This past September 11, Western leaders hailed the “fully” and “irreversibly” independent Kosovo – still unrecognized by most UN members – for achieving additional “full independence.”The International Steering Group’s Civilian Office, which had the power to block laws or ministerial appointments, closed up shop, and Dutch international representative Pieter Feith gave a speech in Albanian which concluded that “Kosovo has realistic prospects” for EU membership.The writer specializes in the Balkans, and is an unpaid advisory board member of the American Council for Kosovo.The ISG – composed of American, European and Turkish overseers – explained its decision to grant Serbia’s Albanian separatists this full autonomy by citing the region’s “clear support of a democratic and multi-ethnic state.” US President Barack Obama said Kosovo has made “significant progress,” parroting Kosovo prime minister Hashim Thaci, who said that “Kosovo has made significant progress... in building the institutions of a modern, multi-ethnic, inclusive and democratic state.”A week earlier, a standard military news item by the American Forces Press Services reported on the deployment of the South Carolina National Guard: “As part of KFOR [NATO’s Kosovo Force], they will... help set conditions for a stable, democratic, multi-ethnic and peaceful Kosovo.”Always on hand to promote the American-made Muslim state of Kosovo, The Wall Street Journal praised Obama’s praise and editorialized in typical Slavophobic tones about how in 1999 president Bill Clinton had “bypassed the United Nations and sent in the US Air Force... president [George W.] Bush stood up to Russian bluster and European ambivalence to push for its independence....though Serbia and Russia have tried to undermine it.”The editorial closed with a fully serious reference to something that widely elicits snickers among those in the know: “The capital, Pristina, has streets named after Bush and Clinton.”Indeed, at least one of those honored presidents knows he wasn’t standing up to anything, but rather giving in to the blackmail of violence. The disconnect between Kosovo on paper and Kosovo in reality is what happens when US bureaucrats, relying on American disinterest, distance and short memories are able to operate in the shadows, birthing what international observers have called a mafia statelet in Europe, run by an “ethnic tyranny,” with an economy based on heroin and international aid.AND YET at this moment our National Guard soldiers, in conjunction with German, Austrian, Hungarian, Croatian, Slovenian and other Axis allies – have their guns trained on the reluctant Serbs, in preparation for a final solution to the “northern problem.” The climate has turned explosive as the police – stocked with former KLA terrorists-cum-freedom-fighters – have been given increased autonomy, which on June 28 they used to harass, undress, drag and beat Serbian pilgrims coming for the Patriarch’s liturgy on St. Vitus Day.To seal the next stage of Kosovo’s dark evolution, KFOR will dismantle the last of the barricades, during which we are likely to see a provocation – used intermittently to goad Serbs into reacting – which then will “necessitate” forceful action to finally integrate them into Kosovo’s institutions. This will achieve a de facto acceptance of Kosovo as reality and, for our part, the fulfillment of Albanian territorial demands.The Serbs will be the ones fingered, yet again, for causing the problems – since that’s whom NATO troops are being pitted against as they extend the thugocracy to the north. Just in time, the otherwise sparse cameras will be invited back in, to get the approved Kosovo story, reinforcing the edifice of lies upon which “the world’s newest country” is built.“KFOR announces reinforcements with the new unit that should discipline Serbs in northern Kosovo,” is how Radenko Nedeljkovic, head of Kosovska Mitrovica county, put it. He called on Serbs not to be provoked but to continue with peaceful means of staying in Kosovo.However, the organized Kosovo-wide pogroms of March 2004 – one of those truly defining events that nonetheless manages to slip into Balkan oblivion – gave us a taste of their likely fate, should they stay in an independent Kosovo.Internationals there noted that the deadly riots only stopped when Thaci and Kosovo’s Security Forces Minister Agim Ceku said “stop” – three days in. Forty-thousand Serbs fled the province then, joining the 200,000 who had fled upon the terror unleashed by the KLA as NATO’s ground force in June 1999. The pogrom was a message to the international community to move faster on independence. It was successful.Our Kosovo intervention “demonstrated to the world that terrorists can indeed successfully alter the borders of sovereign nations,” read a recent letter in this newspaper by reader Michael Pravica, “and encourages secessionists the world over as national borders unravel because of the desecration and erosion of international law.”Indeed, as of this writing, European media are reporting that Spain’s Catalonia region is following the Kosovo precedent and planning a secession referendum for 2014.ATTESTING TO the State Department’s vast efforts on behalf of its ill-begotten progeny, Thaci’s byline has been popping up in American newspapers, where he called the end of supervision “a recognition that Kosovo has evolved into a mature, independent democracy,” and referred to Kosovo as a “success story for democratic values.”This is a man whose criminal history and countless rackets are legendary in Albania. A recent two-year Council of Europe investigation exposed that Hashim “the Snake” Thaci “is the head of a ‘mafia-like’ Albanian group responsible for smuggling weapons, drugs and human organs,” read The Guardian in December 2010.These are more than mere accusations, as several Albanians recently have risked their lives to come clean about what they witnessed in 1999-2000 as guards of the holding pens, drivers of the doomed, and organ-deliverers.Yet even with this macabre Kosovo story that finally, uncharacteristically managed to make it to American shores, the confounding Kosovo pattern prevailed: the story had no legs and was soon forgotten. Such that 18 months later we were treated to the spectacle of Thaci ringing the NASDAQ bell.A notorious gangster widely known to have killed his own roommate, Thaci executed his political rivals including six of his lieutenants the very week he was meeting with then-US secretary of state Madeleine Albright. In February 2002, a UN Mission in Kosovo police officer told the Reality Macedonia news site how he was ordered to nix the investigation of a close Thaci associate named Kadolj, who had the KLA evicting people and collecting illegal taxes for Thaci’s party, the PDK (Democratic Party of Kosovo). Kadolj further “threatened to kill the local UNMIK administrator... [when he] was asked to move his office out of the Municipality building.”Indeed, this summer the EU’s justice mission in Kosovo, EULEX – under pressure from a Kosovo opposition party – came out with a report that PDK pursued a strategy of eliminating dozens of senior political figures and activists from rival parties after the war, including as recently as 2003.Thaci’s predecessor, Ramush Haradinaj, also a prolific killer, was airlifted to a US hospital in 2000 after he started a gunfight with a rival clan. US officials from Camp Bondsteel removed evidence in the case and suppressed the investigation, according to The London Observer of September 10, 2000, and AFP on October 25, 2000.In the course of his 2007 war crimes trial at The Hague, several witnesses were killed and others were threatened and dropped out.“United Nations prosecutors in The Hague accused him of having organized the slaughter of civilians during the war,” read an otherwise pro-Haradinaj article by Vanity Fair writer William Langewiesche in December 2008.“Innocent Serbs and suspected Albanian collaborators.Mothers, children, simple farmers. Christ, like pigs in a ditch. He has always denied it.”Meanwhile, Kosovo president Atifete Jahjaga – heralded in the West as a female president of a Muslim country – has been making the rounds to America’s editorial boards, universities and Women in the World conferences, her hosts blissfully clueless as to her activities.Kosovo is a gangster’s paradise where even the newspapers publish threats against journalists as “letters to the editor,” in defense of the homicidal officials who subsidize the papers through ads. This “modern democracy” is ruled by fear, with a mafia grip over the population, some of whom are now commenting that there were never such media constrictions under Belgrade.LAST YEAR, a Foreign Policy article titled “Thug Life” called Washington out for entrenching an elite that operates above the law: “It is difficult to see how democracy or respect [for] the rule of law could develop and flourish amid such overt displays of American support for a corrupt and criminal leadership... [It] has undercut efforts to pursue indictments for war crimes and investigate high-level corruption.The war crimes... have never been fully investigated – in fact, in some cases they have been covered up.”In early 1999, some newspapers tried to give Americans a sense of the nature and genesis of Thaci’s narco-terrorist KLA, which had been a purely criminal outfit until we ruthlessly backed and rebranded it. But with none of the bad news sticking, today we are helping seal a fait accompli of yet another terror-won, ethnically pure state in the Balkans. In this case, a second Albanian state that will eventually form a Greater Albania, as was the ultimate goal, and the open secret, from the start.The EU and NATO likewise are talking Kosovo membership already, while putting Serbia off until it says “Uncle (Sam).” In other words, a Muslim non-country is on a faster track than an ancient Christian country that was a founding UN member.Now having a creeping sense that “liberated Kosovo” was only ever intended as a base of criminal operations, lawful-minded Albanians and Serbs alike should demand that some of the compromise solutions that had been swept off the table be put back on.