cj#944> Workers World News Service: CROATION GENERAL COMMANDS KLA


Richard Moore

X-From_: •••@••.•••  Mon May 24 22:48:14 1999
Date: Mon, 24 May 1999 14:46:34 -0700 (PDT)
From: Paul Wittry <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.•••
Cc: •••@••.•••


Thought you might be interested in this. I have know way of knowing
*for sure* if this is true, however it does fit with the current


Reprinted from the May 27, 1999
issue of Workers World newspaper


By Gary Wilson

It has been revealed that the top commander of the so-
called Kosovo Liberation Army is Agim Ceku, a brigadier
general who took a leave from the Croatian Army in February.

The source for this is Jane's Defense Weekly of May 10.
Jane's is a British publication known around the world as
authoritative on military matters.

This news may help dispel some of the many myths
surrounding the KLA. However, it is not surprising to those
who have known for a long time that the KLA is a mercenary
contra army promoted by foreign imperialist powers, not a
home-grown operation.

Ceku's new position is also ominous news for opponents of
NATO's brutal war. In August 1995 Ceku presided over
"Operation Storm," the massive bombing and displacement of
hundreds of thousands of Serb farmers from the part of
Croatia known as the Krajina.

The revelation that he is now heading the KLA is widely
seen as a sign that a ground-force invasion is being

Ceku's military career began in the Yugoslav Army. But after
Croatia became a separate state under the reactionary
leadership of Franjo Tudjman, he defected to the Croatian
Army. Ceku, an ethnic Albanian, was then trained by the United

He is closely tied to Military Professional Resources,
Inc. MPRI is a semi-official Pentagon contractor headed by
retired U.S. military officers. It specializes in sending
mercenary armies under Pentagon contract into wars without
even the figleaf of congressional oversight.

Jane's Defense Weekly describes Ceku as "one of the key
planners of the successful `Operation Storm.'" Many reports
have shown in detail that MPRI planned and directed this
operation in the Krajina.

"Operation Storm" was, until the current U.S. bombing, the
bloodiest and most brutal military campaign in the Balkans
since the Nazi invasion during World War II.

The Pentagon contracted MPRI to organize and train the
Croatian Army--which carried out the August 1995
offensive against Serbian farmers in the Krajina region.
Hundreds of thousands were left homeless. This vast
refugee population was never allowed to return home.

A report in the July 28, 1997, issue of the Nation
magazine detailed the role MPRI and the Pentagon played
in this criminal campaign. Back in 1995 when it
happened, however, the media here suppressed the U.S.
role in this major assault.

Finally, this March 21, the New York Times carried a
front-page story about a report from the International War
Crimes Tribunal in The Hague that characterized this attack
as probably the most brutal event in the Balkans in the last
decade. But no commentators picked up on this. The report
was quickly forgotten.

The Croatian government has now confirmed that it gave
"special leave" to several of its generals to go lead the

While NATO denies it, there is glaring evidence of close
military coordination between its operations and those of
the KLA. In a briefing aired May 11 on MSNBC, a NATO general
showed a map said to be the area of KLA military operations
in Kosovo. Then he showed a map of where NATO's bombings
have been concentrated in Kosovo. The two maps matched
almost exactly.

He then said, without cracking a smile, that while this
might seem to indicate that the efforts were coordinated, it
was purely a coincidence.


Many myths persist about the KLA. These myths include claims
that its founders were Marxists. Although few could believe
that a genuine Marxist-based liberation army would allow
itself to be an agent of the imperialists, reports in the
media continue to allude to this claim.

The origins of the KLA are murky at best. Some say it
was founded in 1993. Others put the organization's
beginnings in 1996, when a letter was sent to the media
announcing its formation. The letter took credit for a
February 1996 massacre of Serbian refugees from the
Krajina region of Croatia who had fled to Kosovo for

Throughout 1996 and 1997, most of the KLA attacks were on
Albanians who it called "collaborators." These were Albanian
opponents of the separatist movement in Kosovo.

>From 1995 to 1997 there had been a great influx of Kosovo
Albanians into the Serbian Socialist Party (SPS). Qamil Gashi,
the Albanian chairperson of the SPS municipal council in
Kosovo, said this was because solutions to the problems in
Kosovo were clearly being worked out.

On Feb. 6, 1996, Gashi said: "We should not be labeled
`traitors' to our own people because we have joined the SPS.
It was us, the Socialists and the SPS leadership, who
initiated actions to solve numerous economic and municipal
problems more swiftly." (From "Between Serb and Albanian, a
History of Kosovo," by Miranda Vickers)

The KLA killed Gashi in November 1997.

It was the KLA that was targeting Albanian socialists and
calling them traitors.

According to reports in the Yugoslav media, the Yugoslav
government believed that KLA operations were being carried
out by mercenaries trained in Bosnia. Government reports
said that the Albanian government of Sali Berisha was
coordinating the actions through the Albanian Embassy in

Berisha was widely seen as a puppet of the U.S. government. U.S.
support had put him into power. He then allowed the U.S. military
to put a base in Albania and turned over control of the Albanian
secret police to the U.S. CIA (French Press Agency, Oct. 26,

The KLA does not attempt to hide that its headquarters is
on Sali Berisha's estate in Albania.

The KLA was never an organization like the liberation
armies that are well known around the world. It never had a
recognized leadership. It never even had a spokesperson
until last year.

It never issued any documents or statements of purpose. It
doesn't even have a newspaper or magazine.

The grouping that called itself the KLA at first was actually an
odd assortment of various opponents of the Yugoslav government who
joined together with gangsters, mercenaries and other
opportunists. Those who called themselves KLA ranged from people
claiming to be followers of Albania's former Marxist leader, Enver
Hoxha, to those who claimed roots in the fascist, nationalist
Greater Albanian organizations of the 1940s. It was a combination
of convenience, with no central agreement on anything but their
hatred of the Yugoslav government.

In an article on the history of the KLA in the May/June
issue of Foreign Affairs magazine, Chris Hedges describes it
in a similar way, saying that the KLA is divided into

Hedges says the KLA inside Kosovo is "led by the sons
and grandsons of rightist Albanian fighters." These were
from the "Skanderbeg volunteer SS division raised by the
Nazis, or the descendants of the rightist Albanian kacak
rebels who rose up against the Serbs 80 years ago.
Although never much of a fighting force, the Skanderbeg
division took part in the shameful roundup and
deportation of the province's few hundred Jews during
the Holocaust. The division's remnants fought Tito's
Partisans at the end of the war, leaving thousands of
ethnic Albanians dead. The decision by KLA commanders to
dress their police in black fatigues and order their
fighters to salute with a clenched fist to the forehead
has led many to worry about these fascist antecedents."

Even by Hedges description, the KLA leaders in exile don't
say they are Marxist. He quotes one of them, Jakup Krasniqi,
as saying, "I do not think we have an ideology." That is why
there is no political organization or political platform. "We
do not have time for such things," Krasniqi said.

The KLA has nothing in common with Marxist-based
liberation movements, which are known for their alliances
based on political principles and their working-class

The early unholy alliance that called itself the KLA mostly
targeted Albanian socialists. It also killed isolated Serbian
farming families. Its operations were minor compared to those
of the KLA that would later emerge.

SHIFT IN 1997-98

In late 1997 and early 1998, there was a sudden shift. The
KLA went through a "rapid and startling growth," according
to a report in the April 25, 1998, New York Times.

Foreign mercenaries, money and arms started to pour in to
the KLA. The erstwhile KLA bands were quickly overwhelmed by
an influx of mercenaries coming from Germany and the United
States, who quickly took over command. It took a year before a
representative from Kosovo could be produced to represent the
KLA publicly.

The new KLA began serious military operations--not only
killing isolated Albanian and Serbian individuals but
attacking government buildings and police stations. This
open warfare could only be stopped by strong police
measures. But when the government forces responded, the U.S.
and NATO powers accused them of repression.

This became the excuse for their war on Yugoslavia.

Some reports indicate that there were objections to the
"new" KLA from some of those who had called themselves the KLA
early on. But they were quickly silenced. By the time of the
Rambouillet talks in France, the U.S. government was openly
declaring who were legitimate KLA representatives and who were

Today, according to various news reports including reports
in Jane's Defense Weekly, KLA forces inside Kosovo include
U.S. military Special Forces as well as British SAS forces.
This is no liberation army. It is an arm of NATO's
imperialist invasion of Yugoslavia.

                         - END -

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