Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #153 Kosovo, Albania and Organized Crime

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Building on information presented in FTR 151, this program compellingly documents the involvement of the Kosovo Liberation Army, Kosovar organized crime syndicates and the Albanian organized crime establishment in the drug trade. Much of the KLA’s activity has been funded by the narcotics trade, in addition to support drawn from German and U.S. intelligence. Drawing on excellent reportage on the subject by San Francisco Chronicle reporter Frank Viviano, the program reinforces information presented by Mike Ruppert in his From the Wilderness Newsletter. (Mike was the first person in the U.S. to report the KLA-drug connection.) One of the most important sections of the program consists of the reading of a brilliant paper on the Balkans war by Professor Michel Chossudovsky of the University of Ottawa, spelling out the relationship between the KLA, U.S. and German covert action and the “Balkans route.” The latter is the route traveled by much of the heroin reaching Western Europe and the U.S. Previously dominated by Turkish organized elements, the route is now controlled primarily by ethnic Albanians. Significantly, Viviano, Ruppert and Chossudovsky point out that, up until shortly before the bombing of Yugoslavia began, several U.S. officials were publicly characterizing the KLA as “terrorists” and law enforcement personnel around the world were decrying the KLA and ethnic Albanian participation in the heroin trade. As noted by Viviano in the Chronicle, Albania itself is dominated by organized crime. (Europe’s poorest nation, the country was devastated by severe conditions imposed by the IMF and has been further decimated by mismanagement and cyclical downturns of the global economy.) With the commencement of the bombing campaign and the Kosovar diaspora, Albanian mafias are edging the Kosovars out of the “rackets,” in addition to cynically and brutally exploiting the refugees’ helplessness. Refugees are charged exorbitant fees for basic services, as they desperately try to rebuild their lives. Developing powerful links with the Sicilian Mafia, the Albanian syndicates are deeply involved with many other areas of criminal activity including: cigarette smuggling, the transiting of refugees to other European countries, the arms trade, automobile theft, theft of aid from abroad earmarked for refugees, as well as money laundering. Program highlights include: the Albanian mafias’ abduction of young Kosovar women fleeing the war; the fact that U.S. Army units stationed in Tirana (the Albanian capital) list “crime” ahead of “Yugoslav forces” as the chief danger to American personnel; the Albanian mafias’ systematic robbery of reporters attempting to cover the war; the probability that two-thirds of the automobiles in the country are stolen; the arrest in Italy of the president of the Albanian central bank for auto theft; the large-scale diversion into the black market of aid intended for Kosovar refugees; the arrest of the Albanian “boss of bosses” (wanted for murder, among other things) while traveling with a forged diplomatic passport to participate in a European Parliament tribunal on organized crime; the fact that many parts of Albania have more stolen Kalashnikovs than people; the domination of Albanian political life by the crime syndicates; how the influx of large numbers of refugees involved in criminal activity serves to strengthen fascist political sentiment in Western European nations. (Recorded on 5/16/99.)

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