Sunday, August 19, 2012

Down the Rabbit Hole, Part 4

We continue from Part 3, where we saw how the Clinton Administration's foreign policy initiatives in the Balkans resulted in Islamic organized crime cartels controlling most of the world's heroin production and distribution, beginning in the poppy fields of Afghanistan, through refining in Turkey, to distribution in Europe and North America, mainly by establishing ethnic Albanian organized crime - the Albanian Mafia - firmly in the Balkans under cover of internationally-sanctioned interventions in the 1990's wars there.

We now examine connections between the ethnic Albanian organized crime cartels in the Balkans and the political scene in the United States.

I reproduce this first excerpt from The Worst GOP Candidate In History by Srdja Trifkovic, September 20, 2010; links are in the original:

"Conservative" Joseph DioGuardi's "sensational" election as the GOP Senate candidate in New York has shaken up the Republican Party, gloats the Tropoja-based Albanian Minerals President M. Mujaj in the Wall Street Journal Blog. "The American people have spoken," this self-styled compatriot of ours is telling us. "The American way of life needs to be rebalanced. Households need to stop spending what they don't have. Local and state governments need to slash their budgets to live off whatever tax revenues they generate [...] The American people voted for change."

What Mr. Mujaj does not mention is that former Congressman DioGuardi is the founder and well-endowed president of the Albanian American Civic League, a lobby group for the KLA-run "independent" province of "Kosova." This is a significant fact, crucial to the funding of his candidacy, which he curiously does not mention on his campaign website. Even more curiously, the League's aacl.com site — full of information on DioGuardi's KLA connections — has been mysteriously dormant for weeks. There is, nevertheless, ample evidence out there that DioGuardi and his wife have been, for years, key fundraisers and apologists for the terrorist KLA in this country. It is unsurprising that he omits this aspect of his career from his pitch to the voters of New York, but it is curious that no one has called attention to the fact thus far.

Since that was written, the AACL has migrated its website, and much of the information is no longer accessible.

However, the very first post at my blog was about Mr. DioGuardi and his links to ethnic Albanian organized crime - and that predates Dr. Trifkovic's article. In return, the information I had was based on newspaper articles and blogposts from years earlier.

Mr. DioGuardi's ties to American politicians and to the Albanian Mafia go way back.

On one side, Mr. DioGuardi and his wife, Shirley Cloyes, are the major players at the Albanian American Civic League. The AACL characterizes itself as a lobby group:

The Civic League is registered to lobby the legislative and executive branches of the federal government for the purpose of influencing U.S. foreign policy to bring lasting peace and stability to the Balkans. For more than twenty years, the organization has worked with the foreign policy leaders in the U.S. Congress, including Congressmen Ben Gilman, the late Henry Hyde, the late Tom Lantos, Dana Rohrabacher, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Senators Charles Schumer and John McCain, and former Senators Joe Biden, Bob Dole, and Claiborne Pell, to bring independence to Kosova, equal rights to Albanians in Macedonia, Montenegro, the Presheva Valley, and Chameria, and genuine democracy and economic development to Albania.

Notice among the names are Joe Biden, currently the Democrat Vice President of the United States, and John McCain, Republican Senator from Arizona.


The AACL's website also tells about Ms. Cloyes and how she has worked to change the image of the KLA in the United States:

In 1998, Cloyes developed the Civic League’s strategy to oppose the international attempt to unfairly criminalize the Kosova Liberation Army. During the 1999 NATO bombing campaign against Serbia, she appeared, individually and with Joe DioGuardi, on more than fifty radio and television broadcasts. During this period, she also worked with the lawyers who prepared the indictment of Slobodan Milosevic for genocide in Bosnia and Kosova that led to his extradition to the War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague.


Joe DioGuardi has fronted for the KLA in the US for many years. From McCain and the KLA Connection, February 25, 2000:

Please direct your attention to the photo below: the caption informs us that [Republican Senator from Arizona and then-Presidential candidate John] McCain is speaking at "a pro-Kosovo, pro-McCain rally across the street from his New York City hotel Friday morning, Feb. 11, 2000. McCain is in New York for the day to attend fundraisers and to talk to the press before returning to South Carolina Friday night." But who is the man on the right, with the colorful KLA scarf and his big mouth wide open? The caption-writer is mute on this point, but to anyone who knows anything about New York's ethnic politics, the face is all-too-familiar: it is none other than former Republican Congressman Joe DioGuardi, now the loquacious leader of the Albanian-American Civic League (AACL) – a group that not only actively represents the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in America, but whose leader has become a spokesman for the most radical fringe elements of the KLA.


DioGuardi is an extremist who lost his seat in Congress because his growing preoccupation with creating a "Greater Albania" did not exactly fit in with the pothole-fixing skills that must be the first concern of New York City politicians. Most Albanian-Americans support independence for Kosovo, and look with disdain and bewilderment at the US government's official position that Kosovo is still an "autonomous" province of Yugoslavia. But DioGuardi goes one step – indeed, several steps – further, and envisions a "Greater Albania."


This leads us back to what was established in the first three parts of this series.

Continuing now with The Worst GOP Candidate In History by Srdja Trifkovic:

For perhaps the first time in history, the mainstream media have deemed the dismemberment of Serbs newsworthy. More accurately, they have deemed newsworthy the dismemberment of the Serb and non-Serb victims of our friends, and almost all living Albanians' great heroes, the KLA … The new information is revealed in the forthcoming book The Hunt by Carla Del Ponte, former chief prosecutor for the Hague Tribunal. A few reports, starting with — gasp — the AP (which both the International Herald Tribune and Fox News deigned to carry), Albanian trafficking in organs of killed Kosovo Serbs investigated... Del Ponte said her investigators had been informed that some 300 Serbs were killed for organ trafficking.

Del Ponte — not known as a friend of the Serbs by any token — was the first to reveal that the imprisoned Serbs were taken to a camp in Tropoja where the younger ones were picked out, and their organs were later sold abroad. Even high KLA members were involved in the operation of smuggling of organs, Del Ponte explained. She attested that her investigators and UNMIK officials were made aware that in mid-1999 the KLA moved some 300 abducted non-Albanians to Tropoja’s "yellow house" where in one room that was used as an operating theater, the surgeons were removing organs from the victims. The organs were transported by air from Tirana to clinics abroad for clients and medical institutions that paid for them. The victims left with one kidney were kept locked, and later on killed for other organs. "Other prisoners in the barrack knew what was to happen to them," Del Ponte added.

I mentioned the organ-trafficking in Part 2. Now, back to the United States.

The AACL has an associated political action committee, the the Albanian American Public Affairs Committee. Its treasurer is Shirley Cloyes.


The Albanian American Public Affairs Committee long cultivated Senator John McCain, giving money to him in 1999, in 2000, and in 2009. This was certainly a quid pro quo, as McCain was instrumental in getting US arms and support for the KLA. From John McCain armed Kosovo Islamic terrorists, February 13, 2008:

"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.



The Albanian American Public Affairs Committee also cultivated President George W. Bush and, in return, when Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008, Bush made sure the US was quick to support this move.


The Albanian American Public Affairs Committee gave money to Joe Biden for his run in the Democrat Presidential Primary for 2008.


Of course, Shirley Cloyes has contributed directly to Biden's campaigns, in 2002 and in 2007.



Consequently, the ties between Vice President Biden and the AACL/AAPAC go back a decade. What is the AACL/AAPAC getting in return from Biden and the Obama Administration?

Always hedging its bets, AAPAC gave to Mitt Romney:


So, the incumbent Democrat Vice President has long had money laundered to him from the Albanian Mafia via the same channels that are now laundering Albanian Mafia money to Mitt Romney's campaign.

On the surface, the campaign is very entertaining; Romney has many good issues to beat up on Obama with, and, in return, all Obama can do is play the race card, blame Bush, and ask for Romney's tax returns (while millions have been spent to conceal Obama's records).

But, under the surface, both sides are on the payroll of the same ethnic Albanian transnational organized crime cartel, which traffics in heroin, arms, human body parts from involuntary living donors... just like what was going on in 2008.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Down the Rabbit Hole, Part 3

In Part 1 and Part 2 we looked at what was essentially the rise of the Albanian mafia to become a major player on the world scene. Hostilities between ethnic Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo, a province of Serbia now recognized by the United States and many other countries to be an independent nation, caused the Albanian diaspora to support Albanian "freedom fighters" defending against Serb "aggressions". To be sure, there were many excesses committed by ethnic Serbs in the Balkans during the 1990's, and many of the Albanians fighting against the Serbs were simply defending their people. But, another, more sinister situation had been developing beneath the surface.

We now begin by examining events in the United States.

For decades in the last century, ethnic Sicilian organized crime controlled a criminal empire. By the late 1970's, the people working for them included many ethnic Albanians. Heroin and cocaine was distributed through a network of pizzerias, which also helped launder the money received from sale of the drugs. In the mid-1980's, the Pizza Connection broke: the longest criminal trials in US federal court history began, with 35 defendents named in charges presented in court.

Excerpts from Gaetano Badalamenti and the Pizza Connection from July, 2004, describes the operation:

"Boston, May 2, 2004. Gaetano Badalamenti, once described by federal authorities as the 'boss of bosses' of the Sicilian mafia and ring leader of a billion-dollar drug smuggling operation, has died, a Justice Department spokesman said Friday. He was eighty. Mr. Badalamenti was sentenced in 1987 to 45 years in federal prison for being one of the ring leaders of the so-called Pizza Connection, a $1.65 billion heroin and cocaine operation that used pizzerias as fronts to distribute the drugs from 1975 to 1984. The trial of Mr. Badalamenti and nearly two dozen conspirators took seventeen months." (The Associated Press)

[snip]

"The nephews of Gaetano Badalamenti operated pizzerias — and distributed heroin — out of small mid-western towns. The Sicilians dominated the heroin trade, while the American mobsters received a cut for allowing the Sicilians to operate in their territory. Manufacturers of cheese, olive oil and tomatoes could also be useful export vehicles for smuggling drugs into the United States. Joe Pistone, an FBI agent who infiltrated the Bonanno family, quoted one Bonanno member: 'The zips are Sicilians brought into this country to distribute heroin. They set up pizza parlors, where they received and distributed heroin, laundered money. The zips were clannish and secretive... the meanest killers in the business.'" (A. Stille, 1995)

The trials resulted in four convictions in Italy, four convictions in Swizterland and twenty-one convictions in the US.

One Swiss prosecutor involved in the affair was Carla Del Ponte. She was working with Judge Giovanni Falcone; after discovering the link between the heroin trafficking and money laundering operations in Switzerland, Judge Falcone was killed by a bomb. Del Ponte herself was unsuccessfully targeted when a large amount of explosives was discovered under her home in Palermo. Remember her, because her name figures again in our story.


The extensive damage done to such a large criminal empire resulted in some repercussions. From Men of Purpose: The Growth of Albanian Criminal Activity by Gus Xhudo, Spring, 1996:

A not too well known consequence of the Pizza Connection Case, however, was that following the investigation and break-up of the pizzerias in New York many of them were sold to ethnic Albanians who continue to run them as pizzerias. Others have been converted to social clubs and cafes where organised elements meet to discuss operations. This is especially true in the Fordham section of the Bronx in New York (as it is in the Kosovor Albanian cafes in Brussels and Paris).

Back in the Balkans, trouble was brewing. By the early 1990's, the trouble was spreading to Kosovo. Many ethnic Albanian professionals were fired, police presence in Kosovo was increased, and Kosovo's status as an autonomous province was revoked; Kosovar authorities declared independence as the province came to be ruled by martial law directly from Belgrade. The result was active hostilities between Serb-dominated government forces and ethnic Albanian insurgents. As discussed previously in this series, ethnic Albanian organized crime cartels fielded some of the best-equipped forces to fight the Serbs. A dynamic synergy resulted in the Albanian cartels consolidating their military power on the ground in the Balkans, and their political power with the help of the Albanian diaspora in Europe in and North America.

But, why did the United States support the ethnic Albanians? To be sure, plenty of evidence was available indicating that Serb leaders were guilty of atrocious conduct, but the leaders of the Albanian insurgency, as we have seen, were also known to have been linked to extensive criminal activities.

It should be noted that the Albanians are generally Muslim.

Keeping that in mind, let us back up a few years to the Clinton Administration's activities in Bosnia-Herzegovina. From Clinton-Approved Iranian Arms Transfers Help Turn Bosnia into Militant Islamic Base, January 16, 1997:

In late 1995, President Bill Clinton dispatched some 20,000 U.S. troops to Bosnia-Hercegovina as part of a NATO-led "implementation force" (IFOR) to ensure that the warring Muslim, Serbian, and Croatian factions complied with provisions of the Dayton peace plan.

[snip]

Through statements by Administration spokesmen, notably Defense Secretary Perry and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Shalikashvili, the president firmly assured Congress and the American people that U.S. personnel would be out of Bosnia at the end of one year. Predictably, as soon as the November 1996 election was safely behind him, President Clinton announced that approximately 8,500 U.S. troops would be remaining for another 18 months as part of a restructured and scaled down contingent, the "stabilization force" (SFOR), officially established on December 20, 1996.

SFOR begins its mission in Bosnia under a serious cloud both as to the nature of its mission and the dangers it will face.

[snip]

The Iranian Connection

Perhaps most threatening to the SFOR mission -- and more importantly, to the safety of the American personnel serving in Bosnia -- is the unwillingness of the Clinton Administration to come clean with the Congress and with the American people about its complicity in the delivery of weapons from Iran to the Muslim government in Sarajevo. That policy, personally approved by Bill Clinton in April 1994 at the urging of CIA Director-designate (and then-NSC chief) Anthony Lake and the U.S. ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith, has, according to the Los Angeles Times (citing classified intelligence community sources), "played a central role in the dramatic increase in Iranian influence in Bosnia."

[snip]

1. The Clinton Green Light to Iranian Arms Shipments (page 3): In April 1994, President Clinton gave the government of Croatia what has been described by Congressional committees as a "green light" for shipments of weapons from Iran and other Muslim countries to the Muslim-led government of Bosnia. The policy was approved at the urging of NSC chief Anthony Lake and the U.S. ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith. The CIA and the Departments of State and Defense were kept in the dark until after the decision was made.

2. The Militant Islamic Network (page 5): Along with the weapons, Iranian Revolutionary Guards and VEVAK intelligence operatives entered Bosnia in large numbers, along with thousands of mujahedin ("holy warriors") from across the Muslim world. Also engaged in the effort were several other Muslim countries (including Brunei, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Turkey) and a number of radical Muslim organizations. For example, the role of one Sudan-based "humanitarian organization," called the Third World Relief Agency, has been well-documented. The Clinton Administration's "hands-on" involvement with the Islamic network's arms pipeline included inspections of missiles from Iran by U.S. government officials.

3. The Radical Islamic Character of the Sarajevo Regime (page 8): Underlying the Clinton Administration's misguided green light policy is a complete misreading of its main beneficiary, the Bosnian Muslim government of Alija Izetbegovic. Rather than being the tolerant, multiethnic democratic government it pretends to be, there is clear evidence that the ruling circle of Izetbegovic's party, the Party of Democratic Action (SDA), has long been guided by the principles of radical Islam. This Islamist orientation is illustrated by profiles of three important officials, including President Izetbegovic himself; the progressive Islamization of the Bosnian army, including creation of native Bosnian mujahedin units; credible claims that major atrocities against civilians in Sarajevo were staged for propaganda purposes by operatives of the Izetbegovic government; and suppression of enemies, both non-Muslim and Muslim.

[snip]

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])

Bill Clinton was a "de facto partner" of the Iranians and of Osama bin Laden!

Skipping down:

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]

All the major enemy players in the post-9/11 world had their fingers in the Bosnian pie. But, while the Repubicans warned of the threat to Western Europe, it appears the main goal was to consolidate power somewhere in the Balkans.


And it is worth keeping in mind that the Republicans in the Senate, whose policy committee authored this report, had access to classified briefings and information on these matters. They could not put classified information into their public report, but the classified information to which they had access helped cue their researchers what to look for when selecting background information for the content of the report.

But, in case you don't believe the Senate Republicans from the 1990's, let's check another source. United Nations Arms Embargoes: Their Impact on Arms Flows and Target Behaviour; Case study: Former Yugoslavia, 1991–96, by Mark Bromley, pgs 10-12 (superscripts are footnotes - see original):

Bosnian forces were disadvantaged by the physical location of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was bordered by Croatia and the FRY. To obtain certain key armaments, including most types of heavy weaponry, Bosnian forces were largely dependent on shipments from two sources—via the smuggling network created by the Third World Relief Agency (TWRA) or large-scale shipments from Iran.

The TWRA was founded in 1987 in Vienna as a humanitarian agency for Muslims. In 1992 it opened offices in Sarajevo and began to cooperate with the Bosnian Government, quickly becoming the main organizer of arms shipments to Bosnian forces. Between 1992 and 1995 around $350 million was deposited in a Viennese TWRA bank account, of which around half was used to purchase arms for Bosnian forces. Benefactors included Brunei, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan.63 The majority of weapons bound for Bosnian forces were sourced from former Soviet and Warsaw Pact states and were transported by air to Slovenia for onward shipment to Bosnia and Herzegovina, via Croatia. During August and September 1992 more than 120 tonnes of weapons were shipped along this route, including rifles, mortars, mines, and ammunition.64 By late 1992 Croatian forces controlling the transport routes began to demand 50 to 70 per cent of the arms shipments that they permitted to transit Croatian territory.65 Following the outbreak of fighting between Bosnian Croat and Bosnian forces in late 1992, arms had to be shipped by more dangerous air routes directly into Bosnia and Herzegovina. The TWRA is also reported to have purchased $15 million of light weapons with the involvement of Turkish and Malaysian peacekeeping troops; it is even claimed that they facilitated the purchase of arms and ammunition in Serbia.66

TWRA activities began to decline in 1994, at which time Iran emerged as the main supplier of arms to Bosnian forces.67 According to media reports, between 1994 and 1996 Iran shipped between $150 and $200 million worth of arms and ammunition into Bosnia and Herzegovina.68 These shipments included large quantities of TNT, C4 plastic explosives along with fuses, 122-mm shell propellant and 120-mm and 130-mm shell cases.69 Following the signing of the Washington Agreement in March 1994, Bosnian and Croat forces began to again cooperate against the Serbs and the supply of weapons improved.70 Plane loads of Iranian arms began arriving at Zagreb airport, for onward shipment to Bosnia and Herzegovina.71 The number of flights ferrying arms and ammunition quickly reached an average of eight per month, with 30 per cent of the arms handed over to Croatia as payment for facilitating the deliveries.72 Iran also played a role in training Bosnian forces, with the CIA estimating that as many as 400 members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps were dispatched to Bosnia and Herzegovina.73

The role played by the USA in the shipment of arms to Bosnian forces has long been hotly debated. The US ambassador to Croatia, Peter Galbraith, is widely credited with playing a key role in forging the Bosnian–Croat Federation, partly as a means of reopening supply routes into Bosnia and Herzegovina. Following the signing of the deal, Croatian President Tudjman asked Ambassador Galbraith for the US position on Croatia acting as a conduit for arms shipments. Under instruction from Washington, Galbraith told Tudjman that the USA took no position, thereby signalling US approval.74 The US Government later acknowledged that it had allowed deliveries to Bosnian and Croatian forces to take place, even though it knew that these violated the UN arms embargo.75

More contentious is the allegation that the USA participated directly in the shipping of arms to Bosnia forces. Newspaper reports to this effect began to emerge in 1994,quoting UNPROFOR troops as well as French, British and other European officials.76 The most detailed allegations relate to a series of arms deliveries during February and March 1995 involving C-130 cargo planes flying night-time air drops to Tuzla air base in East Bosnia, the so-called ‘Black flights to Tuzla’. Many eyewitnesses described the drops, with numerous sources claiming they were US arms deliveries, possibly made with the involvement of private US companies. Other sources claimed that the C-130 planes were Turkish but that the deliveries were made with an element of ‘logistical patronage’ by the USA. The US Government has always denied that it was directly engaged in arming Bosnian forces until after the UN arms embargo was lifted. 77

Sudan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran... the list of countries who shipped weapons to the Bosnian Muslims reads like a "who's who" of states that sponsor jihad and terrorism. And then, on top of that, the United States allegedly started supplying arms directly, no longer even needing the charade of looking the other way while somebody else did it.

Like the Kosovo War a few years later, the Bosnian War was a dirty war. The Serbs, Croats and Bosnian Muslims fought; generally, the Croats and Muslims were on the same side against the Serbs, but at time, the Croats fought against the Muslims. Publicly, the allegations of atrocities painted the Serbs - allies of our recent Cold War enemy in Moscow - as the bad guys, but privately, everybody knew the Bosnian Muslims had help from international jihadists, and that these jihadists were committing some of the worst atrocities ever - just like they had when allied with Hitler in World War II.

Why did the Clinton Administration go to such lengths to ensure the Bosnian Muslims and their jihadist allies were painted as the victims and the good guys, and were equipped to come out on top in the war?

The Albanian mafia gained market share in US heroin distribution as a result of the take-down of key elements of the Sicilian mafia. A base for Muslim jihad in the Balkans would result in the Albanian mafia controlling the Balkan Route for heroin trafficking in Europe, as well. This would leave heroin production and trafficking - from the growing of poppies in South Asia, to the transit across Iran into Turkey, to the refining of heroin in Turkey, to the movement through the Balkans and the distribution in Western Europe and North America by the Albanian mafia - all under the control of Islamic organized crime cartels.


Since that time, this is exactly what has happened, except for one further development: heroin is now refined in Afghanistan, rather than having to move the raw material to Turkey for refining.

President Clinton received money into Democrat campaign coffers from the Communist Chinese for letting critical military technology be exported for them, and this helped him win re-election in 1996. Earlier, Clinton was heavily implicated in trafficking of cocaine through Arkansas by clandestine government operations that were funding the Contras in Nicaragua. Why not use his political power to help establish Islamic cartels as the premier heroin-traffickers in the world?

But, what impact does this all have on politics in the US during 2012?

Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Down the Rabbit Hole, Part 2

At the end of Part 1, I pointed out that the Clinton Administration's decision to support Islamic terrorists in the Balkans was not by chance. This is significant, because the same dynamic is in play right now during the 2012 Presidential election campaign.

According to a May, 2002, report by the Library of Congress Federal Research Division, entitled A Global Overview of Narcotics-Funded Terrorist and Other Extremist Groups, when the KLA converted to the KPC (see Part 1), many of the KLA's personnel and weapons went somewhere else. KLA criminals, now legitimized by their positions in the KPC, had additional power and opportunity to further criminal endeavors. However, others formed newer, smaller terrorist groups, receiving money from the KLA's support pipeline. These groups included the National Liberation Army (NLA), which tried to get ethnic Albanians from the southernmost regions of Serbia adjacent to Kosovo incorporated into Kosovo. A successor group, the Albanian National Army, known by its initials in Albanian AKSh, continued an insurgency on behalf of ethnic Albanians in Macedonia, where Albanians were one quarter of the population.



Eventually, a rivalry broke out between the AKSh and remaining elements of the NLA. Picking up with an excerpt from the report (pgs 82-83):

According to a February 2002 report in the Daily Telegraph and the Macedonian daily Nova Makedonija, Western police records and United Nations reports confirm that the leaders of the AKSh and the NLA are involved in large-scale smuggling of weapons, human beings, narcotics, and other goods. Money from those transactions is used to finance terrorist activities in Macedonia and Kosovo. Narcotics, reportedly the most important of the smuggled items, are moved through what is known as the Balkan Drug Route, which begins in Afghanistan and passes through Turkey, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, and Italy to reach markets in Western Europe. An alternate route goes from Afghanistan into Western Europe via Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Slovenia. Primary locations for the exchange of drugs for guns are Kumanovo and Skopje (both in northern Macedonia), which are points along the Balkan route to which weapons are smuggled. From those cities, weapons move into Kosovo.201

In September 2001, the Canadian Centre for Peace in the Balkans reported that Osama bin Laden was channeling profits from the sale of narcotics arriving in Western Europe via the Balkan Route to local governments and political parties, with the goal of gaining influence in Albania or Macedonia or both. The report theorized that Macedonia presents an ideal target because of its large Albanian minority (about one in three Macedonians is an ethnic Albanian) and its strategic position between east and west, along the new pipeline proposed between Burgas (Bulgaria) and Drac (Albania).202

In the same period, the Washington Times reported that bin Laden was the "biggest financial supporter" of the NLA, which has received $6 to $7 million from that source to supplement its narcotics income in supporting terrorist activities. In January 2001, the Stratfor intelligence organization reported that bin Laden had contributed and trained fighters for the KLA, citing the strategic importance of this link for the operation of his terrorist network in Europe. That report quoted the Albanian intelligence service as calling Albania the most important transit point for Islamic militants into Europe. In 1999 and 2000, Albania arrested ten individuals identified as Islamic terrorists.203

A February 2002 report in the Herald of Glasgow noted that al Qaeda had acted as a middleman in the movement of heroin from warehouses in Afghanistan via Chechen mafia conduits and into the Balkan narcotics pipeline. (The Taliban had prohibited the growing of poppies but had not confiscated the large stores of heroin already existing, and in fact profited from the heroin trade by taxing growers and dealers.) Al Qaeda took a percentage of the drug profits for this service.204 Between 1996 and 1998, the volume of drugs confiscated by Italian police from Albanian dealers in Italy rose from 5,500 kilograms to 23,000 kilograms.205

According to a February 2002 report, former KLA guerrillas and Albanian liberation extremists have used profits from their participation in Taliban-sponsored narcotics smuggling to re-arm themselves after the disarmaments that occurred from 1999 to 2001. The new arms, estimated to be worth about $4 million, include SA-18 and SA-7 surface-to-air missiles capable of bringing down Macedonian helicopters.206 According to a subsequent report, "the weapons were paid for by Albanian criminals with the proceeds of selling Afghan heroin on the streets of a dozen European capitals."207

There was a dynamic interplay between the rise of the KLA and the rise of the ethnic Albanian cartels based in Kosovo. From Heroin Heroes, from January/February of 2000:

The ascent of the Kosovar families to the top of the trafficking hierarchy coincided with the sudden appearance of the KLA as a fighting force in 1997. As Serbia unleashed its campaign of persecution against ethnic Albanians, the diaspora mobilized. Hundreds of thousands of expatriate Kosovars around the world funneled money to the insurrection. Nobody sent more than the Kosovar traffickers -- some of the wealthiest people of Kosovar extraction in Europe. According to news reports, Kosovar Albanian traffickers launder $1.5 billion in profits from drug and arms smuggling each year through a shadowy network of some 200 private banks and currency exchange offices. A congressional briefing paper obtained by Mother Jones indicates: "We would be remiss to dismiss allegations that between 30 and 50 percent of the KLA's money comes from drugs."

Elements of the KLA associated with criminal cartels - the so-called "15 families" - quickly became the best-equipped forces the KLA could field. In turn, they leveraged the KLA's ties with the West into increased business opportunities for the Albanian cartels. As the influence of the cartels increased, the KLA and its daughter organizations became better-funded and better-equipped.

In Congressional testimony on December 13, 2000, Frank Cilluffo had this to say (The Threat Posed from the Convergence of Organized Crime, Drug Trafficking, and Terrorism):

During the NATO campaign against the former Yugoslavia in the Spring of 1999, the Allies looked to the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) to assist in efforts to eject the Serbian army from Kosovo. What was largely hidden from public view was the fact that the KLA raise part of their funds from the sale of narcotics. Albania and Kosovo lie at the heart of the "Balkan Route" that links the "Golden Crescent" of Afghanistan and Pakistan to the drug markets of Europe. This route is worth an estimated $400 billion a year and handles 80 percent of heroin destined for Europe.

The ethnic Albanian cartels were sitting along the route of a drug trade worth $400 billion per year. On top of that, there was trafficking in arms and other commodities. Returning now to A Global Overview of Narcotics-Funded Terrorist and Other Extremist Groups (pgs 83-84):

Beginning in the 1990s, the "official" network of organized crime in Albania has grown and become more sophisticated. In a January 2001 report, British-based criminologist Vicenzo Ruggiero said, "joint ventures between southern Italian organized crime and groups operating in Albania are frequent, and such partnerships are imposed by local criminal entrepreneurs who expect to be given a percentage of the profits earned by their Albanian counterparts." According to Italian prosecutor Piero Luigi Vigna, Albanian groups have found a specific niche in the growing multinational organized crime network: "Albanian criminal groups fulfill the functions of a kind of service agency, establishing, for the management of clandestine immigration toward [sic] Italy, ties with the Chinese mafia and with its Turkish and Russian counterparts." Thus cooperative agreements and the development of specific roles appear to be replacing traditional bloody territorial rivalries between crime groups from various nations (most importantly for the Balkan and Adriatic regions, groups from Albania and Italy).208

Trafficking in human beings is an expanding activity for this international network. According to the International Organisation for Migration, the Balkans is a major route (and source) for trafficking in women and children for sexual exploitation. The organization characterizes such trafficking as "the fastest-growing crime in the Balkans."209 Albania's geographical position and its chaotic political situation mean that it plays an important role in such trade. One factor in the expansion of this commerce has been the presence in the Balkans of foreign soldiers, who in 2000 accounted for 80 percent of the profits of brothels in Kosovo and Bosnia.210 Many women are moved across the Albanian border into the coastal tourist areas of Greece. Reportedly, the young women of entire villages in Albania, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Romania have been forcibly moved into this system, many with the promise of reaching Western Europe. Corrupt police in Albania have aided this practice, even escorting women through the country.211 The port of Vlore, characterized as "lawless" in 2001, has been the home port of a large fleet of boats that have smuggled hundreds of thousands of immigrants and tons of drugs across the Adriatic Sea into Italy, and thence into the rest of Western Europe.212

By the end of the last century, the ethnic Albanian cartels were the quintessential middlemen: they had connections with Turkish cartels moving heroin, South Asian Islamic cartels producing heroin, Russian cartels, Chinese cartels... they had connections with ethnic Italian cartels in Europe and in the US, though the Albanian groups were taking market share, sometimes by contracting out for the Cosa Nostra, sometimes by simply muscling in.

One key are of expansion was the use of women for forced prostitution. Thousands of international peacekeepers in the region made for a captive audience with needs that the Albanian cartels would be happy to meet. Women did not remain in the Balkans; they got passed on to Italy, to the Middle East, to any place with a willing buyer. Better than narcotics, which were sold and then consumed, women were essentially "rented", then sold on to new buyers; the fact that a woman had been previously "rented" generally had only marginal impact on her value, so she could be bought, forced to work as a prostitute, then sold to another pimp, with nearly all her earnings as a prostitute being net profits.

Of course, whole people were not the only commodity; the Albanian cartels also trafficked in body parts. From leaked UNMIK documents dated 2003:


SUMMARY

Beginning in mid-1999 (and possibly earlier), between 100 and 300 people were abducted and taken by truck and van to detention facilities in or near the northern Albanian towns of Kukes and Tropoje. Most of these people were Serbian men from Kosovo taken captive between June and October 1999. Beginning in August 1999, some of these captives (24-100) were transferred from northern Albania to secondary detention facilities (private homes and rough industrial compounds) in central Albania, mainly near the town of BUrrel (or Burreli), about 110 kilometers southwest of Kukes. Captives were also moved to detention facilities near Peshkopi, about 50 kilometers east of Burrel.

The captives taken to central Albania were again moved, in small groups, to a private house south of Burrel that was set up as a makeshift clinic. There, medical equipment and personnel were used to extract body organs from the captives, who then died. Their remains were buried nearby. The organs were transported to Rinas airport near Tirana (approximately 75 kilometers southwest of Burrel) and flown abroad. Other captives taken to the house/clinic near Burrel included a smaller number of females from Kosovo, Albania and eastern Europe. The last delivery of captives to the house/clinic was reorted in spring or early summer of 2000.

In addition to captives taken to Albania alive, an unknown number of bodies of Serbian civilians killed in Kosovo were transported to Albania and buried in remote locations.

This summary is based on interviews with at least eight sources, all ethnic Albanians from Kosovo or Montenegro who served in the Kosovo Liberation Army. Four sources directly participated in the transport of at least 90 ethnic Serbs and others to detention facilities in northern and central Albania. Of these, three sources delivered captives to the house/clinic south of Burrel, two sources claim to have participated in the disposal of human remains near the house and one source claims to have participated in the delivery of body parts and/or organs to Rinas airport near Tirana. None of the sources witnessed the medical operations.

According to all sources, the transports and surgical procedures were carried out with the knowledge and/or active involvement of mid-level and senior KLA officers as well as doctors from Kosovo and abroad. THe operation was supported by men with links to Albanian secret police operatives of the former government of Salih Berisha.


The report gives a specific location.


Google imagery of the area shows little of interest:


To be sure, not everyone associated with the KLA was involved in all of this, or even knew of it. Of the people who were involved with it, some did what they could to at least not participate, and a few later came forward to tell what they knew - hence, the reports to the international community.

Similarly, most of the people in the Albanian diaspora who contributed money to the cause felt, and with good reason, that they were helping ethnic Albanians defend themselves against Serb excesses. Some heard rumors of alleged illegal activities, but understandably dismissed these as hostile propaganda.

But, at the top, the key players knew what was going on: they controlled a criminal empire, with ties going from the poppy fields in South Asia to the streets of Western Europe and the United States. The value of the heroin trafficking alone was $400 billion, but add in the value of the arms, the women who were forced to work as prostitutes and then sold on to new pimps, and the other contraband, and this was a big criminal empire.

And, a big criminal empire needed political protection - protection which it could afford to buy.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Down the Rabbit Hole, Part 1

By popular demand, I begin a new series...

The only thing I will tell you about where this series is going is this: whether you are Democrat or Republican, Muslim or Infidel, crook or cop; whether you are a proud American or a card-carrying charter member of the hate-America-first crowd... you will not like the destination. ;)

We will begin by reviewing the background of the Kosovo Liberation Army, or KLA. The KLA was the main armed group on the ethnic Albanian side in the fighting that resulted in the province of Kosovo declaring its independence from Serbia; this fighting was supported by NATO, and Kosovo's independence was widely recognized by the international community. (As of 1999, as part of the internationally-sponsored end to hostilities in the area, the KLA was transformed into the Kosovo Protection Corps, which was disbanded in early 2009, with many of its personnel becoming part of the Kosovo Police.)



KLA, Terrorism, Organized Crime


An article entitled Heroin Heroes, from January/February of 2000, provided extensive background on the KLA. One key excerpt is this one:

For hundreds of years, Kosovar Albanian smugglers have been among the world's most accomplished dealers in contraband, aided by a propitious geography of isolated ports and mountainous villages. Virtually every stage of the Balkan heroin business, from refining to end-point distribution, is directed by a loosely knit hierarchy known as "The 15 Families," who answer to the regional clans that run every aspect of Albanian life.

The Kosovar Albanian traffickers are so successful, says a senior U.S. State Department official, "because Albanians are organized in very close-knit groups, linked by their ethnicity and extended family connections."

The clans, in addition to their drug operations, maintained an armed brigade that gradually evolved into the KLA. In the early 1990s, as the Kosovar uprising in Yugoslavia grew, ethnic Albanian rebels there faced increased financial needs. The 15 Families responded by boosting drug trafficking and channeling money and weapons to the rebels in their clans. As traffickers started taking bigger risks, drug seizures by police across Europe skyrocketed from a kilo or two in the early 1980s to multimillion-dollar hauls, culminating in the spectacular 1996 arrest at Gradina, Yugoslavia, of two truckers running a load of more than half a ton of heroin worth $50 million.

Though the article Heroin Heroes put many pieces of the puzzle together, the story was hardly hidden previously. Two years earlier, the UN published Resolution 1160 (1998), which had this to say regarding the KLA:

The Security Council,

[snip]

Conndemning the use of excessive force by Serbian police forces against civilians and peaceful demonstrators in Kosovo, as well as all acts of terrorism by the Kosovo Liberation Army or any other group or individual and all external support for terrorist activity in Kosovo, including finance, arms and training,

[snip]

2. Calls also upon the Kosovar Albanian leadership to condemn all terrorist action, and emphasizes that all elements in the Kosovar Albanian community should pursue their goals by peaceful means only;

About this time, the matter was being addressed in Washington, though, since the Democrat Clinton Administration was siding with the KLA, it was up to Republicans in the Senate to try to get the story out.

A press release entitled Bosnia II: The Clinton Administration Sets Course for NATO Intervention in Kosovo, by the United States Senate Republican Policy Committee and dated August 12, 1998, had this to say:

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].


Less than a year later, more information was out about the developing situation in the Balkans; from The Kosovo Liberation Army: Does Clinton Policy Support Group with Terror, Drug Ties?, from March 31, 1999:

The KLA: from 'Terrorists' to 'Partners'

The Kosovo Liberation Army "began on the radical fringe of Kosovar Albanian politics, originally made up of diehard Marxist-Leninists (who were bankrolled in the old days by the Stalinist dictatorship next door in Albania) as well as by descendants of the fascist militias raised by the Italians in World War II" ["Fog of War -- Coping With the Truth About Friend and Foe: Victims Not Quite Innocent," New York Times, 3/28/99]. The KLA made its military debut in February 1996 with the bombing of several camps housing Serbian refugees from wars in Croatia and Bosnia [Jane's Intelligence Review, 10/1/96]. The KLA (again according to the highly regarded Jane's,) "does not take into consideration the political or economic importance of its victims, nor does it seem at all capable of seriously hurting its enemy, the Serbian police and army. Instead, the group has attacked Serbian police and civilians arbitrarily at their weakest points. It has not come close to challenging the region's balance of military power" [Jane's, 10/1/96].

The group expanded its operations with numerous attacks through 1996 but was given a major boost with the collapse into chaos of neighboring Albania in 1997, which afforded unlimited opportunities for the introduction of arms into Kosovo from adjoining areas of northern Albania, which are effectively out of the control of the Albanian government in Tirana. From its inception, the KLA has targeted not only Serbian security forces, who may be seen as legitimate targets for a guerrilla insurgency, but Serbian and Albanian civilians as well.

In view of such tactics, the Clinton Administration's then-special envoy for Kosovo, Robert Gelbard, had little difficulty in condemning the KLA (also known by its Albanian initials, UCK) in terms comparable to those he used for Serbian police repression:

"'The violence we have seen growing is incredibly dangerous,' Gelbard said. He criticized violence 'promulgated by the (Serb) police' and condemned the actions of an ethnic Albanian underground group Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) which has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks on Serb targets. 'We condemn very strongly terrorist actions in Kosovo. The UCK is, without any questions, a terrorist group,' Gelbard said." [Agence France Presse, 2/23/98]

[snip]

Among the most troubling aspects of the Clinton Administration's effective alliance with the KLA are numerous reports from reputable unofficial sources -- including the highly respected Jane's publications -- that the KLA is closely involved with:

The extensive Albanian crime network that extends throughout Europe and into North America, including allegations that a major portion of the KLA finances are derived from that network, mainly proceeds from drug trafficking; and

Terrorist organizations motivated by the ideology of radical Islam, including assets of Iran and of the notorious Osama bin-Ladin -- who has vowed a global terrorist war against Americans and American interests.


Skipping down:

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 Clinton Administration's decision to support Islamic terrorists was not by chance; it was pre-meditated. The reason was simple: Islamic terrorists were closely connected to the big money of the narcotics traffickers; this money went in one direction to fund jihad, and in the other to buy political influence in Washington.


Stay tuned for more...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Comment on Obama

Over at Rosie's blog I saw a post dealing with how the Obama Administration seems to think that UN or NATO authority is all it needs to go to war; that Congress can be bypassed. Congress does not seem to agree; there is discussion of which way Biden would go in an impeachment should Obama initiate hostilities against Iran without Congressional approval.

In a way, who cares? Should Obama be impeached, the trial would be held in the Senate, but when the President of the United States is on trial, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides.

Meanwhile, though, Vice President Biden in 2007 received contributions from a PAC that launders money into US political campaigns on behalf of an ethnic Albanian group that was both an Islamic extremist terrorist organization and an organized crime cartel.

By the way, the same PAC gave to Bush-43 in 2003, it gave to McCain in 1999, 2000 and again in 2009, and it has given to Romney this year.

It matters not one bit who wins the Presidential election. The interests of transnational organized crime will be represented in the White House, because the American people keep ordering their happy meals from the same menu.

Here is my (very slightly edited) comment over at Rosie's:

Obama is a puppet. He is anti-American. He is not up to the Presidency. And, things from his past are obviously being hidden, likely including significant character flaws.

The result of all this is that, as a puppet, he is easy to control. If he does something that looks like it might be good for America, there is an ulterior motive on the part of those who pull his strings.

People that voted for him thought he was "progressive". I read the socialist websites; they hate him, and accuse him of being like Bush, whom they also hated. Obama first sold out the gays by being against gay marriage, then he sold out the religious wing of the neolib blacks by coming out in favor of it. The problem with the "left" is that it is such a loose coalition of groups with such radical – and radically different – agendas that promoting one group's agenda means knifing another group. Yet, these radical groups will support him, because, like Bill Clinton, he is more likely to flip-flop, pander, and be manipulated into their direction than a RINO.

Pandering to the Jewish part of the electorate, he tries to do some things that give the appearance of helping Israel. However, his secret hatred for Israel and America manifests itself in how he supports Islamic extremists, even going to the extent of intervening militarily so they win in Libya.

Somebody wants war with Iran, and that somebody does not want it because he thinks it will be good for Israel or America. Obama, a product of Chicago organized crime, became a puppet of those transnational interests that operate regardless of legality or morality. They want hostilities between the US and Israel, on one side, and Iran on the other. And, I think I am beginning to see why...

I am wondering if I need to post some of what I know about this part of the rabbit hole.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Islas al Poniente, Part 2

In Part 1 we looked at the Maguindanao Massacre, and how the Ampatuan family had controlled the province of Maguindanao for a decade. Esmael Mangudadatu, vice mayor of Buluan, was going to challenge the Ampatuan family's control by running against the anointed member of the Ampatuan family, Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan, Jr., son of the incumbent provincial governor, for the governorship of Maguindanao. Mangudadatu's family and supporters were targeted by a brutal ambush, leaving dozens of people executed, including Mangudadatu's wife, who had had her genitals slashed, her breasts shot, her eyes speared, her feet cut off, and had been shot inside her mouth.


We then briefly speculated on the underlying causes of the unrest, pointing out that the Philippines has had an active Islamic terrorist insurgency for quite a few years, and is a transshipment point for narcotics, trafficking Afghan heroin around the Pacific basin.

I recently opened a Twitter account, and noticed on the feed a link to Jihad in Philippines: Muslims armed with chainsaws and guns launch attacks, now occupy towns. Since I had never followed up on Part 1, I thought perhaps I would check into this.


So, we begin by continuing with the story begun in Part 1.

Andal Ampatuan, Sr., was the incumbent governor, and his son, Andal Ampatuan, Jr., was going to run for the governorship. Andal's brother Zaldy was the regional governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and is the former chairman of the ARMM's branch of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, a major ruling party in the Philippines. Andal, Jr., was accused of involvement in the massacre, and surrendered to his brother Zaldy. Andal, Jr., denied the charges against him, blaming the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and specifically Umbra Kato; the MILF denied this.

Andal, Jr., and Andal, Sr., have been indicted; at arraignment, Andal, Sr., pled not guilty. Zaldy and another member of the Ampatuan family, Akhmad, had presented alibis, so the government case against them was dropped. Currently, there are nearly 200 defendents in the case, and it is speculated that the trials could take from 100 to 200 years (!) to progress.

Ultimately, Esmael Mangudadatu won the election, and became governor of Maguindanao, assuming office on June 30, 2010. Later, on August 15, 2011, as Governor Mangudadatu was in a convoy cruising along a highway on the way to celebrate his birthday, he was targeted by a roadside bomb hidden in an old car. Though the governor was not hurt, two people were killed and six were wounded in the incident.

Now, the reason I choose some topics to write on as opposed to others is because I like the topics that have stories behind the stories, and even stories behind those. This is one of those topics.

Pamela Geller's article today says that the Muslim insurgency here began in the early 1970's; the article recaps today's news and provides links.

Actually, it is only this round of Islamic insurgency that began in the 1970's; the trouble there goes back quite a bit farther.

The Spanish arrived in what is now the Philippines in 1521, and in 1565 made the islands part of the Spanish Empire. With them, the Spanish brought Christianity. Prior to that, however, an Arab missionary named Shariff Kabunsan landed in what is now Cotabato City in Maguindanao, and introduced Islam to the natives. (Cotabato City is where one of the articles referenced in Pamela's post was submitted from.) Consequently, as the Spaniards spread their influence, Islamic sultanates that were there maintained independence by resisting them. As the Spaniards continued their colonization process, they established military outposts along with the Catholic missions. Needless to say, trouble ensued. The Moros began raiding coastal settlements, and for the next few centuries hostilities continued, including multiple wars. Ultimately, towards the end of the 19th century, peace was established; though both the Spaniards and the Moros understood the terms of peace differently, the net result was that the Moros had a degree of autonomy.


In the wake of the Spanish-American War, the United States took the Philippines from Spain. A translation error which had resulted in the misunderstanding between the Moros and the Spaniards carried over into the treaty between the Moros and the United States. Other issues included a view in America that the Moros had too much autonomy, and distaste that the Moro practice of slavery was allowed to continue, though it was explained that the entire treaty was temporary, to calm things in the south while fighting in the northern part of the Philippines could be concluded - this was the time of the Philippine-American War. The Philippine-American War was a bitter one, in which terrible atrocities are credibly alleged to have been committed by both sides, and peaceful relations with the Moros in the south during this time were considered important.

An additional complicating factor, however, is that the Moros were not totally united. The American treaty was with the Sultanate of Sulu. Other sultanates, however, were autonomous of him.

There were problems with bandits, but otherwise, the Moro area was largely quiet. American Brigadier General George Whitefield David established a friendly policy toward the Moros, and one of his officers, Captain John J. Pershing, was able to establish friendly relations with influential Moros. However, in the wake of three Moro ambushes of American troops, leaders who had inherited tough policies toward indigenous populations as a result of wars with the American Indians only a couple of decades before began to get the upper hand. Thus began the Moro Rebellion.

As an interesting historical sidenote, the US Army found that its .38 caliber revolvers did not have adequate stopping power against charging Moro insurgents, who had very high morale and often took drugs to keep from feeling pain. This prompted the US Army to re-introduce the .45 caliber cartridge, leading to adoption of the famous M1911 .45 automatic pistol as a standard US sidearm for the next four wars.

In the wake of World War II, the Philippines gained its independence, but by the 1960's, the Muslims were increasingly dissatisfied with Philippine rule. Though the Philippine government, with Catholic influence, had laws against polygamy and divorce, the Moros were exempted from these laws, since polygamy and divorce are important asects of Islamic law. By the 1970's, an Islamic insurgency had broken out, and groups on both sides were beginning to establish paramilitary organizations for local defense.

So, now we are ready to fast-forward to the news from today, and we begin with excerpts from Umbra Kato On A Rampage, by Elena L. Aben and Aaron B. Recuenco, August 6, 2012:

MANILA, Philippines — A breakaway group of Muslim rebels armed with chainsaws and guns launched simultaneous attacks in five towns in Maguindanao and North Cotabato on Monday.

At least three people were killed when the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) led by Ameril Umbra Kato attacked an Army detachment, touching off gunbattles, authorities reported.

[snip]

Army officials said that on Sunday night around 500 of Kato’s fighters simultaneously attacked military detachments and outposts in Talayan, Datu Unsay, Datu Saudi Ampatuan and Shariff Aguak towns in Maguindanao; and Midsayap in North Cotabato.

Kato's group stormed the 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade headquarters, three battalion headquarters, four company headquarters, and two detachments.

Maj. Harold Cabunoc, Army spokesman, said the clashes lasted several hours.

[snip]

Kato is a Saudi Arabian-educated guerrilla who splintered from the 12,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which had entered into peace talks with the government.

He had boasted of having about 5,000 armed fighters, though military officials believe he only has a few hundred under his command.

Kato has accused his former comrades of betraying the rebellion's ultimate goal of an independent Islamic state in Mindanao.

For more background, we look at an excerpt from Dead or alive in Mindanao by Jacob Zenn, December 15, 2011:

The MILF's founders broke away from the more secular MNLF [Moro National Liberation Front ] in 1977 after it accepted a Philippine government offer of semi-autonomy for areas in dispute. It was formally established as the MILF in 1984 and has long fought for the establishment of an independent state.

The MILF's goals have since softened, causing Kato to break away from the MILF in August 2011. He claimed that the MILF is "wasting its time" in negotiations with the government. Kato was widely viewed as the leader of the MILF's more hardline factions, which are fighting for an independent state and rule by Islamic law for Mindanao's Muslims. The MILF, in contrast, has pushed in recent peace negotiations with the government for what it now calls "strong local autonomy."

Kato had met with MNLF leaders, and this threatened to shift the balance of power among the Islamic insurgents. Kato was estimated to have about 1000 fighters, whereas the MILF was believed to have 12,000. This is significant; skipping down:

Kato's proclivity towards violence was witnessed in August when the BIFM clashed with MILF soldiers in rural villages near Maguindanao, leaving 16 people dead and forcing 3,000 civilians from their homes. In 2008, Kato's forces also targeted civilians after the Philippine Supreme Court overturned an earlier agreement that promised to give Mindanao's Muslims more autonomy over their ancestral homelands. In those clashes, 400 people were killed and around 750,000 civilians were forced to evacuate.

With Kato's BIFM fighting against the MILF, the MILF has Kato's men outnumbered about 12-to-1. But, if the BIFM were allied with the MNLF, that alliance, by some estimates, could be stronger.

Consequently, when it was rumored that Kato had died after having suffered a stroke, the MILF helped circulate those rumors, perhaps hoping to disrupt any emerging alliance.

Looking more closely at the recent attack, we now consider excerpts from Kato Striks Again, Occupies Maguindanao Towns, by Al Jacinto and William B. Depasupil, August 7, 2012:

ZAMBOANGA CITY: At least four people were killed when Muslim rebels belonging to Ameril Umbra Kato's Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) occupied several towns in Maguindanao province after a series of attacks which, government officials said, were aimed at derailing the peace process.

The fighting, which began before midnight Sunday, left at least two members of the BIFM and two civilians dead. Several people were injured, including an army commander.

Some 500 rebels split into several groups and held the towns of Shariff Aguak, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Talayan and Datu Unsay in Maguindanao; and in Midsayap in North Cotabato province, according to Col. Prudencio Asto, a spokesman for the 6th Infantry Division.

[snip]

Abu Misri, BIFM spokesman, said that the offensive was in retaliation to recent government attacks on their forces in Basilan province, an accusation strongly denied by the military.

"That's absurd. The BIFM has no members in Basilan and the operation in the province is aimed at the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf which is being blamed for attacks on civilians and military [targets] in various towns in the area," Asto said.

Notice the reference to Abu Sayyaf, another Islamic insurgent group on a nearby island.

The BIFM forces deny harming civilians, and deny instigating this latest round of fighting, claiming it was in retaliation for an alleged unprovoked June killing of a BIFM member by government troops.

Colonel Asto has announced that 1st Brigade troops are being deployed to stop the violence, and MILF spokesman Von Al-Haq has stated that MILF fighters have been ordered to stay in their camps for fear of accidental firefights with government troops who are securing the area, though MILF has affirmed that if BIFM rebels enter the camps, MILF troops will fight them.

Skipping down:

Al-Haq tagged Mohamad Alih Tambako, deputy commander of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), as behind the series of attacks in the province. But Presidential peace adviser Teresita Deles said that Ustadz Carialan, a senior leader of BIAF chieftain Ameril Kato, led the violence.

Government spokesmen insist that communication with MILF is good, and that the attacks, which they characterize as an attempt to derail the peace process between the government and MILF, will not attain that goal.

What is interesting to me, though, is the photo that accompanies this story:


Notice the photo is not of government troops being deployed, but rather, of a pro-government militia taking up defensive positions.

Now, you might wish to review this post, looking for references to militias, because this is the tie-in to the Maguindanao Massacre.

More to follow...

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Issues, Part 5: America's Space Program

America should already have a space station in Earth orbit, America should already have a base on the moon, America should already have a space station in lunar orbit, America should have already sent a manned mission to Mars.

America needs a new fleet of space shuttles - a fleet, not just a handful like we had with our previous program.

This fleet should be used to establish space stations in Earth orbit and in lunar orbit. We should also have at least one base on the moon.

Manned exploration should already be occurring in the farthest reaches of our Solar System. This exploration should be launched from lunar bases and orbiting space stations.

The exploration should consist not just of one spacecraft with a handful of astronauts, but rather, it should consist of an entire group of spacecraft. If we designed one spacecraft to be able to accomodate a crew of thirty for round trip flight time to the destination, plus one year, that would allow adequate time at the destination for scientific exploration and experimentation. Then, instead of placing thirty people on that vessel, we place perhaps twelve, and launch a group of five spacecraft towards the destination. The expedition could suffer the catastrophic loss of over half the force of spacecraft - three ships - and still have enough room and supplies on the remaining two spacecraft to return every member of the expedition to Earth.

This could be designated as one scientific task group. For example, we could send one group to each of Jupiter's major moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, leaving one group doing general studies of the area and coordinating and monitoring the work of the other groups. This would be a scientific task force of twenty-five spacecraft; among those spacecraft would be 300 crewmembers, but there would be room on board those spacecraft for 750 people, so that if multiple emergencies occurred, adequate rescue resources would be immediately available on the scene, rather than months or years away on Earth.

Another advantage to having an expedition of this size is it could include scientists of every field to make observations regarding the atmosphere, the geology, and so on, of the destinations. Astrophysicists who specialize in planetary science would of course play a key role, but astrophysicists and astronomers specializing in stellar, galactic and cosmologic astronomy would have a tremendous opportunity to make observations from what we might hope would turn out to be a significantly different vantage point than has heretofore been achieved.

Why should we limit ourselves to one such task force in space at a time? Another could be sent to Saturn and its moon Titan, and yet another to Mars. Depending on the scientific objectives and the objects of interest, some task forces could be larger or smaller than others.

Needless to say, we are speaking of having an entire fleet of spacecraft, and literally hundreds of people on exploration missions on board dozens of craft heading to several different destinations at any given moment. We would also need the personnel to man the space stations in Earth and lunar orbit, and the bases on the moon. And, would we not want to establish a base on Mars and a space station in Martian orbit?

Such programs would be logical but dramatic extensions of NASA's ongoing programs. Currently, there is a polemic regarding use of the SLS, and questions regarding whether the SLS is non-competitive, using current shuttle suppliers. Frankly, with the requirements that would be generated by the programs described above, the entire polemic would be blown out of the sky; the entire American aerospace industry would be working as hard as possible for years to build the space shuttles, heavy lift launch systems, and modular components for orbiting space stations and lunar and martian bases. Beyond that, the deep space exploration craft, a large number of which would need to be deployed for the missions described above, would have to be built; they may have to be prefabricated on Earth for assembly in orbit.

Implicit in this idea is the notion of having literally thousands of people trained for duties in space. This means we would need a dramatically expanded training program for those serving in space.

The United States currently has six service academies: in alphabetical order, these are 1) the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado; 2) the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut; 3) the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York; 4) the Military Academy in West Point, New York; 5) the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland; and 6) the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. The first five are undergraduate academies, and the last one is a postgraduate academy.

We need a seventh service academy, specifically for space service; I will refer to it as the Space Service Academy.

Physically, I would envision the Space Service Academy having a main location in a western state, with a large airbase essentially co-located with it. These facilities should be purpose-built. The Space Service Academy should also have ancillary facilities located at geographically separate locations for purposes, some of which will be described below.

Academically, I would envision the Space Service Academy having an extended program, perhaps six years of academics. Upon graduation, officers would have bachelors' degrees with at least a dual major in technical fields - for example, astrophysics and aerospace engineering, or computer engineering and mathematics, or meteorology and planetary science. The program should be tailorable, so officers can graduate with a master's degree, and there should be options for additional studies to yield a doctorate.

During their time at the Space Service Academy, the personnel studying there should be able to coordinate their graduation requirements with those of the other service academies so that, upon graduation, they receive a commission valid for one of the branches of service. For example, by choosing one set of options, a graduate will receive a commission in the Air Force, by choosing another set of options, the Coast Guard, and so on. Consequently, I will now refer to the personnel studying at the Space Service Academy as cadets or midshipmen.

Since cadets and midshipmen of the Space Service Academy are being trained for space exploration, their training needs to be very rigorous. It should include aircrew training, so graduating officers are qualified pilots or navigators. It should also include advanced survival training; during six years, a cadet or midshipman should attend basic survival school, taught at the Space Service Academy's main facility, and should be rotated through ancillary facilities to learn Arctic survival in Alaska, water survival (perhaps in Florida), as well as desert and jungle survival. Martial arts training should be required; judo or taekwondo could be offered, as well as the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.

The rationale behind this kind of survival and martial arts training is that the Space Service Academy trains officers for space exploration, during the course of which an emergency could result in the officer landing literally anywhere on Earth and being at least temporarily in a survival situation; furthermore, given the fact that there has been war ongoing somewhere on the Earth's surface continually for the past several decades, the officer could find her- or himself thrust into a combat survival situation under extremely harsh conditions.

Other military training should be coordinated with the military services, and should include airborne, ranger, advanced firearms and firearms instructor training.

Additionally, language training should be included. Cadets and midshipmen should be required to learn one foreign language in which a great deal of technical, scientific literature is written, such as Mandarin Chinese, German, Russian, or Japanese, as well as the language of a culture that produces less or no technology-oriented literature, such as Hausa or Dari. The Space Service Academy commandant should be able to write waivers for exceptionally gifted cadets and midshipmen who have a difficult time with languages that are too exotic, modifying but not eliminating the foreign language requirement. This language training requirement needs to be understood in the context that, just as Americans went to the moon in peace on behalf of all humankind, so is our space exploration program a peaceful one on behalf of all humanity, and our Space Service qualified officers, though highly capable military officers ready to defend the ideals upon which America is built, are first and foremost explorers and ambassadors of peace. Language training will serve our Space Service qualified officers on exchange duty with foreign nations, it will serve them as foreign nations send, at our invitation, their own astronauts to participate in our space exploration programs, and it will serve them should they find themselves in survival situations as described above.

Applications to the Space Service Academy should implicitly include applying to the other service academies and to the military ROTC programs. If a qualified candidate is not selected for the Space Service Academy, he or she should be offered a slot in one of the other academies or programs. It follows, then, that the other academies and the ROTC programs would be fertile recruiting ground for the Space Service Academy. Upon graduation, cadets and midshipman are commissioned into one of the branches of service, but with a special designation that they are Space Service qualified. In the absence of specific Space Service missions, these officers could pursue their careers with their respective services, but knowing that they are on call for Space Service.

For people who wish to be Space Service qualified, but who do not wish to serve in a military capacity, alternative training programs could lead to service in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps. Similarly, a comparable program could be established leading to service as Foreign Service Officers. Other federal agencies that would have a need for personnel with scientific and administrative training include the US Forest Service (USFS) and the US Geological Survey (USGS); the USGS, it should be noted, maintains an astrogeology research program. To support these aspects of Space Service training, the Space Service Academy would need to coordinate with the Foreign Service Institute for training of personnel who would serve as Foreign Service Officers while awaiting their opportunities to serve in space, and a Public Service Institute or Public Service Academy could be established to provide training for Public Service Officers, who could work with USFS, USGS, National Weather Service, and other federal agencies while awaiting their opportunities.

With a projected need for dozens of spacecraft, either on exploration missions or held in Earth or lunar orbits, plus space stations in Earth and lunar orbits, plus bases on the moon, plus bases on and stations in orbit above Mars, it should be a reasonable guarantee that a Space Service Academy graduate will, during the course of twenty years of government service, get into space at least once, even if only in Earth orbit. Realistically, Space Service qualified officers could expect to serve at least one tour of duty on a space station or extraterrestrial planetary/lunar base, and one tour of duty on a deep space exploration mission, according to aptitude and desire.

Because of the extreme likelihood of serving in space, the program will likely be highly competitive, because young people will want to go to space.

The Space Service Academy should be a center of excellence, having facilities for scientific research, including its own nuclear reactor and nuclear collider.

Once accepted to attend the Space Service Academy, cadets and midshipmen should be issued all necessary uniform items and necessities, as well as receiving pay and full benefits such as Department of Defense healthcare, in a manner similar to that in which cadets and midshipmen are treated in the other service academies.

The program should be merit-based. There should be tolerated absolutely no political agenda requiring quotas based on skin color, ethnicity, or any other irrelevant criteria. Admission to the Space Service Academy should boil down to academic performance, scores on standardized tests, physical fitness and health, interview results, letters of recommendation and nomination, and assessments of future aptitude. Every effort should be made to ensure the success of any accepted cadet or midshipman; cadets and midshipmen whose performance does not meet expectations should be removed from the Space Service Academy and sent to other programs, or for enlisted service in an appropriate branch of the armed forces.

As this program is described, once the Space Service Academy is established by law, it can begin operations immediately, recruiting from the other service academies and officer training programs, working in temporary facilities, and coordinating with NASA, the armed forces and their service academies, and various elements of the aerospace industry for specific aspects of the training program.

The goal of attending a service academy and getting an excellent scientific education, paid for by the United States of America and at no cost to the attendee, with the added benefit of offering experience and an expectation of participating in space exploration - credentials that will open doors to the very best opportunites that business, government and academia have to offer - should be widely advertised to young Americans beginning in elementary school, so they will focus on academics beginning at an early age.

These Americans who travel into space will, as their predecessors have done, discover new solutions to problems that we have here on Earth, and bring those solutions back, making life here better; they will inspire us and offer us hope for a better future.

Let's rejuvenate the promise of America as a beacon of hope for all humanity for all time. The sky's the limit!