Sunday, April 13, 2008

Gutsy move

In tomorrow's edition, the British Daily Telegraph reports that "Serb prisoners had their internal organs removed and sold by ethnic Albanians during the Kosovo war, according to allegations in a new book by the world's best known war crimes prosecutor. Carla Del Ponte, who stepped down in January as chief prosecutor at the Hague tribunal for crimes committed in the Balkan wars of the 1990s, said investigators found a house suspected of being a laboratory for the illegal trade. ...

"Miss Del Ponte reports that the allegations were made by several sources, one of whom 'personally made an organ delivery' to an Albanian airport for transport abroad, and 'confirmed information directly gathered by the tribunal.'

"According to the sources, senior figures in the Kosovo Liberation Army were aware of the scheme, in which hundreds of young Serbs were allegedly taken by truck from Kosovo to northern Albania where their organs were removed. Miss Del Ponte provides grim details of the alleged organ harvesting, and of how some prisoners were sewn up after having kidneys removed."

This story has a familiar ring: in the notorious 2006 Turkish film "Valley of the Wolves," a Jewish-American doctor working in the Abu Ghraib prison was depicted doing this to Iraqi prisoners -- which, of course, was an update on the old "blood libel." In the film, Muslims were the victims of the horror -- but that was mere fiction, a pot-boiler plot cooked up for the entertainment of a Muslim audience in a Muslim country. The Kosovo allegations, however, deal with reality and are far more substantive, coming as they do from a former war-crimes prosecutor writing on the record. And in this instance Muslims were not cast in the role of victims but perpetrators.

This ought to give pause to the Bush administration, which is so determined to send the Muslim world a terrific signal by setting up Kosovo as "a Muslim-majority state inside the European whole."

It ought to -- but given the deferential habits into which the president and his minions have fallen, it won't.

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