[Fwd: The CIA and the Balkans]

Boatwrite at aol.com Boatwrite at aol.com
Mon Jul 30 22:15:56 EDT 2001

In a message dated 07/30/2001 6:28:12 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
wkimball at andromeda.rutgers.edu writes:

<< I would be interested in this groups comments on the substance of this
 AFI report.

 Warren F. Kimball

With regards to Mr. Kimball's query, let me toss a few thoughts out from the
top of my head. There are several issues involved in the report that appears
below, all more  or less intertwined.

Kosovo and Albanian populations in Montenegro have been involved in major
drug smuggling for several decades. My personal interest in that part of the
world came when I undertook research of the case of an Albanian reportedly
killed while "invading" his homeland in 1982. Turns out Xhevdet Mustafa was
an accused Staten Island, NY drug smuggler who fled a trial on narcotics
traffic charges in Brooklyn Federal Court. Later investigations in New York
linked that Mustafa with other persons from Kosovo and Montenegro who were
known for a while as the "Yugoslav Connection". Mustafa was also rumored to
be linked to Leka Zogu, pretender to the Albanian throne, who had at various
times publicly and surreptitiously in the 1970s and 1980s threatened to
attempt to overthrow the Communist Albanian regime of Enver Hoxha. So the
connection of drug smuggling to politics is not unknown in Albania.

The question of Kosovo is far more complex, murky and real than the
pipedreams expressed by Leka and his followers. As anyone who has delved even
a bit into the history of this tortured province knows, Albanian-Serbian
conflict has been raging for centuries. During World War II, that conflict
prompted Kosovar Albanian leaders - most Moslems - to form the Second League
of Prizren, an Albanian nationalist group that quickly turned pro-Italian
Fascist. Those folks helped out the Axis in various ways, largely under the
leadership of one Xhafer Deva, the well-educated scion of a wealthy Albanian
ethnic family. Deva was close to one Hermann (?) Neubacher, German Foreign
Office plenipotentiary to the Balkans during WWII, and served briefly as
Interior Minister in Albania (Albanian and Kosovo had been more or less
merged in the sort of "Greater Albania" still sought by nationalistic zealots
today). Deva escaped capture by the Allies and hid out in Austria for several
years. He was eventually appoached by one Roger Hollingshead, a U.S.
intelligence officer (and then associate of OSS X-2 Rome Bureau Chief James
Angleton) stationed in Rome. Several of Deva's Kosovar followers were
recruited from refugee camps in Italy by one Hans Grieco, an Italian naval
reserve officer who had served in Albania. Hollingshead remained above the
fray, but the Italian Navy did not. The Deva followers were trained as agents
and airdropped into Albania in 1950. Until they landed, the rank and file
members of the group believed they were headed for Kosovo to resurrect a
revolt against the Yugoslav (read it Serb in their minds) government.
Immediately after the war ended, Albanian ethnics had militarily attempted to
maintain their Greater Albania, but were put down by by Tito's Partisans
aided by Bulgarian forces. The leader of the Deva group was killed upon
landing in Albania.  The remaining agents did not know their Kosovo plan and
worked their way back to Greece. Deva disavowed any action inside Yugoslavia,
and his men were recruited by CIA/OSO officers stationed in Athens. Several
of those men returned to Albania several times, for either the CIA or Greek
intelligence. It is believed that Hollingshead and his CIA associates in Rome
talked Deva out of trying to disrupt Yugoslavia, which by 1950 was having its
own dispute with the Soviet Union. The point is that the U.S. was on the
fringes, decades ago, of the Albanian Kosovar-Serb military conflict.

As for the CIA's "Albanian 'private' army", there was such a device from
about 1950-1965. Its members were most visible as guards of a chemical
weapons storage area southeast of Munich, West Germany. The tale of these men
and the way the guard company served as a recruiting pool for CIA/OPC agents
was relatively well told in Lord Nicholas Bethell's 1984 work, The Great
Betrayal. The AFI document mentions the religion of these folks, which really
was not a major factor. Religion did play a role in some 1950s intelligence
ops run by Italians into Albania. The Italian Navy recruited a group of
Catholic Albanians who followed a mountaineer landowner known as the Kapodan
(prince), who collaborated with Italian forces during the war.

The AFI writer raises an interesting question with his assertion that various
Middle East terrorists, including Osama Bin Laden and Iranians supplied the
KLA for its fight with the Serbs in the late 1990s. Was the theory that  the
U.S. intelligence agency turned "a blind eye" to involvement of terrorists
such as Bin Laden and Iranians merely conjecture based on Afghanistan
circumstances? In August, 1998, CIA officers working in conjunction with
Albanian police apprehended several Arabs from Egypt who were supposedly
linked to Bin Laden's organization. There were also reports that some of the
Islamic charities set up to help Albanian ethnics fled from Kosovo were
fronts for terrorist organizations. The AFI author offers little evidence to
support his contention that the CIA looked the other way, let alone that it
may have supplied arms to the KLA. What is known, however, is that arms were
being purchased in the U.S. for dispatch to the KLA; at the same time active
and public recruitment of U.S. residents was underway in the Bronx, NY and
elsewhere to build the ranks of the KLA. American authorities have usually
had a difficult time penetrating Albanian ethnic groups because of language
and social barriers. But there were contemporaneous press accounts of the
recruitment efforts, which might be seen as violating U.S. law.

The AFI writer's assertion that the CIA was actually backing the KLA seems to
mainly come from a London Observer report that the CIA backed the Albanian
ethnic guerrilla force in order to keep it from "carrying out terrorist
attacks within Serbia or on Serb civilians within Kosovo". This section of
the AFI document is vague timewise. As the NATO bombing campaign began to
wind down, KLA forces based in northern Albania staged raids into Kosovo. The
impression left was that they were mainly not up to dealing with Serbian
forces. While the KLA (and its later offshoots in Macedonia and Kosovo) has
ever reached a status of being a guerrilla force to be reckoned with still
seems doubtful. Seldom in modern history known to this writer has Albania or
its ethnic groups in neighboring nations produced a military or paramilitary
force worthy of the name, from the Skanderbeg SS "division" of World War II
to the Albanian armed forces under Communism to the Kosovo Liberation Army.
The sole exception would be the Communist guerrilla force led by Mehmet Shehu
during World War II.

Finally, the author provides some not very surprising, but still illuminating
information on the CIA's activities in present day Albania. Setting up of NSA
facilities along with CIA bases binds Albania to the U.S. in a way that many
conservative Albanians have sought to do for decades. This may also help
explain the CIA's Freedom of Information office's most recent shillyshally
over the release of documents associated with the early Cold War spy episode
known as BGFiend. The CIA has been most peculiarly sensitive about this tiny
and mainly unimportant Balkan nation for years.

Retrieveal of the weapons stolen during the Albanian civil strife of 1997
must be enough to cause teeth gnashing by anyone who deals in that region.
However, for the AFI writer to suggest that the CIA is responsible for
recovery of those hundreds of thousands of guns seems nearly absurd. Perhaps
the author meant to say that U.S. police and customs trainers might serve a
useful role in helping Albanian authorities get back as many weapons as
possible. It is doubtful, in this writer's mind, that the CIA played a role
in helping KLA forces smuggle arms into Kosovo during the War with the Serbs.
The one positive aspect suggested by the AFI writer was that the CIA may be
training Albanian intelligence officers working for ShiK, successor to the
reputedly brutal Communist Sigurimi.

The AFI writer winds up his interesting article with a Cold War era-style
argument that the CIA and other nations' intelligence services sometimes run
amok. His statement that the U.S., British and German services' activities in
the Balkans "can only be condemned as an outrageous interference in the
affairs of another country". It might be suggested that this is a new game
being played out in the Balkans today,where interference in other nation's
internal affairs is what international relations is coming to. This writer
does agree, however, with the AFI writer's final statements that the main
beneficiaries of all this intrigue, arms smuggling, spying and posturing are
criminal and terrorist elements. The U.S. and its NATO allies are mired down
in a quagmire that few of the leaders truly understand, that being the
politico/cultural/religious strife that has characterized the Balkans for
hundreds of years. One would hope that the southern Balkans are not left as a
launching pad for terrorist wars against Europe in years to come. As for the
drug trade, that is likely beyond control by now.

To McNiff


 From: "afi" <afi at supanet.com>
 To: "afi" <afi at supanet.com>
 Subject: The CIA and the Balkans
 Date: Sun, 29 Jul 2001 16:31:22 +0100

 AFI Research & Armed Forces Intelligence     =20
  International Research & Information Service for the NewsMedia=20
 Contact    afi at supanet.com  =20


 Please credit AFI Research if you use any part of this e-mail in any =
 publication, website or broadcast

 The CIA's private army run amok!

 The KLA with their well developed connections with both the Mafia and =
 Drug-related crime were recognized by the US State department as an =
 International terrorist organization in February 1998 when the Yugoslav =
 Police first began their clampdown on their activities. This, of course =
 meant that it would be unlawful for any US resident to raise funds, =
 supply weapons or provide support for this murderous criminal movement.

 The KLA went on to create an alliance with US public enemy no-1, Osama =
 Bin Laden, and to receive the support of the Islamic extremist =
 government of Iran. Considerable numbers of armed Mujahideen groups from =
 Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Tunisia operated =
 out of northern Albania, while even hardened fighters from the Chechen =
 war against Russia were to be found fighting alongside the Albanian =
 separatists in Kosovo.

 The Albanian-Kosovan Mafia are quite clearly, along with the Chechens =
 the most successful threat to law and order throughout Europe, their =
 commitment to violence, drug smuggling and support for spreading Muslim =
 insurgency, particularly in the Balkans, is legendary.

 The CIA, far from supporting the law enforcement agencies already =
 struggling with this upsurge of crime, instead helped to create a far =
 worse problem.  The CIA, long interested in the idea of running an =
 Albanian 'private' army dating back to the beginnings of the cold war =
 and a certain Kim Philby, seized upon the chance of finally achieving =
 their aim and encouraged the Kosovan Muslims to launch a major =
 Turning not only a blind eye to Bin Laden and the Iranians involvement, =
 they poured in millions of dollars worth of clandestine aid and weapons =
 to the KLA, set up supply and training camps in Albania and supported =
 the large scale rebellion against the sovereign power in Kosovo, Serbia. =

 However, the CIA now finds that it has created a well armed and =
 determined military force that no longer can be effectively controlled =
 by its US paymasters, for it is these same 'freedom fighters' who have =
 launched new rebellions in support of a Greater Albania in both southern =
 Serbia and Macedonia, a staunch ally of NATO throughout the campaign =
 against Serbia. =20

 A recent report in the London 'Observer' newspaper was headed 'CIA's =
 bastard army ran riot in the Balkans.....backed extremists'. However, =
 experienced Balkan watchers would express little surprise at the CIA's =
 support of the KLA forces, renamed the UCPMB in Southern Serbia and the =
 'National Liberation Army' in Macedonia. There was a considerable level =
 of co-operation between the CIA and the KLA in return initially, for not =
 carrying out terrorist attacks within Serbia or on Serb civilians within =
 Kosovo. This, however, has certainly gone by the board with the =
 appalling Albanian terrorist outrage committed against a bus in February =
 this year when some 50 Kosovan Serb civilians were killed or injured.

 The US Intelligence community have acquired a considerable presence =
 inside Albania in recent years, with joint National Security =
 Agency(NSA)-CIA bases at Shkoder between the Drin River and Lake =
 Shkoder, near the capital Tirana and on the coast at the naval base of =
 Durres. These bases combine the Signal Intelligence capability of the =
 NSA and the clandestine operations of the CIA in support of the =
 destabilisation of a once popular and reasonably prosperous Yugoslavia.

 The CIA and the Albanian National Intelligence Service(ShiK) under its =
 Director Fatos Klosi have been actively co-operating since 1997 on =
 monitoring threats to the USA and in support of the war in Kosovo. =
 However, less certain is the role played in attempts to retrieve the =
 vast amounts of weapons that went missing following the occupation of =
 many military bases and the disintegration of the Albanian Army in March =

 Some 226,000 AK rifles, 351,000 M44/SKS rifles and PMD40/PPSh41 SMG's, =
 25,000 RP46/RPD/RPK  machine-guns, 38,000 automatic pistols, 2,450 =
 grenade launchers and 770 mortars were stolen, along with 1.5 million =
 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, tens of thousands of grenades, 1 million =
 anti-tank mines, 215,000 anti-personnel mines and 20,000 tons of =
 explosives.  Less than 25% of the weapons and 10% of the ammunition, =
 mines and explosives have been recovered, much of the rest was passed to =
 the KLA or purchased by Intelligence services on the 'black market' to =
 further their own projects.

 The US, UK and German Intelligence services have played 'God' in the =
 Balkans for many years, but their recent uncontrolled activities can =
 only be condemned as an outrageous interference in the affairs of =
 another country.  The Balkans have now been  reduced to a shambles, no =
 more than a group of petty, bickering, warlike mini-States which  =
 benefits no one, not the Balkans as a whole, nor NATO. The only =
 beneficiaries of the CIA's meddling will be the Albanian terrorist and =
 their criminal bloodbrothers the Mafia, Osama Bin Laden and the Islamic =
 Republic of Iran.

 Western Governments should now be asking whether this is indeed,  a good =
 return for the thousands of millions of dollars spent funding powerful, =
 but largely unaccountable Intelligence services such as the CIA, NSA, =
 MI6, GCHQ or BND!

 Alan Marshall (AFI Canada)

 Intelligence Forum (http://www.intelforum.org) is sponsored by Intelligence
 and National Security, a Frank Cass journal


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