THE HIDDEN HAND IN YUGOSLAV WAR
By Gary Wilson
The following is excerpted from a chapter in book HIDDEN ADENDA, U.S./NATO TAKEOVER OF YUGOSLAVIA, published by the International Action Center. The book is available online from www.leftbooks.com.
On June 25, 2001, U.S. KFOR forces in Macedonia were surrounded by angry workers and farmers trying to block several busloads of mercenaries who had been terrorizing the region. The terrorist force of the so-called National Liberation Army had been defeated and was about to be captured--or killed if any resisted capture.
The U.S. forces were on a rescue mission, not to rescue the Macedonian workers and farmers who had been terrorized, but to rescue the defeated National Liberation Army mercenaries.
The U.S. government's "Radio Free Europe" described the confrontation the next day. "Angry crowds blocked the convoy and forced it to split up into at least three sections," RFE reported.
The convoy "did not make it to the intended goal, the village of Lipkovo in the northern border zone. A group of around 10 buses was held up" by 1,000 angry civilians in the village of Umin Do.(1)
Why were U.S. military paratroopers rescuing a band of mercenary terrorists? Col. David H. Hackworth, a retired U.S. Army officer and syndicated columnist, says the operation was undertaken because the 17 lead officers of the mercenary force were all former U.S. military officers working under contract to the Pentagon. (2)
Hackworth is a supporter of George W. Bush, who he says is simply cleaning up a mess created by Bill Clinton and his administration.
While the Clinton administration was certainly up to its eyeballs in intrigue and worse in the Balkans, the covert operations had begun during the previous Republican administration of the first George Bush.
Since the successful Yugoslav socialist revolution following World War II, both Democratic and Republican administrations have shared an obsession with the Balkans not unlike their obsession with Cuba.
This obsession has involved both open and hidden operations against both Yugoslavia and Cuba, including military attacks using mercenary forces recruited from the exile communities in the U.S. The obsession had nothing to do with any alleged threat from the Balkans or from Cuba. It came from Washington's fear and hatred of the successful socialist revolutions in both places.
In March 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower secretly approved a CIA plan to invade Cuba. The idea was to use U.S.-trained Cuban mercenaries as a cover for the invasion. Once the attack began, U.S. military planes would arrive to "help" the mercenaries, who were called Cuban liberation fighters in the U.S. media. The Cuban revolutionary leaders soon knew of the plan. They publicly warned the people that an invasion was coming. The people of Cuba rallied together and put down the CIA-planned mercenary invasion. While the Bay of Pigs invasion failed, something similar played out in the Balkans, but with a very different ending. Yugoslavia was targeted for the 1990s version of the Bay of Pigs, including a mercenary army recruited from exiles in the United States. In the war on Yugoslavia, the so-called Atlantic Brigade was a special U.S.-trained mercenary force. (3)
The operation went into high gear with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. A detailed account of the key role the NATO powers played in the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s can be found in the book NATO in the Balkans, published by the International Action Center. (4)
The Balkans version of the Bay of Pigs came with the U.S.- led NATO bombing campaign in 1999 that was justified in the media by claims that it was supporting Albanian freedom fighters, the Kosovo Liberation Army. This KLA is also the core of the National Liberation Army that was rescued by U.S. forces in Macedonia. What is left out of almost all the media stories is the role of the CIA in building up the KLA, just as it built up the Cuban counter-revolutionary mercenary force for the Bay of Pigs invasion.
The buildup to the U.S.-NATO war began almost a decade before, however. The bombing was launched because of Yugoslav resistance to a takeover by the capitalist powers, particularly the United States and Germany.
During much of the Cold War, Washington's policy toward Yugoslavia was aimed at trying to prevent any Yugoslav alliance with the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, this policy ended. Washington's new agenda was the destruction of socialist Yugoslavia.
The leaders of Yugoslavia immediately saw when this shift in policy began, but the League of Communists, Yugoslavia's communist party, was not prepared for the change in Washington's policy. The Yugoslav leadership had become soft in the years when Washington was showering Yugoslavia with favors.
But the League of Communists had a revolutionary history and had led the partisan victory over the Nazi invasion during World War II. It also had the allegiance of the workers in all the republics that made up Yugoslavia.
The Yugoslav party had never abandoned its socialist goals and when Washington's policy shifted, a new political leadership emerged that was prepared to defend the revolutionary gains made in Yugoslavia.
On Jan. 25, 1991, a remarkable document was read to military units all across Yugoslavia. It has become known as the "Generals' Manifesto" because the authors were leading generals in the Yugoslav military. (5)
The manifesto was an assessment of the world situation and an exposure of the expected attacks by the NATO powers. It was a call for unity in Yugoslavia and for preparations to fight to defend the socialist revolution.
It began with a statement that a new period had begun, and an assessment of the developments in the Soviet Union. As long as the USSR remained, the manifesto stated, the Western powers' ability to act against Yugoslavia was limited. But the Soviet Union was in turmoil and its future was uncertain at that time.
The manifesto continued: "In Yugoslavia, socialism has not yet been finished off, brought to its knees. Yugoslavia has managed to withstand, albeit at a high cost, the first attack and wave of anti-communist hysteria. Real prospects of maintaining the country as a federative and socialist community have been preserved." At that time, most of the socialist states in Eastern Europe had fallen.
"The West has realized that the Yugoslav idea and socialist option have much deeper roots than they had envisaged, so that the overthrow of socialism in Yugoslavia is not the same thing as in other countries. This is why we can expect that they will modify the method of their action and move to an even stronger attack. It would be very important for them to achieve complete success in Yugoslavia. For they would be cutting into a country where revolution had been authentic."
The manifesto assessed the multiple fronts of attack that were developing. It noted the CIA's declaration that "Yugoslavia will fall apart in 18 months." This declaration, the manifesto said, revealed the CIA's intentions.
"The same is true of the State Department declaration of Dec. 25, 1990"--that the U.S. would intervene to support the "democratic processes," code words that mean the U.S. was preparing to openly intervene to overturn the government. "The essence of the message is quite clear: they will overthrow socialism in Yugoslavia even at the price of its disintegration," the manifesto stated.
There have been many accounts that have revealed the role of the NATO powers in the subsequent breakup of Yugoslavia, particularly by U.S. and German operations. In the end it took a full-scale war, a massive bombardment of Yugoslavia reminiscent of the Nazi bombardment during World War II. Only a full-scale war had the possibility of crushing socialism in Yugoslavia.
To justify that war, however, the NATO powers could not openly declare that their goal was to kill the last kernel of a socialist state in Europe. Like many aggressors in the past, the United States presented a humanitarian pretext for launching the war. In this case, it was to protect the Kosovo Liberation Army, presented as the defenders of Albanian national rights.
In the U.S. and Western European media the Kosovo Liberation Army was painted in the most glowing terms. They were the new freedom fighters defending the Albanian people from oppression. The African National Congress and its guerrilla military, Umkhonto we Sizwe, never received such favorable coverage in all its years of fighting apartheid in South Africa. That's because the ANC and Umkhonto we Sizwe really were revolutionary freedom fighters.
The KLA was like the right-wing Cuban "freedom fighters" acting on behalf of the CIA. The core of the KLA was the so- called Atlantic Brigade, mercenaries recruited mostly from the anti-Communist Albanian exile community in the United States. It was trained and armed by the CIA.
The CIA's role began at least a year before NATO's bombing of Serbia and Kosovo, and probably as early as 1996.
The Intelligence Newsletter reported shortly after the NATO bombing began on March 24, 1999:
"Sources close to the German intelligence agencies say the CIA and BND [Germany's spy organization, the Federal Information Service] are both working to provide support for the Kosovo Liberation Army through a series of front companies located mainly in Germany. The companies are used to pump money into accounts in Switzerland held by Albanian sympathizers.
"In the field, KLA guerrillas are armed chiefly with light weapons that the CIA has drawn from stocks accumulated covertly in Albania." (6)
The Scotsman newspaper was more specific about the covert role of the U.S. government:
"The rag-tag Kosovar Albanian rebels were taken in hand by the Virginia-based company of professional soldiers, Military Professional Resources Inc. An outfit of former U.S. marines, helicopter pilots and special forces teams, MPRI's missions for the U.S. government have run from flying Colombian helicopter gunships to supplying weapons to the Croatian army." (7)
In 1995, MPRI armed and trained the Croatian army for "Operation Storm," a brutal campaign that forced over 200,000 Serbs out of their long-time homes in the Krajina region of Croatia. The Scotsman says that following Operation Storm (and well before the U.S.-NATO war), the MRPI was arming and training the KLA: "MPRI subcontracted some of the training program to two British security companies, ensuring that between 1998 and June 1999 the KLA was being armed, trained and assisted in Italy, Turkey, Kosovo and Germany by the Americans, the German external intelligence service and former and serving members of Britain's 22 SAS Regiment."
Colonel Hackworth reported in his column that the 17 military commanders rescued in Macedonia in June 2001 were all from MPRI and that 70 percent of the equipment used by the mercenaries was U.S.-made. Here is how Hackworth describes the role of MPRI:
"[The 17 were] members of a high-ticket Rent-a-Soldier outfit called MPRI--Military Professional Resources Incorporated--that operates in the shadow of the Pentagon and has been hired by the CIA and our State Department for ops in ex-Yugoslavia. The company, headed up by former U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Carl E. Vuono, is filled with former U.S. Army personnel, from generals to senior sergeants, all of whom draw handsome wages on top of their Army retired salaries. ...
"This is the same outfit that in the early 1990s trained Croatian soldiers for Operation Storm--which resulted in the brutal ethnic cleansing of 200,000 unarmed Serb civilians-- as well as bringing Croatian Gen. Agim Ceku up to speed. Ceku, who played a central role in the slaughter, is alleged to have killed thousands of other Serb civilians before joining the KLA in 1999, where he again received training and assistance from CIA and State Department contractors operating overtly and covertly throughout ex-Yugoslavia and around the globe." (8)
In another report in The Scotsman headlined "CIA Aided Kosovo Guerrilla Army," the opening sentence declares that "American intelligence agents have admitted they helped train the Kosovo Liberation Army before NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia." (9) In fact, the so-called cease-fire monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) headed by U.S. Ambassador William Walker were really a front for a CIA support operation for the KLA, The Scotsman reports:
"Central Intelligence Agency officers were cease-fire monitors in Kosovo in 1998 and 1999, developing ties with the KLA and giving American military training manuals and field advice on fighting the Yugoslav army and Serbian police. ... American policy made air strikes inevitable. ... Some European diplomats in Pristina, Kosovo's capital, concluded from [William] Walker's background that he was inextricably linked with the CIA."
The report adds a quote from a CIA source: "[The OSCE monitors were] a CIA front, gathering intelligence on the KLA's arms and leadership. ... [They would advise the KLA on] which hill to avoid, which wood to go behind, that sort of thing."
The Scotsman report says that the CIA's role in building up the KLA actually began in 1996, the first year of KLA operations in Kosovo.
Another report, this one in the Ottawa Citizen, published in Canada's capital, also details how the "CIA trained Kosovo rebels." (10) This report says U.S. intelligence agents have admitted that they trained the KLA well before NATO's bombing. The report also identifies the OSCE's observer team headed by William Walker as a CIA front.
It also reports that when the OSCE monitors left Kosovo a week before air strikes began, "many of its satellite telephones and global positioning systems were secretly handed to the KLA, ensuring that guerrilla commanders could stay in touch with NATO and Washington. Several KLA leaders had the mobile phone number of Gen. Wesley Clark, the NATO commander."
1 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty broadcast transcript, June 26, 2001, www.rferl.org .
2 July 9, 2001, column by Col. David Hackworth, King Syndicate, www.hackworth.com .
3 See the Philadelphia Inquirer's "Crisis in Kosovo" report for a description of the arrival of the Atlantic Brigade; www.philly.com/specials/99/kosovo/Raw/KLA0418.asp .
4 "NATO in the Balkans: Voices of Opposition," International Action Center, New York, www.iacenter.org .
5 "The General's Manifesto" was reprinted in newspapers across Yugoslavia. An English translation of excerpts from the version printed in the Zagreb, Croatia, newspaper Vjesnik on Jan. 31, 1991, appears in "The Destruction of Yugoslavia" by Branka Magas, Verso, 1993.
6 Intelligence Newsletter, April 18, 1999, www.indigo-net.com .
7 "Private U.S. firm training both sides in Balkans," The Scotsman, March 2, 2001, www.scottsman.com .
8 Hackworth, op. cit.
9 "CIA aided Kosovo guerrilla army," The Scotsman, March 12, 2000, www.scottsman.com .
10 "CIA trained Kosovo rebels," The Ottawa Citizen, March 12, 2000, www.ottawacitizen.com .
The book HIDDEN ADENDA, U.S./NATO TAKEOVER OF YUGOSLAVIA, from which this piece is excerpted, is available for purchase online from www.leftbooks.com.
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