Archive for November 16th, 2008

Sarajevo Cantonal Prosecution charged Naser Oric with extortion

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

According to the Serbian news agencies, on Friday Sarajevo Cantonal Prosecution charged Naser Oric with extortion and illegal possession of weapons, ammunition and explosives.

Notorious Srebrenica warlord during the civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina 1992-1995, and a Bosnian Muslim war criminal responsible for the savage murders of over 3,500 Bosnian Serb civilians from Srebrenica municipality, Oric was convicted of war crimes in 2006, only to be unexpectedly acquitted by the Hague Kangaroo court in July 2008.

Three months later, in October 2008, Oric was arrested in the Muslim part of Bosnia under suspicion that he used serious threats and intimidation to extort over 200,000 German marks.

On Friday, he was charged with extorting 240,000 German marks, possession of banned firearms, ammunition and explosive devices. According to the reports, a large stash of weapons was found in the lair used by Oric and his associates.

US Report über das Gangster Regime unter dem Deutsch – Albanischen Regime um 2001 in Albanien

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

Albania
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2003
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
February 25, 2004

Albania is a republic with a multiparty parliament, and a prime Minister and a president both elected by Parliament. The Prime Minister heads the Government; the presidency is a largely ceremonial position with limited executive power. In October, local elections were held throughout the country, which were judged to be an improvement over previous elections, with only a few isolated incidents of irregularities and violence. The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary; however, corruption and political pressure limited its ability to function independently and efficiently.

………………..
The country continued to experience high levels of violent crime. Many killings continued to occur throughout the country as the result of individual or clan vigilante actions connected to traditional “blood feuds” or criminal gang conflicts. According to the Ministry of Public Order, more than 14 individuals were killed in blood feuds, which are based on the medieval Code of Lek Dukagjini (the kanun), which was practiced by individuals particularly in the northern part of the country. Under the kanun, only adult males are acceptable targets for blood feuds; however, women and children often were killed or injured in the attacks. The nongovernmental organization (NGO) National Reconciliation Committee estimated that 1,370 families were self-imprisoned at home and that 711 children were prevented from attending school due to fear of revenge. Some organizations and religious leaders contended that these figures were inflated but agreed that blood feuds were a significant problem. Religious leaders in the region believed that blood feuds prompted many rural families to migrate to Shkodra, an urban center in the northern part of the country.

Blood feud cases were adjudicated in the Special Crimes Court. Blood killings are distinguished from homicide cases and carry a sentence of no less than 25 years’ imprisonment; in comparison, homicide carries a sentence of 15-25 years. Although blood feud prosecution rates were not available, estimates indicated that 60-65 percent of all cases were brought to court and nearly all of them ended up at the appellate level.

b. Disappearance

There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances.

In May, three former officials of the SHISH were arrested in connection with the kidnapping of Ziso Kristopulli and Remzi Hoxha in 1995. Although Kristopulli was eventually released, the whereabouts of Hoxha remained unknown. According to the prosecutor, the three former SHISH officials–although not formally charged–were suspected of kidnapping and torturing Kristopulli and Hoxha. Two of the officials were arrested–one remained in jail while the other was released on bail–and the third suspect was no longer under suspicion. At year’s end, the case remained under investigation.

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment …

Col. Edmond Koseni, the Director of Police of Elbasan District, was dismissed and arrested in 2001 for human rights abuses, and subsequently prosecuted and convicted in the District Court of Elbasan. The Durres Court of Appeals upheld his conviction.

There were no developments in the 2002 case against Alnor Hasa, Chief of Criminal Police in Vlora, accused of beating a detainee.

There were no developments in the April 2002 Pergjini assault case which alleged that three brothers were arrested and beat by police in reprisal for a dispute with the officers or the 2002 Azgan Haklaj assault case in which charges were filed against four officers accused of assaulting Haklaj during his 2001 arrest. (Haklaj’s only a gangster Clan from Tropoje)
Conditions inside the prisons and detention centers remained poor, despite Government efforts to address problems such as poor facilities and overcrowding. According to the European Union’s Judicial Reform, Asylum and Migration Operations Section, detainees had limited access to bathroom and showering facilities, insufficient food, and, in some cases, space limitations kept them from engaging in religious practices. The prison staff was poorly trained. Prisoners and detainees rioted in Shkodra and Peshkopia, and held hunger strikes in Vlora, Berat, and Permet to protest the poor living conditions. …………….
There were no confirmed cases of detainees being held strictly for political reasons. Ekrem Spahia, Chairman of the Legality Party, and 12 of his supporters had faced criminal charges in connection with the events of 1998 during which a Democratic Party (DP) parliamentarian was killed. The charges against Spahia were subsequently dropped because he had parliamentary immunity; however, the trials of his supporters remained pending at year’s end.

The Constitution prohibits forced exile, and the Government did not employ it. ……………

The President appoints the Prosecutor General with the consent of Parliament, and appoints and dismisses other prosecutors on the recommendation of the Prosecutor General. The President may dismiss the Prosecutor General on the recommendation of the Parliament. Despite the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission ruling advising that the implementation of the 2002 Constitutional Court decision stating that Prosecutor General Arben Rakipi, who was dismissed without the opportunity to present a defense, should be reinstated, the Government took no action to reinstate Rakipi during the year.

http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2003/27820.htm

Next year election fundamental to Albania’s progress, says EU
TIRANA, Nov 6 – The European Commission published its 2008 progress report for Albania stressing explicitly that general elections next year in Albania would be a keystone for the country’s further progress toward integration.

The report also repeated that fighting corruption and improving the judiciary were other main topics of concern for which the tiny Balkan country should focus its attention.

It also made it clear that, though not excluding the possibility, signing a visa free regime with the country needed much more conditions to be fulfilled beforehand.

As normally expected in this country, the report was hailed by the governing coalition of Prime Minister Sali Berisha as a success story. Berisha also pledged to Europe his executive considered that as its road map and would further continue reforms.

The Election 2009 is also a money war between the old and familiar drug mafia clans and their representatives in the Albanian politics: Skrapar Clan with Ilir Meta ties with German politics criminals against the Albanian society in cooperation with the World Bank and the good forces in the EU!

Ilir Meta drug imperium

The Italian drug export statistics (1998-2002), the Germans – Albanian mafia politics, Ilir Meta as the government was! At these successes and profits German government wants to build on this success and model, with high corruption criminal transactions, such as water around Berlinwasser, Rodeco, Consult, DAW, Bundesdruckerei and the Airport Partners continue and again.

Das Albanische Parlament verabschiedet die Wahl Rechts Reform

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

Eine der wichtigsten Reformen wurde nun vom Parlament verabschiedet, denn man kann nur hoffen, das mit richtigen Wählerlisten, den neuen ID Karten es möglich ist endlich mal Wahlen ohne wesentliche Manipulationen zu ermöglichen, und dies vor dem Hintergrund der besonders wichtigen Wahl in 2009

Albania’s two largest parties pass electoral reforms despite opposition from small parties!

Die Micki Maus Parteien der Albanischen Mafia u.a. von Ndoka und der Skrapar Bande um Ilir Meta (dessen Frau Monika Myremadhe. für den CIA arbeitet sind halt die typischen vollkommen versauten Mafiosi, welche man je an die Macht brachte. Monika M. war Teilnehmerin an einem der üblen Kurse im German C.Marshal Centrum* Ende 2001 “Die neuen Führer des 21. Jahrhunderts” – man könnte auch sagen: Die neuen VerbrecherLobby Cliquen der Neocons um den Welt Handel mit Drogen zu beherrschen)

Embargo Brecher, Top Balkan Schmuggler und andere Gangster auch aus der Kosovaren Mafia waren ebenso in diesem Georg C.Marshall Centrum schon zur Ausbildung und ebenso Azem Hajdari, einer der wichtigsten Waffen Schmuggler in den Kosovo vor über 10 Jahren und Treibstoff Schmuggler nach Montenegro.

14/11/2008

TIRANA, Albania — The two largest political parties, the ruling Democratic Party and the opposition Socialist Party (SP), approved changes in the election code Thursday (November 13th), transforming the election system from a majority to a regional proportional system. The electoral reform committee made no changes to the proposal despite strident opposition from smaller parties, some of whose members even staged a hunger strike. The SP representative on the committee, Fatmir Xhafa, said changes in the code will guarantee more transparency. Electoral reform is one of the main prerequisites that Albania must meet for eventual EU integration.

In other news Thursday, the health ministry announced it plans to file lawsuits against ten hospital directors suspected of fraud. Ministry official Gerta Picari says auditors have found serious violations in terms of procurement procedures, allocation of budgetary funds to third parties and recruitment. Audits continue at other hospitals around the country. (Shekulli, Klan, Alsat, Top News, News 24, Vizion +, Top Channel – 13/11/08)

Show Theater von Walter Steinmeier, damit Deutschland über Pakistan auch die Afghanistan NATO Kriege finanziert

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

Pakistan stoppt Versorgung der NATO-Truppen in Afghanistan,will 7.6 Mrd von IWF

Autor: Daniel Neun, Sonntag, 16. November 2008, 10:05

KhyberPassKrieg ist ein schmutziges Geschäft. Aber was will man machen, wenn man kein anderes hat.
Pakistan hat jetzt die unendliche lange Schlange an Trucks stoppen lassen, die sich seit 2001 nach Afghanistan schlängelt um dort die NATO-ISAF-Truppen (sowie sonstige Streitkräfte welche sich dort im Schutze der Besatzungsmächte aufhalten) mit Treibstoff, Munition und Waffen zu versorgen.
Erklärung für den Lieferungsstopp: “Sicherheitsgründe”.

“TALIBAN” AM STEUER

………………

Radio Utopia 

Vor 2 Wochen war ja Walter Steinmeier in Pakistan und jammerte vor, das Pakistan wegen der Finanzkrise Milliarden benötigt. Ohne Geld im Koffer, erhält der Kaspar Steinmeier sowieso keinen Termin mehr in der Welt. Auf jeden Fall inzenieren nun die Pakistan die übliche Schmieren Komomödie, damit Deutschland “seinen” Anteil besser in den Medien vermarkten kann, wie wieder einmal ein paar Milliarden im SPD Entwicklungs- und Kriegs Loch verschwinden.

Pakistan will CIA-gestützte “Al-Kaida”-Söldner an Iran ausliefern

Autor: Daniel Neun, Sonntag, 25. Mai 2008, 15:59

US-Sender ABC: Bush-Regierung führt mit Miliz “Jundullah” seit Jahren “geheimen Krieg”

Islamabad: Die pakistanische Regierung hat laut Berichten des US-Fernsehsenders ABC die Übergabe von sechs, so wörtlich, “CIA-Spionen” der Miliz “Jundullah” an den Iran angekündigt, die letzte Woche in Pakistan festgenommen worden waren.

Die Gruppe, die mit dem angeblich “islamistischen” Schreckens-Fantom namens “Al Kaida” in Verbindung gebracht wird, führt laut ABC seit 2005 im Auftrag der Bush-Regierung mit asymmetrischen militärischen Aktionen (“Terrorismus”) im Dreiländereck von Pakistan, Iran und Afghanistan aus der südlichen pakistanischen Provinz Balutschistan (Baluchistan) einen “geheimen Krieg” gegen den Iran.

Die Söldner der “Jundullah”-Gruppe werden von Pakistan und Iran als terroristische Organisation bezeichnet. Die US-gestützte Miliz operiert auf beiden Seiten der Grenze und gibt an 1000 Bewaffnete unter ihrem Kommando zu haben.
CIA-Offiziere trafen sich nach Angaben von US-Beamten gegenüber ABC mehrfach mit den Kommandeuren von “Jundullah” um diese zu “beraten”.

Kopf von “Jundullah” war laut einem Bericht der Asia Times vom 20.07.2007 der angebliche Hauptorganisator des 11.September, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. In den Camps der Miliz fanden sich auch Söldner aus hauptsächlich von Muslimen bewohnten Teilen Chinas, sowie aus Tschetschenien.

Die US-Regierung versucht derzeit die Auslieferung ihrer Spione an den Iran zu verhindern.
Wie “Prison Planet” u.a. durch Zusammentragen von Fernsehaufzeichnungen recherchierte, gab es immer wieder öffentliche Aufforderungen von US-Neokonservativen terroristische Anschläge im Iran zu verüben.

Im Mai 2007 war bekannt geworden, dass die US-Regierung der CIA die Freigabe für “Schwarze Operationen” (“black ops”) gegen Iran erteilt und entsprechende Gelder zur Verfügung gestellt hat.

Zu diesem Zeitpunkt waren die Verhandlungen über die Iran-Pakistan-Indien-Gaspipeline, die bis zu den Energieversorgungsnetzen Chinas erweitert werden soll, bereits weit fortgeschritten. Sie wurden am 28.April dieses Jahres erfolgreich abgeschlossen.

Die Gaspipeline soll durch Baluchistan an der Küste Pakistans führen.

Der Schritt der Regierung in Islamabad wird von Berichterstattern international als weitere Distanzierung der Atommacht Pakistan von den USA bewertet.
Im deutschsprachigen Raum herrschte zu dem gesamten Vorgang in den Konzern- und Staatsmedien Nachrichtensperre.

Fast vollständig verschwiegen wurde auch der Bericht des UN-Sonderermittlers für illegale und willkürliche Hinrichtungen, Philip Alston.
Er sprach am 16.Mai in Kabul nach ausführlichen Recherchen von Todesschwadronen in Afghanistan unter dem Kommando “ausländischer Agenten” und Vertuschungsmanövern durch die NATO und deren ISAF-Streitkräfte.
“Der Level von Selbstzufriedenheit als Antwort auf diese Tötungen ist atemberaubend hoch”, so UN-Sonderermittler Alston über die ISAF-Militärführung.
ISAF-Stabschef ist der deutsche Generalmajor Hans-Lothar Domröse, bis zum 10. Januar Kommandeur der Division Spezielle Operationen (DSO), zu der auch das KSK gehört.

Laut Quellen der britischen Zeitung “Independent” wurden die Todesschwadronen direkt von den US-Militärs eingesetzt. Es handele sich dabei um Söldner die der US-Auslandsgeheimdienst CIA im Jahre 2001 angeworben habe “um die Taliban zu stürzen”, wie es hiess.

“Die intelligentesten, schlauesten Typen in diesen Milizen wurden weiterbeschäftigt”, so der westliche “Beamte”.
“Sie wurden trainiert, neu bewaffnet und werden immer noch benutzt”.

Im Dezember waren der Missionchef der “Europäischen Union” (EU) in Afghanistan, Michael Semple, und der hochrangige UN Beamte Mervyn Patterson aus Afghanistan ausgewiesen worden.
Sie hatten als Agenten des britischen Auslandsgeheimdienstes MI6-Agenten sich mehrfach mit “Taliban”-Milizionären in einem von der britischen Armee bewachten Camp getroffen um diese zu “beraten”.

Laut afghanischen Behörden versorgten EU-Missionschef Semple und der hochrangige UN-Beamte Patterson die Söldner (”Taliban”) mit Waffen, Geld, Satelliten-Telefonen und sogar Satelliten-Unterstützung.
Beide waren seit den 80ern in Afghanistan aktiv gewesen.
Finanziert wurde der heimliche Aufbau der Söldnergruppen, belegbar durch Computerdaten welche direkt bei den von afghanischen Geheimdienstlern Festgenommenen gefunden worden waren, aus Geldern der “Europäischen Union”, im Rahmen eines sogenannten “European Union Peace Building Programme”.

Währenddessen appellierten Hunderte deutsche Bürger, Pfarrer, Professoren und Abgeordnet des Friedens im Bundestag an die in Augustdorf bei Detmold stationierte Panzerbrigade 21 “Lipperland” den Kampfeinsatz im Rahmen der auch an der iranischen Grenze eingesetzten “Quick Reaction Force” (QRF) der NATO zu verweigern.

Zu den Unterzeichnenden gehören u.a. Prof. Dr. Dr. Horst-Eberhard Richter von den Ärzten gegen den Atomkrieg, die Friedensforscherin Prof. Dr. Hanne-Margret Birckenbach und der Träger des Aachener Friedenspreises 2008, Prof. Dr. Andreas Buro. Unter den Unterstützer-Gruppen finden sich das Komitee für Grundrechte und Demokratie, der Versöhnungsbund, der Bund für Soziale Verteidigung, die Juristen gegen den Atomkrieg (IALANA), der Aachener Friedenspreis e.V. und etliche weitere kirchliche und politische Friedensgruppen.

In dem Aufruf heisst es:

Die ISAF-Mission, ursprünglich von der UN beauftragt, wird immer noch als “Schutztruppe”verharmlost. Sie wird jedoch inzwischen von der NATO geführt und ist in die Gesamtkriegsstrategie eng eingebunden. ISAF muss deshalb als Beihilfe zum OEF-Krieg in Afghanistan gewertet werden und ist damit ebenfalls völker- und grundgesetzwidrig..
Der 2001 begonnene “Krieg gegen den Terror” ist untauglich. Er ist gescheitert und wird selbst zum Terror, der immer neuen Terrorismus gebiert..
Wir appellieren daher an Sie: Folgen Sie nicht bedenkenlos den Ihnen erteilten Befehlen, sondern prüfen Sie Ihr Gewissen!

weitere Artikel:

24.05.08

CIA-Atomschmuggel-Affäre in der Schweiz: Tinner-Familie besass Baupläne für Atomwaffen

 

25.05.08 Pakistan will CIA-gestützte “Al Kaida”-Söldner an Iran ausliefern
17.05.08 UN-Ermittler: Geheimdienste steuern Massaker in Afghanistan, ISAF sieht zu
05.05.08 DER GESPENSTER-KRIEG
08.02.08 “Independent”: EU finanzierte Taliban-Camps in Afghanistan
17.01.08 US-Republikaner finanzierte “Taliban” in Afghanistan und Pakistan

06.01.08 “Times”: US-Regierung in Atomschmuggel nach Pakistan und Israel verwickelt

Kosovo (UNMIK) reports into corruption at Pristina, 2004-2007

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

17 United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) reports into corruption at Pristina, 2004-2007

From Wikileaks

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October 24, 2008
File

un-kosovo-pristina.zip
Download from: Sweden, US, Sweden2, Latvia, Slovakia, UK, Finland, Netherlands, Tonga, SSL, TOR

Contents

  • OIOS-20041213-01.pdf – Pristina Airport, possible administrative irregularity regarding tendering procedures
  • OIOS-20050228-01.pdf – Allegations regarding cash withdrawls from an Air Traffic Control Services bank account at Pristina airport
  • OIOS-20050114-01.pdf – Irregularities in the procurement and contract award for the New Car Park at Pristina Airport
  • OIOS-20050000-12.pdf – Irregularities in the procurement and contract award for Winter and Summer Uniforms at Pristina Airport
  • OIOS-20050000-11.pdf – Alleged irregularities in a contract for the construction of garages and a parking area for Air Traffic Control Services at Pristina Airport and in an annex agreement for the supply of new offices, training room and maintenance garage for the Rsucue Fire Fighting Service
  • OIOS-20050000-10.pdf – Irregularities in the contract for the supply and mounting of suspended ceiling in the old part of the passenger terminal
  • OIOS-20050000-09.pdf – Irregularities in a contract for the spply and construction of office containers for Air Traffic Control Services an din a single source Annex Agreement for additional office accommodation, lunchroom and showers for the KFOR multinational force at Pristina Airport
  • OIOS-20050000-08.pdf – Investigation into allegations of irregularities in two tender processes for the spply of cleaning machines to Pristina Airport
  • OIOS-20050000-07.pdf – Irregularities in the addition of a single source contract one months after the ward of a contract for the spply of two new containers and the dismantling, transport and re-construction fo a further seven containers at the Pristina Airport
  • OIOS-20050000-06.pdf – Irregularities in the procurement for the extension of the Cargo Apron at the Pristina Airport
  • OIOS-20050000-05.pdf – Allegations of theft and corruption arising out of the collection of handling and landing fees and de-icing costs for passenger aircraft using Pristina Airport
  • OIOS-20050000-04.pdf – Irregularities in the award of contracts for the maintenance and repair of the runway, taxiways and parking areas at Pristina Airport
  • OIOS-20050000-03.pdf – Allegations of Bribes/Kickbacks for Employment at Pristina Airport
  • OIOS-20050000-02.pdf – Investigation into Allegations of Bribery and Favortism in the Procurement of Uniforms by Pristina Airport
  • OIOS-20050000-01.pdf – Alleged Fraud – Pristina Airport Cargo Department
  • OIOS-20041217-01.pdf – Investigation into alleged irregularities in the procurement of personal digital assistants
  • OIOS-20070728-01.pdf – Allegations of sexual Exploitation/Rape

Summary

17 United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) Investigation Task Force reports into corruption and other irregularities at Pristina Airport.

Context
Kosovo

Note

BND and the Internet!

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

Von WIKILEAKS STAFF (Wikileaks)
November 16, 2008

Image:Bnd-cleanup.jpg

Zwischen Freitag Nacht und Sonntag Morgen fand eine grossangelegte Säuberungsaktion beim Europäischen Internet Adressregister (RIPE) zur Entfernung von Details zum Bundesnachrichtendienst statt.

Die Säuberung folgt einer Enthüllung von mehr als zwei Dutzend verdeckter BND Netzwerke die durch T-Systems bereitgestellt wurden. Die Netzwerke waren einer nicht im Handelsregister registrierten Tarnfirma mittels eines Münchner Postfachs zugewiesen.

T-Systems bereinigte die RIPE Datenbank von allen Netzwerken die durch Wikileaks enthüllt wurden und verschob die Adressen in verschiedene grosse Adresspools um somit die Zuweisung zu anonymisieren. Die Pools geben ausser ihrer Zugehörigkeit zu T-Systems keine Auskunft über ihre interne Struktur.

Der Schachzug folgte wenige Stunden nach einer Kontaktaufnahme des T-Systems “Computer Emergency Response Teams” (CERT) mit Wikileaks, und der Bitte um sofortige Löschung eines internen Memos das die Adressen auflistete. Wikileaks hat diese Anfrage verweigert und eine Anfrage an T-Systems zu mehr Details blieb bis zur Stunde unbeantwortet.

Eine Untersuchung der Adressen durch Wikileaks offenbart Schlüssel- informationen zu Internetaktivitaeten des BND. Gewonnene Erkenntnisse beinhalten das Entfernen von Informationen aus dem Wikipedia Artikel zum BND — welcher aussagte das ausländische Niederlassungen des Goethe Instituts als verdeckte BND Niederlassungen fungierten, Besuche auf Webseiten der russischen Regierung und einem Escort Service aus Berlin (Verfuehrungsaktivitaeten?), wie auch dem systematischen Durchkämmen des Internets zu Terrorismus-nahen Themen, wie dem Mordanschlag auf den Rebellenanführer Abu Musab Zarqawi im Irak. 2006 hatten sich hier zahlreiche Betreiber von Webseiten über ein ausser Kontrolle geratenes, automatisiertes Datamining ausgehend von den betreffenden Adressen beschwert.

Der Integrität und Transparenz des RIPE Systems wird hierbei nicht geholfen. Deutsche Bürger können sich hier über eine Doppelmoral nur wundern – In einer Zeit in der mehr und mehr Adressen abgesegnet durch neue Gesetze zum Internet und der Vorratsdatenspeicherung aufgezeichnet werden im Zuge von “Stasi 2.0″, werden die Adressen der “wirklichen” Stasi in anonymisierte Adresspools verschoben.

Quellen

hier die IP Adressen des BND:

https://secure.wikileaks.org/leak/bnd-networks.pdf

EU Policies on Visa-Free Travel for the Western Balkans

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

Background Paper: The White List Project. EU Policies on Visa-Free Travel for the Western Balkans

6 November 2008
Brussels

Click here to view this document as a PDF file in A4 format. To download the PDF file to your computer, right-click here,

The Schengen Wall

When it comes to the EU, one of the greatest wishes of citizens of the Western Balkans, besides EU membership, is visa-free travel. It has for many years already been an elusive goal.

Currently citizens of all Western Balkan states have to obtain a short-stay visa from one of the embassies or consulates of the 24 Schengen zone countries in order to enter the Schengen area, which covers most of the EU. Applying for a visa is time-consuming, costly and stressful. It involves long waiting times, the collection of a pile of documents and the very real risk of rejection. All this makes planning trips difficult.

There is also a high political cost attached to this policy for pro-EU reformer in the region and for Europeans interested in stabilising and integrating the whole Balkan region. Politically it is absurd that the EU has promised the Western Balkan countries a European future, but continues to make it difficult for their 20 million citizens to visit the EU and to learn what constitutes Europe. They perceive this as rejection, wondering whether their country’s European perspective is real given that the EU does not even want them as tourists. They also perceive it as discriminatory: why was it never a problem for the citizens of Croatia to travel without a visa to the EU even in the early 1990s, while it is an insurmountable problem for the people from small Macedonia or Albania today? Why can Bosnian Croats, who often have two passports, travel without restrictions with their Croatian passport, while their Bosniak neighbours cannot? Why was the EU able to lift visa restrictions for Bulgaria in 2001, but is still not able to do this for an official EU candidate such as Macedonia in 2008? As one of many frustrated citizens from the region, 30-year old Amila Celebic from Sarajevo sums up popular feelings in the region:

“The issue of the visa regime is one of those that our authorities have not managed to resolve for years. New generations like mine do not even know what visa-free travel means. Our parents had it, and perhaps they are even more embittered now… Most young people in Bosnia have never travelled to EU countries, so the logical question is: how can they develop a European vision if they have never experienced Europe, not even as tourists?”

Generally speaking, it is EU interior ministers who support maintaining the status quo. The two main reasons for the visa restrictions, according to interior ministries, are fears of an expansion of organised crime into the EU and illegal work migration. Both warrant a closer look.

Schengen visa applications denied in 2007

Austria

France

Germany

Greece

Italy

Albania

22%

22%

24%

37%

11%

BiH

17%

5%

14%

1%

1%

Macedonia

28%

80%

53%

5%

72%

Montenegro

-

-

-

5%

0%

Serbia

4%

6%

9%

3%

2%

Average

18%

28%

25%

10%

17%

With regard to organised crime emanating from the Western Balkans, all available evidence shows that it is receding as a major threat.

According to a recent report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) the image of the Balkans as a hotbed of criminal activities is outdated. UNODC finds that “the Balkan region is one of the safest in Europe.” The levels of classic crime – crime against people and property, such as murder, robbery, rape, burglary and assault – are lower in the Balkans than in Western Europe. The smuggling of drugs, guns and human beings through the region is also in decline.

The Balkans remains a transit zone for heroin destined for Western Europe.  However, the main traffickers of heroin into Europe, unlike widely believed, are not ethnic Albanians. Based on an analysis of 18,749 heroin trafficking arrests made in 2004 in 15 European countries, all citizens of Albania, Serbia and Macedonia combined (as criminal statistics do not differentiate between the different ethnic groups within a country and there are ethnic Albanians in all three countries) represented only about 6% of the heroin trafficking arrestees.

UNODC concluded:

“In short, the single most notorious Balkan organized crime phenomenon – the role played by ethnic Albanian traffickers in West European heroin markets – appears to be in decline. Similar trends are seen in the other major organised crime markets involving the region.”

Concerns about illegal work migration are also often exaggerated given the relatively small number of citizens from the Western Balkans (20 million) and the fact that their diasporas in the EU have already helped many of those who wanted to work abroad to do so. A study for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which analysed a wide range of migration-related data from governments and surveys in Southeast Europe, came to the following conclusion in 2005:

“The survey data points to two important conclusions. First, they show that many of those who wish to work in the EU have already done so, even if illegally. Second, they show that Southeast Europe’s migration potential in absolute numbers is relatively small […]. A maximum estimate of temporary migrants from the Western and Eastern Balkans together — weighted by availability of contacts and work — might be 1.5 million. The Western Balkan countries’ contribution to this figure would be between 500,000 and one million altogether. This is a manageable figure for the European Union: Italy and Greece alone already have more migrants than this from the region.”

The governments of Western Balkan countries have continuously lobbied the EU to liberalise the visa regime. As far back as in 2003 at the EU/Western Balkans Summit in Thessaloniki, EU leaders promised them discussions with the European Commission about the reforms necessary to abolish the visa requirements.

“We acknowledge the importance the peoples of the Western Balkans attach to the perspective of liberalisation of the EU’s visa regime towards them. We recognise that progress is dependent on implementing major reforms in areas such as the strengthening of the rule of law, combating organised crime, corruption and illegal migration, and strengthening administrative capacity in border control and security of documents. The Western Balkan countries welcome the intention of the Commission to hold discussions, within the framework of the Stabilisation and Association Process, with each of them, regarding the requirements for how to take these issues forward in concrete terms.”

But for many years following the summit nothing happened. In 2006, at last, the EU agreed to ease visa application procedures in return for agreements on the readmission of illegal migrants from, or having a clear link with, the Western Balkans. However, this had more to do with the EU’s desire to be able to send back not only illegal migrants that hold the citizenship of a Western Balkan country, but also third-country nationals and stateless persons who have transited through the Balkans. The wish to simplify visa application procedures in order to increase people-to-people contacts was secondary. The resulting Visa Facilitation Agreements, which entered into force on 1 January 2008, have not changed much on the ground (see next chapter).

The isolation of the Balkans:
Henley Visa Restrictions Index 2006
Number of countries to which the citizens of the mentioned country could travel without a visa in 2006
Denmark, Finland, US (most unrestricted)
Poland
Croatia
Serbia and Montenegro
Macedonia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Albania
Burma (Myanmar)
Afghanistan (most restricted)

130
106
84
32
31
25
17
15
12

Henley & Partners is a firm specialised in international immigration, consular and citizenship law (Henley Visa Restrictions Index).

………………..

ESI 

EURALIUS / OPDAT – EU Justiz Mission in Albania: “Follow the Money to Solve the Crime”

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

Euralus

[WWW.EURALIUS.ORG.AL]


EURALIUS 2008

Corruption is Robbing Albania of its Future

By B.Bix Aliu in Tirana

07 November 2008 The struggle will not succeed unless prosecutors are given free rein to investigate offenders; lifting immunity from prosecution for all officials would also help.

The United States places a high priority on combating corruption. We view it as a threat to development and prosperity. Corruption jeopardizes political stability, weakens democracy, and stymies growth and foreign investment. Corruption robs a nation of its future and people of their dreams by misappropriating investment away from areas that need it most, such as the public sector, infrastructure and social development.

Promoting good governance and fighting corruption are important foreign policy priorities for the United States. The US has helped Albania in its efforts to combat corruption and increase transparency, improve good governance, combat money laundering, and prosecute crime by providing technical assistance and training. We’ve also assisted with strengthening criminal justice systems and capacities of law enforcement agencies.

The Department of Justice’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training, OPDAT, has given very concrete assistance to the Prosecutor’s Office and the courts. It has assisted with the fight against corruption, organized crime, narcotics, and human trafficking cases. It helped establish the Joint Investigative Unit, JIU. This unit is now achieving important results in the struggle against corruption and financial crime – achievements that have been recognized by such bodies as Transparency International and Freedom House as real successes in the fight against corruption. We expect the same success will be replicated nationwide with the establishment of JIUs in six additional districts.

We all know the Prosecutor’s Office is investigating some of the most complicated and controversial cases ever in Albania. Although the United States has no interest in who may eventually be found guilty or innocent – that is a job strictly for the prosecutors and judges – justice can never be served unless investigators and prosecutors are allowed to follow the evidence wherever it may lead. There is no arguing that in order to succeed, the Prosecutor’s Office needs full powers to investigate and prosecute offenders free from outside interference. Lifting immunity for all senior officials would make success possible.
The police are another key element in rule-of-law mechanisms. The Department of Justice’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program, ICITAP, has been providing continuous assistance to the police by reforming their training and leadership programs, and updating their skills in crime investigation and prevention, as well as community policing.

Several of the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, integrated rule-of-law and anticorruption programs also are designed to help reduce opportunities and incentives for corruption, and by promoting independent media, civil society, and public education.

Albania has qualified for a second Millennium Challenge Threshold program. This is expected to assist anti-corruption efforts by establishing an administrative court that will improve management of disputes of an administrative character, such as tax and procurement appeals; tax administration reform to increase the efficiency of tax administration in revenue collection; streamlining the licensing system through a one-stop-shop model; the establishment of a National Planning Registry to make construction permits more transparent and efficient; and, last but not least, establishing Joint Investigative Units in six additional districts.

In May, an Institute for Development Research and Alternatives, IDRA, corruption perception survey found that 92 per cent of Albanians believe corruption is widespread among public officials, a decline of eight percentage points from a year ago. The report showed no progress in bribery indicators. Nearly 70 per cent of people surveyed report having paid a bribe for medical treatment. Nearly 60 per cent have little or no trust in the judicial system. There is much more work to do.

There should be significant development of enforceable procedural systems promoting accountability and transparency: standardized and public administrative processes and licenses; public legislative processes that follow standardized rules; public judicial proceedings that follow standardized procedures; public budgeting processes and internal financial controls; a merit-based civil service.

Most importantly, there should be political will to enforce all these rules and laws and complementary efforts from the various law enforcement institutions. There is no doubt that the US will continue to assist Albania, but the real driving force for the overall success of anti-corruption efforts should come from within this country: institutions, civil society, and individuals. No one should be above the law.

B.Bix Aliu is a Public Affairs Officer at the United States Embassy in Tirana. Balkan Insight, BIRN`s online publication, commissioned this comment.

Deputy Chief of Mission Meets New Director of Albanian State Police Academy
US Police Tirana
On November 4, Deputy Chief of Mission Steve Cristina, ICITAP Program Manager Darrel Hart and ICITAP Academy Advisor Hauer met with the newly appointed Director of the Albanian State Police Academy, Muhamet Rrumbullaku, to express their appreciation for the excellent leadership he has demonstrated since taking over the Academy several weeks ago. The efforts of ICITAP and other international donors to create positive and lasting change within the ASP structures, relies heavily on an effectively administered Academy. For the first time in many years it appears that a true leader is in place and willing to make the changes necessary to accomplish the goals of professionalizing the entire police service. DCM Cristina emphasized that the USG will continue to support the ASP efforts through their ICITAP, OPDAT and ROL programs.

corruption
Follow the Money to Solve the Crime

An interview with Cindy Eldridge, Anti-Corruption Resident Legal Advisor at the Embassy’s DOJ OPDAT program, was the cover story of leading weekly MAPO on Nov 1. Following mounting speculations in the Albanian media about her role, Eldridge explained to the weekly that she is embedded with the Joint Investigative Unit of the Tirana Prosecutor’s Office. Eldridge told MAPO she offers technical advice and assistance on a variety of cases that the unit works on. Speaking on her experience as a federal prosecutor in the U.S., Eldridge said, “Following the money is the key to solving the crime.” Albanian prosecutors are involved in investigations of a series of high profile cases that point to the urgent need to fight corruption in Albania.

Balkan justice Show Theater: Insignificant quantities of drugs will be burned with media marketing

Policia gjate nje aksioni per asgjesim kanabisi

 

Operacion asgjësimi në Elbasan, digjet heroinë dhe kanabis sativa

Elbasan- Në bazë të dy vendimeve të formës së prerë nga Gjykata e Krimeve të Rënda dhe dënimit të personave përgjegjës, sot në Elbasan janë asgjësuar, duke u djegur një sasi prej më shumë se 7 kg heroine dhe 17 kilogramë kanabis sativa.

 

 

Bardha Nergjoni

Shtune, 15 Nentor 2008 14:21:00

 

EC urges Albania to fight corruption, improve judicial system

13/11/2008

Last week’s progress report on Albania by the European Commission said the country must intensify its fight against corruption, money laundering, drug trafficking and organised crime.

By Jonilda Koci for Southeast European Times in Tirana – 13/11/08

 

photoCorruption remains one of Albania’s biggest problems. [File]

The European Commission (EC) progress report on Albania, released on November 5th, said corruption, judicial deficiencies, politicisation of the civil service and organised crime remain the biggest hurdles for the country.

“Corruption remains widespread,” the report says. It cited the blast at the Gerdec ammunition dump that killed 17 people in March as an example still requiring an investigation. “To ensure credibility in the fight against corruption, the allegations around this case need to be tackled with resolve,” the report notes.

It also singled out the judiciary. “Judicial procedures have remained slow and lack transparency,” the EC said, urging greater judicial accountability.

Money laundering, drug trafficking and organised crime remain serious concerns. “Limited progress can be reported in the fight against organised crime, which is a key European Partnership priority,” the report said.

The document criticised public procurement laws and their implementation for failing to comply with the relevant provisions of the EC. Overall, reconciling Albanian law with the acquis has been overly slow, according to the report, which also faulted Albania for poor enforcement of its laws.

The EC then addressed political appointments to the civil service, describing them as a handicap to accountability and to the civil service’s independence. “Appointments have continued along political party lines in contravention of the Civil Service Law,” the EC said.

It furthermore accused Albania of a lack of transparency and insufficient dialogue among its political parties.

However, not all of the EC’s findings were negative. The commission noted Albania has made progress in democracy and the rule of law, management of federal police and financial and taxation policies.

The government played up the comments acknowledging Albania’s progress. “The … report is a confirmation of Albania’s achievements towards Euro-Atlantic integration, driving the government to work harder to fulfil the standards,” Prime Minister Sali Berisha said.

“We … are implementing the law on conflicts of interest, putting anti-corruption issues at the top of our agenda,” Integration Minister Majlinda Bregu told parliament last week.

The opposition says, however, the government has not taken responsibility for the key issues the country needs to confront. Conflicting interpretations of the report became the centre of a heated debate in parliament, prompting EU officials to issue a statement.

“Corruption is described as a particularly serious problem for Albania,” the EU envoys said in a statement issued by the French Embassy.

“We encourage Albania to strengthen even further its reform efforts, in particular in the fields where only limited and small progress was found by the Commission’s Progress Report,” they said.

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com

Corruption is Robbing Albania of its Future

By B.Bix Aliu in Tirana


07 November 2008 The struggle will not succeed unless prosecutors are given free rein to investigate offenders; lifting immunity from prosecution for all officials would also help. The United States places a high priority on combating corruption. We view it as a threat to development and prosperity.  Corruption jeopardizes political stability, weakens democracy, and stymies growth and foreign investment.  Corruption robs a nation of its future and people of their dreams by misappropriating investment away from areas that need it most, such as the public sector, infrastructure and social development.

Promoting good governance and fighting corruption are important foreign policy priorities for the United States. The US has helped Albania in its efforts to combat corruption and increase transparency, improve good governance, combat money laundering, and prosecute crime by providing technical assistance and training.  We’ve also assisted with strengthening criminal justice systems and capacities of law enforcement agencies.

The Department of Justice’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training, OPDAT, has given very concrete assistance to the Prosecutor’s Office and the courts.  It has assisted with the fight against corruption, organized crime, narcotics, and human trafficking cases.  It helped establish the Joint Investigative Unit, JIU. This unit is now achieving important results in the struggle against corruption and financial crime – achievements that have been recognized by such bodies as Transparency International and Freedom House as real successes in the fight against corruption.  We expect the same success will be replicated nationwide with the establishment of JIUs in six additional districts.

We all know the Prosecutor’s Office is investigating some of the most complicated and controversial cases ever in Albania.  Although the United States has no interest in who may eventually be found guilty or innocent – that is a job strictly for the prosecutors and judges – justice can never be served unless investigators and prosecutors are allowed to follow the evidence wherever it may lead.  There is no arguing that in order to succeed, the Prosecutor’s Office needs full powers to investigate and prosecute offenders free from outside interference.  Lifting immunity for all senior officials would make success possible.
The police are another key element in rule-of-law mechanisms.  The Department of Justice’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program, ICITAP, has been providing continuous assistance to the police by reforming their training and leadership programs, and updating their skills in crime investigation and prevention, as well as community policing.

Several of the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, integrated rule-of-law and anticorruption programs also are designed to help reduce opportunities and incentives for corruption, and by promoting independent media, civil society, and public education.

Albania has qualified for a second Millennium Challenge Threshold program. This is expected to assist anti-corruption efforts by establishing an administrative court that will improve management of disputes of an administrative character, such as tax and procurement appeals; tax administration reform to increase the efficiency of tax administration in revenue collection; streamlining the licensing system through a one-stop-shop model; the establishment of a National Planning Registry to make construction permits more transparent and efficient; and, last but not least, establishing Joint Investigative Units in six additional districts.

…………………..

http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/main/comment/14649/