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Excerpts from Susanne Jaspars 'New
Statesman' article (5-15-00)
During the war against Yugoslavia, Western politicians and the media claimed Yugoslav forces deliberately drove masses of ethnic Albanians out of Kosovo. They said it was planned in advance. Some opponents of bombing supported this view, engaging in a mock criticism of the US government, saying it demonstrated its callousness by bombing the Serbs when it knew the Serbs would then turn on the Albanians and drive them out. Thus NATO and its semi-opponents agreed: Albanians were forced out by the Serbs.
But were they?
In his article "Cooking the books - NATO's claims of ethnic cleansing challenged", Michel Chossudovsky points out that according to official Western figures, relatively more Serbs than Albanians fled Kosovo during the bombing.
Doesn't that utterly contradict the official ethnic-cleansing theory?
I have interviewed Ethnic Serbs, Jews and Albanians who say the Albanian refugees were in fact organized - and ordered - to leave by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). The goal, they say, was to provide TV images to show the world that the Serbs were monsters so that Western public opinion would support the bombing and occupation of Kosovo by NATO.
This was relatively successful. When the bombing started, most Westerners were opposed. Then TV viewers were deluged - non-stop, 24 hours a day - with pictures of Albanian refugees. Heart-rending voice-over narrations and "eye witness" accounts repeated the same stories of misery like a mantra.
Odd to tell, if you ran the pictures with no sound, the refugees didn't look all that miserable. Nevertheless the TV coverage persuaded many that NATO had to bomb Serbia to save the Albanians.
Could this giant exodus have been staged? Could it have been a big political lie? That's an extraordinary claim, isn't it?
But Kosovo secessionism is an extraordinary movement.
In the early 1990s, the secessionists, who were mainly under the leadership of Ibrahim Rugova, enforced a mass Albanian boycott of state-run schools and hospitals in Kosovo. The point? To trick the West into believing Albanians had been locked out by the Serbian State and thus build public support for Western intervention in Kosovo. As analyst Diana Johnstone notes:
A remarkable mindset thus developed among many Albanians, a willingness to engage in prolonged and complicated maneuvers for political effect. These acts of mass political theater sometimes involved real suffering. Despite this, many Albanians participated because of the lure of secession which appeared to be a real possibility given open and covert signs of US support. In addition, the secessionists were encouraged by other US political and military efforts to break up Yugoslavia.
So when the KLA ordered Albanians to temporarily depart, when the KLA told Albanians, 'Leave now and we will return to a Kosovo where we will be the Masters (under NATO control),' it was nothing new.
Today's 'New Statesman' has an article by Susanne Jaspars, an independent nutrition consultant. Jaspars helped organize food relief for ethnic Albanians who had left Kosovo during the bombing.
Her report bolsters our claim that these people were not victims of persecution.
If Albanians had really left because of monstrous Serbian persecution, wouldn't one see the signs - ill-health, malnutrition, inadequate clothing? One can certainly find these symptoms, among Serbs and Roma who are barely surviving under KLA/NATO domination in Kosovo as well as those who have fled to inner Serbia.
Do your remember how un-refugee-like those TV 'refugees' looked? The designer clothes, the expensive running shoes, nice hair-dos, cellular phones? And as for malnutrition:
Westerners were mobilized to donate food, clothing, cash for the suffering refugees, but where was the suffering? Jaspars compares one refugee camp to "any overcrowded European campsite." And concerning the quality of relief:
Remember the news story about some Albanian refugees throwing away food that wasn't to their taste? Can you imagine real refugees throwing away food? Those folks were refugee Yuppies.
Jaspers says that not all Albanian refugees were equally pampered. For example, "refugees living with Albanian hosts" received almost no food. (It isn't clear that under the circumstances they suffered...) Jaspars notes that:
Jaspers implies that the extreme difference between the way Albanians and Africans were treated stems from racism. Obviously there is racism towards Africans. But consider this: the Albanian refugees were no whiter than most of the one million plus refugees in inner Serbia. Yet the Serbian, Albanian, Slavic Muslim, Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Serb refugees in inner Serbia - all the refugees in Serbia are white except the Roma ("Gypsies") - and they get virtually no help from international organizations. Less help than Africans.
NATO pampered the pro-NATO Albanian refugees and gives nothing to the pro-Yugoslav refugees for political reasons. The neglect of refugees in inner Serbia is intended to destabilize Yugoslavia, which is a NATO goal. On the other hand, pro-NATO Albanians were groomed last spring as a proxy force. For the Albanians, the fancy food was a promise of a fancy future. The KLA, armed to the teeth and anointed by NATO to run the refugee camps, could say, 'See? Look at the clout we have with NATO! +Stick with us and we'll drive out the Serbs and take their land and their property. It's rightfully ours. We'll live like kings.' (My prediction: it will end badly for those who swallowed this bait. Fortune has a way of reversing.)
KLA strength in the refugee camps relied on the threat of violent punishment for opponents, on pampering (as evidence that the KLA was Number One with NATO) and on constant indoctrination. Do you remember the TV news coverage of little children chanting Serb-hating slogans in the camps?Those camps were centers for consolidating KLA power. JI