Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Albanian PM seeks probe on organ traffic claims
Wednesday, December 22, 2010; 9:55 AM
TIRANA, Albania -- Albania has invited an international investigation into claims it was linked with the trafficking of organs from slain civilians during the war in neighboring Kosovo.
Prime Minister Sali Berisha said Wednesday his government has offered full cooperation with the United Nations war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, should it wish to conduct a probe.
A Council of Europe report last week said Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci was behind the grisly trade while leader of the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army in the 1998-99 independence war with Serbia.The kidneys were allegedly removed from Kosovan opponents of the KLA and Serbs in detention facilities in Albania. Thaci and Albanian officials have denied the allegations, and Berisha claimed the report showed a pro-Serb bias
National Albanian American Council: The Albanian American Community Strongly Denounces Dick Marty's Accusations
WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Albanian American community strongly denounces the unsubstantiated allegations made by Mr. Dick Marty, a rapporteur for a committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, of illicit trafficking in human organs and organized crime by former leaders of the KLA. The report is an uncorroborated attack attempting to smear not only PM Thaqi, but also the heroic resistance against the Serbian ethnic cleansing campaign made by the Kosova Liberation Army (KLA).
Mr. Marty's report alleges fresh evidence but presents no new information, contends to have spoken with multiple witnesses, but refuses to publish names.
The international community has been extremely critical of Mr. Marty's report:
Mr. Bernard Kouchner, former Foreign Minister of France and UNMIK Chief at the time of the allegations, responded, "My first reaction, and I read the report very carefully, is that I'm very skeptical about those accusations of the organ trade. My second reaction is to have somebody investigate this, conduct a real investigation."
Mr. Philip Crowley, State Department spokesman, stated, "there are tribunals, such as the ICTY, that have been active for many years. To the extent you've got allegations of war crimes, there have been successful prosecutions. Both the UN and the ICTY have investigated allegations of an organ trafficking ring as far back as 2004. They decided to take no action at that time. But we certainly continue to encourage any cooperation – or cooperation in any further investigation of these matters."
Dr. Sali Berisha, Albania's Prime Minister, stated, "This is a report absolutely not based on any facts, evidence or reality, which shows the clear taking of sides of the author, including a flagrant abuse of the authority of the Council of Europe."
The Albanian American community fully stands behind the government of Kosova's demand that Dick Marty step back and allow competent, impartial authorities to look into these unsubstantiated allegations and commit to cooperate fully with any fair and unbiased inquiry. Additionally, we implore the international community to continue to support Kosova's inevitable membership into Euro-Atlantic institutions.
A Photo for Albanian historians:
Saranda, The Year 1917. In Port, the Greek flag, and in the background The Lëkursy Castle
Today, The Port of Saranda and big changes after......
Tirana considers as national security issues, the population count
Socialist MP, Ilir Gjoni, demands from the Albanian Secret Service, that it would take measures against the ethnic groups living in the Albanian territory "Anti Albanian groups, seeking to create in Albania, a multi ethnic state"
Is Albania, multi-ethnic state? Here's ethnic groups, that the Parliamentary Commission for Security, has announced as anti Albanian?... There are Greeks, Montenegrins, Bulgarians, Macedonians, Serbs, Bosnians, Vlachs and gypsies.
According to the newspaper "Shekulli" the socialist MP in the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, Ilir Gjoni, has expressed his concern about anti Albanian demands of all ethnic groups living in Albania, and for this purpose is explained by calling the Albanian government.
Gjoni, has stated that it is worrisome that by a ratio of the Albanian Secret Service SHISH, that certain ethnic groups, are seeking to proclaim Albania through counting of the population, a multi ethnic state.
However, it is appropriate to remember that, counting the population, is a European obligation of official Tirana, countries such as Kosovo and Macedonia, will develop the process, on the same date that performs and Albania.
Some days ago, the chairman of HRUP, Vangel Dule, has expressed his concern that the government of Albania, is seeking to manipulate the process of counting the population, for which he said he would not be contested in place in the most democratic self disclosure to include religion and ethnicity.
But what says the biggest European newspaper "Le Monde" Shortly after the self declaration of the independence of Kosovo?
Follow the writing of "Le Monde Diplomatique" below:
Independence for Kosovo: the domino effect
What borders for Albania?
In 1878 at the Congress of Berlin the German chancellor Bismarck declared that Albania was no more than “a geographical expression”. In the same year, however, influential delegates from the Albanian regions of the Ottoman empire gathered to found the League of Prizren, establishing the first modern claims to national status. Austria-Hungary defended the Albanian claims in the years that followed, in a standoff with Serbia and Greece who had entered alliances with Great Britain, France and Russia.
Ismail Qemal proclaimed a first, and ephemeral, Albanian republic at Vlora in 1912. But a year later the London Peace Conference created the Kingdom of Albania over only half of the regions with Albanian populations. The treaty also split Kosovo (predominantly Albanian) between Serbia and Montenegro. The Albanians have never accepted the prejudice to their people, and today its nationalists are intent on “rectifying” the “historical injustice”.
It is true that there was little guarantee of a future for the state of Albania at the time. It almost disappeared in the first world war, and there was no real settlement on its borders until the treaty of 1926, which was based on doubtful logic. The town of Gjakovë/Gjakova, for example, became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, despite the small size of its Serbian population. Similarly, territory that had always been part of the important municipality of Debar/Dibra was shared between the kingdom and Albania; today the city is part of the Republic of Macedonia, although its traditional hinterland lies in Albania (around the town of Peshkopi).
There are two issues intertwined here. The delicate balance between Albania’s neighbours (Montenegro, Serbia and Greece) and their powerful protectors had an influence on the definition of Albanian territoriality, as did Italy’s historical claims over the Albanian coastline. Also there are the problematic notions of an “Albanian region” or “Albanian cultural area”. Albanians have always lived in the midst of other national communities in these areas. Can we say that this or that town is part of the Albanian world because 50%, 60% or 80% of its inhabitants are Albanian? What percentage do we take and, more particularly, what scale of settlement do we include?
Memorandum signed for better cooperation of border police
The representatives of border police of six regional countries signed in Belgrade on Tuesday a Memorandum of Cooperation between the countries' border police at international airport crossings.
The representatives of border police of six regional countries signed in Belgrade on Tuesday a Memorandum of Cooperation between the countries' border police at international airport crossings.
The document, aimed at a better exchange of information in preventing all types of crimes, was signed by officials of the Serbian, Croatian, Montenegrin, Bosnian-Herzegovinian, Albanian and Macedonian police.
The signing of the Memorandum was attended by Head of the European Commission delegation to Serbia Vincent Degert and Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Ivica Dacic, who pointed to the significance of regional cooperation in preventing crime and illegal migrations.
Albania Jails Radical Imam, Welcomes New Synagogue
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The isolated and often-derided country of Albania, with a Muslim majority amounting to 70 percent of its three million citizens, has lately illustrated that small nations may often have great ideas, or, at least, may act responsibly in the face of major challenges that cause bigger powers to procrastinate.
On Friday, December 17, Muhammad Abdullahi, a prominent imam in the Albanian port of Durres, was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for jihadist incitement. Abdullahi had posted extremist sermons on an Albanian-language Wahhabi website, http://www.albselefet.net/.
Abdullahi worked in 2002 as the Albanian representative of the Al-Haramain Foundation, a Saudi-based global network named by the U.S. Treasury in 2004 as having “provided financial, material, and logistical support” to al Qaeda. The head of the U.S. branch of Al-Haramain, Pete Seda, an Iranian native, was found guilty in September 2010, by a federal court in Oregon, of financing radical activities in Chechnya through smuggling and money laundering. Al-Haramain in America also sent copies of the notorious Saudi-Wahhabi edition of the Koran to convicts in U.S. prisons, from an office in the Oregon town of Ashland...................continues.......http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/albania-jails-radical-imam-welcomes-new-synagogue_524724.html
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Kosovo PM calls for inquiry over organ trafficking claims
Hashim Thaçi says authorities will be 'very co-operative' in dealing with allegations made in Council of Europe report
Properties in southern Albania, like British tourists
Strangely, the ads comes from the "Belle Air" an airline which is owned, of a senior politician in Tirana.
The Albania property sector, one of the fastest emerging markets in Europe, could be boosted by the introduction of new low-cost flights from London to Albania.
Belle Air, a privately owned low cost airline, yesterday introduced the first flight from Albania to London Stansted. Two flights a week to and from Albania will operate on the winter timetable up until March 2011. Ravin Maharajah, sales director of Lalzit Bay & Spa Resort believes that the introduction of could appeal to more Brits willing to contemplate buying a home in Albania.
Maharajah said: "These flights reinforce Albania's growing position with the UK market in terms of both tourism and property purchasing. Albania is also celebrating this week as it has officially joined the Schengen Area Agreement allowing visa-free travel for residents throughout the 25 member states."
Albania is currently undergoing a major transformation and a growing number of international property investors are keeping one eye on the Albania property market, with a view to profiting from any potential capital growth.
Maharajah added: goes onto say: "Many people have no idea of the wonderful beaches and scenery in Albania and our resort in Lalzit Bay, just 30 minutes from the capital Tirana, is set to be one of the most luxurious destinations in the Eastern Mediterranean. With apartments available from just €50,400 [£43,000] this is such good value and they are selling quickly."
To read our guide to buying property in Albania, click here.
Arms smugglers arrested in Athens and Ioannina
Three Albanian nationals, aged 18, 20 and 36 years old, respectively, and two locals, a 48-year-old woman and 45-year-old man, have been arrested for illegally trading in arms, law enforcement authorities announced on Tuesday. The five arrests were made following a coordinated police operation in Ioannina, northwest Greece and Acharnes, in the greater Athens region.
The police operation was mounted following a tip off that the suspects were engaging in smuggling guns, bullets and hand grenades into Greece from the neighboring Albania.
In the possession of the suspects, police foundp and seized four army shotguns, a machinegun, two AK-47s and a double-barreled gun, 25 hand grenades, and 297 bullets of various calibers.
All the suspects were led before an Athens prosecutor while a police investigation continues for the arrest of more ring members.
Albanian general prosecution denies Marty's allegations
Photo: Attorney Spokesman Plator Nesturi
"According to a joint verification between Albanian experts and Hague investigators, there was no substantial data found, therefore the prosecution has not initiated a case," office spokesman Plator Nesturi said on Monday (December 20th).
Marty's report was adopted unanimously by the Council of Europe last week. The prosecutor's office also downplayed allegations circulating in the media that it prevented investigations in the case.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Albania’s Minister of Interior Lulzim Basha has denied assisting an ICTY expert who travelled to the country in 2003 to investigate claims that the Kosovo Liberation Army harvested organs of Serb prisoners.
“This is a dumb declaration, I have never been in any yellow house,” Basha told reporters in the city of Shkodra on Sunday, referring to an ICTY investigation of a house in the Mat region in northern Albania where Carla Del Ponte, the former chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, has alleged that Serb prisoners were killed for their organs.
The allegations that Basha assisted the ICTY as a translator were made by former forensics expert Pablo Baraybar.
In an interview for Swiss newspaper Le Temps, Baraybar said that had visited northern Albania incognito to investigate the claims in 2003, and had been assisted by Basha, who worked as a legal expert for UNMIK in Kosovo at the time.
“My translator was Lulzim Basha, he became interior minister in Albania later and I have heard him say that the allegations were nonexistent, while he was with me,” said Baraybar.
“I know that he knows, we were together and he has seen the dossier,” Baraybar added.
Basha's alleged presence at the investigation in 2003 surfaced after the contents of a draft Council of Europe report hit headlines around the world last week.
The document, drafted by Dick Marty, a Swiss MP in the Council of Europe, links a group of former Kosovo Liberation Army fighters, including Kosovo's current Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, to organised crime and organ harvesting.Basha said the claims made in the report, which was approved by the CoE's Legal and Political Affairs Committee in Paris on Thursday, were only recycled allegations.
The report also criticises Albania for not cooperating in investigating the alleged abuses.
Thaci, whose party won the recent elections in Kosovo, called the report "scandalous" and said it is filled with defamation and lies, in a press conference last Thursday.
|Died an adviser to George Papandreou, Tommazo Padoa Skiopa|| || || || |
Tommazo Padoa Skiopa, the Italian adviser to Prime Minister George Papandreou, died yesterday evening in Rome. Skiopa, seventy years, felt unwell during dinner at the mansion Sakketti the Eternal City. "Excuse me, but I'm not so good," he told his friends, with whom he had met to exchange Christmas greetings.
The transfer of the hospital Santo Spirito in chassis was futile. Sudden heart attack, the diagnosis of doctors. Born in Belluno in northern Italy, in 1940, Skiopa considered one of the most prestigious economists in the country. Analyst of "Corriere Della Sera" newspaper, he studied at the University of Milan Bokkoni, specializing in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It now stress the Italian commentators, has always been a staunch philanthropist, starting with the period during which took over the general direction of monetary and economic affairs of the then EEC - in 1979 - in close cooperation with the Chemout Schmidt and Valery Giscard d'Estaing.
In 1984, Skiopa, became vice president of Bank of Italy, headed by then, the future President of the Republic, Carlo Champi Atzelio. A close associate of Jacques Delors, succeeded former head of the European Commission, as president of the foundation bearing the name. In 1998, he became a member of the First Council of the European Central Bank, in seven years. From 2006 to 2008, he served as finance minister, the second center-left government of Prime Minister Romano Prodi.
The Italian media reported and the most recent professional responsibility, the role of adviser to Prime Minister George Papandreou, the last four months. "Greece will be able to overcome the crisis, subject to strictly implement the reform agenda has been prepared," he said recently, an Italian economist.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Mufti: Regime creating new Kosovo
|19 December 2010 | 11:32 | Source: Beta, Dnevnik|
| NOVI SAD -- Islamic Community in Serbia Chief Mufti Muamer Zukorlić says that Belgrade regime could make a “new Kosovo” out of Sandžak thanks to its ignorant behavior.|
He repeated the accusations against Head of the OSCE Mission to Serbia Dimitrios Kypreos, pointing out that he had been partial during the affair regarding the Bosniak National Council elections.
“And there is a much greater chance that Sandžak will become new Kosovo with this behavior. Everything is the same as Milošević did in Kosovo,” he told Novi Sad-based daily Dnevnik.
He stressed that the Bosniak Cultural Community (BKZ), that he led in the elections for the Bosniak National Council, had expanded its requests from cultural-educational autonomy to full autonomy of Sandžak because of the behavior of the Belgrade authorities. He also added that the autonomy had both historical and constitutional stronghold.
“We’re only asking a gradual authority solely within the Constitution, because I’ll remind you that Serbia’s highest legal act envisages possibility to establish new autonomies,” Zukorlić explained.
He pointed out that he had decided to turn to international institutions and the public because the Serbian authorities were not allowing him to solve the problems in domestic institutions and in accordance with the existing laws................more see:
The Fear for fraud, forces the Greeks Orthodox of Albania, to count separately
Started in the Saranda region, the preliminary census of population, which believes that belongs to the Orthodox religion and Greek ethnicity
Fear of a manipulation of the data of the census to be conducted in April 2001, has forced representatives of the Greek and Orthodox religion, the individual counting to make in advance, which will face the official census of the population, the next year.
The reason according to sources informed of the organization "Omonia", is because the Albanian government, has avoided in this process, the participation of minorities in the Central Census Commission.
"Gazeta Shqiptare", writes that from Saranda, have begun to distributed forms authorized by the Orthodox Church of Albania, where individuals can claim in a form, their ethnic origin and religious.
According to analysts who belong to non-Albanian ethnic groups, the process of population census in Albania, is considered very difficult, as a network of Albanian non-governmental organizations, have urged the Albanian government to scrap the declaration form, religion and nationality, as otherwise, this government will be considered anti-national, and will be the consequences for the future of Albania.
Regarding the fact that a country like Albania, which never in its own existence as a state, did not develop democratic free elections, nothing like that happen otherwise, that such Census have strong legal base, and the process by the Albanian government has to be distorted.
The Greek minority, fears a large-scale manipulation of the population and therefore counting has started in collaboration with the Orthodox Church, before the organization's own official count of the population census in Albania.