Written by Julia Gorin
"The slow and systematic ethnic cleansing of Serbs and other minorities takes place in Kosovo every day." – Kristian Kahrs, former NATO press officer in Kosovo
"[From] what I was taught in school in Communist Albania, Serbs have a genetic tendency to be submissive....They are natural slaves." – dissident Albanian-American professor Ilia Toli
"Those few reporters who dare to risk their lives in Kosovo have had a hard time being heard by a bored public...Now, faced with the horrors of the New Kosovo, we excuse ourselves from the consequences of our actions, pleading that 'we didn't know.' And where have we heard that before?" – Ronald Kim, UPenn Ph.D. candidate, The Daily Pennsylvanian, May 4, 2000
So I went to “Sorry Serbia,” and learned that it was the 1999 gang bang of Serbia that saw Norway GOING TO WAR FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1788, and also saw the following stunning developments in the life of Kahrs, who is fast turning heroic in my eyes. He describes his ordeal as he accompanied a few thousand Serbs to Kosovo on June 28th to attend the annual St. Vitus Day (or Vidovdan) ceremonies commemorating the battle the Serbs lost bloodily to the Ottomans in 1389. His abridged blog posts follow later, but first is a breathtaking interview with Kahrs and Canadian journalist John Bosnitch, who is riveting.
They were taken by International Antiserbism Monitoring (I-AM), a newly formed, first-ever body to counter the 20-year, worldwide, government and media free-for-all on the Serbs. Kahrs talks about his eureka moment on the Kosovo war, and there are outtakes from the scene of Albanian Muslims providing “security” at a Christian Serb commemoration. Note the way international monitors look on without interference or objection to the brutish discrimination by Kosovo police. Indeed, Kosovo’s supervision by the International Steering Group was removed this month, its “authorities” deemed worthy to be fully in charge of their own (still not recognized) state.
For those who haven’t been following the developments in Kosovo since our intervention there, what is said in the video may sound unbelievable, and at least two sentences by Mr. Bosnitch may come across superficially as “anti-U.S.” But his assessment is deadly accurate. What appears below describes perfectly everything I myself observed and concluded from articles, commentaries, sound bites, and conversations I either had or overheard — all filled with the most wounding attitudes toward a nation, about whom none of the usual rules applied. It fascinated me. In a region I had no knowledge, interest, or ties to, I’d stumbled onto a people without worth. I had found a true Lower People ( “untermenschen” ).
Their suffering was dismissed or scoffed at, and the more violence visited upon them, the more they deserved it. For those who prefer reading to viewing, I’ve transcribed the interviews, which flash between Kahrs and Bosnitch. Any links in the text have been added by me, and rather than italicize emphasized words, I’ve bolded them.
St. Vitus Day 2012: Police brutality and violations of human rights of Serbs in Kosovo…Banners and flags were confiscated and shirts were stripped away, thus the pilgrims were forced to attend the religious ceremonies half-naked. Women were not spared either: a young woman had her shirt stripped away because it depicted the White Angel. The police fired live ammunition at unarmed demonstrators, severely wounding three people. Buses that had passed the police checkpoints, including one with children, were met with stones and Molotov cocktails by the crowd, leaving 16 children injured.
…IAM: Kosovo is attempting to present itself as a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society. However the attack[s] on Serbs have lately been particularly intensified [in frequency]. We had attacks on Serb civilians, and we had the brutal murder of the Jeftic family after St. Vitus Day, which severely violates the concept, the idea of coexistence of Albanians and non-Albanians. What exactly happened at Gazimestan? How did it come to the incidents?
BOSNITCH: Anybody who believes the fairy tale that Kosovo is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society certainly has never been there or they’ve gone there on the pay of somebody who’s told them to go there to lie. It’s as simple as that.
The minute you enter Kosovo, you know that you are either one of the those who is in charge — that means an Albanian or their international supporters, or you’re one of the hunted, literally hunted, minority ethnic groups. That seems to be the primary objective of the Albanian authorities there — to determine who’s who, to make life as hard as possible for those who aren’t among the Albanian ruling group.
This year at Gazimestan there was a real effort on the part of the people who visited to do nothing of any kind that could be assumed to be a provocation. Nothing at all. I was traveling on one bus of a group of four or five buses where repeatedly each and every person was told, “Let’s be as peaceful and as non-confrontational as we can be to make our presence known without provoking any activity.” Little did we know or expect that the provocation was already planned well in advance from the other side. When we arrived there, there was a long tunnel, you could call it, of police in black special forces uniforms. With guns drawn, with machine guns lining the route as we got out of our buses, I saw this group of literally crack special forces — I’m a war reporter — the type of people you see on the very front lines who are going to infiltrate the other side and kill whoever they [need] to. Those are the fellas who were lining the road there. There were a couple of regular police wearing blue style uniforms and the rest were special forces in black.
And they created a narrow pathway which people had to, single-file, go through this gauntlet of rough and rude and terrifying police who without any warning and without any prior notice, grabbed their T-shirts, grabbed their flags, grabbed their hats, grabbed anything that represented Serbia and either inspect it roughly and if they found that it was something semi-neutral or not objectionable to them personally, maybe let it go through — but very, very few. And all the rest had their clothes stripped off their backs and thrown into the ditch.
Basically, anybody who wore something that was red, blue and white or anybody who wore something that was like a traditional ethnic dress or costume…or that could be associated with Serbia, was stripped. They weren’t offered the chance to go back to their bus and leave their shirt there…People who asked to get their objects back were roughly man-handled. Some of them were arrested, some of them were beaten, women were beaten, men were beaten. People were dragged off to the jail to be charged.
There was no degree of responsibility, no degree of interaction. We as journalists couldn’t ask any questions. Of course the port parole, or the spokesman, was down in Pristina, far away in their capital. There was no attempt whatsoever to make a peaceful resolution or compromise.
KAHRS: I was working as a press officer in KFOR. Norway had sent me to be a spokesman for…not only Norwegian KFOR but the entire KFOR. February 16, 2001 — that was a very, very important date for me. Because at that time I was in Pristina but then I heard people saying come on there is a big bomb in Podujevo. If you remember, this was the Nis Express. Albanian terrorists had placed an I.E.D. remotely controlled that blew up this bus. Twelve people died including two-year-old Danilo and both his parents. I was there an hour and a half after the explosion. To this date I still remember that smell, of the body parts and the blood on that bus.
So February 16, 2001 was when I really started to think, “Are we really doing the right thing? Why did we go to war?” So it started to work on my collective conscience. But I didn’t feel any individual responsibility. That came in February 2011 when I was planning to do a normal job as a journalist speaking to Kosovo-Serbian asylum seekers that my country Norway had returned to Belgrade. I came there to the Resnik refugee camp outside Racovica and I was doing my job, but when I came back to [my apartment], I got a very, very strong reaction. Maybe a post-traumatic reaction or maybe it was god who told me it’s time for you to say Sorry. Of course, I couldn’t have changed the situation for the Maslovaric family who were refugees in Norway, but the fact that my government, Norway, was responsible for sending them back, that was why I got my reaction. I cried in my flat and it started a process. And on March 24 last year [the 12th anniversary of the military assault on Serbia] I went public on RTS, the national broadcaster in Serbia, and gave my public apology to the Serbian people as a former NATO officer because we were not able to protect Serbs and non-Albanians in a proper manner in ‘99 and 2000. It was a starting thing — I mean, OK I cried for a couple of days, but if I can be used as a tool to warn Western politicians to not go easily to war, and to create a better understanding in Western countries what we did when we went to war, I’m very happy.
My person is not important at all, because I can always go back to Belgrade and my nice flat. I can go back to Norway. This story is not about me, but the lack of freedom of expression and freedom of speech for the Kosovo Serbs and other minorities in Kosovo. Of course, the new Kosovo state has a big problem in creating their identity, so they’re very sensitive in this regard. Internationals, however, helped them write their constitution and according to this constitution, Serbian flags and Cyrillic letters are allowed.
[NOTE: The “problem creating their identity” — and therefore Albanian “sensitivity” (by which is usually meant violence) — is the problem of keeping up the charade for as long as the West says is necessary, of Kosovo as an independent country of “Kosovars” — despite the understanding since at least the 70s that this ‘country’ of Albanians will eventually unite with Albania. Whose motto has always been “Albania for Albanians!”]
So we came to Gracanica with some Serbians, to hear Patriarch Irinej and everyone speaking, and we went to Gazemestan. And those responsible for the security outside Gazimestan was the Kosovo Police. I mean, this [Kosovo Police Service] was something we created in the year 2000. A lot of former fighters of the KLA and others came to be police officers, and you also have some members of the minority who are serving as police officers in KP. And of course the police is responsible for creating a safe environment and of course they have the right to search bags [to see] if I brought some Molotov cocktails or bottles to throw at the police to create a disturbance. But I guess most viewers have seen now what kind of provocation the Kosovo Police were guilty of.
Because I knew that they would see the Serbian flag on my T-shirt or a Serbian flag on my hat…as a provocation, that is why I put my T-shirt with the Serbian flag in my suitcase and my hat with a Serbian flag in my pocket. These were souvenirs. I’m not saying that I’m a part of any political organization in Kosovo, but I’m concerned about the freedom of speech and expression for Kosovo’s minorities. So these police officers opened my bag, they found my T-shirt and they threw it aggressively, like this.
BOSNITCH: There was an attempt to provoke the Serbs. Now, as they knew in advance that most of the Serbs would be young males, because women and children are afraid to go to their national heritage site and old people are afraid to go to their national heritage site for fear of being beaten up, they knew that they had a disproportionately high number of young men and it’s not that hard to provoke young men. But actually the men didn’t fight and they didn’t object to their beatings, and mostly they managed to avoid a confrontation. But there was no doubt that this was a pre-planned event….Because the men who came there in full battlefield dress and machine gun didn’t just happen to have those in their police cars. So the event was planned in the Kosovo capital by people who wanted to provoke an incident, who wanted to provoke violence. [This is the Kosovo M.O.] I am more than certain [of] that, in the same way the crowds who stoned some of the buses and broke the windows to the buses were organized to be there, not just by the government but by some of these so-called independence movements, which is just another branch of the government pretending to be a political movement. And I use the word ‘government’ in quotes there because that’s not a government, that’s a mafia group which is in charge through the power of the gun.
IAM: Is it really possible that those people who are unarmed, who are ordinary civilians, can represent a threat when it comes to celebrating a legitimate national holiday?
BOSNITCH: Look, the right of assembly, the right of freedom of speech, the right of freedom of religion, the so-called rights guaranteed by [UN envoy] Ahtisaari, the protection of so-called EULEX monitors, the protection of civilians by KFOR — none of these concepts or physical force elements had any effect. None. Zero. Women were forced to disrobe in public. Personal possessions were stolen and destroyed, complaints were not registered.
KAHRS: Together with John Bosnitch we were trying to get answers from the authorities, but they refused to give any information. But we have a lot of video recordings, for instance, a woman [who wasn’t wearing any Serbian markings] who was man-handled by five strong Albanian police officers. [Another woman was hit, we find out from a subsequent Bosnitch segment, and others were pushed or dragged.]
…BOSNITCH: We were forced to attend a high-level religious ceremony in front of the Patriarch, which is like the pope of the Catholic Church, bare-backed, which is forbidden under the religion. We were beaten in full view of KFOR and EULEX personnel, with no intervention and no objections.
KAHRS: What was disturbing was the words of one of the police officers who were present at the highway outside Gazimestan. Because of course the Kosovo police is supposed to be a multi-ethnic police force protecting human rights, being neutral and everything. But this police officer [as he confiscated Kahrs’ possessions] said actually, “This is Albania. This is not Serbia.” Of course he was speaking in Serbian, but if he had been this neutral police, he would have said, “This is Kosovo. This is not Serbia.” But he said, “This is Albania…” This tells me something about the attitude of the police, in [which] they’re expressing the wish for a mono-cultural state in Kosovo, where Albanian language and culture is dominating completely.
IAM: So this is actually a case of severe violation of human rights, the freedom of speech, all that in fact represents the essence of European influence when it comes to the creation of Kosovo, the Kosovo state and Kosovo’s institutions. On the other hand, it is obvious that it is a matter of the existence of double standards. Can we call those standards anti-Serb standards? Because if one rule applies to everyone else, why does it not apply to us?
BOSNITCH: I respect your desire to be fair and to slowly find your way to the conclusion of whether or not this is a case of anti-Serbism. Obviously. Obviously this entire picture of KFOR, and EULEX, is nothing but a camouflage to cover up the genocidal pogrom against every person and every thing Serbian in Kosovo. Not only are the people hunted down and killed like animals whenever that’s possible. If that’s not possible, they’re assaulted in broad daylight in front of thousands of witnesses to terrorize them. And if that’s not possible, then there’s an anonymous attack on buses and means of transport. And if that’s not possible, then the buildings which they used to inhabit are destroyed. And if that’s not possible, then they’re satisfied destroying their churches and signs of their religion.
It is not that the freedom-of-speech question and freedom-of-religion question and the freedom-of-assembly question combine to give us an example of anti-Serbism. It’s that the objective is anti-Serbism — to exterminate Serbs, and if you exterminate a certain percentage, the rest will run away. So each of these other things [is] just a means to achieve the end. The end is to exterminate the Serbs and on that day when we were being stripped to the waist without shirts, the only thought that came to mind is the way black slaves in North America were treated. Their shirts were ripped off and they were whipped or beaten. So basically in this case I would equate us to be the white niggers of Europe.
- a person of any race or origin regarded as contemptible, inferior, ignorant, etc; a victim of prejudice similar to that suffered by blacks; a person who is economically, politically, or socially disenfranchised.
BOSNITCH: That’s what we are. That’s the way we were treated in the media for the past 20 years. We’ve been assaulted in every possible way and it is not surprising that a very high percentage of the blacks who served in the American forces in this region have spoken to journalists like me and said, “We understand what you’re going through. Because that’s what we went through in white America.” We may not have black skin, but we are being treated like white niggers of Europe. Every day. In the media. On the streets in Kosovo. In front of our religious ceremonies. If we go to international conferences. If we raise our objections.
If a Serb is killed in cold blood in 2012 in his home or in her home in Kosovo, what’s that called? Is that called a race- or ethnically-motivated killing? No. It’s called a revenge killing. So if you kill somebody in a revenge killing, obviously they must have been guilty of something and ‘although we don’t in principle agree with revenge, well, you know, it happens.’ And so the value of a Serbian life is nothing. Zero.
KAHRS: Of course there are double standards. We went to war against Yugoslavia and without my country, without the United States, without all those countries to recognize Kosovo, there would be no Kosovo. When they [Albanians] are banning Metohija [the other half of Kosovo’s full name - “Land of the Churches”], that shows that the recognition of Kosovo as an independent state was very much premature. [Before the 2004 riots] UNMIK had the slogan “Standards before Status.” But then we — the international community — rewarded this ethnic cleansing [of] March 17 and 18, 2004, where they’re giving them the status of an independent county. Of course it’s double standard. But I hope next year on June 28 that thousands and thousands of Serbs, maybe 10 times as many Serbs as were there this year, come…and maybe KFOR should be responsible for security next year, because the Kosovo police showed us that [they’re] not up for the task.
IAM: On one side we have armed NATO soldiers who shot at Serb civilians on June 1st, 2012. After a couple of weeks we had the celebration of the Serbian national holiday, where we also had the presence of unarmed Serbian pilgrims — civilians — and heavily armed members of the Kosovo police who, also like the NATO soldiers, opened fire. Is that imaginable anywhere in Europe today in the 21st century?
Germany’s KFOR soldiers aim their weapons towards Kosovo Serbs during clashes in the town of Zvecan June 1, 2012. REUTERS/Bojan Slavkovic
Hungary’s KFOR soldiers block the road near the town of Mitrovica during clashes in the town of Zvecan
BOSNITCH: What is being done to the Serbs in Kosovo is without precedent since the time of Adolf Hitler in Europe. Serbs are not allowed to exercise the freedom of speech, they have no access to the media, they are disarmed, their government at least until recently and maybe still is basically under the control of the American occupiers. So all they have left is Gandhi-like tactics of sitting down on the ground either blocking the roads or blocking the squares.
And in response to that they’re met with bullets from the Albanians. So the cavalry then comes to the ‘rescue.’ That’s of course NATO and the UN peacekeeping force. What do they do? They push the Albanians out of the way and THEY shoot at the Serbs. The Americans are teaching us something. The Americans are teaching the Serbs that peace doesn’t pay. That’s a sad lesson and it’s a very sad lesson to teach from the pulpit, or counter, of the peacekeeping mission — to teach people that peace doesn’t pay and only murder pays. So the Americans have turned on the clock, and I would say it’s only a matter of time before the Serbs finally say, “Either we are all going to be dead, or we have to kill some of them.” And what a pity. Because there’s nobody I know in the whole of Serbia who at the beginning of all of this conflict ever had anything against America.
KAHRS: And we saw that the Kosovo Police is not respecting their own constitution. That is really worrying for the future of Kosovo. Fortunately, I am now in contact with some very good people. Many of your viewers would know the political analyst Obrad Kesić and…we are going to take on the Kosovo Police in a class action lawsuit…because they did not respect their own constitution of being allowed to have Serbian flags and Cyrillic letters. So I know of many international members of EULEX, UNMIK, OSCE…who are not at all happy with the behavior of the Kosovo Police.
Sometimes I see Serbians losing hope: “We cannot do anything. We lost Kosovo.” But about me and Obrad Kesic, we are optimists. If we do not win in Kosvoo, we can take it to international courts. Because freedom of expression, freedom of speech, is an absolute requirement for a democracy and in Kosovo now in Kosovo on June 28 the Kosovo Police expressed that they are not interested in democracy. But we will take them on, we will challenge them. Using the rule of law and the freedom of speech.
IAM: To conclude with, I would like to ask you, considering your years of presence in Serbia, what is your understanding of St. Vitus Day as a holiday, and what does the trip to Gazimestan mean to you?
KAHRS: I am speaking to a lot of Albanians and they’re mocking this celebration. “Oh you’re celebrating the defeat. Why do you do that?” But I’m having increasing respect for Serbian culture as I’m living here. I’m a Protestant believer myself. But there are so many rich liturgies in the Serbian Orthodox Church, so I think Protestant believers and the Serbian Orthodox believers — Orthodox believers in general — we have a lot to benefit from learning from each other — to learn why we celebrate Vidovdan, and why this is an important religious celebration and why this is important for your identity. And I think the only way we can go forward is to have a mutual respect, Protestants for Orthodox traditions, and Orthodox to have a greater respect for the Protestant faith.
BOSNITCH: Look, the pogrom and genocide against the Serbs in Kosovo has taken many, many forms. The theft of their land, the destruction of any means of economic survival, the ghettoization of the population inside barbed-wire fences, the destruction of their places of worship, the singling out and murdering of leaders of the community, the pressuring of the government of the other country, Serbia, to sell out its own people and to evacuate them from the new ethnically cleansed zone. And I see all of that and I say to myself, well as an ethnic Serb, what can I do about this? And I am of a peaceful persuasion. And I believe the best I can do is to get organized with other people and peacefully go to Kosovo as often as I can. To attend historical events, to visit churches. To with my own body raise the flag of the ethnic Serbian residents of Kosovo who were there long before the EU arrived, who were there long before the majority of the Albanians had ever come over the mountains into Kosovo and who will stay there provided they have some kind of a show of solidarity from their fellow Serbs. Even if it’s a Serb who was born and brought up in Canada.
…KAHRS [about his book project]: The motive of my book is to give a warning to Western politicians to not so easily go to war. Because we had the wrong reasons to go to war against Yugoslavia in 1999.
Below are the blogs by Kahrs chronicling his ongoing Kosovo legal odyssey.
Arrested, charged and convicted (June 29)
According to the Republic of Kosovo, I am now a convicted criminal after I tried to get answers from the Kosovo Police after their discrimination and harassment. They decided that I had my microphone too close to them and accus[ed] them of not doing their job.
The Municipal Court of Minor Offenses in Priština sentenced me today to pay a fine of €500 for violating the Law of Peace and Order…[A Serbian flag was] my way of showing respect for Vidovdan, but apparently, this was a provocation in the eyes of the Kosovo Police. At Gazimestan I tried to get hold of a commander or a spokesman to defend the actions of the Kosovo Police, but the result was that I was arrested.
[As we know, a Serbian flag is necessarily “a political statement” — because Serbs are so hated. And anything Serbian in Kosovo is a “provocation,” because the whole point is to eliminate any evidence that the place was ever not Albanian and to eradicate any trace of whom it really belongs to. Now, contrast this reaction to the extreme toleration of Albanian flags, symbols and language overtaking the region while under Belgrade’s rule.]
The Kosovo Police [have] no reason to be proud of themselves after the way they behaved yesterday. Their job is to provide a safe and secure environment, but their active acts of provocation did exactly the opposite. When the Kosovo Police searched me, they threw my t-shirt and hat in the ditch beside the road and said very rudely “This is Albania; this is not Serbia.” For a normal civilian to say that Kosovo is Albania, shows that the person is quite nationalistic, but when a representative of the rule of law says the same, it is much more serious. [In that case] an official representative of Kosovo displays Albanian nationalism in a place that in theory should be a multi-ethnic mingling pot for all national minorities…
…After 3:28 in this video, you will see me asking for EULEX…but the arrogant Kosovo Police was not cooperative at all…
The Kosovo Police is an interesting creation, and there are a few Serbs working there. The police officer who was most active in charging me was in fact the Serbian woman Gordana Grujić with police ID #8097. She works at the Northern Police station in Priština, not in a Serbian enclave but an area completely dominated by Albanians. In her witness statement to the court, Grujić said that I offended her and her country when I accused them of not doing their job and provoking incidents. Serbian police officers in the Kosovo Police are not always popular in their own communities, and it is interesting that Grujić is more loyal to the new state creation of Kosovo than her own people.
If I regret something, I could have been too close to the police officers with my microphone, but after looking at the video recordings, I cannot see that I was physically touching anyone. Yet, in her witness statement, Grujić said that I behaved ‘violently,’ but the judge corrected that to ‘aggressive’ in the official transcript. Although I am not at all happy with the sentence, I will give Judge Azra Cakolli credit for making a neutral account of the events.
I have nothing to hide, and therefore I have made the English version of my sentence and the witness statements of four police officers and myself in Albanian available. Although Serbian is an official language in Kosovo, Judge Cakolli refused me these witness statements in Serbian.
However, my overall impression is that Judge Cakolli is a hard-working and honest lady, and she treated me correctly. Also, when I was arrested, the Kosovo Police was doing everything by the book and contacted the Norwegian Embassy in Priština…
Of course, I have to mention that there are many good and honest people working in Kosovo Police, and the three other Albanian police officers who witnessed against me, shook my hand. With Gordana Grujić it was different. She refused to shake my hand and said that my apology for being too close with the microphone means nothing. It is quite interesting how a Serbian woman defends the Albanian-dominated state with such fervor. Police officers should be professionals and not get emotional and personally hurt like Grujić.
[It’s called the zeal of a convert. Obviously, for a hen to be chosen to help the foxes guard the hen house, she had to pass the self-loathing test.]
Kosovo aspires to be a member of the European Union with respect for basic human rights, freedom of speech and expression, but yesterday many Kosovo Police officers showed that they are behaving like monkeys with no respect for freedom of expression. After my sentence, I can say that this applies to the whole state-creation of Kosovo. This cannot be a functioning multi-ethnic community with this kind of behavior from the police.
We have also seen international reactions to the excessive use of force. The OSCE Mission in Kosovo condemns violent incidents, and the Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, Ambassador Werner Almhofer writes the following: “[The reported attacks on the police and people travelling on buses are unacceptable and I strongly condemn them.] I am concerned about reports of excessive use of force by some police officers, and I call on the Kosovo Police Inspectorate to investigate any police misconduct.”
Farid Zarif, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, strongly condemned the “incidents and provocative acts,” in a statement issued by the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). Zarif called on the authorities to conduct a complete and thorough investigation into the incidents. […]
A B92 report on the attacks on Serbs trying to celebrate a Serbian holiday in Kosovo (which Albanians managed to do for Albanian holidays when Kosovo was ruled by the people it birthed, Serbs):
GAZIMESTAN, PRIŠTINA — 16 Serb children were injured when Molotov cocktails were thrown at them as they were returning from the Vidovdan ceremonies….The two boys who were hospitalized were “hit with concrete blocks on the head”….The attackers were described as “a group of (ethnic) Albanian youths”. Their target was a convoy of school buses leaving Gazimestan. A total of four Molotov cocktails were thrown at the buses, along with blocks of concrete….
Thousands of Serbs gathered at Gazimestan to mark one of the most significant and symbolic dates in the nation’s history - the 1389 Battle of Kosovo. The KPS members searched them and confiscated their clothes, flags, and other insignia they were carrying.
More separate incidents and injuries were reported today from the administrative line between Kosovo and central Serbia.
Kosovo police, KPS, were searching the Serbs and confiscating all items with national and religious markings aside from Serbian flags.
According to Beta news agency, some members of the KPS were “rough and they are even confiscating šajkačas, Serbian traditional hats, from the citizens”.
The Kosovo police also seized t-shirts with political slogans, leaving numerous participants shirtless…Some Kosovo policemen even seized the Serbian flags and a flag of the Democratic Party (DS). […]
Kahrs is actively looking for witnesses and victims of the Gazimestan official harassment of worshipers, for a class action lawsuit:
Witnesses needed from Gazimestan (Aug. 9)
Preparing for a class action lawsuit against the Kosovo Police (KP) for discrimination and harassment of Serbs at the Gazimestan monument on June 28, I am calling all witnesses and victims of mistreatment from KP on this day. Everyone who had their property confiscated or experienced brutal behavior from the KP, please send me an email. The KP violated their own constitution, specifically articles 57, 58 and 59. Read the Kosovo constitution….
Please let us know who you are so that we can force the Kosovo Police to answer for their discrimination and harassment against Serbs on June 28.
In a since-removed youtube video of about 30 seconds, the Kosovo police are seen arresting Serbs, including one young man who was stuffed into the back of a paddy wagon, upon which a policeman in a white T-shirt hands over a baton to a KPS officer. If anyone knows who the victim is, please contact Mr. Kahrs about the class action suit or at least inform him of the young man’s fate.
Kahrs was apparently re-arrested on August 3rd, “thrown in a cell for more than 48 hours….KP charged me with taking pictures of the Serbian policewoman Gordana Grujić on June 28, and they confiscated my computer, mobile phones and a camera for ‘evidence.’”
As rare as it is to have a soldier develop the conscience to question his mission in a politically no-risk, pro-Muslim deployment, it is just as unusual to hear of the internationals in the Balkans (don’t-rock-the-boat careerists by definition) speaking up. Yet Kahrs told me separately that “a lot of internationals working in EULEX, OSCE and other organizations are frustrated by the behavior of the Kosovo Police, and they say they are willing to help with the lawsuit, at least behind the scenes.”
Below is a seven-minute video of the undressing procession. The person who posted it on youtube had the following, approving title and description: “Serbian Terrorists Provoke Kosovo Police: A large group of serbian citiziens came to celebrate the Battle of Kosova where centuries ago Balkan States fought against Ottoman Empire. But they were carrying Serbian flags, Propaganda plancards, singing serbian criminal songs, T-shirt writing.. ‘Kosovo is serbia’,etc. This made the Police take off them shirts and put everything in order.”
This summary of the treatment the worshipers got appears under another video:
Trying to hold the European Union accountable in Kosovo is like trying to mud-wrestle with a greased pig. Watch the faces of these three EU police as they ignore the Albanian attacks on Serb men and women taking place directly in front of them. Visitors to the historic and religious site of the 1389 Battle of Kosovo…found their way blocked by heavily armed Albanians wearing “police” shirts….EULEX police did nothing to help the civilians. Albanians terrorized the visitors, making them run a gauntlet of battle-dressed commandos watching over them with fingers on their machine-gun triggers.
An important detail was pointed out in an article by the new British-Serb online publication eBritic, citing the BBC report of the incident in which Kosovo police shot three Serbs after claiming that stones were thrown: “Instead of issuing a statement promising to crack down on those who threw [Molotov] cocktails at Serbs, ‘Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga said future groups would be banned ‘as they are seriously violating law and order and further exacerbating the security situation in Kosovo.’”
Residents of the Free World should take note of the device that the “president” has used here, given that Kosovo is sponsored by the Free World. It’s a tactic that has already been utilized in North America: Long-held rights of assembly and worship are to be deemed as “inciting violence” and “ethnic hatred.” This is how freedom of speech is already being curbed, despite the accused being the actual victim of incitement to violence and ethnic hatred. Recent examples include the Jewish man in Canada who was detained for being attacked while walking his dog by a Muslim rally — and note that arresting the victim has been a feature of America’s Kosovo. Two months earlier, Christian missionaries were threatened with arrest if they didn’t leave after being pelted with water bottles and other objects during their legal missionizing at a Muslim festival in Dearborn. It’s the anticipated “V” scenario, in which the government and police are there to protect the enemy and not the citizens. I’ve even come to suspect that the reason “V” was quietly taken off the air is that CAIR felt too exposed by it and complained. The above-described events are tests for our police and officials, and they fail every time — with great zeal. Most recently, of course, was the statement by the U.S. embassy in Cairo after the attack on the embassy in Libya, rejecting the “abuse” of free speech — and so our officials have been scurrying to see what can be done about that pesky First Amendment, even visiting the “culprit” in the middle of the night about a parole violation.
Kahrs’ official complaint after his detention in Kosovo follows (Aug. 17):
From Kristian Kahrs, Norwegian citizen
Copies to: The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Priština and my lawyer Bogdan Vladisavljević in Leposavić.
Belgrade, Aug. 17, 2012
Official complaint about the Kosovo Police and Priština Municipal Court
The Kosovo Police (KP) tries to threaten and intimidate me by throwing me in jail and giving me fines, confiscating my computer, phones and camera and threaten me with more jail and fines…Even if I regret the fact that Norway recognized Kosovo and has an embassy in Priština, the Norwegian diplomats have been very professional and helpful in their contacts with the Priština Municipal Court.
Below you can see my video and message to Kosovo’s authorities…[which was] shot outside Kosovo’s parliament and government building in Priština.
…Internationals helped the Albanians to write the constitution for Kosovo from 2008, and it is not bad at all with generous protection for Kosovo’s minorities….The problem is only that the KP and the Kosovo authorities do not respect their own laws.
After this article [”Arrested, Charged and Convicted” was] published in different media, both Grujić and I have received threats. For [instance], I have received the following threat on SMS from a Kosovo Albanian…:
“Hey muther fucker you called us monkey! Didnt you told that to our police? Prepare to be killed when you step another time in USA (United States of ALBANIA) fuckin gipsy of fuckin norway state that produce whores and we Albanians fuck them and than we throw them like gardbage. Remember we never forget”
Yesterday I called this guy and proposed that I would pay [for] a cup of coffee instead of him killing me, but he was not very interested in nurturing any relationship with me…This case has also been reported to the KP, but I do not have any confidence that they will investigate these threats properly.
Grujić also received threats when someone had published a manipulated picture of her with blood on her face. On July 9, Grujić contacted me to talk [about] the threats against her….I replied immediately to Grujić, but I never heard more from her.
On Aug. 3, I went to police station #3 in Priština, hoping to have a chat, maybe a coffee with Grujić. My idea was for us to take a picture together with a short text stating that we disagree in many matters but that we agree that threats have no place in the public discourse. I thought it would be good to reduce the threats against both of us.
However, my peace proposal was not well received at all from the KP. Apparently, I was on a secret list demanding my arrest, and the charge as far as I understand it is that I took pictures of the KP without permission…How it is possible to charge me with a criminal offense because I was taking pictures of a public event is beyond my understanding, and furthermore, I had already received a conviction for the same thing on June 29 having to pay a fine of 500 Euros…
According to the documents I have received, I cannot see that Judge Fazliu or any other court in Kosovo has approved the confiscation of my property beforehand or retroactively. Therefore I demand that the KP immediately deletes any copy they might have taken of the data on my phones or computer.
[In] Article 22 in the Kosovo constitution, international conventions have priority over Kosovo law, and privacy is for instance protected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 12 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 17.
Every Kosovo police station has a couple of EULEX observers, and therefore I was very happy when one Swedish and one Greek EULEX officer entered. But the meeting with these officers was a negative surprise. The Swedish officer, I believe her name is Pernilla Erickson, reminded the KP to confiscate my computer, and I would like an official reply from EULEX why their officers actively violated the Kosovo Constitution and international conventions when they encouraged the confiscation my private property.
The KP put handcuffs on me, and drove me to the Police Detention Center in police station #1 in downtown Priština…Since I had no idea who was my lawyer, the police officers tried to get me a new lawyer. At 2100 on Aug. 3, a woman came to be my lawyer. She showed me her business cards, but she tried to take them back when I tried to take one of them. She only allowed me to take [a] card when the KP officer in the detention center said that it was OK for me to have one. I also asked for a private conversation with my lawyer, but police officers kept coming and going into that room.
When I told her that I had no confidence in the KP and asked her to change the passwords on Gmail and Facebook immediately, she told me she could not do that, and then she told me that I should have confidence in the KP. She also gave me a speech about the wonderful multi-ethnic Kosovo where Serbs could live without [fear] of harassment or discrimination, but she did not give me any advice how I could defend myself.
[P]olice officers…drove me to Priština Municipal Court, again in handcuffs. After over 48 hours in detention, I was a free man, at least in theory because I had never seen a judge the time I was in detention, but I was still wearing handcuffs in a holding cell in the court.
In the court, I had to do number 2 in the toilet, but the problem was that there was no toilet paper there. Therefore I asked police officer with ID # 0706 if he could provide me with toilet paper. However, the police officer suggested that I should wipe my butt with my fingers. “Would you use your fingers in your rear end after you have been to the toilet,” I asked him. “Yes, I’m a Muslim and paper is dirty,” he replied. Of course, I have tried to use [a] toilet the Muslim way in Pakistan, but this toilet was not adapted to Muslim customs because the water only went down into the toilet, not up to clean your vital parts. In the end, an assistant to the court provided me toilet paper, but this is only one of many examples that the KP does everything in their power to intimidate me.
After I had been five minutes with Judge Fazliu, my second lawyer showed up in court…I thought a defense attorney is supposed to [represent] her client to the best of her ability, but both my lawyer and and the judge told me to be silent. I was not allowed to challenge anything because everything was decided beforehand. If I would have had a competent lawyer, she would be able to challenge the legality of the harassment I have been a victim of, but Judge Fazliu and my lawyer told me that I had to be thankful that they were working on a Sunday, and I should be thankful that she gave me a minimum sentence of 352 Euros and that she gave me enough money for a bus ticket to Belgrade.
[The subtext: Kahrs should be thankful for these small mercies, because the usual way of handling “troublemakers” in Kosovo involves a body in a ditch. So be grateful, Foreigner, for you don’t know how things are done here.]
I therefore asked for a private conversation with my lawyer, and I told her that I was extremely disappointed with her, but her response was to threaten me with lawsuits if I wrote anything negative about her in media…
When I was asking for a Serbian translation of the confession in Albanian I was forced to sign, Judge Fazliu told me that I would have to wait two or three days more in detention while waiting for the translation…
After we were finished in court, I thought I was free to contact my embassy or EULEX in Kosovo, but the KP had other plans. They drove me to the border with Serbia, in Merdare. When we were passing Podujevo, we saw that the Serbian names of the places we passed were crossed out by Albanian nationalists. “You have a wonderful multi-ethnic community,” I remarked ironically. I am not sure if officer # 0706 understood the irony, and he replied, “No, there is no multi-ethnic Kosovo. It is 99 percent Albanian,” he replied.
# 0706 and his colleague dropped me on the border without my phones, computer or camera, and I was not able to contact anyone before I got back to Belgrade. In Merdare, there is very little public transportation to Belgrade, and it would have been much easier for me if the police officers had driven me to Mitrovica where the communication with Belgrade is much more regular, and I was forced to hitchhike back to Belgrade.
I got a ride with a very nice Kosovo Albanian truck driver, and he understood my situation very well. “They had to arrest because they are scared of you,” he said.
Back in Belgrade, the first thing I did was to change the passwords on my Gmail and Facebook, and then I immediately called EULEX to ask them to monitor every step KP took with my computer. The press spokespersons Nickolas Hawton and Irina Gudeljević, or any other in the press office, never replied to me, and I never heard anything for any case officers in EULEX. Therefore I cannot be sure that EULEX is doing anything to protect the victims when the KP invades the privacy of their detainees.
Irina Gudeljević, the Serbian spokeswoman for EULEX.
I also received very poor answers from Gudeljević, the Serbian spokeswoman in EULEX when I asked how they reacted to the KP in Gazimestan on June 28. “Our report has been handed over to Kosovo Police as part of our MMA (monitoring, mentoring, and advising) role. It is not a public report,” she wrote. I really do not know what EULEX is doing in Kosovo if they sweep such reports under the carpet. If EULEX wants KP to be an open and democratic police force with respect for basic human rights and the right of expression, as mentioned in Kosovo’s Constitution article 40, their secrecy is very regrettable.
Even if the KP does not respect the rule of law, we must do everything in our power to fight for basic human rights, for the sake of Kosovo’s minorities and also those Albanians who are KP’s victims. My promise is that I will travel to Kosovo as often as necessary, even if this could cost me more fines and more jail time.
In a July interview with Voice of Russia ( “Kosovo police assault Serbian holiday observers” ) Kahrs offers the following additional details:
…KAHRS: I also was fined because I said that Kosovo has a choice. Kosovo wants to be eligible for membership in the EU…they can apply democratic values and respect the freedom of speech or they would be a monkey republic…Of course it was not the wisest thing for me to say that Kosovo would be a monkey republic but on this day the new state of Kosovo did not show any basic respect for the human rights and the freedom of expression because we also saw women who had normal T-shirts with the Serbian flag symbols at this religious ceremony and they were forced to take them off. So, the Serbs had to attend this religious ceremony only in their bra…
VOR: Can you tell me a little bit of anything you know regarding possible Kosovo police involvement in the attacks on the busses that were carrying the schoolchildren?
KAHRS: There is no doubt that this was pre-planned and I find it likely that the Kosovo police had an intelligence that this would happen. But there is no evidence that KPS was directly involved. [This is how it always works in Kosovo.] However I would like to have an international investigation to find out if the Kosovo police had any official role in this.
VOR: Have you heard anything about the children that were injured?
KAHRS: I know that two people were seriously injured. They were at the hospitals in Nis…But of course it is serious that the state of Kosovo is not respecting human rights and that they are using excessive force when they are trying to protect their national identity. [I believe that’s called hyper-nationalism, though it only causes concern when Serbs are accused of it.]…
VOR: Are there reasons to believe that this was planned for this date, this year? I understand last year everything went by pretty quietly.
KAHRS: I’m convinced that this was an intentional provocation to give a clear signal that this is the Albanian land and not Serbian at all….there were riot police there, anti-terror police heavily armed and in light gear and you had also normal police officers, and they were definitely planning this…This is something I hope will be revealed in our class action lawsuit against the Kosovo police.
An excerpt from an article about the lawsuit appears below, with Kahrs lamenting,”Albanians and their supporters have their field day in the comments below. Instead of looking into my criticism of the Kosovo Police, they compare me with the Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik.”
Norwegian reporter announces lawsuit against Kosovo police (July 3, Source: Tanjug, Vesti)
A scene from Gazimestan (Beta)
…This former officer of the NATO troops in Kosovo…told the Frankfurt-based Serbian language daily Vesti… “I also said I was sorry that there were such policemen in the KPS who do not respect freedom of speech and human rights, to which they responded - if that’s how things are in Europe, then we don’t want Europe!
“I am calling on everyone ready to fight for human rights to join me. It was the Kosovo police that was provoking at Gazimestan. I’m not saying that every policeman should be judged. There are honest people there as well. Some told me unofficially that they did not act well,” said the Norwegian.
Kahrs concluded by saying that he previously served with KFOR in Kosovo where he arrived “from democratic Norway to help create democracy and defend human rights”.
Last November, Kahrs joined the last of the resisting Serbs at the barricades:
In a Google translation of a Novosti article at the time — which I’ve corrected with Kahrs’ help — Kahrs said he was naive when in 2000 he came to the area convinced that NATO attacked Serbia and led Norwegian troops into Kosovo in order to protect human rights. He added, “Our obligation under Resolution 1244 and the Military-Technical Agreement was to protect Serbs from Albanian reprisals, but we have in fact completely failed… During the time that we were responsible for security in Kosovo, ethnically cleansed from here [were] about 250,000 Serbs and other non-Albanians. So, as a former officer of KFOR [I] feel obliged to apologize.”
Kahrs related that it was thanks to the media euphoria over Kosovo that he decided to report to the army and join KFOR. He attended the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs to learn about Kosovo before his deployment, about which he revealed that his mentor there said the bombing of Yugoslavia was a mistake and that the Albanian mafia is behind most of the narcotics trade in Europe. The mentor was Espen Barth Eide, Norwegian former Defense Minister and now Foreign Affairs Minister. So the foreign minister of a NATO country is saying today that we did not have sufficient reason to go to war — and, from an interview with him taken by Kahrs in Norwegian, one can infer that the Rambouillet treaty presented to Belgrade in 1999 was a sham. As Kahrs puts it in his book summary: “We basically gave Yugoslavia the option of being occupied or bombed.”
“‘However, it turned out that I was not prepared for the reality on the ground. I was not aware of the fact that KFOR is not doing its job. We were cowards because we’ve allowed the KLA [to turn] into the Kosovo Protection Corps and later into the Kosovo police. In this way, the criminal elements get a legitimate status in Kosovo institutions.’” In the foreword to the book Sorry, Serbia (coming 2013), Kahrs adds, “Among officers in KFOR, there were many who didn’t like this, but we made this choice to protect our own forces from attack from the Albanian extremists.”
The Novosti article continues that Kahrs “does not deny that he quickly fell into a routine military machine, which has no personal views. ‘Today I am ashamed of what I wrote.’”
Kahrs did, however, start the KFOR online news service, which debuted with the story of a bus bombing that took place on his birthday on February 2, 2000. On the road between Kosovska Mitrovica and Peć, Albanian terrorists attacked a UNHCR bus with an RPG, killing two Serbs. The following February, of course, was the even more devastating Nis Express massacre Kahrs mentioned in the earlier video interview. He would later break down upon seeing the burned-down house of his friends the Popovic family in Pec in 2005. The grandfather, who stayed behind to guard the house, is still listed among the missing Serbs of Kosovo.
The Novosti article closes: “… ‘After I went [from] Kosovo to Belgrade [I was] shocked [by] the people’s warm reception even though my country participated in the NATO bombing. Something I have never experienced [from] the Albanians.’
“After reporting [on] multiple world battlefields, Kahrs returned to Norway. All the time, he says, ‘I felt the need to return to Serbia…I was embarrassed when in 2008 Norwegian authorities recognized Kosovo and sent back 70 Serbs who were in my country seeking asylum. The Norwegian government decided that Serbs are not entitled to protection, even though NATO countries created the problem of refugees.’
“[Kahrs] is writing a book about his experiences in Kosovo and [the] covert ethnic cleansing of Serbs. The book will be printed in Norwegian, English and Serbian. ‘I hope that the Norwegian and western politicians read this book….They do not understand the consequences of their decisions….I’m afraid that the international community is now repeating the same recipe in the case of the Serbs in northern Kosovo.’”
That is a reference, of course, to the explosive situation in the last safe part of Kosovo, northern Mitrovica. Which is where, at this moment, our National Guard troops have their guns trained on the last of the resisting Serbs. For we are in the 11th hour of sealing our crime against Christianity and against a historical ally in Kosovo, where the U.S. first took a dark turn and betrayed civilization. Washington is of course counting on eyes being on the election here, so that when the gunfire between NATO and the Serbs starts, Americans won’t notice.
Every U.S. election year sees the next decisive nail in the coffin of the Serbs’ birthplace, where they fended off the Ottomans and the Austro-Hungarian Empire that gave us Hitler. In 2004 we had the deadly pogroms by Albanians which spurred our bureaucrats in Congress to reward the violence by putting Kosovo on the fast-track to independence, defying our own signature on international agreements. In 2008, we sealed the deal by encouraging the Albanians to avoid legality — and declare independence unilaterally. We recognized statehood immediately, of course, thereby giving Serbia the stick even after it went for the carrot (they had voted in an obedient ‘pro-Western’ regime).
This election year, while everyone is distracted, we will militarily force the Serbs to submit to Muslim Albanian mafia rule. If Americans think the fate of Kosovo’s Serbs doesn’t foreshadow their own future, they are manifestly mistaken.
Julia Gorin is an opinion columnist with a focus on the Balkans. Her articles have appeared in Jerusalem Post, Wall St. Journal, NY Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, NY Post, Washington Times, New York Observer, Christian Science Monitor, American Legion Magazine, and scores of others. She blogs at www.RepublicanRiot.com. When not trying to set the record straight on self-destructive Western interventions in the former Yugoslavia, Julia is a recognized name in conservative comedy.