Here’s what goes through the mind of someone who wants to be effective in his or her job, but has been assigned to Kosovo — from a letter I got in late October:
…For the most part the people in the military just do as little as possible as far as their duties, so coming to this “friendly Muslim nation” is to most easy money. But I’m from Southern California in the rat race where if you’re not working your ass off every day, you lose — meaning I’m geared mentally to accomplish things every day. Here, our job is to “patrol”. It’s really so the people who are waiting to take this weird country over can report back that Nato is still here and still carrying weapons.
The thing that bothers me here is the Albanian Mafia. 75% unemployment and the Mercedes and BMW’s are newer than mine. The KLA financed by smuggling was getting way too strong, that’s the way I see it. And it’s happening again. Apparently, Serbia is now sharing intelligence with the Eulex, a move that was protested and got about 20 Eulex vehicles torched. In any case, Eulex has been busting some low level smugglers, dragging the KPS along with them in the raids.
While doing a rotation at the Serbian border at around midnight, the commercial traffic coming into Kosovo starts to become very heavy, like a traffic jam of Semi Trucks. After the sun came up and I asked the Eulex guy who I think was from Finland when they were going to start looking in, or searching these trucks. He said in a thick accent, “Ehhh maybe later.” I looked at my watch and said, “When, at like noon?” He said laughing, “No no, maybe next year.”
Are you kidding me? Turns out, this is the only border in the Continent of Europe that doesn’t search its vehicles entering the country. Which is why 80% of the Heroin in all of Europe is controlled by Albanians. It’s actually so stupid that Poppies are grown in Afghanistan fueling terrorism, smuggled through Turkey along the Balkan route and stockpiled in Macedonia and Gnjilane, Kosovo 10 minutes from our base. It makes you think, “Why even bother getting worked up?”…[A Eulex officer] told me that in Gnjilane even with the 75% unemployment, there is an average of 1500 cash deposits over 10,000 Euros monthly.
…Did you hear about the American contractor they found with no organs face down in a field 3 weeks ago?
A subsequent letter, after I wrote back that I had not heard about the dismembered contractor and asked what had happened, read:
What happened with the contractor was this: An Albainian speaking gibberish holding an ID of an American walked up to the main entrance of Camp Bonsteel. The guards at the gate detained him and brought down an interpreter to figure out what was going on. That’s when he led the MP’s to a body that had been de-organed.
The body was that of a former ITT security contractor (gate guards) who apparently came back to Kosovo on his own? That’s what came down the pipe anyway. Could be true, but why would he come back? Those guards have a ton of freedom. They go out and drink and live it up; you’d figure they’d have it out of their system by the time they were ready to go home. I never saw it published anywhere in the news anywhere.
…I was talking to a KPS [Kosovo Police Service] officer with an interpreter who was frustrated with the level of corruption within the Police. He said “what would you suggest to fix the problem of corruption?” I told him we need to enforce the borders and not let the reason for crime to enter this country. He said ahhh yes, that is the best idea. And me, wanting so desperately to make a bust started plugging him for information about corruption. He said that in the past he would give info and KFOR [NATO in Kosovo] would just tell him they would pass it up the chain of command. I promised him if he told me, I would use other avenues…I told him without custom border laws in place yet, the black market here will always remain strong…I asked him if he knew of any current situations he would like us to handle. He then went on to saying that in the past when KFOR would try and handle local known situations, it would go up KFOR’s chain of command and then end up back in the lap of the KPS who he says now is also riddled with corruption…I looked at the U.N. website. The only enforcement they are doing is in the 3rd world areas of Asia. But I’ll find some means of fixing this place.
At least one can take heart that there are KPS people who aren’t criminalized. Must be hard, when the guys at the top are the ones running the rackets.
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