William Walker, the former head of the Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), stated that he supports the idea of unification of Kosovo and Albania and creation of greater Albania.
In an interview for the Tirana-based TV station Top Channel, Walker stated that the citizens of Kosovo and Albania have good reasons to believe that they will have a common future.
Walker is currently on a visit to Kosovo-Metohija where he will offer support to the Self-determination movement of Albin Kurti, which promotes the idea of greater Albania, at the forthcoming elections.
The List for Natural Albania promoted the idea of unification of Kosovo, Albania and all ethnic Albanians who live in the neighboring countries at a recently held rally in Tirana.
Former U.S. diplomat Walker was awarded a high-rank decoration of Kosovo and honorary citizenship in Albania.
(Two corroborating reports appear here and here, with the former adding that the architect of “Natural Albania” — Koco Danaj –suggests that Macedonia be federalized and then parts grafted onto Greater Albania.)
William Walker is an insider. He knows what the elite decision-makers are up to. This is all but an official confirmation that the U.S. does indeed plan to support the full Albanian agenda to continue redrawing Balkan borders.
It should certainly be interesting — including for the majority of the human race that still doesn’t know that Racak was a hoax — that the man who screamed “atrocity!” to the cameras and gave the anticipated green light for our bombing Yugoslavia (again)…is now openly admitting that he supports the wider Albanian designs that have been explicitly outlawed by the international community.
Another fact that should be interesting, including to the novices who do the Balkans reporting for mainstream news outlets, is that Walker is traveling to Kosovo to support a party called Self-Determination, which news reports for years have referred to as a “radical” and “fringe” group that is not representative of Kosovo Albanians in general — led by “extremist” Albin Kurti. (Self-Determination was the group responsible for overturning or otherwise damaging 28 EU Mission vehicles last year when the body signed a protocol on policing cooperation with Serbian authorities to combat cross-border crime. In Nov. 2006, Self-Determination stormed the UNMIK complex in Pristina, and when Kurti was arrested last June for the violent Feb. 2007 demonstrations against the UN, rioting ensued.)
It’s little wonder that the KLA leaders with whom former Greek foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos met in 1999 were so calm, as described in the UK Telegraph in May, 2001:
[T]hey made it clear to him that they had claims on Greece as well as Macedonia. He told reporters later that he was “amazed with what great politeness and calm they told me” about their demands.
Now, we already knew that Walker, like other honorary KLA members (Engel, McCain, Dole, Clinton, Clark, Bush, Albright), has a street named for him in Kosovo. As dastardly as his actions have been up to this point to achieve such a lofty low, his open support of the Greater Albania that Albanians were told to put out of their heads by the West even as it bombed the Serbs on their behalf — is taking things a step further.
On the point of Walker’s friendship with the KLA, Nebojsa Malic informs me that Walker had joined with a KLA ‘honor guard’ escorting the bodies of the Bytyqi brothers back to New York. These were the three Albanian-American brothers who joined the KLA in 1999 as part of the 90-strong “Atlantic Brigade” — the U.S.-approved cadre of American Albanians who flew back to Kosovo to fight. (Walker wrote about escorting the bodies in a preface to a book glorifying the Atlantic Brigade.) Apparently,they were just supposed to kill some Serbs and come back safely, but the brothers were killed after “straying” — as the NY Daily News termed it — into southern Serbia, where coincidentally the KLA was starting its next war. In addition, “When NATO said disarm, these three brothers insisted on hiding [their weapons],” 20-year-old Brigade veteran Isa Kodra told The News in 1999.
K0dra was the much celebrated and interviewed teen fighter whose Serb-killing enthusiasm had impressed Bob Dole enough to take him out to dinner. In a 1999 Saloninterview with Kodra and two other New York-based KLA mercenaries, we get this tidbit:
At the end of a two hour interview, the gentle-mannered Haxhi warms up and gets out a photo album of his regiment. Sitting on his bed, he shows off his comrades, pointing out a dapper-looking friend hanging out the back of a truck filled with grinning, uniformed KLA soldiers. He mentions that the friend is now in a NATO jail for killing three Serb civilians after the NATO occupation of Kosovo, as casually as if the offence were a jaywalking charge. Florin chimes in about the “dirty gypsies” who helped Serbians loot Albanian homes. “Serbs have bad blood,” Haxhi comments, which is why he’ll never let his own kids sit in a classroom with Serbian children. [ “Florin” is Florin Krasniqi, gunrunner and KLA fundraiser and recruiter, whose previous purpose at Haxhi’s home — and others’ — had been to make “collections” for the KLA.]
Overheard by an OSCE observer whom Nebojsa Malic later talked to, at the airport during the Bytyqi escort Walker was praising the KLA and their agenda. “So,” continues Malic, “not only did Walker help stage the ‘Racak massacre’ in 1999, he actually jumped into bed with the KLA shortly thereafter.”
Meanwhile, Malic offers some notes on the “marginal” (but not anymore!) figure of Koco Danaj and his “Natural Albania” project:
The whole “Ethnic Albania” movement is a hydra with many heads, but it does appear one public face of it is this Koco Danaj fellow. The cover of Danaj’s pamphlet has 2013 as the year Greater Albania becomes reality. I wroteabout him back in 2006. Ironically, at the time, Albanians began writing angry letters calling me a liar [and claiming] Danaj was a marginal figure. Interestingly enough, they never actually disagreed with what he was advocating. And now it turns out Danaj isn’t marginal at all. But hey, as the ICG and such upstanding figures as Joe DioGuardi would surely [say,] this “Natural Albania” talk is all Tanjug and Serbonationalist aggressor propaganda, right?
Indeed, when the international community wasn’t telling the Albanians to put Greater Albania/Natural Albania/Ethnic Albania out of their heads, it was telling us that the whole Greater Albania “myth” was nothing more than a stale Serbian-propaganda concoction. So what we have is just another Serbian “myth” playing out before our eyes.
In August 2006 Danaj provoked a strong reaction from Serbian foreign minister Vuk Draskovic, when he told Kosovo newspaper Epoka e Re that Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro were “unnatural creations” in their current borders and “that all Albanians living in the region should unite to form a ‘natural Albania’ by 2013,” as the AKI news service reported.
When he made the comments, Danaj was prime minister Sali Berisha’s political adviser, and so Draskovic understood that this was a direct message being sent by Berisha, recalling that Albanian foreign minister Besnik Mustafaj had made a similar statement some months earlier.
Danaj’s platform of Natural Albania, which in addition to Kosovo also claims Macedonia and Montenegro, came up in an article a few months ago titled “Secret Spy Wars on Serbia,” which stressed that big moves were underway toward the creation of Natural Albania. It also identified several foreign intelligence agencies operating in Serbia, with the CIA, Germany’s BND and Austria’s HNA operating over the past decade in Kosovo in support of the Albanian secessionists. Perhaps the most shocking allegation by the Serbian investigative journalist writing the article, Marko Lopusina, was this:
In Montenegro, the Prime Minister was warned by these networks that Islamic extremists would be unleashed on that small little state if he refused to recognize Kosovo. [A] similar message was sent to Macedonia which itself is target for dismemberment by the Albanian separatists.
This isn’t the sort of thing that’s easily corroborated, but if it has been our M.O. to use Muslim terrorists against rival powers, there’s no reason to think we wouldn’t threaten recalcitrant states with more of the same. For that matter — and more to the overall point here — if the U.S. and German governments helped establish the KLA in the first place, and created the “Independent State of Kosova” by fiat, there is no reason to think the ‘great powers’ would stop short of creating a “Natural Albania,” especially if Albanians are considered faithful allies that can do no wrong even every time they do wrong. “Remember,” cautions Malic, “the modus operandi here is gradual escalation.”
And that’s exactly what we’re witnessing. Just as the Lopusina article advised, moves are underway toward the actualization of Greater Albania. The Kosovo grab — which “Serbian propaganda” warned us was part of a larger plan — was the relatively slow, most complicated and long-term leg of it, but now things should move faster, as this August 12, 2007 editorial in the newspaper Albania said they would post-independence:
…Only the ingenuousness — and the sincerity — of a cool-headed diplomat [Martti Ahtisaari] from a cold country working on cold diplomatic dossiers may jump to the conclusion that Kosova will not join Albania following the establishment of its status.
…There is no reason to doubt that, shortly after the establishment of “independent” status, or a status that does not rule out independence, a Greater Albania will be formed in the Balkans. Attentive analysts and specialists in Balkan affairs consider this a reality that will happen soon.
…Throughout their history, [the Albanian people] have learned how to ignore the phrases of the great powers a thousand times a day…That is how the Albanians read Ahtisaari’s phrase banning Kosova’s unification with Albania or Macedonia. They know that the West soon tires of the problems of their area….Deep down, the Albanians do not think that a long time will pass between the recognition of Kosova’s status and its joining Albania. Not only ordinary Albanians who spend much of their time talking nationalist politics, but also their senior politicians want that…Just take up the letters of greetings they sent to Ahtisaari on 3 February , and you will clearly see what senior Albanian politicians — both in the government and in the opposition — really think. They greet the Ahtisaari package “with rejoicing” and add that “this is a victory for the Albanians wherever they happen to be.” Do you not see the hidden idea rearing its head?!
The same year, a time when the international community was still emphasizing that there would be no shifting of borders — and Kosovo independence hadn’t even been declared — not only did the Albanian prime and foreign ministers tell the visiting Slovak president that Kosovo would be part of Albania, but Kosovo rulers were already planning a Greater Albania referendum:
Member of PDK Presidency, Nait Hasani said that after declaring independence, a referendum to join Albania is a distinct possibility because citizens of Kosovo and Albania are one nation.
“First there should be supervised independence as proposed by Ahtisaari. But it is known that Kosovo and Albania citizens are one nation who want to live in one state,” Hasani is quoted [by “Koha Ditore”] as having told a Polish paper. […]
…While the notion has been frequently aired in recent years, there is little public enthusiasm for it — either in Albania itself, in newly independent Kosovo, or in Albanian dominated areas of neighboring countries.
Kosovars will also be hesitant to rock regional diplomacy further by pushing for a grander vision for ethnic Albanians. It was tricky enough for Kosovo to declare [independence] over the vehement objections of Serbia and its key ally Russia. Banding together into a Greater Albania would provoke an even stronger response, not only from Serbia but from other Balkan neighbors.
The United States and EU heavyweights like France, Germany, and Britain would also be likely to oppose any abrupt move toward Albanian unification. And Kosovars know that their new — and barely financially viable — country depends on the goodwill of Western states.
Sabit Bunjaku, a 48-year-old economist in Pristina who used to support the idea of a Greater Albania, said he now thinks the idea should be laid to rest. «Our demands are being fulfilled, so why ask for more?» he said.
Because that is what Albanians do. The article ends as farcically as it begins:
For its part, impoverished Albania has set its sights firmly on eventually joining the European Union and NATO — with all the financial benefits that could bring — and most politicians seem unwilling to jeopardize that…there appears to be little appetite in Pristina — or in Tetovo — to risk more armed conflict or to potentially destabilize a newly independent Kosovo.
This week a Gallup poll showed that “62 per cent of respondents in Albania, 81 per cent in Kosovo and 51.9 per cent of respondents in Macedonia supported the formation of a Greater Albania.”
Plans are being drawn up for all Albanians in the Balkans to live in a “greater Albanian state” by 2015, Orhan Rexhepi, an ethnic Albanian official from south Serbia, told Balkan Insight.
“We [Albanians from south Serbia] are preparing to realise the idea of a greater Albania to be formed by 2013 or 2015 at the latest,” Rexhepi, the vice president of the Presevo assembly, said on Tuesday.
Talks on such a project were held over the weekend in Tirana, where the List for Natural Albania was presented for the first time. Rexhepi attended the meeting along with the mayor of Presevo, Ragmi Mustafa, and the leader of the Movement of Democratic Progress, Jonuz Musliu.
“I was in Tirana over the weekend to support the project and announce that my party [Albanian National Movement] will become part of the List [For Natural Albania] and take part in the next elections in Presevo,” Rexhepi said.
The List for Natural Albania includes the groups and individuals who support the idea of a “natural”, or “greater” Albania of one state for all ethnic Albanians in the Balkans, which would include parts of the territories of Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece, and Serbia.
According to the project, Albanians in these countries would hold a referendum to plead for the establishment of the state.
Tomo Zoric, spokesperson for the Serbian prosecutor’s office, said that his office would check what ethnic Albanian leaders who hold official positions said at the meeting in Tirana.
“If we detect that there were elements of their speeches which violated the law, the prosecutor’s office will initiate proceedings,” Zoric told Balkan Insight.
In an unofficial referendum held in 1992, a majority of ethnic Albanians in the Presevo Valley expressed their desire to join Kosovo.
It all makes this February 2001 appeal to the Albanian community by the EU’s then external affairs commissioner, Chris Patten, rather laughable:
[Patten] urged Albanians to isolate the militants. He added: “It is time for every Kosovar leader, every Kosovar, to make a stand, time to abandon silent indifference, time to make clear that you will not tolerate this violence, time to stand up against it and outlaw its perpetrators. Most people across the region are sick and tired of conflict and war.”
Golden rule: Know your audience.
Well, so much for Kosovo being the “final chapter” in the breakup of the Former Yugolsavia,” as one reporter after another has referred to it since the Albanian unilateral declaration. (A particularly devious version of that notion came from British foreign secretary William Hague in September: “Hague said the map of the Balkans…was now complete and would not be re-opened, meaning Kosovo’s fate was settled and there could be no Serbian secession in Bosnia.”)
Which brings us back to the poisonous William Walker. Just to review: He is in Kosovo right now, advising the apparently-no-longer-radical party called Self-Determination. And look who else is joining Self-Determination:
Kosovo’s Rulers Trade Charges with Ex-Gun Runner
When David Phillips, a US-based expert on Albanian issues, released his report, Realizing Kosova’s Independence in May, he little knew that only six months later he would be dragged into a bitter war of words, involving accusations of bribery and treachery.
In his report, Phillips, a former senior advisor at the State Department’s Bureau for European Affairs, quoted an anonymous source claiming that SHIK, the supposedly defunct intelligence arm of the ruling Democratic League of Kosovo, PDK, was receiving “$200 million a year via bribery, extortion, racketeering, and protection services”.
Phillips’ report has since been published by the prestigious National Committee on American Foreign Policy.
Florin Krasniqi, a former gunrunner and fundraiser for the Kosovo Liberation Army, who was then living in New York, has been widely fingered as the source of the information. Krasniqi is reported to have raised $30 million to arm and supply KLA fighters during the war. [And of course he was a good friend of the Republicans’ recently exposed New York candidate for U.S. Senate, Joe DioGuardi.]
Following publication of the report, the PDK, led by Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, which emerged from the KLA, attacked the report and its author.
Last Friday, it stepped up the row after Krasniqi announced his decision to join Vetevendosje [ “Self-determination”], a radical nationalist group that campaigns against the international presence in Kosovo and which has decided to run in December’s general elections.
Krasniqi followed up his arrival in domestic politics with a series of blistering attacks on senior members of the PDK.
In an official press release, the PDK claimed that Krasniqi gave Phillips $500,000 to write his report, bribery accusations that the author has branded as “absurd and false”.
The PDK condemned Krasniqi as “a pseudo-patriot”, questioned his war record in helping the KLA, and accused him of having committed crimes in Kosovo and the US. “The PDK will take legal measures in pursuing the truth,” the party’s press release stated.
“As a governing party, not wanting to influence the acceleration or orientation of investigations, the PDK has requested an investigation into all charges, with EULEX [the EU rule-of-law mission] in charge.”
A EULEX spokesperson told Balkan Insight that it had not received any requests for information and urged anyone with evidence of crimes to contact Kosovo Police or a prosecutor first.
Responding to the accusations, Krasniqi said he would sue the PDK for defamation and he alleged that SHIK was behind the allegations.
Krasniqi told Balkan Insight that the PDK’s accusations were ridiculous. “They’re just fake tales made up by people who don’t deserve to be heads of public institutions,” he said.
“The PDK, together with SHIK, should take responsibility for the situation they’ve created in Kosovo, the high level of poverty, and so they need to be sent to prison,” he said.
Phillips was “a great friend of Albanians”, he added. Phillips told Balkan Insight that he “would not dignify the PDK’s absurd and false allegations with a detailed response”.
Of course, one can’t really be “a great friend of Albanians.” Remember who has the most disagreements with Albanians and kills the most of them: Albanians. (This Phillips character, meanwhile, is a CFR member who has been hating Serbs professionally for years. He’s finally witnessing the ultimate fruits of his labor of Albanian-love. Happens to everyone sooner or later, as Malic explained this Balkans dynamic.)
And so now I slightly fear for the life of the good-looking, affable Serb-killer Florin Krasniqi, especially now that he’s back in Kosovo, where it’s easier to get rid of people. Indeed, as I watched the Dutch documentary about him in 2005, I couldn’t help but wonder whether this fellow — compelled to action by the death of his cop-killing cousin in Kosovo — quite realized just how dangerous a game he was playing, and what kinds of people the KLA, including his cousin, were. I wondered how long before he’d end up dead himself, like so many of Thaci’s perceived rivals. (I’ve often wondered the same about Walker, Clark, Holbrooke, Engel and every other American policy-maker who puts on a broad smile at the sight of Albanians.)
Back then, Krasniqi could afford to not fully understand what he was getting involved in, because he was on their side. In a conflict with a single designated enemy: Serbs.
But increasingly now there is no “their side” — and he’s making himself a thorn in the side of one of the sides.
What will happen when this State Department darling, Florin Krasniqi, who until now has had protection from the law even as he was shown on camera smuggling American guns, becomes a problem for our masters in Kosovo? Will we finally have to do something about Florin Krasniqi — or let Thaci’s people or the EU Mission do it? Keep in mind that when Ramush Haradinaj became too much of a nuicance for Thaci, he found himself shipped back to the Hague last summer.
Of course, the most delicious aspect of the Krasniqi vs. Thaci report by Balkan Insight is that the rivalries between these former KLA terrorists and current “leaders” may finally expose their mutual crimes. We’ve got Thaci accusing Krasniqi of committing crimes both in Kosovo and the U.S. (no kidding!), while Krasniqi apparently knows that the gangsters he backed are unfit for public office and belong in prison. So once again, I place my hope for the truth about Kosovo coming out in the hands of Albanians, who alone hold the magic power to convince Americans of anything concerning Kosovo.
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