rn: Kosovo – KFOR’s shame (interviews & call to action)


Jan Slakov

Dear RN,

When the bombing of Kosovo began I felt this sick feeling that I had done so
little to prevent the disaster from occuring. I know that part of the reason
I had not followed the situation in the former Yugoslavia closely is that it
was hard to figure out which allegations were true. But it was pretty easy
to see that bombing would not make a bad situation any better.

Of course, I have no way of being sure that the reports below are true. But
I have seen quite a few accounts of NATO complicity with KLA attrocities
recently so I am inclined to take them seriously. And the Emperor's Clothes
site, which hosts this information, has a fairly good reputation I believe.
In any case, if any readers have information that would help determine the
veractiy of the reports below, please pass it on to me. In the meantime, I
hope many of us will find the time to write of our concerns to the addresses
listed below.

all the best, Jan
 Save the Families of Orahovac!


Interview with 3 heroines and a call to action
by Jared Israel (posted 11-2-99)

[ http://www.emperors-clothes.com urges readers to distribute this as widely
as possible with all text including this note.]

"Vast numbers of people all over the world have protested the bombing of
Yugoslavia. But now, after the cessation of bombing, we in Yugoslavia have
entered the worst hell. Serbs, Roma, Jews and others are driven out of
Kosovo; some disappear; some are murdered and their murders attributed to
forces beyond NATO's control. Some, like the Serbs and Roma of Orahovac, are
imprisoned in a new Warsaw Ghetto." (Statement 10-23-99 by Cedomir
Prlincevic, President, Jewish Community of Pristina, driven from Kosovo by
the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and NATO)

"The whole scene was one of horror, the children crying, us women trying to
convince KFOR [i.e., NATO officers]. The Dutch Commander shouted: 'ENOUGH!
Just those who came should go back on the truck and the children must go
back where they came.' So there was more crying and the women were crying
and shouting, and he screamed: 'ENOUGH!' So we left, but the children were
forced to return to Orahovac." (Natasha, interviewed below.)

Below are condensed excerpts from interviews with three members of the
Women's Humanitarian Committee on Orahovac. The full text will posted
shortly. The women have been fighting for four months to free friends and
relatives from a nightmare beyond summary description: you must read the
interviews to grasp the horror of what NATO (KFOR) has done.

On Oct. 23, I recounted these interviews to a large antiwar gathering in
Amsterdam. People were horrified at the role of Dutch KFOR. On the 28th Nico
Varkevisser of Global Reflexion, Mr. Prelincevic, the Jewish leader/refugee
from Pristina and I addressed party representatives from the Military
Committee of the Dutch Parliament. Some were moved; one (the Christian
Democrat) simply did not want to hear about Orahovac. The Dutch government
is only starting to realize: Orahovac is their nightmare as well; this
scandal challenges their very legitimacy.

The Orahovac Women urge all decent people to join them in the new
International Humanitarian Committee on Orahovac. As the Women suggest, the
International Committee calls on you to:

1) Protest to the Dutch government. (Email and fax addresses at the end)

2) Join and help the International Humantiarian Committee. Email
•••@••.••• or write Orahovac Committee c/o Global Reflexion, PO
Box 59262, 1040 KG, Amsterdam, Holland

3) Support the International Delegation which will go to Orahovac to bring
out anyone who wants to leave. For more details,"SAVE THE FAMILES after the

Please read these interviews. See what NATO is doing IN OUR NAME.

Interviewer: Jared Israel. Translator: Peter Makara.

Included are excerpts from "To Kosovo and Back" by Zoran, a Serbian
diplomatic aide who toured Kosovo a month ago. His complete report can be
read at http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/zoran/&back.htm


The first woman we interviewed was Natasha, age 27. An Orahovac native, she
studied in Belgrade until December, 1998, then returned home. In August,
1999, she escaped from Orahovac. Natasha says 3000 Serbs remain in the town.
When the Yugoslav Army retreated in June and KFOR (NATO) occupation troops

Natasha: "Maybe a thousand or more Serbs left. Orahovac is unique in that so
many did stay; that’s because we believed KFOR guarantees that we’d be safe.
When it became clear things weren’t going to be that way, people wanted to
leave, but they were not allowed. Besides the Serbs, 500-1000 Roma, or
'Gypsies', stayed."

Natasha: "From April on our telephone connections as well as Serbian radio
and TV were cut off thanks to NATO bombing. We had little information about
what was happening in the rest of the country. We heard that after the June
Peace Agreement was signed there was a massive exodus of Serbs from Prizen
and elsewhere but we couldn’t verify it so we wondered if it was true.
Meanwhile, we were constantly being told by Western media that our security
would be guaranteed - for instance, by Voice of America, which we heard via
satellite connections. They used phrases about multiethnic, multicultural
society and their Democracy and promised first to disarm KLA, then to
establish their laws.
"The morning before KFOR arrived there was a meeting of their
representatives with the Mayor, a Serb, plus other Serbs including the head
of the winery. KFOR said that in two days or so life would return to normal.
The next day the houses were burning."

Natasha: "With KFOR, the KLA came. The same day. Some neighbors even
appeared in KLA uniforms. We were horrified. Suddenly we didn’t feel safe
[in the mixed section of Orahovac] so we moved to the Serbian part.
"As we were leaving we saw, already, Serbian houses being burned. KFOR did
nothing. We complained; they said they didn’t have enough people. Soon
reinforcements arrived but the situation stayed the same for a month. Over a
hundred houses were burned. And they robbed whatever they could. A few
"Gypsy" (Roma) houses were burned too. Twenty-five people who stayed in the
mixed section were kidnapped, plus their houses were burned too.

"Slowly we realized the extent of the mistake we’d made in not leaving.
Every day KFOR offered new excuses for not protecting us. They said: 'We can
’t put guards in front of every house. We can’t give every Serb an armed

"The KFOR checkpoint is close to the ghetto. KFOR guards the entrance and
exit to the Serbian area. Plus there are barricades, which the Albanians put
up. First you hit KFOR and second you hit the Albanian barricades. KFOR
supplied tents for the Albanians who are sitting on those barricades. And
they ran electric wiring into those tents to provide current."

[In his article in emperors-clothes, Zoran reports "Albanian roadblocks
outside Orahovac are former German/Dutch fortified checkpoints. I can not
imagine that Albanians could have taken control of those without [KFOR's]
tacit approval – or instigation. The organizing committee at the roadblocks
is armed. Heavier weapons are kept in hundreds of tents erected around the
barricades – supposedly for women and children. Muscular men in sport suits
patrolling the site carry small firearms under their jackets."]


Natasha: "We were kept in this Serb enclave. My parents can come out on the
streets but that’s dangerous; two people were wounded just being outside the
house. Those who have tried to escape simply disappeared.
"There is no phone service to Belgrade. The only food is from humanitarian
sources. One "Gypsy" tried to ship food from the Albanian to the Serbian
section; some extreme Albanian group told him, "No food for the Serbs!" Near
the beginning we would send some Albanian kid to buy stuff for us. But the
kid would be beaten up and they would tell him 'Don't do that again!'

"The ghetto is 500 square yards. Water is erratic: once in three days for
two or three hours.

"During the first days there were lots of reporters. Later there were fewer;
I spoke to a Reuters' journalist twice. The second time he said the first
interview had been all censored and crossed out."

[Zoran reports: "In the first days after KFOR's arrival, 5 Orahovac Serbs
were killed and 10 abducted under the watchful eyes of German troops. Serbs
aren't even allowed to go to the market or grocery store 50 meters away. The
considerable Gypsy population, together with the Serbs, suffers equally."]

Natasha: "The only thing that KFOR did was organize a shipment of bread to
the Serbian part; they were very proud of it. We only see KFOR in the
street; there are no meetings. The Albanians are in charge. They took
everything. You occasionally have small KFOR patrols but Headquarters is in
the Albanian section."
[Zoran reports: "In Orahovac itself the former police station has been
turned into a KLA HQ. The local KLA commander, the man who runs this town,
is a mass murderer named Ismet Hara, responsible for last year’s abductions
and brutal killings of over 60 Serbian civilians from Orahovac (the bodies
of most are still missing), some of whom – it is reasonably believed – he
personally executed.

"Serbs say they recognize many local Albanians in the ranks of the German
KFOR. Probably KLA members recruited in Albania…KFOR denies this…I’ve
personally seen KLA Commanders with their escort – all [illegally] armed –
entering KFOR bases with KFOR ID cards and never a delay."]


[Zoran reports: "Early in the KFOR/KLA occupation, Dutch/German Baklava
Units gave local Serbs 24 hours to hand in all their weapons. (note that the
KLA has been given 3 months and still counting….) The naïve Serbs complied.
A few weeks later, the Dutch/German troops entered the Serbian quarter in
broad daylight, fired some warning shots over the heads of Serbs who were
gathered near a church and dragged people from their houses. Serbian witness
say they grabbed people by the hair and pulled them out while kicking them…

"The Dutch/German troops arrested the Serbian Mayor and two other Serbs,
accusing them of ‘war crimes’. There is no credible evidence to support
these charges, though the Albanian side has spread rumors that documents
discovered in a cellar of one house implicated the Mayor."]

Natasha: "Yes, that arrest was spectacular, just like that. I heard that
KFOR had masks. They arrested the doctor and the Mayor [and a restaurant
owner.] They accused them of war crimes.
"Nine people were seized altogether. The second group of six was just
ordinary people. They had been working with the International Red Cross
which wants to evacuate old and sick people. The six were told they could
leave. Then KFOR arrested them at the checkpoint."

[Zoran reports: "From reliable international sources I learned the arrests
are an attempt to turn these people into "important witnesses" in a made-up
war crimes case against Serbs, not because of real evidence.

"Here’s the strategy: first they isolate the Serbs, then they wear them out,
then they kick them out – after extracting the people Albanians accuse of
being ‘war criminals’. To this end, they come up with all kinds of
justifications for keeping the last remaining Serb civilians in this
monstrous new ghetto."]


Natasha: "The people who left that mixed part of the town the first day didn
’t have time to take any luggage or personal belongings. Not even personal
documents. A lower level German officer who was friendly and kind did
provide us with an armed escort [so we could get some basic necessities] and
even helped with luggage. But soon after that he disappeared; we [Serbs]
never saw him again.
"In another case a common Dutch soldier saw an Albanian coming from a
burning house. The Dutch soldier wanted to shoot at the arsonist but his
officer stopped him, and they quarreled. We didn’t see that soldier later
either. Their practice in general was that they would change the people who
patrol the Serbian area with the intention obviously that these people not
get friendly with the Serbs.


Natasha: "In another case a Serbian woman was about to deliver. She wanted
to go the maternity ward in the Orahovac hospital. Ever since KFOR’s
arrival, Albanians comprise the entire staff at this hospital. She got a
KFOR escort and was taken to this local hospital; they said it would be a
difficult delivery and to go to the larger town, Prizen. KFOR provided
escort to Prizen. The delivery was difficult and in front of KFOR the
hospital staff said that she should stay for at least 24 hours but as soon
as KFOR had left, they kicked her out into the corridor. So she spent the
night on a bench with the new baby."
[Editor’s note: Natasha then recounts how when KFOR finally came and brought
this woman and her baby back to Orahovac, her relative complained to a Dutch
commanding officer. The officer replied: 'She's alive isn’t she? Why

INTERVIEW # 2 – Miriana

Miriana, whom we interviewed second, said the women went next to Pristina,
capital of Kosovo. Six women met with Mr. Ivancev[sp?], an assistant to UN
Kosovo Chief Bernard Kouchner.

Miriana: "We told him that this really felt like a concentration camp and
that that should happen at the gate to the 21st century was astonishing.
Each told her story separately. He said he didn't know too much about Serbs
in Orahovac, he was at that duty only a month and a half. We told him it’s
actually a humanitarian catastrophe. He was apologetic.
"He wrote down all we said. He said he’d be talking to Mr. Kouchner in the
afternoon and would then contact us. We gave him our mobile phone number and
told him where we were staying. He promised to call.
"He did respect his word and called about 5 or 6. He talked to our
translator Aleksander and apologized because it was Tuesday and he couldn’t
go before Friday. We agreed to meet him Friday noontime at the Turkish
checkpoint [at or near Pristina].
[Natasha reports that a Yugoslav representative in Pristina, Mr. Tomovich,
negotiated with KFOR for an armed escort as well as the presence of a doctor
and medical supplies on the trip.]


Miriana: "We stayed in the Serb-run 'Center for Peace and Tolerance'. The
conditions were quite awful. We didn’t have a place to sleep. We didn’t have
water, current or food. It was really quite difficult but we kept in our
minds the conditions of our families in Orahovac so we were just waiting for
this Friday to come so we could go and see our families again and try and
help our families.
"Right across from the Center were food stores. But we couldn't cross the
street and buy because we were Serbs. So we gave the soldiers money to go
buy stuff for us. Our translators or these soldiers would cross the street
and buy apples or something."


Miriana: "Four in the morning the water came and we quickly got ready. 9:30
in the morning we got out in the yard to wait for KFOR escort. Two Yugoslav
representatives waited with us. But the escort did not come. Ten in the
morning came; eleven came; 11:30. We were losing hope that we’d be able to
get to the Turkish checkpoint at noon. Our representative [name
unintelligible] said it seemed that the German KFOR troops [in command at
Orahovac] were now demanding a signed permission by the International Red
Cross for us to get to Orahovac.
"We saw that something had failed. So we said to a British Captain, he was
in uniform" 'Give us an escort; let’s go now.'

"So that guy, whom we would be able to recognize now among a million NATO
troops, went to KFOR headquarters. And he came back and asked, 'Could you
perhaps go to Orahovac tomorrow but without an escort and without a
translator; and if you agree, you must respect whatever orders the German
command there in Orahovac gives you." It would be just us without an escort.
Just the women without even the doctor. We were to come at 8 AM and strictly
obey the German command.

"So we said even that way we would go but we wanted a written document where
the conditions would be spelled out. This British officer said: no written
document. We insisted. He said no.

"Another night was coming. When it was obvious that these negotiations would
fail, we said, 'All right, give us an escort so we can go back to the rest
of Serbia.' Immediately he said OK; in 45 minutes we would get an escort.

'You see we had insisted a document exist so that in case we disappeared
there would at least be a record. The bus we were using was from Serbia,
with large Cyrillic letters. So it really sounded like that, that we would
disappear. They could spin the story this way: they had tried to arrange a
trip that was guarded but the women insisted on going on their own against
KFOR’s wishes and then this terribly regrettable thing happened. Due to the
Albanians’ desire for revenge against the Serbian oppressors, etc., etc. It
was so transparent that even a little child could see through it. We had
hoped that on this trip we would find some good people among the occupation
forces, that there could be some good people but we saw that there are


Simca lived in Belgrade for many years but has maintained close ties with
family and friends in Orahovac, calling and visiting frequently.

Simca: "Until the ninth of April I had phone contact. After that I was just
guessing. The connection between Belgrade and Pristina worked almost all the
time but this Metohija area, towards Albania, the phone lines were down.
During the bombing our contact was through the mail; it took 20 days,
sometimes a month, but we kept in touch. You have to understand that since
June we’ve been pressuring the Yugoslav government to organize some visit
[Simca was one of two women who went on the first trip back to Orahovac.]

Simca: "On this trip there were just two women from Orahovac. I was one. We
had three large trucks with humanitarian supplies. When we got to the Dutch
checkpoint in Orahovac the Dutch officer said one of the trucks could
proceed into the Serbian area but that we, the two women, could not. They
would unload the truck to see what was on it and then they would let in the
second truck.
"I was afraid I would not be able to see my relatives at all. I started to
cry and I begged one of the soldiers: "Please. Please." And he just waved
his hand as if too say, "Go back to the group, go back to the others."

"Suddenly I saw this man nearby, a civilian; he was my Serbian neighbor and
I was surprised. His face is maybe similar to an Albanian. I said, 'How come
you can roam around?' 'And he said, 'Oh, they’re confused; they think I’m an
Albanian.' So he was free and I said, 'Look, please don’t tell my mother I’m
here. My mother has a heart problem. I didn’t want my neighbor to tell her
that I’m there and then if I’m not able to see them she might get sick.'

"When Albanians go through this checkpoint they’re not even stopped. They
just wave and KFOR waves back; it’s just us that are stopped. Albanians clap
their hands and shout 'NA –TO, NA – TO!' And the Dutch people are very
friendly towards the Albanians.

"This neighbor of mine did not listen to my advice. He went and told my
family. And suddenly I saw my brother and sister walking towards me. The
Dutch soldiers immediately formed themselves into a row and put up a barbed
wire barricade. So it was I, then these soldiers, then this barbed wire, and
then my brother and sister on the other side. I was crying on one side of
the barricade and my brother and sister were crying on the other side."

[Simca was weeping as she spoke.]

Simca: "I knelt down and begged him in English, 'This is my brother and my
sister, please help me.' And he just waved his hands, saying, 'Nein, Nein.'
The use here of the word "Nein" here confused the interviewer and there
followed this exchange between him, the translator and Simca:

Jared: "Is that the Dutch word for 'No?' That’s not a Dutch word."
Simca: "I thought if I addressed him in English he would answer in English
but no, he said, ‘Nein Nein'. "

Jared: "But that’s a German word."

Simca: "I understand the difference."

Jared: "But he was Dutch."

Translator: "She knows that. That’s her point."

[Simca continued with her report:]

Simca: "Then this 'friend' of ours, this Dutch Major appeared, and I told
him this was my brother and sister. He showed some mercy and told the
soldiers that these two, my brother and sister, could pass through. So I was
able to hug my brother and sister.
"My brother does not show his emotions. I didn’t see him cry at my father’s
funeral. But when he came and hugged me he cried too. It was terrible. The
other people heard that someone had come from Belgrade and suddenly all of
them were walking towards the checkpoint en masse though it was not a safe
thing to do.
"Once he saw so many people coming, this friend of ours, this Dutch Major,
decided that maybe there would be an incident so perhaps it would be better
to let the women in. So we got in. It’s difficult to put in words what
happened. People surrounded us asking us questions: 'What’s happening?' 'Are
we forgotten?' 'How can we get out?' Questions and tears and worries.
"My mother was just 15 yards away but she couldn’t reach me because there
was such a crowd. They looked at us as if we’d come from another planet, as
if we were Gods, desperate to touch us and ask us questions. These people
don’t get newspapers; they don’t get TV; the telephones don’t work.
"This Major, I was begging him to let my sister and her little children out.
And he said: 'No! Only those who came in can get out.'"

Simca: "The procedure for getting in was astonishing. They photographed our
ID documents. A woman searched me. I had to lift my arms and spread my legs
and she was touching me everywhere as if she was looking for weapons. Just
like in the movies. I felt bad before and I felt horrible afterwards.
"First they look at the car, they look under the seats of the car, they look
around and inside. They photograph the documents. Then they do this search
with their hands around your body and then they do that to the next person
and they tell you to stay aside while they do that to the next person. I had
taken cookies and chocolate for my sister’s children and they crushed it up
and turned it over and inside out.

Simca was only allowed two and a half hours visiting in Orahovac.

Simca: "As we were getting ready to leave suddenly there was a number of
young people, boys and girls, who were all packed. They appeared immediately
with suitcases; the same thing happened with the second convoy. I didn’t
spend much time with my mother; I have to admit that. I was concentrating
all my effort on how I could save my sister and her young children. The
youngest is two.
Simca: "When we were leaving they made sure to keep people separated. There
were the two of us, then a row of soldiers, then the barbed wire, another
row of soldiers on the other side. Then the German police, with red berets
made another wall. We were to leave at 5:30 but it took until 10:30. The
problem was that three young girls slipped through the lines and got into
the jeep of a journalist who was with us. This journalist fiercely quarreled
with KFOR, demanding that the girls be allowed to go.
"There were more and more people coming from the Serbian section to the
checkpoint. This journalist said he wouldn’t let these girls be taken from
the jeep; KFOR would have to shoot him. So the Major, seeing all these
people and fearing trouble after this long quarrel, let the jeep leave with
the three young girls. He was very angry. He said, "OK, you can leave. But
you have not respected the Rules agreed on for this visit!"
* * *

[In a later interview (October 31), Simca recounted another conversation
with Mr. Ivancev, the Russian assistant to UN Kosovo Chief Kouchner, which
took place October 29. Ivancev told her they were holding the Serbs hostage
in Orahovac because the Albanians had given KFOR a list of 200 war

Simca: "Ivancev said, 'The war criminals are hiding among the Serbs.' I
asked him: 'Then what about the children? Why have you refused to release
the children for four months?' He looked miserable. 'That's the question I
asked Mr. Kouchner,' he said. And he looked so miserable I almost felt sorry
for him."

This situation cries out for IMMEDIATE action. The lives of an entire
community are at stake. They have been sentenced; they are granted NO RIGHT
OF APPEAL. The Orahovac women have asked us to act NOW before more people
are killed!

An International Humanitarian Committee on Orahovac has been formed. It
includes the Orahovac women in Serbia, people in Holland and the US. Please
join with us and help spread the message.

If you would like to help with this effort in any way please contact:


Join the Committee. To join just Email or write us at the PO Box listed
below. Join personally or in the name of your group and tell us you want to
Participate in and/or support the Delegation to Orahovac. This International
Delegation will GO TO ORAHOVAC and bring out anyone who wants to leave. If
you can send a contribution please do; any money not used to pay the
Committee's expenses will be donated to the people of Orahovac for
humanitarian relief. Send contributions to: Orahovac Committee c/o Global
Reflexion, PO Box 59262, 1040 KG, Amsterdam, Holland.
Please send the following message to the Dutch officials listed below and
ask your political, labor, business or other organizations to do likewise.
Also contact your local Dutch embassy and let them know how you feel by
phone and email and fax. Here's the proposed text but feel free to change it
any way you wish:
"WE DEMAND that KFOR troops guarantee safety, food, water, electricity and
phones - normal living conditions - for the Serbs of Orahovac.

WE DEMAND that KFOR troops guarantee the safe movement of ANYONE in

WE DEMAND that KFOR immediately institute a PROTECTED bus route from
Orahovac to the Yugoslav-controlled part of Serbia."




Mr. J.J. van Aartsen, Minister of Foreign Affairs –


Mr. F.H.G. de Grave, Minister of Defense –



Mrs. J. van Nieuwenhoven, President of the Second Chambre of the
parliament - •••@••.•••

Mrs. Margreeth de Boer, President of the parliamentary commission on Foreign
Affairs - •••@••.•••

Mr. Gerrit Valk, President of the parliamentary commission on Defense -

Government parties:

Mr. A.P.W. Melkert, President of the Labor Party –


Mr. H.F. Dijkstal, President of the Liberal Party –


Mr. Th.C. de Graaf , President of the Democratic Party –


Opposition parties:

Mr. J.G. de Hoop Scheffer, President of the Christen-Democratic Party


Mr. P. Rosenmoller, President of the Green Left Party –


Mr. J.G.C.A. Marijnissen, President of the Socialist Party –


Mr. B.J. van der Vlies, President of the Protestant Reformed Party -

Mr. L. van Dijke, President of the Reformatoric Party –


Fax numbers:

Mr. W. Kok, Prime Minister: ++ 31 70 356 4683

Mr. J.J. van Aartsen, Minister of Foreign Affairs: ++ 31 70 348 5098

Mr. F.H.G. de Grave, Minister of Defense: ++ 31 70 318 7888

Mrs. J. van Nieuwenhoven, Pres. Second Chambre of the parliament: ++ 31 70
365 4122

Government parties:

The Labour Party: ++ 31 70 318 2797

The Liberal Party: ++ 31 70 318 2924

Democratic Party: ++ 31 70 318 3625

Opposition parties:

The Christen-Democratic Party: ++ 31 70 318 2602

The Green Left Party: ++ 31 70 318 2685

The Socialist Party: ++ 31 70 318 3803

The Protestant Reformed Party: ++ 31 70 318 2847

The Reformatoric Party: ++ 31 70 318 2933

The Protestant Reformed Union: ++ 31 70 318 2665

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