Putin in Serbia: the USSR won WWII [Video]

April 27th, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
by Inessa Sinchougova

In anticipation of Victory Day, May 9th 2017, it is topical to revisit the subject of WWII. It is trendy nowadays in Western states to belittle the role of the Soviet Union in the Great Patriotic War, as it is known in Russia, in which an estimated 27 million Soviet soldiers and civilians died. On a personal level, it is 3 of my great-grandfathers killed in battle, and 1 who made it from Siberia to Berlin, and home to tell the story. One out of four family members – and this is standard for each Russian/Soviet family.

In this clip, Vladimir Putin addresses an assembly in Belgrade in 2014, an anniversary date for the liberation of Belgrade. He states that it is the USSR and the Yugoslavian forces that offered the most resistance to Hitler’s Germany; no historical manipulation can be entered into.

It is also trendy nowadays to dismiss the destructive role Nazism had on the European continent, linking Hitler to fighting against ‘international Jewish banksters’,  ‘subspecies’ and ‘the cabal.’ In reality, nobody in history of humanity destroyed more ‘white’ Europeans than Hitler’s Germany. At that point in time, world casualties amounted to almost ¼ of the world’s population as a whole. Every Russian city today has a monument or an eternal fire to the Great Patriotic War, with the names of the deceased printed for eternity.

Today, in April 2017, preparations for the 2017 Parade are taking place in Moscow. Are you coming?

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EU not welcome: Serbian Parliament shouts down Mogherini [VIDEO]

From Fort Russ and RT

March 4, 2017 –
By J. Arnoldski –
The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, was met with a “less than warm welcome” in the Serbian parliament on March 3rd amidst her tour of the Balkans. Chants of “Serbia! Russia! We don’t need the EU” left Mogherini sitting uneasily in her seat.
Political analyst John Bosnitch explained this event to RT as “a door slammed shut in her [Mogherini’s] face.” Calling the protest in the Serbian parliament a “fair bit of resistance”, Bosnitch emphasized, is “an understatement of the first calibre.”
“The message that she was given was: ‘Go away; the people of this region do not want to join the EU…and please don’t try and start a Hitler-style two-front war fighting the English and fighting the Serbs at the same time, because you’ll lose,'” Bosnitch clarified.
When asked by RT why Mogherini was met with such fierce rejection by Serbian representatives, Bosnitch posited that the EU is a “carbon copy” of NATO, the “most powerful, aggressive military force on the earth” that bombed Serbia in 1999 “without any legal grounds” and subsequently partitioned the country.
In Bosnitch’s words, “Hey guys, now that we’ve bombed you, divided you, impoverished you, and demonized you, we’d like to invite you to become a lower member of the EU” is the real translation of Mogherini’s attempt to coax Serbia into the union.
“There is no outlet for the EU in this battle,” Bosnitch says. In his opinion, even if the Serbian people “are dragged into the EU kicking and screaming”, they would contribute to the implosion of Brussels’ union just as much they would while remaining outside of the EU. In this spirit, Bosnitch likened Serbia’s resistance to “European integration” to Brexit.

“If they take Serbia in, they get a trojan horse. If they don’t get Serbia in, they have another force along with the English and Brexit ripping the EU apart,” Bosnitch concluded.

http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/03/eu-not-welcome-serbian-parliament.html

Is NATO really preparing for war with Russia?

From Fort Russ

May 21, 2016
Zavtra
Expert commentary by Leonid Ivashov
Translated by Kristina Kharlova

British retired general, who in 2014 held the post of deputy supreme commander of the allied NATO forces in Europe, sir Richard Shirreff said that a nuclear war could begin between NATO and Russia within a year if the alliance does not strengthen its defenses in the Baltic states.

According to Shirreff, it is likely that the target of the attack will be Estonia, Lithuania or Latvia, where Russia can justify a possible invasion with “protection of Russian-speaking population”. British general believes that “Russia is confident in NATO’s weakness” and, on this basis, the West needs “to prevent a possible catastrophe.” He is convinced that the confrontation will certainly be nuclear, since this is allegedly woven into the Russian military doctrine.

Earlier this week, the general published a book “2017: The War With Russia”, about fictional events, which are, as the author claims, “very likely to happen” in reality.

On February 3 the British broadcasting company BBC introduced the film “World War Three: Inside the War Room”, which presents a fictional scenario of potential conflict between Russia and NATO: after the capture of Latvian Daugavpils by pro-Russian rebels and intervention of the US-British coalition the world is on the brink of a major nuclear war from which humanity is rescued by the members of British Cabinet.

In early May, the Pentagon said that NATO could deploy four battalions in the Baltic States and Poland. On Wednesday, May 18, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that alliance command wants to deploy multi-ethnic battalions in several countries in Eastern Europe, first of all in the Baltic States.

***

Comment by Leonid Ivashov (General-Colonel, president of the Academy of Geopolitical Issues, International Journalism professor at MGIMO) :

Leonid Ivashov

One of the most important questions of our time is whether NATO is really preparing for an open war with Russia, and the alliance has already found the place where it starts, or is it a game of nerves, verbal and declarative, but, in fact, not dangerous fuss?

This isn’t horseplay, but serious preparations for war. And not only in the region of our North-Western borders, but along the entire perimeter of Russia. And the start of active preparation for the military phase was triggered by the “National Security Strategy of the USA”, which was adopted in February last year. It stated that there is no multi-polar world, because there is no alternative to American leadership. This whole “Strategy” is riddled with phrases like:

  • We will defend our interests from a position of strength
  • We will conduct combat operations anywhere in the world
  • We will act outside of international law and so on…

And the main target of these military preparations is Russia. And all because Russia is slowly but consistently changing the world. Turned Eurasia towards itself, began to develop relationships in Eurasian, and other regions. The Shanghai cooperation organization, CSTO, Eurasian economic union, the group of BRICS countries – all this is created on the initiative of Russia. That is, the Americans are loosing the lead. Their global domination today in fact is melting. And the goal of the United States – to pin down, and even to crush Russia, as they do with those smaller countries that try to resist. That’s all: the goal of global West is to stop the independent foreign policy of Russia.

With regard to Russian threat. I would advise NATO generals to calculate the ratio of personnel of the armed forces of NATO countries, equipment and qualitative characteristics. They clearly show that it is NATO that is creating shock troops, which threaten Russia, conducting exercises: military-air, naval, ground. Regularly in the Baltic sea area BALTOPS exercises are conducted, during which they practice strategic airlift of US troops from American territory. And that the Baltic States scream that Russia is going to conquer them – first, we don’t need them. And even if they beg to join Russia or for the rapprochement with Russia, there is no need to hurry, they should not be accepted. Such countries are always better to have as an enemy than an ally or part of Russia. However, we must defend the Kaliningrad region, and not only by military means, but also with soft power. There, unfortunately, Germans and Poles are more active than our officials from Russia.

Lets look were around our borders NATO is now most active? Eastern European countries, which joined
NATO and the EU, became the weakest European link. Americans are now using them against Europe and against Russia. The same Poles: whatever the Americans tell them – they salute, and say: “Yes, sir!”. This also applies to missile defense system, and strengthening of the naval component of Poland in the Baltic sea region. Now supposedly the Poles are asking the Americans to open a military base.

Look at Romania: Americans patched the holes on the old Romanian ships, and now actively use them in the Black sea region, deployed some F-22s, modern combat aircraft.

The Balts have nowhere to go: they say yes to everything, as long as America supports the current political elite in power, and fills its pockets.

These are completely dependent countries – the countries of Eastern Europe. Sometimes Hungary, the Czech Republic try to resist, particularly in relation to anti-Russian sanctions, but they are immediately threatened with a coup, anti-government rallies, accused of corruption… The Americans got a strong hold over Europe, including Western, through the instrument of weak Eastern Europe. South-East Europe is also pitted against Russia. The Balkans have always been the military fuse of Europe, and today Americans are trying to turn it into a powder keg. In fact, the accession of Montenegro to NATO has already been decided, however, God help if the whole of Montenegro collects two battalions. So there is no military gain here, but Montenegrians are the destroyers of the Orthodox Slavic world. Milo Djukanovic is, in fact, the Western, Pro-American agent, and the task of the West is to destabilize not just the Balkan region but the entire Orthodox Slavic space. The people of Montenegro, of course, are against NATO, against quarrel with Russia, with Serbia, but no one asks the people, and demands for a referendum are just rejected. The same difficult situation, on the brink of civil war, is in Macedonia.Republika Srpska within Bosnia and Herzegovina is subjected to coup attempts for elimination from political arena of the popular president Milorad Dodik.

And Serbia itself is stretched, either you join NATO and then the EU, or you will live in a blockade, as today. For Serbia to apply for EU membership, it is necessary to recognize Kosovo’s independence, and in the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia Kosovo is its integral part, but it is forced to do so.

In a prosperous at first glance Croatia we see growing social tension: rallies and protests are commonplace. So the Balkans are again on the brink of internal turmoil with a threat of external military intervention.

Will the Balkans become the stage for a local conflict, which will eventually grow into global? It is unlikely to turn into a global conflict, because today’s Russia will not militarily interfere. The West will just break the Serbs, so that the Serbs, as Bulgarians now, will unquestioningly obey their masters from Washington and Brussels.

Today we are observing an attempt to transform the Orthodox-Slavic world into some semblance of present-day Ukraine.

http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/05/is-nato-really-preparing-for-war-with.html

Confession of a CIA agent: They gave us millions to dismember Yugoslavia. New book.

Global Research, November 29, 2015
 robert-baer

We bribed parties and politicians who have enticed hate between the nations. Our ultimate goal was to enslave you!

WebTribune publishes their interview with former CIA agent Robert Baer during his promotion tour in Quebec for upcoming book “Secrets of the White House” last week.

 My boss, who was formerly a US Senator, stressed repeatedly that some kind of scam would go down in Bosnia. A month before the alleged genocide in Srebrenica, he told me that the town would be headline news around the world and ordered us to call the media.

Robert Baer, a former CIA officer, has authored many books which disclosed the secrets of both the CIA and the administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. He has been arrested and detained several times. Mitt Waspurh, a personal friend who worked at the Senate and shared information was killed at gunpoint. As a senior CIA operative, Baer worked in Yugoslavia during the 1991-94 period and in the Middle East. He has worked on several documentaries on National Geographic, accusing the Bush administration of waging war for oil.

The interview was conducted live in Canada, during my trip a few days ago. Robert Baer is currently promoting his book “The Secrets of the White House” in Quebec, where we talked. In an interview we spoke of the background of the war in Yugoslavia.

Where and when was your first job in Yugoslavia?

I arrived by helicopter with three agents. We landed on 12 January 1991 in Sarajevo. Our job was to keep an eye on alleged terrorists of Serbian nationality, who were expected to attack Sarajevo.

Who were the terrorists in question and why were they supposed to carry out these attacks?

They gave us files about a group called “Supreme Serbia” detailing plans to conduct a series of bomb attacks on key buildings in Sarajevo in opposition to Bosnia’s ambition to leave former Yugoslavia.

Did that group ever exist and what exactly you were doing in Sarajevo under CIA command?

No such group ever existed! Our headquarters lied to us. Our mission was to alarm and spread panic among politicians in Bosnia, simply to fill their heads with the idea that Serbs would attack. To begin with, we accepted the story, but after a while we started to wonder. Why were we raising such hysteria when the group clearly did not exist?

How and when did the mission end and did it have a name?

For me it ended after two weeks, I landed a new job in Slovenia. The operation lasted a month and had the name “Istina” (i.e. “truth”) although it was anything but!

Why did you go to Slovenia?

I received instructions that Slovenia was ready to declare independence. We were given money, a few million dollars, to fund various NGOs, opposition parties and various politicians who have inflamed hatred.

Did you have an opinion about the CIA propaganda and did your colleagues think?

Of course, no one turns down a CIA mission, especially when we were all nervous and prone to paranoia! Many CIA agents and senior officers disappeared simple because they refused to conduct propaganda against the Serbs in Yugoslavia. Personally I was shocked at the dose of lies being fed from our agencies and politicians! Many CIA agents were directed propaganda without being aware of what they are doing. Everyone knew just a fraction of the story and only the one who create the whole story knew the background – they are politicians.

So there was only propaganda against the Serbs?

Yes and no. The aim of the propaganda was to divide the republics so they would break away from the motherland Yugoslavia. We had to choose a scapegoat who would be blamed for everything. Someone who would be responsible for the war and violence. Serbia was chosen because in some ways it is a successor to Yugoslavia.

Can you name the politicians in the former Yugoslavia were paid by the CIA?

Yes, although it is somewhat delicate. Stipe Mesic, Franjo Tudjman, Alija Izetbegovic, many counselors and members of the government of Yugoslavia, were paid as were Serbian generals, journalists and even some military units. Radovan Karadzic was being paid for a while but stopped accepting help when he realised he would be sacrificed and charged with war crimes committed in Bosnia. It was directed by the American administration.

You mentioned that the media was controlled and funded, how exactly did that happen?

This is already known, some CIA agents were responsible for writing the official statement that the announcers read on the news. Of course the news presenters were oblivious to it, they got the news from their boss and he got it from our man. Everyone had the same mission: to spread hatred, nationalism and the differences between people through television.

We all know of Srebrenica, can you say about it?

Yes! In 1992 I was in Bosnia again, but this time we were supposed to train military units to represent Bosnia, a new state that had just declared independence. Srebrenica is an exaggerated story and unfortunately many people are being manipulated. The number of victims is the same as the number of Serbs and others killed but Srebrenica is political marketing. My boss, who was formerly a US Senator, stressed repeatedly that some kind of scam would go down in Bosnia. A month before the alleged genocide in Srebrenica, he told me that the town would be headline news around the world and ordered us to call the media. When I asked why, he said you’ll see. The new Bosnian army got the order to attack homes and civilians. These were of course citizens of Srebrenica. At the same moment, the Serbs attacked from the other side. Probably someone had paid to incite them!

Then who is guilty of genocide in Srebrenica?

Srebrenica should be blamed on Bosnians, Serbs and Americans – that is us! But in fact everything has been blamed on the Serbs. Unfortunately, many of the victims buried as Muslims were Serbs and other nationalities. A few years ago a friend of mine, a former CIA agent and now at the IMF, said that Srebrenica is the product of agreement between the US government and politicians in Bosnia. The town of Srebrenica was sacrificed to give America a motive to attack the Serbs for their alleged crimes.

Ultimately why do you think Yugoslavia collapsed and why did your government want to do it?

It is all very clear, the people who incited the war and dictated the terms of the peace now own the companies that exploit various mineral resources and the like! They simply made slaves of you, your people work for nothing and that produce goes to Germany and America…they are the winners! You will eventually have to purchase and import what you have created yourself, and since you have no money, you have to borrow, that’s the whole story with the whole of the Balkans!

You were never in Kosovo as a CIA agent, but did you feel any pressure from America?

Of course! Kosovo has taken for two reasons, first because of mineral and natural resources, and secondly, Kosovo is a military base of NATO! In the heart of Europe is their largest military base.

Do you have a message for the people of the former Yugoslavia?

I have. Forget the past, it was staged and false. They manipulated you, they got what they wanted and it is stupid that you still hate one another, you must show that you are stronger and you realise who has created this ! I sincerely apologise! That’s why I have for a long time disclosed the secrets of the CIA and the White House!

Click here to read the original article in WebTribune (Serbian, Latinica).

Macedonia: Patriots defeat the “color revolution”

Posted on Global Research, June 3, 2015
By Andrew Korybko
Oriental Review

Macedonia-Old-Flag

We are publishing the exclusive English translation of the interview given by our regular correspondent Andrew Korybko to the Macedonian edition “NetPress” on the threat of Macedonia division, political background of Kumanovo incident and baseless ambitions of the Western-funded opposition leader Zoran Zaev: 

“This is not Ukraine” is one of the headlines in part of the world media after the failed color revolution attempt in Macedonia conducted by some Western powers and supported by NGOs and the opposition. It seems that the state, the security forces, and the Macedonian people are constantly winning the battles, and slowly but surely, they are emerging as winners in the war against the imperialistic agenda, against fake democracy fighters, and against the millions of dollars poured into the domestic fifth column. According to you, what is this great and historical victory of the Macedonian people and truth attributable to?

The most important factor in effectively combating any Color Revolution, not just Macedonia’s, is a patriotic population, and Macedonians of all kinds streamed into the street to support their country during the massive rally on 18 May. They were already aware of the Color Revolution attempt by Zaev, and the presence of irredentist Albanian supporters and the Macedonia-hating Sergey Stanischev during the ‘opposition’s’ small gathering contributed to the patriotic reaction the day afterwards. What can be learned by this is that a proactive information campaign educating citizens about the looming threat to their country, coupled with soft power failures by the Color Revolutionaries, can solidify the population in opposing the regime change attempt. All of this would be for naught, however, if Macedonians didn’t already value their identity and were confident with it, since one can’t properly defend what they don’t truly love. Finally, it must be pointed out that the government’s preemptive anti-terrorist operation in Kumanovo and the sacrifices of its brave security forces foiled the terrorists’ plans to stage attacks throughout the country on 17 May (the same day as Zaev’s rally), which could have triggered such destabilization that foreign powers (Albania, Bulgaria) may have exploited it in an attempt to conventionally intervene and partition the country.

 In our last interview, you emphasized the strategy to divide Macedonia between Albania and Bulgaria, and since then, some of the Greek media are also noting that all of a sudden we have intrigues, turmoil, and turbulence in all the possible Russian gas transit states in the region, except in Bulgaria and Albania. At the same time, the bodies of the dead terrorists who attacked Kumanovo were buried in Kosovo with heroic honors by people wearing the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) uniforms, while Bulgaria defensively states that in the past they have recognized our independence under the constitutional name. However, it’s not a secret that the current Bulgarian regime is quite pro-American. So, do you think that the fact that the Russian MFA S. Lavrov also shared information about the plan to divide Macedonia was in a way a definite conformation of the monstrous scenario?

lavrov-2301_1431688597.jpg.600x450_q85Yes, it definitely was. Russia was very smart in publicizing the very realistic fears about a possible Macedonian partition because it drew immediate attention to the actions of Albania and Bulgaria, thereby making it more difficult for them to pull off their plot. It must be underscored that Albania and Bulgaria operate in a ‘good cop, bad cop’ tandem, with Albania and some of its national representatives being the openly aggressive party while Bulgaria behaves more indirectly and covertly. Bulgarian media and commentators have evoked a witty tactic of self-effacing humor in criticizing their armed forces, saying they’re in no capacity to invade anyone. That’s surely true, but what they leave out of the conversation is that a partition doesn’t necessarily have to have a conventional component in initiating it, and that possible Bulgarian involvement (even the death of one of its servicemen, for example) is a trip wire for a large-scale NATO and/or American military response, especially if terrorism is involved (whether it truly is or is simply claimed to be in order to ‘justify’ the reaction). Bulgaria makes no secret out of the fact that it’s the EU and NATO reference point for all things related to the Macedonian Crisis, so the scenario of Bulgaria being used as bait for bringing other countries into a wider military conflict is disturbingly real. Also, amidst this scandal, everyone is forgetting the conspiracy that Bozhidar Dimitrov first suggested which is a manipulated perversion of the Crimea reunification events in order for Bulgaria to occupy most of Macedonia after Albania moves in first.

Continue reading

Macedonia – the next hot spot after Ukraine?

It’s already erupting.

From Fort Russ

May 12, 2015
Nikolay Starikov
Translated by Kristina Rus
What is behind the events in Macedonia

The geopolitical games of USA around Ukraine have already led to a civil war in this country. Now to maintain the chaos near the borders of Russia and preserve the tension in the center of Europe, the U.S. is ready to plunge another European country into chaos — Macedonia.

The Turkish Stream Macedonia is a fragment of Yugoslavia. The country is small and pretty quiet. But there is a source of tension. It’s the Albanian diaspora of the country, which by some estimates is about 25% of population of Macedonia. Albania is next door. And next door is Serbia with Kosovo, virtually occupied by NATO. Where Albanian extremists have much freedom. The Albanian factor is used as a source of destabilization of Macedonia.

Who does it and why?

The purpose is clear if you look at the map.

1. Staging a coup in Ukraine, the U.S. uses the puppet authorities of this country to create tension in Russia. At any time Russian gas supply to Europe may be interrupted, which is a threat to the European economy. A start for such action on the part of Kiev can be anything – from siphoning gas to a terrorist act of “unknown separatists and terrorists”. In the end, the US can always threaten and blackmail Russia and Europe with big problems, demanding concessions in the Ukrainian and other issues of world politics.

2. There is a solution to get rid of U.S. blackmail. For this a pipeline is needed bypassing Ukraine. But the U.S. put pressure on Bulgaria and construction of South stream was buried.

3. Then Russia started negotiations with Turkey to build a pipeline through the territory of this country. Now it is called “The Turkish Stream”.

4. After passing Turkey the “pipe” should go to Greece. The strengthening of the Russian-Greek contacts, and Russia’s willingness to help Greece with loans is the visible part of the negotiations on the construction of “The Stream”.

5. Where will the Turkish Stream go after Greece? There are not many options. It is unlikely to go to Bulgaria, obviously, as the authorities of this country are “under” the Americans. The only option remains to lay the pipe through Macedonia, discussions of which were held in February 2015.

6. Then an attack of the Albanian militants from neighboring Kosovo happens to take place in Macedonia.

7. The goal – blocking construction of the Turkish stream.

8. A few days ago, Russia made a statement that the gas will go through Turkish pipe at the end of 2016. If this happens, the US will lose a trump card to put pressure on Russia and Europe, which will certainly lead to the end of the funding of Kiev regime by Europe and low prices for Russian gas. Ukraine will become something like an old suitcase for the U.S. – a pity to throw away, but expensive to repair. In this case, Washington may be forced to “leave” Ukraine (as I wrote in the article “Three prizes of Ukraine”).

9. This will be a defeat for the U.S., which is trying to suffocate simultaneously with Russia the economies of their European allies.

10. That’s why the States are willing at ANY cost to prevent the construction of the Turkish Stream, so the war in Ukraine and tensions in Europe will continue.

11. Remember who funded the Albanian fighters in Yugoslavia. Who did not allow the Serbs to destroy the terrorists in Kosovo and began to bomb Serbia. Who hid the crimes of Albanian fighters, who cut the organs from Serbs for transplantation. Here’s the answer to the question – who paid for the attempt of Albanians to SUDDENLY attack Macedonia.

http://fortruss.blogspot.com/2015/05/macedonia-next-hot-spot-after-ukraine.html

Sixteenth anniversary of NATO’s attack on Yugoslavia; the tragic plight of the Roma

Global Research, May 02, 2015
Once NATO’s 1999 war on Yugoslavia came to an end, units of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) poured across the border. The KLA wasted little time in implementing its dream of an independent Kosovo purged of all other nationalities. Among those bearing the brunt of ethnic hatred were the Roma, commonly known in the West as Gypsies. Under the protective umbrella of NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR), the KLA was free to launch a pogrom in which they beat, tortured, murdered and drove out every non-Albanian and every non-secessionist Albanian they could lay their hands on.

Not long after the war, I was a member of a delegation that interviewed people who had been forced from their homes in Kosovo. We heard how attacks on people often took place in the presence of KFOR soldiers, who invariably did nothing. Indeed, by all accounts, the relationship between KFOR and the xenophobic KLA was mutually warm and supportive.

Albanians who wanted to live together in a multiethnic society, or even those who held ordinary government jobs such as mailman, were not immune from attack either. We talked with an Albanian man who had been a member of the Yugoslav government in Kosovo up until the arrival of KFOR. He told us that the KLA had driven out of Kosovo 150,000 Albanians did not share its extremist views. Another Albanian we talked with in Belgrade wanted to return to Kosovo but was concerned about his safety if he did so. In time, his feelings of homesickness overcame his fear. He returned home, only to be killed in a rain of automatic rifle bullets fired by KLA soldiers who broke into his home.

Typically, refugees of the “wrong” ethnicity went largely unnoticed in the West. To learn more about the forgotten ones, we joined Jovan Damjanovich, president of the Association of Romani Organizations of the Republic of Serbia, in his office in the slightly rundown Belgrade suburb of Zemun. A passionate man, Damjanovich briefed us on how his community had fared at the hands of the Kosovo Liberation Army.

The situation of the Roma was dire. The Yugoslav government, financially strapped by harsh Western sanctions and struggling to care for several hundred thousand refugees from earlier wars in Croatia and Bosnia, was now confronted with the sudden influx of hundreds of thousands more.

We were driven to a Roma settlement in Zemun Polje, located on the outskirts of the town. Romani residents here had taken more than five thousand refugees into their homes, placing an enormous strain on the local population’s personal finances. Those who had little opened their homes to help their fellow human beings. It said much for the people here.

Caption: Roma refugees at Zemun Polje.  Photo: Gregory Elich

The moment our cars pulled to a stop at the end of the settlement, a crowd formed around us. We interviewed a number of Roma and Egyptian refugees from Kosovo. Tefiq Krashich brought his family here from Obilich after KLA soldiers came to his house and threatened to kill his family. For two months, his family had nowhere to sleep until being taken in by a local family. They now had shelter but life remained difficult. “We have no food,” Krashich said. “We are starving. We are begging in the streets for food.”

Threats drove Pucho Rezhezha and his family from their home. After murdering Pucho’s brother, the KLA warned that they would kill everyone in the family if they did not leave Kosovo.

We interviewed a few more people, all with similar tales to tell, but emotions soon started to flare out of control, prompting Damjanovich to cut short the interviews. As our cars drove down the dirt road that ran alongside the settlement, children ran excitedly behind us, enveloped in the dust kicked up by the cars. We sped past two boys standing by the side of the road, pumping their fists in the air while chanting, “Yugoslavia! Yugoslavia!”

The next day, Damjanovich arranged for us to resume our interviews, this time in the center of Zemun. Even before we managed to set up our video cameras, we were surrounded by refugees, anxious to tell us their stories and to hear what others had to say. The weather was sweltering, and sweat poured down my back as the crowd closed around us. Estref Ramdanovich, vice president of the Roma association, informed us that out of a total population of 150,000 Roma in Kosovo, the KLA had by that point expelled 120,000. “The KLA soldiers don’t want any other ethnic group to be in Kosovo,” he explained. “Only Albanians.” Ramdanovich was one of those who had sacrificed much to help others, having taken an astonishing twenty refugees into his home.

With rising emotion, Jovan Damjanovich described the situation. “How many refugees are in the streets, in the bus stations, in the railroad stations, in the parks!” He planned to issue appeals for aid.

“Soon winter will arrive. The international organizations cannot remain blind and deaf when people are dying at their feet. It is a humanitarian catastrophe. Not only is the KLA burning houses. Not only are they expelling people. Not only are they killing many people. They want to create an ethnically clean Kosovo. We think the international community, on the basis of the United Nations Charter, has to do something. Because if there exists humanity, if there exists civilization, we cannot watch the death of a nation.”

It was no surprise to me when the so-called “international community” – a term that somehow always means only powerful interests in the United States and Western Europe and excludes the vast majority of the world’s population – continued to ignore the plight of these politically inconvenient refugees. Little more than a week after our visit to Zemun, Nusret Saiti, leader of the largest remaining Roma community in Kosovo, reported that the KLA had torched over 99 percent of the town’s Romani homes, leaving only three standing. The KLA was stripping the demolished homes for building materials, Saiti said, but NATO’s KFOR mission made no effort to stop them. In just the first year and a half alone of NATO occupation, more than 800 Roma were either killed or had gone missing, a situation which Western officials willfully ignored. Only much later, after most of the Roma had been expelled from the province, were primitive and inadequate refugee camps set up under guard within Kosovo.

We began to talk with the refugees. A soon as Yugoslav forces departed from Kosovo, the KLA showed up, they all told us. Bajrosha Ahmeti burned with anger.

“My daughter, Enisa Ahmeti, was raped by KLA soldiers. At night, we were sleeping in our house, and KLA soldiers broke in and dragged my daughter out and raped her.”

The KLA gang then forced the family from their home, without allowing them to pack. “These are the only clothes I have. I have no food, nowhere to sleep,” she told us. “Should I sleep on the street? The children awake at night, calling ‘Mama, Mama,’ and I have nothing to give them. They can’t sleep well. They can’t eat.”

Caption: Bayrosha Ahmeti (center).  Photo: Gregory Elich

Adan Berisha told us that he and his wife were tortured by KLA soldiers. He pointed to his wife, whose face and arm were disfigured. It appeared that acid had been poured on her. But that was not the end of the family’s woes, for the KLA also murdered Berisha’s 12-year-old son. After killing the boy, the KLA soldiers threw Adnan, his wife, and grandson out of their home and began to haul away their possessions.

“A KLA soldier gave us only three hours to leave our home. He told us he would kill us if we stayed even half an hour longer than that. Three hours to leave Kosovo. I can’t go back to Kosovo because the militias will kill me.”

Lacking money or assets of any kind, the family’s trek from the province was difficult. Drawing attention to his grandson, Adnan said,

“This little baby, who is only three months old, went four days without eating. After we escaped from the Albanians, we went to Nish, where we didn’t have any food or water to give to this little baby.”

Adnan reached into his pocket for his wallet and produced a photograph of his son. There was a painful moment of silence as we gazed at the picture of the murdered boy. Then Adnan remarked in a quiet voice filled with anguish, “Sorrow. A world of sorrow.”

Four KLA soldiers broke into the home of Elas Raqmani one morning at about 6:00 AM. Two were armed with rifles and the others with knives. “KLA soldiers took everything – all of the furniture from my home,” he recounted.

“My stove was taken out. The washing machine, refrigerator, and freezer were taken out. We were watching, but I was so sick of the sight, I couldn’t bear to watch the Albanians taking my things right out front.”

Caption: Elas Raqmani (seated).  Photo: Gregory Elich

The intruders then ordered the family to leave. Only later did Raqmani learn that many of his neighbors were killed that day. Raqmani told us that he had worked for fifty years, and his family lived very well until the day he lost his home. His wife was now reduced to visiting the markets each day and asking for leftover vegetables.

Raqmani expressed himself with a passion that swept all before it, and strong emotions spread throughout the crowd as he spoke. “Kosovo was taken away from us. I’m not against the American people, but this decision they made strikes me as loony. The rights of every people – the Serb, the Montenegrin, and the Gypsy – have been annulled.” Angrily slapping the table before him, Raqmani exclaimed,

“People are going out to kill, but you, as an army, just sit there. Did you come here to help or to watch this circus going on? Events now are making history. It is not acceptable what the American people are doing to us. If they came to help, let me see them help. But if they did not come to help, then everyone – Serbs and Gypsies – will be stamped out! They are allowing that to be done!”

Surrounded by her young children, Ajsha Shatili told us she was forced to leave her home on June 19, only a few days after the withdrawal of Yugoslav forces.

“KLA soldiers dragged my children and me from our home and started removing all of my furniture. I called three British KFOR soldiers for help. They came but did nothing. They only told me, “Good, good. Don’t cry. It will be good.” Wiping away her tears, she told us that a KLA soldier wounded her son by plunging a knife into his back when he attempted to stop the looting. Once the KLA soldiers had taken everything they wanted, they proceeded to burn down both of her homes under the indifferent gaze of the British soldiers. Like so many others, she now owned only the clothes she was wearing when she was driven out of Kosovo. Fortunately, all of her friends and relatives managed to escape from Kosovo before being killed. “They were all afraid for their lives,” she explained. When asked what would have happened had she and her family stayed in Kosovo, Shatili answered in a voice so filled with torment that it was almost a howl of pain. “Everyone would be killed! Everyone!”

 

Caption: Ajsha Shatili (center).   Photo: Gregory Elich

Five KLA soldiers came to the home of Hashim Berisha in search of his brother, who was a soldier in the Yugoslav army. Hashim was ordered to produce his brother, or they would kill his entire family. He went to his sister’s house and told her what had happened. His sister then ran to report the incident at the local British KFOR headquarters, where the matter failed to interest them. They merely pointed out that she could go wherever she would like to go just so she would not be killed. The next day, Hashim surreptitiously checked on his house and saw that it had been burned down. The KLA eventually caught up with his brother and subjected him to a severe beating. He was fortunate to have survived. Afterwards, Hashim’s brother went to KFOR headquarters in Prishtina, and told them his story. But KFOR’s translator was a KLA sympathizer, and it soon became apparent that what the translator was telling KFOR bore no resemblance to his story. Having no desire to wait around to be killed, he gathered his family and left Kosovo.

When KLA soldiers looted all of the furniture from his home in Uroshevac, Abdullah Shefik knew it was time to go. Shefik collected his family and friends, eleven people in all, and squeezed them all into his van, with the few possessions they managed to fit in. They headed north to escape Kosovo, but along the route they encountered a KLA roadblock. “They were waiting for us. KLA soldiers stopped me and ordered me to leave my van with them. KFOR soldiers stood nearby when my van was hijacked, but they did nothing.” The KFOR unit was American, Shefik added, but “viewed the whole thing and said nothing.”

Bechet Koteshi told us that as soon as British and French KFOR troops entered Gnjilane, KLA soldiers rampaged through the town, attacking Serbs and Roma. “KFOR did nothing because they were on the other side of the town, but the town is not very big, so they had to know what was happening.” Koteshi was in a pharmacy when the shooting began. He departed immediately, riding his bicycle home as fast as possible. “Three hundred meters behind me was another man riding a bicycle, and KLA soldiers threw a grenade at him and killed him.” Some weeks later, Koteshi snuck back into Kosovo to check briefly on his father, who was living in a tent after his home had been torched by the KLA. “It was so hard for him because he lived in a tent with no electricity and no water. Two days ago, KLA terrorists entered the camp and shouted at them, so they fled their tents in fear.”

NATO was complicit in these acts of terror, as borne out by our interviews and those conducted by others. The role of NATO was summed up by a refugee interviewed by Roma activist Sani Rifati:

“When NATO bombs stopped falling in Yugoslavia, my family returned to Kosovo. We were watching the KLA and KFOR soldiers hugging each other and celebrating their arrival in Kosovo. At that moment I thought, this can’t be happening! Why is that KLA terrorist soldier going to hug a KFOR soldier? I realized it is going to be like hell here. Within three days, all non-ethnic Albanians had to leave Kosovo. My house was burned by ethnic Albanians in front of KFOR forces. I went to report to the so-called foreign peacekeepers that my house was burning — and one of the soldiers was telling me it’s okay. My friend’s sister was raped by ethnic Albanians, and she went to report to the KFOR officer; he was telling her it’s okay. My neighbor was kidnapped by KLA and his wife went to report that he’s gone and the officer was telling her it’s okay. KLA was taking our brothers, relatives, friends and taking them to the KLA torture rooms, and wives went to report to the KFOR officers; they were telling them it’s okay. KLA and ethnic Albanians were killing Romani people and they were telling us it’s okay. Is that really okay? We were kicked out from my home in five minutes. KLA terrorists came to my house and told me that in five minutes we must leave our home and then they’re going to burn it.”

Roma leader Jovan Damjanovich issued a statement condemning the KLA’s campaign of terror. “This state of affairs calls into question the justification for the foreign presence. The exodus of Serbs, Montenegrins, and Romanies continues on the lines of the Nazi scenario of fifty years ago, while the world looks on.” Damjanovich’s plea did not go unnoticed in the West, and he was added to the European Union and U.S. sanctions list, whose members were banned from travel and their funds held in foreign accounts seized.

We met Bajram Haliti, who had been an official in the Yugoslav government in Kosovo. In addition to his role in the Kosovo government prior to NATO occupation, he also served in the national government as Secretary for Development of Information on the Languages of National Minorities. Haliti was gentle and soft-spoken, and I took an immediate liking to this scholarly man who described himself as a humanist. Haliti was a poet, and had also published a study entitled The Roma: a People’s Terrible Destiny, on the subject of the Nazi genocide against the Roma people in the Second World War. At his home in Kosovo, his personal library contained over 500 books on the subject, from all over the world. But KLA soldiers burned down both of Haliti’s homes, and the library he had spent a lifetime collecting went up in flames. “I can’t set a price on that library,” he sadly told us.

“The Roma people are in a very hard situation,” Haliti told us.

“It is the same situation Jewish people faced in 1939. At that time, Hitler persecuted every Jew in his territory. And now we have [KLA leader and present-day Kosovo foreign minister] Hashim Thaci. Now Romani houses are burned down, and Roma are expelled by the KLA.”

At the beginning of May 1999, Haliti sent an open letter to U.S. President Clinton, calling for an end to the war. “Only peaceful means can lead to a just settlement for all national communities which live in Kosovo and Metohija.” The letter made an impression in Washington: Haliti was placed on the first sanctions list. The swiftness in which sanctions were imposed on Jovanovich and Haliti demonstrated the West’s responsiveness to the Roma people’s situation.

Gregory Elich is on the Board of Directors of the Jasenovac Research Institute and the Advisory Board of the Korea Policy Institute. He is a columnist for Voice of the People, and one of the co-authors of Killing Democracy: CIA and Pentagon Operations in the Post-Soviet Period, published in the Russian language.