BLOODY 1 May, 1999. NATO killed 70 Serbs at Lužani

Sixty passengers lost their lives and four were wounded during the bombing of the Nis ekspres bus near the village of Luzani. On that occasion NATO warplanes bombed also the ambulance which came to help the victims when one doctor was injured on 1 May 1999.

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Niš Ekspress bus after  NATO shelled it

1 May 1999. NATO shelled a bus at Lužani village. The NATO warplanes shelled a bus in 13hrs /1pm “Nis Express” which operated from Nis to Pristina via Podujevo. The bus was cut in half by a shell. Eyewitnesses  saw  a large number of charred and mutilated bodies.  The exact number of victims remained unknown,  but it is assumed that there were about 70 civilians, women and children. The number of casualties could not be determined because the heat developed from shell completely melted issuing tickets reel. Vukadin Jelic, the driver, was also killed.
At 13:50 The NATO alliance once targeted the same spot near Lužani and hit the  ambulance that had come to help the unfortunate passengers of the bus.  Accordinng to NATO officials, all the blodshed in Luzani was “an accident that occurred randomly in order to prevent the supply of Serbian military and police forces that operated inside Kosovo” (!?)
During the war in 1999. the “Nis Express” operated (possibly the single one )  to Kosovo. It was regular, well- organized transportation to Kosovo, the single one, no – NATO operated line.   Drivers were self-reported for work on lines through Kosovo. (page nis ekspres.rs)

Republika Srpska marks 21 years since the attack on Kupres

– The laying of wreaths at the monument to the fallen soldiers and civilians in Republika Srpska and the service of the liturgy in the Church of the Holy Trinity in Kupres / Republika Srpska /  have marked 21 years since the attacks of Croat-Muslim forces on Kupres and  Malovan village,  when 72 Serbian soldiers and civilians were killed.kupres

President of the Municipal Veterans’ Association of Republika Srpska in Kupres  / Spiro Knežić, said that the crime happened, unfortunately, and no one ever investigated it nor put on trial.  One member of Croatian forces was indicted, but the local (Croatian) court almost immediately released him.

During  the first day of the Croatian attack on Kupres about 80 Serbs were killed; some are still missing ( 14 Serbs still missing after being taken in the conc camps in Herzegovina and Croatia)

The memorial service  was  served at 10:00 am in the Church of the Holy Trinity in Novo Selo, and gathered  families of fallen soldiers, members of the Presidency of the Municipal Veterans’ Association, and the head of the Veterans of the Republika  Srpska.

At 11.00 the wreaths were laid at the monument to the fallen soldiers at Novo Selo.

The fate of 14 Serbian civilians from Kupres, which were captured by the Croatian army in  April in 1992.  even 21 years later is not fully resolved.

All the traces have been lost in the area between Kupres-Tomislavgrad  – Split-Zadar l, and their bones have not been found.

After the massacre in Sijekovac and Brod, Kupres is the first municipality occupied by the regular forces of Croatia and by  Territorial Defense of the Western Herzegovina who  committed massive crimes against the Serbian civilian population.

HV units, Split, Osijek, Varazdin and other places along with paramilitary forces from Tomislavgrad, Posusje and Livno, attacked at dawn 3 April in 1992.  Serbian villages above Kupres – Donji  and Gornji Malovan. Locals who were not able to escape to a nearby forest were killed in the most brutal manner.tl_files/ug_jadovno/img/preporucujemo/2013/vijesti/sjecanje-svijeca-zastava.jpg

The attack on the village was conducted by the following units of the Croatian army:
Unit 106 Osiječka101 Zagreb and 142 Split-Kastela Brigade of the Croatian Army, then a special unit of Vukovar “Yellow Ants” unit of special purpose Croatian Interior Ministry, Student Battalion / Battalion / “Kralj Tomislav“, made up of students from Tomislavgrada and Livno,  battalion “Velez” and “Zrinjski“.

After conquering  Serbian village, the Croatian forces conducted a raid on Kupres, on 6. April,  so they  occupied almost the entire territory of the mountainous municipality.  The death toll of this criminal attack was horrible. 57 Serbian civilians  have been killed and hundreds of Serbs detained in the camp that have been set up in the hall of the factory “Kvalitet” in  Kupresu.

The occupation of Kupres  lasted until the 7th April in 1992. year, when the forces of the JNA (Yugoslav National Army) under the command of  General Slavko Lisica, liberated the town and the entire municipality.

In a panic run Croatian soldiers took  hostages –  group of captured Serbian civilians who have been through many conc camps in western Herzegovina, and many of them ended up in one of the most notorious camp “Lora” in Split.

The Kupres area, for centuries inhabited by Serbs, falls again into Croatian forces hands on 4 November 1994. Later on the Dayton peace plan confirmed the are as a part of the Croato – Muslim federation.

 

 

 

Sources:  БИГ РАДИО /

срна

KLA, Albanian mob in the U.S.A.


When Bill Clinton stopped in Detroit on April 17th on a fundraising visit, he met with a small group of Albanian-Americans at the Roseville Recreation Center. According to the Detroit News, a banner at the Roseville speech bore the logo of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

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Memorial named Thank you mr George W. Bush, in Albania

Two days earlier, during an address to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Mr. Clinton offered an oblique reference to the KLA when he insisted that Serbian ruler Slobodan Milosevic had “not destroyed the armed opposition among Kosovars; indeed, [its] numbers and determination are growing.” NATO spokesman Jamie Shea, offering a more poetic take on the establishment line, reported that the KLA is “rising like a phoenix from the ashes.”

Part of the reason why the KLA’s ranks are growing, reported the Chicago Tribune on April 1st, is forced conscription: Shortly after NATO began its bombing campaign, the KLA ordered all Albanian men of fighting age “to join its ranks within one month or face unspecified consequence.”

Many male refugees, who had been driven from their homes at gunpoint, “made it to the Albanian border only to encounter checkpoints of the KLA,” reported the Tribune.

“Travelers who slipped through said they saw men being pulled from buses by armed guerillas and sent to KLA training camps in the rugged hills nearby.” There the conscripts are given one month of crude training before being thrust into battle.

Showcase Volunteers

Although the KLA has had to rely on press gangs to draft Kosovo Albanians into its ranks, it has attracted thousands of ethnic Albanian volunteers from Europe and the United States. Throughout émigré communities worldwide, reported the April 20thWashington Times, the call to enlist in the KLA “is considered obligatory for all men ages 18 to 55. Only those who are sick or who can contribute financially to the KLA are considered exempt.” Albanian émigrés from Philadelphia, Detroit, New York, Chicago, and other U.S. cities have repaired to the KLA banner, joining thousands more from Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and other European nations.

The KLA’s recruit army has little military value; the shopkeepers, waiters, teenagers, and middle-age professionals who have volunteered will not turn the tide of battle against Milosevic’s well-equipped paramilitary squads.

As with the Communist-organized “Abraham Lincoln Brigade” in the Spanish Civil War, the KLA’s émigré army is a propaganda exercise intended to confer an air of romantic idealism to a movement dominated by corrupt terrorists.

The KLA’s founders, reported Balkans correspondent Chris Hedges in the March 28th New York Times, were “diehard Marxist-Leninists (who were bankrolled in the old days by the Stalinist dictatorship next door in Albania) as well as descendants of the fascist militias raised by the Italians in World War II.”

Hedges fleshes out his portrait of the KLA in an essay published in the May-June 1999 issue of Foreign Affairs. “The KLA fighters are the province’s new power brokers,” Hedges writes. “Whatever political leadership emerges in Kosovo will come from the rebel ranks, and it will be militant, nationalist, uncompromising, and deeply suspicious of all outsiders.”

The KLA’s leadership cadres, according to Hedges, are “given to secrecy, paranoia, and appalling mendacity when they feel it serves their interests, which is most of the time.”

The KLA’s ideology displays “hints of fascism on one side and whiffs of communism on the other,” continues Hedges, and its leadership includes the heirs and descendants of “the Skanderbeg volunteer SS division raised by the Nazis [who] took part in the shameful roundup and deportation of [Kosovo’s] few hundred Jews during the Holocaust.”

Such is the character of the group that, in Hedges’ view, “represents the aspirations of most Kosovar Albanians,” which is to create “an independent Kosovo now and a Greater Albania later.” A map circulated among KLA supporters, including the Albanian-American Civic League (AACL), depicts a “Greater Albania” that includes not only Kosovo, but a slice taken from Serbia proper, in addition to portions of Montenegro, Macedonia, and Greece.

Despite repeated assertions from NATO that the war against Yugoslavia is intended to contain ethnic conflict, the alliance with the KLA effectively guarantees that the conflict will spread throughout the Balkans and beyond. Were Milosevic to relent and allow international “peacekeepers” to occupy Kosovo, the occupation force would be required to disarm the KLA, as specified by the Rambouillet framework.

The KLA has made it clear that it has no intention of relinquishing its arms or renouncing its irredentist aims. Indeed, the terrorist group has already expanded its campaign in Macedonia, which has been overrun by Albanian refugees. On April 22nd, Interior Minister Pavle Trajanov reported that KLA arms caches totaling 4.5 tons of firearms, grenades, and ammo have been discovered in several Macedonian locations.

The KLA has also reportedly recruited more than 1,000 “volunteers” from that country’s refugee population.

Unless the Clinton Administration decides to support the KLA’s drive for a “Greater Albania,” a NATO “victory” over Milosevic would almost certainly presage another conflict with the KLA, which – as the success of its international fundraising and recruiting efforts illustrates – has a disciplined and tightly organized international network at its disposal. The KLA would be well positioned to bring its war home to America in the form of terrorism.

Narco-Revolution

As previously reported in these pages (see “Diving into the Kosovo Quagmire” in our March 15th issue [included here immediately following this article -Ed.]), the KLA is allied with Osama bin-Laden’s international terrorist network and funded, in large measure, by Albanian organized crime – particularly heroin trafficking.

In 1994, when the insurrectionary KLA was still in its larval stage, France’s Observatire Geopolitique Des Drogues, a counter-narcotics bureau attached to the European Commission, reported that “heroin shipment and marketing networks are taking root among ethnic Albanian communities in Albania, Macedonia, and the Kosovo province of Serbia, in order to finance large purchases of weapons destined for the brewing war in Kosovo.”

A 1995 report from Kosovo published in the left-wing journal Mother Jones described how Kosovo Albanians committed to insurrection would work as “camels”: “By the hundreds, they cross the mountains, lakes, and seas that comprise affluent Europe’s outer frontiers – usually in the dead of night – carrying the mob’s narcotics in one direction and its laundered money in the other.”

“Here and in a half-dozen other Western countries,” declared Pascal Auchlin, a criminologist with Switzerland’s National Center for Scientific Research, “there is now an ant’s trail of individual drug traffickers that leads right to Kosovo.” In 1995, nearly 500 Kosovo Albanians were in Swiss prisons on drug-related charges, and more than 1,000 others were under indictment.

Many other “camels” were not so fortunate, noted Mother Jones: “Empty boats wash up, after howling Mediterranean storms, on the Spanish and Sicilian coasts. Decomposed bodies are discovered each spring in the Alps, when the seasonal thaw opens snowbound passes.”

In the United States, wrote criminologist Gus Xhudo in the Spring 1996 issue of Transnational Organized CrimeAlbanian mobsters have been involved in “drug and refugee smuggling, arms trafficking, contract killing, kidnaping, false visa forgery, and burglary.”

Between 1985 and 1995, wrote Xhudo, “authorities estimated that 10 million U.S. dollars in cash and merchandise had been stolen from some 300 supermarkets, ATM machines, jewelry stores, and restaurants” by Albanian gangsters, a healthy cut of which was sent to fund “Greater Albanian” ambitions.

In Albanian gangs, reported Xhudo, “the basic command structure, reliant upon their politico-cultural experiences with communist rule, is one rooted in community party apparatus.” A Leadership Council (whose membership, according to law enforcement officials, includes several leading Albanian politicians) directs the syndicate’s international efforts through a decentralized chain of command.

Recruits into Albanian gangs “swear an oath of allegiance and secrecy, an omerta or besa (literally, promise or word of honor in Albanian),” Xhudo explained. The executive committee of each Albanian bajrak (or crime “family”) provides “the requisite tactics and training necessary for conducting arms and drug smuggling, as well as sophisticated burglaries.”

The hands-on work of the crime syndicates is performed by “crews” made up of four to ten members: “A-team” units trained in the use of sophisticated tools and communications gear, and “B-teams” who, “while lacking in sophistication make up for it in brutality and cunning.”

In the mid-1990s, law enforcement officials in New York and New Jersey noticed that Albanian gangsters had dramatically improved their surveillance and counter-surveillance skills. This led some officials to suspect that former agents of the Sigurimi, the Communist Albanian secret police, had begun to train “crews” in this country.

Even without the Sigurimi‘s help, however, the Albanian mob had established itself as a force to be reckoned with in the world of narcotics smuggling. Xhudo wrote that “by the mid-1980s, Albanians were already gaining notoriety for their drug trafficking,” playing a predominant role in the “Balkan Connection” through which passed up to 40 percent of the heroin sold on U.S. streets.

Narcotics Network

Asked by The New American about accusations that the KLA is implicated in drug smuggling and terrorism, Shirley Cloyes, the Balkan affairs adviser for the Albanian American Civic League (AACL), dismissed the charges as “absolutely preposterous” products of “Serb propaganda.”

“These reports are quite baffling, and it is very, very disturbing that such propaganda has been given wide currency in the press,” Cloyes declared. “As the atrocities of Milosevic’s regime have been exposed to the public, the Serb propaganda machine has stepped up its rhetoric about the supposed connections between the KLA and drug traffickers and Islamic fundamentalists. There is simply no merit to any of these charges.”

Former counter-narcotics agent Michael Levine, author of the exposés Deep Cover and The Big White Lie, begs to differ with Cloyes’ assessment. “Backing the KLA is simply insane,” Levine protests. Levine, a highly decorated former undercover agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), told The New American, “My contacts within the DEA are quite frankly terrified, but there’s not much they can say without risking their jobs.

These guys [the KLA] have a network that’s active on the streets of this country. The Albanian mob is a scary operation. In fact, the Mafia relied on Albanian hitmen to carry out a lot of their contracts. They’re the worst elements of society that you can imagine, and now, according to my sources in drug enforcement, they’re politically protected.”

“It’s the same old story,” Levine notes. “Ten years ago we were arming and equipping the worst elements of the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan – drug traffickers, arms smugglers, anti-American terrorists.

We later paid the price when the World Trade Center was bombed, and we learned that some of those responsible had been trained by us. Now we’re doing the same thing with the KLA, which is tied in with every known middle and far eastern drug cartel.

Interpol, Europol, and nearly every European intelligence and counter-narcotics agency has files open on drug syndicates that lead right to the KLA, and right to Albanian gangs in this country.”

In early April, the FBI announced that an anonymous fax had been sent to Serbian Orthodox churches across the country urging Serbian-Americans to carry out terrorist acts against members of the U.S. Armed Forces. Although the FBI subsequently dismissed the message as a “rant” rather than a terrorist threat, the incident still served to misdirect public attention, according to Levine.

“It’s possible that a Serb might commit an act of terrorism, but the KLA’s got a whole network up and running in this country, and they’re in bed with Osama bin-Laden, who’s shown that he intends to kill Americans and has the means to do it,” Levine declares.

Robert Gelbard, the Clinton Administration’s former special envoy for Kosovo, told Agence France Presse in February 1998 that the KLA “is, without any questions, a terrorist group.” After this remark provoked criticism from the KLA’s American partisans that it amounted to a “green light” for Milosevic to carry out repression against Kosovo’s Albanian population, Gelbard clarified his point by telling the House Committee on International Relations that while the KLA had committed terrorist acts, it had never “been classified legally by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization.”

In light of the fact that the KLA has been embraced by Osama bin-Laden, who has been identified by the Administration as the kingpin of global terrorism, this omission is a curious one indeed.

On August 24th of last year, shortly after U.S. cruise missiles struck supposed assets of bin-Laden’s network in Sudan and Afghanistan, the Saudi terror chieftain’s World Islamic Front (WIF) issued a communiqué urging its followers to “direct your attacks to the American army and her allies, the infidels.”

Kosovo was listed among the locales in which the communiqué claimed the WIF had “achieved great victories” in recent years. In a November 30th dispatch from Pristina, Kosovo, The Scotsman reported that bin-Laden’s operatives were active in Albania.

In addition, intelligence officials reported that “Mujahadeen units from at least a half dozen Middle East countries [are] streaming across the border into Kosovo from safe bases in Albania.”

Complement to Bloodshed

As preparations for NATO’s war in Kosovo proceeded, according to The Scotsman, the Clinton Administration asked the KLA “to distance themselves from so-called Mujahadeen fundamentalists.” In exchange, the Administration held out the promise of political and military support.

According to the February 24th New York TimesSecretary of State Madeleine Albright promised the KLA leadership that in exchange for its signatures on the Rambouillet peace accord, “Officers in the Kosovo Liberation Army would be sent to the United States for training in transforming themselves from a guerilla group into a police force or a political entity, much like the African National Congress did in South Africa.”

“We want to develop a good relationship with them as they transform themselves into a politically oriented organization,” declared deputy State Department spokesman James Foley. “We want to develop closer and better ties with this organization.”

Military cooperation between the KLA and NATO is already a reality in Kosovo. The Times of London reported on April 20th [1999] that KLA guerillas, using satellite communications systems, have been target-spotting for NATO bombing runs over the province.

“The intelligence is passed to Western `handlers’ who relay the targets to the alliance, enabling NATO to claim that it has no `formal links’ with the rebels,” continued the Times. Some of those “handlers” are commandos from the British SAS Special Forces; others reportedly are from the U.S. Delta Force.

One British report suggested that Military Professional Resources Incorporated (MPRI), the Virginia-based private military training firm, had been retained by the Albanian government to train and equip the KLA. MPRI spokesman Ed Soyster told The New American that while the firm has ongoing programs in Croatia, Bosnia, and Macedonia, “we’ve not been contacted by the Albanian government, and we’re not going to get in the middle of that thing in Kosovo.” Alluding to the KLA’s background in drug smuggling and terrorism, Soyster said that “this group is something that we simply don’t want to associate with” – an interesting assessment, given the firm’s willingness to contract with unsavory elements in both Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Some KLA partisans in the U.S. are urging the Administration to dispense with “handlers” and arm the KLA directly. On April 21st, Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) introduced the “Kosova Self-Defense Act,” which would (in McConnell’s words) “provide $25 million to arm and train members of the KLA” and “equip 10,000 men or 10 battalions with small arms and anti-tank weapons for up to 18 months.”

McConnell told his colleagues, “Given Administration reluctance to deploy U.S. troops, there is only one option – the KLA must be given the means to defend their homeland.” Congressman James Traficant (D-OH) has introduced a complementary measure in the House.

Not surprisingly, the AACL supports the proposal to arm the KLA – but only in combination with the deployment of U.S. troops, rather than as a substitute for such a deployment.

“Mr. President, how many Albanians must die before we do the right thing – namely arm the KLA, as we did the Croats in Bosnia – and committing NATO ground troops to stop the genocide and finish the job we started?” pleaded AACL director Joseph DioGuardi in a letter to Bill Clinton. Asked by The New American why American troops are necessary if the KLA can recruit Albanians from the diaspora to fight on the ground, the AACL’s Shirley Cloyes replied, “Our position has always been that we should start with arming the KLA before we send in ground troops.”

This is to say that the AACL – which is essentially the KLA’s public relations organ – does not see arming the KLA as an alternative to shedding American blood on the ground in Kosovo, but as a complement to a ground campaign: The KLA gets U.S. arms to continue its irredentist campaign, and U.S. servicemen get the dubious privilege of dying on behalf of “Greater Albania” and, of course, the new world order.

KLA Map of “Greater Albania”

A “Greater Albania”

When the conversation turned to the question of the KLA’s larger designs, Cloyes stuck close to her scripted talking points. “I have no time for talk about `Greater Albania,'” Cloyes emphatically told The New American. “The only quest for hegemony in the Balkans is Milosevic’s quest for a `Greater Serbia.’ You have only one land grab, and that’s Serbia’s grab of Kosovo.” When asked if it is the KLA’s intention to change existing borders in the Balkans, as the map distributed by the group suggests, Cloyes once again parried the inquiry by condemning “Serb aggression”: “There are no borders to change. The only borders that have been changed were changed by Serbia.” It will be interesting to see how this line of reasoning plays with those residents of Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia, and Greece who live within the KLA-defined boundaries of “Greater Albania.”

“In the end, it will come to this: Led by the KLA, Kosovo will separate from Serbia, whether by negotiations or by violence,” concluded Christopher Hedges in his Foreign Affairs essay. “The grim reality is that we had better get to know the KLA – because it is not going away.” It must be remembered that Foreign Affairs, the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, serves to define policy alternatives for America’s foreign policy elite. Thus, Hedges’ essay could be taken as a summary of the official Establishment line.

“Why quit our own to stand on foreign ground?” asked George Washington in his Farewell Address. “Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice?” The wisdom of Washington’s warning to eschew damaging entanglements is underscored by the utterly demented determination of our ruling Establishment to knit our destiny with that of the KLA.

End quote.

By William Norman Grigg,

The New American

Vol. 15, No. 11
May 24, 1999

The Role of MPRI and the U.S. connection to the KLA

Meeting in the fourth floor conference room of a quaint red brick office building in a quiet section of Alexandria, Virginia, a group of retired generals discussed military support for a U.S. ally. The topic of the day: how to train and equip a shadowy guerrilla group accused by the State Department of being a terrorist organization.

The military men knew that the Drug Enforcement Administration suspected the guerrillas of smuggling high-grade Afghan heroin into North America andWestern Europe. Police agencies across Europe had been alerted to the links among the rebels and the Sicilian, Calabrian, Neapolitan, and Russian mafias.

Was this the setting for a Tom Clancy novel? Or was it a flashback to one of the numerous secret meetings attended by the likes of Richard Secord and Oliver North during the Iran-contra scandal of the 1980s?

Actually, it was neither. It was a real life and present-day strategy session at MPRI (formerly known as Military Professional Resources, Inc.). Its client: theKosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

MPRI is one of a handful of Pentagon contractors known as private military companies providing support to the KLA, according to retired Army Colonel David Hackworth, in an interview with Fox News’s Catherine Crier. According to Hackworth, MPRI has used former U.S. military personnel to train KLA forces at secret bases inside Albania.

According to its web site, MPRI was founded as a Delaware-based corporation in 1987 by eight retired military officers. Its present board of directors is a virtual Who’s Who of retired Pentagon brass. Members include one retired admiral, two retired major generals, and ten retired generals. One of those is former U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Carl E. Vuono. MPRI employs more than 400 personnel and, more importantly, has access to the resumes of thousands of former U.S. military specialists, from Green Berets and helicopter pilots to supply clerks and cooks. The firm–which, according to Jane’s Intelligence Review, is involved in internal conflicts in Angola and the Congo, as well as the Balkans–did more than $48 million in business in 1997. MPRI’s motto is: “Our integrity is our most treasured asset.”

Some of the military leadership of the KLA includes veterans of MPRI-planned Operations Storm and Strike, 1995 Croatian military offensives that resulted in the ethnic cleansing of Serbs from eastern Croatia. One former CIA official confided that he is not surprised that MPRI is now involved with the KLA. “It fits the pattern,” he said.

The military commander of the KLA, Agim Ceku, is a former brigadier general in the Croatian army, and, according to the London Independent’s Robert Fisk, an “ethnic cleanser” in his own right. Along with MPRI military advisers, Ceku helped plan the Croatian offensive that drove some 350,000 Croatian Serbs from Krajina province. Croatian forces also destroyed more than 10,000 Croatian Serb homes.

Image

on the picture: Croatian ‘General’ Ante Gotovina, notorious for killing and expelling over 250.000 Krajina Serbs(second from left) with their USA supporters

Another KLA leader is Xhavit Haliti, who is not even a Kosovar. He is a former officer of the dreaded Albanian secret police, the Sigurimi, an entity that has chalked up innumerable human rights violations inside Albania.

KLA leaders have been accused of assassinating moderate Kosovo Albanians, including some of those who agreed to the Rambouillet peace accords. In fact, according to Albanian State Television, the KLA had sentenced to death in absentia Ibrahim Rugova, the democratically elected president of the Republic of Kosovo. (The KLA boycotted the election he won in 1998.) Apparently, Rugova, whose government-in-exile signed the Rambouillet accord, was too moderate for the KLA.

Until last year, the KLA was regarded as a terrorist organization by the State Department.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported last May that “officers of the Kosovo Liberation Army and their backers, according to law enforcement authorities in Western Europe and the United States, are a major force in international organized crime, moving staggering amounts of narcotics through an underworld network that reaches into the heart of Europe.”

The Congressional Record indicates that the United States may have actually shipped arms to Serbia and Montenegro in the name of the War on Drugs. In the aftermath of the Dayton Accords on Bosnia, the Clinton Administration viewed Milosevic as an ally against America’s other great enemy: international drug dealing.

Testifying before the House National Security, International Affairs, and Criminal Justice Subcommittee on May 1, 1997, Clinton’s drug czar General Barry McCaffrey stated he wanted several Congressional “614 waivers,” or what are called “national interest waivers,” to ship weapons to various nations, including some with questionable human rights records. “I have fourteen waivers that the President granted … for Serbia, Montenegro, Haiti, Somalia, Jordan, the list goes on and on,” McCaffrey told the panel headed up by a then little-known Illinois Republican Representative named Dennis Hastert, now Speaker of the House. Hastert said he personally was “very supportive” of McCaffrey getting the money for the arms on a “long-term basis,” or whatever basis he needed to get weapons to the Serbs and Montenegrins under file provisions of both the Foreign Military Sales program and the waiver provision.

There was apparently some delay in shipping the arms to those countries, and this annoyed Hastert, who pressed McCaffrey at the hearing to hurry up and see that the weapons made their way to their intended destination.

Hastert may have helped the weapons get into the hands of Serbia’s Special Police and similar paramilitary forces in Montenegro. One month after pressing McCaffrey on the weapons waivers, Hastert told the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee that the waiver process was “under way.” McCaffrey’sOffice of National Drug Control Policy has chosen to remain mum on the subject.

These days, no one in Washington is pressing for aid to the Serbs. During the recent conflict between NATO and Serbia over Kosovo, the U.S. government changed its position on the KLA. U.S. officials shoved aside more moderate representatives of the Kosovar Albanians in favor of KLA guerrillas during negotiations with Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic.

Still, “suspicion of criminal associations taints the KLA’s newly acquired legitimacy and clouds its recent efforts to press NATO for money, guns, and other supplies,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “NATO so far has said no, despite concern that the refusal will only entrench the KLA’s reliance on murky groups and make it less suitable for a role in a postwar Kosovo government.”

One of those “murky groups,” not mentioned in The Wall Street Journal article, is Washington’s own MPRI.

MPRI has been involved in the Balkans for years. In 1996, after the ethnic cleansing in Krajina, MPRI received a $400 million State Department contract to “train and equip” the Bosnian Croat-Muslim Federation Army.

In a caper reminiscent of the Reagan Administration’s solicitation of funds for the contras, the United States managed to get Saudi Arabia, Brunei, Malaysia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates to pony up more than one-fourth of the cost of the Bosnian military contract. Retired Major General Walter Yates runs MPRI’s Bosnian operation, which is officially known as the Military Stabilization Program. The company’s good fortunes in the Balkans are advertised on the firm’s web page. The page shows a map headlined “Where in the World Is MPRI?” Arrows pinpoint Croatia, Bosnia, and Macedonia as centers of MPRI activity. Serbia is also mentioned as a country where MPRI mercenaries are active. MPRI has also helped set up a number of arms factories and military training schools in Bosnia that are staffed by veterans of the Croatian war against Serbia as well as Bosnian Croats and Muslims.

In early April, MPRI was caught off-guard when Bosnia’s army arranged for millions of dollars worth of arms to be secretly transferred from Bosnian caches to KLA guerrillas in Kosovo and Yugoslav Muslims in the province of Sandzak. As a result of the arms transfers, the State Department “temporarily suspended” MPRI’s “train and equip” program.

Retired Rear Admiral Eugene J. Carroll Jr., deputy director of the Center for Defense Information, says such weapons traffic is a predictable side effect of mercenary companies like MPRI. “The military loses control of material twice. First, they turn it over to a commercial enterprise, and they turn it over again,” he says.

When it comes to supplying arms, MPRI has a fortunate next door neighbor on the fourth floor of its Alexandria headquarters–Cypress International. Cypress is a well-known international weapons broker. MPRI shares one other thing with its arms-dealing neighbor: retired Major General Vernon Lewis, a member of MPRI’s board of directors, is the founder of Cypress.

MPRI does not have a monopoly on the lucrative mercenary business in southeastern Europe. Last year, MPRI bid for a Pentagon contract to help oversee the withdrawal of Serb forces from Kosovo. But the Pentagon awarded the booty to DynCorp, another big-league military contractor playing in the private military company world. In addition to retired military personnel, DynCorp also actively recruits police officers for peacekeeping missions requiring a more civilian profile. DynCorp prides itself on being able to rapidly respond to the U.S. government’s procurement morass to get personnel quickly to trouble spots like the Balkans. Its web site proclaims: “In Kosovo, seventy-five peacekeepers were deployed from the U.S. thirteen days after providing a quote.”

Another U.S. company involved in the mercenary business in the Balkans is Science Applications International Corporation, a contractor that counts many former CIA and National Security Agency types in its ranks as military personnel. The company, along with another contractor, BDM International, lost out to MPRI for the lucrative Bosnia training deal.

Science Applications International has former National Security Agency director Bobby Ray Inman and two other retired generals on its board of directors. These are individuals with one of the most important commodities in Washington–access.

The firm has attempted to corner the market on foreign police training. Its web page states it provides support for the Justice Department’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP or “Icky-Tap”) by giving training and logistical support to “friendly foreign law enforcement organizations in high profile environments.” This includes Bosnia.

ICITAP was primarily the brainchild of David Kriskovich–a Science Applications International employee and twenty-six-year veteran of the FBI. ICITAP suffered a severe blow in September 1997 when Kriskovich and four other Americans were killed in a helicopter crash in Bosnia.

ICITAP may serve as a cover for U.S. intelligence operations. Janice Stromsem, a career employee of the Justice Department who served as ICITAP’s director, resisted the program’s takeover by CIA elements. In February, Stromsem was relieved of her duties after complaining to the Justice Department Inspector General that ICITAP was being used by the CIA to recruit agents among foreign police officials.

And that raises the fundamental question about these private military companies: Just how private are they? The CIA itself was involved in training KLA guerrillas at clandestine bases. This operation was authorized by a “Presidential finding,” according to a report on CNN’s The World Today. With all the high-ranking former officials in these companies, you have to wonder who is actually calling the shots.

The shenanigans of the Reagan Administration’s secret war against Nicaragua were uncovered thanks mainly to the ability of Congress and the press to gain access to government documents. Don’t expect the same outcome with the Clinton Administration’s secret plans to arm the KLA. The fact that so many of the operations are conducted by private mercenary firms means that the Freedom of Information Act does not apply. Companies supplying the KLA can argue that such information is proprietary and, therefore, they can block or stymie access to inquisitive Congressional investigators and reporters.

These private military companies subvert our democracy. According to Admiral Carroll, they “put the U.S. Military Assistance Program one reach removed from government agencies.” Seeing the ease with which military privateers can operate virtually unhindered in the Balkans with the full support of the Administration and Congress alike, the veterans of Iran-contra must be green with envy.

You might think that members of Congress who vociferously opposed clandestine U.S. military support for the contras in the 1980s would object to similar support for the KLA in the 1990s. Think again.

In 1989, the Senate’s Subcommittee on Narcotics, Terrorism, and International Operations issued a report condemning the Reagan Administration’s support for the contras and their drug-running activities. The report stated: “U.S. officials involved in Central America failed to address the drug issue for fear of jeopardizing the war effort against Nicaragua.” The report also said: “The war on drugs must not in the future be sacrificed to other foreign policy considerations.”

The main author of that 1989 report was Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts. He was upset about clandestine U.S. military support for the contras, which were using proceeds garnered from drug trafficking to help finance their war against Nicaragua. With ample evidence that the KLA is funding its operations through heroin and cocaine smuggling from Albania to Western Europe and North America, it is interesting to note Senator Kerry’s statements now. “We could conceivably arm the Albanians…. I would make it very clear we are prepared to use anything necessary to achieve our goal,” Kerry stated. Later, backing away from outright military support, a spokesperson for Kerry said the Senator feels that arming the KLA should not be an option for the United States.

Kerry’s phrase, “using anything necessary,” echoes the rationale Oliver North used to support the contras. Kerry’s report said that Oliver North’s proposals to look the other way on drugs was evidence of “the potential appeal of drug profits for persons engaged in covert activity.”

Kerry’s 1989 findings were endorsed by then-Senator William Cohen, Republican of Maine. Now Defense Secretary, Cohen has played a key role in clandestine military support for the Albanian rebels.

–W.M.

* Wayne Madsen is a Washington journalist and frequent commentator on intelligence-related matters and electronic surveillance. He is a Senior Fellow of the  Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in Washington, D.C., and is the author of the upcoming book “Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa 1993-1999” (Edwin Mellen Press).