In other words, Washington had already slated the KLA "provisional government" (PGK) to run civilian State institutions. Under NATO's "Indirect Rule", the KLA has taken over municipal governments and public services including schools and hospitals. Rame Buja, the KLA "Minister for Local Administration" has appointed local prefects in 23 out of 25 municipalities.12
Under NATOs regency, the KLA has replaced the duly elected (by ethnic Albanians) provisional Kosovar government of President Ibrahim Rugova. The self-proclaimed KLA administration has branded Rugova as a traitor declaring the (parallel) Kosovar parliamentary elections held in March 1998 to be invalid. This position has largely been upheld by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) entrusted by UNMIK with the post-war task of "democracy _building" and "good governance". In turn, OSCE officials have already established a working rapport with KLA appointees.13
The KLA provisional government (PGK) is made up of the KLA's political wing together with the Democratic Union Movement (LBD), a coalition of five opposition parties opposed to Rugova's Democratic League (LDK). In addition to the position of prime minister, the KLA controls the ministries of finance, public order and defense. The KLA has a controlling voice on the UN sponsored Kosovo Transitional Council set up by Mr. Bernard Kouchner. The PGK has also established links with a number of Western governments.
Whereas the KLA has been spearheaded into running civilian institutions (under the guidance of the OSCE), members of the duly elected Kosovar (provisional) government of the Democratic League (DKL) have been blatantly excluded from acquiring a meaningful political voice.
ESTABLISHING A KLA POLICE FORCE TO "PROTECT CIVILIANS"
Under NATO occupation, the rule of law has visibly been turned up side down. Criminals and terrorists are to become law-enforcement officers. KLA troops --which have already taken over police stations-- will eventually form a 4,000 strong "civilian" police force (to be trained by foreign police officers under the authority of the United Nations) with a mandate to "protect civilians". Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien has already pledged Canadian support to the formation of a civilian police force.14 The latter --which has been entrusted to the OSCE will eventually operate under the jurisdiction of the KLA controlled "Ministry of Public Order".
US MILITARY AID
Despite NATOs commitment to disarming the KLA, the Kosovar paramilitary organisation is slated to be transformed into a modern military force. So-called "security assistance" has already been granted to the KLA by the US Congress under the `Kosovar Independence and Justice Act of 1999'. Start-up funds of 20 million dollars will largely be " used for training and support for their [KLA] established self-defense forces."15 In the words of KLA Chief of Staff Agrim Ceku:
While the KLA maintains its links to the Balkans narcotics trade which served to finance many of its terrorist activities, the paramilitary organisation has now been granted an official seal of approval as well as "legitimate" sources of funding. The pattern is similar to that followed in Croatia and in the Bosnian Muslim-Croatian Federation where so-called "equip and train" programs were put together by the Pentagon. In turn, Washington's military aid package to the KLA has been entrusted to Military Professional Resources Inc (MPRI) of Alexandria, Virginia, a private mercenary outfit run by high ranking former US military officers.
MPRI's training concepts --which had already been tested in Croatia and Bosnia are based on imparting "offensive tactics... as the best form of defence".17 In the Kosovar context, this so-called "defensive doctrine" transforms the KLA paramilitary into a modern army without however eliminating its terrorist makeup.18 The objective is to ultimately transform an insurgent army into a modern military and police force which serves the Alliance's future strategic objectives in the Balkans. MPRI has currently "ninety-one highly experienced, former military professionals working in Bosnia & Herzegovina".19 The number of military officers working on contract with the KLA has not been disclosed.
FORMER CROATIAN GENERAL APPOINTED KLA CHIEF OF STAFF
The massacres of civilians in Kosovo are not disconnected acts of revenge by civilians or by so-called "rogue elements" within the KLA as claimed by NATO and the United Nations. They are part of a consistent and coherent pattern. The intent (and result) of the KLA sponsored atrocities have been to trigger the "ethnic cleansing" of Serbs, Roma and other minorities in Kosovo.
KLA Commander Agim Ceku referring to the killings of 14 villagers at Gracko on July 24, claimed that: "We [the KLA] do not know who did it, but I sincerely believe these people have nothing to do with the KLA."20 In turn, KFOR Lieutenant General Sir Mike Jackson has commended his KLA counterpart, Commander Agim Ceku for "efforts undertaken" to disarm the KLA. In fact, very few KLA weapons have been handed in. Moreover, the deadline for turning in KLA weaponry has been extended. "I do not regard this as noncompliance" said Commander Jackson in a press conference, "but rather as an indication of the seriousness with which General Ceku is taking this important issue." 21
Yet what Sir Mike Jackson failed to mention is that KLA Chief of Staff Commander Agim Ceku (although never indicted as a war criminal) was (according to Jane Defence Weekly June 10 1999) "one of the key planners of the successful `Operation Storm'" led by the Croatian Armed Forces against Krajina Serbs in 1995.
General Jackson --who had served in former Yugoslavia under the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR)-- was fully cognizant of the activities of the Croatian High Command during that period including the responsibilities imparted to Brigadier General Agim Ceku. In February 1999, barely a month prior to the NATO bombings, Ceku left his position as Brigadier General with the Croatian Armed Forces to join the KLA as Commander in Chief.
FROM KRAJINA TO KOSOVO: SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME
According to the Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, Operation Storm resulted in the massacre of at least 410 civilians in the course of a three day operation (4 to 7 August 1995). 22 An internal report of The Hague War Crimes Tribunal (leaked to the New York Times), confirmed that the Croatian Army had been responsible for carrying out
In a section of the report entitled "The Indictment. Operation Storm, A Prima Facie Case.", the ICTY report confirms that:
US "GENERALS FOR HIRE"
The internal 150 page report concluded that it has "sufficient material to establish that the three [Croatian] generals who commanded the military operation" could be held accountable under international law. 25 The individuals named had been directly involved in the military operation "in theatre". Those involved in "the planning of Operation Storm" were not mentioned:
The Tribunal was attempting to hide what had already been revealed in several press reports published in the wake of Operation Storm. According to a US State Department spokesman, MPRI had been helping the Croatians "avoid excesses or atrocities in military operations."27 . Fifteen senior US military advisers headed by retired two star General Richard Griffitts had been dispatched to Croatia barely seven months before Operation Storm. 28 According to one report, MPRI executive director General Carl E. Vuono: "held a secret top-level meeting at Brioni Island, off the coast of Croatia, with Gen. Varimar Cervenko, the architect of the Krajina campaign. In the five days preceding the attack, at least ten meetings were held between General Vuono and officers involved in the campaign..."29
According to Ed Soyster a senior MPRI executive and former head of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) (interviewed by Time Magazine in early 1996):
THE HAGUE TRIBUNAL'S COVER UP
The untimely leaking of the ICTYs internal report on the Krajina massacres barely a few days before the onslaught of NATO's air raids on Yugoslavia was the source of some embarrassment to the Tribunals Chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour. The Tribunal (ICTY) attempted to cover up the matter and trivialize the reports findings (including the alleged role of the US military officers on contract with the Croatian Armed Forces). Several Tribunal officials including American Lawyer Clint Williamson sought to discredit the Canadian Peace-keeping officers' testimony who witnessed the Krajina massacres in 1995.31
The findings of the Tribunal contained in the leaked ICTY documents were downplayed, their relevance was casually dismissed as "expressions of opinion, arguments and hypotheses from various staff members of the OTP during the investigative process".33 According to the Tribunal's spokesperson "the documents do not represent in any way the concluded decisions of the Prosecutor." 34
The internal 150 page report has not been released. The staff member who had leaked the documents is (according to a Croatian TV report) no longer working for the Tribunal. During the press Conference, the Tribunals spokesman was asked: "about the consequences for the person who leaked the information", Blewitt [the ICTY spokesman] replied that he did not want to go into that. He said that the OTP would strengthen the existing procedures to prevent this from happening again, however he added that you could not stop people from talking". 35
THE USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS IN CROATIA
The massacres conducted under Operation Storm "set the stage" for the "ethnic cleansing" of at least 180,000 Krajina Serbs (according to estimates of the Croatian Helsinki Committee and Amnesty International). According to other sources, the number of victims of ethnic cleansing in Krajina was much larger.
Moreover, there is evidence that chemical weapons had been used in the Yugoslav civil war (1991-95).36 Although there is no firm evidence of the use of chemical weapons against Croatian Serbs, an ongoing enquiry by the Canadian Minister of Defence (launched in July 1999) points to the possibility of toxic poisoning of Canadian Peace-keepers while on service in Croatia between 1993 and 1995:
The official release of the Department of National Defence (DND) refers to the possibility of toxic "soil contamination" in Medak Pocket in 1993 (see below). Was it "soil contamination" or something far more serious? The criminal investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) refers to the shredding of medical files of former Canadian peace-keepers by the DND. In other words, did the DND have something to hide? The issue remains as to what types of shells and ammunitions were used by the Croatian Armed Forces -- i.e. were chemical weapons used against Serb civilians?
OPERATION STORM: THE ACCOUNT OF THE ROYAL CANADIAN REGIMENT
Prior to the onslaught, Croatian radio had previously broadcasted a message by president Franjo Tudjman, calling upon "Croatian citizens of Serbian ethnicity... to remain in their homes and not to fear the Croatian authorities, which will respect their minority rights". 38. Canadian peace-keepers of the Second Battalion of the Royal 22nd Regiment witnessed the atrocities committed by Croatian troops in the Krajina offensive in September 1995:
Also confirmed by Canadian peace-keepers was the participation of German mercenaries in Operation Storm:
How the Germans mercenaries were recruited was never officially revealed. An investigation by the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) confirmed that foreign mercenaries in Croatia had in some cases "been paid [and presumably recruited] outside Croatia and by third parties"41
THE 1993 MEDAK POCKET MASSACRE
According to Jane Defence Weekly (10 June 1999), Brigadier General Agim Ceku (now in charge of the KLA) also "masterminded the successful HV [Croatian Army] offensive at Medak" in September 1993. In Medak, the combat operation was entitled "Scorched Earth" resulting in the total destruction of the Serbian villages of Divoselo, Pocitelj and Citluk, and the massacre of over 100 civilians.42
These massacres were also witnessed by Canadian peace-keepers under UN mandate:
The massacres were reported to the Canadian Minister of Defence and to the United Nations:
NATOS POST-CONFLICT AGENDA IN KOSOVO
Both the Medak Pocket massacre and Operation Storm bear a direct relationship to the ongoing security situation in Kosovo and the massacres and ethnic cleansing committed by KLA troops. While the circumstances are markedly different, several of todays actors in Kosovo were involved (under the auspices of the Croatian Armed Forces) in the planning of both these operations. Moreover, the US mercenary outfit MPRI which collaborated with the Croatian Armed Forces in 1995 is currently on contract with the KLA. NATO's casual response to the appointment of Brigadier General Agim Ceku as KLA Chief of Staff was communicated by Mr. Jamie Shea in a Press Briefing in May:
While NATO says it "has no direct contacts with the KLA", the evidence confirms the opposite. Amply documented, KLA terrorism has been installed with NATO's tacit approval. The KLA had (according to several reports) been receiving "covert support" and training from the CIA and Germany's Bundes Nachrichten Dienst (BND) since the mid-nineties. Moreover, MPRI collaboration with the KLA predates the onslaught of the bombing campaign.46
The building up of KLA forces was part of NATO planning. Already by mid-1998, "covert support" had been replaced by official ("overt") support by the military Alliance in violation of UN Security Council Resolution UNSCR 1160 of 31 March 1998 which condemned: "...all acts of terrorism by the Kosovo Liberation Army or any other group or individual and all external support for terrorist activity in Kosovo, including finance, arms and training."
NATO officials, Western heads of State and heads of government, the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan not to mention ICTY chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour, were fully cognizant of General Brigadier Agim Ceku's involvement in the planning of Operation Storm and Operation Scorched Earth. Canadian Major General Lewis McKenzie who served under the United Nations confirmed that "the same officer who masterminded the 1993 Medak offensive in Croatia that saw Canadian soldiers using deadly force to stop horrendous atrocities against Serb civilians [had also] ordered the overrunning of lightly armed UN outposts, in blatant contravention of international law. His influence within the KLA does not augur well for its trustworthiness during Kosovo's political evolution". 47 Surely, some questions should have been asked....
Yet visibly what is shaping up in the wake of the bombings in Kosovo is the continuity of NATOs operation in the Balkans. Military personnel and UN bureaucrats previously stationed in Croatia and Bosnia have been routinely reassigned to Kosovo. KFOR Commander Mike Jackson had previously been responsible --as IFOR Commander for organizing the return of Serbs "to lands taken by Croatian HVO forces in the Krajina offensive".48 And in this capacity General Mike Jackson had "urged that the resettlement [of Krajina Serbs] not [be] rushed to avoid tension [with the Croatians]" while also warning returning Serbs "of the extent of the [land] mine threat "49. In retrospect, recalling the events of early 1996, very few Krajina Serbs were allowed to return to their homes under the protection of the United Nations. According to "Veritas" (a Belgrade based organization of Serbian refugees from Croatia), some 10-15,000 Serbs were able to resettle in Croatia.
And a similar process is unfolding in Kosovo, --i.e. the conduct of senior military officers conforms to a consistent pattern, the same key individuals are now involved in Kosovo. While token efforts are displayed to protect Serb and Roma civilians, those who have fled Kosovo are not encouraged to return under UN protection... In post-war Kosovo, "ethnic cleansing" implemented by the KLA has been accepted by the "international community" as a "fait accompli"...
Moreover, while calling for democracy and "good governance" in the Balkans, the US and its allies have installed in Kosovo a paramilitary government with links to organized crime. The foreseeable outcome is the outright "criminalisation" of civilian State institutions and the establishment of what is best described as a "Mafia State". The complicity of NATO and the Alliance governments (namely their relentless support to the KLA) points to the de facto "criminalisation" of KFOR and of the UN peace-keeping apparatus in Kosovo. The donor agencies and governments (e.g. the funds approved by the US Congress in violation of several UN Security Council resolutions) providing financial support to the KLA are, in this regard, also "accessories" to the de facto criminalisation of State institutions. Through the intermediation of a paramilitary group (created and financed by Washington and Bonn), NATO ultimately bears the burden of responsibility for the massacres and ethnic cleansing of civilians in Kosovo.
STATE TERROR AND THE "FREE MARKET"
State terror and the "free market" seem to go hand in hand. The concurrent "criminalisation" of State institutions in Kosovo is not incompatible with the Wests economic and strategic objectives in the Balkans. Notwithstanding the massacres of civilians, the self-proclaimed KLA administration has committed itself to establishing a "secure and stable environment" for foreign investors and international financial institutions. The Minister of Finance Adem Grobozci and other representatives of the provisional government invited to the various donor conferences are all KLA appointees. In contrast, members of the KDL of Ibrahim Rugova (duly elected in parliamentary elections) were not even invited to attend the Stabilisation Summit in Sarajevo in late July.
"Free market reforms" are envisaged for Kosovo under the supervision of the Bretton Woods institutions largely replicating the structures of the Rambouillet agreement. Article I (Chapter 4a) of the Rambouillet Agreement stipulated that: "The economy of Kosovo shall function in accordance with free market principles". The KLA government will largely be responsible for implementing these reforms and ensuring that loan conditionalities are met.
In close liaison with NATO, the Bretton Woods institutions had already analyzed the consequences of an eventual military intervention leading to the military occupation of Kosovo: almost a year prior to the beginning of the War, the World Bank conducted "simulations" which "anticipated the possibility of an emergency scenario arising out of the tensions in Kosovo". 50.
The eventual "reconstruction" of Kosovo financed by international debt largely purports to transfer Kosovos extensive wealth in mineral resources and coal to multinational capital. In this regard, the KLA has already occupied (pending their privatization) the largest coal mine at Belacevac in Dobro Selo northwest of Pristina. In turn, foreign capital has its eyes riveted on the massive Trepca mining complex which constitutes "the most valuable piece of real estate in the Balkans, worth at least $5 billion." 51. The Trebca complex not only includes copper and large reserves of zinc but also cadmium, gold, and silver. It has several smelting plants, 17 metal treatment sites, a power plant and Yugoslavias largest battery plant. Northern Kosovo also has estimated reserves of 17 billion tons of coal and lignite.
In the wake of the bombings, the management of many of the State owned enterprises and public utilities were taken over by KLA appointees. In turn, the leaders of Provisional Government of Kosovo (PGK) have become "the brokers" of multinational capital committed to handing over the Kosovar economy at bargain prices to foreign investors. The IMF's lethal "economic therapy" will be imposed, the provincial economy will be dismantled, agriculture will be deregulated, local industrial enterprises which have not been totally destroyed will be driven into bankruptcy.
The most profitable State assets will eventually be transferred into the hands of foreign capital under the World Bank sponsored privatization program. "Strong economic medicine" imposed by external creditors will contribute to further boosting a criminal economy (already firmly implanted in Albania) which feeds on poverty and economic dislocation.
Moreover, the so-called "reconstruction" of the Balkans by foreign capital will signify multi-billion contracts to foreign firms to rebuild Kosovos infrastructure. More generally, the proposed "Marshall Plan" for the Balkans financed by the World Bank and the European Development Bank (EBRD) as well as private creditors will largely benefit Western mining, petroleum and construction companies while fuelling the region's external debt well into the third millennium.
And Kosovo is slated to reimburse this debt through the laundering of dirty money. Yugoslav banks in Kosovo will be closed down, the banking system will be deregulated under the supervision of Western financial institutions. Narco-dollars from the multi-billion dollar Balkans drug trade will be recycled towards servicing the external debt as well as "financing" the costs of "reconstruction". The lucrative flow of narco-dollars thus ensures that foreign investors involved in the "reconstruction" program will be able reap substantial returns. In turn, the existence of a Kosovar "narco-State" ensures the orderly reimbursement of international donors and creditors. The latter are prepared to turn blind eye. They have a tacit vested interest in installing a government which facilitates the laundering of drug money.
The pattern in Kosovo is, in this regard, similar to that observed in neighboring Albania. Since the early 1990s (culminating with the collapse of the financial pyramids in 1996-97), the IMF's reforms have impoverished the Albanian population while spearheading the national economy into bankruptcy. The IMF's deadly economic therapy transforms countries into open territories. In Albania and to a lesser extent Macedonia, it has also contributed to fostering the growth of illicit trade and the criminalisation of State institutions.
(Prepared for and presented at the New York hearing of the Independent Commission of Inquiry to Investigate U.S./NATO War Crimes Against The People of Yugoslavia, called by former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, July 31, 1999)
1. Jim Lehrer News Maker Interview, PBS, 26 July 1999.
C Copyright by Michel Chossudovsky, Ottawa, August 1999. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to post this text on "community internet sites" provided the essay remains intact and the copyright note is displayed. For community postings, kindly send a short message to email@example.com . To publish this text on commercial internet sites, in printed and/or in other forms (including excerpts), contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org
WE RECOMMEND: A version of the above text was published in CovertAction Quarterly, Fall/Winter 1999, Number 68, pages 47 - 52. Almost half of the above mentioned issue of CovertAction Quarterly is devoted to Kosovo and Yugoslavia. Their magazine is a rare place whete one can learn truth about current world events. We strongly recommend the magazine to our readership.
Follow this link to get to CovertAction.org web site.
Their previous (Summer) issue also has many texts on the NATO attack.
Follow this link to subscribe to CovertAction magazine.