Moral Low Ground


U.S.-Backed Kosovo Prime Minister Allegedly Behind Murder for Kidneys, Heroin & Arms Ring


Kosovo’s American-backed Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci, is an international criminal with a shocking rap sheet. So concludes a Council of Europe report on organized crime. Thaci runs a “mafia-like” Albanian group that smuggles weapons, drugs, and human organs, some of which were obtained by murdering Serbian prisoners, through Eastern Europe.

The report, which draws on FBI information, says Thaci has exerted “violent control” over the heroin trade in Kosovo. It also details how members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which Thaci formerly headed, promised poor people from Moldova, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkey up to $20,000 for their organs but then did not pay after they harvested the body parts and sold them to people from Canada, Germany, Poland and Israel for up to $137,000.

But the worst allegations are that KLA members took kidnapped Serbians across the border into Albania, executed them, and had transplant surgeons standing by to harvest their kidneys.

The KLA is a terrorist organization formed in the 1990s by ethnic Albanian Kosovars fighting for their independence from Serbia. Serbs consider  Kosovo their ancestral homeland but are a minority in the province. Still, the KLA, whose backers included Osama bin Laden, wanted all non-Albanians out of Kosovo and began an ethnic cleansing campaign to achieve their goals.

But this was before 9/11 and the United States was more concerned with bringing Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic to heel than with Islamic terrorism so Washington trained and funded the KLA and backed Kosovo’s independence bid. Richard Holbrooke, who died two days ago, was deeply involved in Washington’s support for the terrorist group.

American intelligence informed the Clinton administration that the KLA was deliberately provoking Serbia in order to draw the US and NATO into the war on their side, but Clinton wasn’t listening. NATO launched its vicious air war against Serbia and backed the KLA even as the terror group’s ethnic cleansing campaign peaked with the expulsion of nearly all Serbs from Kosovo by 2001. When the KLA expanded its war into nearby Macedonia, the US– now led by the Bush administration– continued to back them.

Hashim Tachi was the leader of the strongest KLA faction in those days. When the war ended, he entered politics while continuing his criminal enterprises. He was elected Prime Minister in 2007 and declared Kosovo’s independence from Serbia the following year, enraging Belgrade. The United States recognized independent Kosovo and continued to support Thaci.

The new Council of Europe report, authored by human rights investigator Dick Marty, says the international community ignored KLA war crimes like torture and murder in favor of “placing a premium instead on achieving some degree of short-term stability.”

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