Enter content here
An EU observer looks over the remains of the St. Atanasius Orthodox church in the Macedonian village of Lesok which was destroyed overnight August 20, 2001. Macedonians blame Albanian rebels for the damage, but the local Albanian rebel commander denied any involvement. NATO will decide August 22, 2001 whether to send 3,500 troops to Macedonia as part of a peace accord for the war-ravaged former Yugoslav republic. (Petr Josek/Reuters)
Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski (L) meets NATO's top commander, General Joseph Ralston of the U.S., in Skopje August 20, 2001. General Ralston paid a flying visit to the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia on Monday to assess whether the shaky truce, violated every night since it was struck, is stable enough to deploy 3,500 troops to collect rebel arms under the peace deal. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski
U.S. Patrols Smuggling Routes to Macedonia.
Balkans: American peacekeepers in Kosovo intercept weapons on way to rebels.
By ALISSA J. RUBIN, Times Staff Writer
MACEDONIA-KOSOVO BORDER -- At dusk, leaf and branch fade to gray high in the rugged mountains on the border between Macedonia and Kosovo.
The only sounds are distant cowbells, evening bird songs and, when night falls, gunfire--the audible sign of the nearby conflict between ethnic Albanian rebels and the Macedonian military.
One front line is even closer.
Invisible in the bushes, three U.S. soldiers in camouflage crouch, their weapons cocked; a hundred feet away, three more soldiers take the same position.
The six surround a narrow clearing that looks like any other opening in the Kosovo woods.
It is anything but. The trail, one of many, leads straight over the border south into Macedonia. For months, it has been a key arms smuggling route for ethnic Albanian rebels, who call themselves the National Liberation Army.
"They are moving vehicles, mules, horses, laden with arms," says Capt. Daxs Stadjuhar, a native of Lubbock, Texas, who commands a company of about 140 soldiers based in the Kosovo town of Vitina. They alternate weapons interception with standard peacekeeping activities in Kosovo, the separatist province of Serbia, Yugoslavia's main republic.
In the two months since the NATO-led troops known as KFOR made interdiction an integral part of their mission, they have hauled in a startling number of arms: more than 600 rifles, including 45 machine guns; 48,829 small-arms rounds; more than 1,000 antitank weapons; 2,438 antitank rounds; 658 mortar rounds; nearly 1,400 grenades and mines; and piles of support equipment such as uniforms, boots, medical supplies and flak jackets, according to a mid-August report.
KFOR soldiers have detained 484 people--and nabbed a couple of dozen horses and mules. In the Balkans, weapons smuggling still relies on old-fashioned animal couriers able to negotiate rocky mountain trails that would defeat even the most rugged jeep.
Arms interception is the latest mission of the Kosovo peacekeepers, who arrived two years ago after an 11-week NATO bombing campaign against the regime of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. More difficult and dangerous than any job they have undertaken, it is increasingly important as well.
The ethnic Albanian rebels who have taken up arms to fight for more rights for Macedonia's ethnic Albanian minority have been getting some of their supplies from Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians are in the majority. As the North Atlantic Treaty Organization tries to broker a peace in Macedonia between the ethnic Albanian rebels and the Macedonian government, its soldiers must demonstrate that they aren't supporting either side. For one thing, that means making every effort to shut off the rebels' arms supply.
But if the interdictions are any measure, the rebels are already extremely well armed and well organized. Despite KFOR's recent successes, the guerrillas have stockpiled a number of weapons.
Arms Seizures Hint at Difficulties to Come
The sheer number of arms seized suggests the difficulty that NATO will face when it tries to disarm NLA fighters, as it has agreed to do in a deal with the Macedonian government and the rebels.
The interdictions may represent no more than 15% of the arms and supplies being smuggled across the border, said one Western official who has been monitoring guerrilla activities. Arms are almost certainly also coming from Albania, where there are no NATO troops to capture them, the official added.
The NATO mission in Macedonia, which is slated to begin as soon as there is an enduring cease-fire, is a short-term effort designed to last only 60 days and aimed solely at disarming the ethnic Albanian rebels by collecting and destroying weapons that the guerrillas voluntarily bring in. For Stadjuhar, a 6-foot-6 soldier who mixes friendliness with a commanding presence, the interdiction mission has been a lesson in the subtleties of guerrilla armies. This sector of Kosovo is patrolled by U.S. troops, who have focused increasing amounts of energy on interdiction.
"We're the cops from out of town," Stadjuhar says. "We don't know all the hide sites and the places where you can't be seen."
Despite all of the U.S. forces' technological advantages, the guerrillas have two huge assets: the utter loyalty and commitment of the ethnic Albanian villagers who live on both sides of the Kosovo-Macedonia border and a deep knowledge of the rough mountain terrain.
Distinguishing Between Rural and Rebel Signs
The Albanian villagers in Kosovo fully support the NLA fight in Macedonia. Amid white plaster farmhouses with terra-cotta roofs and bucolic herds of sheep wandering the hillsides, the villagers have supplied NLA rebels with safe houses, food and vehicles. A recent search by U.S. troops of a farmhouse on a riven dirt road high in the mountains revealed 30 futons that military sources believe furnished sleeping quarters for NLA soldiers.
Often, U.S. soldiers observe large numbers of men of fighting age accompanying older men into the woods to cut down trees. Later they see only a few of the men return to the village. None of the soldiers knows for sure if the other men have walked over the border to join the rebels to the south or are just cutting wood in another valley.
High on the border, signs of the rebels are scattered over the hillsides. On a ridge, Sgt. John Trevino, a former Marine from Ft. Campbell, Ky., who now serves in the Army, points out a tree with a number of Albanian names carved into its trunk. "Probably a signpost," he says.
There may have been a weapons cache nearby, and the instructions to a new recruit might have been to go to the tree with the names carved into it, turn right, pick up an AK-47 assault rifle hidden under some leaves, and keep to the path that winds south over the border, Stadjuhar says.
Other signs of the rebels are large piles of charred wood, suggesting that perhaps earlier in the year, when it was colder, people built campfires when they stopped for the night.
But it's tricky for the U.S. soldiers to figure out when they're observing covert shipments to the guerrillas in Macedonia and when they're just noticing signs of rural life in this simple mountain culture. Recently, Stadjuhar's men noticed flashes at night in a field high on the border. The flashes came every night at about the same hour. They hypothesized that it might be men passing guns on to fighters traveling through the passes.
Instead, they surprised three farmers who were carrying flashlights. It turned out the farmers came to their fields each night to scare off wild pigs that were ravaging their fragile corn crop.
Still, the soldiers have to decide every day whether to search trucks of hay and wagons with sacks of grain--or is it bullets?
"Up here, they are UCK fanatics," Stadjuhar says, pointing to the village of Buzovik, using the Albanian initials for both the NLA and the former Kosovo Liberation Army, which disbanded after NATO troops entered Kosovo. When U.S. troops searched one of the houses, they found UCK memorabilia, arm patches and posters.
Land Mines Limit Reconnaissance Work
Several times a day, the U.S. soldiers do reconnaissance, following trails that wind over the mountains to Macedonia. They check for signs that someone has been there recently. They look for footprints, mule and horse tracks and motor oil.
For every trail they go down, they pass up another. Sometimes it's because the trail leads toward known minefields; sometimes it's because it looks unused, suggesting it might be mined.
Sgt. Jeremy Johnston, 28, a native of Syracuse, N.Y., who was spending the night on watch duty early last week, summed it up. "There are so many trails, God knows which ones they are using," he says. "There're not enough of us to cover everything."
The land mines present the greatest hazard for the soldiers. The border area was heavily mined by the Yugoslav army. When Yugoslav forces retreated in 1999, they handed over their land-mine maps to NATO--but they didn't consider any area with 20 mines or fewer worth noting. Already this summer, one U.S. soldier lost his foot when he stepped on a mine in an unmarked area.
But the local population has a good idea where the mines are, and NATO sources believe that now that the peacekeepers have begun to interrupt the main smuggling routes, the rebels are moving into mined areas where the foreign soldiers won't go.
Early on, Stadjuhar's company had great success: Its members stopped five sport-utility vehicles stuffed with arms and several mule trains, and found a number of caches of weapons in the woods.
The ridge has been quiet for more than a week now, and interdictions appear to be taking place to the east and west. But the soldiers, who keep 24-hour watch on the main routes, don't leave their post. They feel sure that if they did, word would get back to the rebels that the coast was clear.
So Johnston and the other eight men of his squad work 48-hour shifts in which they take turns sleeping on the cold ground, eating military rations and keeping watch.
Soldiers Say Assignment Most Rewarding of All
For all the discomfort, they say it is the most rewarding work they've done since coming to the Balkans three months ago. The only frustration is that their particular squad has yet to interdict any arms.
"It doesn't get any more real than this," Johnston says. "During the night, you hear gunfire in the distance and it gets closer and closer and it gets your adrenaline pumped because we've trained and trained to do this.
"Everything was quiet last night, but maybe tonight, maybe we'll get something."
Rebel Leader No Longer Persona Non Grata.
Macedonia: Ali Ahmeti, wanted by police and banned by the U.S., has legitimized himself and his group via NATO negotiations.
By ALISSA J. RUBIN, Times Staff Writer
SIPKOVICA, Macedonia -- A clear sign of the change in the political climate in Macedonia came Sunday when the leader of the nation's ethnic Albanian rebels held a 45-minute news conference for foreign media in this guerrilla-controlled town that for months has been off-limits to outsiders.
Flanked by armed rebel commanders, a spokesman and a translator, the political head of the National Liberation Army, or NLA, Ali Ahmeti, appeared before cameras and pledged to uphold his end of the peace deal signed a week ago by handing over the movement's weapons to NATO troops, who began arriving in the country over the weekend.
About 350 British, French and Czech soldiers arrived Saturday and Sunday, just ahead of a planned visit today by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's supreme commander, U.S. Air Force Gen. Joseph W. Ralston, who will evaluate the status of the latest cease-fire.
Late Sunday, there were reports of gunfire and shelling in nearby Tetovo, the country's second-largest city and a hot spot in the conflict between ethnic Macedonians and ethnic Albanians. Macedonian television said it was the most significant violation of the cease-fire.
There is no doubt that the rebels have a lot of weapons to hand over.
Sipkovica is a vivid symbol of the power the rebels have gained in the six months since they took up arms to fight, they say, for more rights for Macedonia's ethnic Albanian minority.
There are no ethnic Macedonians in the mountain village, and at checkpoints outside it, everyone who enters or leaves must register with armed NLA guards. The streets are filled with NLA soldiers wearing crisp combat uniforms and carrying assault rifles. Few men of fighting age are unarmed. This is a place where the rebels are heroes to the population.
Children run through the streets waving and chanting "UCK! UCK!" the Albanian initials for the NLA. Nurses in the town infirmary are proud to minister to injured guerrillas, and a number of the houses fly the Albanian flag.
Macedonia has about 2 million people, of whom at least 25% are ethnic Albanian. Most of these live in the northwest of the country, where Sipkovica is located.
Despite the garrison-like setting, Ahmeti struck a conciliatory tone.
"The war is over. . . . Now we are oriented toward democracy, not fighting," he said in his address to reporters in a schoolhouse on the edge of town.
"Our arms will be given to NATO," said Ahmeti, and in turn every soldier who hands in his arms will be granted amnesty from prosecution by Macedonia's government.
Reports of the news conference--at which, according to Macedonian sources, no Macedonian media were present--are likely to further frustrate ethnic Macedonians, who already feel that Western leaders are in league with the ethnic Albanians.
Ahmeti spoke in a schoolroom under four flags--those of Albania, the European Union, the United States and NATO. Notably missing was the Macedonian flag, an omission likely to affirm the suspicion of many ethnic Macedonians that the NLA wants NATO to help enforce a partition of the country that would essentially grant independence to areas where ethnic Albanians are a majority.
Ahmeti said the absence of the Macedonian flag had no significance and that one would be hung soon. "Tomorrow," he said.
The recent legitimization of Ahmeti and the NLA through the peace process is one of the stranger turns in the conflict that has shaken Macedonia since February.
As recently as June, President Bush issued executive orders prohibiting financial donations to five ethnic Albanian groups, including the NLA, and banning travel to the U.S. by some ethnic Albanian leaders, including Ahmeti.
Macedonian law enforcement officials issued an arrest warrant for Ahmeti in July. They charged him and 10 other suspected rebel leaders with a number of crimes, including terrorism, genocide and human rights violations.
But in the past few weeks, NATO representatives have been negotiating as intensively with Ahmeti as with the Macedonian government.
Already, Ahmeti has met with British Brig. Barney White-Spunner, who will be leading a larger NATO force in Macedonia once it is deployed. White-Spunner arrived late Friday with the first British troops. He also has met with Macedonian government officials.
One of the most contentious issues yet to be resolved is how many arms the NLA will hand over to NATO. Macedonians have said they believe that the rebels have at least 8,000 guns and other armaments; the NLA has floated numbers closer to 2,000.
When asked about the numbers, Ahmeti sounded not unlike NATO officials responding to the same question from reporters the day before.
"We have a team of experts" working on the numbers, Ahmeti said.
A senior Western diplomat who has met with Ahmeti described him as "a man of vision."
That is hardly how Macedonian government officials see him. On the evening news on the main government television channel, Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski described him as "bandit Ali Ahmeti" and said it was a sign of "shocking arrogance" that he held a news conference when he faces criminal charges by the Macedonian government.
In a further affront to ethnic Macedonians, Ahmeti arrived for the news conference in an Audi A6 that an ethnic Albanian government official had reported had disappeared when he was visiting Tetovo, Macedonia's largest ethnic Albanian city, last week.
The car's reappearance delighted some Albanians in Sipkovica, however, who pointed at it, saying, "That's the government car."
FYROM public remains skeptical.
Slav-Macedonians say NATO's peace plan aims to divide their country and that no one listens to them
By Dave Clark
BLACE - Supporters of a Western-backed peace plan are facing an uphill battle to convince a skeptical public that a NATO plan to collect ethnic Albanian rebel arms can save their country from civil war.
The guerrillas vowed yesterday to hand over their arms to a NATO task force and return to their homes, but few among the majority Slav-Macedonian Orthodox Christian population believe that the conflict will be solved so simply.
Many accuse of the West of backing ethnic Albanian extremism and forcing what they see as their weak and corrupt politicians to back a humiliating peace plan which rewards the guerrillas for their rebellion.
"The United States supported the terrorists. They supplied all their weapons. Slav-Macedonian Christian people have suffered during all this and no one has listened to us," says 49-year-old Ace Nikusevski.
Most Slav-Macedonians believe the West encouraged violent Albanian nationalism by supporting the Kosovo Liberation Army's (KLA) rebellion against Yugoslav rule in Kosovo, and that NATO has since failed to stop guerrilla weapons and ideology leaking over the border into the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
Many also believe that the military support given by the West to the KLA during its 1998-1999 war has continued.
Murky conspiracy theories - encouraged by government hardliners and the nationalist press - accuse the United States and NATO of plotting the breakup of FYROM and of protecting Albanian criminals.
Western leaders have repeatedly and angrily denied all such charges, but inside a 10-year-old republic which fears for its very future a paranoid nationalism, laced with ethnic hatred, drives public opinion. "This country doesn't need mediators, its needs a psychoanalyst," sighed a senior European official who helped negotiate the peace accord which underlies the ceasefire.
The FYROM government has promised from next week to begin an information campaign to persuade press and public that the deal guarantees their safety, democracy and a place in the European mainstream. But the anger inspired by the recent fighting is still strong, and there is no shortage of opportunist politicians ready to stoke hatred to maintain pressure on the West and further their own ambitions.
Men like Nikusevski, who joined a protest blocking NATO convoys on the road from Skopje to Kosovo, are angry. "I worked in English hotels - in London, Yorkshire and on the East coast - for 26 years. I came back to build a home for my family, and live the good life in my village, on my land," he says.
"Now my house has been destroyed, burned by the terrorists, and I have nothing."
A soft-spoken and ironic family man, Nikusevski likes playing football and looking after his kids and 77-year-old mother - who are now refugees in Skopje. Two weeks ago fighting broke out in the ethnically mixed village of Terce, nestling under the spectacular Sar mountains in the northwest of the country.
"In the night two rockets hit the bakery behind my house. All my Albanian neighbors joined the terrorists, they had no choice. In the morning all the Slav-Macedonian families left, now our houses have been ransacked, some of them burned," he said.
Schroeder seeks to win over party on Macedonia.
BERLIN, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder interrupted a two-week tour of formerly communist eastern Germany on Monday to lobby his own centre-left party to endorse the deployment of German troops in Macedonia.
Schroeder skipped part of a planned visit to the city of Halle to attend a Social Democratic Party (SPD) meeting in Berlin after about 30 SPD members of parliament had said they would not vote for participation in the NATO peace mission.
Several members of the Greens, Schroeder's junior coalition partners, were also expected to vote against German involvement in the planned, British-led deployment of 3,500 NATO troops to collect guerrilla weaponry in a 30-day operation.
After the meeting with Schroeder, the SPD floor leader in parliament, Peter Struck, said he expected the legislature to approve the deployment next week.
"I have no doubt the coalition parties alone will get a majority," he told reporters.
Schroeder has a 16-seat absolute majority in the Bundestag lower house, which must approve any deployment of forces abroad.
Angela Merkel, leader of the main conservative opposition party, has said her Christian Democrats will probably back the deployment if Schroeder allocates sufficient funding for it.
The government has said it will make ready 120 million marks ($56 million) in initial costs for the deployment of 500 German troops and up to 15 million marks in monthly running costs. The mission is intended to last little more than a month.
Although opposition support would prevent any embarrassing parliamentary defeat for Schroeder, even were some of his own party to break ranks, his government is still keen to rally its own supporters behind the plan.
Germany, whose post-Nazi forces were kept strictly on home soil during the Cold War, has only allowed its troops to take part in foreign missions since the mid-1990s.
They took part in combat for the first time since World War Two in the NATO air campaign over Kosovo in 1999. The German government is keen to dispel past criticism from its allies that it has not pulled its military weight in peacekeeping missions.
Macedonia moves forces, sets up no-fly zone to help NATO.
SKOPJE, Aug 20 (AFP) -
The Macedonian defense ministry said Monday it would reposition its security forces and keep its warplanes grounded to help NATO move ahead with an operation to collect arms from ethnic Albanian guerrillas.
"Macedonian security forces are ready as of today to change their position ... in order to create the necessary conditions to launch Operation Essential Harvest to disarm the Albanian terrorists," the ministry said in a statement.
The new positioning of the forces will help NATO forces carry out its weapons collection mission, the ministry added.
"But the Macedonian army stands ready to act immediately in the event of a violation of the ceasefire by the terrorists," it added.
As a confidence-building measure, the defense ministry also said helicopters and planes would not fly over the crisis areas. NATO had specifically requested the creation of a no-fly zone.
Albanian rebels bask in sun and sense of victory.
Rory Carroll in Sipkovica
Monday August 20, 2001
For the rebels in the mountains where it all started yesterday was a day to savour. The Macedonians were routed and Nato was on its way. They had pulled it off. They had won.
Albanian folk songs seeped from homes into streets where uniformed men with AK-47s lounged in the sun, sipping coffee, grinning, and daring to believe their insurgency had ended in a victory endorsed by the west.
The political agreement signed in Skopje said no such thing, civil war with the Macedonian Slav majority may yet erupt and Nato insisted it would leave within 30 days, but the National Liberation Army was confident its will would yet again prevail.
In Sipkovica, the group's mountain village headquarters, the mood was festive. Children chanted the rebel group's Albanian initials, UCK, and saluted their heroes.
But commanders ensured no one fired in the air or got carried away. The public relations battle for western hearts and minds goes on and visiting journalists were to be shown disciplined soldiers, partners in a western-brokered peace, not triumphalist terrorists.
Things could go very wrong very soon: the ethnic Albanian rebels may balk at handing over weapons, hardliners may break away, Macedonian fury at the deal may wreck the ceasefire, Nato governments may think better of entering another Balkan quagmire.
But Ali Ahmeti, who masterminded a campaign which overwhelmed Macedonians in battle and in diplomacy, was relaxed. Seated behind a low desk in a disused school, he told a phalanx of microphones and cameras that the NLA would disarm and help build a new Macedonia.
The blackboard behind him was draped in the flags of Nato, the European Union, the United States and Albania. No room for Macedonia's sunburst flag. Guards in fresh uniforms remained impassive as Mr Ahmeti promised to put the genie of Albanian nationalism back into the bottle he opened, after a campaign in which almost 100 died and tens of thousands were displaced.
"We guarantee the safety of Nato troops. All weapons will be handed over. The NLA has the situation under control and we don't expect any problems.
"We remember the past as something bitter but we are going to create conditions for two communities to live in peace. We think the war is over, we're talking about democracy."
Hardliners are suspected of opposing the agreement - which amends the constitution and gives Albanians greater rights - and engaging in unauthorised attacks, such as an ambush which killed 10 Macedonian soldiers. Mr Ahmeti, hesitating for the only time, said he knew of no split within the NLA but later appeared to confirm that a threat existed.
The ambush and various other attacks were unauthorised reprisals for Macedonian violence, he said.
"We consider all those incidents as happening outside our responsibility."
Contradictions riddled Mr Ahmeti's briefing. He does not trust the Macedonians but believes they will do things they have not promised: enact reforms before the rebels disarm, disarm Macedonian civilians and effectively offer amnesty to all NLA fighters.
Mr Ahmeti filled the gaps in logic with his favourite word: Nato. The Atlantic alliance will stay far longer than 30 days, he suggested, because otherwise the deal will fail.
In the shade of Sipkovica's main street a group of village elders agreed that Macedonian forces would never return. Only Albanians newly drafted into Macedonia's police and army would come.
Squatting beside an open-air oven baking bread, Bedri Gosmani, 33, said he was tired of fighting and would return to his home in Tetovo within days if the ceasefire held. "But I will keep one gun, like most of my friends. Just in case everything goes off again. But I believe Nato will stay ... "
Selman Seferi, 46, was optimistic. Fifteen years after moving to Brooklyn to build New York office blocks, he had come back to fight and believed in the peace.
"Now I won't need this shit," he said, brandishing an AK-47. "I've got another two stashed away and I'll hand them all over to Nato.
"Then I'm out of here. I want to go home." Should violence resume he would return but he too believed mission creep was inevitable for Nato.
There were no plans to dismantle a nearby training base, where recruits will continue raising the Albanian flag at 7am. One commander suggested the Macedonians were right when they accused the rebels of wanting partition to create a greater Albania from Albania, Kosovo and northern Macedonia.
"I dream of having coffee with a friend in Tirana and having no problems when I meet another friend for coffee in Pristina."
Down in the valley below Macedonia's second city, Tetovo, was transformed from just three months ago, when Macedonian police behind sandbags traded fire with rebels in the hills. Yesterday bearded men in NLA bandanas and black T-shirts strolled through streets with machine guns and rocket launchers, window shopping in those areas not devastated.
Provocations continue. A Macedonian tank slammed a shell near the village of Poroj early yesterday and shelling rocked a village further north on Friday.
Anything heavier could deter a skittish Nato from deploying. For now the insurgents are striving to show ostentatious restraint. Some commanders have reportedly said the priority is not holding the ceasefire but making sure the other side gets blamed if it collapses.
If the agreement works Ismail Mehmeti will be the NLA's last casualty. Shot last week, he died of his wounds on Friday and was buried the following day in the cemetery of martyrs in Drendvec, near Tetovo.
Hundreds of villagers watched the honour guard lower his coffin into the hard, dusty earth.
A comrade made an address: "For him the motherland was expensive. He gave his life for the good of his nation, for the generations to come. His blood will give us the courage to seek freedom."
Mehmeti's teenage sister, wrapped in a flag, wept. Mourners murmured that other sisters may yet get to wear that flag.
Agim Ceku, KPC Commander, Lead The Attack on Radusha.
Agim Cheku, commander of Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) and alleged war criminal with mafia ties.
KPC Commander, Agim Ceku, personally ordered the attacks on Macedonian territory from Kosovo for the past week, report Macedonian Intelligence Sources.
According to this source, Ceku last saturday was located in the Kosovo village of Krivenik near the Macedonian border. Krivenik was the command post of KPC, operating from Kosovo on Macedonian territory in the village of Radusha, the place of the biggest clashes between members of the Macedonian security forces and Albanian terrorists. During the clashes, Ceku was constantly being updated about what is going on the field.
Macedonian police and army officials are gathering and compiling evidence on the involvement of Kosovo Peace Corps in the clashes against Macedonian security forces. As we found out, in the big clashes on Skopska Crna Gora and Radusha the Macedonian forces found many identifications cards of KPC, driver licenses belonging to UNMIK and other documents on the bodies of the dead terrorists and the ones that were captured clearly showing the involvement of people from the Kosovo Protection Corps in the attack on Macedonian territory.
"We have gathered many pieces of evidence showing even the names of the members of the KPC that died during their attack and the ones that were captured by our forces. All of this evidence will be gathered and will be shown that without question there was an open invasion from Kosovo" said our source.
KPC have 5000 members, from which 2000 are "reserves". It's been confirmed that several commanders of the KPC are actively involved in NLA : Gzim Ostreni, Ramus Haradinaj, Malig Drecaj, Drenko Rabi, Xhavid Asani, Saban Salja and Biljal Ceka.
Source: Dnevnik, #1628 August 17, 2001
VIEWPOINT: The Role of the Western Media in the Macedonian Conflict.
By Carl K. Savich
With the signing of a peace agreement in secret on Monday, August 13 in Macedonia and the deployment of NATO troops in Operation Essential Harvest, NATO has embarked on yet another peacekeeping mission. The key points of the peace accord are as follows: 1) the Macedonian Constitution will be amended to include all ethnic groups, not only Macedonians; 2) Albanian will be the second official language in Albanian-areas; 3)there will be a greater percentage of Albanians in the police forces; 4) there will be a degree of self-rule in Albanian-dominated areas; and, 5) a census is to be held before the next elections. The accord meets the key demands of the NLA/KLA/ANA rebels/terrorists/separatists. What are those demands? Albanian must be an official language of Macedonia. Albanians must be a constituent nation of Macedonia, co-equal with the majority ethnic Macedonian population, although Albanians are a small minority. The Albanian population must obtain self-rule in Illirida, Western Macedonia, areas where Albanians are the majority. The signing of the accord was in secret and many of the terms and conditions are purposefully ambiguous and vague. But it is the first step in the emergence of partition, the initial phase in the establishment of the federalization plan. The agreement had to appear as a compromise but satisfies all the demands of the NLA separatists/terrorists/rebels/insurgents/guerrillas. You know there is an propaganda war or infowar when no one can decide on what to call the Albanian armed groups, rebels, insurgents, guerrillas, terrorists, thugs, murderous thugs. The choice is up to you. That is a sure sign, a tip-off of a propaganda campaign. The peace accord is a preliminary blueprint for partition/federalization. How did this peace agreement come about? What role did the Western media play in bringing about the peace accord in Macedonia?
The Macedonian government leaders and Macedonian citizens made accusations and allegations that the Western, NATO countries were arming, training, supplying, organizing, and supporting the NLA/KLA/KPC rebels in their invasion from NATO-occupied Kosovo-Metohija. The Macedonian government alleged that NATO did not interdict NLA/KLA/KPC/ANA/LAMPB insurgents as they illegally crossed the border that NATO controls between Kosovo and Macedonia. The rebels were coming across the border mainly from the zone the United States controlled, but also from the German sector. The Macedonian government accused the US of supplying and supporting the NLA/KLA guerrillas. There were reports that German NATO helicopters were re-supplying NLA troops in their offensive on Tetovo. In the evacuation of the NLA troops from Aracinovo by US NATO troops, allegations were made that 17 US military advisers were with the NLA/KLA troops and that the evacuation was facilitated by the US Army/Pentagon to rescue the 17 US military advisers, suspected of being members of MPRI, the private military mercenaries and military trainers working in cooperation with the US Government, Pentagon, and CIA. Ljupco Georgievski, the Prime Minister of Macedonia, made the following accusation on March 18:
You cant persuade anyone in Macedonia today that the government of the United States and Germany do not know who the terrorist leaders are and what they want, they could stop them acting. Antonio Milososki, a spokesman for the Macedonian government, supported this allegation, alleging that NATO is a big friend of our enemies:
All our fears have proven true that the international representatives are in close coordination with the KLA. This is open, public cooperation between international mediators and the rebels.
The US and other NATO representatives denied the accusation and according to the Western media reports, refuted the allegations, although no tangible evidence or proof was offered to refute the charges. Moreover, what motive would the Macedonian leaders have for making immature and irresponsible allegations? The Western media unanimously rejected the accusations of the Macedonian leaders and ethnic Macedonian citizens. The media offered no evidence to refute the Macedonian allegations. This raises a red flag. Who is watching the watchers? Who is guarding the guards? The Western media reporting in the Macedonian conflict raises epistemological questions and issues about the role of the Western media in the Macedonian conflict. What role did the media play in Macedonia?
The Western media left tell-tale fingerprints and incriminating evidence during their media coverage. The Western media has an established and formulaic modus operandi (MO), a pattern of news reporting that leaves an evidentiary trail, fingerprints of a psyop and information war. The Western media was engaged in a formulaic infowar and propaganda war in Macedonia, following the pattern set in the Croatian/Krajina conflict, the Bosnian civil war, and the Kosovo-Metohija conflict. Infowar? Psyop war? Propaganda war? What do you mean? Here is the evidence.
The Western media used the well-worn device of making the propaganda so obvious and so blatant, so in your face, that hardly anyone noticed. The deceptive device was used in the Edgar Allan Poe detective story The Purloined Letter(1845). Detective C. Auguste Dupin had to find a hidden letter. No one had been able to find the letter. Dupin discovered that no one was able to find the letter because the letter was placed conspicuously and obtrusively in the open in plain sight. This was the propaganda device of the US/Western media.
What propaganda/infowar/psyop techniques did the Western media use in the Macedonian conflict?
The infowar specialist and media propagandist uses what works, what is effective. What worked before is used again and again. Wars and conflicts come and go, but propaganda techniques remain the same. This makes the analysis of Western media propaganda and manipulation easy. Like the convicted felon and criminal, the Western/US media deny that they engage in propaganda and manipulation, but the evidence needed to convict them is plain to all. Plausible deniability is the intellectual refuge of the Pentagon/CIA scoundrel and war criminal and propaganda specialist. Let us examine the evidence.
From the start of the Macedonia conflict in January, 2001, when a Macedonian police officer was killed in Tearce, the Western/US media began suspiciously and un-explicably referring to the ethnic Macedonians as Slavs. Albanians were unanimously referred to as ethnic Albanians without fail. This requires a parallel designation for Macedonians as ethnic Macedonians or simply as Macedonians. But in almost all media reporting, ethnic Macedonians were referred to as Slavs. Why? What is the basis for this seemingly arbitrary and meaningless term? Could it have something to do with the fact that the NLA rebel platform did not recognize ethnic Macedonians but referred to them as Slavs. So the independent and free media of the Western NATO countries was parroting the NLA separatist/terrorist platform. Is this bias? If ethnic Macedonians are Slavs, that is, one of many constituent nations in Macedonia, then ethnic Albanians should be a constituent nation as well. This propaganda device negates the Macedonian ethnic identification and decomposes Macedonia into groups of many constituent nations, including Slavs, Albanians, Serbs, and Roma. This propaganda device raised a red flag. The Western/US media, however, disregarded complaints and continued to use this language, a dichotomy of ethnic Albanians and Slavs. The NATO/US/EU brokered peace accord in effect gives the Albanians constituent nation status. So there was a method to the propaganda madness. Of course there was. There always is. Propaganda is expensive. The NATO countries do not throw money away for no purpose, they are capitalists not philanthropists. So somebody is paying for a large propaganda bill. Moreover, an infowar requires coordination, planning, team work, research, funding, and many work hours. Someone has to pay for this. And they did. Now we see why Slavs was used instead of ethnic Macedonian. Get the picture?
Embeds, the technical term of art or jargon, are editorial sentences or paragraphs that appear in every news account or dispatch during a conflict. Embeds are brainwashing editorials that tell the gentle reader or listener how he or she should think about an issue. Embeds are a technique of mind-control, thought-control, government-control of public perception through a free and independent free press. Embed messages appear gratuitously, consistently, and uniformly as odd non sequiturs in all news accounts during the Macedonia conflict. When you see an embed, you can be certain that an infowar or propaganda war is being conducted. Someone took the trouble to manipulate you. It is not by accident. Embeds are Big Brother watching over your shoulder to see that you are thinking the correct thoughts, that you think like everyone else does, that you are part of the herd, the pack. Who is the hidden persuader and hidden manipulator behind the embeds? Embeds are created by governments. In the Macedonian case, the US government, the British Government, and the other NATO governments. Is that a surprise? It should not be. Embeds? What do you mean by embeds? Embeds are very easy to analyze. Embeds rely on the device of Poes detective story. Make the brainwashing so obvious that no one notices it. Where is the incriminating evidence needed to convict the independent and free media of the free world? If it is that obvious, why didnt anyone notice it? Where is the evidence? Why didnt we notice it then?
The propaganda/infowar embed during the Macedonian conflict was simple and brief. It was repeated so often it became a nauseating and sickening and deplorable brainwashing slogan. One had to wonder whether we were living in a totalitarian state with a government-controlled media, or in the Western world, the democratic and free world. The embed was simple so that even someone with no background in the Macedonian conflict could grasp it. The propaganda embed consisted of two parts. The first part of the brainwashing embed was as follows: Ethnic Albanians are fighting for greater rights, stated sometimes as equal rights, human rights, minority rights, more rights, constitutional rights, but with the same meaning. The second part of the propaganda embed is as follows: Ethnic Albanians are a third of the population of Macedonia, sometimes stated as more than a third, up to a third, at least a third. Why this embed? By mischaracterizing the conflict as one where the indigenous population is revolting against government oppression/repression by the Slavs in Macedonia, the actual nature of the insurgency can be falsified, manipulated, and obscured. This is all common sense by the way. Just the name of the Albanian terrorist group the National Liberation Army is a tip off to anyone not brainwashed by the free world media. The term Liberation is the key term here. Liberation implies territorial aggrandizement, implies conquest and occupation of territory, implies separatism and terrorism and a war of conquest, conquest of territory. This term Liberation is significant. The NLA terrorists seek to liberate Illirida, Western Macedonia, from the Slavs, from the Slav-dominated government in Skopje. What is the goal of the insurgency? Looking up the term liberation in any dictionary will reveal that the goal of the NLA/KLA is separatism. This is what the embed seeks to conceal. The analysis is very simple. The propaganda is right there in the open for all to see. Why are not more people nauseated and disgusted by it? After all, the Western media has no trouble in terming the Basque rebels and insurgents, ETA, as separatists. The Palestine Liberation Organization always is a terrorist organization and terrorist group, never a group fighting for the human or greater rights of the stateless Palestinians. Are the Palestinians oppressed/repressed? In short, the choice of terminology is on purpose and by choice, it is purposeful manipulation.
Why does it matter if the Albanians are a third of the population? This propaganda embed is meant to assure the reader that the Albanian insurgency is motivated by demographics, i.e., democracy. The Kosovo embed of 1998 was that Albanians were 90% of the population. The reasoning of the infowar specialist/propagandist is the same. The brainwashing is supposed to emphasis that a large population is being denied democratic rights, that they are being oppressed/repressed. The population size of the Albanians, in short, warrants granting them autonomy/partition/greater rights. The uniformed reader naturally will question why Albanians are given autonomy but Basque separatists and Palestinian terrorists are not. This propaganda embed assures and assuages the doubts of the reader. The Albanians are a large population in Macedonia, a third or more than a third. Therefore, the Albanians should be given greater rights and autonomy and their language should be made the official language. The appeal is to democracy, that people should rule themselves,i.e., there should be self-rule, which means autonomy/federalization/partition. Democracy comes from the Greek word meaning rule by the people, demos, the people, kratein, to rule, that is, self-rule. It is a subtle bit of brainwashing and subliminal manipulation. Propaganda is a science. Amateurs need not apply.
Here is a sample of the propaganda embed as it appeared in an Associated Press (AP) story by AP reporter Aleksandar Vasovic:
The militants launched their insurgency in February, saying they are fighting for greater rights for ethnic Albanians, who account for up to a third of Macedonias 2 million people. The government contends they are trying to carve up the country.
This embed has appeared in EVERY news account in the Western media in media reporting on the Macedonia conflict. Vasovic gratuitously and inexplicably includes the non sequitur brainwashing paragraph in a story about Macedonian demonstrators attacking the US embassy in Skopje, breaking the windows with rocks. The German embassy was attacked as well as a McDonalds restaurant in Skopje. What did the embed have to do with the mass demonstrations against NATO? Moreover, the EXACT SAME embed has appeared in all of the AP news reports by Vasovic filed previously. We got it. We got it the first time the brainwashing embed appeared. Again, we got it the first time. Got it. Why repeat it ad nauseam until the reader becomes physically ill and nauseous? The mindless repetition tends to sicken one. It reflects a dehumanization. We are like cattle not human beings for these propagandists. Needless to say, repetition is a major technique in propaganda and commercial advertising. Ever notice how many times a commercial is repeated on television or radio in the US and the Western media? Ads are repeated non-stop endlessly. Buy Coke. Eat pizza. Buy cheeseburgers. That is not by accident. That is on purpose. Repetition is the name of the game in selling and in persuading. You can be selling burgers or humanitarian intervention, but the underlying techniques are the same. Ask any advertising executive? But is this all of the evidence?
The Western media modus operandi (MO) followed a consistent pattern, a formulaic blueprint. If it isnt broken, why fix it? Propaganda techniques do not change. The Western media used terminology that sets off alarm bells and raises red flags. Did anyone notice? The Western media formula is as follows: When the media opposes a leader, that leader is referred to as a nationalist. Nationalism and nationalist are the key buzzwords of the New World Order Lexicon. The US and Israel and Turkey and Spain are never nationalist. In short, only those we seek to destroy are nationalists. Count how many times the Western/US media used that term in describing Macedonian citizens opposed to the KLA/NLA/ANA/KCP/LAMPB separatists. Do a media content analysis, symbol counting. It is so obvious that no one noticed. Or no one cared, which is even worse. The media spin doctors even coined new terminology for Macedonia. Thousands of ethnic Macedonians ethnically cleansed from the Tetovo region were termed not refugees, but displaced persons. Why? Because the NLA/KLA/KPC were torturing, murdering, kidnapping ethnic Macedonians, Orthodox Christians. The rebels fighting for human and greater rights were committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. This is why the Western media coined the term displaced persons. The NLA/KLA put Tetovo under siege as well as Orthodox villages in the region. Vratnica, Staro Selo, Belovishte were all surrounded and the inhabitants were told to leave. The NLA/KLA troops fired mortars into Belovishte to drive out the inhabitants. Perica Bojkovski, an Orthodox priest in Tearce, was kidnapped, tortured, and beaten nearly to death by the NLA/KLA insurgents. Bojkovski suffered serious injuries, including internal bleeding, and was rushed to a military hospital in Skopje. This was a pattern of the KLA/NLA to terrorize the Macedonian population into leaving their villages,i.e., ethnic cleansing. This is called ethnic cleansing, a war crime and a crime against humanity amounting to genocide.
What did the Western/US media do? They ignored these war crimes. This is a classic example of the Selection Technique in propaganda. You just select what you want the reader to see. Inconvenient information is not covered or reported. An analysis of the media coverage of the ethnic cleansing of the Macedonian population of Western Macedonia reveals that, indeed, these war crimes by the NLA/KLA terrorists were not covered by the US/Western media. And if it is not covered by the media, it did not exist. It is as simple as that, ladies and gentlemen. If it doesnt appear in the free press, in the Western press of the free world, it did not happen at all. It is an accusation, an allegation, a charge, someone claimed it. The media coined the term hardline to describe Macedonian political leaders who did not accept the NATO/US peace plan.
The hostility and arrogant disdain of the Western/US media towards the Macedonian population was shown in an Agence France Presse (AFP) report describing anti-NATO, anti-US, anti-Western demonstrations in Skopje. The AFP report referred to Macedonian demonstrators as a mob of angry Slavs, irate protesters, violent protesters and called the demonstrations mob violence. The demonstrators were incited by allegations NATO tacitly supports ethnic Albanian rebels the report stated. Here there is some subtle slight of hand, some subtle legerdemain by the propagandist/reporter. The report stated that the Slav mob was incited by allegations of NATO support for the Albanian terrorist groups who have invaded from Kosovo. But in fact, the mob was incited by first-hand knowledge, first-hand experience, by evidence of their own eyes. US Army troops had just evacuated 500 armed NLA/KLA/KPC rebels along with 17 US advisers from MPRI in US-supplied air-conditioned busses and US Army vehicles along with their weapons. The US Army did not disarm the NLA/KLA terrorists but helped them re-deploy to a village held by the NLA. This is what incited the demonstrations and not the so-called allegations. This is a subtle one. This is a fast one. They pulled a fast one here. Watch the media magician carefully or you might miss the trick.
But where did this so-called peace accord or peace plan come from? Why does the peace accord capitulate to NLA/KLA terrorist demands? Havent the terrorists won? Didnt the KLA/NLA prove that terrorism pays and succeeds? Could they have forced the Macedonian government to surrender and capitulate through peaceful, democratic, legal means, as provided for in the Macedonian Constitution? Is the peace plan sui generis, based on negotiations between Francois Leotard, James Pardew, the Macedonian government, and the Albanian political parties?
In 1995, George Soros, a Hungarian Jew, enunciated a program to make Macedonia an open society by advocating the EXACT SAME agenda as the NLA later would advocate in the 2001 insurgency. The Soros agenda in 1995 is the EXACT SAME agenda of the NLA in 2001. Is this by accident and coincidence? The peace accord signed in Skopje in secret on August 13 is a carbon copy of the Soros proposals in 1995.What is an open society? Inquiring minds want to know? What did Soros propose in 1995?
Soros plagiarized or based his open society concept on the writings of Austrian philosopher of science, Karl Popper, who published his views in THE OPEN SOCIETY AND ITS ENEMIES in 1945. In short, the open society concept entails the eradication of national borders, the eradication of sovereignty, the destruction of nation-states. Of course, Soros does not support an open society for the US or Israel. The open society is reserved for nations which the globalist/corporate powers seek to infiltrate and control, to bring democracy and stability. It is a new form of colonialism, neo-colonialism. It makes a mockery of national borders and sovereignty. Indeed, Macedonia is ironically the best test case for Soros experimentation in nation-building. Macedonia is a laboratory for George Soros; the Macedonian Orthodox Slavs are the unwitting and unwilling Guinea pigs or lab rats in this New World Order laboratory.
What were the proposals made by Soros in 1995? Soros proposed that Albanians be made a constituent nation of Macedonia, co-equal with the Slavs. Interestingly enough, Soros was the first to call ethnic Macedonians as Slavs. Then Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov was outraged and angered that Soros referred to Macedonians as Slavs. Nevertheless, the Open Society Institute in Skopje remained. Soros was also the origin of the plan to make Albanian an official language. In 1995, Soros demanded that classes at the Pedagogical Academy in Skopje be conducted in the Albanian language. He donated 25 million dollars for multilingual studies,i.e., in Albanian. The Skopje daily Nova Makedonija accused Soros of supporting Albanian separatism by advocating constituent nation status for the Albanian minority, 23% of the population as determined in an EU census, an international community census. Soros denied the accusation but his actions showed that separatism/partition for the Albanian minority was his goal.
In May, 1994, Soros was a member of the Action Council for Peace in the Balkans which visited Macedonia and studied its political structures and viability. The Action Council was also made up of Morton Abramowitz, the later adviser to the KLA and the mastermind of the Kosovo war, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the architect of human rights as a propaganda technique, Paul Volcker, George Shultz,Max Kampelman, Frank Carlucci, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, and Susan Sontag, the novelist who waged an unrelenting propaganda war on behalf of Islamic ultra-nationalist Alija Izetbegovic. Where did the peace agreement for Macedonia come from and where did it originate? As early as 1994 and 1995 US policymakers were working out solutions for Macedonia. The peace accord has all the indicia of being MADE IN THE USA. The 2001 insurgency by the KLA/NLA/ANA/KPC was merely the IMPLEMENTATION of the 1995 proposals and demands, it was the IMPLEMENTATION PHASE.
If the Macedonian conflict appeared phony and manufactured, there is a simple reason for that. If you felt manipulated and brainwashed by the independent and free media of the Western world, there was a reason for that too. The US/Western media was aiding and abetting the propaganda war initiated by the NATO governments. Indeed, the media was in collusion with the NATO governments, the propaganda/information wing of the NATO governments. Again, it is US citizens who are the victims. We are the brainless cattle and herd being manipulated and brainwashed. No one else. Guess who the media are targeting? Us. But we only have ourselves to blame. It was always right there, right in front of us. The embeds were right in front of our eyes. We refused to see it. Ignorance is bliss. But ignorance and freedom are incompatible. Brainwashing and propaganda persuasion and manipulation are anathema in a REAL and TRUE democracy. Infowar and psyop operations are not conducive to liberty but to slavery and degradation. We do not have an excuse this time. The evidence was right in front of us. We just didnt care. We didnt want to see. Apathy and ignorance. Brainless cattle being led to the slaughter. A mindless, zombie-like herd. Is this the stuff of freedom? Is this what liberty is about? Is this what it means to be free? Let us not delude ourselves. Of course it is not.