Thursday, February 7, 2008

Kosovo in 1999, Part 1

In Kosovo in 2008 I began to review a work by Professor Michel Chossudovsky entitled The Criminalization of the State: "Independent Kosovo", a Territory under US-NATO Military Rule.

I reviewed only the first part of the article; in particular, I did not review his 1999 article that was referenced, and which is reproduced at the bottom of the link. I have decided to review that 1999 article, beginning in this post.

Numerals in [brackets] are to footnotes; please see the original to evaluate Professor Chossudovsky's sources.

Kosovo "Freedom Fighters" Financed by Organised Crime

By Michel Chossudovsky
10 April 1999

Heralded by the global media as a humanitarian peace-keeping mission, NATO's ruthless bombing of Belgrade and Pristina goes far beyond the breach of international law. While Slobodan Milosevic is demonised, portrayed as a remorseless dictator, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) is upheld as a self-respecting nationalist movement struggling for the rights of ethnic Albanians. The truth of the matter is that the KLA is sustained by organised crime with the tacit approval of the United States and its allies.

I have been promising a look at Slobodan Milosevic's words on the events in the Balkans, as heard during his trial for alleged war crimes. It makes captivating reading. For now, links for transcripts and further information can be found here, here and here, but -- Warning! -- beyond this place be TiNRATs!

Returning to the article...

Following a pattern set during the War in Bosnia, public opinion has been carefully misled. The multibillion dollar Balkans narcotics trade has played a crucial role in "financing the conflict" in Kosovo in accordance with Western economic, strategic and military objectives. Amply documented by European police files, acknowledged by numerous studies, the links of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) to criminal syndicates in Albania, Turkey and the European Union have been known to Western governments and intelligence agencies since the mid-1990s.

" ... The financing of the Kosovo guerrilla war poses critical questions and it sorely tests claims of an "ethical" foreign policy. Should the West back a guerrilla army that appears to partly financed by organised crime."[1]

Let us take a moment to recall the Sibel Edmonds case, with which my regular readers are somewhat familiar.

Edmonds has language skills that were desperately needed by the FBI. She had applied to be a translator, and nothing came of the application. In the days following 9/11, she was again in contact with the FBI, and quickly hired, where her knowledge of Turkish, Farsi and Azeri were quite useful.

While reviewing documents and tapes of information and conversations in Turkish, she came across information linking important US political leaders -- elected and appointed, Republican and Democrat -- to Turkish organized crime.

It is worth clarifying the relationship between organized crime and terrorism. Conventional organized crime breaks the law for profit; terrorists break the law for political motivations. But, organized crime often needs to pursue political goals to facilitate criminal operations, and terrorists need funding to operate. Consequently, it is not surprising that these are to some extent birds of a feather, and can be found flocking together. I go into this more extensively in my series entitled The Shadow Realm, which can be found linked in the sidebar.

With that understood, it should not now seem surprising that Edmonds came across information about terrorist operations while reviewing the material which she was expected to summarize, translate or otherwise classify.

Edmonds got a glimpse into this nexus -- which I call the Shadow Realm -- where Big Narcotics, Big Terror, Big Business and Big Government intermingle.

The information she was working with was in some cases several years old, thus it was contemporary to the events about which Professor Chossudovsky is writing in this article; that information included intelligence data about the 9/11 attacks, which were upcoming when the information was collected, but which were recent history as Edmonds was reviewing it.

With that in mind, we return to Chossudovsky's 1999 article:

While KLA leaders were shaking hands with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at Rambouillet, Europol (the European Police Organization based in The Hague) was "preparing a report for European interior and justice ministers on a connection between the KLA and Albanian drug gangs."[2] In the meantime, the rebel army has been skillfully heralded by the global media (in the months preceding the NATO bombings) as broadly representative of the interests of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

With KLA leader Hashim Thaci (a 29 year "freedom fighter") appointed as chief negotiator at Rambouillet, the KLA has become the de facto helmsman of the peace process on behalf of the ethnic Albanian majority and this despite its links to the drug trade. The West was relying on its KLA puppets to rubber-stamp an agreement which would have transformed Kosovo into an occupied territory under Western Administration.

It has been said that "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter."

I am trying to picture George Washington sending a suicide bomber into a crowded market place -- I can't.

There is political spin, where words are used to label people and actions, until the words themselves substitute for the people and their actions. In a world such as ours, whoever has the most money for a PR campaign -- whether for beating the wardrum or running for election -- has a distinct advantage.

No matter how obvious is the lie, tell it often enough and let it be repeated enough, and it begins to serve for many as the truth.

Ironically Robert Gelbard, America's special envoy to Bosnia, had described the KLA last year [1998] as "terrorists". Christopher Hill, America's chief negotiator and architect of the Rambouillet agreement, "has also been a strong critic of the KLA for its alleged dealings in drugs."[3] Moreover, barely a few two months before Rambouillet, the US State Department had acknowledged (based on reports from the US Observer Mission) the role of the KLA in terrorising and uprooting ethnic Albanians:

" ... the KLA harass or kidnap anyone who comes to the police, ... KLA representatives had threatened to kill villagers and burn their homes if they did not join the KLA [a process which has continued since the NATO bombings]... [T]he KLA harassment has reached such intensity that residents of six villages in the Stimlje region are "ready to flee."[4]

What is "ethnic cleansing" if not terrorising and uprooting a group of people, threatening to kill them and burn their homes? The KLA was observed by US government personnel doing just that to ethnic Albanians!

And the KLA, which quickly evolved into what is now recognized as the de facto representative of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, was identified by the US State Department for its role in doing this ethnic cleansing of Albanians right on the eve of US Government support for the KLA to begin to lead these Albanians toward an illegal independence from Serbia.

How bizarre!

While backing a "freedom movement" with links to the drug trade, the West seems also intent in bypassing the civilian Kosovo Democratic League and its leader Ibrahim Rugova who has called for an end to the bombings and expressed his desire to negotiate a peaceful settlement with the Yugoslav authorities.[5] It is worth recalling that a few days before his March 31 Press Conference, Rugova had been reported by the KLA (alongside three other leaders including Fehmi Agani) to have been killed by the Serbs.

Meanwhile, a Kosovo leader calling for peace somehow gets killed -- by the Serbs, according to the KLA.

No wonder -- peace does not serve the interests of the Islamic fundamentalist terrorists who have been supplying and infiltrating the region, peace does not serve the interests of the arms traffickers who are hoping for hostilities, peace does not serve the interests of the heroin- and human-traffickers, for whom the chaos facilitates smuggling and for whom UN or NATO troops are clients for their sex-slaves... and, by blaming the Serbs, the perfect excuse is in place to let the profitable festivities begin.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

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