The U.N.'s repeated failure to act on received intelligence has allowed illegal paramilitary groups to flourish and engage in terrorist attacks aimed at destabilizing regional governments in the Balkans, said Thomas Gambill, a former security chief with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), self-described as the world's largest regional security agency.
Gambill was responsible for overseeing the eastern region of Gjilane in Kosovo from 1999 until 2004 under the authority of the U.N.
shared hundreds of pages of U.N.
and OSCE documents with Cybercast News Service, showing how the Serbs and other minorities were systematically and successfully targeted for removal from Kosovo.
Following the NATO bombing of Kosovo, American troops under NATO command were stationed in neighboring Macedonia and Albania while then-President Bill Clinton decided on the size of the U.S. contingent to be deployed in Kosovo.
When U.S. troops entered the province in June 1999, the alleged retaliatory ethnic cleansing was already underway.
Incidents of sexual violence, torture, arson, murder, kidnapping, and verbal threats were allegedly widespread as part of an organized and successful campaign conducted "right under the U.N.'s
nose," said Gambill
Other armed extremist groups also participated in the ethnic cleansing, said Gambill
The overall goal of the groups was the creation of an ethnically pure state that included Albania, Kosovo and parts of Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia "They will push for more.
That is the plan.
It's called Greater Albania," said Gambill
After six months of NATO presence, the violence aimed at the Serbs became less frequent, though grenade attacks, drive-by shootings and abductions continued as weekly occurrences for the next five years, according to Gambill
"Even as of a couple of weeks ago, it hasn't stopped," he
The perpetrators of ethnic violence were emboldened by a lack of functioning local police or a judiciary system, Gambill
Even now, the "good cops" are threatened by former KLA members, who are also on the police forces.
"One female cop, she
was a real Serpico," recalls Gambill
wouldn't give up an investigation after being threatened.
was killed soon after being warned."
Minorities are still being denied health care by Albanian medical professionals who quickly dominated the health care profession following the NATO bombing, Gambill
recounted an incident in which a Serb doctor was taken behind a building and shot in the back of the head.
"Sometimes they had to take wounded Kosovar Serbs all the way to Serbia for medical aid," said Gambill
'Don't Rock the Boat'
told Cybercast News Service that he
was most frustrated by what he
saw as apathy on the part of the U.N. Mission
in Kosovo and OSCE, despite what he
described as lower-level officials who "worked really hard and cared about the mission.
"There was a don't-rock-the-boat atmosphere," Gambill
"Many people deployed to the region simply wanted to make their hefty pay and have a good time vacationing in Greece.
They didn't want any 'problems' on their watch."
Aggressive patrols were discouraged, Gambill
said, for fear that any ensuing firefights would give the appearance that KFOR forces did not have control of the area.
"It was all P.C. (politically correct).
People were afraid to say anything," said Gambill
, adding that those who spoke out on serious issues were subjected to transfers or other reprisals.
"No one seems to want to listen or make waves.
They said 'I can't do anything to change the system, so why speak out?'"
The result of such an attitude, Gambill
said, is that "every time there is an attack against a Serb, it's always described as an 'isolated case' -- an event swept under the rug, so to speak."
warnings and reports on grave security threats were often met with a condescending attitude and even laughter.
During a briefing given at the end of 2000 to OSCE delegates from Vienna, Austria, Gambill
identified illegal paramilitary groups operating in the Balkans in violation of U.N. Security Council resolution 1244.
Albanian mafia flourishes
At the same briefing, Gambill
tried to explain the regional mafia structure, however, U.S. and Russian delegates in the audience complained about the content of Gambill's
As a result, he
said, OSCE headquarters in Pristina sent a message to Gambill's
regional superiors with the message, "Shut Tom up."
"You couldn't get up in front of meetings and say, 'We've lost control of [Kosovo], the mafia controls it,'" said Gambill
"But they do.
They run the damn place."
cited OSCE data that showed 42 mafia leaders had moved into Kosovo in the wake of the NATO bombing in order to set up criminal organizations.
They continued to thrive despite efforts to establish mature law enforcement operations in the province, he
"Drug smuggling, counterfeiting, weapons, human trafficking were all booming when I was there," said Gambill
also alleged that high-level mafia leaders are in senior political positions.
"Good cops," who want to target the corruption are "under threat," said Gambill
, adding that the Albanian mafia maintains ties with Russian, Serbian, Croatian and Italian mafia organizations to further their common agendas.
also warned his
U.N. superiors that the newly formed paramilitary group, the Albanian National Army
, was "highly dangerous and skilled" and operating in Kosovo as well as northwestern Macedonia.
But those warnings, he
said, were also met with disbelief.
"My biggest concern has always been the incursion of radical Islam into the area," said Gambill
"They're making preparations in Macedonia for terrorist attacks against internationals if Kosovo is not granted independence."
If the United Nations recommends against independence, Gambill
said, it will spur the Saudis to increase their involvement in the region.
"They've got the money, they've got the power.
They'll remind Kosovars that they are their true friends.
And they'll help the extremists fight and prepare terrorist attacks against internationals and even NATO troops stationed there," Gambill
told Cybercast News Service.