With the Wikileaks, the world has been given “the gift of information”, a renowned Balkans analyst, Misha Glenny, wrote in his NYT blog. Among some of the most important leaks that Assange and his team released so far, Glenny reminded of the 2005 report of the BND, the German intelligence service, on the ties between Kosovo’s leading politicians and organized crime.
“Observers of the formerhad known about much of this activity, but the meticulous Teutonic report quickly became an invaluable guide to the grim realities of one of the most unstable areas of Europe”, his blog read.
If so – what did the world, or those whose stand matters in Kosovo (e.g. US, EU, UN), do about it? Closed their eyes and proceeded on the already established path, it seems.
In 2005, the BND report stated: "Regarding the key players (e.g., Haliti, Thaci, Haradinaj), there exists the close tie between politics, business and internationally operating organized crime structures in Kosovo. The criminal networks behind this are encouraging political instability. They have no interest in building a functioning state, which could interfere with their flourishing trade."
In this context, the “trade” relates to drugs, cigarettes and people smuggling. Indeed, despite the large international presence, Kosovo remains the main transit country for opium derivatives, such as heroin, being smuggled from Afghanistan to Europe.
The leaked BND 2005 report further analyses the involvement of the former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) guerrilla leaders, Thaci and Haradinaj in crime networks, stating the close links between the state and organized crime structures were having harmful effects on functioning of legal companies, establishment of new work places, foreign investments, etc.
Kosovo’s legal system, with up to 300,000 unresolved cases, is a failure for itself. Or as the Italian journalists Giuseppe Ciulla and Vittorio Romano have put it “Mafia likes fog, like wolves”.
But do the people of Kosovo, who were promised “peace and prosperity” once they get rid of Belgrade’s influence, also enjoy living in the fog?
Kosovo is just about to have the first general elections, since the unilateral independence proclamation in 2008. Hashim Thaci, allegedly leader of the Drenica mafia clan, and outgoing Prime Minister who leads the Democratic Party of Kosovo (DPK), is one of the favorites., the former Prime Minister, who is currently facing war crimes charges in the Hague Tribunal, stands as the leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo. Xhavit Haliti remains an active politician.
How does the whistle-blower who leaked the 2005 BND report on Kosovo feel today, I wonder.