Saturday, March 22, 2008

Did Kosovo Liberation Army Terrorists Harvest Serbian Organs During NATO's 1999 Carpet Bombing Of Serbia?

As the ninth aniversary of the March 24th, 1999 start date of NATO's 78-day carpet bombing campaign of Serbia approaches, a rather chilling story has emerged from the Serbian media. Apparently, there is a possibility that during the campaign, Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) terrorists may have detained Serbian residents for the purpose of murdering them and harvesting their organs for transplant. Highlighted by Western Voices World News, the story originates with the Serbian website. A report has also been published on the Fox News Channel. A story was also posted by Pravda on February 4th, 2008.

War Crimes Prosecutor Vladimir Vuckevic is looking into the the possible sale of organs of Kosovo Serbs who vanished during and after the 1999 bombing. “We are checking some informal statements we obtained through operative work that, in 1999, two trucks carrying imprisoned Kosovo Serbs were sent to Albania,” said Vukcevic. He further stated that the informal information had been obtained from Hague Tribunal investigators. According to those sources, there are unregistered mass graves with bodies of murdered Serbs in Albania.

In her book, “The Hunt”, to be published in Italy on April 3, the former Hague Tribunal Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte states that, during investigations into war crimes committed by the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, against Serbs and other non-Albanians, the prosecutor’s office was informed that persons who disappeared during the Kosovo conflict were used in organ smuggling operations. The office obtained information that UNMIK investigators and officials had received from groups of so-called reliable journalists, according to whom, Kosovo Albanians had transferred 300 Serb and other non-Albanian hostages in trucks to northern Albania in the summer of 1999. Those prisoners were first imprisoned in camps in places like Kukes and Tropoje.

According to journalist sources, the younger and fitter prisoners were examined by doctors, got food and were not beaten. After that, they were kept in custody in other centers in Burel and the surrounding area. One group was held in barracks behind a yellow house some twenty kilometers to the south of that town, states the former prosecutor. One room in that yellow house, according to the journalists, served as an operation room where doctors extracted prisoners’ organs. Afterwards, the organs were sent abroad from Rinas airport near Tirana where they were used as transplants for patients who had paid for it.

In 2003, investigators from both The Hague and UNMIK investigators, along with several journalists and an Albanian prosecutor, made a trip to the yellow house in 2003. They found that it had been repainted white. But although investigators discovered traces of yellow paint, the owner denied it had been repainted.

In the vicinity of house, investigators also found pieces of gauze, used syringes, two plastic IV solution bags, "petrified in mud", empty medicine bottles, including muscle relaxants used during surgeries. Inside the house itself, forensics discovered traces of blood on the walls and on the floor in one of the rooms. When confronted, the owner first claimed the blood came from his wife's childbirth, but when that didn't hold up, suddenly claimed the room had been used to slaughter animals for a Muslim holiday.

The Albanian prosecutor accompanying the group not only allegedly bragged that he had relatives in the KLA, but insinuated that the Serbs deserved whatever they get. So we can expect no cooperation from the Albanian government on this issue. The so-called Kosovo "government" is also unlikely to help. There have been no official reactions to this story from either government.

Wikipedia provides a couple of reasonably-balanced accounts of the Kosovo War, HERE and HERE. The accounts freely ackowledge that NATO claims of Serbian atrocities were significantly overestimated as a mechanism to gin up wider public support for the operation. The website provides a partial list of damage and casualties inside Serbia during the first month of the war.

Commentary: While some may question the objectivity of this story, since it comes from a Serbian source and the Serbians are emotionally involved over the Kosovo issue, since they still consider it part of their country, the possible subjectivity is mitigated somewhat by the fact that Carla del Ponte not only is a former Chief Prosecutor from The Hague, but, as an Italian national, has no ethnic ties in the Balkans. Consequently, that increases her own objectivity, as well as that of this story. It's worthy of further investigation.

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