The Brooklyn Connection

<i>The Brooklyn Connection: How to Build a Guerrilla Army</i><br> Klaartje Quirijns. A Quirijns/Amago/VPRO/ Sullivan/’t Hart Production. 57 minutes.<br> <i>Airs on PBS’s</i> P.O.V. <i>July 19.</i>

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The subtitle suggests a cinematic Revolution for Dummies, but this documentary portrait of a Brooklyn-based, Kosovo-born Albanian gunrunner reveals that an enterprising freedom fighter—or terrorist, as you prefer—doesn’t need a primer to strengthen his cause, just a clean record and a credit card.

Which isn’t to say that intelligence, dedication, and abundant charm haven’t helped Florin Krasniqi maintain his role as a key supplier of weapons to the Kosovo Liberation Army. Krasniqi, who also runs a New York roofing company, raised $30 million from Albanian Americans during the war against the Serbian government and used it to purchase arms, ship them to Albania, and smuggle them into Kosovo on horseback. Among Krasniqi’s casual boasts to the camera is his claim to have brought some 25 tons of weapons and ammo to his homeland on a single cargo plane. (The film shows him checking one of the world’s most powerful sniper rifles through U.S. airport security.)

Krasniqi, whose participation in Stacy Sullivan’s book about him, Be Not Afraid, For You Have Sons in America, led to this film, can add ample self-promotion experience to his highly impressive résumé. The ultimate effect of that worldwide publicity—which inspired NATO troops to conduct an unsuccessful search of Krasniqi’s warehouse—is but one of this provocative film’s many fascinating ambiguities. Another is the question of whether the Bush administration’s neglect of Kosovo in favor of other democratic pursuits will soon give rise to another war—fought with weapons purchased in the name of freedom.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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