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Ex-Diplomat Albright Drops Guard In Altercation With Pro-Serb Activists


Madeleine Albright at the opening of the "International Women's Summit" in Pristina on October 4.

Madeleine Albright at the opening of the "International Women's Summit" in Pristina on October 4.

A video has emerged showing Madeleine Albright in a verbal altercation with a group of pro-Serbian activists in Prague.

The former U.S. secretary of state got involved in a heated exchange with the activists protesting her role in the American-led 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia and her reported interest in a Kosovar communications firm.

At a book-signing event promoting her memoir “Prague Winter” in the Czech capital’s Luxor bookstore on October 23, members of the civic group Friends of Serbs in Kosovo verbally confronted Albright and some associates.

The two videos, which were uploaded to YouTube by the group, were published by the Czech publication "Parlamentni Listy" on its website on October 25.

The videos show the verbal jousting that ensued after one of the group's members, Czech film director Vaclav Dvorak, who made the documentary “Stolen Kosovo,” walked up to Albright and asked her to sign a DVD copy of his film.

In the first video Dvorak is accompanied by a cameraman as he comes up to Albright’s desk and tells her in Czech: “I brought you a film I recorded in Kosovo and I also wanted to remind you of your other deeds,” at which point he places posters on her desk with a picture of Albright and the logo of Kosovo's IPKO telecommunications firm.

"Parlamentni Listy" reports that one of the posters had photographs of Serbs allegedly killed during the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999.

The following video, however, only shows a poster featuring the IPKO logo.



Albright, who was born in Czechoslovakia in 1937 and speaks Czech, tells Dvorak and his group that she will not be signing the posters, at which point a woman from the crowd asks her if she is ashamed to sign them.

Following a mild scuffle between security staff and the group (at the 1:22 mark in the above video), the former head of U.S. diplomacy gets up from her chair and screams “Get out!”

The second video, which appears to be shot from a different angle, shows the same scene with additional footage. After being called a war criminal by someone in the crowd, Albright answers: “You're a war criminal.” She can be heard a few more times screaming, “Get out.”

At the 1:02 mark, however, she gets up from her chair one final time and says “Disgusting Serbs! Get Out!” before being escorted away from the scene by some store officials.



Anton Dvorak told "Parlamentni Listy" that he had not expected such a feisty response from the septuagenarian former diplomat.

"I was surprised by her reaction," he said. "We politely came to give her the film we recorded in Kosovo, regardless of the fact that it concerns 'stolen Kosovo' -- which was gifted to the narco mafia with the help of NATO bombings and aggression -- and the IPKO company that enabled Albright to line her pockets.”

In September, Bloomberg reported that the bidding for Kosovo’s state-owned post and telecomnunications company "has attracted interest from European and Turkish phone operators, as well as from an investment company headed by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who was a major backer of Kosovo in its war against Serbia.”

Jaroslav Foldyna, a member of the Czech Social Democratic Party who was present at the event, claims that the protest was not planned. Rather “it was a spontaneous protest by people interested in politics who do not agree with what Albright did in the Balkans.”

Richard Klichnik, the organizer of the signing event for the Argo publishing house, denied claims that Albright became upset and initiated the verbal attack on the pro-Serbian group.

“It was about pro-Serbian activists who had posters and flyers connected to the conflict in the Balkans," Klichnik said. "It was clear that they came to provoke.”

This is not Albright’s first incident in her birthplace. On a visit to the Law Faculty at Masaryk University in Brno in March 2000, Albright was attacked with eggs by two Czech anarchists.

She served as secretary of state from 1997 until 2001, presiding over the 1999 NATO air bombing of the former Yugoslavia, aimed at driving Serbian troops out of Kosovo.

-- Deana Kjuka

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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