Richard Holbrooke died at age 69 on December 13, thus spared the annoyance of seeing one of his best-known political creations accused of supervising the killing of captives in order to slice out their organs for transplant purposes and financial gain.
In the wake of Holbrooke’s sudden death, his memory was swiftly burnished with testimonials to his masterly diplomacy as the creator of a new Balkans freed from the Serbian yoke and as Kosovo’s midwife. It was Holbrooke who stood shoulder to shoulder with Albanian secessionists in the summer of 1998 and months later prompted NATO’s bombing of Serbia until these applications of high explosives to civilian targets caused Milosevic to order the withdrawal of security forces from Kosovo.
The "freedom fighters" of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA)—Albanian gangsters, most notably Hashim Thaci, hand-picked by Holbrooke and Madeleine Albright at the Rambouillet talks (her closest aide, James Rubin, acted as talent scout)—took over. Since unilaterally declaring independence in February 2008, the failed statelet, run in large part by heroin traffickers and white slavers and host to the vast US Camp Bondsteel, has been recognized by only seventy-three out of 192 UN members, including twenty-two of the European Union’s twenty-seven members.
In April 2008 Carla Del Ponte—former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and no friend of the Serbs—published a memoir on her time at the tribunal. In it she charged that in 1999 there had been trafficking in human organs taken from Serb prisoners, reportedly carried out by top KLA commanders, and that her efforts to investigate had been blocked. Del Ponte’s charges were buttressed by information that Western investigative journalists working for a US-based documentary producer, American RadioWorks, gave to the UN Mission in Kosovo in 2003.
Following Del Ponte’s accusations, the Council of Europe assigned a liberal Swiss senator, Dick Marty, to investigate. The Marty report, two years in the making, was published on December 16. The report names Thaci, now Kosovo’s prime minister, as having exercised "violent control" over the heroin trade in Kosovo during the past decade, and accuses him of overseeing an organized crime ring in the late ’90s involved in assassinations, beatings, human organ trafficking and other major crimes.
The report is being reviewed by the EU’s Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, which is already probing a human body parts rip-and-ship facility—the Medicus Clinic in Pristina. Seven people have been charged with international organ trafficking for allegedly luring poor people from slums and promising payment of up to $20,000 for their organs, which were apparently sent to patients in Israel and Canada.