US Blacklists Ethnic Albanians

The U.S. has blacklisted a series of ethnic Albanian nationalist organizations and leaders, the German international radio service, Deutsche Welle, reported on June 28. The report was immediately picked up by the Belgrade daily Politika as well as by the Macedonian daily papers.

From the accounts, it seems that the so-called Prevention of Terrorism Act was invoked, as the U.S. government had threatened to do several times against the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) during the Kosovo conflict, in particular at the time of the Rambouillet negotiations in bulldozing the KLA representative, Ibrahim Thaci, into accepting the Rambouillet Treaty.

But according to Politika and and the Macedonian daily Dnevnik, the Albanian nationalist organizations and individuals were blacklisted explicitly because they were considered to be acting contrary to U.S. policy, i.e, “obstructing implementation of the Dayton Treaty [which concluded the Bosnian war] and UN Security Council Resolution 1244 [the basis for UN intervention in Kosovo, which insists that Kosovo is to remain part of Serbia] … and undermining the stability of the region.”

The penalties imposed on the blacklisted individuals corresponded to those included in the anti-terrorism act passed under the Clinton administration; that is, they forbid U.S. citizens to provide financial support for named organizations and they ban named members of these organizations from entering the United States.

The Kosovo Albanian press service close to the former KLA, Kosovapress, took up the reports in its June 29 dispatches. But it seemed not to want to believe them, although it did not discount them. Ethnic Albanian leaders quoted in the Macedonian press also did not seem to want to believe the story, but they did not refute it either. Some reactions indicated that they did believe it and were angry.

It is likely that the Albanian organizations that think they have at least a tactical alliance with imperialism would want to try to negotiate privately before they respond with the Western officials who have been cultivating them. Nonetheless, the July 3 issue of Dnevnik reported that the European Union and member governments were taking measures following the lines of the U.S. decision.

In a June 29 dispatch, Kosovapress quoted Kastriot Haxhirexha, a leader of the Albanian National Democratic Party in Macedonia, as saying that a blacklist should include “the names of those persons who have undertaken campaigns against the civilian population, in which dozens of innocent Albanian civilians have been killed, including many women and children, campaigns that have burned whole villages, that have physically abused dozens of innocent Albanians.”

According to the June 29 Politika, the U.S. blacklist included the Albanian guerrillas in the Presevo Valley, the National Liberation Army in Macedonia, the Political Council of Presevo, Bujanoc, and Medvedje, an allegedly reconstituted KLA, several officers of the Kosovo Defense Force (the legal force constituted by the UN occupation government in Kosovo, which included many former KLA members), some leaders of the Albanian parliamentary parties in Macedonia, the National Liberation Movement of Kosovo [LKCK] and the Peoples Liberation Movement of Kosovo (LPCK).

The last two movements have a program of Pan-Albanian unity and were the initiators of the KLA. The reported reference to a reconstituted KLA seems to be the first in the media to refer to such a thing. But it is possible that there has been an attempt to reform the KLA as an underground organization in imperialist-occupied Kosovo.

Early in the formation of the Kosovo Defense Force, many former members of the KLA resigned from it, saying that it did not correspond to the aspirations that led them to take up arms in the name of the national rights of their people. The imperialist occupation forces have been continually finding arms caches that they claim belong to Albanian nationalists.

The conflict between the imperialist plans for the Balkans and the aspirations of the oppressed Albanian populations forcibly incorporated into a number of states in the region is clearly becoming more acute.

So far the imperialists have been able to maneuver and pull the wool at least part way over the eyes of most of the Albanian leaders. But they cannot conceal their real policy forever or fail to follow its logic. Nor can the U.S. government long conceal the essential politically repressive objective of its so-called anti-terrorism act.

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