence-France Presse (AFP), 9 August 2001) murders, and kidnappings. Yet, Senator Joseph Lieberman, another apologist for the KLA says, "The United States of America and the Kosovo Liberation Army stand for the same human values and the principles . . . Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values." (Washington Post, Apr. 28, 1999). It makes one wonder what Senator Lieberman considers American values.
In her New York Times article Joyce Walder also failed to mention the rapes of Serbian nuns, (New York Post, 19 June 1999), the murder of priests, or the "granny killers," the KLA murder of elderly women. (The Washington Times, 13 Aug. 1999.) Other reports were of murder by drowning the women in bathtubs or by decapitation. Nor was there mention of the destruction of over 200 13th and 14th century churches and monasteries or "The mutilated bodies of 14 Serbian farmers who had been shot," as Chris Hedges reported in the New York Times of 25 July 1999. And the murders and destruction still continue unabated by the international community. Who will pay for the continuation of Hitler’s final solution to exterminate Serbia’s culture, society, language and religion in Kosovo by his World War II allies?
Former Canadian Ambassador to Yugoslavia, James Bissett, wrote in The National Post (Canada), 13 November 2001, "War on terrorism skipped the KLA," that "Kosovo has become exclusively an Albanian province with the exception of a few stalwart Serbians in the Mitrovica area who live surrounded by barbed wire and are threatened daily with murder and mayhem by their Albanian neighbours. The Balkans, since the end of the bombing, have been in constant turmoil caused by the KLA terrorist activities."
Americans have been warned that there are still many Al Qaeda "sleepers" i.e., "cells" in this country just waiting to commit another 9/11. How many of these sleepers have infiltrated the pro-KLA communities under the guise of being freedom fighters for "Kosova independence?" Dare we ask the question? Or is that racial profiling? Well known columnist and journalist, Bill Gertz of The Washington Times reported on 18 September 2001, "Hijackers connected to Albanian terrorist cell, CIA says." Gertz further stated, "Islamic radicals, including supporters of bin Laden, have been supporting Albanian rebels fighting in the region, including members of the Kosovo Liberation Army." AFP further reports on 7 March, "FBI director Robert Mueller today warned that al-Qaeda cells around the world, including in the United States, were planning new terror attacks on the United States despite seeing their home base in Afghanistan routed….[Attorney General] Ashcroft warned Americans they probably wouldn’t be able to lower their guard in their lifetimes."
To compare the deaths of three Albanian-American brothers who went to fight on foreign soil as warriors of Islam along side the Marxist, narco-terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army to America s "Fighting Sullivan brothers," as reported in the Wadler article, is an insult to the memory of those brave sailors who were fighting for our country. When Mr. Walker joined Representative Engel at the funeral, he stated that he "was not certain the brothers were getting the recognition they deserved." To that I certainly agree, but not in the sense Mr. Walker intended.
So what exactly is going on here? The connection between Osama bin Laden’s KLA and Al Qaeda is indisputable; these are the same terrorists our nation is fighting against. President Bush’s admonition should be directed to those who support the KLA, in particular of Mr. William Walker and Congressman Engel: "You’re either with us or against us." Which is it?
Read more by Stella L. Jatras
- The Consequences of Betrayal – March 1st, 2004
- Carla del Ponte’s Pound of Serbian Flesh – December 9th, 2003
- Wesley Clark: The Guy Who Almost Started World War III – August 23rd, 2003
- The Elusive Dr. Karadzic – August 19th, 2002
- Behind Enemy Lines: Fact or Fiction? – May 14th, 2002