-----Original Message----- From: Harald Beyer-Arnesen <haraldba@online.no>

[...]

More recently, an article by Michel Chossudovsky, professor at the Department of Economics at University of Ottawa, "Dismantling Yugoslavia; Colonizing Bosnia" (Covert Action No. 56. Spring 1996 and http://www.lbbs.org/yugoslavia.htm) was forwarded to the Organise list.  It has also been widely distributed elsewhere on the world-wide-web, along with another article of his from 7 April 1999, "Kosovo 'Freedom Fighters' Financed by Organised Crimes" (http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/kosovo23.htm).

Whatever other merits the writings of Chossudovsky may have, the remarkable thing with these articles, though the first mentioned at least is not without insights, is that they are cleansed for any critique of the Milosovic regime.

Without going into specifics about the first article of Chossudovsky, which focuses on the role of IMF in the break-up of Yugoslavia, it paints a very limited picture. It is hard to see it as mere coincidence that he in this forwarded article fails to mention the so-called "Milosovic Commission" report from May 1988, with its advocacy of market-oriented reforms in which the "world market and world competition represents the strongest generator of economic operation." Or that Milosovic urged Yugoslavs to overcome their " unfounded, irrational and ... primitive fear of exploitation" by foreign capital: "Yugoslavia must be a unified economic area where identical system-related solutions exists and where products and services, money and capital, people and knowledge move freely".  (Source: Lenard J. Cohen, " Broken Bonds: Yugoslavia's Disintegration and Balkan Politics in Transition".)

[...] What is most amazing however is the sources he uses in the article "Kosovo 'Freedom Fighters' Financed by Organised Crimes". In a critical footnote to the essay Reflections on NATO and Kosovo" (http://www.lbbs.org/shalomnp.htm) Stephen R. Shalom (who both is strongly opposed to the NATO military intervention, and against giving support to the UCK/KLA) writes: "4. Some on the left claim that the KLA was already being armed by U.S. and German intelligence, but the evidence is extremely dubious (apart from the fact that it would make no sense given that Washington denounced the KLA as "without any question a terrorist group" in February 1998).  For example, Michel Chossudovsky of the University of Ottawa claims CIA backing for the KLA on the basis of an unsupported claim by right-wing conspiracy nut John Whitley (who says that the Bilderbergers planned, financed, and started the Kosovo war) as quoted by another right-wing source, "Truth in Media," which reprints " for what it's worth" an alleged letter from a KLA soldier claiming that the KLA has been dressing up as Serbs and then ethnically cleansing Albanians. (See Chossudovsky at http://www.globalpolicy.org; Truth in Media at http://www.truthinmedia.org/Kosovo/day10up2.html.)

For  a trenchant critique of leftists mucking about with rightwing conspiracy theorists during the Gulf War, see Chip Berlet, Right Woos Left: Populist Party, LaRouchian, and Other Neo-Fascist  Overtures to Progressives, And Why It Must Be Rejected, Cambridge, MA: Political Research Associates, Oct. 7, 1992."

Michel Chossudovsky ends this article with saying "Western governments which participated in the NATO operation bear a heavy burden of responsibility in the deaths of civilians, the impoverishment of both the ethnic Albanian and Serbian populations and the plight of those who were brutally uprooted from towns and villages in Kosovo as a result of the bombings."  It is hard to disagree on that. I would even have added that the leaders of the UCK bear their part of the responsibility for this tragedy; but to not in one word mention the Milosovic regime in this connection, is just too incredible to be true.  The most amazing thing here however is Chossudovsky sources. The point here is not whether Michel Chossudovsky's claim that UCK already on an early was backed up by the CIA is correct or not. Giving his use of sources, it is tempting to suggest that the truth or not of his claim is also entirely of secondary importance for him.

Chossudovsky writes: "According to intelligence analyst John Whitley, covert support to the Kosovo rebel army was established as a joint endeavour between the CIA and Germany’s Bundes Nachrichten Dienst (BND) (which previously played a key role in installing a right wing nationalist government under Franjo Tudjman in Croatia).  (9) The task to create and finance the KLA was initially given to Germany: “They used German uniforms, East German weapons and were financed, in part, with drug money.” (10) According to Whitley, the CIA was, subsequently instrumental in training and equipping the KLA in Albania. (11)"

So who is this intelligence analyst? It is the same John Whitley who is behind the New World Order Intelligence Update , and passes on such meaningful information as: " Deverell also quotes an lengthy Internet summary on the Bilderbergers posted by Brian Redman, which included the assertion that 'The role of the Bilderberg group is a one-world totalitarian, socialist government and economic system.' Brian is a frequent and highly-respected Internet contributor." And "It may come as no surprise, therefore, when we state that, through our own sources, the NEW WORLD ORDER INTELLIGENCE UPDATE has learned that Bilderberger-backed President Clinton has promised President Yeltsin that, after he has won the upcoming U.S. Presidential election, Russian warships will be given full refuelling and other port privileges at all U.S. Navy bases."

But that is only the beginning to John Whitley wild and self-contradictory so-called intelligence reports. Apart from the Bilderbergers plan to break up Canada and integrate it into United States in 2005, he claims to be in possession of an U.S. State Department document called  "Freedom from War": On his web page you can order a diversity of cassettes, where among other things the following is revealed: " In this amazing cassette set, the Editor of the NEW WORLD ORDER INTELLIGENCE UPDATE details the carefully-contrived plan to disarm U.S. citizens as part of aU.N. program of global disarmament. The relevant U.S. Public Law, with its accompanying State Department "interpretive application" is outlined, the plan to transfer control of the U.S. and other national armed forces irrevocably to the United Nations is detailed, the agreement that a Russian will always command the resulting New World Army is proven, and the current steps being taken to rapidly implement this program are revealed."  In another cassette we learn.

"... the background, membership, goals and near-future objectives of the secretive Bilderberg Group; the agenda, attendees and substance of their most recent heavily-guarded, private meeting near Toronto, Canada; and the worldview of this elite cabal, which includes massive world-wide de-population and de-industrialization under tightly-controlled coming federal World Government - the "New World Order" [or "Our Global Neighbourhood", as it is now being re-named]. "

Whitney can also inform us of "the final planned Russian and Chinese imposition of a Marxist New World Order on America," a conspiracy in which Clinton, Kissinger and the King of Spain, among others, are supposed to be involved in, if we are to believe " the intelligence analyst John Whitley".  That a leftist professor of economics chooses to use the same John Whitley as a source is almost too much.

Chossudovsky also writes that "German, Turkish and Afghan instructors were reported to be training the KLA in guerrilla and diversion tactics."  This may be, but what is his source? An anonymous e-mail to "Truth in Media" (TiM) (if they have not just made it up). Something Chossudovsky conveniently fails to mention.  If we go to his so-called source however, we can read: "Apr. 2 - This morning we found an unusual e-mail letter in the TiM's mailbox. It came from someone calling himself a KLA field commander, and was signed only as " Ibrahim." Since it came from a HOTMAIL.COM e-mail address, there was no way that we could verify the authenticity of the message."  Not much to rely on. The question is do we have any reason to rely on Chossudovsky? This same source, Truth in Media, which seem to believe that being called " ultra-nationalist" is a compliment and to support the Serbian Radical Party, also quotes the before mentioned John Whitley as saying: "the Kosovo war was no accident... It was carefully planned and set into motion at the Bilderbergers' secret meeting near Toronto in late May 1996."

As to UCK's alleged connection to organised crime and drug trafficking. It is quite possible that such a connection exists. I would even find this both probable and logical, if not on the scale that Chossudovsky implies. Most likely almost every so-called "national liberation army" have made such connections to procure arms, whether they define themselves within the left or the right. But whatever Chossudovsky claims, he can show no sources that proves this, just a more or less well-founded suspicion of such a connection. However this is, that UCK should have been backed up both by the CIA, the German Bundes Nachtrichten Dienst, as well as the income from large-scale drug-dealing, begs the question why they are not better armed.

Chossudovsky on five different places uses Geopolitical Drug Watch as a source. I have not been able (had time) to trace the documents he refers to (Geopolitical Drug Watch, no 32, 35, 1994, and  Geopolitical Drug Watch, No 66. No year given.) But  I find the annual report for 1995-96, published in 1997, on the www http://www.ogd.org/rapport/gb/RP00_TABLE.html). I cannot judge the reliability of the  Geopolitical Drug Watch's report, but  anyway they write:  "Heroin production, processing and marketing are mainly the preserve of ethnic Albanians from Macedonia, where they are estimated to represent about 25% of the population, and those from the Serbian province of  

Kosovo.  While it cannot be denied that the Albanian population is the most involved in heroin trafficking – but also the one most affected by heroin use – it is also true that any drug-related crime is amplified when the culprit is an Albanian and minimized or even hidden when s/he is a Macedonian. Albanian clans operate on mafia-like ethics based on the Leko Dukajdzini, or the clan's Code of Honor.  The drug trade is often coordinated by Albanian political circles in Macedonia and Kosovo which oblige all Albanian criminal organizations to contribute a share of their profits.  The traffickers are also obliged to buy and deliver arms.  The Party for Democratic Prosperity based in Tetovo, the Kosovo Democratic Union based in Pristina, and especially armed militant groups like the Kosovo Liberation Army, thus find a significant and above all steady source of funding. For example, the Albanians' yearly narco-profits on the Swiss market alone are estimated to amount to close to US $3 million."

What is suggested above is primarily a kind of "national tax" the drug dealers have to pay, rather than a direct involvement of the KLA in the business. This seems to me to be very likely.  I should add though that the document laid out on the www does not give any sources for this information /claim.

But again, how come Chossudovsky entirely managed to overlook Geopolitical Drug Watch claims of the Serbian governments involvement in the drug dealing and organised crime?  They write: "Thus in Serbia the Belgrade secret services, whose job includes raising a war chest for the Bosnian conflict, use their own international networks and some Yugoslav firms to channel drugs to the European and Balkan markets and to launder the proceeds. [...] But the bulk of the drug trade is handled by three state organizations: the SID (the foreign ministry information and documentation service); the SDB (the interior ministry secret police); and the KOS (the defense ministry counter-espionage service).

The traffic, along with currency counterfeiting, is organized through two prominent figures:  Zeljko Raznatovic, alias Arkan, and Asanin Darko, a heavy cocaine user who is now in an Athens jail. Both were wanted by Interpol, Arkan for escaping from a Belgian prison where he was serving a sentence for bank robbery, and Darko for the Brussels slaying of an Albanian rival, Enver Hajin, formerly an agent for the Albanian communist secret police, the Sigurimi. [...] Paradoxically enough, Arkan himself is the co-owner, along with Croatian officials, of a Nicosia-based offshore company. This former hit man for the SIS (Croatian military counter-espionage) still holds a false passport issued by the Zagreb authorities.  The great Serb "cleanser" owns a pork-butchering company in Croat-held Slavonia and shuttles in and out of the country with no problems, maintaining close contact with his former bosses. Part of the drug profits also finds its way into the secret bank accounts of political parties and the state. It is used to buy arms, mainly in Russia, and to finance Serb lobbies in the United States, Britain and Austria. The Belgrade police protect these highly-placed traffickers, whether they deal in drugs, cigarettes, alcohol or currencies. Making the best of things, the policemen take their rake-off. In Belgrade then, as elsewhere, the drugs business and politics are closely intertwined, so much so that some military officers, politicians, war profiteers, embargo-busters and businessmen have been killed for trying to break free and cut their links to the Serb secret services.

Miograd Niksic, alias Miska, who bartered heroin for diamonds in Bangkok, was gunned down in Belgrade. The same punishment was meted out to Dragan Tepcevic, who handled drugs and arms shipments for the Serb Republic of Bosnia, and to Goran Vukovic, who was murdered in Germany by Ljubo Zemunac, a Yugoslav mafia boss.  These links between politics and drug trafficking are also in evidence on the other side, among the Albanians in Kosovo. Several of Arkan's "political" victims in the province were in fact rival dealers who got in the way of his commercial activities." [...]

"The end of hostilities in Bosnia, the lifting of the embargo against Serbia and the reopening of the Belgrade-Zagreb highway handed fresh opportunities to this new generation of traffickers. They have the advantage of being battle-hardened, headed by politicians and backed up by well-run legal business operations. What is more, they are continuing to collaborate with each other, even when they belong to enemy camps, as they did throughout the war. In short, they can rely on all the resources normally available to a state's secret services."   "Independently from these "new networks", the now classical Istanbul-Sofia-Belgrade route in the hands of the Turkish "babas", has started functioning again.

But it appears that this older route is always shadowed by a new one, which was created during the three-year embargo and dealt in merchandise as varied as basic goods, oil and heroin. The new route links Bulgaria to Montenegro via Macedonia, the Serbian province of Kosovo, and/or Albania. Both these routes can lead into Slovenia which, with its "lax" drug laws, has become a must for land routes targeting Italy and Austria, as well as a significant consumer market for illicit drugs. Thus, several TIR trucks were caught transporting hundreds of kilograms of heroin destined for the Slovenian market at the Gradina border post between Yugoslavia and Bulgaria in 1996.

Seizures by the Bulgarian and Serbian customs services at Gradina totalled close to 700 kg of heroin in 1996. While large amounts of heroin are seized by Yugoslav customs on their country's southern border – on average 180 kg –, seizures by them or their foreign counterparts on the northern Yugoslav border involve smaller amounts – an average of 20 kg – but are more numerous. Therefore, it seems that the New Yugoslavia has become a significant transhipment point, with traffickers using a strategy of transferring drugs from TIR trucks to private car or tourist buses. Smaller heroin shipments are distributed among a larger number of vehicles which first have to cross Slovenia and Hungary before reaching their final destination, the countries of the Schengen area." (End of quote.)

"Demonising" has become a popular word among leftist.  Chossudovsky writes: "While Slobodan Milosevic is demonised, portrayed as a remorseless dictator, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) is upheld as a self-respecting nationalist movement struggling for the rights of ethnic Albanians. The truth of the matter is that the KLA is sustained by organised crime with the tacit approval of the United States and its allies." And then continues: "Following a pattern set during the War in Bosnia, public opinion has been carefully misled."  I do no doubt for a moment that the public opinion has been misled. But it seems not only from the likes of Blair and Clinton (or the leaders of the UCK for that) but also from the likes of leftists like Michel Chossudovsky, who seem to think that the only way they can oppose the war is to "demonise" Albanians and serve as apologists for the Milosovic regime. Or is it just a coincident that he never once mentions the ethnical cleansing of Kosovo Albanians carried out under the shield of NATO bombing, and that he uses the Beograd (Belgrade) government sources without reservations, to not speak of nut-cases like "intelligence analyst John Whitley".

....we should consequently oppose the NATO military intervention, the Milosovic regime, as well as the UCK and every other nationalist faction. But we should also consider well the arguments we take in use and be critical to many of the "alternative" sources of information. Some of the descriptions we are hearing these days of the Kosovo-Albanians, to a lesser or greater extent supported by at least parts of the so-called left, are at times almost indistinguishable from the racist diatribes and stereotypes more commonly associated with the populist right, or the nationalist demagogics Milosovic employed to bring himself to power. (But neither should we overlook the less pleasant traits which presently also can be found within "Albanian culture", as in others, nor forget the concerns of the Serbian population and those of other minority groups within Kosovo with the voices calling for a Greater Albania.) And then we should of course do our best to sabotage the war efforts of NATO.

At last, I might have treated Michel Chossudovsky unfair.  After all I cannot read his mind. But he should know as well as anyone that what one writes in times of war can have a function beyond ones intentions. Neither is it Michel Chossudovsky my critique is foremost directed against, but an existing tendency of trivialising or downplaying the present sufferings of those uprooted and driven from their homes on a massive scale, and the role of the Milosovic regime in bringing this above, even if with the invaluable help of NATO.      

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