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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

BOSNIAN BLOWBACK?

The late Osama Bin Laden, the founder of terror franchise Al Qaeda, 
which spread its influence into the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.


ONLINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal link:

Heed Bolt's warnings on terror

By Sasha Uzunov - posted Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Some of us who grew up as "ethnics" in writer Catherine Deveny's allegedly infamous and "rough" Melbourne suburb of Reservoir during the 1970s would have looked upon the likes of conservative columnist Andrew Bolt as a stern high school teacher, offering you tough advice you did not want to hear but knew deep down was right. So we should heed Bolt's recent warnings about the rise of fundamentalist Islamic terrorism on Australian soil.

But in this age of permanent adolescence, to borrow a term from Canadian pundit Mark Steyn, many of our cultural elite who should know better have to trash our elders for the sake of pretend or feigned radical chic.

However, some of us as writers/bloggers, as part of our shtick, don't have professional ethnic angst, an Anglo-Celtic Australian angst, a Catholic angst, patriachal angst, matriachal angst, heteronormative angst nor ex-soldier angst. In fact we don't want to punish society because of any personal angst nor are we on a "curious crusade" to use a term coined by a now retrenched Age newspaperman! We simply want to discuss and debate hot issues of the day. Ok, that's out of the way...!


I want to talk about Balkan Blowback and how it impacts Australia and the rest of the Western world. How in our naivety in trying to help we have ourselves become the target since 9 September 2001.

The Americans love coming up with catchy and punchy terms. Take for instance "blowback", a term used in espionage to describe the unintended consequences of covert operations. In the war on terror context it means former Mujahaddin Islamic holy war warriors once sponsored by the United States' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during the Cold War who have now turned against their former paymaster by morphing into Al Qaeda.

Balkan Blowback refers to events in the former Communist multi-ethnic Yugoslavia, namely Bosnia-Hercegovina and how this now impacts upon security in the West, including Australia.

The Bosnian war, 1992-95, was a result of the break up of the former Yugoslavia and in a three-way struggle which pitted Muslim Bosnians (Bosnjaks) against ethnic Serbs, against ethnic Croats, in a bid to control the former Yugoslav republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina (Bosna-Hercegovina). No one can forget the images of the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo being bombarded constantly by Serb artillery or the infamous Serb concentration camp with emaciated Muslim Bosnian prisoners or the UN's inability to stop the slaughter of Muslim Bosnians at Srebrenica. The war ended with the US-brokered Dayton Agreement in 1995.

The Muslim Bosnians were regarded as the "good muslims" by the United States. In fact so much so that in this pre 9/11 environment, Islamic militants from around the world, including Iran were "allowed" to enter Bosnia and even the score against the Serbs and Croats. When things got out of hand the militants were ordered to leave by the US, especially when many of the post 9/11 attacks against the West were coming from Bosnian training camps.

An American academic, Dr John Schindler, a lecturer at the prestigious US Naval War College, was an international war crimes investigator in Bosnia. He reached two startling conclusions: one, many of the war criminals from either the Serb, Croat or Bosnian side were former Yugoslav intelligence service (UDBa) officers from the old communist regime who had switched their allegiances to their respective sides, and secondly, and most importantly for the West, the growth of Iranian influence over the Muslim Bosnian government.


Dr Schindler reveals an interesting story about Fikret Muslimovic, "Bosnia's true eminence grise and the man who engineered the alliance with Iran back in the early 1990... Muslimovic was a career Yugoslav military counterintelligence (KOS) officer and convinced Communist who spent the 1980s locking away Islamic radicals in Bosnia, yet who upon Bosnian independence in 1992 suddenly became an Islamic hardliner and advocate of linkages with Iran and Al-Qaeda … sometimes it's better not to ask too many questions."

A different report titled, Jihad, bought and sold on January 26, 2009 by ISA Consulting, a non-profit international think tank reveals an interesting individual offering his services in the fight on terror:
"He is an Islamic warrior who fought in Bosnia during the war, a fierce follower of jihad who has pledged to die in the name of God, a convicted terrorist and proclaimed al-Qaida commander. Ali Ahmed Ali Hamad is now trying to sell information about atrocities committed by his warriors in Bosnia in return for asylum."

The report adds:

"A native of Bahrain, Ali Ahmed Ali Hamad, known during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war as "Ubaidah al-Bahraini", was released on 30 December 2008 from a Bosnian prison where he served a 12-year sentence for robbery and terrorism."

Ali Hamad was a high-ranking officer of the notorious El-Mujahid unit, composed of foreign fighters from Islamic countries, and under the command of the Bosnian Army. El-Mujahid committed war crimes against ethnic Serbs and Croats in Bosnia. In 1997 Ali Hamad was eventually locked up for masterminding a terrorist car bomb attack in the Bosnian town of Mostar (Old Bridge) aimed against the ethnic Croat population.

Irony of ironies, he later sough asylum in Serbia, his former enemy in the Bosnian war, after his Bosnian citizenship was revoked but was reportedly deported to his native Bahrain.

So how on earth does this all have an impact down under, Australia? Concerns have been raised within Muslim Bosnian emigre communities in the West, who are predominately moderate, over the radicalisation of their youth by fanatical preachers. It also does not take a great deal to conclude that where a former Yugoslav military counterintelligence (KOS) officer of the calibre of Muslimovic has thrown in his lot with the radical Islamists then you know we here in Australia are in very big trouble. Convicted terrorist Nacer Ben Bricka is an amateur in comparison.

We are in big trouble, when your consider the former Yugoslav intelligence service (UDBa) ran rings around our own domestic spies ASIO, the CIA and even the KGB. I have spent 20 years investigating UDBa and have read the many de-classified ASIO files. During the 1970s and 80s, communist Yugoslavia was waging a dirty tricks campaign against Croats, Macedonians and others who had left Yugoslavia and settled in Australia and wanted to paint them as terrorists or trouble makers .

One of UDBa's greatest "jobs" was the Croatian Six set up in 1979, where an agent provocateur was able to frame six Sydney based Croats as "terrorists" and decades later owned up about his misdeed. The Croatian Six, as they became known, served their time in jail, and the current Federal Attorney General, Nicola Roxon, has refused to open an inquiry.

The Australian people of all religions, creeds, in facing the Islamic fundamentalist terror or any other terror, have a right to know the workings of UDBa, considering there are some ex officers and informers living in Australia. What I fear is that these people could be bribed or bullied into helping Al Qaeda or any other terror franchise by sharing UDBa tricks of the trade in spycraft. In our vigilance, and I have warned about this in previous articles, we should not allow those people who are Islamophobic a chance to use these fears as a vehicle for their own political agenda.

However, Roxon's refusal to open a judicial or government inquiry into the Croatian Six and UDBa activities could be placing us all in danger.

About the Author


Sasha Uzunov graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia, in 1991. He enlisted in the Australian Regular Army as a soldier in 1995 and was allocated to infantry. He served two peacekeeping tours in East Timor (1999 and 2001). In 2002 he returned to civilian life as a photo journalist and film maker and has worked in The Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. His documentary film Timor Tour of Duty made its international debut in New York in October 2009. He blogs at Team Uzunov.
LINKS:
CAN WE TRUST ASIO?  - 9 February 2012
Mr David Irvine, the Director-General of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, Australia's domestic spooks, has called for more spies from within the country's Islamic communities, but can ASIO be trusted to do an efficient job? History shows that our counter-intelligence service has a poor record in thwarting foreign spies. Should Australia's Islamic communities place their trust in such an organisation to do the right thing?   read more...



REVERSE BALKAN BLOWBACK -  19 February 2009
The Americans love coming up with catchy and punchy terms. Take for instance “blowback”, a term used in espionage to describe the unintended consequences of covert operations. In the war on terror context it means former Mujahaddin Islamic holy war warriors once sponsored by the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during the cold war who have now turned against their former paymaster.   read more...

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