Ivo Skoric on Sat, 3 Apr 1999 22:06:35 +0200 (CEST)

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 18:20:24 +0000
Subject: (Fwd) bergen record story

Mdme. Albright may be right saying that Milosevic's ethnic cleansing 
campaign in Kosovo might have been carried through with or without 
NATO air strikes, but that does not save NATO's face: whether they 
expected that Milosevic will respond to their bombing campaign by 
increased atrocities against Kosovo Albanians or they believed that 
he would do that anyway, they had to make contingency plans to 
prevent him from doing it - after all this is how the Administration 
justified U.S. involvement in Kosovo to the Congress and American 
people. To add an insult to the injury - here is the story how Kosovo 
Albanian refugees are treated in the world's first democracy:


------- Forwarded Message Follows -------

Refugees reach U.S., but find no sure haven
By Debra Lynn Vial
The Record (Bergen, N.J.), April 2, 1999

Afrim Karaqica is a farmer from Kosovo who claims his home was bombed and
he was beaten after he helped other refugees reach safety. The ethnic
Albanian fled to America and says his wife and three children are counting
on him to help them escape before they are slaughtered.

But the U.S. government wants to send him back.

He's not alone. In the past two weeks, immigration officials in Elizabeth
have also denied asylum to 19-year-old Arton Sadiku, who arrived in
September. He had promised his parents he would take his two siblings to
safety in America. Now, he's being held with other aliens facing
deportation at the Elizabeth Detention Center, and the two children are
depending on the kindness of strangers for a place to sleep.

The two cases, both decided after the United States had begun planning to
bomb Kosovo to stop persecution of ethnic Albanians, have terrified other
Albanians in the metropolitan area who are awaiting their own hearings.
Many say they will be harmed if they return to Kosovo.

"I have nightmares about what could happen to my brother," 16-year-old
Akrem Sadiku said through an interpreter. His brother, Arton, is appealing
the judge's decision to deport him.

The irony of the situation -- that one arm of the American government is
ready to return these men to the very region another arm is bombing -- is
not lost on the men or the people trying to help them.

"There is not a day that passes that I don't think about this guy sitting
in the detention center," said Dennis Mulligan, director of Lutheran Social
Ministries of Trenton, the group providing legal counsel to Karaqica. "We
are at war there. He was persecuted and his life was threatened by the
Serbs. That's why he's here. That's why we're over there."

Though the men are appealing and have been told its unlikely they would be
deported until the armed conflict ends, family members and friends say
Kosovo will never again be safe for ethnic Albanians.

"This hatred runs too deep," said Helen Sokov, a Jersey City resident who
counsels ethnic Albanians seeking asylum. "These people will never be
welcomed back there."

Immigration officials refused to discuss the two cases, saying asylum
requests are confidential. In general, asylum is granted when immigration
judges believe that aliens would be persecuted because of their race,
religion, or political beliefs if sent home.

Officials said requests are handled on a "case-by-case basis" and that
nearly half of 1,050 people from the Balkans who applied for asylum in
fiscal 1998 won the right to stay.

The United States was so concerned about violence in Kosovo last summer
that officials announced that anyone who came here before June 10, 1998,
would receive temporary protected status and would not be deported. As NATO
missiles are falling on Kosovo for the second week, officials are
discussing offering that protection to more recent refugees, said Barbara
Francis, spokeswoman for the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Officials could not say how many ethnic Albanians have recently applied for
asylum. But, as refugees continue to spill by the thousands over the
borders of the lands neighboring Kosovo, officials expect a surge of
immigrants like Sadiku and Karaqica.

One Manhattan immigration attorney who is representing two other people
denied asylum by a judge last year believes he will win the appeal because
it is now clear that ethnic Albanians are in grave danger.

"I can't imagine that someone would get denied at this point," said the
attorney, Martin Vulaj. "Things have changed since the hostilities have

In his cell at the Elizabeth Detention Center, Afrim Karaqica is not so
positive. Karaqica, in his early 30s, says he no longer eats or sleeps
because he is so worried about his family back home. Locked up in
Elizabeth, he can't protect them from the rapes and torture he keeps
hearing about. He hasn't received a letter from them in a long time. He
fears the worst.

"I don't know what happened to my family," he said.

Back in Kosovo, Karaqica was a member of the Kosovo Liberation Army, the
group trying to stop the Serbian ethnic cleansing campaign. His job was to
help deliver medical supplies and provide a haven for refugees, said his
attorney, Victor Yee, of Lutheran Social Services.

He said he witnessed several massacres, and, after his involvement in the
KLA was discovered, his home was bombed, then set aflame. He was beaten by
police, he said. Karaqica fled to Croatia, leaving his family behind
because he couldn't afford to take everyone. His plan was to send for them
when he got to the United States. "I want to thank the United States for
all the help with my people in Albania, but when I came here to survive, I
was arrested."

Immigration officials arrested him at Newark International Airport in
December because his passport was forged, Yee said.

At his hearing, Karaqica and his brother, who lives in North Jersey,
testified about the dead bodies and carnage they witnessed. But the judge
did not believe his story was credible, did not really believe Karaqica was
who he said he was, because he had falsified his identification, Yee said.

But Karaqica could never have left the region without forged documents,
attorneys said. Indeed, many of the thousands of ethnic Albanians who are
pouring over the borders of neighboring countries report that the Serbs
have confiscated and destroyed their paperwork, birth certificates, and
licenses to keep them from reentering Kosovo.

"They can't say to their oppressors, 'I'm fleeing the country, please give
me a copy of whatever records you have for me,' " Yee said.

Arton Sadiku, the 19-year-old who escaped Kosovo with his teenage brother
and sister in September, also was detained at the airport because
authorities said his documents were forged, his brother said Thursday.

When he learned two weeks ago that he was denied asylum, he became suicidal
and so angry he threw food all over his cell, family members said. He had
trouble explaining to the judge just how fearful he is of the Serbs, his
family said.

Meanwhile, he worries about his parents, left behind. He doesn't know if
they are still alive. He also is worried about his brother and sister who,
for unexplained reasons, were not detained, but were taken in by a
sympathetic family in Waterbury, Conn. They can't stay there forever, and
there is no money for them to live on their own.

Sadiku calls his brother and sister every day. The two brothers cry openly.
The sister, trying to be brave, shuts her bedroom door before she lets any
tears fall.

"They are all struggling," said Tuli Redzepi, who is helping the children.
"They just say they don't understand why their brother is being treated
like a criminal. They need their brother to be with them."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 18:19:48 +0000
Subject: Bogdan Denitch's Letter and LA Times Op-Ed

Dear Friends,

    I enclose the piece which being published in LA weekly today.
(circulation 300,000 plus) a similar piece will be out in the Spring
issue of Dissent. I guess I will not be welcome in Belgrade for a while
whihc hurts since I do have family and above all friends and comrades
there. I feel a little like "good" germans felt like before the beginning
of the War.

    While very reluctantly supporting the air strikes until today the
recent decsion to bomb places in downtown Belgrade I find shocking and
above all stupid. 1) I do not know why the NATO chiefs seem to feel that
they must give Milosevic advance intelligence on their strategy and
tactics. 2)There will unacceptable civilian dead since I do not believe
in the vaunted accrace of precsion bombing, we were there once already.
3) We (the US and NATO) keep building up Milosevic and treating him as
the central figure in the Balkans and redeamable figure needed for
stability in the region. Instead of treating him as the major problem in
the region. 4) There is still no carrot to accompany the stick. We should
be clear that the reward for a Serbia which signs the peace agreement and
accepts the deployment of NATO + Russian troops will be rewarded by a
return to OSCE and the end of economic sanctions at least. A seat in the
Un should probably be in the package. This would give some motive for the
army to overthrow Milosevic. 5) The democratic oposition is now all but
dead for the time being. We must get help for the HARD oposition small as
it is. It will now be a long slog, but the groups which have proved ok
are the Vojvodina League of Social democrats, Women in Black, the
Helsinki group and of course ToD, if they are not helped we will again
complain that there is no one there to help. 6) I BELIEVE WE NEED TO



 So much for those who are interested . I feel terrible, friends and
family are involved but also because my people ( ah that old kith and
kin) are involved in mass murder and ethnic clean sing. Please let me
know what you think...
                                    (212) 475 8570
Why does NATO make sure that the ministries will be empty before it
hits. Do they only want civilian victims?

>>>>I agree with Bogdan completely on this one: why the U.S. gives 
the targeting information to Milosevic in advance? This is a very 
strange military doctrine. I understand that it comes from arrogance 
of a superpower. The problem is that it does not bring the victory 
home, and therefore it obviously sucks.

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------

Issue #19
Filename: 19kosovo.doc
Edit: Harold
Word count: 1750

@Hed = 
@Sub = 

@Firstpar = Sometimes, the media-conveyed stereotypes are right. Kosovo is a
tragedy, many times over. It is now the site of horrible ethnic "cleansing,"
in which huge numbers of the majority Albanian population of Kosovo are
being driven into exile into Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro.
The scenario is already familiar from the Yugoslav Wars of Succession of
1991 to 1995, in which the ethnic maps of Bosnia and Croatia were redrawn
with great brutality. This was a process initially carried out by the Serbs,
under the leadership of their president, Slobodan Milosevic, in attacks on
Croatia and Bosnia that employed both the Yugoslav army and the murderous
volunteer militias. Milosevic was soon lustily joined by the Croatian
strongman Franjo Tudjman, who carried out large forced movements of
"undesired" populations when his own turn came. The Bosnian Moslems - the
weakest of the Yugoslav groups -committed the fewest such crimes.
By the time the 1995 Dayton peace agreement was rammed through - only
following massive air strikes against the Serb forces in Bosnia - there were
a quarter million dead and 3.5 million refugees. Ethnic cleansing, we must
understand, was not - and is not - a side effect of the Yugoslav wars. It
was - and is - their primary purpose. 
Despite the provisions of the Dayton agreement that provide for their
return, most refugees have not been able to go back. Most probably never
will. Ethnic cleansing creates the "new facts on the ground" that treaties
cannot easily overturn.
Today, ethnic cleansing is being massively applied in Kosovo. This action is
being carried out by the combined efforts of the Serbian army, police and
the death squads of the "Tigers," a volunteer militia already notorious for
its war crimes in Bosnia and Croatia. Men are separated from their families
and shot or sent off to camps, the houses are systematically looted, the
villages burned. At the border, just before they flee Kosovo, the refugees
are robbed once more, and their passports, identification papers and
automobile license plates taken from them. This makes any future return more
difficult. (The Serbs have learned this from the Croats, who make it
impossible for Serbian refugees from Croatia even to begin the torturous
process of returning without proper papers.)
In the meantime a massive manhunt against Kosovo Albanian civic leaders,
journalists, lawyers, doctors, human rights workers and politicians is
providing a grisly daily list of victims. These include one of the major
peace Albanian negotiators and the head of the local clinic. Those who could
have gone underground. The dead include my personal friends. 

@Firstpar = The gamble that Milosevic would back down after the first NATO
air strikes has plainly failed. Instead, he has solidified his support among
the Serbs, already badly infected with a national chauvinism that thrives on
arcane conspiracy theories which explain how the whole world - but most
especially the Vatican, the Soros Foundation, the Trilateral
Commission, Free Masons and Islamic Fundamentalism - all  plot against
plucky little Serbia. Their allies, in this fantasy world, are North Korea,
Iraq, Libya, Byelo-Russia and, of course, Russia itself. 
It has not helped the Serbian situation that its democratic opposition has
been badly divided, or that some oppositionists have not been so innocent of
nationalism themselves. Even less helpfully, the U.S. and the West have
always given scandalously little assistance or encouragement to that
democratic opposition - preferring, on balance, to deal with Milosevic who,
his bloodstained hands aside, was seen as a sensible chap who would be a
force for stability in the region. We should remember the endless parade of
Western European and U.S. officials trooping through Belgrade, cajoling and
pleading with good old Slobo, over many a glass of whiskey, to just be
sensible. Perversely, U.S. and the West Europeans thus helped convince this
Balkan tinpot that he was a central factor for peace and stability in the
region. They also futher demoralized an already vulnerable opposition. 
	A similar dynamic is apparent in our policy toward Kosovo. Through
an historical accident the Kosovo Albanians accepted the leadership of
Ibrahim Rugova after their autonomy was abolished by Belgrade. Rugova was a
unique phenomenon in the Balkans, heading up a massive, disciplined
nonviolent resistance to Serbian rule for almost a decade - in a region
where every house had firearms and where blood feuds had persisted for
centuries. Rugova did not manage to move the Serbian regime, however, nor
did he manage to get real support from the West. He was not even invited to
the Dayton Peace negotiations. The lesson was learned by the younger
Albanians: if you want attention, take up arms. Independence and even
autonomy is bought with blood, not through nonviolence or negotiations - at
least in a Yugoslavia run by Milosevic. 
The Kosovo Army of Liberation (KLA) that has arisen in the Kosovo Albanian
community as a result of this process has no visible democratic credentials,
and I would not gamble on their leaders' tolerance towards the Serbian
minority if they win this war. They will want to settle some outstanding
But then, democracy has always been the excluded option in the Yugoslav
policies of the West - rather than a policy of substantial aid to the
democratic opposition, and of helping remove Milosevic and Tudjman, his
opposite number in Croatia. Only that policy could provide a chance for
decent, stable and democratic settlement in the area. But the U.S. has
always preferred stability to democracy, even if, as in Milosevic's case, it
is false stability. The U.S. chose to gamble on Milosevic, and when that
failed, gambled further that he was bluffing and would back down after a few
air strikes.

@Firstpar = The assaults on the Kosovo Albanians have now greatly increased
following the NATO air attacks on Yugoslavia. This dramatically poses two
urgent questions: First, what are limits of air power? And second, if the
purpose of the air attacks was to prevent the massive killing and exiling of
Albanians, what do NATO and the U.S. do now? 
It  is essential to remember, now when there are repeated calls to stop the
bombing and resume diplomacy, that during the last diplomatic talks Serbian
repression in Kosovo actually increased, the universities
were gutted of their autonomy and the independent press was all but
eliminated with savage fines. Milosevic has shown he can negotiate forever,
while continuing his nationalist aggression. It was the failure of the last
round of negotiations, under such circumstances, that brought the West to
the policy of bombing.  
So what now? Does the Clinton administration back down, permitting a
genocidal massacre to continue to unfold? Or do the U.S. and NATO get into a
ground war as the only way to provide a measure of protection for the
Albanian civilians in Kosovo? And if they do wage a ground war against the
Yugoslav Army and its auxiliaries - a  costly and therefore domestically
unpopular ground war - how do they avoid becoming de facto allies of the KLA
and its nationalist hard men?
 The KLA's stated aim is, at minimum, the complete independence of Kosovo -
something which the West Europeans, the U.S. and most especially the
countries on Kosovo's borders see as hugely destabilizing for the entire
Balkan region. An independent Kosovo is a nightmare for neighboring
Macedonia, with its own Albanian minority of between 30 and 35 percent. Then
there is the 10 percent Albanian minority in Montenegro. As for Albania
proper, it may be a failed state which is in shambles, with a lower living
standard that the Albanians in Kosovo and Macedonia, but it is nonetheless
home to more than half the entire Albanian population of some six million.
That alone makes it attractive to romantic ethnic nationalists, and ethnic
nationalism never has a strong affinity for political realism. Albanian
unity, or the dream of Great Albania, is not only a nightmare for
neighboring states, but also for all who worry about stability in the
	What follows from all this are four policy conclusions. Beginning
with the long-range goals: First, Washington must finally accept that
Milosevic's ham-fisted regime remains the single greatest destabilizing
factor in the region, and must concomitantly shift its commitment to the
democratic opposition in Yugoslavia. 
	Second, given the proclivities of both the KLA and the Serbian
forces, no peace settlement in Kosovo is possible without the presence of
ground troops to enforce it. These should be NATO forces, but should also
include Russian troops as a way to try to heal the breach between NATO and
Third, no real negotiations are possible, however, without a complete cease
fire by the Serb armed forces in Kosovo and their withdrawal from the
province. The refugees must be allowed immediate return. If the Serb leaders
have any sense at all, they will realize that only NATO troops can, after
all this carnage, provide protection for the Serbian minority and disarm the
KLA. And the KLA needs to be substantially disarmed - not least, to permit
some kind of normal political life for the Kosovo Albanians who are not
necessarily members of the KLA. Absent that, the men with guns will rule. 
	And fourth - and here I come to the hardest part - should those who
want to see a just peace in former Yugoslavia call for an immediate stop to
the NATO air attacks? My answer - and it is doubly hard, since I have
relatives, friends and comrades with whom I have worked for decades still
living there - is that the bombing should only be stopped by a a Serbian
agreement to a cease fire in Kosovo, and by the withdrawal of their armed
forces. NATO ground forces may well be required to secure these goals and to
create (or recreate) a safe haven for Kosovan Albanians in Kosovo.
Otherwise, the massive killing and the exiling of Kosovo's majority
population will only continue. (And to those who argue that the U.S. did not
intervene in Rwanda and Burundi to stop the genocidal massacres there, my
response is: It should have - and it still has the opportunity to stop such
massacres in Kosovo.)
Kosovo today presents us with no easy or palatable options. But should NATO
stop the bombing without first having secured a cease-fire and a Serbian
withdrawal, Milosevic wins - and we will witness one of the most massive and
brutal ethnic cleansings since World War II. @LA=

Bogdan Denitch is director of the Institute for Transitions to Democracy, a
human-rights  organization operating in Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia since
1990, and author of Ethnic Nationalism: The Tragic Death of Yugoslavia and
numerous other works. 

-----Original Message-----
From: Bogdan Denitch [mailto:ttd@igc.org]
Sent: Monday, March 29, 1999 9:28 PM
To: hmeyerson@laweekly.com
Subject: Let me know if you get this ok

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