27 December 2006

Not Hikers, But Terrorists Roam Monastary Protected Zones

Decani: Smuggling drugs and weapons through Monastery protected zone
"The stories about development of tourism are nothing more than fairy tales because everyone knows there is no rule of law in this area and that the surrounding mountains are swarming with armed smugglers, not hikers and mountain climbers," concluded Fr. Sava.
KIM Info ServiceDecani, December 21, 2006
Despite the latest protests against illegal construction near Visoki Decani Monastery, the situation around this Serbian Orthodox holy shrine has not changed in the least. Moreover, during a meeting yesterday, Decani municipality openly announced construction of a highway to Plav passing right next to the monastery, which is completely against UNMIK restrictions applying to the protected zone around the monastery. As indicated in a previous KIM Info Service newsletter, the news was published in the Pristina Albanian language daily "Koha Ditore".

"This represents flagrant institutional terror implemented by local municipal officials belonging to the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo with the support of government circles in Pristina. From all that has transpired it is crystal clear that the promises of the Kosovo government with respect to their purported readiness to ensure the protection of Serbian Orthodox holy shrines are not sincere," said Protosingel Sava Janjic, commenting on the most recent decisions of Decani municipality. "We are deeply concerned by the increase in extremist activity on the territory of Decani and Pec," said Fr. Sava, adding that since 1999 Decani municipality has failed to enable the return of Serbs because this is opposed by local extremists headed by an ultra-radical organization of Kosovo Liberation Army veterans. "The stories about development of tourism are nothing more than fairy tales because everyone knows there is no rule of law in this area and that the surrounding mountains are swarming with armed smugglers, not hikers and mountain climbers," concluded Fr. Sava.

According to international police sources the Decani-Plav route has become one of the main channels for smuggling of weapons, drugs and white slaves. The intent of extremist circles is to build a better, wider road so that when the time right the violence can be expanded to nearby Montenegro. The triangle between Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo has already become a sort of El Dorado for organized crime and mafia, as Montenegrin police reports confirm (see article from the Podgorica daily "Dan" below). Until April this year all vehicles passing by Decani Monastery were searched by KFOR troops; however, after demonstrations and political pressure coordinated by KLA veterans under the leadership of Abdyl Mushkolaj and activists of Albin Kurti's "Self-Determination" an agreement of sorts was reached for vehicles not to be searched during the day. This represents a further security threat in proximity to the monastery.

Recently a significant weapons cache was found and confiscated near Pec which was intended for the use of Albanian paramilitary gangs in Montenegro which have already attempted to organize terrorist activities in this republic. The smuggling channels and accumulation of illegal weapons by extremists near Pec and Decani are well know to both international police and military experts who are following extremist activities on the territory of Metohija.

Arab money for a factory near Decani Monastery

KIM Info-serviceDecani, December 22, 2006

After the news on continuation of illegal construction in the vicinity of Decani Monastery no concrete actions have been taken by the Municipality yet. In fact the monastery has been officially informed that the Municipality is planning another "project" in the area withing few hundred meters from the Monastery with the money of United Arab Emirates. An UAE Consortium is planning to open a factory of mineral water although no industrial activities in the area of the monastery are allowed by the executive decision of UNMIK administration. The representatives of the monastery rejected the meeting with municipal authorities and the Arab investors on this issue yesterday because such a request is considered a most blatant provocation.

At the same time the Monastery has learned that the local Kosovo police service failed to react against the illegal construction because the owner of the illegaly built restaurant has a brother who works in local police. "Decani area is like a feudal medieval society and everything functions on the basis of family links and the power of weapons. Institutions are just a facade behind which lawlessness rules", confirmed Fr. Sava. "At the same time the illegal restaurant is known as a hangout for local mafia and no one dares stop the illegal activities. Black jeeps with darkened windows are regularly passing near the monastery and no one knows where they are heading", said Fr. Sava expressing serious concern that institutional arrangements for protection of Christian sites in Kosovo would hardly work in the existing security situation. "To implement such an arragnement one needs stable institutions and the basic rule of law. Here, you can achieve something only making deals with criminal structures which is nothing but legalizing racket", concluded Fr. Sava.

Beside the already built illegal restaurant and a planned Arab factory near the monastery there are several other pending projects which would turn the area around the UNESCO World Cultural heritage site into an idustrial area which would completely block the life in the monastery and destroy its surrounding. An Albanian businessman who became a US citizen Florin Krasnici is pushing very strongly building af a new hydropower station with a dam and an artificial lake. Despite very clear restrictions his engineers have been seen in the area of the monastery taking photos and preparing documentation for the project. Florin Krasnici is known to wider public as one of most important weapons smugglers both during and after Kosovo war. In a documentary "Brooklyn Connection" Krasnici openly boasted of importing sophisticated anti aircraft guns to Kosovo despite KFOR check-points.International police sources suspect that extremist circles are already accumulating illegal weapons in Decani Mountains using the existing mountain road which goes to Albanian inhabited part of Montenegro and further to lawless North Albania. Various economic projects and the development of tourism are seen just as a handy cover.

Decani Monastery has been attacked three times after the war in 1999 by mortar grenades. In February and June 2000 extremists from the former KLA fired several grenades on the monastery compound. In March 2004 the mortar attack in which 7 grenades landed 50 meters from the church was stopped after the direct intervention of the NATO Headquaters in Naples and high diplomatic circles. Last year the chief of local war veterans of KLA openly threatened the monastery and Italian KFOR and in April 2006 they staged protests requesting KFOR protection of the monastery to be lifted.

Increasing numbers of smuggling channels between Montenegro and Kosovo
Smuggling knows no borders
Serbian original athttp://dan.cg.yu/index.php?nivo=3&rubrika=Drustvo&datum=2006-12-15&clanak=80633
Dan, Podgorica, December 15, 2006
Near the administrative crossing of Kula (between Kosovo and) Montenegro, police confiscated 5,438 cartons of cigarettes, and a few days later at the same crossing a truck was discovered illegally transporting one ton of fuel, Kosovo police advised. In mid-November a police patrol confiscated 3,283 cartons of cigarettes, which were confiscated and turned over to the customs service. In the village of Ponosec while searching an automobile police confiscated 20 metal boxes containing 10,800 7.62mm caliber bullets in a larger box hidden with bags containing animal feed. According to respected experts, the primary reason for the increase in smuggling from Kosovo to Montenegro in the last two years is poor security and porous borders.
Military-political analyst Milovan Drecun believes that the problem began when the army, the only organization able to confront the problem logistically and in terms of manpower, was withdrawn from the borders. "It's completely clear that the Montenegrin Ministry of Internal Affairs is unable to prevent the smuggling of weapons and other good and the infiltration of terrorists. The few cases revealed since the police assumed border security is just the tip of the iceberg of what is happening in reality. The smuggling triangle Kosovo-Albania-Montenegro has been functioning since 1999 when weapons, cigarettes, fuels and other goods entered by way of Montenegro. Now this has boomeranged on Montenegro," said Drecun.According to Drecun, all relevant international organizations are aware of this route and Montenegro will have serious problems in the future because of it."In a comprehensive UNMIK study on organized crime in Kosovo and Metohija that I saw there is information about well established and well organized channels for smuggling dutiable goods, drugs and humans, as well as that those channels include individuals close to Montenegrin political structure. As well, according to confidential NATO and KFOR information to which I have access, it is evident that one of the main drug smuggling channels runs from Turkey by way of Kosovo and Montenegro," emphasized Drecun.He emphasized that "there is no question that the Montenegrin regime has failed to do anything serious to secure the state border with Serbia toward the territory of Kosovo and the border with Albania out of practical political considerations."On the contrary, the Montenegrin regime has intentionally allowed a porous border for illegal transistors and smugglers. This danger to Montenegro will become very acute in the future because of plans by Albanian separatists to destabilize the state by injecting weapons. Finally, for years no one from the Montenegrin regime has cared to explain information that is constantly being circulated about joint illegal dealings by Albanian terrorists and criminals from Kosovo with individuals close to the top of the Montenegrin regime. This criminal business connection resulted in Albanian terrorists securing the dismissal of then director of the Military Security Agency, General Momir Stojanovic. All this should remind the regime of the old adage "he who plants squash with the Devil will find it bruises his head" - except this time around the citizens will pay the bill, not the regime."
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