June 25, 1999


The poor Turks: no matter what they do, no matter how deep and low they salaam to the West, no matter how eagerly they try to make themselves useful, they just can't get no respect. For decades, the military junta that really runs the country has been doing the bidding of the West. Turkey was a de facto American military outpost all through the Cold War, and the post-Soviet era has seen this relationship grow even closer. The Turks have even gone so far as to enter into a military alliance with Israel in their bid to curry favor. They have jailed and repressed their own fundamentalists, and their contempt for religion rivals the militant secularism of our own ruling elite: a female member of the Turkish Parliament was recently arrested for showing up to the first session in the traditional sharia headdress. But this has gotten them nowhere with the European Union, which disdainfully rejected Turkey's application for membership on account of Ankara's Orientalist indifference to human rights and democracy. Bombing civilians is one thing, to the Europeans, but torturing prisoners with cattle prods is quite another. Yet still Ankara persisted: the thought of the riches to be gained by the Caspian Sea oil bonanza was more than enough to make them swallow their pride. The plan was to pump Caspian crude from Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. But soaring costs, the lack of private investment, and political instability in the region have all conspired to nix this option, and the Turks are in a tizzy. It seems those fickle investors, and the U.S. government, which formerly promoted the project, have found an alternative route – through their recently acquired Balkan protectorate. Now do the past few months begin to make a whole lot more sense?


On June 2 the US Trade and Development Agency announced a grant of $588,000 to Bulgaria to study the feasibility of running a pipeline through the southern Balkans. Advocates of the new route cite the costs of the Turkish option – $4 billion and rising – and estimate the Balkan alternative at $1 billion max. But the winning argument seems to be that the US taxpayers would not only pick up the tab for security but also provide financial guarantees. Western investors, who have long been licking their chops over the prospect of the Caspian Sea oil project, are once again employing their favorite financial strategy of socializing the costs and "privatizing" the profits.


The "humanitarian" war has a payoff, it seems, but this is just a side issue. The point is that the builders of this pipeline will have answered those critics of the Kosovo war, many of them on the Right – the so-called foreign policy realists – who said that the US has no discernible national interests in the Balkans. Once this conduit of Caspian oil wealth starts to flow into the region, the interventionists will retort: Well, now we do!


The new plan is to ship Caspian crude from Armenia, via the port of Supsa on the Black Sea, and also through Novorossiysk, in Russia, to be pumped across Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania on its way to the West. This way, everyone gets to feed off the gravy train: not only the big oil companies and investment bankers, but the bit players in this mercantilist scenario, most importantly Russia. Boris Yeltsin is not about to block this killing by the very investment bankers he must petition to keep his ship of state afloat. But he needs to be bribed on occasion, and this is but a mild sweetener when mixed with the bitter brew of NATO's Transcaucasian triumph. The Balkan pipeline will define the Eastern frontier of NATO's Holy Roman Empire, to be guarded unto eternity by American centurions – who will be handy in case there are any "humanitarian" missions to carry out further East.


Speaking of Turks, the truth about Hacim Thraci, the little Stalin of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), is finally beginning to come out. Chris Hedge's excellent piece in the New York Times is the journalistic complement to his pioneering work in Foreign Affairs, which exposed the origins of the KLA in an exotic blend of fascist antecedents, neo-Maoist ideology, Muslim fundamentalism, and drug-running. Just as the NATO-crats put their imprimatur on the separatist group, and the newspapers were full of stories about the sleek, slick, "new" KLA whose pro-Western face is the sternly handsome Mr. Thraci, Hedges has revealed that Thraci's opponents in the KLA have been executed, or have mysteriously turned up dead on several occasions. Not only that, but Thraci himself has issued threats – which seem always to be carried out. Now we know why they call him "the Snake." One press account has it that he earned his nickname because of his slender figure and "triangular face," but somehow I don't think that is the real reason, do you?


As James Rubin travels to Kosovo to have his picture taken with the Snake, and Thraci's handshake with General Michael Jackson, Kosovo Allied Commander, sealing the "demilitarization" agreement, is broadcast worldwide, it turns out that this paragon of Western "values" is nothing but a two-bit thug. All during the war, by the way, and its ebullient aftermath, Madeleine Albright seemed positively entranced by the Snake, as did Rubin: both bragged of talking to Thraci by cell phone and receiving regular reports from him on the situation on the ground. Now we know that, in between chats with Rubin and Albright, the thug Thraci busied himself with purging and murdering his own comrades. While the State Department is issuing a steady stream of denials, and seems to be sticking by their man, at least for the moment, as the real story of the KLA atrocities – including their war against the guerrilla forces loyal to Kosovar President Ibrahim Rugova – comes out, it is fair to ask how much they knew about their young pupil's extracurricular activities.


If this fails to discredit the KLA in the halls of Congress, then what will? We are told that Senator Mitch McConnell's amendment to the defense appropriations bill – which we warned you about – has been put "on hold." But the truth is that the powerful Albanian lobby, flush with drug money, is already navigating a "security package" through the Senate: the bill specifies that out of a total of $150 million in aid to Kosovo, "$20 million shall be available for training and equipping a Kosova security force." With British Prime Minister Tony Blair refusing to rule out independence for Kosovo, and the KLA in position as the de facto armed forces and police of the newly separated province, there is only one possible recipient of this money, and that is the Snake and his fellow vipers. Let the call go out to opponents of this mad Balkan adventure: not one penny of US tax dollars to the KLA!


A letter to your representatives in Congress, and perhaps a phone call to their district office, will help to counteract the pervasive influence of the enormously powerful Albanian lobby. This lobby consists of not only celebrity airheads like Bianca Jagger but celebrity billionaires such as George Soros. The Soros philanthropic empire has funneled moral and journalistic (if not material) support to the KLA lobby in America, and was a key player in its precursors, the Balkan Institute and the American Committee to Save Bosnia. Wednesday's Lehrer News Hour featured a panel discussion of the KLA featuring the estimable Christopher Layne and an "independent" journalist associated with the George Soros Foundation, whose last name was Nazi – I kid you not-sie! – and who solemnly declared that the KLA was founded "about a year ago." When the announcer gave his brief biography at the beginning of the show, he visibly blushed and rolled his eyes at the mention of Soros's name. As well he might.


Western shills for the KLA naturally want to rewrite the history of the KLA, and this involves pretending that it is a completely new movement that was sprung from Albanian soil like a Myrmidon fully armed. Hedges exposes the key role played by the Albanian Communist dictator Enver Hoxha, who funded the Kosovo Popular Movement, a Marxist-Leninist organization inspired by Tirana and directly aided by Hoxha's secret political police, the much-feared Sigurimi. With Hoxha's death, in 1985, and the fall of Communism in Europe, the Sigurimi did not disappear, but instead turned to drug smuggling and other clandestine activities, continuing its operations in Kosovo, reportedly with German and Croatian help.


Oh, the wonders of technology! Our old ISP catalogued our hits by server, and during the war I could see an unusually large number of hits coming from government (.gov) servers. With our new ISP (Eagle Net, who has graciously donated our Web space), however, these statistics are much more accessible – and revealing. It seems we have at least one fan at the Pentagon, and we also have a loyal cadre of readers among some aides in the US Senate. Maybe it is only a few interns goofing off on the computers, but assuming I have your ear, gentlemen, I have a simple request: Why not conduct a thorough investigation of the KLA? As long as our tax money is going to subsidize their thuggery, at least let us in on the extent of their crimes – after all, we're paying for it.


Together with the public relations consulting firm of Ruder-Finn, and the "Fatherland Fund" run by the overseas branch of the KLA, the War Party has launched a largely successful two-pronged attack: the media is fed a constant diet of pro-KLA stories, and friendly congressmen, such as loudmouth warmonger Rep. Tom Lantos (D-California), are fed thousands of dollars in campaign contributions


Gee, how come the executions carried out at the behest of the Snake don't rate as "war crimes" – or has Louise Arbour let her New York Times subscription lapse?

Check out Justin Raimondo's article, "China and the New Cold War"

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Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com. He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against US Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (forthcoming from Prometheus Books).



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