Thursday, May 31, 2007

Yanks go home as Serbs defy superpowers

From thisislondon.co.uk

The United Kingdom and the United States yesterday shared the ignominy of failing to get a single representative through to the second round of the men's singles of the French Open.


This came about after all nine of the Americans were eliminated, following the exit the previous day of Tim Henman.

When Robbie Ginepri perished it was the first time in the modern era that nobody from the U.S. has won a men's match in a Grand Slam featuring a 128-man draw.

Symbolising the decay was the first-round defeat in the doubles of Jamie Murray and his American partner Eric Butorac, who were beaten 7-6, 6-3 by the unknown Australian-Czech combination of Jordan Kerr and Tomas Cibulec.

Jamie, who afterwards described his sidelined brother Andy as still being not up to anything' this week as he recovers from a wrist injury, will head back to the grass after a learning experience on clay.

He will benefit from his stint in Europe, but will wish to forget the double fault he served up at 8-7 in the tiebreak that turned the match.

The older Murray will now join the best of his compatriots in practising at the Lawn Tennis Association's new, state-of-the-art training centre at Roehampton in preparation for the grass season.

It is the sort of facility that is unimaginable for the playing contingent from Serbia who, despite coming from perhaps the least fashionable nation imaginable, are fast becoming the talk of tennis and Roland Garros.

They have two women in the top 10, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic, and one man, Novak Djokovic. His No 2, Janko Tipsarevic, caused the upset of the day.
All four won, with 80thranked Tipsarevic defeating Marat Safin, twice a Grand Slam winner, in straight sets.

They are a further reminder that pristine facilities at home, the type that most elite British and American youngsters take for granted, are not necessarily the key to producing champions.

The question of hunger is one that will receive a full airing over the coming weeks when Wimbledon brings with it the annual blow-torch of scrutiny on home failings.

Tipsarevic said: "People have to understand that what we have in tennis came from mud, from nothing. There was no big tennis academy and no big tennis federation behind the success. Nobody invested one dollar or one euro except our parents."

Now, it is fair to say that Serbia suffers from something of an image problem in the wider world, the names of the country's prominent individuals normally associated more with tribunals in The Hague than the tennis cathedrals of the world.

What is attracting attention about the quartet — in addition to their tennis skills — is how attractive and engaging the individuals are, having emerged from this troubled part of the former Yugoslavia.

World No 7 Ivanovic is a particular delight while Djokovic, a great friend and rival of his contemporary Andy Murray, is not only the biggest threat to the Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal axis but also something of a character.

Anyone who has seen his highly amusing rendition of Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive on YouTube would testify to that.

Like the two women, he managed to learn his tennis largely outside the country once he had been spotted as an unusual talent, but Tipsarevic has spent more time at home

"Maybe I would be a better player now if I had been practising more in Spain or Florida," he said. "We had really bad political issues. We had Milosevic in power who not only destroyed our country but completely destroyed our sport.

"But tennis is the No 1 sport in Serbia right now," he said. "We are going to play our Davis Cup tie against Australia in September in a 20,000-seat arena, nobody could have dreamed of that."

Ivanovic described the group as ambassadors' for Serbia and they might do a better job than any international public relations firm could manage.

Tipsarevic found himself one of the few men through to the third round as rain once again caused disruptions.

Byzantine Sacred Art: Kosovo Timely Warnings


By Svetlana Novko


China: Kosovo Province Solution Must Be Acceptable to Belgrade


China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi asserted in Hamburg that China wants the solution for Serbian Kosovo-Metohija province that would be acceptable to both Serbs and Serbia’s ethnic Albanian minority concentrated in the province.

Minister Jiechi, whose country is one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council with the power of veto, is attending the Asia-EU meeting (ASEM) of foreign ministers, which opened in Hamburg, Germany, on Monday. Reporting from this gathering of 27 EU and 16 Asian foreign ministers, German media claims that “according to the diplomatic sources, there is no unity regarding the possible UN SC decision on the Kosovo-Metohija status.”


Cato Institute: Ahtisaari Plan Represents Dangerous Precedent


Excerpt, story continues at Byzantine Sacred Art

AKI: BOSNIA EU DIPLOMATS PRESS FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REFORMS

Sarajevo, 29 May (AKI) – Ambassadors of the European Union countries were meeting with Bosnian Muslim, Serb and Croat leaders in Sarajevo on Tuesday in an effort to restart talks on constitutional and police reforms, which have been dragging on for the past year without any results, local officials said. The meeting was called in the aftermath of last week’s talks in Washington between Muslim member of Bosnia’s three-man rotating state presidency, Haris Silajdzic, and prime minister of the Serb entity, Republika Srpska (RS), which ended in deadlock.

The international community, which safeguards peace in Bosnia, and majority Muslims are pressing for the reduction of powers of the country’s two entities in order to strengthen central government, but Serbs and Croats oppose the move. According to the Dayton peace accord that ended Bosnian civil war in 1995, Bosnia was divided into a Muslim-Croat federation and Republika Srpska, with most state prerogatives, but entities have in the meantime been stripped of most state power, with police reforms remaining the last obstacle on the country’s drive to join EU.

Muslims insist on abolition of RS and its police, but Dodik has said Serbs would under no circumstances consent to further revisions of the Dayton accord. Local media reported that Dodik had dramatic exchanges with the US ambassador to Sarajevo Douglas McElhaney during the talks in Washington with undersecretary of state for political affairs Nicolas Burns. McElhaney reportedly threatened Dodik he would be replaced if he doesn’t agree to changes, but Dodik was reported as saying that it would mean trouble for Bosnia.

According to the Dayton accord and the so called “Bonn authorizations”, the high representative of the international community has the right to replace high state officials and enact laws if local leaders fail to come to an agreement. Dodik was scheduled to hold a press conference on Tuesday to report on Washington talks, but the conference was cancelled pending the meeting with EU ambassadors.

In the meantime, several Bosnian Croat organizations have started circulating petitions for their own entity, saying they were discriminated and deprived of basic rights by majority Muslims in the Muslim-Croat federation.

Dodik has repeatedly said that Bosnia should have three federal units if it was to survive as a country. Otherwise, he said, Serbs and Croats would be subject to Muslim domination, to which he would never consent. If the West doesn’t agree to that, “then you can say I’m anti-West,” he said.

VPR/AKI

NYT: Rice Clashes With Russian on Kosovo and Missiles

By HELENE COOPER

POTSDAM, Germany, May 30 — The United States and Russia, with relations between them at their most contentious since the collapse of the Soviet Union, openly sparred here on Wednesday at a meeting of foreign ministers of the Group of 8 industrialized nations.

The Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, accused the United States of starting a new arms race and implicitly threatened to veto any United Nations Security Council resolution that, like the one proposed by the United States and its European allies, would recognize the independence of Kosovo.

Even as the White House and the Kremlin were announcing plans for a rare kiss-and-make-up meeting between President Bush and President Vladimir V. Putin, their top diplomats were clashing here in the historic castle where Churchill, Truman and Stalin met to decide how to carve up Germany after World War II.

This time, the big issue was the carving up of the former Yugoslavia, where the mostly Albanian-inhabited province of Kosovo wants to secede from Serbia. That, along with the American plan to place antimissile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic, has pitted Russia against the West in a war of words with flashbacks to the cold war.

Mr. Lavrov harshly criticized Washington’s plan to build a missile shield over countries that were once part of the Soviet sphere of influence. And he took issue with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for calling Russian concerns about it ludicrous.

“All they’re saying is, ‘Don’t worry, it’s not aimed at you,’ ” Mr. Lavrov said at a news conference after the meeting. “It’s such answers that are ludicrous.”

“We quite agree,” Ms. Rice said with a sly smile, countering that Russian officials themselves have bragged that their strategic defense systems can easily overwhelm any missile defense system that the United States puts up in Europe. Mr. Lavrov was having none of it. “I hope that no one has to prove that Condi is right about that,” he interjected.

Their clashes are indicative of a chill in their countries’ relations. In February, Mr. Putin delivered a blistering speech accusing the United States of undermining international institutions and making the Middle East more unstable through its clumsy handling of the Iraq war.

Russia is also deeply unhappy about the expansion of NATO into the former Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and about the perception in Russia that the West has supported groups that have toppled other governments in Moscow’s former sphere of influence.

Mr. Bush, Ms. Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates have tried, without success, to reassure the Russians that the missile system is aimed at preventing attack by the likes of Iran or North Korea.

The tensions have heightened to the point that the two countries have decided to hold a one-on-one session between Mr. Putin and Mr. Bush on July 1 in Kennebunkport, Me. But it is hard to see how that will tone down the sparring, given how far apart the two behemoths are on Kosovo.
The United States and its Western European allies favor a draft United Nations resolution endorsing supervised independence for Kosovo, where a NATO bombing campaign in 1999 helped defeat Serbian forces. Russia is adamantly opposed.

At the meeting on Wednesday, Mr. Lavrov repeatedly questioned why the United States was so intent on resolving Kosovo’s status when other areas of the world were in dispute.

“Lavrov said, ‘Why don’t we solve the case of Western Sahara first?’ ” said a European official who was at the session, speaking on condition of anonymity under customary diplomatic rules. “He even brought up Abkhazia,” the obscure Black Sea region that has been trying to secede from Georgia.

“And every time Lavrov said something, Condi would jump in,” the official said. “It was like tennis.”

Mr. Lavrov did not tone down his ire over the Kosovo plan after the meeting, when the foreign ministers held their news conference and most tried to act cordial. He hinted, as Russian officials have before, that Russia would veto any Security Council resolution seeking to recognize Kosovo as an independent country, unless Serbia agreed first, which diplomats said was very unlikely.
“I can’t imagine a situation where the Security Council will approve such a resolution,” Mr. Lavrov said. “Such a situation will not happen.”

A senior Bush administration official acknowledged that the administration, in more than six years, had not figured out how to manage its relationship with Russia. “There are a lot of things we have that are of common interest, and at the same time, we need to push where necessary,” said the official, speaking anonymously under diplomatic rules. “And to be able to do both things at the same time is hard, particularly for American administrations. We either tend to do one or the other, and for this to work we have to do both.”

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Serbia's Marija and her Eurovision-winning 'Prayer'


Serbian singer Marija Serifovic won the 52nd Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki on 12 May 2007. Marija Serifovic beat 23 other contestants in the finals that were broadcast live in 45 countries.

May 13, 2007, 12:35 GMT
Belgrade - 'Europe on its knees!' screams a headline in the boulevard daily Kurir on Sunday, a day after the Serbian singer Marija Serifovic won the Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki with her title Molitva (Prayer).


'European prayer for Serbia ,' 'EuroMarija' and 'Marija conquers Europe ' are some of the headlines in other newspapers. Basking her performance on her powerful voice rather than appearance, Serifovic won ahead of Ukraine and Russia .


Reports stress that the win came for Serbia in its first outing as an independent nation - before it competed as a part of the Yugoslav federation. (A year ago Montenegro was the last of the former Yugoslav republics to break with Serbia .)


The outcome of the context in Helsinki was followed by a volley of firecrackers and fireworks in Belgrade . A little later crowds and motorcades gathered downtown in the capital and Serifovic's hometown Kragujevac, 120 kilometres to the south, to celebrate.


For many Serbs the Eurovision contest, carried live on the national TV second channel, and was a welcome alternative from the grim, marathon debate in parliament on the first channel.
The exhausted deputies, who have been meeting amid a political crisis over much of the past week, united in applause when the news of Serifovic's victory broke through shortly after midnight local time.


Vojislav Kostunica directly congratulated the songstress: 'Marija, all honours. The whole of Serbia is happy and proud because of you.' His rival and uneasy partner, President Boris Tadic, sent a telegram an hour later.

Fort Dix: The Backlash that Wasn't

By Robert Spencer
FrontPageMagazine.com
May 14, 2007

In the wake of the Fort Dix jihad plot arrests, the mainstream media featured numerous news articles focusing on the fears of other Muslims in America. Philadelphia’s CBS3 reported: “Muslims in the region are bracing themselves for a possible backlash in response to the terror plot arrests.” There was no shortage of Muslim spokesmen available to confirm these fears. “What we’re all afraid of is a new backlash,” said Hesham Mahmoud of the New Jersey chapter of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. An official of the South Jersey Islamic Center, the spiritual home of several of the jihadist suspects, also expressed fears that they “are going to face a backlash.” A Muslim in New Jersey, Tajwar Roomi, expressed fear for her family: “My husband works for the state. My son, my daughter, they all work. I do get worried about them because some people are nice, [but] some people are not.” As far away as Iowa, the imam of Des Moines’ Islamic Center, Ibrahim Dremali, said: “Some are afraid backlash may be coming. People are becoming cautious again. I’ve told them they have to be careful.”

But none of the backlash reports included news of any actual backlash incidents, because four days after the arrests, there hadn’t been any. Richard Sparaco, the attorney for one of the accused jihad plotters, Serdar Tatar, came closest to actually reporting one. Sparaco said that the restaurant owned by Tatar’s father, Muslim Tatar, had suffered a sharp decline in business, and that someone kicked in his door and, according to New Jersey’s Star-Ledger, “shouted a racial slur.” Muslim Tatar, according to Sparaco, had also been threatened.

That was it, as far as backlash went. The contrast is stark: when cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad appeared in a Danish newspaper, there were international riots, in which several innocent people were killed; when Pope Benedict XVI repeated a medieval emperor’s negative characterization of Muhammad, there were again riots and killings. When a mentally impaired Christian in Nigeria tore a copy of the Qur’an, rampaging Muslims burned ten churches to the ground. But when six Muslims in America were arrested for plotting to kill as many American soldiers as possible, there have been no killings. No mob action. No riots. No mosques have been torched, and no Muslims have been beaten or (with the possible lone exception of Muslim Tatar) harassed.

Of this Americans can justly be proud......excerpt, read the rest at Frontpage Magazine

Plot illustrates Balkans' role as Islamist foothold

By Bill Gertz
THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The six foreign-born Muslims accused of planning a shooting attack at the U.S. military base included four ethnic Albanians, and U.S. officials say their arrests highlight how Islamist groups are using the Balkans region to help in recruiting and financing terrorism.

Prosecutors described the men as "radical Islamists," with four coming from the province of Kosovo in the former Yugoslavia, where the ethnic Albanian population of Muslims fought one of the several wars that grew out of the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Suspect Agron Abdullahu, who faces only weapons violations in the case, was described in court papers as a "sniper in Kosovo."

U.S. officials said the Islamists were motivated by al Qaeda sympathies and that ringleader Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer, who was born in Jordan, had copies of the wills of two September 11 terrorists on his laptop computer.

The other suspect in the group -- accused of seeking to kill hundreds of soldiers at Fort Dix, N.J. -- was born in Turkey.

U.S. officials said intelligence reports from the Balkans have identified a support structure for several terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, among the Muslim communities in Albania and in the former Yugoslavia, including Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and Macedonia.

"When it comes to extremists, we're talking about very, very small pockets in Albania, as well as among the ethnic Albanian populations in Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia and other parts of the Balkans," said one official with access to intelligence reports .

The official pointed out that the Albanian government has been supportive of U.S. efforts to counter Islamic terrorist activities, including curbing logistics and financial aid, and working to prevent terrorists from receiving training and weapons.

But a Congressional Research Service report produced in 2005 said instability in Albania during the 1990s gave al Qaeda a "foothold" there.

"Poor internal security, lax border controls, and high rates of crime produced an environment conducive to terrorist activity," said the report by CRS specialist Steven Woehrel. "Some foreign Islamic extremists used Albania as a safe haven and gained Albanian citizenship."

Balkan Muslims also have been targets of al Qaeda recruitment efforts because they have an easier time blending in or evading U.S. and European security measures and border controls, which often are geared to identifying Middle Eastern extremists.

The State Department's latest annual report on international terrorism said the Albanian government has taken steps to stop terrorism financing but noted that "government and police forces faced substantial challenges to fully enforce border security and combat organized crime and corruption."

The Albanian government identified seven financial holdings by terrorist groups last year that were frozen.

Israeli government sources have said that agents for the Palestinian militant group Hamas, as well as the Shi'ite Hezbollah, have been actively buying weapons from organized-crime groups in the Balkans.

Bosnia also has a large Muslim community that in the past has provided a base of support for al Qaeda and other terrorists. After the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords, most Islamic radicals, who were helping Bosnia's Muslims fend off the Orthodox Christian Serbs, left the Balkans, but some remained behind.

"It is estimated that several hundred former fighters stayed behind in Bosnia after the war and became Bosnian citizens by marrying Bosnian women," the CRS report said. "Some al Qaeda operatives in Bosnia reportedly had connections to members of Bosnia's intelligence service."

European intelligence agencies estimate that as many as 750 Muslim former fighters remain hidden in Bosnia and have acted as a supply network to send guns, money and documents to terrorists passing through the region.

Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders often mention Bosnia as an important example of jihad, or holy war.

"Terrorist recruiting videos often include footage of combat in Bosnia," the CRS report said. According to the Associated Press, a joint U.S.-Croatian intelligence report produced last year stated that Algerian extremists were active in the Balkans. Bosnia's intelligence service last year published information on 15 extremists living in that country: eight Algerians, two Syrians, two Tunisians and an Egyptian, Kuwaiti and Yemeni.

Officials also said the nongovernmental organization Revival of Islamic Heritage Society remains active in the region and spreads the radical Wahhabi form of Islam that animates al Qaeda.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Were These Terrorists Among the Albanians Clinton Brought to Fort Dix?


Rush Limbaugh Show Transcript
May 9, 2007


BEGIN TRANSCRIPT


RUSH: Let's go back even prior to June the 6th of 1999. Again, on CNN, June 6, 1999 story, "Fort Dix speeds up relocation of Kosovo refugees." Let's go back to May 18th of 1999, just a little short of a month prior. "First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton announced Tuesday an additional $15 million in US relief to the displaced people of Kosovo. The money will help non-government and United Nations groups care for refugees in the border regions of Macedonia and Albania and will also help pay to resettle as many as 20,000 ethnic Albanians who may choose to live with friends and relatives in the United States." (Laughing.) Golly, folks, it's worse than I thought. The Clinton administration may have brought these people here! We don't know if five of the six were in part of this group, but oh, man! The first lady announced this?

"The first lady spoke at a briefing she held to describe her recent trip to a camp in Macedonia. She said the refugees, mostly women and children, described the slaughter of adult men as armed Serbs pushed Kosovars from their homes. 'These heartbreaking stories of families separated, of girls raped, of men executed, of homes destroyed, must be told and retold and never forgotten,' Mrs. Clinton said. The first lady said nothing makes the case more powerfully for why the United States and our NATO allies are pursuing their mission in Kosovo, why we cannot give up until the evils perpetrated by Milosevic and his regime have been stopped and the refugees return home in peace and safety." Mrs. Clinton also announced, May 18th, 1999, "Mrs. Clinton also announced the establishment of an Internet-based information resource..." folks, you will not believe this. "Mrs. Clinton also announced the establishment of an Internet-based information resource to help the Kosovo refugees find their loved ones. The computer system will be based at Fort Dix, New Jersey, the military base now serving as a processing center for Kosovars coming to the United States. The website will feature a people locator, as well as news and information in Albanian. It will include links with similar computer resources in Macedonia, Albania, and elsewhere in Europe."

My God, folks, could it be that the Clinton administration set up the communications network for this? Brought them to our shores, set up the communications network? Just asking. The story doesn't say this. These stories are almost eight years old, folks, but may I read this to you again? Just this one passage: "Mrs. Clinton also announced the establishment of an Internet-based information resource to help the Kosovo refugees find loved ones. The computer system will be based at Fort Dix, New Jersey, military base now serving as a processing center for Kosovars coming to the United States." That is Fort Dix, New Jersey. These are very serious questions, and could be serious charges that flow from these questions -- very, very serious, ladies and gentlemen. We are concerned here. This is upsetting. Well, I don't know about an investigation. It will come at some point perhaps but, yeah, we're investigating gas prices right now. We don't have time to investigate this. We're investigating Big Oil. After that, we're going to investigate Wal-Mart. We're not through investigating Enron, by the way. But very unsettling. I read these two CNN stories, my friends, and I must admit you may be able to hear it in my voice. I am concerned. This is deeply troubling to read that the Clinton administration may have actually imported these people and set up computer Internet networks for them to stay in contact with one another. Deeply troubling. Important questions. Need answers.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Dave in Miami, it's nice to have you on the program, sir. Welcome.

CALLER: Hello, Mr. Limbaugh. It's nice to speak with you.

RUSH: Thank you, sir.

CALLER: Going back to the Fort Dix story, if we can, I remember an incident not too long ago where there was a shooting at a mall by a young man that I believe was of Albanian decent. I was wondering if anyone has tied the dots with --

RUSH: Where did that happen?

CALLER: I don't recall the mall, but I do recall part of the story, that he was a young man that had come to the US after the war in Yugoslavia. He had grown up here in the states, and --

RUSH: Oh, wait. Wait, wait. That was -- da-da-da-da-da, da-da-da-da-da, Salt Lake City.

CALLER: Yeah, that's correct.

RUSH: That's right, the Salt Lake City mall shooting spree.

CALLER: Right. I was just wondering if anyone has tied the dots with what happened in New Jersey as far as the Albanians, since he might be part of that same group that came over after the war.

RUSH: Well, it's interesting that you ask. I have a story here from a website that is called ADNKI.com. It's Adnkronos -- I guess how I'm pronouncing it here -- Adnkronos International. I'm not sure where this website is, what country it's in. But this story quotes a Balkan terrorism expert named Darko Trifunovic. I'm going to get to this after the break because you people have to hear this. It's dated today, and we'll link to this at RushLimbaugh.com as well. But it's interesting you should call about this, right as the story is made available to me, because not only does this story say there's a connection to the Salt Lake City thing and what happened at Fort Dix or what was planned for Fort Dix, but it's even more intertwined and complicated than that. So sit tight out there, David, and all the rest of you. You really need to hear what's coming next, right after this on the EIB Network.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: All right, folks, now, a lot to discuss here because we're doing research and show prep at the time we are performing the show. It doesn't happen anywhere else in modern media. They go in with their scripted hour or two and then execute it, and then anything that happens while they're on the air doesn't make it. But here, you have to hear this. This is from the ADNKI.com website. I'm not sure where this is from, because I haven't had time to source it. It's international. But it's a story out of Belgrade, Yugoslavia. So I'm assuming it's there.

"The arrest of four ethnic Albanians, a Jordanian and a Turk in the United States on Tuesday on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack at the United States army base in Fort Dix, New Jersey, confirms the existence of a 'white Al-Qaeda', Balkan terrorism expert Darko Trifunovic told Adnkronos International (AKI) on Wednesday. Trifunovic said the arrests showed 'white Al-Qaeda at work.' He compared the Fort Dix plot to a February attack in Salt Lake City when a Bosnian Muslim youth, Sulejman Talovic went on a shopping mall shooting rampage. Six people including Talovic were killed another four were injured in the attack. Trifunovic, a professor at Belgrade University's Faculty of Security Studies, was the first to develop a theory of 'white Al-Qaeda', which he said was introduced to the Balkans during 1992-1995 civil war in Bosnia when thousands of 'mujahadeen' from Islamic countries came to fight on the side of local Muslims. Many mujahadeen have remained in the country, and are believed to been indoctrinating local youths with radical Islam and even operating terrorist training camps, Trifunovic said, quoting western and Balkans intelligence sources.

"Al-Qaeda has adopted a new tactics of using white European youths for terrorist attacks, 'because of their non-Arabic appearance,' Trifunovic told AKI. 'The strategy is to indoctrinate or poison the hearts and minds of youngsters to psyche them up for the future terror operations,' Trifunovic said. 'And that is exactly what is now happening in the United States,' he added. The US authorities arrested three ethnic Albanian brothers from Serbia's breakaway Kosovo province, Sain, Elvir and Dritan Duka, another ethnic Albanian, Agron Abdulahu, a Jordanian, Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer, and Serdar Tatar, a Turk. Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Newark, New Jersey, said the suspects 'were planning an attack on Fort Dix in which they would kill as many soldiers as possible'. ... Several of the suspects said they were ready to kill and die ''in the name of Allah,'' according to court papers. The defendants, all men in their 20s, reportedly include a pizza deliveryman suspected of using his job to scout out Fort Dix, three builders and taxi-driver. They were arrested while trying to buy AK-47 assault weapons and M-16s from an informant, authorities said. Many Balkan terrorism experts have been warning for years that Al-Qaeda had active cells in Muslim-majority Kosovo and a training camp in the village of Ropotovo. Kosovo has been under United Nations control 1999, when NATO airstrikes drove Serbian forces out of the province. ... The US authorities said that Abdulahu was a sharp shooter in the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) before fleeing to the US. Fort Dix is a training ground for American soldiers and reservists before they are sent to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan," as the caller mentioned earlier.
So the target of Fort Dix is not just random, doesn't appear to be just random. "Serb immigrants' web sites noted that US officials carefully avoided identifying the four ethnic Albanians as such, calling them only 'Islamic militants from former Yugoslavia.' A commentator on the SerbBlog said that Washington, which backs independence for Kosovo, is embarrassed by the discovery of the Fort Dix plot, 'because the truth might mess up the PR for Kosovo Albanians getting to rip off a piece of Serbia to create their own country - a move that has the full support of the US State Department.'" That's one story. The bottom line of this story from this terrorism expert in the Balkans, Darko Trifunovic, is that there is an existence of "white Al-Qaeda" to fool everybody here. They do not look like Arabs, but they're being trained to hate and plan and execute terrorist attacks.

Now, a couple more things -- and I just saw this about 30 seconds before the break ended, and I haven't had a chance to peruse all of it. This first is from… Where is this from? I need to be able to quote a source for this stuff, and I can't, which is the danger of this stuff coming in during the show. Findarticles.com, June 7th of 1999. Here we go, "Insight on the News." This stuff is so tiny I can barely read it.

"Insight on the News June 7, 1999 -- The [Clinton] White House ordered the quick evacuation of 20,000 Kosovar refugees that the United States pledged to take, shortcutting normal procedures and background checks. ... In the burgeoning refugee 'village' at Fort Dix, N.J. -- where as many as 3,000 of the 20,000 ethnic Albanians the United States will take in are being housed pending settlement -- there are many such tales, heartrending but unverifiable, to be sure." This is about separating from families and all of that. So this just confirms the early story that we had that Islamic refugees, Kosovar refugees were brought in by the Clinton administration and settled at Fort Dix. "Meanwhile, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Public Health Service and U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service were busy conducting the medical screenings and criminal-background checks normally completed before a refugee can set foot on U.S. soil -- but which were deferred in this case because of what some government officials saw as emergency circumstances. The change in procedures was called 'completely atypical' by a government official and 'highly unusual' by the head of a major relief organization."

Let me translate that for you. We bring in all these refugees from Kosovo, and we didn't screen them for disease or backgrounds, criminal backgrounds or anything else. We did that after they were here. This is 1999. This is the summer of 1999, and the Clinton administration deferred all of this. They eventually got around to doing all these checks and so forth, but after they were here. Let's see. Of the concerns, "The first was an administration worry that the flood of Kosovo refugees was overwhelming some neighboring nations and might prove destabilizing to others, particularly Macedonia. A second was a concern that the overcrowded camps presented a growing health risk to refugees." This is back in Kosovo. "And finally, at least one top congressional aide says a contributing factor also may have been a sense among officials 'that we helped create this mess and we better help to do something about it,'" meaning our Kosovo war with NATO and so forth and so on.

The import of all this is that there is a terrorism expert in the Balkans claiming that a new "white Al-Qaeda" is operating here that has been trained and planted here from the Balkans and from Kosovo, and they are here to exact this kind of damage. The Fort Dix Six were apprehended before they could get moving on it, but the Salt Lake City mall shooter who killed six or killed four or whatever, was part of the group, is what this expert in the Balkans is saying. Now, let's see, where is this from? Let me take a break. I don't want to read something that I don't know what it's from. Oh, it's a military website, Quartermaster.Army.mil. So it's a military website. "A 1996 book by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton titled 'It Takes A Village' became part of a theme for designing the refugee-processing center. The First Lady’s book centered on rekindling a society that totally sustains and supports its families and individuals, especially its children. It was a 530th soldier who had read the First Lady’s book and recommended naming the processing center’s physical location the 'Village' rather than a 'camp' or a 'compound.'"

Well, holy cow! Holy cow! So the refugee location, the camp, the compound was renamed "the village," in honor of Hillary. Can you imagine what Clinton, Inc., is doing right now with this news out there? We've got two CNN stories that we've already shared with you. We've got this Yugoslav website talking about "white Al-Qaeda," and it all ties back to the Clinton administration bringing 20,000 Kosovar refugees into the country in 1999. You have a Balkans terrorism expert saying that the Salt Lake City mall shooting and the attempted shootings at Fort Dix, that plan, are all related to a new "white Al-Qaeda." As first lady, Mrs. Clinton wrote columns about this, "the Village." Mr. Snerdley has just printed them out now. She wrote columns. That's right. She did have a column. I remember that now. Mrs. Clinton had a column, and so she wrote about this. We'll get those in due course. "The refugee population in the village at Fort Dix experienced a complete life cycle from..." Anyway, I gotta take a break, but you get the point here. We brought the refugees in from Kosovo without prior screening. We didn't screen them for disease or criminal background checks. We did that after they got here. We deferred them. Then they got here and they were so pleased to be here and so happy, that they named their compound "the Village," after Mrs. Clinton's book -- and, of course, you remember, the Clinton administration (Clinton impression), "I never worked harder on anything in my life, fighting terrorism, it was -- I got up, I worked, I thought about it, I even thought about it in the study with Monica. I thought about terrorism. We worked hard, Richard Clarke and me. I talked to you about it." (Whistling.) Can you imagine The Spin Room at Clinton, Inc., and what it is doing right now?

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I got these two columns from Mrs. Bill Clinton from May 5th of 1999, May 19th of 1999, but I want to go back to one of the CNN stories. The first lady said, "Nothing makes the case more powerfully for why the United States and our allies are pursuing their mission in Kosovo and why we can't give up until the evils perpetrated by Milosevic and his regime have been stopped and the refugees return home in peace and safety." Where is that attitude regarding Iraq? Mrs. Clinton is perfectly fine with taking out after Slobodan Milosevic and talking about how we gotta help these people; we gotta help these allies; gotta bring 'em back home. This Milosevic regime must be stopped!The refugees returned home in peace and safety!

I guess that doesn't matter in Iraq. Where is this same attitude that Mrs. Clinton had about Milosevic back in the late nineties? Now, her column is called, "Talking it Over." The first one we have here is from May 5th of 1999. "Whenever and wherever people are in need, Americans stand ready to help," except Iraq. Well, Democrats don't stand ready to help. "This week, I traveled to Fort Dix in New Jersey, to represent the President and the people of the United States in welcoming the first group of Kosovar refugees from Macedonia arriving in our country. Like hundreds of thousands of others, they've witnessed appalling atrocities. ... In one 24-hour period earlier this week, more than 11,600 Kosovars arrived in Macedonia, bringing to nearly 700,000 the number of refugees and displaced persons who have fled the terror that Slobodan Milosevic and his regime have inflicted on the ethnic Albanians living in Kosovo. ... Some of those coming to the United States have relatives anxiously awaiting their arrival. Families, churches and agencies around the country will sponsor housing for others. Literally tens of thousands of Americans have offered help of some kind. Here's what you can do," and then she goes on to ask you to drive 'em around and take them to the store, get 'em set up with relief agencies so they can get on welfare programs, all the great things that liberals believe in.

"Every offer of help is an offer of hope. The people of America are sending the people of Kosovo a very strong message: You are not abandoned. You are not forgotten. Slobodan Milosevic has not succeeded in erasing your identity from the pages of history, and he will not succeed in erasing your presence from the land of your parents and grandparents." They hated Milosevic. Where's this attitude in Iraq from Mrs. President Clinton? Don't forget what this is all about, this is about the Fort Dix Six and how the Clintons set all this up. The Clintons set up the refugee camp at Fort Dix and the refugees are so happy they named it "the Village" after her book. We've got a Balkans terrorist expert saying: Oh, yeah! These things are being set up all over the United States. White Al-Qaeda, jihadists and Islamists who don't look Arab -- and claims that the Salt Lake City shooter was one of them.

The May 19th, 1999 piece from Mrs. Clinton's "Talking it Over" column: "We cannot let these people down," meaning the Kosovars. "We must tell and retell their stories, because there is no more powerful argument for why the United States and our NATO allies are in Kosovo. There is no more powerful justification for why we will not give up until the evils perpetrated by Milosevic have ended and these refugees are once again living in their own homes in peace and security." Mrs. Bill Clinton, presidential candidate today, as first lady eight years ago, writing this. Now, remember what Kosovo was about, folks. Ethnic cleansing. We weren't going to put up with it. Fine and dandy. But was there any US national interest at stake? There wasn't, was there? "Sectarian war" is what that was. It was a civil war. It was a sectarian war. Now, of course we had NATO fight it from 15,000 feet. It was our war, but we did it with our NATO allies.

Move to Iraq. "Sectarian war? Civil war?" Nobody used the term "ethnic cleansing" yet because if they did, the libs would have to join forces with us on it. But there are clearly US national interests at stake involved in Iraq: Al-Qaeda and international terrorism. I bring all of this up -- well, it's obvious, isn't it? The conclusion you can draw here is obvious. When the Democrats start a war, it's all fine, and it's valorous, and it is moral, and it is worth it. Obviously no US vital national interests were at stake. Now Mrs. Clinton, who was leading this effort -- or claiming to with all these public pronouncements -- visits to Fort Dix, the bringing of refugees, Kosovar refugees to Fort Dix. She's now running for president, doing everything she can to please the anti-war crowd in this country that Iraq's not worth it. Just isn't worth it. Anyway, I gotta take a brief time-out here, folks. There won't be time for any more phone calls, sadly, but we'll have all this stuff at our website tonight so you can peruse it in more detail. I just read excerpts of all of this in the interests of brevity and time.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: We had breaking news today, breaking news that you will not hear anywhere else, and that is the involvement of the Clinton administration in establishing these refugee camps called "the village," at Fort Dix and the existence of a white Al-Qaeda, as reported by a Balkans terrorist expert. We'll see. I can just imagine the feverish, feverish activity at Clinton, Inc., in the war room going on right now, how to spin this. "We gotta send Sandy Burglar to purloin some documents. We gotta straighten this out before Limbaugh takes it too far down the road."
END TRANSCRIPT
Read the Background Material...

Terrorism: U.S. Army Base Plot 'Confirms Existence of White Al-Qaeda' Balkan Experts SayCNN: Fort Dix speeds up relocation of Kosovo refugees - 06.06.1999Fort Dix Jihad: The Media Misses the Point - Andrew C. McCarthyRefugees Arrive From Kosovo - refugees on American soil - 06.07.1999Hillary Clinton: Talking It Over - 05.05.1999Hillary Clinton:Talking It Over - 05.19.1999

First Post: Serbo-phobes should take a history lesson

"Serbia has every right to take its place at the heart of a civilised Europe", says Neil Clark


Serb-bashing, the last acceptable form of racism in Europe, sadly shows no sign of abating. The news that Serbia is to take over the presidency of the Council of Europe this week has sent Serbo-phobes into paroxysms of rage.


"If European countries can't find the courage to act against Serbia, they can't find the courage to act against anyone," complains George Monbiot in the Guardian. But the Serb-bashers are wrong: the Balkan republic has every right to be considered a valued member of the European family.


Of all the constituent republics of the former Yugoslavia, Serbia was the least responsible for its violent break-up. The conflict was precipitated, not by Serb aggression, but by the illegal breakaway of Slovenia, egged on by Germany, in 1991.


Foreign intervention was also responsible for the war in Bosnia: the touch-paper being lit by the US ambassador Warren Zimmerman when he persuaded the Bosnian separatist leader Izetbegovic to renege on the EU-sponsored 1992 Lisbon agreement.


While no one denies that Bosnian Serbs committed atrocities, it's important to remember that the International Court of Justice recently exonerated Serbia of responsibility for the massacre at Srebrenica.


Serbo-phobes castigate Serbia for not extraditing Mladic and Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leaders, to The Hague. But can one really blame Serbs for questioning the impartiality of a court which was set up by the very Nato powers which illegally bombed their country in 1999, and which, from its inception, has shown a blatant anti-Serb bias?


Far from being a pariah state, Serbia has played a positive role in modern European history: it was the Serb uprising against the Nazis in 1941 which postponed the Wehrmacht's invasion of the Soviet Union by a crucial five weeks. Were it not for the bravery of the most unjustly demonised people on the continent, Europe would look a very different place today.

Kosovo mistakes hit home for U.S.

Thursday, May 10, 2007
Elizabeth Sullivan
Cleveland Plain Dealer


Standing on an airstrip in the steaming sunshine of an Albanian spring eight years ago, the outgoing U.S. ambassador admitted it was no fun having to take a fully armored vehicle and bodyguard whenever she left the embassy.

It was May 1999, the height of the Kosovo air war next door.

As a staunch U.S. ally, Albania had turned most of its airport over to NATO. Marissa Lino, then-U.S. ambassador, said things had improved since the U.S. Army arrived in force.

Still, she said, it was getting a little old, having "to live in one room" for security reasons.

To the general lawlessness and the rise of warlordism in post-Communist Albania in the 1990s was added a civil war that seeded hundreds of thousands of Kalashnikovs all over the Balkans. The small arms helped precipitate guerrilla war in Kosovo and later Macedonia, among other impacts.

As U.S. officials were later to learn, the violence and weaponry also helped make the Balkans a new vector for al-Qaida infiltration, recruitment, arms-running and money-laundering. Twice in the late 1990s, U.S. officials had to be evacuated from Tirana because of civil unrest and threats from al-Qaida.

This week, New Jersey authorities arrested four ethnic Albanian immigrants, a Jordanian relative and a Turkish friend, charged with plotting terrorism on U.S. shores.

They were amateurs, so inept that a Circuit City clerk helped unravel the plot and FBI informants taped their scheming. Yet it's instructive to see where the four ethnic Albanians came from: supposedly the most pro-American Muslim neighborhood in the world, in the southern Balkans.

One was a refugee from the 1999 Kosovo war. The other three appear to have immigrated illegally in the 1980s with their family. The Associated Press reports that they hail from Debar, a tiny Macedonian village on the Kosovo border, where residents harbor generally friendly feelings toward the United States.

That goes along with the general story line in Washington these days -- that the Balkans are yesterday's hotspot, a mostly quiet backwater that may be home to a few too many crime groups, but that no longer poses a threat the Europeans themselves can't handle.

That's why the U.S. government is pushing so hard right now for a de facto U.N. vote for independence for the mostly Albanian province of Kosovo, despite the precedent this would set for dismembering a U.N. member state (Serbia) against its will and rewarding violence and ethnic cleansing.

It would, eventually, free up more than a thousand U.S. troops that still patrol the troubled province.

Yet the evidence of the so-called war on terror is just the reverse -- that the al-Qaida threat America faces today was partly incubated in the Balkans.


David Hicks, the Australian who plea-bargained at Guantanamo so he could be sent home, was recruited to violent jihadist causes while fighting with Albanians in Kosovo.

Omar Sheikh, the former British schoolboy who helped lure journalist Danny Pearle to his death in Pakistan, was recruited in Bosnia.

Extremist groups still post recruitment videos on the Internet, showing combat involving Bosnian mujahedeen, according to a 2005 Congressional Research Service report.

All of this is blowback in its rawest form, in that in the 1990s the Clinton administration was the one that facilitated an army of mujahedeen and Iranian arms into Bosnia.

Bosnia remains the most striking example of a place where public opinion is firmly against the jihadist cause, but al-Qaida is still believed to be entrenched in a corrupt subculture of passport falsification and drug-running.

But Kosovo is the most dangerous, because it's poorer and hence more violent -- and because it's fast becoming both a mono-ethnic and a mono-religious state.

Sullivan is The Plain Dealer's foreign-affairs columnist and an associate editor of the editorial pages.

Jatras: US paying for dangerous policy on Kosmet

Radio Serbia

After the arrest of the group of Islamic extremists, including 4 Kosmet Albanians, in New Jersey, it is clear that the US starts paying a high price for dangerous policy of supporting Albanian separatism in Kosmet – pointed American expert James Jatras, a former analyst in the US Senate and the State Department. Jatras underlined that Washington must urgently change its shortsighted and destructive approach to Kosmet, where they persistently support Albanian extremism that is slowly turning into the weapon of Islamic radicalism. Pointing that Washington authorities live in illusion that the only solution for Kosmet is secession of the province from Serbia, Jatras warned that independence would mean giving power to leadership of the terrorist KLA that is deep in organized crime. Radical change of the Washington policy contributes to respect of the international law and stability in Europe, but also in the territory of the US itself – Jatras assessed.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Kosovo Blowback Reaches America

From Chronicles

by Srdja Trifkovic

The story: four Albanian Muslims from Kosovo, plus a Turk and a Jordanian, are arrested for conspiring to attack Fort Dix, a military base in New Jersey, with AK47s and “to kill as many soldiers as possible” (U.S. Attorney’s Office).

The Mainstream Media spin: “Four of them were born in the former Yugoslavia” (The New York Times); “One of the suspects was born in Jordan, another in Turkey… [t]he rest are believed to be from the former Yugoslavia” (CNN); “Four of the men were born in the former Yugoslavia, one in Jordan and one in Turkey” (MSNBC); “One of the suspects was born in Turkey and four in the former Yugoslavia” (AP), und so weiter…


The names of the four “Yugoslavs” are Dritan Duka, Eljvir Duka, Shain Duka (three brothers, all of them in the United States illegally), and Agron Abdullahu. Those are Albanian names, of course, but not one in a hundred Americans knows that. In fact, grasping that they are Albanians and knowing that “ethnic Albanian” plus “Muslim from the former Yugoslavia” equals “Kosovo,” is the privilege of experts. It is but one of many Balkan equations that mainstream media editors are determined to keep hidden from their consumers. That there is nothing in the federal complaint about the “Yugoslav” suspects’ origins is almost certainly the result of political interference.

White House spokesman Tony Snow was quick to assure us there is “no direct evidence” that the men arrested in the Fort Dix plot have ties to international terrorism. His meta-message is clear: The Administration knows it cannot keep the Albanian identity of four “Yugoslav” suspects concealed for ever, but it wants to pre-empt any suspicion that an independent KosovA would be a black hole of jihad-terrorism in the heart of Europe. Hastily denying the group’s link to al-Qaeda and other global networks is a political necessity for the proponents of Kosovo’s independence, not necessarily the reality.

Having been assured ad nauseam over the years by successive U.S. administrations that Kosovo’s Albanians are not really serious about their Islam, that even when they desecrate Christian churches and joyously rip crosses from their cupolas they do it for nationalist rather than jihadist reasons, the powers-that-be are doing their utmost to ensure that the public remains anesthetized......excerpt -- read the rest at Chronicles

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

TERRORISM: U.S. ARMY BASE PLOT 'CONFIRMS EXISTENCE OF WHITE AL-QAEDA' BALKAN EXPERTS SAY

Belgrade, 9 May (AKI) - The arrest of four ethnic Albanians, a Jordanian and a Turk in the United States on Tuesday on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack at the United States army base in Fort Dix, New Jersey, confirms the existence of a "white Al-Qaeda", Balkan terrorism expert Darko Trifunovic told Adnkronos International (AKI) on Wednesday. Trifunovic said the arrests showed "white Al-Qaeda at work." He compared the Fort Dix plot to a February attack in Salt Lake City when a Bosnian Muslim youth, Sulejman Talovic went on a shopping mall shooting rampage. Six people including Talovic were killed another four were injured in the attack.


Trifunovic, a professor at Belgrade University's Faculty of Security Studies, was the first to develop a theory of “white Al-Qaeda”, which he said was introduced to the Balkans during 1992-1995 civil war in Bosnia when thousands of 'mujahadeen' from Islamic countries came to fight on the side of local Muslims. Many mujahadeen have remained in the country, and are believed to been indoctrinating local youths with radical Islam and even operating terrorist training camps, Trifunovic said, quoting western and Balkans intelligence sources.

Al-Qaeda has adopted a new tactics of using white European youths for terrorist attacks, “because of their non-Arabic appearance,” Trifunovic told AKI. "The strategy is to indoctrinate or poison the hearts and minds of youngsters to psyche them up for the future terror operations," Trifunovic said.

"And that is exactly what is now happening in the United States,” he added. The US authorities arrested three ethnic Albanian brothers from Serbia’s breakaway Kosovo province, Sain, Elvir and Dritan Duka, another ethnic Albanian, Agron Abdulahu, a Jordanian, Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer, and Serdar Tatar, a Turk.

Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Newark, New Jersey, said the suspects "were planning an attack on Fort Dix in which they would kill as many soldiers as possible". Drewniak described the group as “Islamist militants from the former Yugoslavia and the Middle East,” who apparently had no ties to international terrorist organisations, but were organised on a local level.

Several of the suspects said they were ready to kill and die ''in the name of Allah,'' according to court papers. The defendants, all men in their 20s, reportedly include a pizza deliveryman suspected of using his job to scout out Fort Dix, three builders and taxi-driver. They were arrested while trying to buy AK-47 assault weapons and M-16s from an informant, authorities said.

Many Balkan terrorism experts have been warning for years that Al-Qaeda had active cells in Muslim-majority Kosovo and a training camp in the village of Ropotovo. Kosovo has been under United Nations control 1999, when NATO airstrikes drove Serbian forces out of the province amid ethnic fighting and allegations of gross human rights abuses.

International officials have ignored the warnings and minimised the danger Al-Qaeda poses, according to Balkan analysts.

In a joint NATO-Bulgarian report in March 2005, the head of Bulgarian state security Kirco Kirov cited Kosovo as a "direct source of regional instability and a hub for international terrorism." The report called for joint action by all European countries.

The US authorities said that Abdulahu was a sharp shooter in the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) before fleeing to the US. Fort Dix is a training ground for American soldiers and reservists before they are sent to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, but in 1999 it served as a shelter for thousands of ethnic Albanian refugees from Kosovo.

Serb immigrants’ web sites noted that US officials carefully avoided identifying the four ethnic Albanians as such, calling them only "Islamic militants from former Yugoslavia." A commentator on the SerbBlog said that Washington, which backs independence for Kosovo, is embarrassed by the discovery of the Fort Dix plot, "because the truth might mess up the PR for Kosovo Albanians getting to rip off a piece of Serbia to create their own country - a move that has the full support of the US State Department."

Belgrade military analyst Zoran Dragisic said the Fort Dix plot “once again shows that Islamist terrorism is highly organised - from Kosovo to America - and the US intelligence services know this very well." Dragsic expressed doubt, however, that the latest incident would change the American stance on Kosovo, “because Washington doesn’t change its positions easily."




(Vpr/Aki)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Fort Dix Terror Plot

FORT DIX, N.J. (AP) - May 8, 2007 - Claiming they were ready to die in the name of Allah, six Islamic militants from Yugoslavia and the Middle East plotted to attack the Fort Dix Army base and "kill as many soldiers as possible," authorities said Tuesday.

The suspects, who also spoke of attacking U.S. warships that might dock in Philadelphia, were arrested Monday night, and were to appear before a federal judge Tuesday afternoon.

"This was a serious plot put together by people who were intent on harming Americans," U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie said. "We're very gratified federal law enforcement was able to catch these people before they acted and took innocent life."

One suspect reportedly spoke of using rocket-propelled grenades to kill at least 100 soldiers at a time, according to court documents.

"If you want to do anything here, there is Fort Dix and I don't want to exaggerate, and I assure you that you can hit an American base very easily," suspect Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer said in a conversation last August that was secretly recorded by a government informant, according to the criminal complaint against him.

"It doesn't matter to me whether I get locked up, arrested or get taken away," a suspect identified as Serdar Tatar said in a conversation recorded by the same informant. "Or I die, it doesn't matter. I'm doing it in the name of Allah."

Still another suspect, Eljvir Duka, was recorded by a second informant as saying, "In the end, when it comes to defending your religion, when someone is trying attacks your religion, your way of life, then you go jihad."

White House spokesman Tony Snow said Tuesday there is "no direct evidence" that the men have ties to international terrorism.

"They are not charged with being members of an international terrorism organization," Snow said. "At least at this point, there is no evidence that they received direction from international terror organizations."

Asked if those arrested had any links to al-Qaida, Snow referred questions to the FBI and the U.S. attorney, but said those officials "seem to indicate that there is no direct evidence of a foreign terrorist tie."

In court documents, prosecutors said the suspects came to the attention of authorities in January 2006 when a shopkeeper alerted the FBI about a "disturbing" video he had been asked to copy onto a DVD.

The video showed 10 young men in their early 20s "shooting assault weapons at a firing range ... while calling for jihad and shouting in Arabic 'Allah Akbar' (God is great)," the complaint said.

Six of the 10 were identified as those arrested in the plot.

Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said the men viewed Islamic training and weapons videos on the Internet.

"What concerns us is, obviously, they began conducting surveillance and weapons training in the woods and were discussing killing large numbers of soldiers," Boyd said.

The six were scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Camden later Tuesday to face charges of conspiracy to kill U.S. servicemen, said Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey. An afternoon news conference was also scheduled with federal authorities.

Officials said four of the men were born in the former Yugoslavia, one in Jordan and one in Turkey. All had lived in the United States for years. Three were in the United States illegally; two had green cards allowing them to stay in this country permanently, and the sixth is a U.S. citizen.

Besides Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer, Serdar Tatar and Eljvir Duka, the other three men were identified in court papers as Dritan Duka, Shain Duka, and Agron Abdullahu. Checks with Immigration and Customs Enforcement show that Dritan Duka, Eljvir Duka and Shain Duka are illegally living in the United States, according to FBI complaints unsealed with their arrests.

Five of the men lived in Cherry Hill, a Philadelphia suburb located about 20 miles from Fort Dix.

"They were planning an attack on Fort Dix in which they would kill as many soldiers as possible," Drewniak said.

The men also allegedly conducted surveillance at other area military institutions, including Fort Monmouth, a U.S. Army installation, Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, and a Philadelphia Coast Guard station.

Christie said one of the suspects worked at Super Mario's Pizza in nearby Cookstown and delivered pizzas to the base, using that opportunity to scout out the possible attack.

"Clearly, one of the guys had an intimate knowledge of the base from having been there delivering pizzas," Christie said.

He declined further comment until the 2:30 p.m. news conference.

By March 2006, the group had been infiltrated by an informant who developed a relationship with Shnewer, according to court documents. The informant secretly recorded meetings in August 2006 in which Shnewer said that he and the other suspects were part of a group planning to attack a U.S. military base, the complaints said.

Shnewer named Fort Dix, and a nearby Navy base, explaining that "they could utilize six or seven jihadists to attack and kill at least one hundred soldiers by using rocket-propelled grenades" or other weapons, the complaint said. The Navy base was not named in the complaint.

The men were arrested Monday trying to buy automatic weapons from an FBI informant.

Fort Dix is used to train soldiers, particularly reservists. It also housed refugees from Kosovo in 1999.

At the main gate of the sprawling Army base, military police officers ordered reporters to leave the area immediately.

Meanwhile, the description of the suspects as "Islamic militants" caused renewed worry among New Jersey's Muslim community. Hundreds of Muslim men from New Jersey were rounded up and detained by authorities in the months following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, but none were connected to that plot.

"If these people did something, then they deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law," said Sohail Mohammed, a lawyer who represented scores of detainees after the 2001 attacks. "But when the government says 'Islamic militants,' it sends a message to the public that Islam and militancy are synonymous.

"Don't equate actions with religion," he said.

Serb militiamen regroup over Kosovo

By JOVANA GEC, Associated Press Writer Sat May 5, 12:01 PM ET

BELGRADE, Serbia - Hundreds of burly former militiamen from the Balkan wars regrouped outside a church in central Serbia on Saturday, promising to fight together as a paramilitary unit once more if Kosovo breaks away from the government in Belgrade.

Twenty-seven people were detained, all wearing T-shirts with symbols of the disbanded Unit for Special Operations, whose former commander and several members are on trial for the 2003 assassination of Serbia's reformist Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic.

"We will never give up Kosovo, we are ready to fight," said one of the organizers, Andrej Milic. Milic added their unit will be available to the government if Serbia goes to war, and called for a "new Serb uprising and a new battle for Kosovo."

The event illustrated the mounting nationalism here over the Western-backed plan to allow Kosovo to split from Serbia as demanded by its ethnic Albanian majority.

Many of those in Krusevac on Saturday wore military uniforms with nationalist symbols typical of the notorious units accused of atrocities during the wars in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s. Some wore T-shirts with images of the U.N. war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic.

Kosovo is formally part of Serbia, but is dominated by ethnic Albanians who are seeking independence. The region has been run by the United Nations since a 1998-99 Serb-Albanian war.

Talks on the formation of a new pro-Western government in Serbia, meanwhile, remain deadlocked, triggering a political crisis that could pave the way for the return to power of the nationalists loyal to ex-leader Slobodan Milosevic

The United States and its allies favor internationally supervised independence for the province, as proposed in the U.N. plan, but Russia opposes it, signaling a possible showdown at the U.N. Security Council which will have the final say on the matter.

Most Serbs consider Kosovo the heartland of their history and culture. The government in Belgrade has rejected the plan.

There was no immediate reaction from the Serbian government to the veterans' gathering in Krusevac, although creation of paramilitary units in Serbia is illegal.

The volunteer units were first founded in the early 1990s, during the rule of the late Milosevic, who took Serbia to four wars during his decade-long rule.

Dragoljub Vasiljevic, one of the volunteers who came to Krusevac on Saturday denied the brutality allegations, telling the Beta news agency that they were "honorable and brave" fighters.

The organizers said that their unit will be named after a medieval Serb leader, Czar Lazar, who reportedly led the Serb army in a crucial battle against the Ottoman Turks in Kosovo in 1389. The Serbs lost the battle but cherish the event as one of the most important in their history

Kosovo Needs a Multilateral Approach

by Gordon N. Bardos
05.04.2007

Permanent representatives from the United Nations Security Council have just returned from a fact finding mission to the Balkans and will soon begin debating whether or not to endorse granting Kosovo independence. There are legitimate arguments both in favor of granting Kosovo independence and against. But an argument currently making the rounds in Washington—that the United States should recognize Kosovo’s independence even without Security Council approval—is almost certainly wrong.

In the United States, senators Lieberman (D-CT), Biden (D-DE), McCain (R-AZ) and Smith (R-OR) have introduced a resolution to the Senate calling for a unilateral U.S. recognition of Kosovo’s independence. Yet an ad hoc process which does not enjoy clear international legitimacy, with some countries recognizing Kosovo’s independence and others opting not to, will significantly complicate an already messy diplomatic situation in the Balkans. The International Crisis Group, meanwhile, is arguing that a quick move towards independence is needed to prevent frustrated extremists in Kosovo from exporting violence to other parts of the Balkans. But granting Kosovo independence outright could just as easily whet the appetites of militants who have already engaged in violence in Macedonia, Montenegro and southern Serbia, especially when the United States remains intent on reducing its military presence in the region.

Just as in the case of Iraq, moreover, many Washington policymakers supporting unilateral recognition of Kosovo’s independence are relying on best-case scenarios of what U.S. actions will lead to. And few are contemplating how to handle the southern Balkans if things go wrong.

Things are not well in southeastern Europe. A member of Bosnia’s collective presidency recently noted that political tensions in that country were at their highest levels since the end of Bosnia’s civil war in 1995, and one of Bosnia’s leading journalists, Senad Pecanin, has said that he "fears for the peace" there. Three months after Serbia’s parliamentary elections last January, Belgrade’s political elites have yet to form a government, raising the specter that Serbia may need to hold another round of elections. This effectively means that Serbian politics could be in disarray through much of the summer. In Serbia’s Sandzak region, adjoining both Bosnia and Kosovo, the recent discovery of an Islamic militant training camp full of weapons and Al-Qaeda propaganda materials shows that Wahhabists are making inroads in the Balkans’ economically underdeveloped regions. In Kosovo itself, ethnic minorities continue to suffer under the worst human rights situation in Europe, unemployment and official corruption are at extremely high levels even by regional standards, and there is a strong possibility that a precipitate move towards independence could provoke Kosovo’s Serbs north of the Ibar River to declare independence themselves, creating yet another frozen conflict in Europe. Even the Balkan success stories are facing difficult times. London’s Economist, for instance, recently questioned whether Romania can remain a credible member of the EU given its fragile domestic politics and high levels of judicial corruption.

It is in this regional context that American policymakers claim that quickly granting Kosovo independence without UN Security Council approval will stabilize the region, yet just the opposite could prove true as well.

This line of thinking, moreover, also fails to appreciate how granting Kosovo independence without Security Council approval will affect strategic relations between the United States, the European Union, Russia and China. Moscow and Beijing have both expressed their unhappiness, both with the Kosovo future status process and with Washington’s lack of respect for Russian and Chinese concerns about how Kosovo may set a precedent in other parts of the world. Many Europeans are also uneasy about a unilateral U.S. move to recognize Kosovo’s independence. Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, one of Europe’s most experienced Balkan hands, warned last week that the U.S. was "playing with fire with the transatlantic relationship and playing with fire in the Balkans" if the United States unilaterally recognized Kosovo’s independence. At a time when all the major powers need to show unity in dealing with Iraq, Iran and North Korea, for the United States to break ranks over Kosovo would be foolhardy.

Only time will tell if an independent Kosovo is a stabilizing factor in the Balkans. But an independent Kosovo that does not respect the rights of its ethnic minorities or that is a threat to its regional neighbors certainly will not be. And a process which grants Kosovo independence without UN Security Council approval will exacerbate tensions both in the Balkans and in other parts of the world as well. Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, recently said that Kosovo may be the most important issue the Security Council deals with in this decade. Clearly, what this situation calls for is careful multilateral diplomacy and keeping all the major players onside, not unilateral actions based on best-case scenarios of what might happen. Strategic wishful thinking led tothe Iraq tragedy, and Washington should not make the same mistake in the Balkans.

Gordon N. Bardos is assistant director of the Harriman Institute at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. He will be writing a more extensive survey of developments in the Balkans for the July/August 2007 issue of The National Interest.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Tina Hone for Fairfax County School Board!

SerbBlog Readers:

I recently learned that Tina Hone, a dear friend of mine, is running for the School Board of Fairfax County, VA. Tina is one of the smartest women I know and deserves all the support we can give her in a politically important US school district!

Below is an open invitation to both Fairfax County residents and beyond, to support Tina Hone for Fairfax County School Board.

TINA HONE

Campaign Kick Off
School Board At-Large in Fairfax County

Saturday, May 5 at 10:00 am
James Lee Community Center
2855 Annandale Road, Falls Church VA 22042

Brunch follows at Bentley's Family Restaurant at 11:00 am
6650 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church, VA 22042

(in case of rain, entire event begins at 10:00 am at Bentley's)

RSVP: tinahone2@aol.com or 202/368-0328

Tina is a former national board member of the Serbian Unity Congress and the founding President of its Washington, DC chapter. She is a long time activist in the Serbian American Community and chaired the Task Force that began the now annual Vidovdan-Serbian American Day on Capitol Hill.

Tina has a long standing commitment to education, partly because she is the niece of Professor George "Vid" Tomasevic, who along with her father, Nikolas and aunt, Desa Wakeman, emphasized the importance of education. She is a lawyer by training who spent two years teaching middle school as part of the Teach For America program. She later moved to Washington, DC where she was a counsel on the House Judiciary Committee, served as an Associate Under Secretary at the US Department of Commerce and was the Vice President for Public Policy at two major non-profit organizations.

The Fairfax County Public School System is among the nation's largest and most prestigious. If Tina is elected, Serbs will have a bold, committed and experienced voice in this important venue, which has a national reach.

Whether you live in Fairfax County or not, please support Tina's effort by attending her kick off on May 5. If you cannot attend, please consider volunteering or making a donation to her campaign. Donations canbe mailed to Tina Hone for School Board, 7512 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church, VA 22042.

**This message authorized by Tina Hone **

"Kosovo—A Cautionary Tale"

By Ruth King

From "Outpost"
April 2007—Issue #199,
PUBLISHED BY AMERICANS FOR A SAFE ISRAEL

It looks increasingly probable that Kosovo will gain its independence from Serbia, an outcome that should be of serious concern to Israel and its supporters. Ariel Sharon, to his credit, heard the alarm bells during the American bombing of Serbia in 1999, when he warned American Jewish leaders: "If Israel supports the type of action that's going on in Kosovo, it risks becoming the next victim. Brutal intervention must not be legitimized as a way to try to impose a solution in regional conflicts." And, it is no coincidence, as journalist Julia Gorin reminds us, that during the bombing of Serbia on behalf of Moslem Albanians in 1999 Saudi Prince Khaled Bin Sultan, commander of the allied Saudi troops during the first Gulf War, called on the US to do the same against Israel on behalf of Palestinians.

The fate of Jews and Serbs, which has intersected in the past, is doing so again. The jihadist effort to expunge Jews from Palestine mirrors the Moslem goal of incorporating Kosovo into a “greater Moslem Albania” while expelling Christian Serbs.

When Serbia became independent of Byzantine rule in the 12th century, its economic, cultural, social and religious institutions were among the most advanced in Europe. Serbia functioned as a bridge between Greco-Byzantine civilization and the developing Western Renaissance. The center of the Serbian Orthodox Church was in Kosovo where churches, monasteries and monastic communities were established. A form of census in 1330, the “Decani Charter,” detailed the list of chartered villages and households, of which only two percent were Albanian.

The Ottomans invaded Serbia in 1389 and consolidated their rule in 1459, propelling major parts of the Balkan peninsula and adjacent southeast Europe into a Koran-dictated Dark Ages. While a significant proportion of Serbian and Croatian nobility converted to Islam to escape the harsh conditions imposed on non-Moslems, most Serbian peasants clung to their Christian faith. Historian G. Richard Jansen reports: “Serbs and Jews became dhimmis subject to the dhimma or protection offered to Christians and Jews in newly Islamized lands in exchange for their lives.

Similarly Bat Ye’or, in Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide writes: “For the Orthodox Serbs… this same period [the centuries of Moslem rule] is considered one of massacre, pillage, slavery, deportation, and the exile of Christian populations. In their eyes it was a regime which found its justification in the usurpation of their land and denial of their rights....In their wars of emancipation-and, later, of liberation—the Orthodox Serbs found that their bitterest adversaries were their Muslim compatriots attached to their religious privileges and their domination over the humiliated Christians.”

In spite of forced migrations and oppression, like their Jewish counterparts, and unlike other Balkan nations, Serbs maintained their cultural and religious ties to their faith and shrines in Kosovo which, reinforcing the parallel, they called their Jerusalem. It was the Serbs who first mounted, in 1804 and 1813, insurgencies which spread through the region, culminating in the 1912 Balkan War which essentially eliminated the Ottomans from the Balkans.....(excerpt, read the Rest at Outpost-- pdf file)

U.S. On The Wrong Side In Kosovo

By: Joseph Puder , The Bulletin

The Wall Street Journal reported on April 25 that "Russia gave its strongest hint yet that it will veto a U.N. plan for eventual Kosovo independence (currently a province of Serbia and administered by the U.N., JP) stirring outrage in Pristina (Kosovo's capital, JP) and U.S. concern." For once, the Russians seem to be on the right side of an issue. Moreover, the Russian policy on Kosovo, unlike that of the U.S. has been consistent, coherent, and credible.

Should the U.S. go along with the Europeans in advancing an Albanian-Muslim led Kosovo to independence from Serbia, it will reveal a great deal of inconsistency and hypocrisy. Whereas in Iraq, the U.S. policy is to maintain a unitary state, (in spite of the Kurds well deserved right to self-determination and an independent state in Northern Iraq, after suffering more than 100 years of broken promises, denial and oppression) in Kosovo the West is eager to welcome an independent Islamic state without considering the consequences of what Michael Radu, Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and co-chair of the Center on Terrorism, called (in referring to the a Albanian-Muslim Kosovo Liberation Army - KLA) "a criminal gang" running Kosovo.

Radu called Kosovo "the black hole of criminality in the Balkans" and charged that the U.S. is "supporting Kosovo's independence without having the courage to call it by name." Moreover, he said that the U.S. policy is based on "ethnic majority preference," a criteria the U.S. does not apply to Iraqi Kurdistan.
The plan proposed by U.N. Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari which would eventually grant Kosovo the independence sought by its Albanian majority, has been rejected by Serbia and veto-wielding Russia. In the meantime, more than 10,000 Serb refugees have flocked to the border of Serbia's breakaway province, Kosovo, to highlight their plight to a U.N. fact-finding mission. Milan Ivanovic, spokesperson for the Kosovar-Serb refugees, pointed out that, "by their presence on the administrative border [between Serbia and Kosovo], the refugees want to show that the international community has failed to ensure a crucial provision of [U.N.] Security Council Resolution 1244 - the return of tens of thousands of Serb families forced out of their homes by Albanian extremists' reprisals." Kosovo, which has a population of two million, has been a U.N. protectorate since NATO's 78-day bombing campaign against the former Yugoslavia ended the war between Serb forces and Muslim Albanian separatists in 1999.

Serbia's Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica reiterated the proposal to make Kosovo an internationally-controlled autonomy as an alternative to the Ahtisaari plan that calls for independence and urges the UN to consider the autonomy option. Kostunica exposed U.N., U.S. and EU duplicity when he claimed that U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244, drafted to end the NATO bombing, reaffirmed that Kosovo belonged to Serbia and, separating it from Serbia violates the U.N. Charter. He further declared that "when we mention the need for legality, some of these officials (U.N., EU, U.S.) become exasperated, even agitated. They respond with various comments to the effect that we should not be bound by 'mere' legality."

An interesting parallel exists between Serbia and Israel. The two-state solution foreseen at the end of the U.S. sponsored roadmap would separate Judea and Samaria - the heartland of biblical Israel - from the Jewish State and create a Palestinian terror state in its place. Similarly, the demand by the U.S., EU, and U.N. for Serbia to give up Kosovo, the locus of its Serbian Orthodox-Christian faith and their "Holy Jerusalem," in order to establish an Albanian-Muslim State, would only serve the cause of resurgent Islam and worldwide Jihad and reinforce the Islamization of Europe.

The West is conveniently ignoring the dangers it will face by setting a precedent whereby Muslim Albanian illegal immigrants would have the right to declare independence over territory belonging to a sovereign state - Serbia - and from which its inhabitants were forced to flee.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Serbian Christians comprised about two-thirds of Kosovo's population. Muslim Albanians were about one third. As a result of WWI, about 800,000 Serbs were killed. During WWII, Yugoslav Serbs refused to join the Nazis resulting in the massive destruction of Yugoslavia and the killing of about a million Serbs and Jews. After the Nazi invasion in 1941, Serbia was divided between the Italians and Bulgarians who encouraged pro-Nazi Albanians to attack the Serbs and destroy ancient Serb Orthodox churches and shrines.

In 1943, Nazi Germany created the 21st SS "Skanderbeg" a division made up of Muslim Albanian volunteers who proceeded to ethnically cleanse the area of Serbs and Jews (albeit, some Bosnian and Albanian Muslims did hide and save Jews during the war) resulting in the murder of hundreds of thousands of Serbs and Jews in Croatian death camps.

The "Skanderbeg" SS division also partook in the rounding up of Jews who were sent to their death in Bergen Belsen and other Nazi death camps. Bedri Pejjani, a Kosovo Muslim was appointed by the Nazis to rule occupied Kosovo and set out to establish a greater Islamic state in the region with the blessing and support of Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Hitler's protégé and friend.

Reestablished Yugoslavia under Marshall Tito did not restore the pre-war ethnic balance and did not permit Serbs who had escaped persecution to return to Kosovo. Conversely, tens of thousands of Albanian Muslim infiltrated into Kosovo from the repressive neighboring Albania. In 1974, bending to Muslim demands, Tito allowed Kosovo political, economic and judicial autonomy along with large agricultural subsidies, which served to, and encouraged an influx of Muslims from across the Albanian border.

Why should the U.S. be "concerned" about a Russian possible veto? Is it because successive U.S. administrations have continually appeased the Saudis with intervention on behalf of Muslims? In Somalia, and Bosnia, might not be able to deliver for them in Kosovo? It appears that the Saudis want more than a unitary (and Sunni-led) state in Iraq. They want a two-state solution in Kosovo, and the creation of a Muslim state in the heart of Europe. America, it appears, is on the wrong side in Kosovo.



Joseph Puder is the founder and executive director of the Interfaith Taskforce for America and Israel (ITAI). He can be reached jpuder2001@yahoo.com.