Monday, July 15, 2002

Here is an article from May 2000 on the role of the CIA and al-Qaeda in the Balkans, specifically Albania and Kosovo (they were also in Bosnia). Note the following:

  1. In 1999, Afghanistan surpassed Burma as the world's largest producer of opium poppies. The heroin base went through Iran to Turkey, where it was refined, and then through FYR Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania en route to western European markets.

  2. There is good reason to believe that heroin smuggling financed Albanian separatists (the KLA) in Kosovo, and the CIA was aware of this. The CIA provided the KLA with training and support.

  3. Albanians controlled a large percentage of the European heroin market.

  4. US Defence Secretary William Cohen had to cancel a planned 1989 visit to Albania because of the danger that he would be assassinated by bin Laden operatives.

  5. One of the leaders of an elite KLA unit was Muhammed al-Zawahiri, the brother of Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad (Al-Jihad al-Islami) and possibly the real leader of al-Qaeda.

  6. "It is believed that bin Laden solidified his organization in Albania in 1994 with the help of then premier Sali Berisha. Albania’s ties to Islamic terrorist blossomed during Berisha's rule when the main KLA training base was on Berisha's property in northern Albania. During the "honeymoon" period between the CIA and Jihad holy warriors, Fatos Klosi, the head of SHIK [the Albanian national security organization, which appears to do the bidding of the CIA], said he had reliable information that four groups of Jihad warriors from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Algiers, Tunisia and Sudan were in northern Albania and fighting with the KLA."

  7. It appears that CIA support for Albanian separatist drug smugglers was part of a world-wide plan to use drug profits to finance local groups whose insurrectionary activities furthered U. S. geopolitical aims.

The problems with Albanian separatists continue in Kosovo and in Macedonia. The connections of bin Laden with Kosovar terrorists have even been used by Milosevic in his current trial in claiming that he was really just fighting bin Laden in Kosovo (and was thus just a very early supporter of Bush's war on terror!). The Taliban had managed to stop most of the heroin poppy production in Afghanistan, but the warlords now in charge have restored production. It is not difficult to see one of the goals of the war in Afghanistan as the resumption of the heroin trafficking system from Afghanistan to Europe using Albanian middlemen. This satisfies the CIA Balkan geopolitical goals, and also reestablishes the successful al-Qaeda model of financing using a combination of narco-terrorism and organized crime. This financing model was first used in the ISI/CIA-promoted plan to remove the Soviets from Afghanistan using the mujahadeen, the project where bin Laden first came to prominence. We're never going to understand the relationships between bin Laden, al-Qaeda, the CIA, the ISI, and the American government until we start to come to grips with the drug-trafficking angle.