PRISTINA, Serbia - Tiny Kosovo — poor, mostly Muslim but feverishly pro-Western — braced itself Saturday for a historic declaration of independence from Serbia, a decade after a war that killed 10,000 people and years of limbo under U.N. rule.
The province's bold bid for statehood, expected Sunday, and its quest for international recognition set up an ominous showdown with Serbia and Russia. Moscow contends the move will set a dangerous precedent for secessionist groups worldwide.
And it will.
Kosovo has for centuries been part of Serbia. When the Ottomans invaded the area, it was the scene of a major battle in 1389. Despite winning the battle, the Ottomans were forced to retreat in order to consolidate their power in the face of the Serbs and their allies.
By the late 17th Century, the Ottomans were in control, essentially Islamizing the region, and dhimmifying those inhabitants who refused to submit to Islam. Ethnic cleansing of Orthodox Christian Serbs continued off-and-on through the years, culminating in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, by which time ethnic Albanians had replaced the Serbs as the dominant people in Kosovo.
This precedent now being set, in violation of international law, but backed by the Bush Administration and the European Union, has the potential to reach to non-English-speaking minorities in places in the United States. In a way, it is kind of a "squatter's rights" precedent, backed by superior firepower.
For some background on the legalities, you can see Legal furore over Kosovo recognition, where an effort is made to briefly examine the legal pros and cons of independence. Additional background can be found at Kosovo vow as independence looms, where the following maps can also be reviewed.
In this context, it is interesting to note the related problem of organized crime in the Balkans. I take information from a pro-Serbian website, Serbianna.com; it should be noted that some of the work appears to be a translation, or written by non-native speakers of English.
The first article is entitled Greece battles Balkan organized crime. The organized crime cartels described are ethnically centered, and the author, Ioannis Michaletos, tries to describe which ethnic organized crime groups are involved in what kinds of crime.
A phenomenon that expanded during the 90’s and early 00’s is the Balkan organized one, composed by groups of people, mainly ethnic related, that commit wide-range narcotics trafficking, slave trade and all kinds of illegal actions that require systematic action and organized method of operations.
According to recent Greek police reports, there is a pervasion of Balkan groups in Greece, mainly originating from Albania, and they are considered extremely dangerous and a peril for the stability of the society. In Athens the Albanians specialize in drugs trade and organized burglaries, with some groups that have been arrested; accounting as much as 250 burglaries in a space less than a year. Moreover Turkish groups tend to associate themselves with illegal immigrants trafficking from the East (Pakistan, Middle East), Romanians with illegal prostitution and Bulgarians with forgeries and scams.
A trend to watch is the use of technology and new techniques amongst the members of these groups such as, the use of the internet as a virtual communication world, satellite phones, and offshore companies to launder capital, counter surveillance and so on. Further more and more Balkan groups use Greek territory as a regional base and invest their illegal funds in front companies such as bars, clubs, strip shows and the real estate.
The Albanian groups according to Greek police sources are the primal threat in the sector of organized crime combat in Greece. The proliferation of weaponry originating from Albania is a major source of concern. There are several reasons that explain the above.
There are regions in Albania such as the Kukes town where virtually thousands of weapons are sold freely on a monthly basis without any restraints. Also the existence of organized crime groups within Greece over the previous years has increased considerably the demand for handguns and submachine guns, a need usually filled by Albanian groups importing these weapons from the North.
These weapons are being used by any terrorist or criminal who wants them. Where's our gun-control crowd?
In 2001 it was recorded that the majority (Up to 90%) of the heroin sold in Greece was managed by Turkish and Albanian groups. The percentage can be estimated at 97% nowadays, whilst the bulk originates from Afghanistan and it is transferred to Greece via Turkey or Bulgaria. A major issue is the low price of heroin in Greece which is less than 25 Euros per gram; the lowest in Europe. The reason for this is the 500% increase on opium production in Afghanistan since 2001, coupled with the increased concentration of Albanian groups in that field. It would not be risky to estimate that the specialization of Albanian groups in such a trade may have political implications as well. It is interesting to note that over the past 15 years there has been a 1,800% increase on overdose deaths in Greece mostly of young people aged 18-35 years old.
The role played by ethnic Albanian organized crime, not just in the Balkans but throughout Western Europe's Albanian diaspora, is well-documented, and I have previously addressed it here on my blog.
Please keep in mind the Sibel Edmonds case, where Edmonds, a native Turk who worked in the FBI's Washington Field Office as a translator for several months in the wake of 9/11, discovered documents implicating Turkish organized crime in bribing US government officials to steer US foreign policy in a way that would be favorable for narcotics trafficking and other illegal activities.
At the time, Turkey was a major destination of unrefined opiates from Afghanistan. The opiates were refined in Turkey into heroin, and from there moved westward, often through the Balkans; Albanian organized crime groups played a role in the transshipment and distribution. Since then, Afghanistan has become the producer of over 90% of the world's heroin, and that heroin is now refined within Afghanistan.
In that context, another excerpt from a little farther down is interesting:
Turkish groups dominate illegal immigration routes and regularly import Asians to Greece. Up to 500 immigrants trespass illegally Greek borders each week, and that is only in the Eastern Aegean front of the country. In 2004 it was noted that over one million illegal immigrants are “In transit” from Turkey towards the Western European countries. A third of them it was assumed they would be able to exit the country and head towards the European metropolis mostly, thus expanding the yearly capital profit output of organized crime groups dealing with this illegal industry.
In 2007, at least 100 Turkish citizens were arrested accused of participating in this activity, that it is also associated with document forgery in complicity with Pakistani and Iraqi groups in Greece. Especially in the Athens region, there has been a particular expansion of the reach of the above groups that also run protection rackets within their communities.
We now consider excerpts from another article at Serbianna.com entitled John McCain armed Kosovo Islamic terrorists:
"He did everything that we asked of him, including arming the KLA", said Albanian lobbyist Joe DioGuardi. The Albanians collected one million dollars for the presidential campaign of this senator.
Americans of Albanian heritage collected a million dollars in one evening for the presidential campaign of Republican Senator John McCain, said the Albanian American Civic League yesterday, the lobby group headed by former Congressman Joe DioGuardi. A reception for McCain was held January 22 at the Saint Regis Hotel in Manhatten, and the senator, who is now leading in the runoff for the Republican party candidacy in the November elections, cut his campaign in Florida by one day to attend this gathering.
"Even in 1998 when we had problems with Milosevic, McCain did everything that we asked of him to the benefit of the Albanian people, including arming the KLA", announced DioGuardi. "We are American Albanians and we need a leader who will strengthen this country... We must support John McCain because he did everything we asked of him for Kosovo, from supporting the Kosovo Liberation Army to supporting the independence of Kosovo. Two years ago he spoke in Brussels and said that independence is the only solution", concluded this former congressman who has been fighting for the independence of Kosovo and Metohija for more than twenty years.
This link is between the KLA and Senator McCain, dating to 1998.
Finally, I present excerpts from a January 16, 1997 press release from the United States Senate Republican Policy Committee, condemning the Clinton Administration for supporting Islamic militants in Bosnia. The press release documents connections between Bosnia's Alija Izetbegovic and Iran, but then goes on:
Not Just the Iranians
To understand how the Clinton green light would lead to this degree of Iranian influence, it is necessary to remember that the policy was adopted in the context of extensive and growing radical Islamic activity in Bosnia. That is, the Iranians and other Muslim militants had long been active in Bosnia; the American green light was an important political signal to both Sarajevo and the militants that the United States was unable or unwilling to present an obstacle to those activities -- and, to a certain extent, was willing to cooperate with them. In short, the Clinton Administration's policy of facilitating the delivery of arms to the Bosnian Muslims made it the de facto partner of an ongoing international network of governments and organizations pursuing their own agenda in Bosnia: the promotion of Islamic revolution in Europe. That network involves not only Iran but Brunei, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan (a key ally of Iran), and Turkey, together with front groups supposedly pursuing humanitarian and cultural activities.
For example, one such group about which details have come to light is the Third World Relief Agency (TWRA), a Sudan-based, phoney humanitarian organization which has been a major link in the arms pipeline to Bosnia. ["How Bosnia's Muslims Dodged Arms Embargo: Relief Agency Brokered Aid From Nations, Radical Groups," Washington Post, 9/22/96; see also "Saudis Funded Weapons For Bosnia, Official Says: $300 Million Program Had U.S. 'Stealth Cooperation'," Washington Post, 2/2/96] TWRA is believed to be connected with such fixtures of the Islamic terror network as Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman (the convicted mastermind behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) and Osama Binladen, a wealthy Saudi emigre believed to bankroll numerous militant groups. [WP, 9/22/96] (Sheik Rahman, a native of Egypt, is currently in prison in the United States; letter bombs addressed to targets in Washington and London, apparently from Alexandria, Egypt, are believed connected with his case. Binladen was a resident in Khartoum, Sudan, until last year; he is now believed to be in Afghanistan, "where he has issued statements calling for attacks on U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf." [WP, 9/22/96])
The Mujahedin Threat
In addition to (and working closely with) the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and VEVAK intelligence are members of numerous radical groups known for their anti-Western orientation, along with thousands of volunteer mujahedin ("holy warriors") from across the Islamic world. From the beginning of the NATO-led deployment, the Clinton Administration has given insufficient weight to military concerns regarding the mujahedin presence in Bosnia as well as the danger they pose to American personnel. Many of the fighters are concentrated in the so-called "green triangle" (the color green symbolizes Islam) centered on the town of Zenica in the American IFOR/SFOR zone but are also found throughout the country.
Stepping-Stone to Europe
The intended targets of the mujahedin network in Bosnia are not limited to that country but extend to Western Europe. For example, in August 1995, the conservative Paris daily Le Figaro reported that French security services believe that "Islamic fundamentalists from Algeria have set up a security network across Europe with fighters trained in Afghan guerrilla camps and [in] southern France while some have been tested in Bosnia." [(London) Daily Telegraph, 8/17/95] Also, in April 1996, Belgian security arrested a number of Islamic militants, including two native Bosnians, smuggling weapons to Algerian guerrillas active in France. [Intelligence Newsletter, Paris, 5/9/96 (No. 287)] Finally, also in April 1996, a meeting of radicals aligned with HizbAllah ("Party of God"), a pro-Iran group based in Lebanon, set plans for stepping up attacks on U.S. assets on all continents; among those participating was an Egyptian, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who "runs the Islamist terrorist operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina from a special headquarters in Sofia, Bulgaria. His forces are already deployed throughout Bosnia, ready to attack US and other I-FOR (NATO Implementation Force) targets." ["State-Sponsored Terrorism and The Rise of the HizbAllah International," Defense and Foreign Affairs and Strategic Policy, London, 8/31/96] Finally, in December 1996, French and Belgian security arrested several would-be terrorists trained at Iranian-run camps in Bosnia. ["Terrorism: The Bosnian Connection," (Paris) L'Express, 12/26/96]
Senator McCain has been on the wrong side of this all along, and as a Republican in the United States Senate, he must have known about this fact, as documented by Senate Republicans going back to 1997, one year before the date that ethnic Albanian groups claim "McCain did everything that we asked of him to the benefit of the Albanian people, including arming the KLA".
Perhaps Senator John McCain, Republican from Arizona, decorated Navy veteran and war hero, and contender for the US Presidency, is another whose name needs to be added to the list of those who take bribes from foreign organized crime and terrorists?
Why is everyone in the US government and the US media so silent on the Sibel Edmonds case?
On the politics forum of Albanian.com is a thread entitled The Candidates on Kosova ... and perhaps beyond. Here are selected excerpts:
(R) Senator John McCain who made his name nationally known by advocating the 1999 NATO Bombing of Serbia. Back in 1999, McCain even advocated the we send American troops into Kosova on behalf of the KLA. McCain has consistently been on the Albanian American Civic League's payroll and even marched with them a year after the NATO intervention. McCain receives 47% of his campaign donations from $2,300 or more contributors. McCain is a conservative Republican and aggressive interventionist.
So it looks like on Super Tuesday Albanians should endorse Senator John McCain for the republican party and Senator Hillary Clinton for the Democratic party.
I dont think Obama or Mitt Romeny gives a hoot about Kosova independence
So vote on Super Tuesday to make sure that Senator John McCain and Senator Hillary Clinton Wins!!!!