|Week of: |
June 6, 1999
|Kosovo Liberation Army: Drugs, Terror
by: F.R. Duplantier
In a front-page exposé in the Washington Times, Seper reveals the connections between the Albanian mafia and "a drug smuggling cartel based in Kosovo's provincial capital, Pristina. The cartel is manned by ethnic Albanians who are members of the Kosovo National Front, whose armed wing is the KLA," he charges. "The clandestine movement of drugs over a collection of land and sea routes from Turkey through Bulgaria, Greece, and Yugoslavia to Western Europe and elsewhere is so frequent and massive," Seper observes, "that intelligence officials have dubbed the circuit the 'Balkan Route.'"
Could Clinton and the Congressmen who advocate arming the KLA possibly be ignorant of the group's drug trafficking? In a word, no. "In 1998," Seper recalls, "the U.S. State Department listed the KLA . . . as an international terrorist organization, saying it had bankrolled its operations with proceeds from the international heroin trade and from loans from terrorists like Osama bin Laden." He notes that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has also documented the KLA connection.
Citing "leading intelligence officers," Seper states that "the KLA has, in part, financed its purchase of AK-47s, semiautomatic rifles, shotguns, handguns, grenade launchers, ammunition, artillery shells, explosives, detonators, and anti-personnel mines through drug profits -- cash laundered through banks in Italy, Germany, and Switzerland." Seper cites those same intelligence sources for the claim that "KLA rebels have paid for weapons using the heroin itself as currency. The profits, according to the officials, also have been used to purchase anti-aircraft and anti-armor rockets, along with electronic surveillance equipment."
However much one may abhor the killing, maiming, and dispossession of innocent Albanians, one still must confront several disturbing, as yet unanswered questions about U.S. involvement in Kosovo: What right does an American President have to intervene in a sovereign nation's civil war? What is Clinton trying to accomplish with the protracted bombing of Serbia? Why is he depleting an American arsenal that may be needed elsewhere in the not too distant future? And why is he offering support to a gang of drug-trafficking terrorists? If the objective of the Gulf War was to protect oil supplies, could the aim of the war in Kosovo be to protect heroin supplies? That's a horrid thought, but there doesn't seem to be any other explanation, and old stories about strange goings-on at an airstrip in Mena, Arkansas now resound.
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