Sixteen-year-old Melinda Ademi from Kosovo wowed judges and viewers on the premiere of “American Idol.” Not surprisingly, her war refugee background story was highlighted; however, the timing couldn’t be more conspicuous. While a war story is compelling on its own merit, one wonders whether the purpose of the talented girl — at least for some powers higher than a 16-year-old — could have been to counteract the still-not-dead news about the organ-harvesting racket by Albanians. News that sheds a dark light on America’s BFF, Greater Kosovo.Ms. Ademi didn’t just go on TV and say that 1999 Kosovo was a big mess and war sucks. No, Ms. Ademi had to demonize the Serbs in the only way that an indoctrinated four-year-old (her age during the war) could, and reinforce the four-year-old’s understanding that most Americans already have of that conflict: “When Yugoslavia broke up, Serbia wanted to get rid of all the other cultures, so they forced them out of their homes.”
And that’s the whole story.
Would it be OK for a Palestinian to tell “American Idol” viewers that the Jews are trying to get rid of all the Arabs in the Middle East? Of course not, and there would be some righteous outrage if something like that were said. The host hearing such a thing might even play devil’s advocate, at the very least.
But not in this case. Such treatment is OK for Serbs, isn’t it. No one questions the story, ever. There is only credulous and sympathetic nodding in response. Because there is only one audible side to the Kosovo conflict, and therefore no competing position or argument.
Literally just a day before that episode, I was musing on what Joe DioGuardi might be up to in the wake of the organ scandal, since we haven’t seen or heard from him between his fantastic NY Senate defeat after beingexposed — though the two aren’t necessarily related — and the organs scandal outing his Kosovo as bestial. Seeing “American Idol” the next day, I was reminded that his daughter had been a judge on the show (my favorite judge, in all honesty). Between that connection and the fact of a Kosovo girl being prominently featured, plus the conspicuous timing, it’s not impossible to imagine a scenario in which a friend of the DioGuardis mentions that the daughter of a friend is going to audition, and Joe DioGuardi sees an opportunity to “remind” the American public who “the real criminals” are in the Kosovo saga. The KLA-connected dad then puts a call in to daughter Kara, who retains a connection to the show, so as to ensure that the kid gets profiled and has a chance to say something negative about Serbs. Leaving the “American Idol” public — assuming any of it even heard about the murder-for-organs racket in the first place — with the impression that “Oh, so Serbs deserve to lose their organs anyway.” (Similar to the attitude that was prevalent throughout the bombing, and throughout the Serb-hunting “peace” in post-war Kosovo, and throughout the doling out of victor’s justice as Serbs get the book thrown at them with or without evidence to sustain the case against them.)
Of course, there’s no reason to impugn the very likable Kara DioGuardi as having had any role in this, because — again — it could have happened entirely on its own, as so many things Balkans-related seem to do rather seamlessly — almost cosmically — in service to the lie. But I do have to repeat that it’s also rather conspicuous that one never just hears an Albanian refugee story without it including derision of the Serbs, always being accused of some over-the-top crime, with the good guys and bad guys being delineated in very clear, simple, cartoonish, black and white terms.
In addition, listening to the tearful Ademi mother talking about how they could hear the bombs, the audience is meant to infer that Serbs have made this woman cry, and that these were Serbian bombs. As opposed to the NATO bombs that they were and that Albanians and Serbs both ran or sheltered from.
Regardless, Melinda can sing very well. Already pissed off as she did so — because of her slander — I thought to myself, “She’s got a nice set of lungs. I wonder if they belonged to someone else originally.”
Indeed, without the slightest touch of irony, one blog titled an entry “American Idol Recap: Kosovo Girl Steals Our Hearts.” I thought it might be the beginning of a joke — like “Kosovo Girl Steals Our Hearts, Father Takes Our Kidneys” — so I read on. But no. That was it. No pun humor on that one. What a country!
Melinda’s father explained that he won the green card lottery, which was how the family made it to America. So not only do Albanians get a second country, they get to leave it and come here after screwing it up. It’s good to be Albanian.
The preceding is just the most prominent example of Serb-hunting season on TV. In December, a friend related that three of her and her husband’s favorite shows — all in the space of a week or two — had as villains “Serbs.” Serbs as terrorists, mobsters, rapists, and drug dealers — essentially every sphere that in real life is dominated by Albanians. She couldn’t recall what the shows were, except that one was a “CSI.” However, I got the following email from an acquaintance, which makes it pretty clear that one of the other two shows was probably “The Closer”:
Greetings again. My wife loves the show ‘The Closer’ with Kyra Sedgewick. I was just in the room reading the paper while she was watching it, and the episode was about ‘kosova’ and featured a lot of revisionist history BS (Serb butchers, Serb rapists, etc). You could probably find the show online…The show portrayed the Serbs as nazis, tormenting the poor Albanians…
I’m not sure if it’s a new episode, or saved onto the dvr. It was quite repugnant. I tried to teach my wife the truth, but like most American ignoramuses, she doesn’t care, she just wants to be entertained. I love my wife, but I’m aware of the degree to which almost no one *wants* to know the truth about anything. You represent the extreme truth tellers in a country (a world?) where most just want to suck on their NFL/NBA/E-news pacifiers and stay incubated from what goes on in the world. […]
So obvious that it’s almost not worth saying is the following: On a subconscious level, the TV people understand — and act on — what the UN, EULEX, Hague tribunal and other law enforcement and judicial bodies know all too well (and which explains why, despite Kosovo’s very high homicide rate, Albanian perps rarely do any prison time): It’s far less dangerous to go after Serbs.
Maligning Serbs has kept us “safe” for two decades. (Has there ever been a more multi-purpose people?) But it has created a long-term danger, which we’ve merely put off with our imperative to avoid immediate threats from those in need of prosecution, hailing from a society in need of accurate, unflattering depictions in film and media.
Now that the impunity of these politically protected, prosecution-immune players in our Kosovo misadventures has been brought to broader light, things will no longer be able to proceed as they have been, with one cover-up after another. As a writer named Anna Filimonova summarized it last month for the Strategic Culture Foundation:
…Visiting Moscow on December 21, [Council of Europe investigator Dick] Marty spoke about the lack of protection provided to international justice officers and witnesses [in Kosovo]…Marty said potential witnesses cannot present their testimonies because nobody is able to guarantee their safety.
There is information that, concerned over its own safety, the EULEX top brass considers leaving the heavily criminalized Pristina…News resurfaced last December  that some 400 DNA samples taken from crime victims in Kosovo in 1999 by the German police on the Hague Tribunal’s request were destroyed.
In 2001, Serbia submitted to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia a 40,000-page report with evidence implicating Kosovo’s Thaci-Ceku-Haradinaj permanent triumvirate. The total number of pages in Serbia’s materials on crimes against Serbs supplied to the Tribunal almost reached 200,000.
Serbia’s prosecutor for war crimes V. Vukevic investigated the genocide charges against former Kosovo Liberation Army commanders Thaci, Ceku, and Haradinaj in 2001, and Serbia’s then-minister of justice V. Batic provided the resulting evidence to the head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo Harri Holkeri…The materials described over 7,000 proven cases of terrorist attacks which led to over 12,000 deaths, 1,350 injuries, almost 1,000 kidnappings, 340,000 expulsions of non-Albanians, the burning of 107,000 residences, and the killing of 70 children. Some of the victims were ritually beheaded and detention camps to hold Serbs were set up. The “international community” promptly intervened and had the investigation suspended.
The “international community” found no way to protect the lives and the rights of Serbs, other non-Albanians, and even, in some cases, Albanians in Kosovo.
Will the storm triggered by Marty’s report translate into a serious judicial investigation and lead to the punishing of Albanian war criminals - thus changing things not only in the Balkan region but also in Europe - or will the storm subside under Washington’s pressure? The inability of EU authorities to stand up for justice promises the EU an ugly future painted in the bloody colors of the Albanian flag.
And from a related item by WikiLeaks contributor Tom Burghardt:
…After publication [of Carla Del Ponte’s memoir in 2008], Ms. Del Ponte was bundled off to Argentina by the Swiss government as her nation’s ambassador. Once there, the former darling of the United States who specialized in doling out victor’s “justice” to the losers of the Balkan wars, was conveniently silenced.
Reporting for the BBC, investigative journalist Michael Montgomery learned that political opponents of the KLA and Serb prisoners of war “simply vanished without a trace” into a secret prison “in the Albanian border town of Kukes.”
In the intervening years NATO’s “blind eye” has morphed into something more sinister: outright complicity with their Balkan protégés.
Virtually charging the ICTY with knuckling under to political pressure from the Americans, the PACE [Parliamentary Assembly for the Council of Europe] report states that “the ICTY, which had started to conduct an initial examination on the spot to establish the existence of traces of possible organ trafficking, dropped the investigation.”
“The elements of proof taken in Rripe, in Albania” during that initial inquiry investigators wrote, “have been destroyed and cannot therefore be used for more detailed analyses…Hailed as an objective body by media enablers of America’s imperial project, with few exceptions, while it relentlessly hunted down alleged Serbian war criminals — the losers in the decade-long conflagration — it studiously ignored proxy forces, including the KLA, under the operational control of German and American intelligence agencies.
“What we have uncovered” Marty informs us, “is of course not completely unheard-of. The same or similar findings have long been detailed and condemned in reports by key intelligence and police agencies, albeit without having been followed up properly, because the authors’ respective political masters have preferred to keep a low profile and say nothing, purportedly for reasons of ‘political expediency’. But we must ask what interests could possibly justify such an attitude of disdain for all the values that are invariably invoked in public?” […]
Wrapping up the description of the vicious cycle is Greek security analyst Ioannis Michaletos:
In Kosovo, the main managers of illicit drugs are the so-called “15 families,” which represent the core power of the region, because of their financial clout and political connections.
In a 67-page report published in 2005, BND (German intelligence agency) analysts concluded that there is “close interaction between the leading members of the Kosovo-Albanian society and the domestic and international underworld currently domiciled in Pristina.” Moreover, “the criminal networks don’t support the creation of a stable political and economic environment, since that will reduce their clout.”
What is more interesting is the attest by BND of the “direct involvement of political figures in Kosovo with the Mafia.” Thus, the crime kingpins “want to acquire elevated positions within the apparatus of the provisional government and influence directly the politicians.”
An E.U. report in 2007 underlined the “inability of local officials to put pressure on criminal organizations and the serious risk of collapse of the social system because of the crime issue.” The main reason is “the lack of political will by the leadership,” which paradoxically is supported by most major European countries.
…The Italian newspaper La Republica reported on the Kosovo criminals of their ability to fully exploit the lack of “political culture” in the region and affect every key decision over and above the international force, which does not control the situation. The current leadership under Hashim Thaci is to emerge from the unholy alliance of traffickers in the region and the UCK. Michel Koutouzis, an expert analyst on security issues in Paris has long confirmed that the Pristina government has always been “subject to the power of the Mafiosi who were the largest donors of the KLA rebels and want to keep the region in their own sphere of influence.”
Reliable and highly informed sources at the Institute for European Policy based in Germany, in a 2007 report commissioned for the German Armed Forces, indicated that the three leading Kosovo politicians, Ramush Haradinaj, Hashim Thaci and Xhavit Haliti, are “persons protected by the international community although they are deeply involved in all of these affairs.”
It is important to mention at this point that the German report states that the U.N. contacts with Albanian politicians were part of the overall problem for the region. The infamous Wikileaks website has leaked dozens of U.N. reports dealing with high-level corruption in Kosovo that involves international employees from 1999 up to the present.
Local sources, including U.S. military personnel, indicate that at least 90 percent of the local economy derives from criminal networks — excluding Diaspora remittances and international assistance — and the society is unable to adapt into the conditions of a free and legal market because of the dramatic social consequences that would entail.
The Kosovo experience has been a great disappointment for the international community. Kosovo in reality struggles against the influence of the organized crime networks. Despite numerous acts of violence and a very high homicide rate, very few convictions have been handed out to culprits, and none to notable members of the organized crime either.
Finally, who can forget this quote from former NY Times reporter Chuck Sudetic, explaining it all:
One former diplomat told me he had heard about it [KLA organ trafficking], but that there were difficulties in proving that the crime took place. He advised me not to get on the wrong side of the Albanian mafia. People are afraid of organized crime.
A sign of hope — as well as a sign of a bumpy road ahead if we start to do the right thing — was this short B92 report: “Marty’s report test for CoE” (Tanjug, Jan. 23)
VIENNA — Council of Europe (CoE) Rapporteur Dick Marty’s report is a test for the CoE, Austrian MEP in the Parliamentary Assembly of the CoE (PACE) Martin Graf said.
“The report cannot be ignored and action has to be taken,” he told Tanjug, adding that he was a member of the CE committee that decided to put the report up for vote in PACE, which will happen January 25.
“The vote will be a test for the CE, which is going to prove whether the organization is willing to follow its own principles,” he noted.
“If you allow crime outside your door and do not investigate, then why have the CE in the first place,” Graf argued.
“The international community and the EU have been leading a one-sided policy in the Balkans,” he remarked.
“It was a pro-Kosovo, pro-Albanian, pro-Croatian and pro-Slovenian policy, meaning that it was pointed against Serbia,” he added. “That is obvious now, and the report is a mirror for those who ran that biased policy, so they are uncomfortable with facing it,” Graf stressed.
That is perhaps one of the most un-minced statements about the Balkans to ever come from a Western bureaucrat (though one wonders why he left out “pro-Bosniak”). It also underscores why it’s so important, on the rare occasion that the Europeans have deigned to consider the Serbian side at all, for the Albanian side to scream “Appeasement of Belgrade!” That ploy has helped keep the internationals from veering off the Albanian agenda by even an inch.
I was reminded today what the other show was that my friends had told me about when mentioning that triple whammy anti-Serb week in December: Hawaii Five-O. In the episode, a Serbian criminal gang takes a Five-O team member hostage. I guess Anti-Serb Week was a “Merry Christmas” message from Meccawood, CA.
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