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Regime Rotation in America

by Michel Chossudovsky

Wesley Clark, Osama bin Laden and the 2004 Presidential Elections

www.globalresearch.ca   22 October 2003

The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO310B.html


Has General Wesley Clark joined the ranks of the 9/11 "conspiracy theorists"?

Clark has not only accused George W. of "possible manipulation of intelligence",  he is also calling for an investigation "into possible 'criminal' conduct in the drive to war." (Daily Telegraph, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/10/04/wclark04.xml 4 October 2003)

Strong words from the front-runner Democratic candidate in the presidential race:

"Nothing could be a more serious violation of public trust than consciously to make a case for war based on false claims... We need to know if we were intentionally deceived... This administration is trying to do something that ought to be politically impossible to do in a democracy, and that is to govern against the will of the majority... That requires twisted facts, silence, secrecy and very poor lighting." (quoted in Daily Telegraph, 4 October 2003)

General Clark's statement hints to a cover-up in the 9/11 joint Senate-House inquiry, regarding Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, which he identifies as  "terrorist sponsors".  In other words, the Retired Four Star General tacitly acknowledges the insidious role played by Washington's indefectible ally, the military government of President Pervez Musharraf, which is known to have supported Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

It is important that we understand the political motivations behind Wesley Clark's position.

While his observations regarding the Bush administration are accurate, his own record is tainted.

During his stint as NATO Supreme Commander (1997-2000),  Wesley Clark was in permanent liaison with the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). Under Wesley Clark's command, NATO directly sponsored a terrorist paramilitary army, with links to Al Qaeda and the trans-Balkan narcotics trade.

About turn: a former "terrorist  sponsor"  (to use his own words) under NATO auspices is now accusing the Bush administration of "seizing on the Sept. 11 attacks for justification [to wage war]" (San Francisco Chronicle,  2 October 2003).

In an utterly twisted logic, an individual who is recognized as a war criminal is seeking the support of the anti-war movement. In the words of the Palestine Chronicle:

"Enthusiastic support for front-running Democratic presidential contenders Wesley Clark and Howard Dean from liberals and some progressives reveals the dismal state of oppositional politics in America. Decades of unremitting right wing assaults on every sphere of American life has so jerked the political landscape to the right, that instead of clamoring for sweeping or even revolutionary changes as in days long past, the main battle-cry coming from 'the left' is ``Anybody But Bush'".(Sunil Sharma and Josh Frank,Two Measures of American Desperation: Wesley Clark and Howard Dean, 17 October 2003,  http://www.palestinechronicle.com/story.php?sid=20031017175449217 )

Filmmaker and antiwar critic Michael Moore supports the candidacies of Wesley Clark and Howard Dean: "We need a doctor [Dean] because there are 43 million of us without health care and we need a general to kick Bush's ass."  (http://www.dailynorthwestern.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2003/10/15/3f8ce93feca0a 15 October 2003).

Regime Rotation in America

Clark's Bush bashing and antiwar stance, supported by Hollywood and Wall Street, is not meant to reverse the tide of war. Quite the opposite. It provides a phony legitimacy to the war agenda in the name of "peace building" and democracy. 

It perpetuates "the big lie".

What this bipartisan mud-slinging achieves is  "regime rotation" in America. The "war on terrorism" which underlies the national security agenda remains functionally intact.

Ironically, during the Clinton administration, it was the Republicans who were accusing Bill Clinton of having links to the Islamic Militant Network in Bosnia and Kosovo. In a carefully worded 1999 document prepared by the Senate Republican Party Committee, the GOP blatantly accused Clinton of supporting terrorism in Kosovo:

"By the time the NATO air strikes began, the Clinton Administration's partnership with the KLA was unambiguous... Such an effusive embrace by top Clinton Administration officials of an organization that only a year ago one of its own top officials labeled as "terrorist" is, to say the least, a startling development. Even more importantly, the new Clinton/KLA partnership may obscure troubling allegations about the KLA that the Clinton Administration has thus far neglected to address." (Senate Republican Party Committee, The Kosovo Liberation Army: Does Clinton Policy Support Group with Terror, Drug Ties? http://www.kosovo.com/rpc.html , Washington, March 31, 1999)

A previous 1997 document emanating from the House Republican Party Committee entitled "Clinton-Approved Iranian Arms Transfers Help Turn Bosnia into Militant Islamic Base", accused Clinton of working hand in glove with Al Qaeda in Bosnia: 

"The Clinton administration’s hands-on involvement with the Islamic network's arms pipeline included inspections of missiles from Iran by U.S. government officials... [T]he Third World Relief Agency (TWRA), a Sudan-based, phoney humanitarian organization ... has been a major link in the arms pipeline to Bosnia... TWRA is believed to be connected with such fixtures of the Islamic terror network as Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman (the convicted mastermind behind the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing) and Osama bin Laden, a wealthy Saudi émigré believed to bankroll numerous militant groups." (Congressional Press Release, Republican Party Committee (RPC), U.S. Congress, Clinton-Approved Iranian Arms Transfers Help Turn Bosnia into Militant Islamic Base, Washington DC, 16 January 1997, available on the website of the Centre of Research on Globalisation (CRG) at http://globalresearch.ca/articles/DCH109A.html .)

Needless to say, the Republicans and the Democrats are complicit.  They accuse one another of having links to Al Qaeda. Yet successive Democratic and Republican administrations have been involved from the outset of the Soviet Afghan war in 1979 (during the Presidency of Jimmy Carter) in developing Al Qaeda as a US sponsored "intelligence asset".

These Congressional briefs, however, are not meant to be read by the broader public. They are used to score political points in a longstanding bipartisan ritual, while providing the illusion of a functioning Legislature, where political leaders are said to be held accountable. 

If the Democrats were to win the 2004 presidential elections, continuity in US foreign policy would be maintained. More importantly, the "war on terrorism" and the lies concerning Al Qaeda and 9/11 would also be maintained.

Bin Laden and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA)

The role of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) as a terrorist organization is amply documented by Congressional transcripts.  According to Frank Ciluffo of the Globalized Organized Crime Program, in a testimony presented to the House of Representatives Judicial Committee:

"What was largely hidden from public view was the fact that the KLA raise part of their funds from the sale of narcotics. Albania and Kosovo lie at the heart of the "Balkan Route" that links the "Golden Crescent" of Afghanistan and Pakistan to the drug markets of Europe. This route is worth an estimated $400 billion a year and handles 80 percent of heroin destined for Europe." (House Judiciary Committee, 13 December 2000)

The relationship between the KLA and Osama bin Laden is confirmed by Interpol's Criminal Intelligence division: 

"The U.S. State Department listed the KLA as a terrorist organization, indicating that it was financing its operations with money from the international heroin trade and loans from Islamic countries and individuals, among them allegedly Usama bin Laden . Another link to bin Laden is the fact that the brother of a leader in an Egyptian Jihad organization and also a military commander of Usama bin Laden, was leading an elite KLA unit during the Kosovo conflict." (US Congress, Testimony of Ralf Mutschke of Interpol's Criminal Intelligence Division, to the House Judicial Committee, 13 December 2000).

The evidence regarding the KLA contained in Congressional transcripts, news reports and intelligence documents directly implicates General Wesley Clark.

During his stint as NATO Supreme commander (1997-2000). Clark had close personal ties with KLA Chief of Staff Commander Brigadier Agim Ceku and KLA Leader Hashim Thaci (see photo below ).

Agim Ceku, who directly collaborated with NATO during the 1999 Kosovo campaign is recognized by the Hague ICTY Tribunal "for alleged war crimes committed against ethnic Serbs in Croatia between 1993 and 1995." ( AFP 13 Oct 1999) 

Hashim Thaci had ordered the political assassination of his opponents in Ibrahim Rugova's nationalist Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) (See November 2000 BBC Report at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1037302.stm ).  According to The Boston Globe (2 August 1999):

"Terrorists with ties to Osama bin Laden running around with AK-47s and anti-tank weapons is bad enough. Worse, Thaci's boys aren't just killers and kleptos, but mafioso who are neck deep in the drug trade. (During the war, the Washington Times quoted an unnamed U.S. drug enforcement official commenting on the KLA, 'They were drug dealers in 1998 and now, because of politics, they're freedom fighters.')"

In the wake of the 1999 Kosovo campaign, under NATO regency, these acts of political assassination--ordered by the self-proclaimed Provisional Government of Kosovo (PGK)-- were carried out in a totally permissive environment. The leaders of the KLA, rather than being arrested by NATO for war crimes, were granted KFOR protection. According to one report of the Foreign Policy Institute (published during the 1999 bombings): "...the KLA have [no] qualms about murdering Rugova's collaborators, whom it accused of the "crime" of moderation...(Michael Radu, "Don't Arm the KLA", CNS Commentary from the Foreign Policy Research Institute, 7 April, 1999).

In course of the bombing campaign, Fehmi Agani, one of Rugova's closest collaborators in the Kosovo Democratic League (KDL) was executed on the orders of the r Hashim Thaci.(Tanjug Press Dispatch, 14 May 1999):  "If Thaci actually considered Rugova a threat, he would not hesitate to have Rugova removed from the Kosovo political landscape." (Stratfor Comment, "Rugova Faced with a Choice of Two Losses", Stratfor, 29 July 1999). In turn, the KLA has abducted and killed numerous professionals and intellectuals.

And who were behind the 29 year old KLA leader Hashim Thaci? Madeleine Albright and Wesley Clark. (see photos below ). 

NATO, the KLA and Al Qaeda

According to a US Department of Defense briefing, so-called  "initial contacts" between the KLA and NATO took place in mid-1998, during the first part of General Clark's mandate as NATO Commander in Chief:

"...the realization has come to people [in NATO] that we [NATO led by Wesley Clark] have to have the UCK [acronym for KLA in Albanian] involved in this process because they have shown at least the potential to be rejectionists of any deal that could be worked out there with the existing Kosovo parties. So somehow they have to be brought in and that's why we've made some initial contacts there with the group, hopefully the right people in the group, to try and bring them into this negotiating process." (US Department of Defense, Background Briefing, July 15, 1998)

["Hopefully the right group"  means "we deal with people who obey orders."]

While these "initial contacts" were acknowledged by NATO officially only in mid-1998, the KLA had (according to several reports) been receiving "covert support" and training from the CIA and Germany's intelligence agency the  Bundes Nachrichten Dienst (BND) since the mid-nineties. These covert operations were known and approved by NATO. (Michel Chossudovsky, Kosovo `Freedom Fighters' Financed by Organised Crime, Covert Action Quarterly, 2000)

The development and training of KLA forces was part of NATO planning, directly led by General Wesley Clark. In the words of former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) secret agent Michael Levine, writing at the height of the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia:

"Ten years ago we were arming and equipping the worst elements of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan - drug traffickers, arms smugglers, anti-American terrorists…Now we're doing the same thing with the KLA, which is tied in with every known middle and far eastern drug cartel. Interpol, Europol, and nearly every European intelligence and counter-narcotics agency has files open on drug syndicates that lead right to the KLA, and right to Albanian gangs in this country." (New American Magazine, May 24, 1999)

The KLA acted as a paramilitary force, present on the ground in Kosovo. It was integrated by US and British SAS Special Forces and remained in close liaison with NATO. The KLA was also used by NATO High Command to acquire intelligence on bombing targets during the 1999 Kosovo campaign.

Confirmed by British military sources, the task of arming and training of the KLA had been entrusted in 1998 to the US Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) and Britain's Secret Intelligence Services MI6, together with "former and serving members of 22 SAS [Britain's 22nd Special Air Services Regiment], as well as three British and American private security companies". (The Scotsman, Glasgow, 29 August 1999)

"The US DIA approached MI6 to arrange a training program for the KLA, said a senior British military source. `MI6 then sub-contracted the operation to two British security companies, who in turn approached a number of former members of the (22 SAS) regiment. Lists were then drawn up of weapons and equipment needed by the KLA.' While these covert operations were continuing, serving members of 22 SAS Regiment, mostly from the unit's D Squadron, were first deployed in Kosovo before the beginning of the bombing campaign in March [1999]." (Ibid)

While British SAS Special Forces in bases in Northern Albania were training the KLA, military instructors from Turkey and Afghanistan financed by the "Islamic jihad" were providing  the KLA with guerilla and diversion tactics:

"Bin Laden had visited Albania himself. He was one of several fundamentalist groups that had sent units to fight in Kosovo, ... Bin Laden is believed to have established an operation in Albania in 1994 ... Albanian sources say Sali Berisha, who was then president, had links with some groups that later proved to be extreme fundamentalists." (Sunday Times, London, 29 November 1998.)

In the Wake of the 1999 Bombing of Yugoslavia

In the wake of the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia, NATO under Wesley Clark's command, supported the extension of the terrorist activities of the KLA into Southern Serbia and Macedonia.

Meanwhile, the KLA --renamed the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC)-- was elevated to United Nations status, implying the granting of "legitimate" sources of funding through United Nations as well as through bilateral channels, including direct US military aid.

In other words, a terrorist paramilitary force supported by Al Qaeda and linked to organized crime becomes a legitimate "civilian" National Guard, directly supported by NATO and the UN. 

And barely two months after the official inauguration of the KPC under UN auspices (September 1999), KPC-KLA commanders - using UN resources and equipment - were already preparing the assaults into Macedonia, as a logical follow-up to their terrorist activities in Kosovo. In this endeavour they had the full support of NATO and the US military, not to mention the so-called "international community" symbolised by the UN Mission to Kosovo (UNMIK), headed by France's former Minister of Health Bernard Kouchner:

According to the Skopje daily Dnevnik, the KPC had established a "sixth operation zone" in Southern Serbia and Macedonia:

"Sources, who insist on anonymity, claim that the headquarters of the Kosovo protection brigades [i.e. linked to the UN sponsored KPC] have [March 2000] already been formed in Tetovo, Gostivar and Skopje. They are being prepared in Debar and Struga [on the border with Albania] as well, and their members have defined codes." (Macedonian Information Centre Newsletter, Skopje, 21 March 2000, published by BBC Summary of World Broadcast, 24 March 2000)

According to the BBC, "Western special forces were still training the guerrillas" meaning that they were assisting the KLA in opening up "a sixth operation zone" in Southern Serbia and Macedonia. (BBC, 29 January 2001, at http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_1142000/1142478.stm )

Ironically the United Nations in a confidential February 2000 report to Secretary General Kofi Annan acknowledged that the KPC, was responsible for "criminal activities . . . killings, ill-treatment (and) torture, illegal policing, abuse of authority, intimidation, breaches of political neutrality and hate-speech.".  These occurred at the height of Bernard Kouchner's "humanitarian" mandate as the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) (15 July 1999 to 12 January 2001).

And in this regard, Kouchner, whose mandate was to channel humanitarian aid under UN auspices, worked closely with NATO officials including Wesley Clark in providing support to Kosovo's terrorist  paramilitary army. (See photo below ). Let us not forget that Bernard Kouchner was the Founder of "Doctors without Borders".(Médecins sans frontières) 

According to the London Observer, "the grim message to the U.N. secretary-general is that his own organization [led by UNMIK Head Bernard Kouchner] is paying the salaries of many of the offenders" (Observer, http://www.commondreams.org/headlines/031400-03.htm , 14 March 2000)

The 2004 Presidential Elections

What choices for the US Electorate?

The evidence presented above confirms that both the Democrats and the Republicans have links to Al Qaeda and are complicit in the "war on terrorism".

In a bitter irony, the very same terrorist organization (Al Qaeda)  which were supported by successive administrations, is heralded in both the Republican and Democratic election platforms as "an enemy of America". (See Michel Chossudovsky,  Expose the Links between Al Qaeda and the Bush Administration, Centre for Research on Globalization, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO303D.html , 15 March 2003). 

Ironically, Osama bin Laden has become part of the election ritual, providing all the necessary buzz-words for a stylized debate on  "Homeland Security", which is a central feature of the election platform of both political parties. . . 

Republicans or Democrats: The war agenda remains intact . The Democrats do not oppose President Bush's request to Congress to allocate $87 billion to finance Iraq's occupation and "reconstruction." :

 "The consent on financing the occupation and the reconstruction of Iraq are strong indications that there will be no substantial change in the U.S. policy in the region, at least until the strategic goal of the war is achieved." (Salameh Nematt,  Bin Laden and the U.S. Elections, Salameh Nematt Al-Hayat, 11 September 2003, http://english.daralhayat.com/OPED/09-2003/Article-20030911-9082bea7-c0a8-01ed-002a-cc14f6dc4d75/story.html )

The Republicans led the first Gulf war, the Democrats led the wars in the Balkans leading to the military occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina under the Dayton Accords in 1995 and the invasion of Kosovo in 1999. The Democrats were in office during the devastating wars in Rwanda and the Congo, leading to more than 3 million deaths. The Democrats and the Republicans joined hands in enforcing the "No Fly Zone" (1991-2003) and a twelve year program of economic sanctions and bombing of Iraq.

The Clinton-led wars in the Balkans were a stage of the "road-map". They were part of a broader US led-war extending from the Balkans into the Middle East and Central Asia. 

Republicans present a consistent team dominated by the Neo-cons including former Iran Contra officials of the Reagan administration. The GOP's war agenda is defined in terms of "multiple and simultaneous theater wars" as contained in the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). (See http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/NAC304A.html ). The PNAC also foresaw the triggering of a so-called "Pearl Harbor Event" to mobilize public opinion in support of the war agenda. (Ibid). 

While there are substantive differences between the Neo-Cons and leading Democrats, Bush's National Security doctrine is, in many regards, a continuation of that formulated by Clinton in 1995, which was based on a "strategy of containment of rogue states". 

There are significant differences. The NeoCons are more reckless than the Democrats, particularly with regard to nuclear policy. The Democrats under the Clinton adminstration were more skillful in using the UN system and multilateral framework to their advantage to effectively pursue their war agenda.

It is worth mentioning, however, that US Central Command (USCENTCOM) had already, during the Clinton administration, formulated  "in theater war plans" to invade Iraq and Iran. And the stated objective of these 1995 war plans was oil::

"The broad national security interests and objectives expressed in the President's National Security Strategy (NSS) [President Clinton] and the Chairman's National Military Strategy (NMS) form the foundation of the United States Central Command's theater strategy. The NSS directs implementation of a strategy of dual containment of the rogue states of Iraq and Iran as long as those states pose a threat to U.S. interests, to other states in the region, and to their own citizens. Dual containment is designed to maintain the balance of power in the region without depending on either Iraq or Iran. USCENTCOM's theater strategy is interest-based and threat-focused. The purpose of U.S. engagement, as espoused in the NSS, is to protect the United States' vital interest in the region - uninterrupted, secure U.S./Allied access to Gulf oil."(USCENTCOM, http://www.milnet.com/milnet/pentagon/centcom/chap1/stratgic.htm#USPolicy )

In fact, broadly the same concepts of Homeland Defense, preventive war, etc. are contained in Clinton's 1999 and 2000 National Security Strategy documents.(See http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/national/ )

In other words, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq under the Bush administration were part of the bipartisan road-map to Empire, --i.e. a continuation of  a war agenda which had already been decided upon well in advance of Bush's accession to the White House in January 2001. This should come as no surprise since many of the people in charge of these war plans, including CIA director George Tenet,had been appointed during the Clinton administration.

Increasingly, the military-intelligence establishment (rather than the State Department, the White House and the US Congress) call the shots on US foreign policy , with the Texas oil giants, the defense contractors and Wall Street operating discretely behind the scenes.

Ultimately, the war agenda and  "Homeland Security" (including the ongoing militarisation of civilian police and judicial institutions) are determined by powerful economic interests. Party politics largely serves as a smokescreen.

It is, therefore, unlikely that the Democrats would undo either the War agenda or the Patriot Act.

Totalitarian State in America: De facto Military Dictatorship

The backbone of this system is militarisation, including territorial conquest and military occupation. Behind the democratic facade and the bipartisan ritual, a de facto military dictatorship prevails.

Militarisation in turn endorses and enforces the global "free market" on behalf  of dominant economic and financial interests. 

In other words, the underlying political and economic power structures will not be fundamentally modified through "regime rotation" and the ritual of presidential and Congressional elections. 

To effectively build their "legitimacy", both the Democrats and Republicans need to uphold the falsehoods behind the "war on terrorism".

Sustaining the "freedom and democracy rhetoric" is not only part of this bipartisan ritual, it is part of the process of building a totalitarian State in America under the disguise of a functioning democracy.

Let us be under no illusion: the 2004 presidential elections will not result in a significant change of direction. 

To reverse the tide of war, military bases must be closed down, the war machine namely the production of advanced weapons systems (WMDs) must be dismantled, the evolving police state must be dismantled, etc.

To achieve these broad objectives, it is essential to break the legitimacy of the military and political actors who rule in our name.

The falsehoods which sustain the legitimacy of the bipartisan ritual must be unraveled.

Both parties share the same war agenda.  There are war criminals in both political parties.  Both parties are complicit in the 9/11 cover-up.

The evidence points to what is best described as "the criminalization of the State",  which also includes the Judiciary and the bipartisan corridors of the US Congress.

In the words of Andreas van Buelow, former German Minister of Defense and author of The CIA and September 11: "If what I say is right, the whole US government should end up behind bars,"


1999 War Criminals Join Hands (Kosovo 1999).

From Left to Right:

Hashim Thaci, Head of the KLA, closely linked to Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda. Hashim Thaci had ordered political assassinations directed against the Party of Ibrahim Rugova. Thaci was a protégé of Madeleine Albright (see photo below).

Bernard Kouchner, Head of United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) in Kosovo (July 1999- January 2001), instrumental in elevating the KLA to UN status.

General Michael Jackson, Commander of KFOR Troops in Kosovo.

General Agim Ceku, Military Commander of the KPC,  investigated by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) "for alleged war crimes committed against ethnic Serbs in Croatia between 1993 and 1995." ( AFP 13 Oct 1999)

General Wesley Clark, NATO Supreme Commander.

[The only person missing in the photo is Osama bin Laden.]


 

Secretary Albright and UCK leader Hashim Thaci

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Madeleine Albright greets KLA Hashim Thaci

 

UCK rebel in Kosovo, 1998

Amb. Holbrooke with an UCK commander in 1998

(Right) Ambassador Richard Holbrooke (appointed by President Clinton) with a KLA Commander, Summer 1998

Source of pictures: Senate Republican Party Committee,  http://www.kosovo.com/rpc.html


Michel Chossudovsky is Professor Economics at the University of Ottawa and the author of War and Globalisation, the Truth behind September 11 , 2003.

For details or to order the book go to http://globalresearch.ca/globaloutlook/truth911.html

Recent writings by Michel Chossudovsky at http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHOARC306A.html

© Copyright Michel Chossudovsky, CRG 2003  For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .


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