The Sorcerer's Apprentice

PRISTINA/BERLIN | | jugoslawien

PRISTINA/BERLIN (Own report) - The arrest in Kosovo of several agents of the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) shines the spotlight once again on the political criminal happenings in this western protectorate. The three men, working for a front company of the German foreign espionage service, are charged with involvement in several bomb attacks against facilities of the EU and the UN. As a matter of fact, the BND had been implicated in criminal intrigues in Kosovo in the past. It assisted in setting up the UCK (Kosovo Liberation Army - KLA) terror organization and maintained contact to organizers of the Kosovo-Albanian Pogroms that caused numerous deaths in March 2004. The objective in both cases was to have a decisive influence on political developments in the region. It remains to be seen if this is also the case now. Observers are not excluding the possibility that the arrests had been initiated by the Kosovan Mafia. On various occasions, the BND has reported on organized crime in Pristina. Several members of the "government" are from this milieu, such as the current "prime minister." Berlin is primarily responsible for the criminal conditions in Kosovo. With the collaboration of the BND, Germany prevailed in the formation of a Kosovan "state" under the leadership of suspected gangsters.

The obscure occurrences that led to last week's arrests of three suspected BND operatives in Pristina, exposes once again the political criminal character of what is taking place in that protectorate. The agents are charged with implication in the November 14, bombing attack on the Kosovo EU headquarters. The men had already been placed under surveillance in connection with other attacks carried out on institutions of the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Kosovan Parliament. They will probably be also indicted for espionage for a foreign service, which carries up to a 20 year sentence, if found guilty. According to analogous reports from several intelligence sources, the three were employees of a BND front company, the "Logistics Coordination Assessment Services", which allegedly offers investment consultation to German companies in Kosovo. Pristina is obviously seeking to create a scandal around the BND activities. Whereas the German foreign ministry had hoped to clear up the matter without too much public attention - also by referring to the significant role played by Germany in Kosovo's secession - the Kosovan press has published not only the names, but also photos of the agents.

Controversy over EULEX

This scandal was preceded by complicated disputes concerning Pristina's secession. The press reports that, "for the first time, since the beginning of the Kosovo Crisis in the early 90s" not the Serbian, but the Albanian side has come under international pressure.[1] The bone of contention is EULEX - the 2,000 police and customs officers, jurists and administrative personnel that the EU, under the label of European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX), wants to send into the South Serbian province. EULEX is supposed to transform the Kosovan authorities into a state apparatus, thereby making Pristina's secession irrevocable. According to Berlin and the EU's original plans, the EULEX was supposed, to primarily replace the UNMIK, literally placing Brussels in control of the Kosovan transformation. This has so far been unsuccessful due to resistance from within the United Nations, in spite of massive obstructions set up also by Berlin ( reported [2]).

Protests in Pristina

Two members of the UN Security Council (Russia and China), as well as the majority of UN member nations, still refuse to recognize Pristina's illegal secession, which is why the transfer has not succeeded. To the surprise of the West, UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon has been supportive and has been refusing for months his accord for an implementation of the EU plans, if there are no concessions to Belgrade. Already a while ago, Ban tabled a proposition that took the Serbian minimal position into account. According to his proposition, EULEX was to be active in the Albanian-speaking areas of Kosovo, while UNMIK would maintain control over the police and justice in the Serb-speaking regions of the province. EULEX would also be formally obligated to remain "status neutral" and not promote Pristina's independence. Brussels has now agreed to Ban's concept, to avoid further delay and speed up the EULEX engagement. Pristina rejects this mediating proposal and protests, for the first time without western back-up. Last Wednesday, thousands of Kosovo Albanians demonstrated against Ban's plans and the EU's approval.

Political Objective

Observers initially supposed that the bomb attack on the EU headquarters in Pristina - just two days after Brussels made known its approval to the EULEX restrictions - was also in protest of the EU's concessions to Belgrade. If it is proven that the German intelligence agents were implicated in that attack, it would not be the first time. Already in March 2004, during the large scale pogroms against Serbs and Serbian institutions, a BND informer played a noteworthy role. The man was one of the organizers of the pogroms while serving as an informer of the German intelligence service.[3] Only two weeks before the pogroms began, the BND supposedly broke contact with their informer. "I suppose that the BND certainly must have informed the German government" said the intelligence service expert, Erich Schmidt-Eenboom, at the time and concluded that "the Albanian attacks on the Serbs were tolerated" by the German side.[4] Nineteen people were killed, approx. 4,000 driven from their homes, over two dozen monasteries were severely damaged during these pogroms. But the pogroms had a political effect: Berlin and Brussels demanded Kosovo's accelerated secession.[5]

With Criminal Means

Since the beginning of the 1990s, the BND has been pursuing political objectives in Kosovo with criminal means - through its support for the KLA terror troops. According to reports, the BND established contact to Kosovo Albanian militants in 1992 [6] and soon afterwards helped "in training and arming the rebels (...), to consolidate German influence in the Balkans."[7] These close ties were advantageous during the aggression against Yugoslavia, with the KLA replacing NATO ground forces and helping to vanquish the Serbian adversary. It soon became clear that Berlin and the rest of the West would not be able to shake off their deputy, a militia of criminals. Former KLA commanders have been able to prevail not only as bosses of the Kosovan Mafia but also in high political positions.

Get in the Way

For years, the BND - the organization that, with its support for the KLA in the 90s, made its rise possible in the first place - has been regularly warning against the Mafiosi structures in Pristina. The BND had reported back in 2005, in a paper destined for the public, that Hashim Thaci - today's "prime minister" - had earlier been a boss of the Kosovan Mafia. Two years later, another study, whose authors seem also to have had access to BND sources, says that "at the international level" Thaci has access to wide-ranging "criminal networks."[8] Also other Kosovan politicians are seen as criminals by the BND. The intelligence service expert Udo Ulfkotte, explains that an important task of the "Logistics Coordination Assessment Services" front company of the BND, was to gather information on money laundering, drug trafficking and sexual slavery in Kosovo. Ulfkotte sees the current arrests in Pristina as a counter-attack by the Mafia: "The BND men got in somebody's way."[9]

In Both Cases

If Ulfkotte proves to be right, the current scandal will be the hardest counter-strike delivered to date by the criminal structures put into power in Pristina by Berlin and the West. The only thing left to acknowledge - also if the BND agents' involvement is proven: Berlin can no longer rid itself of the criminal forces, it called into being in the 90s, to end Serbian control over Kosovo.

Further information on German cooperation with criminal structures in Kosovo can be found here: Political Friendships, "Thank You Germany!", Arbitrariness in Power and In Accordance With NATO Standards.

[1] EU gibt Serbien bei Kosovo-Mission nach; Der Standard 12.11.2008
[2] see also Pure Chaos
[3] Was wusste der Bundesnachrichtendienst?; 19.11.2004
[4] Kosovo-Unruhen: Wer wusste was?; Telepolis 22.11.2004
[5] see also Konsequenz des Krieges, Model, Kolonialherren and "A Piece of Land with no Status"
[6] Erich Schmidt-Eenboom: Kosovo-Krieg und Interesse;
[7] Matthias Küntzel: Der Weg in den Krieg. Deutschland, die Nato und das Kosovo, Berlin 2000
[8] see also "Thank You Germany!"
[9] Agenten-Thriller auf dem Balkan; Abendzeitung 23.11.2008