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For The Record  

FTR #568 The Life and Times of Hasan Cengic

Recorded September 9, 2006

Listen: MP3  One side

NB: This stream contains both FTR #s 567 and 568 in sequence. Each is a 30 minute broadcast.

Introduction: After George Bush stated that the United States was involved in a battle against Islamic fascists, a rhetorical firestorm erupted, with people in the U.S. and abroad decrying Bush’s statement. There is an old expression—“even a broken clock is right twice a day.” George W. Bush—a broken clock if every there was one—happened to be correct this time. Illustrating the reality of Islamic fascism, as well as its remarkable continuity over the years, are the life and times of Hasan Cengic. Cengic worked with Iran, Saudi Arabia and with elements of the U.S. national security establishment during the Balkans wars of the 1990’s. Becoming the deputy defense minister of the newly created Bosnian state, Cengic oversaw the re-creation of the 13th Waffen SS Division in the 1990’s! The newly created Handzhar Division also appears to have played a role in the spreading of the Balkans conflict into Kosovo, where Islamist combatants also recapitulated the fascist fighting formations of World War II.

Program Highlights Include: Bosnian president Alija Izetbegovic’s work on behalf of the Handzhar Division of the World War II era—“Handzhar I”; Izetbegovic’s relationship with Osama bin Laden during the Balkans wars of the 1990’s; Cengic’s relationship with the Iranian fundamentalists while executing his role as the primary weapons procurer for the Bosnians; Cengic’s relationship with the Saudi Islamic fundamentalists during his role as the primary weapons procurer for the Bosnians; Cengic’s relationship with Russian weapons dealer [and U.S. intelligence asset] Viktor Bout during his [Cengic’s] role as the primary weapons procurer for the Bosnians; Cengic’s relationship with elements of U.S. intelligence during his role as the primary weapons procurer for the Bosnians; the concrete assistance of a front organization created by Osama bin Laden to the establishment of Hasan Cengic as a key player in Bosnia; the role in the newly-recreated Handzhar Division of ethnic Albanian Muslims, as well as Arab and Pakistani veterans of the Afghan war; the role of “Handzhar II” in force-projection into Kosovo and Macedonia in the 1990’s.

1. Beginning the overview on the life and times of Hasan Cengic, the broadcast begins with review of the creation and operation of the 13th Waffen SS Division (“Hanjar” or “Handzhar”), one of three Muslim Waffen SS divisions recruited for the Nazis by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. Hasan Cengic was a member of the original 13th Waffen SS Division. “ . . . He [the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem] called upon all Muslims to ‘kill the Jews wherever you see them.’ In Tehran’s marketplace, it was common to see placards that declared, ‘In heaven, Allah is your master. On Earth, it is Adolf Hitler.’ When the mufti raised three divisions of Islamic Waffen SS to undertake cruel operations in Bosnia, among the 30,000 killers were some volunteer contingents from Iran. Iranian Nazis, along with the other Muslim Waffen SS, operated under the direct supervision of Heinrich Himmler and were responsible for barbarous actions against Jews and others in Bosnia. Recruitment for the murderous ‘Handschar Divisions’ was done openly in Iran. Iran and its leaders were not only aware of the Holocaust, they played both sides. The country offered overland escape routes for refugee Jews fleeing Nazi persecution to Israel — and later fleeing postwar Iraqi fascist persecution — but only in exchange for extortionate passage fees.”
(“Denial of Holocaust Nothing New in Iran Ties to Hitler Led to Plots Against British and Jews” by Edwin Black; San Francisco Chronicle; 1/8/2006.)

2. Updating information from FTR#’s 330, 400, 414, the broadcast excerpts the obituary of former Bosnian president Alija Izetbegovic, highlighting his association with the SS Handzhar Division in World War II, and the support he received from Osama bin Laden. “ . . .During World War II, when Bosnia became part of the puppet-Nazi state of the Croatian Ustashe, Mr. Izetbegovic joined the Young Muslims, a group torn between siding with the German-sponsored Handzar divisions organized by the German SS or with the Yugoslav communist partisans led by Josip Broz Tito. Mr. Izetbegovic supported the Handzars. After Tito’s Communist government was established in 1946, a military court sentenced Mr. Izetbegovic to three years in prison for his wartime activities. . . .”
(“Alija Izetbegovic, Muslim Who Led Bosnia, Dies at 78” by David Binder; The New York Times; 10/20/2003; p. 2.)

3. “ . . . Osama bin Laden visited him [Izetbegovic] in Sarajevo in 1993 and sponsored some fighters from Arabic countries to fight on the Muslims’ side in Bosnia, according to a report in the German magazine Der Spiegel. . .” (Idem.)

4. Supplementing previous discussion of the fascist heritage of the government of Alija Izetbegovic (the first president of Bosnia), the broadcast sets forth the background of the first Deputy Defense Minister of Bosnia-Herzogovina. Like Izetbegovic himself, Hasan Cengic was a veteran of the operations of the 13th Waffen SS Division—the Handzar Division. [Wikipedia alleges that Cengic was born in 1957. Two things suggest themselves in this regard–Wikipedia is frequently wrong and the more controversial and/au courant the subject, the less credible it is. The Balkans wars and Islamists generally are soft-pedaled by Wikipedia. The Bosnian defense minister may be the son of a “Hasan Cengic,” as naming one’s offspring after oneself is common.] (For more about the subject of the Balkans wars and the reconstitution of Islamic fascism in the Balkans, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 154, 293, and the other broadcasts noted in the descriptions for them. For more about Bosnia and Al Qaeda, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 330400432. For more about the Balkan SS formations, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 168, 330, 400, 414, 416) “Indicative of Sarajevo’s intentions and priorities is the appointment in January 1996 of Hasan Cengic to the position of Deputy Defense Minister: the man in charge of the implementation of the reorganization. A veteran of the SS Handzar Division during World War II, Cengic is a close personal friend and confidant of Alija Izetbegovic, especially since the time they served together in Yugoslav President Tito’s prison. [Emphasis added.] .”
(Some Call It Peace: Waiting for War in the Balkans; Yossef Bodansky; Copyright 1996 [SC] by Yossef Bodansky; Published by International Media Corporation Ltd.; ISBN 0-9520070-5-3; p. 39

5. Bridging the gap between Sunni and Shiite Islamic fascism, Cengic has operated on behalf of the Iranian fundamentalists. “It is always very hard to focus on broad pictures when so many fires are in need of being put out. But it is imperative to keep in mind in the ongoing conflict Iran’s long-standing ties not only to Hezbollah, but to Islamists in Bosnia, a relationship that spans more than a decade. There is concern among Bosnian contacts that, if Iran feels things are going badly in Lebanon and that the war needs another front, it would take little to ignite Bosnia. It would not be hard to do and the international presence in Bosnia is greatly reduced. So is the intelligence capacity developed in the late 1990s. Several key intelligence-gathering units have been dissolved in Bosnia in the past six months, meaning the West is more blind there than any time since the mid-1990s.”
(“While Lebanon Boils, Watch Bosnia” by Douglas Farah; 7/19/2006.)

6. “To date Iranian intelligence maintains a huge apparatus in Bosnia and several dozen, if not hundreds, of trainers with the elite units of the Bosnian military. In addition, several hundred mujahadeen who fought in Afghanistan and then Bosnia remain scattered around Bosnia, many of them still with the elite Bosnia units or in the intelligence apparatus. It is worth remembering this heavy Iranian involvement in the Bosnian conflict because it was in Bosnia that al Qaeda developed its template for future operations. One of the most interesting things is that, while the mujahadeen and Bosnian Muslims were supported by Saudi Arabia and many others, much of the aid flowed through Iran, despite the Shi’ite-Sunni divide. The bridge was Hasan Cengic, an Iranian intelligence agent and later Bosnia’s deputy defense minister who has been designated by the U.S. Treasury Department. [Emphasis added.] Cengic did some of his earliest weapons deals through Viktor Bout, who flew in hundreds of tons of weapons for the Bosnian Muslims in 1992. He later ‘sold’ Cengic at least one aircraft, and perhaps more.” (Idem.)

7. More about Cengic’s role as the bridge between Shiia and Sunni Islamic fascists: “Cengic, although working on behalf of Iran, coordinated the Saudi’s multi-hundred million dollar financial support for the Bosnian Muslims as well. There are concrete examples of this. During one period in the late 1990s, Wa’el Julaidan, now designated by both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia as a terrorist financier, received $8 millon from a Cengic-controlled account of the Third World Relief Agency. Julaidan later repaid the money to the TWRA account in a series of smaller payments. Given Iran’s ongoing desire to push a pan-Islamist agenda and the advantages it gains from ongoing turmoil-not only in terms of oil revenues, but in terms of being able to build alliances, move agents and set a pan-Islamist agenda-its leaders could well feel the need to use another arrow from its quiver. But it could be that no one is watching Bosnia as it prepares to burn.” (Idem.)

8. Continuing the tracking of Hasan Cengic’s career from the Hanjar division of World War II through the Islamic terrorism of the contemporary period, the program notes that Cengic is now a member of the Bosnian parliament, having moved from his position as Deputy Defense Minister. “There is one intriguing detail in the emerging picture of the London bombings that are almost entirely overlooked: The possibility that the high-level explosives came from the Balkans. For several months, Western intelligence officials in Bosnia have been warning their counterparts that high-level plastic explosives have gone missing and were possibly in terrorist hands. One official told me a few months ago that if there were an attack in Europe, it would be very likely the materiel would have been obtained in Bosnia. The big question now is why no one paid attention to the warnings. There remains a small, dedicated group gathering intelligence on these types of operation, but their work is given a low priority and the entire intelligence-gathering structure, providing what little reliable information available on radical Islamic movements and leaders in Bosnia, is slated to disappear at the end of the year.”
(“London and the Possible Bosnia Connection” by Andrew Cochran; 7/14/2005.)

9. Note that Cengic was the beneficiary of a “reluctant” U.S. intelligence community in his work arming the Bosnia Islamists. It has long been Mr. Emory’s contention that the U.S. and Britain applied the “Afghan paradigm” in the Balkans. The Muslim Brotherhood and its Al Qaeda offshoot [in Mr. Emory’s opinion] were employed against the Serbian communists, as they had been against the Soviet occupation forces in Afghanistan. The fact that the Bosnian operation was conducted on Bill Clinton’s watch may well account for the reluctance of the Democrats to press the political advantage that they stood to gain from highlighting the GOP’s hard links with the Muslim Brotherhood/Bank al Taqwa/Al Qaeda link exemplified by the Grover Norquist/Karl Rove connection to the Islamic Institute. (For more about this link, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 454, 515.) Note that Cengic worked with Viktor Bout, a wealthy and seemingly ubiquitous Russian arms dealer who also worked hand-in-glove with U.S. in the Balkans and, more recently, in Iraq. “While Western forces continue to scale back their activities in the Balkans and slash their intelligence-gathering capabilities there in the mistaken belief that things are returning to normal, radical Islamists are steadily preparing for renewed activity and are already engaged in acts of violence. The gun that killed Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gough came from the Bosnia. The huge, unsecured stockpiles of weapons and explosives make obtaining these items easy. And there are still militant Islamists in positions of power. The foremost is Hasan Cengic, now in the Bosnia parliament, who was a former deputy defense minister in charge of arming Bosnian Muslims during the Bosnian war. He set up, with the help of a very reluctant U.S. intelligence community, a weapons pipeline that ran primarily through Iran. He was also a director of the Third World Relief Agency, (TWRA), the fake Islamic charity that funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to radical Islamists during that conflict. Much of the money remains unaccounted for. TWRA officially went out of business in 1996, but more than $300 million in assets were not accounted for. [Emphasis added.] It is interesting to note that Viktor Bout, happily flying for the U.S. military and KBR in Iraq and Afghanistan, dealt with Cengic often and provided him with at least one aircraft during the Bosnia war.” (Idem.)

10. “It is often forgotten that Bosnia played an extemely significant role in the formation of al Qaeda, and that the infrastructure established during that war were never erradicated. Al Qaeda and other Salafist groups used Bosnia as a training ground, a financial center, a weapons storage site and a money-laundering center. Bosnia is still an active center for all of those activities. We ignore the obvious signs of danger at our own expense. Maybe the supply of high-grade explosives from the region will finally focus the necessary attention on Bosnia as an unfinished enterprise.” (Idem.)

11. More about the relationship between Cengic, Viktor Bout and U.S. national security elements: “It seems as though the fingerprints of Viktor Bout, arms trafficker extraordinaire, can be found in most places that have had trouble in recent years. The most recent intelligence reports I received come from Bosnia, and show Bout has been an active partner of Mr. Hasan Cengic, the head of radical Islam in Bosnia and key organized crime figure. Interesting how Bout shows up in numerous Muslim-related conflicts, often where U.S. policy makers are having a particularly difficult time in getting weapons to one side or the other.”
(“Viktor Bout’s Excellent Bosnian Adventure” by Douglas Farah; 4/12/2005.)

12. “The paper trail left by Bout in Bosnia makes it hard to discern exactly what he was up to there, but in March 2001 he was leasing two Illyushin Il-72s from BIO Air Services, and had them based in Sarjah, UAE. Cengic, on the U.S. Treasury Department’s list of banned individuals and chief arms provider to the Bosnia Muslims during the Bosnia conflict (where al Qaeda and other radical elements, led by Cengic, took control of the lucrative arms trade), controls BIO Air. The European intelligence report says that BIO Air leased two of its aircraft to Bout after illegally importing them into Bosnia in the first place. Before the aircraft were owned by BIO Air they belonged to Atlas Iran. Cengic spent much of the Bosnia war in Iran and worked as an Iranian intelligence agent. . . .” (Idem.)

13. Cengic has been the beneficiary of support from the CIRKL, and apparent Al Qaeda front organization founded by Sheik Abdel Rahman [convicted in connection with the first attack on the World Trade Center] and Osama bin Laden. “ . . . According to this recent article Ceric is linked to the CIRKL, a funding operation ‘which was in charge of all aid donated to Bosniak Muslims by Islamic countries’ The CIRKL was started by Sheik Abdel Rahman and Osama Bin Laden. Information collected by Austrian and German intelligence agents and published in August 2004 in Banjaluka`s Patriot paper claims that Islamic terrorists, including Osama bin Laden and Sheik Rahman, organized CIRKL, … The group was set up as the only link between the Bosnian Muslim political leadership of the time and its wealthy Islamic benefactors. . . . Instead of the Bosniak government, it was the illegal CIRKL that was in control of all aid donated to the Bosniak nation by Islamic countries. The Bosniak nation is 100 percent financially dependent on the CIRKL. The CIRKL is the absolute master of almost all hard currency,’ according to the intelligence document, which dates back to Nov. 6, 1995, and is labeled top secret. The document also list the key people in the CIRKL in charge of Bosnia as Dr. Fatih al Hassanein, Hasan Cengic, [Italics are Mr. Emory’s] Salim Sabic, Muhamed Catic, Mustafa Ceric, Husein Zivalj, and Senad Sahinpasic…’”
(Excerpt from article on Mufti Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti of Bosnia.)

14. Under Izetbegovic and Cengic, the Handzar Division was recreated! With the recreation of the Handzar Division in the 1990’s, the life and times of Hasan Cengic arrived at a remarkable point of circuitous continuity—perhaps even closure. “ . . .These are the men of the Handzar division. ‘We do everything with the knife, and we always fight on the frontline.’ A Handzar told one U.N. officer. Up to 6,000 strong, the Handzar division glories in a fascist culture. They see themselves as their heirs of the SS Handzar division, formed by Bosnian Muslims in 1943 to fight for the Nazis. Their spiritual model was Mohammed Amin al-Hussein, the grand Mufti of Jerusalem who sided with Hitler. According to U.N. officers, surprisingly few of those in charge of the Handzars in Fojnica seem to speak good Serbo Croation ‘Many of them are Albanian, whether from Kosovo (the Serb province where Albanians are the majority) or from Albania itself.’”
(“Albanians and Afghans fight for the heirs to Bosnia’s SS Past” by Robert Fox; Daily Telegraph; 12/29/1993.)

15. Again, as we reflect on the Balkans war and the events of 9/11, one of the scenarios to be seriously considered is the possibility that elements of US intelligence utilized the “Arab Afghans” (including Al Qaeda) in the Balkans, as they had against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Indeed the geopolitics first practiced by the Third Reich in the “Earth Island” appears to have served as something of a model for what took place in the latter part of the Cold War. America’s erstwhile Islamist and Islamofascist allies later turned against the United States with a vengeance. “They are trained and led by veterans from Afghanistan and Pakistan, say U.N. sources. The strong presence of native Albanians is an ominous sign. It could mean the seeds of war are spreading south via Kosovo and into Albania. Thence to the Albanians of Macedonia. Pakistani fundamentalists are known to have had a strong hand in providing arms and a small weapons industry for the Bosnian Muslims.” (Idem.)

16. The broadcast presents more about the recreation of the Handzar Division under Izetbegovic and Cengic. Note that the division was trained and led by Afghan and Pakistani veterans. The milieux of Al Qaeda and “Handzar II”—the 1990’s Handzar–overlap. “Another major Islamist force remained: the Handzar Division, named after the 13th SS Handzar Division which served under the German flag in World War II. The current Handzar Division is Sarajevo’s Praetorian Guards, and is comprised of a 2,500 to 3,000 elite force deployed in Sarajevo and a 6,000 to 7,500 strong back-up force at a major training base around Fojnica, but is moved around to augment major fighting fronts. The majority of the troops of the Handzar Division come from the region’s non-Bosnian Muslim minorities, primarily Albanians, and are led by veteran Pakistani and Afghan experts.”
(Some Call It Peace: Waiting for War in the Balkans; p. 15.)

17. Relating more about “Handzar II,” the program notes that the foot soldiers of the unit were largely of Albanian extraction and that they were engaged in force projection into Kosovo and Macedonia. Another area of Islamist activism was Kosovo, with the KLA being the beneficiary of Islamist activity. Many of the combatants in the KLA were the sons and grandsons of members of the 21st Waffen SS or Skanderbeg division. With the KLA/Skanderbeg relationship and with the Handzhar’s force projection into Kosovo and Macedonia, we see a further degree of continuity between the Islamic fascism of the World War II period and the Islamic fascism of today. The “Life and Times of Hasan Cengic” embody this continuity! (For more about Islamism and Kosovo, see—among other programs—FTR#’s351, 357, 359, 381. For more about the 21st Waffen SS division, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 161, 330, 414.) “In mid-1993 Sarajevo revived the Handzar Division is the Praetorian Guard for President Alija Izetbegovic and other senior leaders in Sarajevo. The Handzar Division is comprised of a 2,500 to 3,000 elite force deployed in Sarajevo and a 6,000 to 7,500 strong back-up force in Fojnica.” (Ibid.; p. 158.)

18. “Significantly, the majority of the troops of the Handzar Division are not Bosnian Muslims. Instead, they come from the region’s other Muslim minorities, primarily Albanians, and are led by veteran Pakistani and Afghan experts. ‘Surprisingly few of those in charge of the Handzars in Fojnica seem to speak good Serbo-Croatian. Many of them are Albanian, whether from Kosovo or from Albania itself,’ explained UN officers in Fojnica. ‘The Handzars are trained and led by veterans from Afghanistan and Pakistan. The strong presence of native Albanians is an ominous sign. It could be that the seeds of war are spreading south via Kosovo and into Albania, thence to the Albanians of Macedonia.’ These observations, made in late 1993, proved correct. By 1995, the Handzar Division had been transformed into a zealot and combat proven special forces. In many cases, particularly in the surge into western Bosnia-Herzogovina in the Summer-Fall of 1995, they operated in close cooperation with the mujahedin units. The deployment of Albanian veterans and support mujahedin cadres to Albania began in the Fall of 1995.” (Ibid.; pp. 158-159.)


One comment for “FTR #568 The Life and Times of Hasan Cengic”

  1. Viktor Bout has some unspecified “newly discovered evidence” that he thinks will get him a new trial. And some new lawyers:

    Arms dealer Bout seeks new U.S. trial, hires Ashcroft law firm

    By Jonathan Stempel

    NEW YORK Mon Nov 3, 2014 4:02pm EST

    (Reuters) – Convicted Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout believes he has evidence to justify a new U.S. trial and has hired the law firm of former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft to help him pursue his case.

    Bout, 47, is serving a 25-year prison sentence following his 2011 jury conviction for having conspired to kill U.S. soldiers by way of his agreement to sell weapons to a Colombian rebel group.

    According to filings on Monday with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Bout hired the Ashcroft Law Firm and Alexey Tarasov, a Houston-based lawyer, to help him obtain a new trial based on unspecified “newly discovered evidence.”

    U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin on Monday granted Bout until Jan. 1, 2015 to formally seek a new trial, allowing his new lawyers more time to examine the issues.

    Bout’s deadline to seek a new trial had been Monday, but he said the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan was “not opposed” to a 60-day extension.

    Michael Sullivan, a partner at Ashcroft’s firm and former U.S. attorney in Massachusetts who would work on the case, declined to comment. Tarasov did not respond to requests for comment.

    A spokeswoman for Bharara declined to comment.

    Bout’s challenge follows the September 2013 refusal by the federal appeals court in Manhattan to overturn his conviction, which he claimed followed a “vindictive” prosecution and his improper extradition from Thailand to face U.S. charges.

    Jurors convicted Bout of having agreed to sell arms to informants posing as members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which the U.S. government had deemed a foreign terrorist organization, and conspiring to acquire and export anti-aircraft missiles.

    Co-defendant Richard Chichakli, a dual American and Syrian citizen, was convicted of conspiracy charges last December.

    Bout is in a medium-security prison in Marion, Illinois, and is not eligible for release until Dec. 15, 2029. He was the subject of a 2007 book, “Merchant of Death.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 5, 2014, 8:05 pm

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