That Crush at Kosovos Business Door? The Return of U.S. Heroes
By MATTHEW BRUNWASSER
Published: December 11, 2012
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The New York Times
One bid is from a fund founded by former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright. Lobbying for another was James W. Pardew, the Clinton-era special envoy to the Balkans. Both former diplomats are among the Americans who hold the status of heroes here for their roles in the 1999 intervention that separated Kosovo from Serbia and created one of the worlds newest states.
In a meeting with Mr. Pardew in October, the prime minister explained his difficult position in having to choose between the buyers, according to a memo leaked to the newspaper Zeri, because whichever of the two bidders behind them wins, he will be seen by 2 million people to have betrayed the other one.
So many former American officials have returned to Kosovo for business in coal and telecommunications, or for lobbying and other lucrative government contracts that it is hard to keep them from colliding.
They also include Wesley K. Clark, a retired Army general and the former supreme allied commander of NATO forces in Europe who ran the bombing campaign against the Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic; and Mark Tavlarides, who was legislative director at the Clinton White Houses National Security Council.
The State Department has no policy that forbids former diplomats to lobby on behalf of nations where they served or returning to them for profit, beyond the one applying to federal employees as a whole, which prohibits senior officials from contacting agencies where they once worked for one year and bans all federal employees for life from advising on the same matters.
Kosovo is not the only nation where former officials have returned to conduct business Iraq is another example but it presents an extreme case, and perhaps a special ethical quandary, given the outsize American influence here. Pristina, the capital, may be the only city in the world where Bob Dole Street intersects Bill Clinton Boulevard.
Foreign policy experts say the practice of former officials returning for business is more common than acknowledged publicly. Privately, former officials concede the possibility of conflicts of interest and even the potential to influence American foreign policy as diplomats who traditionally made careers in public service now rotate more frequently to lucrative jobs in the private sector.
Asked for comment, former officials involved said their business dealings with the Kosovo government would benefit Kosovars by building a more prosperous economy. Were going to employ people, provide training, create exports and help the country grow and develop as a democracy, said General Clark, who is chairman of Envidity, a Canadian energy company seeking to explore Kosovos lignite coal deposits and produce synthetic fuel.
Lawrence Lessig, a law professor and director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard, said the appearance of cashing in risked undermining the prestige of the United States by clouding the humanitarian nature of the 1999 intervention, which was aimed at ending Serbian atrocities against Kosovars.
After the separation, Kosovo was an international protectorate run by thousands of officials from other countries and the United Nations serving as government representatives and private contractors. Four years of internationally supervised independence ended in September. About 6,000 peacekeepers remain.
The closeness of the ties between the state-builders and the state they built has made it easy for officials to change hats. Though the country is one of Europes poorest, there is still the potential for profit, particularly as the government privatizes critical assets.
Albright Capital Management, founded by Ms. Albright, has been shortlisted in the bidding for a 75 percent share in the state telecommunications company, PTK. The companys sale is expected to bring in between $400 million and $800 million.
Bechtel had help getting the contract from Mr. Tavlarides, the legislative director at the National Security Council during the 1999 Kosovo intervention. According to a lobbying report filed with the United States government, Mr. Tavlarides lobbied on behalf of Bechtel in Kosovo on highway-related issues while working for Van Scoyoc Associates, a Washington-based lobbying firm.
Mr. Tavlarides now works at the Podesta Group, which signed a $50,000 monthly contract with the Kosovo government on Jan. 1, advising it on communications and strengthening Kosovos ties to the United States government. The Podesta Group was co-founded by John Podesta, White House chief of staff in Mr. Clintons second term. Mr. Podesta left the firm in 1993. It is still owned by his brother, Anthony.
Mr. Tavlarides declined to comment, citing his firms policy to not speak with the news media about clients.
For his part, General Clark said it was insulting to suggest that there could be any conflict between private profit-making and his past responsibilities. My business is aboveboard, transparent and helps the Kosovar people, he said. We are going to use a resource that had no value to the Kosovo people and bring in hundreds of millions of dollars of investment.
United States military officers have a one-year post-retirement ban on contacting their former armed service about official matters, and a lifetime ban on any contacts related to the same matters on which they worked, according to the Pentagon.
Even some former officials acknowledge discomfort at the extent of the interplay between dealing and diplomacy.
Steven P. Schook, a retired United States army brigadier general and former chief of staff of KFOR, NATOs force in Kosovo, said he had mixed feelings about it.
Mr. Schook, who also served as the deputy head of the United Nations mission in Kosovo, has returned as a private consultant for former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, who was acquitted last month by the war crimes tribunal in The Hague. He says that he works for Mr. Haradinaj because of a belief in his leadership and that his only compensation is his expenses living in Kosovo, about $2,600 a month.
There are a lot of ex-diplomats coming in and out that are now representing private interests, he said. If Im a large corporation and I want to get in to be competitive, I want to work with people to help me do that.
But on the other hand, it seems a bit tawdry, Mr. Schook added. One minute youre liberating a place, and the next minute youre trying to get an energy tender.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: December 12, 2012
An earlier version of this article misstated part of the name of the lobbying firm where Mark Tavlarides now works. It is the Podesta Group, not Podesta Associates.
Wesley Clark, with the Bosnien Gangster Damir Fazllic in Tirana
The US Gangster Frank Wisner:mit der Frau Atifete Jahjaga, die gefälschte Schulzeugnisse hat und gefakte Polizei Ausbildungs Diplome, identisch wie ungefähr Ramuz Haradinaj, oder Hashim Thaci: null Schul Bildung, aber als die US Gangster brauchen sowas, dann wird es einfacher! Drecks CIA Geschäfte, wie Sibel Edmond ebenso erzählt.
US Gangster Frank Wisner and Hashim Thaci
Army War College: Clark/Kosovo Air Campaign
Army War College, Parameters, Spring 2000, pp. 13-29. ^ | May 2000 | TIMOTHY L. THOMAS
Posted on Mittwoch, 15. Oktober 2003 21:14:38 by Robert A. Cook, PE
Following is quoted the middle of the entire report.
Note: Detailed planning for the Kosovo campaign was ordered by Clinton in Mid-1998, the campaign itself started in March 1999, immediately after Clinton’s impeachment, and slightly before Hillary began her NY Senate campaign.
Reference numbers in the text are to footnotes in the orginal Army War College report.
The Views of General Wesley Clark, Supreme Allied Commander, NATO
It is important to note that this analysis is simply an attempt to express the concern generated by sets of figures that do not correspond to one another. It is not an attempt to cast doubt on General Wesley Clark, who has received far less credit than he deserves for keeping the alliance together during the conflict. General Clark does not count tanks; he relies on figures provided by others. It is fair to examine the figures he is being provided, however, and to consider how he chose to use them.
On 12 July, one month after the end of the bombing, the Navy Times discussed General Clark’s testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Relying on information provided by his staff, Clark stated that reports about NATO warplanes striking decoys and failing to destroy tanks and personnel carriers was a concerted disinformation campaign. Rather, he chose to underscore the virtual invulnerability of NATO aircraft and the fact that Kosovo set a new standard for warfare. He did not mention that there was no air force flying against NATO, nor that the 15,000-foot limitation was set to ensure there would be no damage to NATO’s „virtually invulnerable“ fleet. Battle damage assessment, according to Clark, included the destruction of 110 Serb tanks, 210 armored personnel carriers, and 449 guns and mortars. He also noted that NATO was aware the Serbs were using decoys and were able to recognize them. Department of Defense estimates of battle damage were slightly higher than Clark’s estimates (120 tanks, 220 armored personnel carriers, and 450 artillery pieces).
Clark later offered a reason why the battle damage may not have been as high as initially expected–there was a spy within NATO giving targets away to Belgrade. The Pacific Stars and Stripes quotes Clark on 13 August as saying the leak „was as clear as the nose on your face.“ That is certainly one form of asymmetric offset to information superiority, and again it involves the human dimension. Even with complete information superiority, one can’t destroy the target if the enemy knows an attack is coming and simply moves it or replaces it with a dummy target. NATO officials were reportedly tipped off that a spy might be among them by the fact that certain targets appeared to be vacated after appearing on target lists but before NATO planes attacked.
In September, a Pentagon review of the war was delayed by one month in order to fill in gaps in the number of armored vehicles and artillery batteries actually destroyed. One report noted that General Clark told a Pentagon officer that analysts verified only some 70 percent of the reported hits. Clark then ordered the US European Command to prepare a new estimate as well. In a later report, Clark lowered his battle damage assessment, noting that in all likelihood only 93 tanks and 153 armored personnel carriers were destroyed. The difference–17 tanks and 57 armored personnel carriers–is close to two reinforced infantry battalions. That obviously would be an extremely significant difference to a ground commander preparing for an attack. Accurate damage assessments are crucial to a ground commander’s maneuver requirements.
Even with total information superiority, it was not possible to verify battle damage with any accuracy some two months after the conflict ended, despite having NATO forces on the ground and overhead coverage of departing Serb vehicles. Since DOD and NATO still have not produced a compatible set of figures to this day, there clearly is a faulty methodology or other problem here as well. All of these hits were cockpit recorded and many were shown on TV. There should be near compatibility between NATO and Pentagon findings in the age of information superiority.
The British Press and Other Reporters on Battle Damage Assessment
Independent accounts from reporters covering the battle for Kosovo offered an entirely different set of battle damage statistics from those offered by either General Clark or the Pentagon. Their perspective is interesting for it is offered from firsthand, on-the-ground analysis, just like the latter NATO and Pentagon estimates.
The first newspaper reports on battle damage appeared at the end of June. Indications were that only 13 Serb tanks and fewer than 100 armored personnel carriers had been destroyed. Reporters noted the ruins of many different types of decoys hit by NATO forces (e.g., rusted tanks with broken parts, wood or canvas mock-ups). Carlotta Gall of The New York Times, a veteran war correspondent from the first Russian war in Chechnya, saw little damage. Newsweek reporter Mark Dennis found only one destroyed tank after driving around Kosovo for ten days. Did the Serbs manage to extricate all of their destroyed vehicles during their publicly filmed withdrawal, did they hide them, or did they really experience much less damage than NATO sources declared?
In late July, Aviation Week and Space Technology reported that NATO had dropped 3,000 precision-guided weapons that resulted in 500 hits on decoys, but destroyed only 50 Yugoslav tanks. Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre also reported that all 30 (other sources use the figure 20) incidents of collateral damage would be studied (the trains, convoys, schools, hospitals, and Bulgarian strikes). What types of bombs actually hit the decoys is known only by Pentagon insiders, so they are the only ones capable of calculating the amount of money wasted on these targets. This is an important issue, however, because early in the war NATO and US stocks of precision weaponry ran very low, a fact that undoubtedly was noted and highlighted by other nations with hostile intent toward the alliance. They received a yardstick measurement of how long an air campaign can proceed using certain types of high-tech armaments against specific targets before stocks run low.
U.S. News and World Report, in its 20 September 1999 edition, stated that a NATO team visited 900 „aim points“ targeted by NATO in Kosovo and found only 26 tank and similar-looking self-propelled-artillery carcasses. This would again throw NATO’s revised number of 93 tanks out the window. However, how many tank carcasses were in Serbia, where the NATO team did not visit, is not known, making this figure less provocative and contradictory than it originally appears. The article also reported increased friction between General Clark and his NATO air operations chief, Lieutenant General Michael Short, over target selection and strategy (mobile targets such as tanks versus infrastructure, respectively). The article concluded that it was not air power but Russia’s withdrawal of support for Serbia that probably brought an end to the air war in Kosovo. The article noted that in future conflicts, the most merciful way to end them may be to conduct them swiftly and violently instead of by the trial-and-error, phased approach used in Kosovo.
Finally, several British officers, both retired and serving, also noted that damage was much less than originally stated. One newspaper report, citing British Ministry of Defense sources, stated that the damage done to tanks was perhaps even less than the lowest quoted figure of 13 tank kills. But the most damning comment could prove to be from an International Herald Tribune article on 1 October. Written by Frederick Bonnart, the editorial director of the independent but highly authoritative NATO’s Nations, the article discusses how NATO „propaganda“ was used against the West. He notes:
In democracies, it is the duty of the public services to present the truth even in wartime, and particularly when they are in sole control of the information. If it is deliberately designed to engender fear and hate, then the correct term is propaganda.
destroying rubber and plastic tanke
only 93 tanks and 153 armored personnel carriers were destroyed
And in end it something like 7 tank and 13 carriers.
«The Pristina Republic of Kosovo» carries out two criminal functions. It itself serves as a source of organized crime. The very existence of paramilitary subversive-terrorist formation called the Kosovo Liberation Army, thinly veiled as the so called Kosovo security force or Kosovo police, confirms the fact. On the other hand, the region has become an area of «crime dissemination» into Europe and other parts of the world.
The first criminal function of «Kosovo project» presupposes full control of the «Republic of Kosovo» quasi-state by former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) militants. They hold strategic positions, fully control «the state», social and political life; the civilian population is subject to institutionalized political, psychological and physical coercion.
According to Western special services the Kosovo national intelligence service K-SHIK is responsible for the terror against its own population, it carries out punitive actions against the political opponents of ruling clique. Its the «boss of Kosovo project» who approves the activities. This fact is confirmed by Kadri Veseli, former head of the Kosovo Intelligence Service, a key political partner of «Kosovo Prime-Minister» Hashim Thaçi, who said the service was supported by many partners 25 intelligence services, the US contribution was very significant. …………….
Part of income goes to the Kosovo Liberation Army (there is no whatsoever control exercised over the «black funds» of drug clans) that acts under the protection of US «Kosovo project» promoters.
„Independent“ Kosovo: Gangland Spills Savagery Worldwide
By Anna Filimonova
Thursday, 20 Sep 2012
The Western power centers use the „Republic of Kosovo“ as a testing ground for working out the ways to create a quasi-state that could be defined as an abnormal criminal case of global scope. The final goal is reshaping the whole of South East Europe. (www.strategic-culture.org)
The US needs Kosovo for deployment of military installations on its territory in order to control South East Europe where the routes to Middle East oil riches start. There are the following NATO or NATO used military facilities in the Balkans: Hungary (Taszar), Romania (Deveselu, the port of Constanza, Mihail Kogalniceanu air base ), Bulgaria (the Novo Selo Training Range, Aitos Logistics Center near Burgas, Bezmer Air Base near Yambola, Graf Ignatievo air force base), Bosnia and Herzegovina (installations near Banja Luka, Mostar, Sarajevo, a small facility near Doboj), Croatia (Shepurin, Slun, Đakovo, Pula), Macedonia (Petrovec, a base near Kumanovo, Krivolak), Greece (Crete, and installations near Larissa) and finally Kosovo, (Bondstill and two installations near Montiff near Gnillane, a base near Vitina, artillery installation near Kaçanik, a base near Balovac near Podujeva). (4) According to Geiro the Kosovo Liberation Army is a punitive force that includes heads of mafia clans and is destined to oppress civilian population. It could never come to power without NATO and other Western power centers. (5)…………
Now Kosovo has become a training center of Syrian militants. The Syrian «opposition» asked the Kosovo Liberation Army for help in April 2012. It promised the recognition of Kosovo by «new Damascus» in return. The terrorist KLA leaders and Islamic extremists from Bosnia and Herzegovina rendered «support» in training Syrian paramilitary groups. Dzevad Galiashevic, member of expert team for South East Europe in fight against terrorism, claims the training centers are still based in the previous KLA locations, including the territory of Macedonia. Abdussamed Bushatlic, a former Al-Mujahedeen militant, a Wahhabi movement leader in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was among those who were seen there. According to Galiashevic missionary and ideological activities are conducted in Macedonia, Kosovo is a place of military preparatory activities. All terrorist activities are done under the patronage of NATO- led Kosovo Force (KFOR). The training camps are located in Drenitsa (the hamlet of Likovats, Yablanitsa and Glodjana). There are new training facilities built for mujahedeen from Muslim countries. One of them is situated in Drenica, another in Metohija (the hamlet of Smonitsa near Djakovica. Zoran Stijovic, former Serbian State Security officer in the 1990s, says the training is conducted for two types of operations: subversive-terrorist activities and intelligence gathering. The instructors are not Albanians only, the export model of Syrian revolution is prepared with the help of CIA operatives, Albanian KLA terrorists and the extremists from Bosnia and Herzegovina. (8) On June 20 2012 the Syrian army started a battle for the second largest city Aleppo, there were 400 «rebels» liquidated. The identification of the dead showed Kosovo Albanians fought on the side of terrorists along with the mercenaries from other countries.