Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Field of the Blackbirds, Part 2

In Part 1 we learned a little about Kosovo's history, and why that might be having an impact on the fact that surprisingly few nations in the world recognized Kosovo's declaration of independence. Now we look a little deeper into the situation in that part of the Balkans.

We begin by examining questions brought up by Senate Republicans regarding the Clinton Administration's support for separatist guerrillas in Kosovo. From United States Senate Republican Policy Committee, Bosnia II: The Clinton Administration Sets Course for NATO Intervention in Kosovo, August 12, 1998:

Whitewashing the KLA

But in order to make the case for U.S./NATO intervention, the Clinton Administration, as in Bosnia, must rely on the ethnic justification of one side in the conflict to the exclusion of the other side's case. Contributing to the success of this strategy to date has been the negligible attention given to the KLA's ties to organized crime elements in the Albanian diaspora [See: "Speculation plentiful, facts few about Kosovo separatist group," Baltimore Sun, 3/16/98; "Germany 'can take no more refugees'," The Guardian (London), 6/17/98; "My plan to save Kosovo now," by Paddy Ashdown, The Independent (London), 8/5/98] and indications that the KLA may be receiving assistance (as did the Muslim regime in Bosnia) from Iran [See: "Radical groups 'arming Kosovo Albanians'," Financial Times (London), 5/8/98; "Italy Become's Iran's New Base for Terrorist Operations," Defense and Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy (London), February 1998].

In addition, there are media reports that the recent embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania may be connected to the deportation from Albania of several members of an Islamic terrorist cell connected to Saudi expatriate Osama Bin Laden; questions are now being raised as to the activities of radical Islamic groups in Albania, particularly in the region around the town of Tropoje, a known KLA staging area ["U.S. Blasts' Possible Mideast Ties: Alleged Terrorists Investigated in Albania," Washington Post, 8/12/98]. This possible connection raises serious implications for the Clinton Administration's regional policy: "One of the most disturbing aspects of the present [terrorism] crisis is that it may have been triggered by our own inept foreign policy in Bosnia and Kosovo. There, beyond all common sense, we find ourselves championing Muslim factions who draw support from the very Islamic fundamentalist terrorist groups who are our mortal enemies elsewhere" ["Bringing terrorists to justice," by Col. Harry G. Summers (USA-Ret.), Distinguished Fellow, U.S. Army War College, Washington Times, 8/12/98].

Already in 1998, Senate Republicans were openly, publicly questioning why the Clinton Administration was supporting Islamic fundamentalist terrorists in the Balkans, when we were supposedly fighting these same people everywhere else. (By the way: Senate Republicans were questioning this in January, 1997, too.)

Early the next year, we see in another policy statement from the United States Senate Republican Policy Committee, Clinton Kosovo Intervention Appears Imminent, February 22, 1999, a question being raised why the Clinton Administration was moving in the direction of a forced partition of Serbia:

National Sovereignty vs. International Institutions

There is one crucial difference in principle between the NATO intervention in Bosnia and that about to take place in Kosovo which has not received sufficient examination. In Bosnia, the internationally recognized government (the Muslim regime of Alija Izetbegovic in Sarajevo) not only accepted but had long strongly favored outside intervention. On the other hand, in Kosovo (which is indisputably part of the territory of the Serbian Republic) the United States and NATO are demanding that a sovereign state consent to foreign occupation of its territory or be bombed if it refuses -- even though Serbia has not attacked any neighboring state but is itself subject to attacks by forces infiltrated from a neighboring state. As Kissinger points out: "Yugoslavia, a sovereign state, is being asked to cede control and in time sovereignty of a province containing its national shrines to foreign military force." This distinction should be a key one for Americans, especially Republicans, concerned about the threat the growing power of international institutions presents to national sovereignty.

Even foreign affairs icon Henry Kissinger was questioning the wisdom of this move. Undeterred, the Clinton Administration moved boldly forward.

From a policy statement issued the next month, The Kosovo Liberation Army: Does Clinton Policy Support Group with Terror, Drug Ties? March 31, 1999:

Reports on KLA Drug and Criminal Links

Elements informally known as the "Albanian mafia," composed largely of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo, have for several years been a feature of the criminal underworld in a number of cities in Europe and North America; they have been particularly prominent in the trade in illegal narcotics. [See, for example,"The Albanian Cartel: Filling the Crime Void," Jane's Intelligence Review, November 1995.] The cities where the Albanian cartels are located are also fertile ground for fundraising for support of the Albanian cause in Kosovo. [See, for example, "Albanians in Exile Send Millions of Dollars to Support the KLA," BBC, 3/12/99.]

The reported link between drug activities and arms purchases for anti-Serb Albanian forces in Kosovo predates the formation of the KLA, and indeed, may be seen as a key resource that allowed the KLA to establish itself as a force in the first place:

"Narcotics smuggling has become a prime source of financing for civil wars already under way -- or rapidly brewing -- in southern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean, according to a report issued here this week. The report, by the Paris-based Observatoire Geopolitique des Drogues, or Geopolitical Observatory of Drugs, identifies belligerents in the former Yugoslav republics and Turkey as key players in the region's accelerating drugs-for-arms traffic. Albanian nationalists in ethnically tense Macedonia and the Serbian province of Kosovo have built a vast heroin network, leading from the opium fields of Pakistan to black-market arms dealers in Switzerland, which transports up to $2 billion worth of the drug annually into the heart of Europe, the report says. More than 500 Kosovo or Macedonian Albanians are in prison in Switzerland for drug- or arms-trafficking offenses, and more than 1,000 others are under indictment. The arms are reportedly stockpiled in Kosovo for eventual use against the Serbian government in Belgrade, which imposed a violent crackdown on Albanian autonomy advocates in the province five years ago." ["Separatists Supporting Themselves with Traffic in Narcotics," San Francisco Chronicle, 6/10/94]

Skipping down...

Reports on Islamic Terror Links

The KLA's main staging area is in the vicinity of the town of Tropoje in northern Albania [Jane's International Defense Review, 2/1/99]. Tropoje, the hometown and current base of former Albanian president Sali Berisha, a major KLA patron, is also a known center for Islamic terrorists connected with Saudi renegade Osama bin-Ladin. [For a report on the presence of bin-Ladin assets in Tropoje and connections to anti-American Islamic terrorism, see "U.S. Blasts' Possible Mideast Ties: Alleged Terrorists Investigated in Albania, Washington Post, 8/12/98.]

The following reports note the presence of foreign mujahedin (i.e., Islamic holy warriors) in the Kosovo war, some of them jihad veterans from Bosnia, Chechnya, and Afghanistan. Some of the reports specifically cite assets of Iran or bin-Ladin, or both, in support of the KLA. To some, "mujahedin" does not necessarily equal "terrorists." But since the foreign fighters have not been considerate enough to provide an organizational chart detailing the exact relationship among the various groups, the reported presence of foreign fighters together with known terrorists in the KLA's stronghold at least raises serious questions about the implications for the Clinton Administration's increasingly close ties to the KLA[.]

There were persistent concerns about the connections of our new allies, the KLA, with narcotics traffickers and with Islamic extremist terrorists who, elsewhere, had bombed the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.

Why would the Clinton Administration have sided with terrorists who were financing their jihad in part with money from heroin trafficking? And, why would the Clinton Administration do this against the advice of a foreign affairs icon who, like so many others, was warning about going to war to force a partition on a nation that had not attacked any neighboring country?

From a policy statement entitled Administration Endorses Free Needles for Addicts, April 22, 1999:

Do Needle Exchange Programs Encourage Drug Use?

The Administration's own drug czar, General Barry McCaffrey, has strongly objected to needle exchange programs: in his words, "the problem is not dirty needles, the problem is heroin addiction. . . . The focus should be on bringing help to this suffering population -- not giving them more effective means to continue their addiction. One doesn't want to facilitate this dreadful scourge on mankind" [Orlando Sentinel, 5/13/96]. According to the Associated Press, were it not for McCaffrey's continued objections, the Administration would have gone forward with taxpayer subsidies of the needles, as AIDS activists have been pressuring this White House to do.

Dr. Janet Lapey with Drug Watch International quotes pro-needle activist Donald Grove as admitting that "most needle exchange programs . . . serve as sites of informal organizing and coming together. A user might be able to do the networking needed to find drugs in the half an hour he spends at the street-based needle exchange site -- networking that might otherwise have taken half a day."

The New York Times Magazine [10/15/97] reported that one New York City NEP gave out 60 syringes to a single person, little pans to "cook" the heroin, instructions on how to inject the drug and a card exempting the user from arrest for possession of drug paraphernalia. Such access surely expands the violent drug culture, and with refuge from the law, it isn't surprising when the selection of illegal drugs increases, prices decrease, and new users are then attracted.

So, against all common sense, logic, and good advice, Clinton was siding with terrorists who traffic heroin abroad; at home, against the advice of the drug czar he appointed, Clinton was pushing a policy that would promote the consumption of heroin.

Do you suppose there was a connection?

No comments:

Post a Comment