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Posts tagged ‘Bosnia’

9-11 Investigators Never Learned About FBI, CIA al-Qaida Mole.

al-Qaida operatives in Bosnia killed an FBI mole who met with Osama bin Laden and provided intelligence on al-Qaida after suspecting he was with the CIA, but the man’s death came several years before the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorism attacks and the FBI did not report the informant’s existence to investigators.

The dead informant, was a Los Angeles-based “driver and confidante” of “Blind Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, the cleric in prison for masterminding the first attempt on the World Trade Center in 1993, NBC News reported Thursday.

Because the mole died at least six years before the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Congressional investigators or the 9/11 Commission never learned about the Sudanese man.

NBC reported the news of the mole’s death one day after it reported the man’s existence, saying the informant had been been recruited by the FBI years ago and had even met with bin Laden a full eight years prior to the Sept. 11 attacks.

The mole revealed a great deal of information to the FBI, including revealing a plan that helped stop a bin Laden plan to destroy a Masonic lodge in Los Angeles in the mid-1990s, according to courtroom testimony by Ed Curran, who was the assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s L.A. office then.

Sources told NBC the informant was recruited in 1993 after learning he was a known associate of the Blind Sheikh, who had been an FBI target since 1990 when follower El Sayyid Nosair, shot and killed radical Rabbi Meir Kahane in a Manhattan hotel.

The Sheikh moved to Los Angeles, where the future mole lived and became his driver.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service tipped off the FBI about the driver, and the federal agency learned that he was on a terrorism watch list. INS tried to deport him, and his status as a potential terrorist made it difficult to move him. Jordan took him and put him jail for three months, and eventually, the driver ended up in Yemen, where the FBI recruited him.

The first World Trade Center attack also occurred at about time, when a truck filled with explosives detonated in an underground garage on Feb. 26, 1993.

FBI agent Bassem Youssef, the bureau’s highest-ranking Arabic speaker, approached the informant as a friend, saying he could reunite the man with his family in California.After several meetings with Youssef and other agents, he agreed to provide information and started talking about al Qaeda.

The man also provided about a dozen U.S. and Canadian passports, with the original photos being replaced with those of al-Qaida operatives.

The driver also met with bin Laden, who one Justice Department official said “was not that hard to get to” because he was not yet famous.

After the Blind Sheikh was arrested in 1993, the informant continued working with the FBI, but in 1994, a woman working for the CIA was able to convince him to work with the CIA.

The CIA sent him to Bosnia in 1994 or 1995, but the FBI didn’t know its informant was working for the other agency or why he disappeared.

Youssef started asking al-Qaida sources what had happened to the man, and learned that operatives in Bosnia killed him because they suspected he was working for the CIA.

The mole’s existence was actually first revealed in 2010, when Youssef sued the FBI, claiming discrimination and accusing the agency of passing him over for promotion.

Former FBI agent Ed Curran, in testimony during the discrimination trial, revealed Youssef developed the mole, reported The Washington Times during the trial.

“It was the only source I know in the bureau where we had a source right in al-Qaida, directly involved,” Curran testified, noting the mole was “tight, close” with al-Qaida leadership.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Sandy Fitzgerald

Cabalization of PHCN Leads to Exorbitant Electricity Bills For Nigerians.

By Peregrino Brimah

A few months ago, the federal government of Nigeria privatized major assets of the nations Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN. Sold or rather, gifted to the cabal at 404 billion naira, the government had just refurbished the assets for N3.2 TRILLION naira! This was a gift of a whopping 2.6 TRILLION naira to the government’s Transcorp boyfriends and other cabal co-conspirators.

Of course this was nothing less than a conspiracy to defraud the masses of their 2.6 trillion naira. One more in a depressing trend of privatizations which are orchestrated by the government in partnership with the usual suspect cabal that typically occurs first with purposeful sabotage of the public asset, then a phony exorbitant refurbishing of the asset, then a standards violating pseudo-private bid sale through the Bureau of Private Enterprise, BPE and National Council on Privatization, NCP to these pre-selected cabal at one-tenth of the value.

But after the sale the real trouble and harrowing predicament for Nigeria’s 168 million helpless masses actually begins. The final and eternal stage in cabalization of public assets is the unregulated, government enforced monopolist extortion of the masses in fines—not fees—for the service or utility.

The report in the Vanguard of February 7th, 2014, confirmed our predictions and worst fears. Once again the cabal vampires have fulfilled their duty to rape and plunder Nigeria’s exposed masses.

The Vanguard article, captioned, “Nigerians protest electricity billing system, exorbitant bills” from a NAN report, relayed complaints by Nigerians of exorbitant PHCN electricity bills under the new cabal ownership. And this is just the beginning. If history is anything to go by, by the time the day is done, Nigerians will pay triple for their electricity usage.

The same happened with our mobile phones, the same happened with cement. When Nigeria privatizes, or rather cabalizes, there is no regulation, the government officials are shareholders in the cabal companies and together they poise themselves to extort and exploit Nigeria’s vulnerable masses.

The mean price paid for cement in Nigeria today with the government enforced monopoly to certain cement producers to whom Nigeria’s cement companies were privatized, leaves Nigerians paying close to 11 dollars per bag of cement, which compares to a mean global price of $4. Extortion and profiteering at triple the global rates.

Our mobile companies charge some of the tallest figures in the world; little surprise a popular manager of a mobile phone network company compared the profits to ritual money. We will, see it with the so-called car assembly plants; we will see it with literally everything. The government has the Midas touch, everything they touch turns to gold—for the cabal. Little wonder Nigeria is seriously attracting foreign investors. Who does not love money doubling from the pockets of mumuish masses?

Some question why those of us with interests of the millions of poor masses are anti privatization. We are not anti privatization; we are anti-cabalization, which is always the predictable result with our heartless, greedy, wicked and egregious political governments. This is why we say to our incompetent administrations; dare not sell any more of our assets, all we need is QC—Quality Control.

Privatization only works where the bidding process is open and transparent, where there is no prior exorbitant phony refurbishing, and where post sale competition is supported and privatized entities are regulated to not extort the masses with exorbitant charges.

All these controls are never available in Nigeria and as such, privatization is a criminal process.

Rather, the masses are continually ripped off as the cabal companies who purchase the assets are even given more billions in import waivers.

While the cabal who purchased the PHCN from the Jonathan administration had not yet found enough adventures to spend their gains of the masses trillions used to refurbish the assets, they again were given N234 billion in import waivers in the year 2013. Money upon money for the cabal and the government-shareholders in the cabal firms. More money for political sponsorship of the ruling parties in reward for these gifts of billions, and as thankyou, greater fines for the masses in exorbitant electricity, phone, cement and other bills for the products and utilities.

One only has to study the cash cycling between the Transcorp boys, Nigeria’s oligopolist cement manufacturer and the like, and the ruling party to appreciate the way the money of the masses is used to destroy the masses. Literally we pay for the frivolities and excesses of these cabal who literally despise us.

In Bosnia today, anti-government riots are going on due to things as ‘meager’ as, unemployment. But Nigerian masses are sheep. We will suffer and smile, engage in tribalism and ethnic bickering, while the unified wealth-drowned cabal plunder us ruthlessly in harmony with our government.

But there is good news: what obtains today in terms of hikes in electricity prices is nothing yet. Peanuts. Wait till the president is re-elected to ‘enjoy’ the full effect of the cabalization.

Dr. Peregrino Brimah [Every Nigerian Do Something]
Email: Twitter: @EveryNigerian


Rotational Presidency and Jonathan’s withdrawal from the race the only way to avert bloodshed: Open Letter to the President:


Borrowing from the Ondo and Anambra Governorship Polls of October 20, 2012 and November 16, 2013, respectively, as in INEC’s conduct of election 120 days before the end of the tenure of a serving governor; and specifically according to Section 132 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended in 2011, the election into the office of the President of Nigeria may most likely hold by January 2015.

On the same premise, elections into the 360 members of the House of Reps and 109 senatorial seats may most likely take place by the same month. This is in accordance with Section 76 (2) of the Constitution as amended. Elections into about 1,152 State legislative seats of the 36 States may most likely take place by the

same month in accordance with Section 116 (2) of the Constitution as amended. And elections into the 31 States’ governorship seats may most likely hold by the same January 2015. This is in accordance with Section 178 (2) of the Constitution as amended. The Independent National Electoral Commission is expected to announce the timetable for the elections most likely by October 2013(usually not later than 90 days before the poll’s date).

There are a total of 1,695 top elective offices at Nigeria’s Federal and States’ tiers of government, out of which, polls may most likely be conducted in 1, 685 seats by January 2015. The remaining ten governorship and deputy governorship seats are presently under staggered electoral calendar owing to Peter Obi v INEC Case of 2007 delivered by the Supreme Court of Nigeria. While INEC is constitutionally empowered to organize elections into 1, 695 top elective seats of the Federal and States’ governments, the States’ Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) are charged with the constitutional responsibility of conducting elections into 11, 788 Local Government chairmanships and councillorships in the country’s 774 LGAs under staggered circumstances.

It is a truism that one out of the 1, 685 elective polls to be conducted by INEC by January 2015 will make or mar Nigeria. This singular election is “an election too many” and it is no other than “the presidential election of 2015”. It is our indisputable findings that the Presidency, the National Assembly and the Independent National Electoral Commission hold the key to the success or failure of the all-important 2015 general elections in Nigeria. The three important political establishments also face three major challenges threatening not only the polls, but also the lives and liberties of Nigerians as well as corporate existence of the country. The three major challenges are: security, unconstitutionality of rotational presidency among the six geopolitical zones and Mr. President’s second term ambition. It is correct to say that solutions to these three major challenges will save the country from chaos and bloodletting of unimaginable proportion looming large over the polls.

Consequences Of Political Domination Across Borders:

In the world over, political dominance in heterogeneous and multi religious countries by particular tribes or sections against their minority or weaker partners have led to disintegration of hitherto united and vibrant countries and caused hundreds of thousands, if not millions of deaths and institutionalization of group crimes. From former Yugoslavia to Lebanon; from Rwanda to Burundi; from Ivory Coast to Central African Republic; the list continues. The Serbs/Christian dominance of political powers from the time of Marshal Josip Broz Tito, who died in office (1st prime minister of Yugoslavia from 1943 and president between 14th of January 1953 and 4th of May, 1980), led to the Yugoslavian complex and bloody civil wars between 1991 and 2001. The wars eventually broke up the country into seven countries of Serbia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo, Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina, on account of the Dayton Peace Accords of 1995.

In Lebanon, it was ethno-religious differences between Maronite Christians and Muslims (Sunni and Shia) and political dominance and foreign influences that led to her blood civil war between 1975 and 1990. In Rwanda and Burundi, political and military dominance by the Tutsi tribe, which constitutes about 14% of the two countries’ populations respectively against the majority Hutu tribe (85%) and acute minority tribe Twa (1%) led to several civil wars that engulfed the two countries since 60s with that of Rwanda degenerating into genocide that killed between 800,000 and 1,000,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus between April and July 1994, a period of three months. Presently in the Central African Republic, the country is polarized and divided along Christian and Muslim war zones since the ousting of Gen. Francois Bozize on 24th March, 2013 by an Islamic rebel alliance known as “Seleka”.

In Nigeria, political dominance is incontestably factual. Though Section 14 (3) of the Constitution frowns at it, but the Section is made leprous by Section 6, sub 6 (c) of the same Constitution, which ousts the jurisdiction of any court to inquire and sanction its defaulters, likewise other provisions under Chapter Two-Fundamental Objectives & Directive Principles of State Policy. In 1999, the Southwest or Yoruba tribe got the Presidency through pen militancy and the South-south or Southern Nigeria’s minorities, who presently occupy the throne since 2010 (successor presidency), got it through arms propelled by resource control militancy. As the 2015 general polls, especially the presidential poll, draw closer, we are now a witness to mass defection from one party to the other and fusion of political parties with strong tribal or ethno-religious influences.

These are all geared towards returning Nigeria back to “born to rule” inglorious epoch where the old Western and Muslim Northern regions were “born to rule” and other federating partners including Igbo tribe, northern and southern minorities were “born to be ruled”. Since equity demands “what ought to be”, to be and “what ought to be done”, to be done, and judging from the premise of six geopolitical zones of Northwest, Northeast, North-central, Southeast, South-south and Southwest; the three zones of Southwest, Northwest and South-south are disqualified by equity from contesting the 2015 Presidential Poll in Nigeria, having held the plum post democratically in 1999 to 2007 (Southwest), 2007 to 2010 (Northwest) and 2010 to 2015 (South-south). In order of equitable hierarchy, Southeast, North-east and North-central are equitably favoured and qualified to contest the 2015 Presidency and two others following it and among the three, Southeast is the “primus inter pares”, followed by the Northeast. Even during the military’s inglorious epoch, it was Mohammadu Buhari (1983 to 1987) Katsina Northwest, Ibrahim Babangida (1987 to 1993) Niger North-central, Sani Abacha (1993 to 1998) Kano Northwest and Abdulsalami Abubakar (1998 to 1999) Niger North-central.

The best solution to social disharmony in a consociation democracy and ethno-religiously divided country like Nigeria is power rotation. The Republic of Tanzania made up of Unions of Tanganyika and Zanzibar formed in 1964 remains one of the stable countries in Africa. It has also not experienced any military coup since independence in 1961. It emerged from its post independence turbulence under its ruling party-Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) with some form of power balance within its ruling party, between Tanganyika, dominated by Christians and animists and Zanzibar dominated by Muslims. Its presidency has flowed from Julius Nyerere (Tanganyika) 1961 to 1985 (under limitless tenure), Ali Hassan Mwinyi (Zanzibar) 1985 to 1995, Benjamin Mkakpa(Tanganyika) 1995 to 2005 to Dr. Jakaya Kikwete (Tanganyika) 2005 to 2015. In its ongoing constitutional review, one of the leading agitations is the constitutional rotation of its presidency between Tanganyika and Zanzibar with insistence that next president will come from Zanzibar in its 2015 presidential poll. In Lebanon, with parliamentary system, the presidency and army chief are zoned to Maronite Christians, the prime minister is zoned to Sunni Muslims and the speaker of the parliament is zoned to Shia Muslims and this has restored internal political stability in the country, except other external political factors and influences such as “Palestine question” and the fate of the State of Israel on the so called Arab lands.

Summary Of What Must Be Done:

Without prejudice to a planned national conference of whatever name called, the National Assembly including the Senate and the House of Reps bodies working on constitutional amendment, should, as a matter of uttermost urgency and national importance, incorporate into the Constitution the rotation of the presidency among the six geopolitical zones under reference and state clearly on the premise of equity which zone should take the first shot bearing in mind that Southeast and Northeast have not governed Nigeria in recent times. Our prescribed order of hierarchy on the basis of a single tenure of six years is as follows: Southeast, six years (2015 to 2021), Northeast, six years (2021 to 2027), North-central six years (2027 to 2033), Southwest six years (2033 to 2039), Northwest six years (2039 to 2045) and South-south six years (2045 to 2051). If it is decided that it should start from the Northeast, or after the Southeast must have taken its turn, the arrangement must accommodate the Christians and minorities of Taraba, Adamawa, Bauchi and Gombe States. It is very important to point out that in the rotational arrangement being demanded, there will be a time for each beneficiary zone to “cry and smile”. The said constitutional arrangement can only be altered through a national conference, especially if the federating partners wish to live apart peacefully.

The second important thing that must be done is that President Goodluck Jonathan should withdraw his second term ambition so as to allow the equitably favoured zone to take its turn and avert chaos and bloodletting imminent in the polls. This sacrifice for national unity and cohesion must be accompanied with collective acceptance by other federating partners of Northwest and Southwest extractions that six geopolitical zones’ presidential rotation be incorporated into the Constitution on a single term of six years. The third important issue is the provision of adequate security to secure the liberties and lives of Nigerians before, during and after the polls. The security arrangement must also include demographic security on the part of INEC. This includes credible voters’ cards’ review, efficient continuous voters’ registration and non politicization of INEC’s substantive and adhoc staff recruitment and management.

Where It Concerns Mr. President:

Your Excellency, Mr. President should do the following:

1. Shelve Your Excellency’s second term ambition for sake of national peace, unity and cohesion.

2. Ensure that Your Excellency quickly assent to the constitutional amendment bill under reference once it is brought to Your Excellency’s attention and if indeed it warrants Your Excellency’s assent.

3. Your Excellency’s shelving of Your Excellency’s second term ambition should be conditional and must be predicated on collective readiness of the federating partners of Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba extractions to allow for constitutionality of six geopolitical zonal rotating presidency with a start from Southeast, or at extreme consideration, the Northeast, with Christian, Muslim and Minorities’ eligibility.

4. Your Excellency as the Commander-in-Chief should ensure adequate security and liberty for all Nigerians before, during and after the January 2015 general polls. To this extent, Your Excellency should reshuffle Your Excellency’s Service Chiefs and restructure the command hierarchies of the Armed Forces including the Nigeria Police Force.

5. Your Excellency, as Chairman of the Nigeria Police Council, should look into secretive and lopsided promotions of senior officers in the Nigeria Police Force by the IGP, M.D. Abubakar and some say surrogate Nigeria Police Service Commission. The names of the beneficiaries of such promotions are kept secret because the exercise is utterly lopsided and appeared to have been designed to favour Hausa-Fulani Muslim senior officers. It is alleged that a number of course mates of the present IGP from the Southeast and South-south, are still at the rank of Deputy Commissioners of Police.

Where It Concerns The National Assembly Members & Their Leaders (Senate President & House Speaker):

1. An unambiguous provision should be inserted into the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as being amended, providing for a six year single term rotational presidency among the six geopolitical zones in the order below: Southeast, Northeast, North-central, Southwest, Northwest and South-south. It should be done with uttermost immediacy and national importance.

2. Adequate funds should be provided for INEC for effective and efficient conduct of the important polls under reference.

3. Excuses of any type geared towards blocking or delaying the constitutional amendment being demanded, which may be premised on “want of time” or “national conference outcome” are totally rejected and immaterial to the present circumstance. If about 31 sections and sub sections’ amendments could be successfully carried out in the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 prior to the 2011 general polls within a short time frame, this popular demand of ours can as well be met in a question of few months before the polls.

Where It Concerns INEC Chairman & His Management:

1. Your Commission must discharge its duties in strict compliance with the provisions of the INEC Establishment Act of 2004, the Electoral Act of 2010 and the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended in 2011.

2. To this extent, Your Commission should commence timely the continuous registration of voters and revalidation of voters’ cards and relaxation of stiff conditions attached to voters’ cards’ transfer processes and allied issues.

3. Your Commission should ensure deployment of adequate voters’ registration tools and personnel and designate clearly through adequate publicity registration centers across the country, which must be within the reach of registrable Nigerians. We advise that polling centers should be used.

4. Your Commission should avoid recruiting career politicians either as substantive electoral officers like RECs or adhoc electoral officers like EOs or ROs.

5. Your Commission should liaise with the NPF and the DSS with a view to constituting enforcement units to apprehend and prosecute those found flouting the criminal aspect of the Electoral Act of 2010 with specific reference to poll violence including killings, maiming, assaults, arson and other property destruction.

Finally, ominous signs are already showing the imminence of chaos and bloodletting in the January 2015 general polls. It is an established and incontestable opinion that Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gun powder. With five to seven million illicit small arms said to exist and be borne by wrong hands in the country and scattered across the country, the Presidency, the National Assembly and the Independent National Electoral Commission must act swiftly to save the country and her citizens from violence of unimaginable proportion threatening the conduct of the all important polls. All forms of parochial and ethno-religious interests must be nailed in a coffin and collectivist national interests made to hold sway. And the chief among the collectivist national interests is the constitutionality of rotational presidency among the six geopolitical zones.

The complex and complicated civil wars fought in the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 2001 should serve as a collective lesson to the political authorities under reference in Nigeria. In the wars, Serbs and Montenegrins fought on one side, Croats and Bosniaks in Bosnia fought on the other. Also wars erupted between Bosniaks and Croats in Bosnia, between Croats on one side and Serbs and Montenegrins in Croatia on the other, between Serbs and Slovenes in Slovenia, between Serbs and Albanians in Serbia, between Serbs and Kosovo Albanians in Kosovo and between Albanians and Macedonians in Macedonia. If the foregoing tragic scenario plays out in Nigeria, the so called “giant of Africa” and “the world’s birth place for black people” will be a history. The Yugoslavian pogrom and “war of all against all” must not be allowed a space in Nigeria!

Yours Faithfully,

For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law

Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman of the Board

Comrade Justus Uche Ijeoma, Head, Publicity Desk

Source: Radio Biafra.

US, EU hopeful of new Iran nuke talks.


PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — The U.S. and the European Union said Tuesday they’ll press on with sanctions against Iran, even as they hope the promise of new negotiations could lead to a diplomatic solution ending the nuclear standoff.

Appearing together at a news conference in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo before continuing a joint tour of the Balkans in Serbia and Kosovo, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said both diplomacy and pressure would continue until Iran makes significant concessions over its disputed uranium enrichment activity.

“We continue to try and find ways to move forward on our negotiations,” Ashton told reporters in Sarajevo. She cited contact over the weekend between a top aide and an assistant to Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, and said she would be reaching out to Jalili “in the near future.”

Still, there appeared to be no significant advance in the process since world powers instructed Ashton last month in New York to speak with Jalili and gauge Iran’s seriousness on coming into compliance with its international nuclear negotiations. The West fears Iran may be trying to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

The West has demanded that Iran must stop enriching uranium to 20 percent purity, shut down its underground Fordo enrichment site and ship its 20 percent stockpile out of the country. In return, Iran has been offered civilian plane spare parts and 20 percent-enriched nuclear fuel for its medical research reactor in Tehran.

Clinton said the U.S. message to Iran is clear. “The window remains open to resolve the international community’s concerns about your nuclear program diplomatically and to relieve your isolation, but that window cannot remain open indefinitely. Therefore, we hope that there can be serious good-faith negotiations commenced soon.”

Iran has sent mixed signals on its nuclear program. World powers cited increased flexibility from Iran in September when they agreed to lay the groundwork for a new round of negotiations, and on Tuesday Iran’s Foreign Ministry said the standoff could be resolved if the U.S. and its partners recognize Iran’s right to produce nuclear fuel.

But senior Iranian officials also have threatened to boost enrichment levels if the West doesn’t ease sanctions. And the U.S. and its partners say measures that are crippling the Iranian economy will remain in force until Tehran first starts coming into compliance with its international obligations.

Clinton and Ashton spoke during the first leg of their tour of the Balkans, where they are urging rivals ethnic groups and governments to settle their differences for the good of their nations.

Seventeen years after the U.S.-led intervention ended Bosnia’s civil war, Bosnia’s Muslims, Serbs and Croats are split on how to unify the country or even to dissolve their federation entirely into separate ethnic parts. The Serb republic and the Bosniak-Croat federation have their own governments and parliaments, held together only weakly by a three-member presidency that Clinton and Ashton met with.

Clinton called efforts by some to roll back the Dayton Accords passed during the presidency of her husband “totally unacceptable,” a reference to Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik’s call for the dissolution of Bosnia. He has also denied the genocide of Bosnia’s Muslims in the 1990s.

Clinton urged all Bosnia’s leaders to “put aside their political differences, put aside the rhetoric of dissolution, secession and denial of what tragically happened in the war.” She and Ashton said the country’s slow pace of reforms and the inability of leaders to look past their ethnic constituencies are holding back its hopes of joining the EU and NATO, and leaving it behind neighbors such as Serbia,Croatia and Kosovo.

Later in Belgrade, the two met Serbia’s nationalist president, Tomislav Nikolic, and Prime Minister Ivica Dacic.

Clinton told them that normalizing ties with Kosovo, which broke off from Serbia four years ago, is critical for Serbian aspirations of entering the 27-nation European Union. She urged progress in talks with Kosovo about issues such as freedom of movement, customs, utilities and government services, without calling for Belgrade to immediately recognize the independence of its former province.

After Serbia, the pair flew together on Clinton’s plane to Kosovo’s capital of Pristina, where they’ll press top officials on similar matters on Wednesday. Afterward, Ashton will drop off the trip and Clinton will travel on to Croatia and Albania, NATO’s two newest members.


Associated Press writers Aida Cerkez in Sarajevo and Jovana Gec in Belgrade contributed to this report.


By BRADLEY KLAPPER | Associated Press

Serbian general opens appeal with Libya warning for Britain and France.

  • Momcilo Perisic, the former chief of staff of the Yugoslav army, takes his seat as he enters the court room of the Yugoslavia war crimes court in The Hague, to hear the verdict of the court Sept 6, 2011. REUTERS/Peter Dejong/Pool

    Enlarge PhotoReuters/Reuters – Momcilo Perisic, the former chief of staff of the Yugoslav army, takes his seat as he enters the court room of the Yugoslavia war crimes court in The Hague, to hear the verdict of the court …more 

THE HAGUE (Reuters) – The former head of the Serbian army, who was convicted last year for war crimes during the Balkans wars of the 1990s, told an appeal court on Tuesday he could not be held responsible for the actions of an army that was not under his direct control.

General Momcilo Perisic is appealing against his conviction for murder, persecution and attacks on civilians in Bosnia and Croatia, including the killing of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica and the 42-month siege of Sarajevo by Bosnian Serb forces.

Perisic, 68, was sentenced to 27 years in prison in September 2011 for helping the Serb troops to plan and carry out the war crimes.

“Never before was a chief of staff indicted and convicted for crimes committed by members of another army in another country,” Perisic told the court.

“My case remains unique in the world,” said Perisic, who was also convicted of securing financial and logistical support for Serbs in Bosnia and Croatia.

Prosecutors said Perisic was directly responsible for atrocities committed by the fighters in Bosnia and Croatia and that he had made conscious attempts to conceal his role.

“What the chamber did was to remove this veil of deception and show Perisic’s position of authority and effective control,” said Elena Martin Salgado, for the prosecution.

A lawyer for Perisic said that holding him responsible for the actions of the Bosnian Serb army risked creating a double standard.

Britain and France had intervened in Libya last year with “impunity” in support of rebel forces they did not control in order to topple dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

“Do we think it’s going to be prosecutions around the world for the United States and its personnel? Or for the U.K. or for France? Or for NATO?” asked Gregory Guy Smith, one of Perisic’s lawyers.

“I think not, and the problem that’s going to occur very rapidly will be that there will be a rise in impunity, because there will be a recognition that there is not equal treatment under the law,” he told the court.

Perisic is the only senior Belgrade official convicted of atrocities in Bosnia and Croatia during the wars that followed the break-up of multi-ethnic Yugoslavia, in which more than 100,000 people were killed.

Slobodan Milosevic, the Serbian president, died in detention before the end of his trial. Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader, and Ratko Mladic, the leader of the Bosnian Serb forces, are still on trial.

(Reporting By Thomas Escritt; Editing by Angus MacSwan)


By Thomas Escritt and Svebor Kranjc | Reuters

Bosnia Serbs, Muslims vie for Srebrenica mayor.

  • A woman walks past election posters in Srebrenica, October 6, 2012. Bosnians will vote on Sunday in local elections likely to keep in power nationalist parties reflecting ethnic rivalries, 17 years after war ended. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic IONS)

    Enlarge PhotoReuters/Reuters – A woman walks past election posters in Srebrenica, October 6, 2012. Bosnians will vote on Sunday in local elections likely to keep in power nationalist parties reflecting ethnic rivalries, …more 


SREBRENICABosnia (Reuters) – A mayoral election in Bosnia on Sunday could see a Serb take control of Srebrenica for the first time since the mass killing of Muslims by Bosnian Serb forces in the town in 1995.

Some 8,000 Muslims, or Bosniaks, in the once predominantly Muslim region were slaughtered in five days by Bosnian Serb forces, the worst atrocity of the 1992-1995 war that killed 100,000 people in total.

Local elections are being held across the impoverished country, and in Srebrenica the prospect of a Serb victory at the site of Europe‘s worst mass killing since World War Two has seen a rush to register voters by both sides.

Srebrenica was overwhelmingly Bosniak before the war, but refugee flight has tilted the balance and now Serbs form a majority of people living there.

Bosnia’s international peace overseers intervened in previous elections to allow those Bosniaks who had not returned and were not registered in Srebrenica to still vote for the mayor and local council.

Reflecting a more hands-off approach, they have refrained from interfering this year, meaning many Bosniaks are disqualified from the vote.

The U.N. war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has ruled the Srebrenica massacre was genocide, but many Serbs dispute this.

Srebrenica is part of Bosnia’s autonomous Serb Republic, whose president, Milorad Dodik, has repeatedly denied that genocide took place.

Many Bosniaks see the prospect of Dodik’s mayoral candidate winning as a threat to their efforts to keep the memory of the crime alive and to the status of the memorial complex where more than 5,600 victims are interred.

“This is not about the two ethnic groups,” said Camil Durakovic, the Bosniak candidate for mayor. “This is about two groups of the Bosnian citizens – those who recognize the genocide and those who deny it.”

“That is something that is sacred for Bosniaks,” said Durakovic, who escaped the massacre as a 16-year-old boy. “The memorial complex is a red line which must not be crossed.”

Durakovic led a drive to register as many pre-war Srebrenica Bosniaks as possible. He said each side now had around 6,500 voters.

Ordinary voters, Serbs and Bosniaks alike, spoke less of the past and more of needing jobs and prosperity.

The mayor and local council will be in charge of local economic development projects, education policy and care of schools and religious and cultural buildings, including the memorial complex.

“Change will come only with new generations, who will not be poisoned with hatred and who have not been through the war and suffering,” said Miro Filipovic, a 58-year-old Serb locksmith.

Sixty-one-year-old Bosniak carpenter Salih Jusic said he expected little to change, but added:

“I’ll vote for Camil (Durakovic), because he can fight to help the Bosniaks.”

(Writing by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Matt Robinson and Alison Williams)


By Dado Ruvic | Reuters

Bosnian police crackdown on organized crime.

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Authorities in Bosnia launched what they called a major operation on Wednesday against several organized crime groups suspected of involvement in at least six murders, several major robberies, illegal money transfers and drug trafficking.

The State Prosecutor’s office said in a statement that “several dozen people” were detained following scores of raids in different parts of the country.

Goran Zubac, the head of Bosnia’s state security agency, said the operation was focusing on 43 suspects.

Local media said they include Kosovo-born Bosnian businessman Naser Kelmendi, who was blacklisted by the U.S. this year for allegedly running a major cocaine and heroin trafficking organization.

The media published photos of police searching a Sarajevo hotel belonging to Kelmendi family, but said Naser Kelmendi is not in Bosnia now. The authorities refused to confirm he was a suspect, saying the operation was just getting under way.

Zubac called it the country’s largest-ever crackdown on organized crime and said local law enforcement agencies had received significant support in preparing it from neighboring Serbia.

He said the people targeted by the operation are, among other things, suspected of the 2007 slaying of Bosnian Muslim warlord Ramiz Delalic who had become a major figure in the country’s criminal underworld following the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

“We already identified all members of this criminal network, we established what crimes they committed and how, and we also identified their cronies, including from within security and other government structures,” in Bosnia, Zubac said, without elaborating.

Organized crime flourished in the Balkans during the wars of the 1990s, and the region is still believed to be a major transit route for smuggling of drugs and cigarettes into the European Union. However, Balkan countries striving to join the 27-nations block have recently stepped up their efforts to curb the organized crime.


By SABINA NIKSIC | Associated Press

Bosnia Serbs threaten EU block on foreign minister.

BANJA LUKA, Bosnia (Reuters) – Bosnian Serbs threatened on Tuesday to block their country’s already slow progress towards European Union membership unless the foreign minister resigns in a dispute over constitutional procedures.

              The Bosnian Serbs claim that Foreign Minister Zlatko Lagumdzija instructed Bosnia’s representatives at the United Nations to support a resolution on Syria without first obtaining prior consent of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency.

              “Unless he tenders his resignation himself, we shall start a procedure to fire him,” Milorad Dodik, the president of Bosnia‘s autonomous Serb Republic, told a news conference.

              He said Lagumdzija has abused his position and authority by acting alone without instruction from the presidency.

Dodik said that unless the procedure to sack Lagumdzija was approved by the central government, the Serb officials would block the government’s work regardless of an EU “Road Map” which details further steps Bosnian needs to take to join the bloc.

Bosnia’s tripartite presidency is in charge of foreign policy and its Serb, Croat and Muslim members must agree about major decisions. Without consensus, the country is obliged to abstain from voting in international bodies.

              The presidency had taken no position about how Bosnia should vote on Syria last Friday because two of the three members were absent, the current chairman, Bakir Izetbegovic, said at the weekend.

              Izetbegovic, a Muslim, said he had advised Lagumdzija to take his cue from the presidency’s earlier decisions that were in favor of previous U.N. resolutions on Syria.

              Bosnia, divided after the 1992-95 war into the Serb Republic and the Muslim-Croat federation, has been locked for years in political crises that have virtually halted reforms and progress towards mainstream Europe.

              Due to its complex structure, ethnic quarrels and lack of reform progress, the country is lagging behind its Balkan neighbors that all aspire to join the EU.

              Bosnian Serbs often have obstructed reforms, fearing that they may cause the region to lose its high degree of autonomy.

              Dodik, known for his secessionist and nationalist rhetoric, said last week that Bosnia was an “inviable state” whose disintegration was just a matter of time.

              (Writing By Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Zoran Radosavljevic and Michael Roddy)



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