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Lie #2: "Operation Horseshoe"


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Previously, I have debunked the so-called Racak "massacre," which was a KLA hoax (see here). This was one of NATO's principal justifications for its totally illegal bombing of Yugoslavia (source, source, source, source). Consistent with this, internal German government documents, distributed to the German press on April 24, 1999 by the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA), show that there was no humanitarian catastrophe, no genocide, no persecution (link).

In response, the German government referred back to the allegation they had earlier made to shore up faltering support for the "humanitarian" bombing of a certain "Operation Horseshoe," the supposed plan to expel Albanian on the part of the Yugoslav government. In response, IALANA noted that even if the supposed "Operation Horseshoe" actually existed, the bombing would still be illegitimate since, as even the German government admitted, the supposed plan had only been "discovered" after the bombing had started (link).

Did "Operation Horseshoe" even exist? No. "Operation Horseshoe" did not exist. It was just one more lie on top of the large mountain of lies which composes the narrative of the Balkan conflicts as propagated in the West. "A REPORT purporting to show that Belgrade planned the systematic ethnic cleansing of Kosovo's entire Albanian population was faked, a German general has claimed." General Heinz Loquai "has claimed in a new book on the war that the plan was fabricated from run-of-the-mill Bulgarian intelligence reports."

"The facts to support its existence are at best terribly meagre," he told The Sunday Times. "I have come to the conclusion that no such operation ever existed. The criticism of the war, which had grown into a fire that was almost out of control, was completely extinguished by Operation Horseshoe."

Scharping reported in his wartime diary that he had received the intelligence report on Horseshoe from Fischer. But according to Die Woche, the German news weekly, the report was a general analysis by a Bulgarian intelligence agency of Serbian behaviour in the war.

Loquai has claimed that the German defence ministry turned a vague report from Sofia into a "plan", and even coined the name Horseshoe. Die Woche has reported that maps broadcast around the world as proof of Nato's information were drawn up at the German defence headquarters in Hardthöhe.

The Bulgarian report concluded that the goal of the Serbian military was to destroy the Kosovo Liberation Army, and not to expel the entire Albanian population, as was later argued by Scharping and the Nato leadership. Loquai also pointed to a fundamental flaw in the German account: it named the operation Potkova, which is the Croatian word for horseshoe. The Serbian for horseshoe is Potkovica. "A state prosecutor would never think of going to trial with the amount of evidence available to the German defence ministry," said Loquai.

Nato sources rejected Loquai's claims, but admitted it was impossible to prove the origins of the Horseshoe story. "There's never any absolute certainty about these things," said one source. "But the idea that there was nothing pre-arranged is counter-intuitive. (source)

So, there was no "Operation Horseshoe." Nevertheless, the Serbs may still have expelled Albanians. After all, the fact that there were massive refugee flows (AFTER the bombing commenced) is indisputable. I agree with the unnamed NATO source that "the idea that there was nothing pre-arranged is counter-intuitive." Before I proceed to demonstrate that this "ethnic cleansing" was carried out by the KLA and NATO, I think it is important to point out that the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission's own data indicates that there were proportionately more Serbian refugees from Kosovo than Albanian refugees (source). Read the stories of KLA expulsion from the Serb refugees here.

Cedomir Prlincevic, Chief Archivist of Kosovo and the leader of the Jewish Community of Pristina, was expelled from his apartment by KLA terrorists under the eye of British KFOR troops, along with the rest of his neighborhood.

Prelinchevich: With machine guns. They completely cleared up the building and the whole area where we lived.

Israel: Cleared up?

Prelinchevich: The whole area of 30,000 people, they completely cleared it.

Israel: 30,000? Emptied it?

Prelinchevich: Emptied it. Went from house to house and building to building.

Israel: Did they kill anyone.

Prelinchevich: Initially one person, family named Kompic, a Serbian family, they killed, which was an obvious reason for us not to resist.

Israel: In other words they made an example of one family and then they said if you want to die -

Prelinchevich: All night they were banging the doors and slamming the doors and going inside the doors and from apartment to apartment. (source)

Read more about Prlincevic and the other Kosovo Jews in this Globe & Mail article.

In another interview with Jared Israel, he clarifies how the expulsion of Albanians was done. It is important, so I will be quoting at length.

Jared Israel: Why did so many Albanians leave Kosovo a few days after NATO began bombing? Was the Yugoslav Army attacking them?

Cedomir Prlincevic: No, not attacking them. In some areas the Army did relocate people, but not out of Kosovo. The idea was to move them further into Serbia. You must understand, the Army was presented with a most difficult situation. A major clash was expected between NATO and Yugoslav troops. This kind of NATO ground attack was a special threat in the area [of Kosovo] bordering Albania.

Under those circumstances, with the KLA [Kosovo Liberation Army] attacking inside Kosovo and from Albania and with NATO poised to invade and about to start bombing from airplanes, how could the Yugoslav Army hope to protect that border population?

You should understand, the Army had had an experience like this in Vukovar. That was in 1991. Civilians were trapped in a battlefield between the Army and the Croatian Ustashe [neo-fascist] secessionists. To avoid making the same mistake again, the Army wanted to empty a space 40 kilometers deep so people wouldn't be trapped between the Army, NATO and the KLA.

At the same time there was a big increase in the number of KLA terrorists illegally crossing the Albanian border into Kosovo. In that situation there were bound to be some unhappy events. It was a most difficult situation, you see.

(...)

Israel: Getting back to the Albanian exodus during the bombing, here's the question: if the Yugoslav Army didn't throw the Albanians out, why did so many leave? It's true we don't know the exact number. The Western media has given all sorts of figures, from 150,000 to over a million, which is slightly ridiculous - but certainly many thousands did leave. Why? To escape the bombs?

Prlincevic: Not exactly.

Israel: Not exactly?

Prlincevic: No. The reason they left and went out of Serbia, to Albania or Macedonia, is rooted in the cultural history of Albanian people living in Kosovo. Because of their mindset, which I think people in the West thoroughly misunderstand, the KLA had a big impact when it attacked and executed Albanians who cooperated with the government.

[NOTE: Such as, for instance, Corin Ismali, of the Kosovo Democratic Initiative. See here about his (probable) assassination]

Israel: I would have thought such attacks would turn them against the KLA.

Prlincevic: No, no. They led the ethnic Albanian population to stop cooperating with the Yugoslav government and start cooperating with the KLA.

Israel: Doesn't a guerilla movement need to treat ordinary people decently to get support?

Prlincevic: Yes, but the KLA was never what you mean by a guerilla movement. It was a foreign-organized group of terrorists delivering a message. The so-called 'International Community,' that is, NATO, had trumpeted that they had plans for the Albanians, that they would give them independence and a Greater Albania, make them a major power in southern Europe. So there was this intense propaganda from the West for ten years and at the same time the crisis in the Albanian community was quite pronounced. Even before the bombing, some Albanian representatives asked the Yugoslav government to allow their people to form convoys and go toward Macedonia, basically to save themselves from this crisis.

Israel: What crisis? The fighting between the Yugoslav Army and the KLA?

Prlincevic: Not exactly, although this fighting did have a big effect. So did the bombing, which started a bit later; it had a critical psychological effect. But this was related to the KLA. You see the KLA was trying to fulfill their own overall goals. To achieve these goals, which involved proving to the West they could deliver, they told the ethnic Albanians to leave. And this was not a polite request. It was an order. Do you see? At the same time the KLA, their special units, and then a bit later NATO bombers, were attacking traffic on important roads that led to inner Serbia.

Israel: And this influenced the Albanians?

Prlincevic: Yes. It dissuaded them from going further into Serbia and it also told them: Yugoslavia can't help you. Meanwhile the United States was training their KLA proxies in Albania including in how to wage this sort of psychological warfare, to deliver the message that Albanians should temporarily vacate Serbia.

Israel: So you're saying that this culture, this Kosovo Albanian culture, had a strong tendency to respond to carrots and sticks?

Prlincevic: That's it. Now you're beginning to understand.

Israel: And the U.S. was telling Albanians, "We'll help you secede; we'll make you a star. But if you reject our help we'll kill you." Is that it?

Prlincevic: Your question is complex. I'll have to give a long answer.

Israel: OK.

Prlincevic: Historically, the Kosovo Albanians were never involved in frontal battles. Instead, they had groups of warriors called kachatzi, small bands of fighters that used hit and run tactics. But they never kept large scale weapons to use in frontline war. Part of the purpose of the Western training was to get the KLA to surpass small group combat and become an army able to carry out NATO's commands throughout Kosovo. NATO's foot soldiers.

To this end, one KLA group left Kosovo and went to Albania where they were trained by the Americans, and by the way, they became the core of what is now called the Kosovo Protection Corps. They marched back into Kosovo with NATO in June 1999 and seized government offices and facilities and drove out hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Roma ["Gypsies"] Jews, pro-Yugoslav Albanians and others.

Israel: You're saying that after NATO took over Kosovo these KLA types were under orders to drive out those people?

Prlincevic: Yes. We can see the results of the action of exactly those forces today. NATO planned the expulsion of 350,000 people. Without NATO's approval and instructions, these KLA, whom NATO had trained and brought back to Kosovo, would never have attempted this mass expulsion. Impossible. NATO was eliminating a potentially rebellious population.

And remember, they didn't expel only non-Albanians. Perhaps the most important group was Albanians who in any official capacity had helped the Yugoslav government. They had to go. NATO wanted the ethnic Albanians who stayed in Kosovo to be without a Yugoslav alternative.

[NOTE: Read these interviews with members of the aforementioned Kosovo Democratic Initiative, a "Yugoslav alternative," here.]

Israel: So this first wave of Albanians who marched across the border with the KFOR [NATO] troops - they were hardcore KLA? Not simply gangsters?

Prlincevic: Well some were KLA gangsters and others were ordinary gangsters from Albania. They carried out and allowed others to carry out all kinds of crimes. Some wanted revenge; some wanted to steal; some wanted to do this; some wanted to do that, to achieve whatever political goals. And no one was interrupting the others. They were doing it altogether in concert and not interfering with each other.

Israel: They were all KLA? There were no mysterious elements here? KFOR claims mysterious elements carried out (and still carry out) these crimes.

Prlincevic: KFOR knows exactly who organized the expulsions, but of course, as it became clear to ethnic Albanians that KFOR would tolerate criminal actions carried out by the KLA, KLA crime became a mass phenomenon. Whoever was doing criminal stuff would use the KLA label. If someone would steal some Serb's car, he would say: "I'm KLA." It got to be a joke among Albanians to call themselves 'KLA', to cover up. If someone wanted to rob someone else's house, they would say - "We're KLA."

Israel: Because they knew that KFOR wouldn't touch them if they were KLA?

Prlincevic: Yes, they became untouchable.

(...)

Israel: My impression is that the KLA had a weak base during this period [Rambouillet talks]. Is that true?

Prlincevic: Yes, but remember there was a continuous influx of their people from Albania. So they had weak popular support but they were getting reinforcements from Albania, trying to turn the tide.

Israel: Which is why there were constant border clashes with Yugoslav troops fighting these intruders.

Prlincevic: Right.

Israel: So the KLA's solid base was in northern Albania?

Prlincevic: At that time, yes. But the Yugoslav Government program of self defense failed in the border area and then gradually throughout Kosovo people switched to the KLA side.

Israel: During the bombing was the KLA used as spotters for NATO air attacks?

Prlincevic: Yes. Definitely.

Israel: Was the bombing used to drive Albanians out of Kosovo?

Prlincevic: Not mainly on its own, but yes, insofar as it reinforced the KLA's attempt to destabilize the area. Mr. Walker was the one who was organizing the KLA. Mr. Walker of the Verification Mission that came into Kosovo, under the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] umbrella, in the fall of 1998.

You see this is a complex thing and I wanted to give a long answer. Even this international corps of monitors, this Verification Mission, they were also involved in organizing KLA. Before the bombing started we had this forced diplomacy. The European Community and the U.S. insisted that their forces come into Kosovo as peace monitors. At the head of these peace Verifiers was Mr. Walker.

The Verifiers organized the KLA. That's why terrorist attacks by the KLA increased after they arrived. During that period there was no major shift of population, whether Albanian or Serbian, though this international monitor group was laying the basis for migration. They needed migration to create the impression of a crisis for international public opinion.

Israel: How did they lay the basis for migration?

Prlincevic: They did it by having the KLA kill some Albanians who were cooperating with the government.

Israel: The Verifiers, the OSCE Monitors, did all this?

Prlincevic: Yes, they organized the KLA into a more cohesive force so it could influence events. And they prepared for the bombing. The Yugoslav government caught some Albanians and some Serbs who were positioning bombing markers. Those are radio devices that emit signals to identify targets. We were confused when the OSCE monitors left Kosovo. It should have been obvious why they left. Their job was done.

Israel: OK, I'm confused right now. I'm not sure about our focus. Are we talking about the Verifiers being responsible for positioning bombing markers?

Prlincevic: Yes! That is one thing they organized. I say this in full responsibility. Yes, OSCE monitors prepared the NATO attack. The KLA is only a proxy for what NATO wanted to achieve in this geographical area. All the current political turmoil points to NATO, whether in Kosovo or Montenegro or the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Israel: Explain what you mean, please.

Prlincevic: I mean Kosovo is just one of the points of destabilization of Yugoslavia. It is manipulated from the US and Europe. And this is not just what I think. It is obvious.

Israel: I apologize for these picky questions. People are starved for clarification on these points. Nobody has made things clear.

Prlincevic: I'm grateful for the questions. And again: I am answering with full consciousness of my responsibility to be accurate.

Israel: I understand. You're an historian of Kosovo.

Prlincevic: Yes, I am, and I want people to know the truth about what happened here. So getting back to the period before the bombing: the OSCE was taking steps to produce a migration of Albanians towards Macedonia and Albania. The idea was to break down the physical barrier of the border existing between Yugoslavia on the one hand and Macedonia and Albania on the other. The OSCE wanted to create for the international community the impression of a humanitarian catastrophe.

Israel: Even before the bombing?

Prlincevic: Yes. The OSCE was actually organizing the complete scenario for the crisis in Kosovo. Once again, they were trying to push the ethnic Albanian population to Albania and Macedonia to present the impression of a humanitarian nightmare. We were surprised that right before the bombing significant numbers of Albanians began moving toward the border. We were surprised. But of course, it was planned.

Israel: But there were no bombs yet.

Prlincevic: At that time the KLA had a big influx of reinforcements from Albania. They attacked road crossings and so on with the intention of making a total chaos and collapse of the situation in Kosovo. This was intended to make a point to all Albanians.

Israel: But in terms of the population movement, why were the ethnic Albanians leaving? I wish you could just give me some idea.

Prlincevic: That is exactly why I started answering your question by talking about the culture of the Albanian people. Because they have a strong clan structure and as part of that tradition, if the leader of the village says, "Let's vote for this candidate!" they tend to vote for this candidate, and if the leaders says "Let's all go!" - they go

Israel: But why would the clan leaders say "Let's all go!"?

Prlincevic: First of all, a large part of the ethnic Albanians wanted to return to the situation that existed a hundred years ago, under the Ottoman Empire, and again during World War II, when Kosovo was under Nazi- Albanian control. Most of the Albanian population had been won to this goal by the secessionist movement.

Prlincevic: When I speak of secession you might think of the Basques in Spain or the Irish in Northern Ireland, but this is very different. In Kosovo, a foreign Superpower supported the secessionists for well over a decade. Because of this support, the Albanians were psychologically prepared to achieve - no, not to achieve, to be given - secession. As a gift. The secessionist leaders, starting with Rugova, had promised them, "Do this, do that and the US will intervene and we will get Kosovo." They had been promising this for years. "Sacrifice your children by boycotting the schools; sacrifice your health by boycotting the hospitals; use your suffering to show foreign public opinion how we suffer under the Serbs, and the U.S. will come to our rescue."

By March 1999 this political theater had been going on 10 years. "The US will set us free." And of course, many Albanians believed that during World War II the German Nazis had set Albanians free.

The Yugoslav constitution of 1974 didn't help. It weakened the central government and thus encouraged those in Kosovo who wanted to return to the W.W. II regime when Albanian nationalists ruled Kosovo under the German Nazis and terrorized the Serbs, Roma ['Gypsies'] and Jews. After 1974 the abuses against Serbs and Roma increased. This was openly manifested during the ethnic Albanian riots in 1981.

These were race riots, with Serbs as the targets, both the Serbian clergy and ordinary Serbian citizens. After that the Americans entered the picture and magnified the secessionists' political strength ten times over.

Prlincevic: For example, when US Ambassador Zimmerman arrived in Yugoslavia in 1990 [before the outbreak of the Yugoslav wars of secession] one of his first acts was to go to Kosovo and open an Exhibition of architectural works from Chicago. He used this exhibition to boost the Albanian secessionists.

Israel: How?

Prlincevic: He didn't invite anyone from the Federal Yugoslav Federal or Serbian Governments. But he did invite Ibrahim Rugova [the main secessionist leader at that time] and the like.

By snubbing the Federal Government, which represented multiethnic society, and snubbing those Albanian leaders who opposed secession, Zimmerman's action had a profound psychological effect

Israel: I can imagine. Everyone notices who doesn't get invited to a party.

Prlincevic: Yes, and especially in this period, when there was much ultra-nationalist agitation in Kosovo, to break Kosovo away from Serbia and to take parts of Macedonia and Bulgaria and link it all up with Albania. And these were the leaders whom Zimmerman invited. How could Albanians argue against secession when Rugova could say, "See? We have the support of the most powerful nation on earth!"

(...)

The United States, for its own geopolitical reasons, deliberately encouraged the secessionist tendency among Albanians, used them against the Yugoslav government in order to destabilize the Balkans.

The fact is that Serbs and Albanians had been living together with some degree of tolerance for centuries, whenever there was peace... The United States disrupted this status quo.

(...)

Israel: So the secessionists weren't strong there?

Prlincevic: Not at first, but then later even in Pristina the Albanians were sucked into the secessionist camp. This could happen because of certain cultural traits, deeply rooted in their history. During the bombing, suddenly they started leaving. And when we asked them, "Why are you doing this?" they replied, "We have to!"

Israel: Who are you talking about?

Prlincevic: Professors, managers at stores, retired people, even retired Yugoslav Army officers who were ethnic Albanian.

Prlincevic: I'll give you an example. My Albanian neighbor was a Professor. He seemed very much integrated into Yugoslav life. Our children played together; we were friends, you see. And then, without warning he packed up and started to leave his flat, to leave Kosovo. So I said: "Why are you leaving, neighbor?" He said: "Sorry. I have to." And I said, "Why? We're safe here. Nobody's bothering you. The housing complex hasn't been bombed. We're all working together." And he said, "I was ordered to leave." He gave me the keys so I could watch his flat. Ironically, after NATO took over he returned and then I was forced out by the KLA gangsters. I gave him my key, so he could watch my flat.

Israel: But who ordered him to leave?

Prlincevic: The leader of his clan.

Israel: Why?

Prlincevic: To prove obedience to the KLA. This was the KLA's national plan. All loyal Albanians were to leave during the bombing and go to Albania or Macedonia to show the world how terrible the Serbs were; this exodus was staged; it was a performance, Hollywood in Kosovo. What is Hollywood without actors? A large number of Albanians had to perform, had to actually leave Kosovo. This was not so different from what they had been doing for ten years, you see, pretending they had been locked out of the schools when actually it was an organized boycott, and so on.

Moreover, once they were in the refugee camps, the Albanians would be under the direct leadership of the KLA, which could intensively indoctrinate them, Which it did.

Israel: But why would his clan leader agree to this crazy plan?

Prlincevic: You think it was crazy? This gets us to the heart of the matter. Between the attacks from the KLA on Albanians who cooperated with the Yugoslav government and the continuous bombing by NATO, especially of Albanians who disobeyed the KLA, the KLA had gotten their message across to the clan leaders. So now the clan leaders ordered their people to pack up and leave.

Israel: You know, during the bombing, NATO said the Albanians were fleeing atrocities. We Western opponents of NATO said they were fleeing the NATO bombing. But you're saying we were both wrong, that the Albanians weren't fleeing the Serbs or the bombing.

Prlincevic: Let's just say the bombing isn't a sufficient explanation. If they were just fleeing bombs, why did they have to go to Albania and Macedonia? Why not to inner Serbia? And what about people like my friend, who just packed up, seemingly for no reason, and left? The rest of us, Serbs, Jews, Roma, we were in Pristina too. Why didn't we leave? Did we value our lives less than they valued theirs? No, it wasn't the bombs. They were afraid to disobey their clan leaders.

But the bombing did play an important role. The KLA served as spotters; they could direct NATO attacks against hostile Albanians, and this confirmed for the clan leaders that the KLA had serious power.

It was psychological warfare, intended to reinforce the psychological crisis among Albanians, a crisis rooted in fear.

The KLA and NATO were telling Albanians: NATO supports the KLA. After NATO takes over, the KLA will be in charge and if you don't leave now you will be in big trouble later. There will be no safe refuge.

That's what I meant when I said you need to know something about Albanian culture in order to understand why Albanians left.

You have to know about blood feud.

Prlincevic: One book has a great hold over Kosovo Albanians. It's called the 'Canon of Leke Dukagjiniis'. It's a 15th century text that spells out codes of behavior. It goes into great detail on how to carry out blood feuds, when and whom it is proper to kill. It lays out the proper methods to use when killing, rules and regulations and so on.

And this Canon is alive among Albanians today, especially since the fall of communism. This is an intensely tradition-oriented culture. Blood feud is a constant threat for Albanians. Thousands of people in Albania and Kosovo cannot leave their houses because they are being hunted; even a child in the cradle might be marked for death as part of a feud. It is for this reason that Kosovo Albanian houses are often built surrounded by high walls and with gun slits instead of windows.

By methodically killing those who refused to support them, the KLA was striking a deep fear among Albanians: the refusal of one Clan member to obey could lead to revenge against his entire clan. And now the KLA had NATO bombers to enforce blood feud.

What took me by surprise was how much this affected Albanians, even intellectuals. It's amazing. Here is a Professor in Pristina, very sophisticated, but when the order comes from his Clan leader, who is perhaps a farmer 100 miles away, the Professor immediately packs up and leaves for Albania without even considering saying no.

Israel: We didn't understand the KLA. We thought their terror tactics were counter-productive.

Prlincevic: Well, they knew their own people, their fears, their traditions. They knew that if they could prove they were deadly, the clan leaders would fall in line.

Now they live in a society dominated by gangsters. None of this would have happened were it not for years of effort by the United States. (source)

The KLA's efforts to create a phony humanitarian crisis are confirmed by Kosovo Albanians. For instance, take the testimony of the Albanians who testified for the defense at the Milosevic trial (from Andy Walker's summaries):

The witness recounted one occasion when he stopped a truckload of ethnic Albanian refugees who were leaving Kosovo on their way to Albania. Mr. Ibraj asked them why they were leaving, and they told him that they were terrified by the NATO bombing.

It was Mr. Ibraj's testimony that ethnic Albanians, and others, fled Kosovo to escape the NATO bombing, and because the KLA was telling the Albanian population to leave. Mr. Ibraj said that he personally witnessed Albanians leaving because the KLA had told them to go. (source)

(...)

Mr. Fazliu testified that in 1991 certain Albanian clan leaders ordered the Albanian population to break off all contact with Serbs. Mr. Fazliu explained that he ignored the order and worked with a Serbian family tending fields in his village. On his way home from work that night he was insulted by a group of Albanian nationalists. The next morning, a group of Albanian nationalists came to his house and tried to beat him up. Luckily, he had a pistol and was able to fend off his would-be attackers.

(...)

Mr. Fazliu explained that the KLA was a group of terrorists and criminals. He said that the KLA, together with NATO, was responsible for the war and the humanitarian disaster in Kosovo.

He said that the KLA prepared the entire exodus from Kosovo so that they could blame the Serbs for it. He said that refugee camps were being prepared in Macedonia and Albania as long as six months before the war.

Mr. Fazliu told the court that it was the NATO bombing, and not the Yugoslav Army or Serbian Police, which caused the people to flee Kosovo. He explained that the Army and the police wanted people to stay in their homes and even brought them food and humanitarian assistance. He told the tribunal point-blank, "the [Yugoslav] army has done nothing wrong in Kosovo."

In addition to the terror instilled in the population by the NATO bombing, was the KLA's order that Albanians should all leave Kosovo. Mr. Fazliu explained that the KLA told the people to leave, and killed anybody who did not obey their orders. He recounted one example where an elderly Albanian man refused to leave his home, so the KLA came to his house and killed him. Then they blamed the Serbs for the killing. The witness explained that the KLA issued orders to the population through certain Albanian clan leaders. (source)

British journalist Eve-Ann Prentice interviewed many Albanian refugees:

Ms. Prentice was one of the few Western journalists who was actually in Kosovo during the NATO bombing campaign. She testified that she spoke to hundreds of Albanian, Roma and Turkish civilians.

She testified that the Kosovo-Albanians told her that they were leaving Kosovo primarily because they were afraid of the KLA and the NATO bombing. She only came across one Albanian who told her that he was leaving because the Serbian police had told him to.

She said that the KLA was telling the Albanian population that it was their "patriotic duty" to leave Kosovo in order to make it appear that the Serbs were victimizing the Albanians and ethnically cleansing the province.

Ms. Prentice testified that she took measures to speak to Albanian civilians at times when Serbian police were not around. Her Albanian interpreter was a lawyer who worked for Ibrahim Rugova.

She testified that Albanian civilians were afraid to speak freely in the presence of the KLA. She recounted one instance in Kosvoska Mitrovica where she was interviewing a group of Albanians and they would not speak to her once a member of the KLA came within earshot. (source)

In addition, Faik Jasari, president of the Kosovo Democratic Initiative, who was also a representative at the Rambouillet talks, confirms this:

Lituchy: Approximately how many Albanians were forced out of Kosovo by the KLA?

Jasari: About 150,000. About 200 were killed.

Lituchy: Tell us a little bit about the KLA.

Jasari: Initially the KLA was a separatist organization and then became a military organization. They killed loyal Albanians, Serbs, also Albanians who held public office. (source)

These stories differ from journalistic accounts of the time, which is not hard to explain; the KLA controlled most of the interviews done with the refugees, as Daniel Pearl (yes, that Daniel Pearl) and Robert Block explain:

The KLA helped form the West's wartime image of Kosovo. International human-rights groups say officials of the guerrilla force served on the Kosovo-based Council for the Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms, whose activists were often the first to interview refugees arriving in Macedonia. Journalists later cited the council's missing-persons list to support theories about how many people died in Kosovo, and the State Department this month echoed the council' recent estimate of 10,000 missing. But the number has to be taken on faith: Western investigators say the council won't share its list of missing persons. (source)

This agrees with the London Times, "Reports from Macedonia and Albania confirm that KLA 'minders' ensure that all refugees peddle the same line when speaking to Western journalists. KLA gangsters rob them of any remaining cash. And KLA pimps driving Mercedes kidnap refugee girls for prostitution in Italy." (source)

To get an understanding of what NATO did to help the KLA's efforts, you may want to read of how NATO knowingly bombed Albanian refugee columns returning to Kosovo (source, source).

I believe all of this speaks for itself.

Edited by Owen Parsons
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