It has been said that proverbs are the wisdom of nations and one of the most common is that a criminal always returns to the scene of the crime.
Former U.S. President William Jefferson Clinton is to arrive in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, on Sunday, November 1 according to the erstwhile head of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and self-styled prime minister of Kosovo Hashim Thaci.
The occasion of Clinton's visit, his first since Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence in February of 2008 - a violation of international law and United Nations Resolution 1244 directly resulting from Clinton's acts of a decade ago - is to attend the official unveiling of a statue dedicated to himself.
"The almost ten feet statue of the former U.S. President Bill Clinton has been erected in the same square that bears his name in Pristina. [The unveiling] of the statue was delayed due to the busy agenda of the former American President. The statue erected to President Clinton is being sponsored by and [is] under the auspices of Prime Minister Thaci." 
Another adage, this time a peculiarly American one, is that partisan politics end at the water's edge. Not that it matters to anyone in the world except for U.S. voters every four years, but differences between the nation's two ruling parties, such as they are, rarely manifest themselves beyond the nation's Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The main street in Pristina is named after George W. Bush, who presided over and in fact engineered Kosovo's formal secession from Serbia.
There are also major streets named after Tony Blair, Madeleine Albright and William Walker, the last the Deputy Chief of Mission in Honduras and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Central America in the 1980s during the Reagan administration's Contra war against Nicaragua and death squad terror in El Salvador. Walker is held in high esteem by KLA veterans like Hashim Thaci for his role in blaming the government of Yugoslavia for what he represented as a massacre in the Kosovo village of Racak in January of 1999, arguably the main incident used to justify the 78-day bombing campaign against Yugoslavia three months later.
Western journalists at the time and forensic experts afterward reported a different story, but Walker blustered:
"From what I saw, I do not hesitate to describe the crime as a massacre, a crime against humanity. Nor do I hesitate to accuse the government security forces of responsibility."
Not that anyone would question Walker's familiarity with massacres, he certainly oversaw enough genuine ones in Central America in the 1980s, but his motives in this case were suspect to say the least.
No report has yet surfaced that the separatists in Kosovo, armed during their own contra war ten years ago and now again as a proto-army, the Kosovo Security Force, by the U.S. and its NATO allies, plan to erect a monument to Walker, but if so that would give the new governments of Nicaragua and El Salvador an additional reason to eschew recognizing the illegal entity that is spurned by 130 of the world's 192 nations.
Regarding Clinton's arrival on Sunday (the scent of a handsome "honorarium" wafts through the air), KLA chieftain Thaci, endearingly known to his former KLA colleagues by the nom de guerre of The Snake, promises that the Bomber of Belgrade will be met with a "magnificent welcome" and that locals will "appear en masse at the Bill Clinton Square". 
Criminals don't leave the scene of a crime, a war crime, when they have never left left it. Most of the 50,000 U.S. and other NATO troops that entered Kosovo in June of 1999 with their KLA allies have since departed to "bring peace" to and "stabilize" other parts of the world, Afghanistan and Iraq most notably, but over 14,000 remain more than ten years afterward.
What also remains in Kosovo is Camp Bondsteel, a nearly 1,000-acre U.S. Army base used as headquarters for the NATO Kosovo Force (KFOR) Multinational Task Force East. The installation is so extensive that it contains "the best hospital in Kosovo; a movie theater; three gyms; two recreation buildings that have phones, computers with internet connection, pool tables, video games and more; two chapels with various religious services and other activities; two large dining facilities; a fire station; a military police station; the Laura Bush education center where classes are offered through the University of Maryland University College and Central Texas College; two cappuccino bars, a Burger King, Taco Bell, and an Anthony's Pizza pizzeria; two barber shops; two laundry facilities employing local nationals who do the laundry for those living on base; two press shops; a sewing shop; two massage shops employing mostly Thai women who conduct various
massages...softball and football fields; and more." 
In short, a small city. Camp Bondsteel, the largest overseas American military facility constructed since the Vietnam War, was reported to be a CIA "black site" in a report by a major British newspaper in January of this year. The base can well be used for whatever purposes the CIA and the Pentagon intend it to with the pseudo-government of Kosovo, many of its leaders linked for decades to Europe's narcotics, arms and sex slave trades, manifestly unwilling to raise any objections knowing full well to whom they are indebted for their current fiefdom.
A month after the U.S.- and NATO-backed secession of Kosovo from Serbia, the latter's then prime minister Vojislav Kostunica stated, "The illegal construction of a huge American military base, Bondsteel, and Annex 11 of the Ahtisaari plan, which establishes NATO as the supreme organ of government in Kosovo, reveal the reason why Serbia was mindlessly destroyed, and why a NATO state was declared illegally on February 17." 
During its fiftieth anniversary jubilee summit in Washington, D.C. in April of 1999 NATO was in the midst of an almost three-month air war against Yugoslavia, the first unprovoked military attack against a European nation since Hitler's Germany invaded Poland in 1939 and subsequently other nations, plunging the continent into the deadliest and most destructive war in its history.
The end result of 1999's Operation Allied Force, NATO's first war, fought without UN authorization and against the opposition of Russia, China and most of the world's nations, was to transform the entire Balkans region into what are little more than NATO military colonies: Recruitment grounds for troop deployments to new war zones further to the east and south and sites for the building and acquisition of new U.S. military bases - infantry, air and naval - for the same purpose, as with not only Kosovo but Bulgaria and Romania as well.
Since the 1999 war against Yugoslavia and the incursion into and destabilization of Macedonia from NATO-occupied Kosovo two years later, the U.S. and NATO have ordered the deployment of troops from its new "partners" in the Balkans, five of which have been now become full NATO members (Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Albania and Croatia), to Iraq and Afghanistan as well as to Central Africa (Chad and the Central African Republic), Lebanon and elsewhere under European Union auspices.
Albanian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Macedonian, Romanian and Slovenian troops have served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and remain in the second country. New mini-state Montenegro's Western-backed independence was only effected in 2006 and so the nation is too young to have had its troops dragooned into the Iraq debacle. But not the Afghan war, for which forces have already been assigned.
Washington's and NATO's turnaround time is breathtaking. Three years after a state of no more than 700,000 people declares itself an independent nation its citizens are already being trained for a war over 4,000 kilometers away. 
Earlier this month the governor of the American state of Maine said "the state hosted an official delegation from Montenegro, one of the world’s newest democracies, just a few days ago. The Maine National Guard has a partnership program that’s helping to transition Montenegro’s military into a professional force that can participate in NATO missions." 
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen plans a tour of the Balkans next month, in part to recruit troops for the Afghan war, and Montenegro will be one of his stops. "It is expected that Montenegro will receive an action plan for accession to NATO at the December sitting of the Alliance, an anonymous source in the media informed." 
Less than a year ago "Montenegro's Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic...tabled at NATO headquarters in Brussels Montenegro's demand on an action plan for membership." 
A Membership Action Plan (MAP) is the final stage toward full NATO membership. Earlier this month Bosnia officially applied for the MAP and the nation's defense minister Selmo Cikotic on October 29 demonstrated the dual nature of NATO incorporation - subjugating new member states and integrating them into a global war strategy - in speaking of the two topics as interconnected. He said “In Bosnia’s case, participation in the [Afghan] mission is also related to progress on the road to NATO membership...regardless of the risks.
"In the current situation, when our politics are war by other means, NATO membership would resolve all open security issues. All other alternatives are highly risky." 
The allusion, hardly subtle, is to efforts by the United States, NATO and the European Union to use membership in the last two organizations as both carrot and stick to revoke what autonomy the Bosnian Serb Republic (Republika Srpska) retains in the West's drive to centralize Bosnia as a whole under the control of Brussels and Washington.
On October 30 the Bosnian Serb Republic's prime minister, Milorad Dodik, said "he would pull out of talks on constitutional reform led by the United States and European Union set to speed up Bosnia's path to EU and NATO membership."
Speaking of the withdrawal, Dodik said "It's a defeat of politicians from the federation who agree to meet only in the presence of the international community. I will never again take part in any talks mediated by the international community." 
Less than two weeks before NATO chief Rasmussen laid down the law to Serbia and to the few Serbs remaining in Kosovo. In an interview with a local newspaper, while pushing the standard Western line that "further Euro-Atlantic integration either through partnership or membership in NATO, or in the EU, is the best guarantee of long-term stability in the Balkans," he issued the following warning, in fact an ultimatum: "I especially hope that Belgrade will not encourage Kosovo Serbs not to take part in the forthcoming elections. If Kosovo Serbs wish to secure that their legitimate interests and rights are being respected, then they must take part in the political process." 
The NATO chief will brook no opposition, no hint of independence, from Serbs in Kosovo, in Bosnia or in Serbia itself. Or from anyone else in the Balkans except for the bloc's allies in the former KLA and affiliated armed separatist groups. 
NATO's intention to "resolve all open security issues" in the Balkans is belied by the Alliance's member states at every turn acting to destabilize interstate relations in the region, from the encouragement of Kosovo's secession - which the United States was the first to legitimize through diplomatic recognition - to more recent examples.
Earlier this month Kosovo and Macedonia delimited the boundary between them and in so doing attempted to establish it as an international border without consultations with Serbia, whose territory Kosovo remains in the view of over two-thirds of the nations in the world.
On October 9 the new U.S. ambassador to Kosovo, Christopher Dell, "confirmed...he has met Kosovo President and Prime Minister Fatmir Sejdiu and Hashim Thaci on the demarcation of the Kosovo-Macedonian border." 
Days later the State Secretary of Serbia’s Foreign Ministry, Oliver Ivanovic, denounced the agreement signed behind his nation's back and said, “The signing of this agreement is useless because Macedonia will have to negotiate with Belgrade on that issue.” 
In Ivanovic's view "Macedonia and Kosovo signed the agreement under pressure by foreigners who did not account for the fact that this may worsen the already complex relations between Serbia and Macedonia." 
The following day the architect of this latest carve-up weighed in on the affair: "The U.S. warmly welcomes the establishing of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Macedonia as well as the successful completion of the demarcation of their joint border," according to State Department spokesman Ian Kelly. 
Only a few days later, on cue as it were, officials in Kosovo turned their attention toward Montenegro and a "flawed marking of the border," demanding another redrawing of national boundaries. Montenegro's Interior Ministry responded on October 23 insisting that the nation's leaders would "not hand over an inch of their territory to anyone". 
To further illustrate the West's role in undermining and inflaming most every sector of former Yugoslavia, in the middle of the month Kosovo Serbs gathered almost 50,000 signatures demanding that the European Union Rule of Law Mission [EULEX], devised by the West to transition Kosovo from United Nations administration to control by former KLA operatives and their NATO patrons, leave the province.
A leader of the initiative rightly observed of EULEX that “the mission’s goal is to complete the Albanian state” and regarding the petition announced that in addition to presenting it to the government of Serbia "We’re also taking it to the Russian ambassador for the embassy to hand it to President Medvedev, given that the Russian Federation is sometimes more consistent and principled in trying to defend and keep Kosovo within our country. Russia is a great country and has the right to a veto in the Security Council. I personally think that they can be of great help in revealing the real truth behind the work of this mission.” 
NATO's drive toward complete subordination of the Balkans proceeds apace.
On October 8 Serbian Defense State Secretary Igor Jovicic announced that his nation would appoint a permanent ambassador to NATO within the next few weeks, stating “Based on a proposal by the Foreign Ministry, the Serbian government has endorsed a proposal for a Serbian ambassador to the NATO alliance. A ‘silent procedure’ is under way, where our proposal will be looked at by member-states, and then we could have an ambassador to NATO by the end of the year.” 
After the October 22-23 NATO defense ministerial in Slovakia, Macedonia confirmed it would offer the Alliance 80 more troops for the war in Afghanistan, bringing the diminutive nation's total to 240.
At the same time Bulgarian Defense Minister Nickolay Mladenov "offered his counterparts from neighboring countries to use the joint Bulgarian-U.S. military training facilities in Novo Selo" where it was recently revealed that the Pentagon is going to spend $60 million to expand and modernize the base. 
The Bulgarian defense chief was addressing a meeting of the Southeastern Europe Defense Ministerial (SEDM) in his country. The nations he invited to train under U.S. military forces were full SEDM members Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia, Turkey and Ukraine and observer states Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro and Serbia. The United States is the ringleader of the regional defense bloc although it is over 7,000 kilometers removed from the region.
When NATO began its bombardment of Yugoslavia on March 23, 1999 on Bill Clinton's orders not only a war but a war cycle began, one which persists to this day and has no end in sight. Only months after the cross-border conflict in Macedonia, itself a consequence of the Kosovo war, ended in 2001 the invasion of Afghanistan was launched, and the U.S. and its NATO allies have been in state of perpetual armed deployments and conflicts ever since.
The war against Yugoslavia was waged under false pretenses and with ulterior motives but has had predictable consequences. The United Nations has been weakened to the point of being reduced to a paper organization only consulted when it is time to clean up after the West's wars. The Helsinki Final Act and the entire post-World War II order have been undermined and effectively destroyed.
As the late American scholar Sean Gervasi foresaw and warned against more than three years before the event , NATO exploited the crisis in former Yugoslavia to assert itself outside of its previously defined area of concern to expand throughout Eastern Europe and penetrate the Caucasus into Central and South Asia and much of the rest of the world. At that time, January of 1996, no one could have anticipated that there would be Bosnian troops in Afghanistan, Croatian troops in Iraq, Albanian troops in Chad and Bulgarian warships off the Mediterranean coast of Lebanon. That there would be NATO bases in the Central Asian countries of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. A strategic American air base in Bulgaria, a massive military compound in the Serbian province of Kosovo, marines in Georgia and Patriot missile batteries in Poland.
A few weeks ago an article appeared in an Indian publication which included these comments:
"Russia has rebelled against Kosovo’s independence because it sees it as part of US efforts to dismantle the post-Second World War international system based on respect for state sovereignty and inviolability of borders enshrined in the supremacy of the UN in resolving international disputes. Kosovo’s independence is also against the Security Council Resolution 1244 of 1999, which gave the UN jurisdiction over Kosovo....It has been noted that such 'independence' enables the Americans to maintain a strategic military base at Camp Bondsteel in the breakaway region — the largest American military base to come up in Europe over the last generation." 
On October 23 an analysis appeared on a major Russian news site regarding the recently announced change in Russia's military doctrine allowing for the first use of nuclear weapons. To demonstrate the lingering and perhaps irreversible effects of NATO's first war of ten years ago, the article revealed that "Russia started speaking about the possibility of delivering preemptive nuclear strikes long ago, in the late 1990s after NATO bombed Yugoslavia. Russia subsequently held war games [in] 1999 simulating a military conflict with NATO similar to the one in Yugoslavia.
"That war game showed that only nuclear weapons would save Russia in case of Western aggression. The Russian government subsequently changed the schemes of using nuclear weapons, especially tactical ones." 
Crimes left unaddressed and unpunished, especially war crimes, exact a terrible toll on international relations and on the world's conscience.
The monument to former U.S. President Clinton further diminishes his political and historical stature, considering by whom it is being dedicated and why.
As long as much - most - of the world continues to ignore, apologize for and even endorse the crime for which he is being celebrated the prospects for a peaceful and just world are far beyond the grasp of those eager for a planet forever free of war.
1) New Kosovo Report, October 29, 2009
2) Beta News Agency, October 29, 2009
4) Beta News Agency, March 24, 2009
5) Adriatic Charter And The Balkans: Smaller Nations, Larger NATO
Stop NATO, May 13, 2009 http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/08/28/adriatic-charter-and-the-balkans-smaller-nations-larger-nato
6) Associated Press, October 10, 2009
7) Focus News Agency, October 28, 2009
9) BalkanInsight, October 29, 2009
10) Reuters, October 30, 2009
11) Vecernje Novosti, October 17, 2009
12) Threat Of New Conflict In Europe: Western-Sponsored Greater Albania
Stop NATO, October 8, 2009 http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/10/08/new-threat-of-conflict-in-europe-western-sponsored-greater-albania
13) Focus News Agency, October 10, 2009
14) Sofia News Agency, October 18, 2009
16) Tanjug News Agency, October 19, 2009
17) Tanjug News Agency, October 24, 2009
18) B92, October 16, 2009
19) B92, October 8, 2009
20) Bulgaria, Romania: U.S., NATO Bases For War In The East
Stop NATO, October 24, 2009 http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/10/25/bulgaria-romania-u-s-nato-bases-for-war-in-the-east
21) Why Is NATO In Yugoslavia? http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/GER108A.html
22) Younes Bhat, Crisis from the Balkans to Caucasus: Munich Speech to
Mainstream Weekly, October 11, 2009
23) Russian Information Agency Novosti, October 23, 2009