Skip to comments.Serbs shrug off Binghamton bar attack, and still rant at U.S. for '99 bombing
Posted on 07/06/2008 1:08:11 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
BELGRADE - They sit like open sores at the heart of this turbulent eastern European nation.
Long before international fugitive Miladin Kovacevic revived tensions between the U.S. and Serbia, NATO bombs reduced a row of once formidable government buildings here to hulking shells.
The ravaged red-brick and concrete buildings are still standing nearly 10 years after the American-led aerial assault. They represent a wound that, many Serbians say, still runs deep.
"Our people look at America like it's an enemy," said Niko Percovic, 30, a reporter based in the northern city of Novi Sad.
That is one of the reasons, Percovic said, the tale of the monstrous Serb athlete who pummeled Brooklyn college student Bryan Steinhauer and then fled the country received almost no attention here for weeks.
"Nobody wants to say anything about Kovacevic or write anything about him in the newspapers," Percovic added.
But Kovacevic's story isn't going away anytime soon. The U.S. and Serbia are locked in a diplomatic battle over how to get Kovacevic back to upstate New York to face American justice.
A solution could take months - if one comes at all.
International attention focused on Serbia after Kovacevic, a 6-foot-9, 280-pound jock, fled there following a May 4 bar brawl that left fellow Binghamton University student Bryan Steinhauer, 22, in a coma.
The hulking Kovacevic, 20, escaped the U.S. on June 9 with the help of a consulate member, prompting Sen. Chuck Schumer to blast the Serbian government and demand the fugitive be returned. The U.S. ambassador to Serbia this week echoed Schumer's demand.
A month after Kovacevic fled, he remains a free man.
A Serbian prosecutor said the U.S. has still not filed the formal documentation necessary to spur local authorities to act. Even then, Serbian officials have suggested that their law may forbid them from extraditing Kovacevic.
American officials have conceded their best hope is that Kovacevic is persuaded to surrender voluntarily.
One question looms large - why would he?
Kovacevic has been spotted strolling around in a T-shirt and gym shorts near his hometown of Kula, a tiny city in the north with a sinister history.
Located 100 miles from Belgrade, Kula is known as the former base of an elite military unit, the Red Berets, which reportedly carried out political assassinations at the behest of the notorious Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic.
Residents there continue to view the U.S. with skepticism. Kovacevic's family friends said he was the victim of a conspiracy.
"The most he is guilty of is that he is big," one friend said.
Around Kula's three-block downtown, residents said they were shocked - and baffled - that one of their own had become a headline-grabbing fugitive.
"Was the [victim] somebody famous?" asked a man at an outdoor fast-food shop in between bites of a pljeskavica, a Serbian hamburger made with pork, lamb and beef. "I heard it was just a fight."
Belgrade, Serbia's bustling capital city, pulsates with life in the summer months.
Outdoor cafes remain packed deep into the night with people sipping iced coffees and wine. Hordes of stunning young women stroll past boutique shops wearing eye-catching outfits. Weekend nights don't end until the sun rises.
Questions about the Kovacevic case were often met here with looks of confusion.
"I don't know about it," said a 42-year-old sunglass vendor who declined to give his name. "We have our own problems and they are big ones."
Very big. Beyond the glamour and frenetic nightlife that Belgrade has become known for lies a government in tatters.
A parliamentary election in early May ended with the pro-Western party winning the most votes, but with little hope it could form a united government with its nationalistic opponents.
Two months later, the country is still without a functioning government - a black eye for a nation used to strife.
The police appear to be on edge. On two separate occasions this week, Serbian police ordered a Daily News photographer to erase his photos.
In 1999, Milosevic, intent on driving ethnic Albanians out of Kosovo, sent Serb soldiers and police rampaging into the neighboring province.
Then-President Bill Clinton pushed for the NATO attacks, which killed thousands of Serbs and left several government buildings obliterated. Today many political observers believe the bombing campaign was unwarranted.
In Serbia, feelings are still raw.
Dragana Grujin, 30, said she hates Clinton for the devastation he brought to her country nine years ago.
"I don't like it when people get killed for nothing," said Grujin, a hotel worker from Belgrade. "What America did was not necessary. Everybody here feels the same way."
As for Kovacevic, Grujin's views of the case mirrored many of her fellow Serbs. "There was a fight and the Serbian guy was tougher," she said. "What's the big deal?"
Solution: Give them Gen. Wesley Clark, no security, no strings.
It amazes me that the most significant war action during the Clinton years was carried out against our Christian Serb allies in support of Muslim Albanian terrorists. Interesting flip side to say the least. The Serbs were not faultless but they were certainly not a threat to us and though their methods were harsh they are attempting to turn back the Muslim hoards who had a very bad habit of trying to institute Islamic law and burning churches and such. Kosovo is now reported to have become a hot bed of radicalism even after the US held the line for them.
don’t you remember that we went to war because there were those 10,000 dead people mass graves?.......oh, never mind...I forgot.....there were no mass graves....just another Clinton lie.....
"What America did was not necessary. Everybody here feels the same way."
Many Americans feel the same way. I'm disgusted that my party didn't object more strongly to Clinton's policy.
“There was a fight and the Serbian guy was tougher, Whats the big deal?” What a proud nation.
Atrocities were carried out by all sides in that conflict. I do not wish to minimize Serbian ones or entirely ignore as does the world the terrorist actions of Albanians and Muslims in the area. Do you think that Muslims were the innocent victims of Serbs who just up and decided to eradicate them? There was nothing that justified our attacks against Serbia. Millions died and are dieing in Africa and we do and did nothing. I still think what we did was wrong where Serbia was concerned and what did it gain us? Not a thing.
The Serbs haven’t been pussified yet by the multicultural PC crowd. And they know very well what the muslims are up to.
Now for the reality: Serbia disciplines diplomats accused of helping crime suspect flee US
“It amazes me that the most significant war action during the Clinton years was carried out against our Christian Serb allies in support of Muslim Albanian terrorists”
The Serbs were also killing christian croations.
The justification at the time was that Clinton felt he was preventing another genocide - and he oftened referred to how the assassination in Sarajevo started a world war.
If memory serves me correctly, the dems were falling all over Clinton’s bravery in preventing bloodshed - protecting innocents from an aggressive dictator.
That same thinking didn’t - however - carry over to the situation in Iraq.
You mean the same Clinton who stood by and did nothing while a real genocide was happening in Rwanda?
They are looking for Kovecevic about as hard as they are searching for Ratko Mladic.
“I’m disgusted that my party didn’t object more strongly to Clinton’s policy.”
Are you also disgusted that your party has continued to pursue that policy or is it OK for the Bush Administration to recognize and finance and protect a Mohammedan, white slaving, drug running, human organ selling, Christian church destroying, terror statelet in the Balkans?
BTW, among the biggest financial backers of McCain are the KLA Mohammedans and their Albanian fellow travelers here in America.
From the article you posted: "Serbian authorities are awaiting more information from the United States before issuing an arrest warrant for a Serbian basketball player charged in New York with beating a college classmate to near death, the public prosecutor said Thursday."
So you've proved that they haven't issued a warrant yet while OJ Simpson walks around a free man?
exactly. No one accused him of being consistent.
Wasn’t that Wesley’s baby too?
Ratko Mladic the great Serb hero walks free too.
Pick on someone you know you can kill. The law of the jungle. Keep it out of the U.S. . We have enough home grown animals.
no argument from me there.
My point? It would be a mistake to characterize the conflict as christian vs. muslim.
The same tribal conflicts have existed for centuries.
muslim vs. christian.
croat vs. croation
then throw in the communists - fascists - ustasi.
It’s a brew of indecipherable hatred where no one admits fault from their own group and points their fingers everywhere else.
I bet their worse than the middle easterners.
Make that serb vs. croat.
really need an edit button here....
Photo of Kovacevic.
Now, tell me just how stupid you should be to start the bar fight with someone that looks like that!?
Do unto others before they do unto you, is it?
the girl is denying this is what happened.
She says there was no a$$ grabbing.
Anyways...when someone is unconscious on the floor - do you continue to kick them in the head and stomp on their head?
Is that smart?
Might that indicate a desire to kill?
Almost hard to believe that a 135 pound weakling would really attack a 6 foot 9 inch giant. Maybe because he didn’t.
BY MATT LYSIAK, VERONIKA BELENKAYA and LARRY MCSHANE
DAILY NEWS WRITERS
Friday, June 27th 2008, 9:10 PM
It was the wee hours of Sunday morning at the Rathskeller, a popular hangout for Binghamton college kids, and pretty Melissa Cartagena felt an unwelcome hand on her body.
It was just a grope - but it was late, the guys were drunk and soon things got out of hand.
The scene was a birthday party with a Studio 54 theme, the dance floor was full, graduation was two weeks off.
Among the many revelers was Bryan Steinhauer, a senior honors student with a slight build and a bright future.
Miladin Kovacevic was there, too. The sophomore basketball player, a burly 6-foot-9 and 260 pounds, towered above Steinhauer and the rest of the crowd. The jock and the aspiring accountant traveled in different campus circles - but they found themselves in an uncomfortably small space inside the bar on State St.
Ann Pesahovitz and Lauren Levy, standing just off the dance floor, noticed the mismatched duo. A baby blue shirt covered Steinhauer’s 135-pound physique. He stood a full foot shorter than Kovacevic, who was dressed in black.
It was about 1:20 a.m. on May 4. There was a commotion and “a lot of yelling,” Levy recalled, apparently after someone groped Cartagena - a pretty Binghamton University sophomore with Kovacevic’s group.
The dark-haired beauty wasn’t there with the ballplayer; she was with boyfriend, Sanel Softic, a 21-year-old wanna-be state trooper who claims he never laid a hand on the victim.
Kovacevic took it upon himself to defend her honor - though it was not clear who groped Cartagena. Seconds later, Steinhauer wasn’t standing; then he wasn’t getting up. The bespectacled senior was battered to the dance floor. Witnesses recalled the big man’s foot thudding into the smaller student’s torso. And then his head.
The US makes a mockery of justice, why shouldnt Serbia follow their example.
>The Serbs were also killing christian croations.
The war in Croatia started as Belgrade wanting to keep Yugoslavia together, and devolved into a fratricidal ethnic conflict. The local Serbs didn’t trust Zagreb as far as their well-being was concerned. Take a look at what the “Christian” Croatian Ustashe did back during WWII, adn that wasn’t all that long ago.
>and he oftened referred to how the assassination in Sarajevo started a world war.
That war started when Austria attacked Serbia in revenge for Archduke Ferdinand’s assasination. Vienna basically wanted nothing less than blood. How could a guerilla and terrorist war in a rinkey-dink little province match up with the killing of a head of state?
I suppose it would be too much to expect our State Dept. to deny visas to the people of countries that we bombed without provocation? There are still people in the world that don’t forget when their families, friends and neighbors were murdered.
Oh, jeez. More completely gratutious Serb-bashing. I’m no Serb, but I’m tired of it.
In the other hand, iw just found this article:
It didn’t take long for hulking hoopster Miladin Kovacevic’s pals to realize that they were in a world of trouble.
‘Sorry’ In Serb Outrage
As the brutish SUNY-Binghamton basketball player and his friends drove from the Rathskeller bar, the scene of his alleged beating of fellow student Bryan Steinhauer, the scrawny victim slipped into a coma.
Officers responding to the May 4 incident thought he was at death’s door.
“Sanel, why did you do that? He didn’t even touch me!” a sobbing Melissa Cartagena screamed in the car at her boyfriend, Sanel Softic, according to one of several detailed statements in an 80-page police report obtained by The Post.
Softic replied: “I don’t care. He touched your ass.”
Kovacevic then told everyone to shut up.
“It doesn’t matter. It happened,” he said, according to a statement from friend Emir Karic. “Don’t talk about it. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
The trio, along with Karic and another woman, then drove to Softic’s house.
Meanwhile, across town, with Steinhauer’s skull cracked and his brain bleeding, Binghamton Police-shift supervisor Sgt. John Ryan wrote in his report: “EMS opinion of injuries and condition was that death was a strong possibility.”
Pals of Kovacevic, the 6-foot-9, 260-pound Serb charged in the near-fatal beating, quickly blamed the victim in their statements to the cops.
They claimed that the 135-pound Steinhauer started the fight by groping Cartagena, head-butting her boyfriend, and taking a swing at the towering Kovacevic, according to police reports.
Kovacevic’s co-defendants and their pals insisted there was no trouble until Steinhauer grabbed the buttocks of the sexy sophomore, whose Facebook profile is adorned with dozens of provocative pictures - including one of her holding a penis-shaped cake and a condom.
“Melissa had her back to him, and he was getting very close to her,” Softic, who is also charged in the beating, told the police right after the fight.
“I stepped between them and said, ‘What the hell are you doing? This is my girlfriend! Get the f- - - out of here!” said Softic, 21.
But Steinhauer clenched his fists and twice yelled, “You don’t f- - -ing know me!” before butting his head into the taller Softic’s face, bloodying his nose, according to Softic’s statement.
Of course I am. Why would who is in the WH make a difference?
So Serbs kill folks who 'diss' them, and Muslims kill women who are seen in public with unrelated men. Fine with me, so long as they stay the h-ll out of the US!
That’s when Kovacevic, a 20-year-old known to pals as “Minja,” jumped in. In her statement, Cartagena, 20, said she then saw Steinhauer throw a punch.
“I don’t know if the punch was directed at Senal or Minja,” she said. “Then I saw that the guy that head-butted Senal was lying on the floor on his back. Minja was over top of the kid, and I seen Minja punch the kid at least four times.”
The police say Kovacevic, Softic and Edin Dzubur, 24, went on to stomp Steinhauer repeatedly about the head and body.
After being pummeled by Kovacevic, Softic said, Steinhauer “looked like he was dead.”
He added: “My girlfriend pulled my arm hard and wanted to go. I seen Minja get one more stomp on the kid and start walking away.
” ‘Let’s get the f- - - out of here. Let’s leave,’ “ Softic quoted Kovacevic as saying.
Softic and Dzubur at first didn’t admit their roles in the assault, but they later said they kicked Steinhauer in the legs while Kovacevic dealt the more savage blows to his head and chest.
When he was arrested the morning after the attack, Kovacevic denied even having been in a fight. He later acknowledged knocking down a man who had “punched him in the side of the head,” according to the police report.
“Kovacevic would not, at any time, admit to punching or kicking anyone,” the report read.
And when told of Steinhauer’s condition, the massive man “had no reaction.”
An attorney for Steinhauer’s family, Irwin Rochman, dismissed the statements as “clearly being from self-interested parties.”
“It’s just blatant thuggery,” Rochman said. “Whatever happened, it doesn’t justify the disproportionate reaction on their part, kicking him when he was down and into a coma. This isn’t the wild West.”
After the beating, paramedics rushed the severely injured Steinhauer at 2:05 a.m. to an emergency room, where a trauma team went to work on him immediately.
More than an hour later, doctors told cops him that he had suffered a “fractured skull and middle-brain bleeding.”
At 3:35 a.m., doctors placed a tube in Steinhauer’s brain to drain blood, and he was taken to the intensive care unit.
Softic told The Post yesterday that Cartagena was “doing wonderful” and that “the situation was all one big misunderstanding.”
The police “know that I wasn’t involved,” he said. “And when the courts get started, everyone will see that.”
“How’s the kid,” he added, “I hear he’s doing better.”
BTW since when does the media start apologizing for white male sexual harrassment?
As I recall, in 10 commandments there is something like “Don't touch someone else's girl as*”
Tailgunner, there is nothing in the article that you link to that says a "formal" request has been made!
When US makes request, he will be tried in Serbia.
if he is guilty, he will get in jail, if not- not
No, but in the US this action would be felony sexual assault. Civilized people call the police, they do not commit violent assault, which is a more serious felony. From your comments in this thread 'civilized people' does not include anyone in the Balkans
Anyway, in the mess senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) reqested that Serbi amust extradicte Kovacevic.
Senator Charles Schumer is known to be Albanian lobbyst:
This girl is hardly alone. Young women these days advertise themselves as free meat so at some point they should expect to be treated like free meat.
I'd be pretty angry as well if a foreign president decided to bomb my country to get a sex scandal out of the news.
Sorry, the Albanians are the ones that attacked the Croats in Kosovo! (along with their attacks of the Gorani, Roma, Serbs and Turks!)
TGJ, never one to let THE FACTS get in the way of a good "hate-the-Serbs" fest.
The mother of a sexy coed at the center of a violent bar brawl said her daughter was "violated" by the bespectacled honors student but insisted he never should have been beaten for the offense.
"My baby didn't deserve what she got," Melissa Cartagena, 40, said Sunday. "No one has a right to grope my daughter."
Bryan Steinhauer, 22, is still in a semicoma eight weeks after the stomping that cracked his skull.
And suspect Miladin Kovacevic remained on the lam in his Serbian homeland - thanks to the embassy official who bailed him out of jail and helped him flee the country.
Cartagena, whose daughter's name is also Melissa, said the fellow Binghamton University student was "devastated
"She has worked hard to build up her reputation," Cartagena said. "She's an honor student with a steady job."
The mom said Steinhauer "was really drunk," but said he should never have been pummeled.
"My prayers are with him," she said. "I hope he makes it out of the coma."
Her daughter released a statement in which she said Steinhauer groped her and head-butted her boyfriend, Senal Softic, 21, when they clashed at an offcampus bar May 4.
"This big guy [Kovacevic] saw what happened and just began punching him over and over," she wrote in the statement. "It all happened so quick."
I dont know, but Hillary should have done to Bill over Monica what Kovacevic did to Steinhauer over Melissa, and we would avoide one war...