Archive through December 17, 2000
i was ignorant in regards to the heart of this situation, quite a while ago.
i came to believe NATO had done something _way_ out of line.
the bloody mess never became less so; it's just the country is more _ruined_ than it had been before NATO showed up.
i read from your link and see nothing made better, with 'nothing better' as status quo there.
one way or the other.
doesnt anyone there want _peace_?
that is, does anyone other than those most likely to suffer and die from this conflict want _peace_?
and _worse_ will come.
and _more_ will die.
and...IT'S ALL THE SAME TO THE WORMS!
ALL THE [EXPLETIVE] SAME!!
AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN!
sorry, just another american from far, far away
absolutely at a loss.
"it's just the country is more _ruined_ than it had been before NATO showed up. "
this was passed on to me from someone well known and loved on this page....
jeez, it'll be a waste of a perfectly good intro if i didnt copy the link down right.
The forgotten story of rape and murder in Kosovo, American-style
The bombers had departed, the burning of villages had ceased, the peacemakers had moved in. But Kosovo had one more horror in
store. The rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl by an American soldier was described as the worst incident since Vietnam. Ten
months later, the crimes of the 82nd Airborne Division have been exposed. But what has happened to the victim's family?
The Independent, By Kim Sengupta
3 November 2000
On a cold and sunny morning last January, an 11-year-old girl called Merita Shabiu was playing in the snow outside her family home in the Kosovan
town of Vitina when a smiling man in uniform offered her some chocolates. Having gained her trust, he led her to the block of flats standing
opposite. There, in a dank basement, he sodomised her before crushing her neck on the concrete floor with his steel-capped boot.
It was a savage death, but then Kosovo has in recent years been a savage country. What made the murder of Merita different, however, was that
it took place after Nato's "liberation" of the former Yugoslav province, rather than during the murderous chaos that preceded it. And Merita's killer
was not Serb or Albanian, but a Nato "peace keeper": Frank J Ronghi, a staff sergeant with the élite 82nd Airborne Division of the US Army.
It didn't take long for Ronghi to be arrested. Other children had seen Merita entering the building with the soldier that day – and noted that she did
not return. At first, however, the Americans would not allow the UN Police to investigate the case. But enquiries by their own military police soon
uncovered damning evidence.
Astonishingly, Ronghi had been boasting to fellow soldiers of his fetish for young girls – and had described how he had raped three, including two
young sisters, while on another mission in Haiti. In Kosovo, he related with relish, there were endless opportunities, not just for rapes but murders,
too. The secret was to dress in civilian clothing, so that local Serbs would get the blame.
Ronghi, squad leader of the Alpha company of the 3rd battalion, even took his men to a wooded spot ideal, he said, for hiding a body. It was here
that Merita's body was found a month later, stuffed in a plastic bag. Charged with rape and pre-meditated murder, Ronghi was convicted in August
at a court martial in Germany and sentenced to life imprisonment.
The incident, not surprisingly, made sensational headline news in America, and the 1,000 page report into the killing, published in September, was
one of the most scathing indictments of the behaviour of US soldiers since Vietnam. But 10 months after Merita's death, her family seem to have
been forgotten. What is their story? Last week, I travelled to Kosovo to find out.
The Shabius have left their cottage in Vitina, and now live in an isolated hamlet in the mountains, accessible only by trekking through wooded hills.
Here, they are facing up to the coming winter with no running water and intermittent power. What food they get comes from aid agencies, and the
jobs promised to the sons of the family by the Americans have not materialised. Despite their daughter's death, no officials have come to see them
However, Merita's father, Hamdi, who is 41, and her 37-year-old mother, Remzije, are unfailingly courteous and hospitable, making tea and, ignoring
the shortages, offering to share their meals. They are surprised to discover that people from outside Kosovo have taken enough interest to find
them through the woods.
Merita's blue school duffel bag still hangs on the wall and her parents are eager to show me pictures of her, a pretty, smiling girl with fair hair. A toy
Humvee and a plastic Stars and Stripes flag – gifts from the US Army after her murder – lies in one corner of the room. In another, Merita's
grandmother, Djemile, sits on the floor, wiping her eyes at the mention of her name.
The brother closest in age to Merita, 10-year-old Sami, has taken his sister's death particularly badly. "He has nightmares where he says he can
see her face," says Remzije, shaking her head. "Sometimes when he wakes up, he rushes out of the room screaming. I can't sleep much either. I
think of her all the time. The way she would run up when I returned home. The way she would be full of chatter about what she had been doing
with friends..." With this, her voice fades away.
The family tell me how they were kicked out of their home by the Serbs during the Nato bombing in May 1999. All of them, including Merita, were
forced to make their way through ice and forest to find refuge in neighbouring Macedonia. Hamdi is still partially handicapped by a beating he took
at the hands of Serbian soldiers.
"Looking back, it is strange that having survived the enemy, my daughter got killed by someone who was supposed to be a friend, who was
supposed to protect us," he reflects. "But maybe that is fate, maybe that is what God has willed."
How does he feel now about the Americans?
"We do not hate them," he replies. "How can you hate a people for the act of one person? He was a bad man, he did very bad things to our
daughter. He took her soul. Afterwards a lot of American Army people came to see us. They gave us money, and to others in the area. We used
that to pay for the funeral. Hundreds of people came to the funeral, including people from the American Army. We were happy to see them there."
"At the time they said they would give our son a job at the camp. But nothing came of that. Perhaps they tried and there were no jobs available.
They also said they would pay some compensation for my daughter's life. But we have not seen anyone from there for a long time, so I don't think
that will be happening."
Hamdi has not seen a copy of the report published after the inquiry ordered by the US Army's chief of staff, General Eric Shineski, into the activities
of Staff Sergeant Frank Ronghi's unit in Kosovo. If he had, he would have learnt that the unit, the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, prided itself
on its motto: "Shoot 'em in the face" – and that none was prouder of the men's toughness than its commander, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Ellerbe.
The role of the US Forces at that time was clear: to keep the peace between the Albanian population and what was left of Kosovo's Serb
community, and to provide assistance to the civil powers. Instead, the report concluded, the soldiers had been running riot, violating even "basic
standards of conduct of human decency" and resorting to "intimidation, abuse and beating of Albanians".
The US troops had undergone intense training for fighting in Kosovo. But instead they endured the monotony of endless patrols and checkpoints.
Any time off was spent at the barracks at Camp Bondsteel, a little slice of the Mid-West with its own McDonald's and Burger King, bowling alleys
and cinemas. A place, in short, uncontaminated by locals or local products.
There, the bored young soldiers, many from poor neighbourhoods, would kick their heels and swap war stories. The talk soon turned to their
contempt for local "gooks" and "schiptars", and to what a hellhole Kosovo was. The veterans, naturally, would hold court. But even in this
testosterone-fuelled company, Staff Sergeant Ronghi's tales were always memorably dark. One of his fantasies, it was reported, was to find a little
girl with a single mother – so he could rape and kill both and leave no witnesses.
It was in this poisonous atmosphere that Lt Col Ellerbe instructed his unit to "identify and neutralise" splinter Albanian groups – an order that was to
prove fatal, and which the report found was responsible for "creating the condition to step over the line into... criminal misconduct".
The scale of the abuse in the town and its environs, a beautiful area of hills and meandering rivers, depended on the whim of the US soldiers. At
night, the report revealed, they would shine torches in civilian faces – but only after fixing the torches to their M4 carbines, so victims would be
looking down the barrel of a gun. Scaring locals was fun. One of the officers recommended for court martial by the report, Lt John Serafini, held a
gun to the head of an Albanian during questioning and threatened to blow his brains out.
Night raids would take place – purportedly in the search for weapons, but often as an excuse to trash Albanian property. Household documents, so
necessary in a place trying to organise a new structure like Kosovo, would be torn up. Beatings were routine and ranged in scale.
The report concluded that the battalion and company commanders knew, or should have known, what was going on, and recommended that Lt Col
Ellerbe should face disciplinary action, along with a number of more junior officers.
But Marita's family did not get visits from any senior Kosovo politicians, those who fought last weekend's election and seek to lead an independent
Kosovo. There was no Ibrahim Rugova, the would-be President, and no Hashim Thaci, the former KLA leader who is likely to lead the opposition. For
in Kosovo, there is a general feeling that independence is very much a gift of the American-led West, and in this context the adverse publicity
surrounding the death of a little girl is rather embarrassing.
And now, in a final twist, it is reported that, in spite of everything, Lt Col Ellerbe was recently selected for an assignment with the Army War
College, putting him on a fast-track for promotion to General.
When we met last week, the Shabius had not heard the news about Lt Col Ellerbe's career progress. "I am shocked, how can they do that?" Hamdi
asked, before reflecting on what is probably the reality of the situation: "But there is nothing we can do, we are not important people."
Related link: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/World/Europe/2000-11/sengupta031100.shtml
did you miss something?
just me being adolescent.
i'll tell you elsewhere,
if you want to know.
but it was trivial, inappropriate mewling compared to your post.
which painfully illustrates just how trivial and inappropriate it was .
earlier this year, the picture of that poor little girl victim appeared here, or perhaps the Russ page. i can still visualize that picture.
it would appear your post refers to the same incident; i shudder to think this refers to a _different_ incident.
nice to see some folx pass through here this week!
what with the explosion of other boards all of a
sudden....will people be running round and round
the URN board looks pretty neat; he even set up a
'voting booth' and i ...[wait for it] VOTED!
libertartian. didnt realize there were so many
other candidates i'd heard nada about. incl a
best of eves, mum
sweet dreams, cheri
"The West promises to provide Yugoslavia with financial aid.
Jovanovic: A little money will come from Europe, and the DOS will present it as "aid from friendly countries." In
reality, it will be a down payment on the purchase of our entire country. For every dollar received, we will be obliged to
pay back ten! "
>>>The United States has spent considerable sums of money for the DOS electoral campaign.
Jovanovic: Yes. And how would they react if this sort of thing was done in the United States? It reminds me of a
joke that's told here: a villager sees a priest eating a huge serving of roast beef in the middle of a religious fast. "But you
told us that fasting was a one of God's commandments!" says the villager. The priest replies: "You're supposed to obey
my instructions, but you're not supposed to act the way I do!"
In short, "do as I say, not as I do."
Jovanovic: (Laughing) Yes! That's exactly the case with the United States! What they permit themselves to do, they
forbid to others. Whenever they speak of "democracy," it's merely a slogan they advance in order to dominate the
world. Another example: they want to impose an International War Crimes tribunal in order to put us on trial. But they
themselves refuse to accept a universal war crimes tribunal, which would put them on trial for all of the war crimes they
committed against various sovereign states. They know all too well that they would be convicted for what they have
done in Panama, Haiti and elsewhere!
In 1995, in the Assembly General of the United Nations, they voted against a resolution that forbade intervention in the
domestic affairs, particularly electoral, of other countries. This resolution was voted in despite American opposition, so
they ought to follow the rules of the democratic majority! "Two weights, two measures," that's the key to
American-style "democracy." <<<