NO JUSTICE AT THE ICTY FOR SERBS – Nema pravde za srbe


By Boba Borojevic

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was founded by the proponents of western intervention in Yugoslavia in the 1990s. It was based on the UN Security Council resolution, and some jurists therefore deny its legitimacy. They claim that it should have been founded by the General Assembly and not by the UNSC under Chapter 7 of the Charter. In Serbia’s case, the ICTY embodies a systematic and premeditated manipulation of the judicial process in order to justify political decisions which had been made in advance of the indictments.

Over the years ICTY has been used as a tool of quasi-judicial cover for western intervention. In particular it has been used as a means of collectively branding the Serbs as the guilty party in the various conflicts, primarily in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, but also in Croatia, on the basis of the „joint criminal conspiracy,“ which allegedly had the objective of creating a Greater Serbia.

Historian and political analysts Dr. Srdja Trifkovic explains in his interview for CKCU 93.1 FM in Ottawa that this concept of collective responsibility has meant that from the very top, from Slobodan Milosevic downwards, each and every member of the Serbian military, police, or security services was potentially involved and therefore culpable as part of the „joint criminal conspiracy.“

“We have witnessed at The Hague a systematic and premeditated manipulation of the judicial process in order to justify political decisions which had been made in advance of the indictments”, said Trifkovic.  “The indictment against former Serbian president Milosevic, for instance, was made public at the heights of NATO bombing of Serbia 10 years ago, and it was retroactively used as a means of justifying the bombing campaign itself.”

The latest ICTY verdict on February 26 shows that no Serb has ever had a fair trial at The Hague.  The Tribunal has found four Serbian generals and deputy prime minister of Yugoslavia guilty of ordering a „systematic campaign of terror and violence“ against Kosovo Albanians in the 1990s. Only Former Serbian President Milan Milutinovic was acquitted.

“There’s far less to Milutinovic’s acquittal than meets the eye. The ICTY has been under some EU pressure in recent months (prompted by the need to keep pressure on Belgrade over Mladic) to assert its „even-handedness“ by deviating from its standard practice of giving slap-on-the-wrist sentences to such blatant butchers like Nasir Oric, war criminal-extraordinaire and the wartime commander of the Srebrenica Muslim garrison, or  Rasim Delic, the chief of staff of the Bosnian Muslim Army; not to mention the shameful acquittal of Ramush Haradinai, one of the most notorious  KLA commanders in Kosovo,” Trifkovic reiterated.

The ICTY let Milutinovic go, but his 5 other co-defendants got 15-22 yrs, including the great and good Gen. Sreten Lazarevic.

“Particularly unjust is the sentence passed on Gen. Lazarevic,” Trifkovic said, “who was a true soldier. If he was guilty of anything, he was ‚guilty‘ of removing civilians from the zones of military operations in the same way as, for example, the US field commanders routinely removed Vietnamese civilian population from the areas of intense fighting. In The Hague narrative, things that would be considered normal and matter-of-course military necessity when carried out by US field commanders — whether in Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan — are regarded uniquely culpable and even criminal when some Serbs are at involved. The collective Serb guilt has been reiterated, while at the same time Milutinovic’s release supposedly proves ICTY’s ‘impartiality’“, concluded Trifkovic.

Boba Borojevic

She’s faced down the mob and genocidal dictators. So why is Carla Del Ponte barred from discussing her own book?

Silent Warrior

She’s faced down the mob and genocidal dictators. So why is Carla Del Ponte barred from discussing her own book?

Katie Paul

Newsweek Web Exclusive

Feb 27, 2009 | Updated: 12:50  p.m. ET Feb 27, 2009

Carla Del Ponte is not the quiet type. The tenacious European prosecutor took on some of the most powerful members of the Sicilian mafia, hammering away at their now infamous „pizza connection“ with Swiss bankers. As head of the international tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, she hauled Slobodan Milosevic and dozens of others into court for war crimes, and investigated acts of genocide in Rwanda. Her enemies branded her „the whore“ and plotted to blow her up with bombs, prompting the Swiss government to assign her around-the-clock bodyguards, who protect her to this day. Her investigative prowess impressed former FBI director Louis Freeh—and infuriated former CIA director George Tenet, whom she badgered for assistance in tracking Milosevic’s henchmen. And in her new memoir, „Madame Prosecutor,“ the English-language edition of which was released this month, she courts fresh controversy by charging that officials at the United Nations and NATO failed to properly investigate allegations of Albanian atrocities against Serbs in Kosovo in 1999.

There is a certain irony, then, in the fact that this fearless law-enforcement legend has been barred from speaking a word about her own book.

„Madame Prosecutor“ created a sensation when it was first released in Italian last year, largely due to the passage about the alleged Albanian atrocities. She reports that her U.N. war-crimes team had received tips that some 100 to 300 Serbs who disappeared just after the Kosovo conflict of 1999 had been kidnapped, transported across an international border into Albania and killed. What’s more, she’s written that some of the younger, healthier captives may have had their organs removed as part of an international trafficking operation. Albanian prosecutors maintain that probes by local authorities and the United Nations yielded no evidence to support the charge. But the charges may have stirred anxiety within the Swiss government, which hired Del Ponte as the country’s ambassador to Argentina shortly after she completed the book. The Swiss banned Del Ponte from discussing the matter. As a result, Del Ponte’s tome is on tour—without its author.

Del Ponte may be muzzled, but her co-writer, former New York Times reporter Chuck Sudetic, is speaking out. „It’s really bizarre and it’s really upsetting,“ says Sudetic, who is traveling the United States in support of the English-language edition. „Carla Del Ponte does not speak with forked tongue. She is a woman who says what she thinks. She does it with style, but she’s not afraid to say what she thinks. And she’s not afraid to say it to anybody.“

A spokesman for the Swiss Embassy in Washington told NEWSWEEK that for Del Ponte to „express herself“ on any previous activity would be incompatible with her „present function.“ But the spokesman declined to elaborate on how the ban came about, or whether it applied to any other members of the country’s diplomatic corps. A source close to Del Ponte says she was not notified of the ban until after she assumed her post, even though she had already finished the book and received authorization to travel to Milan for its publication.

Del Ponte’s silence has taken a serious toll on sales, says Judith Gurewich, Del Ponte’s U.S. publisher. Her company, Other Press, printed 15,000 copies of „Madame Prosecutor,“ but has so far sold only 600. Without the star of the show, the media backed out of interviews, and plans for the book tour had to be scaled back. „My dream was that Stephen Colbert would have interviewed her,“ says Gurewich, who consulted with Swiss officials herself, bidding unsuccessfully to persuade them to lift the ban. „I was told that, as the ambassador of Switzerland in Argentina, she can’t toot her own horn about her book. Sometimes politics trumps human rights. They will claim it’s for the greater good, but I don’t think that’s acceptable.“

So what has the Swiss so worried? Some Balkans specialists suggest the country’s leaders may fear a coming political storm. The book’s release in Italian last spring coincided with Switzerland’s politically sensitive decision to recognize Kosovo as an independent country—a stance shared by the United States and much of Western Europe, but bitterly opposed by Russia. The political fallout from allegations about possible crimes committed by Kosovo’s Albanians may well have put top Swiss officials on edge; some Swiss compatriots, Del Ponte wrote, warned her about discussing issues of Albanian violence in her book. At the same time, a source close to Del Ponte, who would not speak on the record due to diplomatic sensitivities, hinted that the Swiss foreign minister may be wary of being shown up on the world stage by a star ambassador. Whatever the case, the book did succeed in drawing attention to the controversy; on Feb. 23 the Serbian government announced that it would press Albanian authorities for more information about the alleged organ trafficking. And there is no question that the political wounds in the Balkans continue to fester nearly a decade after Kosovo’s drive for independence and the painful breakup of the former Yugoslavia. (On Thursday, international judges convicted five of Milosevic’s associates on charges of war crimes, while acquitting the Serbs‘ wartime president.)

Sudetic acknowledges that dark conspiracy theories are commonplace in the region, which he covered for the Times, among others, during the 1990s (Sudetic, who also did a stint as an analyst with the Balkans tribunal, now works for the Open Society Institute, a George Soros-backed policy group). But he maintains that this case involves hard evidence. According to the book, investigators found medical paraphernalia and blood traces at a site pinpointed by tipsters when they visited in 2004. Still, without any bodies, they lacked definitive proof of a crime. Finding witnesses proved a challenge. The tipsters, a group of journalists, would not reveal their sources. And people living near the site would not cooperate.

Del Ponte’s tribunal did not have jurisdiction to pursue the case, since the crime was alleged to have taken place outside of Kosovo and after the armed conflict there had ceased. Local authorities in Albania and Kosovo would have had to overcome the memories of Serbian atrocities against their own people, still fresh in their minds, in vigorously investigating any crimes. Anger ran deep. At one point, Del Ponte wrote, the local Albanian prosecutor told one of her investigators, „If they did bring Serbs over the border from Kosovo and killed them, they did a good thing.“ The U.N. mission in Kosovo, which had jurisdiction in the fledgling state immediately following the conflict, took a preliminary look alongside Del Ponte’s team. But they ran up against the same problems finding witnesses in the small, close-knit Albanian community, and let it drop. (A U.N. official told the Associated Press in November that the organization’s investigators had found no substantial evidence to support claims that Serbians were taken to Albania and killed.)

Leaders in Kosovo and Serbia have blasted Del Ponte’s charges as an unsubstantiated „fantasy,“ claiming she never raised the issue in private meetings. It is not the first time she has attracted ire. Opponents accuse her of botching the Milosevic trial, thereby allowing him to die in custody at the Hague in 2006, five years after his capture, with no verdict ever rendered. She failed to provide adequate protection for her witnesses, critics claim; some were killed as a result, leaving others too spooked to testify. And she was ultimately ousted from the Rwandan war-crimes tribunal in Tanzania following complaints that she poorly managed the investigations while splitting her time between the Rwandan and Balkan inquiries. (Del Ponte maintains that the Rwandan government objected to her pursuit of cases against Tutsis as well as Hutus.)

Whatever her reputation, her latest charges have lit a fuse. Shortly after „Madame Prosecutor“ was published, Human Rights Watch released a report offering evidence its researcher maintains independently verify Del Ponte’s claims. Serbian nationalists have seized upon the story, especially the sensational organ-smuggling elements, to drive home their message that they’ve been unfairly demonized in the world’s eyes. „To date, the main charges have always been about crimes against Albanians. But with this book, suddenly we have a story about crimes by Albanians,“ explained Serbian human-rights activist Natasa Kandic. „Albanians reject that because they say the Kosovo administration didn’t have power at this time. They say Carla Del Ponte has no evidence. But where are the remains of these hundreds of people? Where are the secret mass graves?“ Armed with newly obtained photos purportedly showing Kosovo’s soldiers in Albania, Serbian officials are now pressing Albanian authorities to hand over information. But they are meeting with resistance, as Albanian and Kosovar officials maintain the matter has been adequately investigated and put to rest.

The politically sensitive subject may soon flare up further. Dick Marty of the Council of Europe, whose last investigation exposed the CIA’s secret network of prisons involved in extraordinary renditions, is now on the case. And Sudetic says he expects additional revelations about the alleged crimes to emerge within the next six weeks. At that point, authorities in Kosovo and at the United Nations would have their hands forced to, as he puts it, „do what they should have done a lot earlier—and that is, take a really good, hard look at war crimes committed against Serbs by Albanians, which [the Albanians] just blanket deny.“

As the controversy swirls, Del Ponte sits silent at her diplomatic outpost in Buenos Aires. In her book, she decries what she calls a „muro di gomma“—a bureaucratic „wall of rubber“—that creates a climate of complacency in which politics trumps the pursuit of justice. Maybe she feels she’s behind such a wall herself now. We don’t know; she can’t say.

THE PROPHET’S FIFTH COLUMN – Islamists Gain Ground in Sarajevo

Yet another legacy of the Bill & Hillary Clinton’s administration.
02/25/2009 11:00 AM


Islamists Gain Ground in Sarajevo

By Walter Mayr in Sarajevo

Radical Muslim imams and nationalist politicians from all camps are threatening Sarajevo’s multicultural legacy. With the help of Arab benefactors, the deeply devout are acquiring new recruits. In the „Jerusalem of the Balkans,“ Islamists are on the rise.

The obliteration of Israel is heralded in a torrent of words. „Zionist terrorists,“ the imam thunders from the glass-enclosed pulpit at the end of the mosque. „Animals in human form“ have transformed the Gaza Strip into a „concentration camp,“ and this marks „the beginning of the end“ for the Jewish pseudo-state.
Over 4,000 faithful are listening to the religious service in the King Fahd Mosque, named after the late Saudi Arabian monarch King Fahd Bin Abd al-Asis Al Saud. The women sit separately, screened off in the left wing of the building. It is the day of the Khutbah, the great Friday sermon, and the city where the imam has predicted Israel’s demise lies some 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) northwest of Gaza.
It is a city in the heart of Europe: Sarajevo.
„Tea or coffee?“ Shortly after stepping down from the pulpit, Nezim Halilovic — the imam and fiery speaker of the King Fahd Mosque — reveals himself to be the perfect Bosnian host. He has fruits, nuts and sweetened gelatin served in his quarters behind the house of worship. A chastely-dressed wife and four children add themselves to the picture. It’s a scene of domestic tranquility that stands in stark contrast to the railing sermon of the controversial Koran scholar.
Familiar Allegations
Sarajevo’s King Fahd Mosque was built with millions of Saudi dollars as the largest house of worship for Muslims in the Balkans. The mosque has a reputation as a magnet for Muslim fundamentalists in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the imam is said to be the patron of the Wahhabites, although they call themselves Salafites, after an ultra-conservative movement in Sunni Islam.
Halilovic is familiar with the allegations and the usual accompanying thought patterns: Wahhabite equals al-Qaida, which equals a worldwide terror network. He says he has nothing to do with that, but he „cannot forbid a Muslim from worshiping in my mosque according to his own rites.“ He explains the general air of suspicion surrounding the King Fahd Mosque as follows: „The West is annoyed that many Muslims are returning to their faith, instead of sneaking by the mosque to the bar, as they used to do, to drink alcohol and eat pork.“
Many Bosnians have despised „the West“ since 1992, when the United Nations arms embargo seriously impeded the military resistance of the Muslims in their war against the Serb aggressors. It wasn’t until four years later, and after 100,000 people had died, that the international community — at the urging and under the leadership of the US — finally put an end to the slaughter. Over 80 percent of the dead civilians in the Bosnian War were Muslims.
This traumatic experience left a deep mark on the traditionally cosmopolitan Muslim Bosnians — and opened the door to the Islamists. Years later, the religious fundamentalists have declared the attacks by Christian Serbs and Croats a „crusade“ by infidels — and painted themselves as the steadfast protectors of Muslim Bosnians.
Imam Halilovic served during the war as commander of the Fourth Muslim Brigade. A photo shows him standing next to a 155 milimeter howitzer, dressed in black combat fatigues, a flowing beard and a scarf wrapped around his head. He witnessed the arrival of the first religious warriors from countries in the Middle East and northern Africa. These fighters brought ideological seeds that have now found fertile ground — the beliefs of the Salafites, Islamic fundamentalists who orient themselves according to the alleged unique, pure origin of their religion and reject all newer Islamic traditions.
Another Explosive Situation
Sarajevo is at the crossroads of the West and the Orient, in the heart of Europe — a place where Islam meets the Catholic and Orthodox churches, and a place that shares the historical legacies of the Ottoman Empire and the Austria-Hungary of the Habsburgs. If Europe were to lose Sarajevo’s Muslims as mediators between these worlds, it would have to contend with yet another explosive situation.
Bosnia’s capital city still remains a bustling town with well-stocked bars, concerts and garish advertisements for sexy lingerie. Men with billowing trousers and full beards and women with full-body veils are still a relatively rare sight on the streets. The last reports of sharia militias intervening against public kissing in parks on the outskirts of town date back two years ago.
According to a survey conducted in 2006, however, over 3 percent of all Muslim Bosnians — over 60,000 men and women — profess the Wahhabi creed, and an additional 10 percent say that they sympathize with the devout defenders of morals. But since the radicals and their Arab benefactors have been subject to heightened surveillance in the wake of 9/11, they tend to keep a low profile.
In the evenings, though, individuals and small groups quickly exit the shell-pocked apartment buildings surrounding the King Fahd Mosque. At this time of day, there is a much smaller crowd of worshipers than at noon during the big Friday prayers, and the fifth column of the prophet can almost feel as if it has the mosque to itself.
They pray differently, with spread legs and in tight rows, „so the devil cannot pass.“ They refuse to allow fellow worshipers to say the ritual peace greeting „salam“ at the end, they don’t say a word, they don’t want to be part of the Jamaat, the community, and they leave the mosque together as a group before the others.
Locked the Doors
The older generation of Muslims in Sarajevo’s mosques now has to listen to lectures from bearded missionaries on what is „halal“ and „haram“ — lawful and forbidden — as if they and their ancestors had been living according to a misconception for over half a millennium. To protest this, the imam of the time-honored Emperor’s Mosque has temporarily locked the doors of his house of worship — for the first time in its nearly 450-year history.
This clash of civilizations also takes place in less prominent places, like the Internet forums of the Bosnian Web site Studio Din. Here the heirs of the officially godless, socialist Yugoslavia can learn about the Salafi doctrine. They ask questions that have to do with everyday life — listening to music, smoking, earning money — but also questions dealing with clothing and moral rules.
The answers from the preachers on the Web are unequivocal: „Music is forbidden in Islam, listening to instruments is a sin.“ „Smoking is forbidden in Islam.“ „Whoever works as a cleaning lady at a bank that charges its customers interest is an accessory to a sin. It’s no different than having cleaning ladies in bars and brothels.“
In October, 2008, the Baden-Württemberg state branch of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, conducted a study on the Studio Din Web site, which is also regularly visited by Bosnians living in exile. Entries in the forum — which include discussions on jihad, the holy war, as a direct way of reaching Allah — indicate time and again visitors from the Wahhabi King Fahd Mosque in Sarajevo, Imam Halilovic’s flock.
Could a radical, potentially violent parallel society be emerging in the Muslim dominated region of the war-torn republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, eight months after the signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union?
Explosive Belts
There are indications of this. Resid Hafizovic, a professor at the Islamic University, was the first to speak of a „potentially deadly virus“ in Bosnian society. The head of the Bosnian federal police has recently admitted that there is a growing threat of „terrorism with an Islamistic character“ and has cited indications that suicide bombers have begun to equip themselves with explosive belts.
„They have everything to blow themselves up. Whether they do it depends on the orders from their leaders,“ says Esad Hecimovic, author of a standard work on the mujahedeen in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Last March, officials of the special anti-terror unit arrested five men, including four Salafites in Sarajevo.
The Bosnian leader of the group, a former fighter in the Al-Mujahedeen Brigade, reportedly has sponsors in Germany and Austria who helped him acquire explosives. In connection with the arrests, police conducted raids in remote mountain areas and seized caches of arms and military equipment that were used for combat training exercises.
After discovering that some of the masterminds behind 9/11, such as Khalid Scheikh Mohammed, had been active in Bosnia, international pressure increased on the government in Sarajevo in 2002. Foundations were closed and police searched the Sarajevo office of the Saudi High Commissioner for Aid to Bosnia, which had until then enjoyed the protection of the United States.
Al-Qaida veteran Ali Hamad from Bahrain and Syrian-born Abu Hamza are currently in custody on the outskirts of Sarajevo and awaiting deportation. Intelligence sources say that Hamza secretly channeled money between Arab sponsors and Bosnian Salafites. The amount of €500 — an average monthly salary — is reportedly rewarded for every woman who decides to wear a full-body veil.
The Islamists are slowly but surely permeating the firm ground upon which Sarajevo’s society stands. They are influencing men like the quiet, bearded cab driver who waits for customers day after day at the bridge where the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Habsburg throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated in June, 1914. On the evening of Sept. 24, 2008, the cabbie suddenly appeared at the front of a protest, right in the midst of those who shouted „Allahu akbar!“ at the police line in front the Art Academy of Fine Arts and attacked visitors to Bosnia’s first gay and lesbian festival.
Wahhabites scuffled alongside common hooligans. Eight people were injured and all subsequent events were canceled. Srdjan Dizdarevic, chairman of the Bosnian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights — an independent, nonprofit organization for the protection, promotion and monitoring of human rights in Bosnia-Herzegovina — spoke afterwards of a defeat for civil society, of „fascist rhetoric“ leading up to the incident, and called it reminiscent of the „pogroms that happened in the times of Adolf Hitler.“
‚We Are only Interested in Opening Ourselves as an Islamic Society‘
The fact of the matter is that politicians from all parties are playing the background music to a radicalization that threatens not just the secular character of Bosnia, but also the unity of this country comprised of Muslims, Serbs and Croats. This includes some local politicians who have demanded that school classes be strictly divided according to religious confessions — and in December, 2008 obtained, in several places, the first ban affecting state-run daycare centers in Sarajevo. The ban concerned the Christian Santa Claus who, until then, even Muslim children had revered as „Little Father Frost.“
But it is primarily the heads of government and political parties who stand in the way of reconciliation between the former wartime enemies. Nikola Spiric, the Serb Prime Minister of the weak Bosnian state, says there is a real danger that the country will split apart for good. He says he is powerless as long as his country is administered like a protectorate by the Office of the High Representative for Bosnia-Herzegovina, the organization created in 1995 to oversee the Dayton Peace Agreement. „My hands and feet are tied, I’m a mascot, the address that international organizations can send their mail to.“
Haris Silajdzic, the Muslim representative of the presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, sits a few buildings down the street, in the presidential palace. He played a very active role as foreign minister and prime minister during the war but now, after years of power struggles, the one-time beau is starting to show signs of exhaustion. Nevertheless, he is still widely regarded as one of the most artful advocates of Muslim interests in this multi-ethnic state.
Silajdzic says he sees no indication of an Islamization of Sarajevo or Bosnia. In his opinion, it is more important to talk of ensuring that the Muslims receive justice after the „genocide“ of the 1990s. While half the Cabinet waits for him in front of the door, Silajdzic calmly places a Marlboro in his cigarette holder and says that, as a „committed European,“ he hopes that the West will realize what is at stake in this country: „Bosnia is a small country, but a great symbol.“
The reopened Hotel Europa — an archetypical institution for this city which was once praised as the „Jerusalem of the Balkans“ — stands at Sarajevo’s center of gravity, right at the border between the Ottoman and the Habsburgian quarters of the old city. Under crystal chandeliers, waiters here serve Turkish mocha from copper coffee pots, and an elderly gentleman sitting in the corner passionately tries to draw parallels between the intellectual history of Europe — from Kant to Hegel — and the nature of Bosnian Islam.
‚Dates Don’t Grow in our Country‘
Mustafa Spahic is a professor at the traditional Gazi Husrev Beg Koran School, the oldest in the country. Back in the former Yugoslavia, he spent five years in prison for Islamic activities — together with Alija Izetbegovic, who later became the president of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Sarajevo, Europe’s stronghold of Islamic spiritual life, is not about to allow itself to become a branch for Saudi Arabian fanatics, says Spahic.
He underscores this conviction with a parable: „Whoever wants to cut down a plum tree here, because you can use the fruit to make plum brandy, and plant a date palm in its place, because the prophet ate them, we say to him: Dates don’t grow in our country.“ Spahic says that Bosnia’s grand mufti, Mustafa Ceric, fails to take a clear position: „He is not fulfilling his duties. He travels to Germany and collects one award after another instead of dealing with the radicals here.“
Ceric, the spiritual leader of all Bosnian Muslims, received Germany’s prestigious Theodor Heuss Award in 2007 in recognition of his contribution to strengthening democracy. Nowhere is he more appreciated than in Germany, and nowhere is he more severely attacked than among scholarly circles back in his home country. There are reasons for this disparity, say Ceric’s critics: The Germans are hoping that the grand mufti would train and export liberal imams to help them gain the upper hand with their own problems with Islamists.
„It Is Your Fault“ is written under a photo collage that shows the grand mufti with an exaggerated, flowing beard — as the head of the „Wahhabites.“ The controversial allegation appeared on the front page of the magazine Dani, and in a bout of self-irony Ceric decided to hang it as an exhibit in a corner of his own reception room — right across from a framed copy of the Tolerance Edict of Sultan Mehmed II, from the year 1463.
Ceric — or „homo duplex,“ the man with two faces, as he is derisively called in Sarajevo — is wearing his outraged expression this morning. He is tired of having to comment on things that he would rather not even call by their names: Wahhabism, Salafism, terrorism. „Before we start,“ he says „do we actually even know what we’re talking about?“
One-Time bin Laden Mentor
The grand mufti’s nervousness is understandable. After all, the support of the West for him, a key Muslim nationalistic figure in Bosnia, undermines an objective that was explicitly laid out in the Dayton Peace Agreement under the leadership of the West, namely the continued existence of a multi-ethnic — not an Islamic-dominated — state in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Ceric has never left any doubts about his deep roots in the liberal Bosnian Islamic tradition. But the fact that he does not shy away from maintaining close contacts with the Salafit camp, including one-time Osama bin Laden mentor Sheikh Salman al-Auda from Saudi Arabia, has drawn criticism. „Totally unfounded,“ says Ceric: „We are only interested in opening ourselves as an Islamic society.“
Sure enough, he recently even allowed a woman and her film crew to enter the King Fahd Mosque. The huge, Saudi monumental style building made of gray-brown sprinkled marble looks like a UFO — complete with antennas shaped like minarets — stranded among high-rise apartment buildings on the edge of Sarajevo.
Director Jasmila Zbanic, who was honored with a Golden Bear at the 2006 Berlin International Film Festival for her film „Grbavica: Land of My Dreams,“ was allowed to film scenes for her new film in the King Fahd Mosque. „On the Way“ is a love story that revolves around someone who, after his life spins out of control, seeks new direction in Salafism.
The man whose true life story serves as a model for this role is Nermin Karacic, a front-line soldier during the war who became an Islamist. Karacic opened doors and eyes to allow director Zbanic to enter the highly insulated world of the Salafites, decipher codes and meet people.
‚I Still Feel Like a Salafit‘
„In a certain sense this is my film,“ says Karacic, „I was of course one of them.“ Today, his hair has grown again down to his neck and he wears cargo pants and an outdoor jacket. But to prove his transformation he pulls a driver’s license out of his pocket — a document with a passport photo that is only a few years old. The man in the picture has the same piercing eyes, but the hair on his head has been cropped short and his beard reaches down to his chest.
Karacic was an influential leader in the Bosnian Salafites. He was the head of al-Furkan, a radical organization that was supplied by the Saudis, as he says, with „suitcases of cash“ — under the patient eyes of the Americans. They didn’t sound the alarm until Sept. 11, 2001. According to the US Treasury Department, due to repeated „observations of the US Embassy and United Nations buildings in Sarajevo “ and „connections to al-Qaida,“ al-Furkan was declared part of the global terror network and banned by the Bosnian authorities.
„I swear by God that I knew nothing of al-Qaida,“ Karacic says. He hasn’t been convicted of any crime.
When the new film is released, with all its re-created scenes from his life, the training camp of the Salafites, which he headed, and the King Fahd Mosque, where the Imam now preaches the obliteration of Israel, will he be proud that he has left this life behind him?
The slender man suddenly hesitates, gazes across the river bank to the positions where he once sat as a sniper in the fight against the Serbs, and says: „It’s not really as if I spit on everything that existed back then.“ Without the help of the mujahedeen, Karacic says, he would have seen „no light at the end of the tunnel“ during the war.
And when it comes to matters of faith, says Karacic, he still feels a close tie with those brothers in arms from abroad: „I still feel like a Salafit.“
Translated from the German by Paul Cohen

O kidnapovanju na Kosovu

A pretty good computer animation of Flight 1549’s landing in the Hudson River

A pretty good computer animation of Flight 1549’s landing in the Hudson River

AN OPEN LETTER – Pred zasnivanje Kraljevine Jugoslavije bilo je svega 5% takozvanih albanaca

Reprinted on numerous Serbian websites

Mr. John Peet, European Editor:

In response to your letter to Dragan Rakic who shared your letter with me, it is repugnant how people like you fall on the sword of democratic principles as you rape another nation.

Kosovo has been Serbian for a thousand years and in that time the Serbian people have built 1,500 churches and monasteries in an area no bigger than the city of Los Angeles. The first mosque was built 640 years ago, more than a century after the Turkish victory at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389.
When The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was formed in 1918, the Albanians, according to numerous international documents, represented „5% of the population,“ these Albanians were mostly located in Bosnia and Kosovo, primarily because in the settlement of the First World War the nation of Albania was formed.
During WWII, thousands of Kosovo Serbs were killed and about 120,000 were „ethnically cleansed“ from Kosovo.  After the war, Tito forbade their return, giving those Serbian farms to Albanian Nazi collaborators who served under Mussolini’s occupation of Kosovo.
Apparently you know very little about the 22,000 strong SS Hanjar division of Bosnian Muslim Nazis who guarded the railway links between the Balkans and Auschwitz?  There were thousands of Albanians among them.
When Tito granted autonomy to Kosovo in 1974, without a single vote of the Serbian people, over 150,000 Serbs were forced from Kosovo by Albanians who used such hideous tactics as the rape of Serbian nuns and Serbian girls; the near beating to death of the Serbian Bishop who is now the Serbian Patriarch; the burning of hundreds of Serbian farms; the ban and use of the Serbian language and the removal of Serbian books on history, religion and music from all of the school and libraries in Kosovo and burned.
Over two million books were destroyed, some were priceless manuscripts from the 12th and 13th centuries.  The works of Ivo Andric, the only Yugoslav Nobel Prize winner were removed from the curriculum at Pristina University because Andric admitted he was a Serb.  David Binder, the Balkan foreign correspondent for The New York Times, wrote extensively about this inhuman behavior in Kosovo.  Apparently, hundreds of such articles escaped you notice?
During the 1970’s and 1980’s the population in the region shifted in favor of Albanians who illegally crossed over the border. Tito even gave Albanians in Kosovo a form of welfare unheard of in any communist system in the world.
What is so immoral about your stance to a „democratic vote“ is your repugnant omission that nearly 40% of those alleged „95% Albanians“ are illegal aliens who have crossed the border from Albanian into Kosovo as easily as Mexicans cross our borders each night in Texas and California.  Granting Albanians majority status turns a blind eye to the illegal process of overwhelming a region as a form of invasion.  Their very large birth rate has added to this illegal drama.  If all the Serbs and other ethnic minorities were allow to return and the illegal aliens were forced to leave the Albanians would no longer represent this fictitious majority.  It appears that you do not live by democratic principles, Mr. Peet, you merely mouth the words.
In the first Bosnian election, Alija Izetbegovic won with 44,000 votes, when 200,000 Bosnian Serb refugees who fled to Belgrade during that conflict were not given an opportunity to vote.  Buses of Serbian voters were turned away at the border as Madeleine Albright proclaimed a „democratic victory.“
People like you looked the other way as 75,000 Bosnian Muslims residing in the U.S. were allowed to vote but not the Serb refugees next door in Belgrade. Shame on you for pretending not to notice this appalling injustice as you preach democratic principles now for Albanians in Kosovo, many of whom were labeled „KLA terrorists“ just 9 years ago. Prime Minister Thaci has more blood on his hands then any other leader in the region. He has escaped justice!
Turning the Kosovo charade into this fake statehood is more than immoral and 156 other nations seem to agree as they have refused to recognize this rape of Serbia by this independence move.
You, along with others of your ilk, simply ignore the UN Charter of which Yugoslavia was a founding member, you cast aside the Helsinki Final Act and you trash UN Security Resolution #1244.  In addition to other international laws that you trample, what else should the Serbian people expect in addition to the destruction of 156 ancient Serbian churches for which not a single Albanian has been charged?  That destruction took place after the end of bombing, the arrival of 20,000 Nato troops, and all within the last six years.  Shame on you for your obvious duplicity, in whose interest do you work so diligently, it certainly is not equal human rights or democracy? It has become more than apparent that Serbs do not deserve equal justice.
The Serbs in the last Yugoslav census represented 21% of Kosovo.  Today they represent less than 3%.  Do you wait for their total elimination and the razing of the remaining churches before you use the word Genocide?  I notice you skirt the issue of dozens of mosques that have been built by the Saudi government in Kosovo in the last 5 years including the Osama bin Laden Mosque…. how evenhanded of you.
A pox on all of your houses.
William Dorich
Los Angeles

The writer is the author of 5 books on Balkan history and music including the 1992 book, Kosovo.


from jpm — Peet’s Wikipedia blurb:

John Peet (born 1954) is a British journalist, who is at present the Europe editor of The Economist newspaper.

John Peet has been the writer of several Economist surveys such as ‚Water‘ and ‚The Future of Europe‘. His education included Charterhouse and Cambridge where he studied economics. He was previously a Health Correspondent with The Economist from 1986-1998 and Business Affairs Editor (1998-2003). Prior to this he was Brussels Correspondent, Executive Editor, Surveys Editor, Finance Correspondent, Washington, DC Correspondent and Britain Correspondent. Previously he was a civil servant, working for the British Treasury and Foreign Office (1976 to 1986).

Peet currently lives in Wiltshire and London, is married, has three children and a west-highland terrior called Holly.

The Brit editor can’t spell the name of his doggie’s breed.


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