McCain and the KLA Connection

George W. Bush has been taken out to the woodshed by the liberals for appearing on the stage at Bob Jones University – in this day and age, to even appear on a platform provided by a politically incorrect group or institution is enough to condemn a candidate to perdition. And the McCain campaign was quick to capitalize on it. But why isn’t McCain subjected to the same scrutiny? Please direct your attention to the photo below: the caption informs us that McCain is speaking at “a pro-Kosovo, pro-McCain rally across the street from his New York City hotel Friday morning, Feb. 11, 2000. McCain is in New York for the day to attend fundraisers and to talk to the press before returning to South Carolina Friday night.” But who is the man on the right, with the colorful KLA scarf and his big mouth wide open? The caption-writer is mute on this point, but to anyone who knows anything about New York’s ethnic politics, the face is all-too-familiar: it is none other than former Republican Congressman Joe DioGuardi, now the loquacious leader of the Albanian-American Civic League (AACL) – a group that not only actively represents the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in America, but whose leader has become a spokesman for the most radical fringe elements of the KLA.
Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks to a pro Kosovo, pro McCain, rally across the street from his New York City hotel Friday morning, Feb. 11, 2000. McCain is in New York for the day to attend fundraisers and to talk to the press before returning to South Carolina Friday night. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)


DioGuardi is an extremist who lost his seat in Congress because his growing preoccupation with creating a “Greater Albania” did not exactly fit in with the pothole-fixing skills that must be the first concern of New York City politicians. Most Albanian-Americans support independence for Kosovo, and look with disdain and bewilderment at the US government’s official position that Kosovo is still an “autonomous” province of Yugoslavia. But DioGuardi goes one step – indeed, several steps – further, and envisions a “Greater Albania.” Visitors to AACL’s website are confronted with a map of this Albanian Empire, which, as Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute said in his testimony before Congress, illustrates “a breathtaking agenda,” including as it does “Albania, Kosovo, western Macedonia (along with its capital, Skopje), southeastern Montenegro (along with its capital, Podgorica), northern Greece, and southern Serbia (north of Kosovo).” A comment found in Alexander Cockburn’s Counterpunch newsletter on this outrageous map hit the nail on the head:

“When I first saw this map it struck a recollection of something I had seen before. It occurred to me that it is quite similar to one I have (printed by the State Department in 1947) of interim territorial arrangements during World War II. I can understand that there is an element of hyperbole in critics’ calling NATO’s air campaign “Nazi,” but fail to see what interest the United States has in helping to restore the Nazi-imposed borders of 1943 or how this helps preserve European stability.”


It is well-known that the original straight-arm salute of the KLA was suppressed, by its CIA and German intelligence handlers, in favor of a less controversial American-style greeting. While one wing of the KLA looks to the old-fashioned Stalinism of Enver Hoxha, the Albanian Communist dictator who aided the early student organizations that made up the Albanian separatist movement, the other looks to the “Skanderberg Division” of the Nazi SS, Albanians recruited by the Germans to fight for Hitler’s cause, for its political antecedents. DioGuardi has been a vigorous publicist on behalf of the KLA political commissar, Adem Demaci, a militant who spent years in Yugoslav prisons. Demaci denounced the Rambouillet agreement as a sellout and (along with DioGuardi) rejected all negotiations on principle. DioGuardi even wrote a letter congratulating his fellow extremist when Demaci was appointed chief of the KLA’s political wing.


Demaci, DioGuardi, and the KLA militants are now acting on their dream of a “Greater Albania”: this is the meaning of recent events in Kosovo. Madeleine Albright is so frightened by the rising demands of the pan-Albanians that she made a special trip to Tirana to denounce the idea as “no more viable than that of a Greater Serbia.” But the genie is already out of the bottle, and the question is: what will the next Administration do?


As the KLA conducts its reign of terror in Kosovo, driving out the Serbs and marching, in tens of thousands, on the northern city of Mitrovica in an effort to storm the last Serb bastion, John McCain is standing alongside a man who is the chief apologist, organizer, and fundraiser of the KLA in America, a man who once declared:

“It is unfortunate that misguided European politics, overly and unfairly influenced by Russia and Greece in the early part of the twentieth century, resulted in a partition of the Albanian nation so that more than half the Albanians in the Balkans live outside the state of Albania in hostile Slavic regimes, especially Serbia and Macedonia. . . . With UDBA in Belgrade and the Sigurimi in Tirana collaborating to buy, trick or kill those Albanians with democratic aspirations, it is no wonder that it has been extremely difficult for seven million. Albanians to organize themselves as a nation, or even politically within the five jurisdictions in which they reside. While there is some cooperation among political parties in certain areas and across borders, true democratic, independent-minded Albanian leadership has been lacking and this has contributed to the divisions, confusion, and betrayal of the Albanian cause in the Balkans and in America.”


How’s that for a conspiracy theory? According to DioGuardi, all the nations of Europe conspired to keep his people disunited. Naturally it is assumed that every living ethnic Albanian must live in an Albanian state, since, in the neo-fascist ideology of the KLA, the State embodies the Race and must defend its interests irrespective of current national borders. And, oh yes, that’s what we definitely need: more “cooperation among parties in certain areas and across borders,” so as to spread the rabidly revanchist ideology of the KLA and set the Balkans aflame.


There they are, the two of them, DioGuardi and McCain, side by side: one who would carve an Albanian empire in the midst of the blood-soaked Balkans, and the other who would be President of the United States. It is a disturbing juxtaposition, to say the very least. For if we can accuse poor Dubya of endorsing the anti-Catholic rhetoric of the Bob Jones fundamentalists simply by speaking at their auditorium, then what are we to make of would-be President John McCain appearing with a radical Albanian nationalist who sees not only Belgrade but also Skopje and Athens as the enemy? After all, this is perhaps the wrong signal to the Macedonians, who have so far enjoyed a fragile peace, and no doubt the Greeks, our NATO allies, would be less than pleased. And what of the Montenegrins, whose capital city DioGuardi and the Albanian lobby covet, and whose independence we are pledged to defend against the alleged threat posed by Milosevic? If Bush must be called to account for supposedly aligning himself with the forces of intolerance in the US, for the sin of appearing at Bob Jones U, then should we not call McCain to account for sharing the platform with a radical Albanian extremist and endangering the peace of Europe


Although the McCain campaign piously denied it, it has since come out that they were responsible for phone calls during the Michigan primary, run ostensibly by a group called “Catholic Voter Alert,” which demanded to know why Bush had not disavowed the rhetoric of Bob Jones and his flock about the church being “a Satanic cult’! This from the campaign McCain piously described to his followers as “one you can be proud of”! Well, then, is it not time to turn the tables, and send out a “Voter Alert” demanding to know why McCain hasn’t repudiated the rhetoric of Joe DioGuardi and his KLA friends who want to ignite the Balkan tinderbox with their crazed scheme to create an Albanian empire? Indeed, this is a lot fairer than the alleged Bush-Jones connection, because Bush has no history of anti-Catholicism – the news of his sudden conversion to the Jonesian doctrine that the Church is “the great Whore” foretold in the Bible came as a bit of a surprise. But McCain’s apparent conversion to the cause of pan-Albanian nationalism is far more credible. For McCain was the most militant and visible supporter of the Kosovo war, who demanded Clinton pull out all the stops and send in the ground troops – even going so far as to introduce a Senate resolution that went down to a well-deserved defeat at the hands of his Republican colleagues.


As General Wesley Clark, the US commander of our troops in Kosovo, calls on NATO and Washington to send in more troops – and I see, as I write this, that the Marines are practically on the way – the crisis in the Balkans is approaching critical mass. The NATO-crats are cranking up the propaganda machine, as the KLA gets ready to complete the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo and proceed to the next stage of the ongoing struggle for a “Greater Albania.” Ideologues like Adem Demaci, in Kosovo, and Joe Dioguardi, in America, want to drag the US into yet another Balkan war, to “finish the job” and completely dismember the remnants of Yugoslavia – using the US and NATO as both their sword and their shield. With a sympathetic President in the White House, who remembers how much money and political support was raised on that trip to New York at a crucial time in his campaign, DioGuardi and the KLA may yet see their expansionist dream realized. With Serbia finally subjugated, Albania would be free to expand, absorbing not only Kosovo but also destabilizing Macedonia and threatening Greece.


The last GOP presidential candidate to cash in on the Albanian connection was Bob Dole: in May 1987, Dole and DioGuardi attended an Albanian-American fund-raiser in New York City that raised $1.2 million for Dole’s campaign and $50,000 for DioGuardi’s, according to journalist Diana Johnstone and researcher Benjamin Works. The caption accompanying the above photo says McCain was in New York doing some fundraising, and it is fair to ask: how much money did he get from the Albanian lobby? As the great “reform” candidate who denounces the influence of “special interests” and the power of money in politics, McCain had better tell us exactly how much the Albanian lobby has thrown his way – and to what effect. Of all the lobbyists in Washington, it is the “special interests” represented by the agents of foreign powers that pose the greatest threat to the integrity of the Presidency. Joe DioGuardi, rabid Albanian nationalist and chief American apologist for the drug-connected totalitarians of the KLA, has spread the money from his political action committees far and wide, and no doubt McCain is also the recipient of his largess – but at what price to the American people? The McCain campaign must immediately release the figures, and give us some “straight talk” about the KLA-McCain connection: how much did they get-and in return for what? The American people have a right to know how many American soldiers will be put at risk in the Balkans in the service of paying off President McCain’s political debts.


Republicans are screaming about the panderfest presided over by the Reverend Al Sharpton, at which Al Gore and Bill Bradley outdid each other in denouncing “white skin privilege,” but what about McCain’s panderfest with the Albanian warmongers, who want to drag the US even deeper into the Balkan quagmire? At least Sharpton isn’t demanding the that the lives of American soldiers be put at risk.


Naturally the American media, which made itself into the willing instrument of the War Party during the Kosovo conflict, is reluctant to uncover the fact of McCain’s connection to Albanian extremists. The inability or unwillingness of the Bush campaign to call McCain to account on this question is due in large part to its own commitment to the Albanian lobby; their foreign policy advisor, Richard Perle, was also an advisor to the Bosnian Muslims, who enthusiastically supported the Kosovo war. The only major candidate who has made opposition to the Kosovo war – and opposition to the influence of foreign lobbyists – a campaign issue has been Patrick J. Buchanan, the likely Reform Party candidate. Buchanan is the specter that is haunting this primary season, with everyone and his brother claiming the mantle of “reform” – but scurrying away from the vital foreign policy issue, which only Buchanan has addressed. If McCain, the would-be conqueror of the Balkans, is the GOP nominee, then the Republicans, independents, and Democrats who opposed that war – and are horrified by its frightening results – will be driven into the Reform Party column. Combined with the general distaste for McCain among conservatives, this is the one factor that those who prate about the “electability” of the Warrior Candidate never discuss. Once again, the Bush people are constrained from making their best argument against McCain, this time for fear of breaking the embargo on all discussion of Buchanan and Reform as viable alternatives. The impotence of the Bush campaign in the face of the McCain insurgency is a function not only of the shortcomings of their candidate, but of the internationalism of his Establishment foreign policy advisors and their instinctive fear of the Right. And that, in the end, will be their undoing.

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].