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Bin Laden in the Balkans
[Re-Posted with additional materials, 3 October 2001]
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From the 'The Washington Times' June 22, 2001

"The rebels would have their big brothers in America - the same heroes who led the NATO mission against their enemies, the Serbs - believe that the violence they are now perpetrating in Macedonia is merely about protecting minority rights. But the National Liberation Army (NLA), a splinter of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), also has another motive: It is fighting to keep control over the region's drug trafficking, which has grown into a large, lucrative enterprise since the Kosovo war. In addition to drug money, the NLA also has another prominent venture capitalist: Osama bin Laden. The Muslim terrorist leader, according to a document obtained by The Washington Times and written by the chief commander of the Macedonian Security Forces, puts out the front money for the rebel group through a representative in Macedonia: 'This person is representative of Osama Ben laden sic , who is the main financial supporter of the National Liberation Army, where up to date he has paid $6 million to $7 million for the needs of the National Liberation Army.'"

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From 'The Canberra Times' (Australia ) April 28, 2000 - Page 8

"BIN LADEN IN KOSOVO ACTS

"BELGRADE: Islamic Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden, wanted for terrorism by the United States, is in Kosovo. The official Yugoslav news agency Tanjug said bin Laden, whom it described as a " terrorist and Islamic fanatic" , arrived from Albania after having formed a group of 500 Islamic fighters in the eastern region around Korce and Pogradec to carry out " terrorist acts" in Kosovo.

"He planned similar acts in the southern region of Serbia bordering on Kosovo, including Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac, the agency said."

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'The Charleston Gazette.' November 30, 1998 - Page 2A

"BIN LADEN RUNS TERRORIST NETWORK, REPORT SAYS

"LONDON - The man accused of orchestrating the U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa operates a terrorist network out of Albania, The Sunday Times reported.

"The newspaper quoted Fatos Klosi, the head of the Albanian intelligence service, as saying a network run by Saudi exile Osama Bin Laden sent units to fight in the Serbian province of Kosovo.

"Bin Laden is believed to have established an Albanian operation in 1994 after telling the government he headed a wealthy Saudi humanitarian agency wanting to help Albania, the newspaper reported.

"Klosi said he believed terrorists had already infiltrated other parts of Europe from bases in Albania. Apparent confirmation of Bin Laden's activities came earlier this month during the murder trial of Claude Kader, 27, a French national who said he was a member of Bin Laden's Albanian network, the newspaper said.

"Kader claimed during the trial he had visited Albania to recruit and arm fighters for Kosovo.

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FROM 'THE DAILY OKLAHOMAN,' May 28, 1999

"...As U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe long has predicted, American troops go into Kosovo against the Serbs, they'll be fighting alongside a terrorist organization known to finance its operations with drug sales - including some to the United States.

"By joining hands with the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which intelligence sources say bankrolls itself by selling heroin and cocaine, the United States also would become partners of a sort with Osama bin Laden, the international terrorist behind last year's bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the Washington Times reports. According to the newspaper's sources, the KLA is linked to an extensive organized crime network headquartered in Albania. In 1998 the State Department listed the KLA as an international terrorist organization that supported itself with drug profits and through loans from known terrorists like bin Laden.

"Such an ally is the result of Bill Clinton choosing sides in a centuries-old civil war. "They were terrorists in 1998 and now, because of politics, they're freedom fighters," a top drug official told the Times.

"In Bill Clinton's war, where bombing has been turned into a humanitarian application, such a paradox fits right in.

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In 1999, the newspaper, 'Dani,' announced that bin Laden had been issued a Special Passport from the Washington-Backed Bosnian Government in 1993. Two weeks ago, the Bosnian government issued a denial. Given that this denial took two years and came immediately after September 11th, we suggest it be taken with a grain of salt.

"BIN LADEN WAS GRANTED BOSNIAN PASSPORT

"Agence France Presse September 24, 1999

"SARAJEVO

"Osama bin Laden, the Saudi billionaire wanted by the United States for organising bloody terrorist attacks, was granted a Bosnian passport in 1993 by the country's [i.e., Bosnia]embassy in Vienna, an independent weekly reported Friday.

"'The Bosnian embassy in Vienna granted a passport to bin Laden in 1993,' Dani magazine said, quoting anonymous sources, emphasizing that files and traces linked to his case have recently been destroyed by the [Bosnian] government.

"However, Bin Laden 'did not personally collect his Bosnian passport,' Dani said, without elaborating or explicitly stating that his passport was ever collected.

"'High Muslim officials of the Bosnian foreign ministry agreed that it [the destruction of files linked to bin Laden] was the top priority. It was even more important than investigating a person responsible for granting a passport to the most wanted terrorist in the world,' Dani reported.

"According to the article, Muslim political circles claim that six years ago officials at the Bosnian embassy in Vienna could not have known who bin Laden was.

"During the 1992-1995 Bosnia's war, the Vienna embassy has been 'making contacts with many Arab-world people seeking aid' for the mainly Muslim Bosnian army, the article said.

"The foreign ministry issued no comments on the article. Bin Laden, believed to be in Afghanistan, is accused by the United States of masterminding bloody bomb attacks against its embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August of last year. Over 200 people were killed in these attacks. Washington has offered a reward of five million dollars for information leading to his arrest.

"Earlier this week the Bosnian government confirmed it had granted citizenship and passport to a Tunisian-born senior aide of bin-Laden in 1997. The government said citizenship was given to Mahrez Amduni, known in Sarajevo as Mehrez Amdouni, on the basis of his Bosnian army membership, stressing that there was no Interpol arrest warrant against him at that time.

"Amduni was arrested by Turkish police at Istanbul airport on September 13, in an operation in which Interpol also took part.

"During the Bosnia 1992-95 war some Islamic fighters battled alongside Muslim soldiers in central Bosnia against Bosnian Serbs and Croats. Most of them left the country after a US-brokered peace deal was signed in 1995. Some of them gained Bosnian citizenship as members of the Bosnian army or by marrying Bosnian women.

"The government has never revealed how many foreign fighters were granted Bosnian citizenship."

Copyright 1999 Agence France Presse

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The following article, while not specifically about bin Laden, talks about how the Mujahideen functioned in Bosnia:

"Polish Press Reports On Training Of Mujahideen In Bosnia

"From Tanjug, 12/16/97

"Intelligence services of the Nordic-Polish SFOR Brigade suspect that a center for training terrorists from Islamic countries is located in the Bocina Donja village near Maglaj in Bosnia, Warsaw daily Rzecspospolita writes on Tuesday.

"The author of the article, Marek Popowsky, who used to be in both SFOR and its predecessor IFOR in Bosnia, writes that mujahideen had first come to Bosnia in 1992, and numbered over 3,000 in the summer of 1995.

"Besides mujahideen from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan, there were several hundred Muslim extremists who had come from Italy, France, Germany and Britain, he notes.

"Deserters from the Turkish, Malaysian and French UNPROFOR battalions also volunteered as mujahideen, Popowsky writes. In addition to dangerous military actions, the mujahideen also carried out a religious and ideological mission, enforcing abidance by the Koran and recruiting young soldiers to die for Allah, Popowsky writes.

"Noting that Bosniac (Muslim) troops respected their allies but feared them at the same time as Allahs' warriors used to carry out high-risk actions and were cruel fighters, Popowsky quotes Serb officers as saying that the mujahideen never took prisoners. Wounded enemy soldiers were usually decapitated or slaughtered by mujahideen, Popowsky writes.

"The Dayton Agreement committed (Bosnian Muslim leader) Alija Izetbegovic to remove all foreign fighters from Bosnia, but about one thousand mujahideen who obtained Bosnian citizenship in the meantime remain in Sarajevo, Tuzla, Zenica and about ten villages, the daily writes.

"The largest group of mujahideen is now in Bocina Donja, a formerly Serb village near Maglaj, the daily writes, adding that the Nordic-Polish intelligence service G-5 is following the activities of such unusual "settlers", as it suspects that a camp for training terrorists is located in the village following reports from Serb and Croat forces' commanders.

"Noting that Islamic states had allocated to the Muslim part of Bosnia military and humanitarian aid to the value of over one billion dollars and that decisions to this effect had been taken not only by governments but also by various extremist Muslim groups and informal institutions, the daily writes that the activities of mujahideen in Bocina Donja would continue to be monitored by international special services to prevent the village from being transformed into a base for launching terrorist operations." (Tanjug, Warsaw, December 16)

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