Who is Hashim “Snake” Thaci?

Published on February 21, 2008, Javno

Category: Meet the Muslim Albanian Leaders

If we are to judge by individual reactions of countries that responded to Kosovo’s declaration of independence, everybody has their own interests – but what is missing from global media reports dedicated to the precedents and separatism is terrorism, which was a constituent factor in creating the world’s newest nation.

Great Serbia and Great Albania – two sides of the same coin

The fate of the independent Kosovo is closely tied to the person and work by Hashim Thaci, who joined the Albanian political migration in Switzerland in the early nineties, where he founded the “National Movement for Kosovo”, the Marxist-Leninist political party whose only aim was to unite all of the regions where Albanians lived into one country, which in reality is nothing else besides copying the politics of Milosevic’s efforts to create the entity “Greater Serbia” on the regions of the former Yugoslavia.

In 1993, Thaci became a member of the KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army), who according to BBC soon resorted to “the most successful guerrilla movement in modern times” and/or a terrorist organization that reveals to the world the “direct connection between Al Qaeda and Albanians”. Parallel with the foundation of the “rebel guerrillas”, Thaci (war name “Snake”) founded and organized the Drenica Group that soon rose as the dominant and best known criminal organization of the west-Balkans. It concerned itself with (and still does) weapons smuggling, heroin, cocaine and cigarettes, automobile theft, prostitution and other profitable jobs that are common for mafia groups. “Drenica” soon made connections with key organizations in Albania, the Czech Republic, and Macedonia, creating a large-scale criminal organization, which according to Can Karpat’s report, was sealed with a marriage between Thaci’s sister and Sejdij Bajrush, one of the most infamous leaders of the Albanian mafia.

One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter

The first terrorist act that was directly blamed on the current premier of independent Kosovo happened on May 25, 1993. This is when Thaci, together with Rafet Rama, Jakup Nuri, Sami Ljustku and Ilijaz Kadriju, attacked the Serbian police at the railway crossing “Glogovac”, about which the respected Jane’s Information Group reports. During the attack, two police officers were killed, and another five were injured.

In July 1997, the court in Pristina sentenced Thaci (in absence) to ten years in prison, because of which he, a members of the Drenica group hid in the forests. The legal prosecution of him was stopped in 1999 when Hashim was recognized as the political leader of the KLA.

Judging by newspaper reports, Thaci was not only unforgiving towards Kosovo Serbs, but towards mainstream Albanians as well. In June 1999, the New York Times published an article that accuses Hashim and two of his supporters for the murder of somebody that opposed Albanian nationalism. The author of the article Chris Hedges, at the time, interviewed Rifat Haxhijaj who lived with Thaci in Switzerland, who stated: “When the war started (against the Serbian authorities), everybody wanted to be the boss. To get an idea of the kind of battle we are talking about, we only have to mention the murder of the Albanian reporter Alij Uka, a man that showed patriotism when Albanian nationalism/separatism is concerned. However, at the same time, he was a very harsh criticiser of people that were at the head of separatist currents. Uka was killed in his apartment in Tirana, and according to the words of former KLA members, that act was committed by his roommate at the time – Hashim Thaci, in cooperation with the secret police that Albania happily placed “at the disposal of the rebel leaders”. The allegations were rejected by Thaci’s representative in Switzerland, Jasha Salih who said:

- These reports are incorrect. Neither Mr Thaci, nor anyone else in the KLA were not involved in these activities. Our only aim is independent Kosovo.

On the other hand there are the statements by Bujar Bukoshi, the former premier in Ibrahim Rogov’s exiled cabinet, who said in Hashim’s rise:

- Cadavers have never been an obstacle to Thaci’s career.

The inconvenient truth about Albanian ethnic cleansing

The massacre in the village Racak was by far the bloodiest incident that served as a prelude to “Kosovo’s war”. An alleged murder is in question, with 45 Albanian civilians whose death was presented to the West as the Serbian revenge for the actions taken by the KLA against Serbian security forces. “Yugoslavia” then dropped all allegations, claiming that its forces were not responsible for the crime. However the same coalition led by the USA that recognized Kosovo have not backed away from their allegations, so the crime will remain on the conscience of the Serbs.

To make the historical line even more interesting, Thaci himself shocked the press, and then radio Voice of Russia – who first published Hashim’s confession in March 2000. Hashim admitted that the KLA purposely demonised Serbia through its operations, provoking the military intervention of the West.

The Voice of Russia then cited Thaci who talked about a public secret, admitting that the KLA killed four police officers in the village Racak, with the intent of provoking action from the Serbian special forces. The Serbs did react, and the media immediately characterized it as a Serbian massacre of Albanian villagers, which was denied by Thaci himself, explaining that the bodies of KLA members were later found, which was later additionally analysed in great detail by the media.

Thaci talked about the idea of “Greater Albania” until 1998, when Albania met with the “pyramid scheme” which led to mass looting, which together with the war, homogenized the population in Kosovo. This caused Hashim to change to rhetoric, and start talking about the idea of independence for the region.

From a wanted terrorist to a loved premier

The KLA was on the list of the 100 most wanted and dangerous terrorist organizations in the world until 1998, when the US administration together with Bill Clinton, changed course and decided to support the “guerrillas”, by inaugurating Thaci as the “spokesperson” for Albanian interests in Kosovo.

This course was followed by George W. Bush, despite the link between the KLA and Al Qaeda that is well known to the intelligence community.

Thaci and his party reject all of these allegations.

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