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.

Share this page with a friend

 

International Action Center
39 West 14th Street, Room 206
New York, NY 10011
email: iacenter@action-mail.org
En Espanol: el_iac@yahoo.com
web: http://www.iacenter.org
CHECK OUT SITE    http://www.mumia2000.org
phone: 212 633-6646
fax:   212 633-2889
To make a tax-deductible donation,
go to   http://www.peoplesrightsfund.org

 

 

The International Action Center
Home      ActionAlerts     Press
Support the International Action Center