Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hristos Se Rodi! Vaistinu Se Rodi!

Serb basketball stars Vlade Divac and Dragan Tarlac visited school children in Kosovo on a trip hosted by His Grace Bishop Teodosije of Lipljan and IOCC. (Photo credit: IOCC Baltimore)

Belgrade, Serbia (IOCC) — Turning off of the modern, four-lane highway that leads to southern Serbia, our convoy of vehicles makes its way to the border between Serbia and Kosovo.

We pass through the bustling town of Kosovska Mitrovica and are allowed by international security forces to cross the bridge that divides the Serbian and Albanian communities. The road narrows as we traverse once productive farm land that lies fallow. Finally, the road becomes a single lane as we approach the village of Banje and end in a dirt path in front of an elementary school.

We are literally at the end of the road, isolated in a remote corner of Kosovo. Yet, we are surrounded by dozens of excited children, their parents and teachers.

For two days in September, His Grace Bishop Teodosije of Lipljan hosted IOCC Executive Director Constantine M. Triantafilou and basketball stars Vlade Divac and Dragan Tarlac. They visited children in Kosovo and brought with them shirts, hats and basketballs donated by Adidas through the Peja Stojakovic Children’s Foundation.

The sports stars sat down among the children to ask them about the subjects they were studying. The elementary school in Banje has a computer center and generator through a project implemented by IOCC with the support of Divac. “The positive thinking that they display in facing the challenges in Kosovo always makes me happy,” reflected Tarlac, who has visited Kosovo numerous times over the years.

IOCC has focused on community infrastructure projects in the region, such as the rehabilitation of schools that allow people to remain in their homes and avoid being displaced to nearby Serbia. More than 200,000 others from Kosovo have left in search of security and stability since 1999.

Recently, IOCC announced an initiative to provide $500,000 in assistance to Kosovo for the expansion of agricultural projects that provide employment and foster inter-ethnic cooperation. The initiative will also provide assistance to schools and create educational and recreational programs.

“It is amazing to see the smiles of the children who are living under such difficult circumstances,” said Divac. “The work that is being done by Bishop Teodosije and IOCC is critical for the survival of these people.”

— Mark Hodde/IOCC Baltimore

DONATE NOW (US) And Give these children a wonderful Christmas (January 7th)!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Mafia Killings Slap Zagreb Into Rude Awakening In 2008

Zagreb - Ever since it broke off from Yugoslavia, Croatia tried hard to persuade others and itself that it is not a part of the perceivedly "dodgy" Balkan ways - but a series brutal murders proved it was still closer to how it regards Belgrade and Sofia than to Vienna.

With four gangland-style killings in October, Croatia's powerful - and previously largely negated - underworld flexed its muscle and sent the authorities scurrying for emergency measures.

Ivana Hodak, 26, beautiful celebrity daughter of a socialite lawyer defending powerful clients with lots of enemies, was slain in broad daylight in central Zagreb on October 6.

A professional hitman coolly walked off after delivering the fatal shots to her head and neck - all this in broad daylight and not even 100 metres from the main police precinct. ....e-flux

Albanian News: “UN Officials Stole €400 Million in Kosovo”

–Two independent groups from the European Union and the UN have discovered that international officials in Kosovo mismanaged more than 400 million euro, reported the German daily “Die Welt” on Wednesday.

According to the alleged reports, EU funds that had been destined for Kosovo’s energy sector, were misappropriated by UN officials in Kosovo, in conduit with local politicians.....Albanian Economy News

Monday, December 15, 2008

So Who Went Ireland to Interview Ex Illinois Governor George Ryan's Ancestral Family?

By MV Pejakovich

When ex Illinois Governor George Ryan was indicted on federal charges, no one in the media pounced on "Ryan's Irish roots" as though it was relevant to the story. As a matter of fact, Ryan's Irish roots, although obvious from his name, were never, ever mentioned. The linkages between Ryan and the Chicago political machine were justly pointed out.

Yet, the media just can't seem to get enough of rubbing everyone's nose in Rod Blagojevich's "ethnic roots" -- even going so far as to publish quotes from the Blagojevic family in Europe for their reaction to the cousin that they've never met, and quoting headlines from German and Soros owned newspapers from Eastern Europe.

Others went to his local boyhood church for reactions from parishioners. Rod Blagojevich is 52 years old and hasn't gone there in 30 years. What's this got to do with anything?

Rod Blagojevich told us how irrelevant his ethnic roots were a few years ago on Jay Leno, when he refused to say anything other than that they were "Eastern European". So why does the media think that they are going to find something relevant to the corruption story in Blagojevich's ancestry?

Rod Blagojevich's "ethnicity" is American and his religion is "corrupt politician". That should have been plain for all to see when back in 1999, he supported the twisted and corrupt NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia, using the same hateful anti-Serb rhetoric as the rest of his twisted fellow corrupt politicians.

Blagojevich cut himself off from his family roots, his upbringing and his family's religion a long time ago to embrace his "American corrupt politician" persona. Maybe slicing off those pieces of himself is what's wrong with him -- who knows? But we all make choices and Rod Blagojevich made his.

Rod Blagojevich isn't the first son of good parents to go wrong, he likely won't be the last. But greed, narcissism and megalomania are the traits of individuals, not of religions, of ethnic groups or of races.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Chicago Tribune: "In Serbia, not much sympathy for Blagojevich's plight"

ROME - Rod Blagojevich, a second-generation Serb-American, did not have a big public profile in Serbia. But the arrest of the Democratic Illinois governor merited some front-page coverage and some barbed commentary on the Web sites of Belgrade's major media outlets......Chicago Tribune
And on ABC's Blog there is a video of Blagojevich saying how after he won the election, he promised his mother that he would "never take bribes" and "always be honest" to honor the memory of his Serbian immigrant father.... ABC News
It's pretty clear that Rod Blagojevich traded in his whatever values his own family held dear the day that he became part of the Illinois political machinery and married into it.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Will Hillary Clinton Trip Over the Ghost of Ron Brown in the Confirmation Hearings?

WND's Jack Cashill has a great article on just what questions Hillary Clinton might have to endure on her way to the Secretary of State job, including what happened to Ron Brown.

Sen. Clinton, just who is Zdenka Gast?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Kosovo: A European Narco State

by Tom Burghardt

.....For the ruling elites of the former Yugoslavia and their Western allies, Kosovo is a veritable goldmine. Situated in the heart of the Balkans, Kosovo's government is deeply tied to organized crime structures: narcotrafficking, arms smuggling, car theft rings and human trafficking that feeds the sex slave "industry." These operations are intimately linked to American destabilization campaigns and their cosy ties to on-again, off-again intelligence assets that include al-Qaeda and other far-right terror gangs. As investigative journalist Peter Klebnikov documented in 2000,

The Kosovar traffickers ship heroin exclusively from Asia's Golden Crescent. It's an apparently inexhaustible source. At one end of the crescent lies Afghanistan, which in 1999 surpassed Burma as the world's largest producer of opium poppies. From there, the heroin base passes through Iran to Turkey, where it is refined, and then into the hands of the 15 Families, which operate out of the lawless border towns linking Macedonia, Albania, and Serbia. Not surprisingly, the KLA has also flourished there. According to the State Department, four to six tons of heroin move through Turkey every month. "Not very much is stopped," says one official. "We get just a fraction of the total." ("Heroin Heroes," Mother Jones, January-February 2000) .....Global Research

Friday, December 05, 2008

Albanian Mafia Runs International Stolen Car Racket Out NY/NJ That Funds Terrorism

Just ran across this website run by an American Private Investigator, Bill Warner, who has been a consultant to the US Secret Service and US Customs. On this webpage from July of this year, he describes his investigation into the Albanian Mafia's links to crime here in the US and to funding terrorism. It's well worth a read to understand the Albanian mafia's hold on both the West and Kosovo....Terorism & Crime Report on the Albanian Mafia

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

B92: Israel honors Serbs for WW2 bravery

BELGRADE -- Israel's Ambassador to Serbia has presented Righteous among the Nations awards to the children and grandchildren of Serbs who helped Jews during World War II.

The award is the highest honor given by the state of Israel to non-Jews around the world over the last 55 years, and the medals were awarded today to the relatives of Borivoj and Grozdan Bondžić, Ljubica Mandušić-Gazikalović and Jelica Ranković.

The awards are given to people who helped save and protect Jews during the Holocaust in occupied Serbia, risking the safety of their families and their own lives.

German racial laws were very rigorous and anyone discovered offering refuge to Jews faced extreme punishment.

“Unfortunately, even today, hate, intolerance, racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism still exist. They have not disappeared from our society, as if history has not taught us anything. What we lack are people who will stand up to the phenomenon not only behind closed doors, but publicly, calling the problem what it is and exposing its real, dangerous face,” Ambassador Arthur Koll said.

“With great respect, we are fulfilling our duty today to confer medals to the children and grandchildren of the righteous Borivoj and Grozdan Bondžić, Ljubica Mandušić-Gazikalović and Jelica Ranković. Their courage and selflessness will stay in our memories forever,” Koll said.

The Bodžić, Knežević and Zdravković families helped the Dajč family, which had to leave their jobs and then homes in Aleksandrovac due to German race laws.

Julija Dajč hid with the Bodžić family for three years, and gave birth to her son in the family home. Both now live in Israel.

Ljubica Mandušić-Gazikalović and Jelica Ranković saved Josef Levi and his family, who later fled to Albania.