By Scott Taylor
Last Tuesday there was a story in the Toronto Star wherein Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci gave a warning to Parliament during his visit to Ottawa that Russian meddling in world affairs will have consequences for Canada.
It was Thaci’s assertion that Russia has been spreading “fake news” in an attempt to depict Kosovo as a failed state.
In a massive leap of logic, Thaci claimed that “by attacking [our shared] principles and values, [the Russians] are attacking Canada as well.”
As is all too often the case, the media coverage of Thaci’s “blame Russia, praise Canada” comments were stated without providing any context as to the man uttering them, or the failed state he represents.
Simply put, Hashim Thaci is a career criminal and a ruthless thug. Back in 1993, at the age of 25, Thaci became a member of the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which at that time was listed by the CIA as a terrorist organization.
Thaci’s self-given nickname was “Snake” and he was responsible for trafficking drugs and weapons for the KLA. In 1997, he was convicted in absentia for committing acts of terrorism and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
However, in 1998, as KLA Albanian separatist forces were openly waging an insurgency against Yugoslav security forces, the U.S. State Department had a change of heart. The former terrorist organization KLA suddenly became the freedom fighter KLA, and Thaci was propelled into the unlikely role of statesman.
In March 1999, NATO forces, including Canada, intervened in Kosovo on the side of the KLA separatists, waging a 78-day bombing campaign to force a Yugoslav capitulation.
Thaci and his fellow KLA compatriots, also ruthless thugs, emerged as the dominant political force in post-war Kosovo. Elected as prime minister in 2007, Thaci announced a unilateral declaration of independence on February 17, 2008.
Despite the fact that the U.S. immediately recognized this new state and heavily pressured countries such as Canada to do likewise, Russia’s veto at the UN Security Council continues to prevent Kosovo’s official membership and recognition. Likewise, Kosovo has been blocked from joining both NATO and the European Union by member states that have concerns about separatist movements within their own countries.
For Thaci to blame his fledging state’s woes entirely on Russian “fake news” takes the term “fake news” to a new low.
The German Intelligence Agency BND conducted a recent investigation into Thaci and his regime and concluded that “the key players (including Thaci) are involved in inter-linkages between politics, business, and organized crime structures in Kosovo.” In other words, they are openly running a narco-criminal enterprise.
Another report prepared for the Council of Europe implicated former KLA commanders of serious human rights abuses. The most serious allegations against Thaci’s cronies included drug trafficking and the hideous crime of human organ trafficking. Innocent victims — both ethnic Serbian and Albanians — were allegedly executed for the purpose of harvesting their organs for sale on the black market.
As for Thaci blaming the Russians for circulating fake news about the current economic situation in Kosovo, the non-fake facts speak for themselves.
Kosovo is presently the second poorest state in Europe, sitting just ahead of impoverished Moldova. Its 2016 GDP per capita is merely $10,000 (US) compared to Canada’s $46,400 (US). Overall unemployment is over 33 per cent, with youth unemployment sitting at 60 per cent. Since the declaration of independence in 2008, tens of thousands of Albanian Kosovars have joined the ranks of migrants flowing into Western Europe.
These numbers are not from Russian media sources, but rather the CIA World Factbook.
Canada and the rest of NATO failed the Albanian Kosovars when they intervened militarily in 1999 to liberate them from Yugoslav authority, only to leave them in the hands of criminals like Thaci and his KLA henchmen.
To bring Thaci to Ottawa, forgive him his past and present sins, and then trumpet his anti-Russia rhetoric as sage advice is folly in the extreme. For Thaci to suggest that his values and those of his corrupt Kosovar regime are the same as Canadian values is an insult to Canada.