Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis
Exclusive. From GIS Station South-East Europe. One of Albania's most radical supporters of jihadist terrorism, the former director of the Albanian Intelligence Agency, SHIK, Bashkim Gazidede, returned with his family to Albania on December 10, 2005, from Turkey, via the Turkish airline, THY. Gazidede served the Albanian Intelligence Agency from 1992 to 1997 with the full support of then-Pres. Sali Berisha. In 1997 he was the commander in the headquarters for the restraint of the 1997 events held in southern Albania. Gazidede left from Albania two days after the June 1997 elections and until 2001 was fugitive, charged with crimes against humanity during the 1997 events. Today he has been exempted from the charges. Gazidede is considered to be an extreme fundamentalist, and, based on reliable information provided to GIS, he retains close relations with extreme Islamists and with members of the international terrorist organization al-Qaida . He supports the Islamists in the Balkans and he is the main organizer for the transportation of volunteer Islamist Albanians to join the Chechnya terrorists. He had twice, in 1996, brought Osama bin Laden to Albania and Kosovo. Bashkim Gazidede had also proposed for the admission of Albania in the Islamic Conference. Gazidede left Turkey on December 10, 2005, the same day that US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert S. Mueller visited Ankara, and two days before, on December 12, 2005, US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Porter Goss visited Turkey. According to information retrieved from the Information Agency of the Kosovo Force (KFOR) and the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) during the past months, Albanians politicians have provided strategically significant "alerts" -- briefs -- to their illegal Intelligence agencies. The alerts not only concerned the gathering of information on KFOR and the Serbian Security Forces; they also provided tasking to the services to intimidate the Serbian population in Kosovo and to further expel them from the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica. For that reason, the movement which created "Greater Albania" has also founded an illegal intelligence and security agency in Kosovo, called SHIK -- the same name as with the Albanian Intelligence Agency -- which is concerned with security issues. It was created by Hasim Thaci. Apart from Hasim Thaci, Xhavit Haliti and Kadri Veseli took part in creating SHIK and both are members of the main national Albanian Intelligence Agency. According to information retrieved by the Information Agency of UNMIK, Xhavit Haliti is the mastermind of the new Kosovo SHIK and he controls events behind the scenes. Hasim Thaci is the director of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) and he was the former director of KLA. Kosovo's SHIK is supported by the political parties that control organized crime. These are the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) of Thaci, the Alliance for the Kosovo Future (AAK) of Haradinaj, the People's Movement for Kosovo and the Movement for the Liberalization of Kosovo. The headquarters of the "Governmental Intelligence Agency of Kosovo" is in Pristina, and is called the "Central Command". Moreover, many branch offices operate throughout the province and these are called regional branches. The director of the Central Command is Kadri Veseli, who comes from Kosovska Mitrovica and he is known as "Ljulji". In his absence, Hiljmi Recica is acting as deputy, and he is known as "Petriti". Central Command consists of the following departments: the Technical and Interception Department, which deals with the interception of cell phones; the Intelligence Department; and the Internal Security Department, which controls the agents. According to information retrieved from the Information Agency of UNMIK, the main members of SHIK in Kosovo are Xhavit Haliti, Rexhep Selimi, Sabit Geci and Ljatif Gasi. In the headquarters of SHIK in Kosovo, there are approximately 60 personnel, working in three different departments. The first department is responsible for organized crime. Their aim is to expel criminal groups which compete with those of the Kosovo Albanian leadership (ie: essentially, the KLA). The second department is working on "anti-terrorism" issues and it mainly focuses on the Serbian organizations and non-Albanian intelligent agencies in Kosovo. The third department is responsible for counter-surveillance issues and intelligence, focusing on the gathering of information before the international organizations in Kosovo do. Also, SHIK pays 650 to 700 people for information services. SHIK used as a cover the private company KOBRA; however, KOBRA was forced to close by the decision made by the United Nations (UN) delegate in Kosovo. Therefore, SHIK created two new private companies, BESA SECURITY and BODI GARD. BESA SECURITY engages 50 people and BODI GARD 90 people, while the latter also provides physical protection services. The members of BODI GARD are lightly armed and their real mission is to become a Special Unit for SHIK in order to pressure the Serbs. The headquarters of SHIK in Pristina is in the Grand Hotel, while the regional branches are using the PDK offices of Hasim Thaci. Meanwhile, the President of Kosovo, Ibrahim Rugova, had founded his own Intelligence Agency in Kosovo. The Democratic Alliance of Kosovo (LDK) of Rugova owns the "Institute of Social Research", which operates as a security agency. This agency is similar to SHIK of Kosovo, although it is smaller. Based on information received by GIS, Rugova has now amalgamated his Intelligence Agency with SHIK. Nevertheless, the cells of the Intelligence Agency of Rugova are members of the former Governmental Security Force of Yugoslavia and their aim is to minister to the needs and interests of LDK, in other words Rugova. Furthermore, the Albanian Intelligent Agencies have clear missions. Their primary aim is to capture the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica. According to information retrieved by the Information Agency of UNMIK, the command charged with capturing the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica is the "CELAT" group, a special terrorist group of the National Albanian Army (AKSH or ANA). The personnel in charge to accomplish this plan are Bekim Uti, who is the chief of "CELAT"; Ismet Haxha, a member of AKSH and the director of SHIK in Kosovska Mitrovica; and Nexhat Cubreli who is an associate of SHIK. "CELAT" is an extreme Islamist group. Bashkim Gazidede is the link between the Turkish Intelligence Agency (MIT) and SHIK of Kosovo and he retains very close relations with the leader of SHIK, Xhavit Haliti. Gazidede was using Haliti while he was the director of the Albanian Intelligence Agency, SHIK (1992-1997), and the latter was the link between the Albanian SHIK and Kosovo. On November 17, 2005, the Syrian security forces arrested the Albanian Xhavit Haliti in Damascus as a member of the international terrorist organization al-Qaida . Haliti had studied in Syria and he speaks both Arabic and English. Haliti was located by the Intelligence Agency of a Balkan country and there was evidence that he was gathering funds and he was recruiting volunteers in Europe in order to support the al-Qaida operations of Abu Musab al-Zarqawiin Iraq. Also, Haliti was very closely linked to the networks of the Chechnya mafia and he was gathering funds for the Chechen terrorist, Shamil Basayef, whose fanatic groups were supported by mujahedin volunteers coming from the Balkans. Also, Haliti was close linked with the director of al-Qaida in Europe, Abou Rabia. He even managed to incorporate his own extremist group consisted by Albanian mujahedin with the Abou Rabia network in Europe. The chief of this group uses the alias "Abou Abdallah", and the acronym AK, He comes from northern Albania. After January 2003, AK was in the Caucasus with Chechen terrorists and he had transported Moroccans mujahedin to support Shamil Basayef. In July 2003 he entered Iran with a Chechen terrorist group in order to assist the terrorists of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and this group was incorporated with the groups of "Allah's Lions", led by Zarqawi. On August 19, 2003, AK and the Chechen group undertook a terrorist attack against the UN offices in Baghdad; 21 people were killed and among them the leader of the UN mission in Iran, Sergio Vieira de Mello. A year ago, Xhavit Haliti, along with AK, had organized the assassination of the General Secretary of the Islamic community of Albania in Syria, a high-ranking cleric, Sali Tivari. Further, Xhavit Haliti had moved from Albania to Syria to meet with AK who was still in Syria. Haliti and his group tried to legalize their existence; hence they founded the Islamic party called "Mediu" in Albania, and they provided false ID documents for the four founder members. However, the application was rejected by the Court in Tirane. Sources, and public documents in the Balkans, and in particular in Albania, provide extensive evidence of their active and dynamic support of international terrorism. On December 12, 2005, the Albanian Government froze the bank accounts and assets of Abdul Latif Saleh, an important member of international Islamist terrorism and a close associate of Osama bin Laden. Abdul Latif Saleh has dual nationality, Albanian and Jordan. In the past he was the link between Jordanian extremists and Chechen terrorists. Information reveals that Saleh is in Kosovo and he is leading the new terrorist organization, "White Devils", with Bosnian Muslim volunteers and Kosovo Albanians. In the past, Bashkim Gazidede had close cooperation with Saleh. In 1996 Saleh had accompanied Osama bin Laden during his visits to Albania and Kosovo, via Turkey, from and to the airport of Adana and afterwards from Istanbul. For almost seven years, Gazidede stayed in Turkey and he was protected by MIT. He kept close relations and cooperation with the Chechen terrorist organizations based in Istanbul. Information reveals that he visited Georgia at least four times, where in the Pankisi Gorge, Chechen terrorists groups are located. Also, he retained and still retains relations with the networks of international Islamic terrorism around the world. The return of Bashkim Gazidede in Albania raises many questions, particularly at a time that Sali Berisha is back in power as Prime Minister of Albania. Gazidede was the former director of the disreputable SHIK and the most trusted person of Sali Berisha. Bashkim Gazidede has spent the first part of January 2006 in Kosovo, meeting with old associates and new members of Kosovo SHIK. He is also meeting with politicians just a few days before the beginning of the formal negotiations over the future status of Kosovo which will be held in Vienna.