Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The NATO files on Kosovo Serb leaders

The newspaper LajmeShqip is publishing leaked NATO files on Kosovo Serb leaders. Until now they have published 8 of the 430 files they have.

Here you will see one example. The articles are in Albanian but Google Translate is your friend. Here for example is the Google translation of the above article.

You should click on the image of the NATO document to see its full size. It is not downloadable or linkable as far as I can see. Under the heading "Rezultatet e kërkimit :" you will find links to the other published files. These links are only visible in the original, not in the Google translate version.

Actually these NATO files bring very little news. They are in French so few people will be able to fully read them. All the content is about the years 2000 and 2001. Much of it seems to be copied from the Serbian press.

It seems that KFOR has lots of these documents - also about Albanians. They have lots of intelligence officers that make an inventory of the locals to keep busy. But most their intelligence is skin deep. The pieces that have been published are full of articles from local newspapers, rumors and superficial observations in the style of "A met B at time t". The longest files are 5 to 6 pages long. I considered translating one piece but it looked all so harmless that I didn't consider it worthwhile. Instead I will analyze interesting parts of one piece at the end of this post.

To me the main "contribution" of publication of these files seems to be to bring back to life the much more conflictuous and lawless climate of shortly after the war. People have evolved and we should deal with them as they are now - not ten years ago.

Here is an article (in Serbian) with a reaction of some of those involved.

The file on Milan Ivanovic
So let's have a look at one of the files. I have chosen Milan Ivanovic. Together with Jaksic he seems to attract most attention in the media.

At one point it is claimed that Ivanovic is "xenophobe". Here is the context: "He claims that foreign aid organizations favor Albanians and that the Serbs get less aid. He distrust foreign Albanians who illegally come to Kosovo. He wants the disarming of the UCK that he accuses of a campaign to exterminate the Serbs and other minorities. He favors a multi-ethnic Kosovo. He is a xenophobe. He gives speeches blowing hot and cold. He doesn't speak English. He distrusts Kosovars who are capable of communicating with foreigners."

He has some distrust - in a situation where just 2 years ago there was a war in which the West attacked him and he is still amidst refugees from that war. Can you really blame him for that? Maybe it is just the Westerners who are insulted that he doesn't speak more and more openly with them and that he distrusts their intentions?

Another issue is his supposed involvement in organized crime. The main text concerning this issue is "He is supposed to control fuel, medicine and building materials in Northern Kosovo. Competent businessman (smuggling?), quite sportive, has a certain influence on the population but doesn't have much idea of the hierarchy and methods of security. Takes regularly word at meetings or manifestations. Little Charisma.".

So he should control some important trades but the document is not sure whether he is involved in smuggling. Also his lack of interest in the hierarchy and methods of security suggests that he is not involved in some criminal organization. It looks as if someone has written down a couple of rumors without bothering with contradictions.

On the date 14/05/01 it is mentioned that "at the moment" there is a barricade near Zubin Potok where truck drivers must pay 1000 DM. Part of it would be for the people on the barricades and part for Vuk Antonijevic and Milan Ivanovic.

Near the end of the document it is mentioned that they are against the arrival of Covic in Kosovo because they believe that a representative from Belgrade would restrict them in their present relative liberty: "Comment from the source: that way those 3 persons have numerous advantages. Also, mr. Dimkic can obtain finances from UNMIK thanks to his position as director of Trepca while, in the case of Marko Jaksic and Milan Ivanovic they enjoy a total liberty to let flourish their dishonest activities."

Interestingly, in the Jaksic file one finds the statement that these "dishonest activities" serve to finance the bridge watchers. So the term seems to say more about the biased attitude of the analyst and his informer than of Ivanovic. Ivanovic may just be an informal leader who organizes an informal tax. This is the more probable as the text says nothing about extraordinary richness. Probably the Jaksic and Ivanovic files were composed by two different intelligence officers, illustrating the chaotic nature of these files.

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