Trisha Shetty (Editor)

"Free Albania" National Committee

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Abbreviation  FAC
Extinction  1992
Motto  Për Shqipëri! Për Liri! Për Flamurin Kuq e Zi!
Predecessor  Balli Kombëtar Legaliteti Lidhja Agrare Lidhja Katundare Independent anti-Communist guerrillas
Formation  7 July 1949 (1949-07-07)
Purpose  Overthrowing the Communist regime in Albania (1944-1992)

"Free Albania" National Committee (Albanian: Komiteti Kombëtar "Shqipëria e Lirë"), also known as "Free Albania" National-Democratic Committee, also National Committee for a Free Albania or NCFA, was a political organization of post-World War II Albanian emigre in the Western countries. It was supported by CIA, placed as member of National Committee for a Free Europe. The committee aimed organizing the Albanian diaspora and cooperating with western powers into overthrown Enver Hoxha's Communist regime in Albania.
The committee creation started in Rome and was finalized in Paris in the summer of 1949.

Contents

Background

With the triumph of Communism in Albania, many of the political factors of Albania during World War II had to flee the country. Many of them collaborated with the western government and secret services into overthrowing the communists, and changing the form of the regime in Albania. The base for the committee was heterogeneous, the most known actors were former Balli Kombëtar members including Mithat Frashëri, Abas Ermenji, Vasil Andoni, Ali Klissura, etc., Legaliteti members with its leader Abaz Kupi, "Blloku Indipendent" (Independent Block) of pro-Italian and/or collaborationist elements that were involved with Albanian puppet governments during the war, i.e. Ernest Koliqi, Mustafa Kruja, Gjon Marka Gjoni, Shefqet Verlaci, anti-fascist and anti-communist guerrillas who cooperated with British-American emissaries during the war led by Said bey Kryeziu, other independent anti-communists, i.e. Muharrem Bajraktari, as well as other political fractions like "Peasant League" (Albanian: Lidhja Katundare), etc.

Creation

The preparation started in Rome in 1948, with the initiative of Legaliteti. After the rejection of Balli Kombëtar (due to political antagonism inherited since World War II), Balli's leader Mithat Frashëri resumed the initiative again. This time strong confrontations happened between Balli members and "Blloku Indipendent" which definitely stayed out of the committee. State Department did not want any of the Blloku members involved in the committee due to their pro Italian/German stance during the war, but there was a silent voucher for guerillas like Ismail Vërlaci of Gjon Markagjoni who could join as individuals and not as representatives of Blloku.

An inaugural storefront office was opened in Paris, 1 July 1949. Free Albania" National Committee was officially constituted on July 7 (although some Albanian sources place it later in time, on 26 August 1949). Mithat Frashëri was its chairman, with other members of the Directing Board: Nuçi Kotta (son of the Albanian former Prime Minister Kostaq Kotta), Albaz Kupi, Said Kryeziu, and Zef Pali. There was also a national committee consisted of Eqrem Telhai of "Peasant League" (Albanian: Lidhja Katundare), Hysni Mulleti of "Agrarian League" (Albanian: Lidhja Agrare), Muharrem Bajraktari as "Independent Fighting Group" (Albanian: Grupi Luftëtar i Pavarur), Ihsan Toptani - independent, Gaqo Gogo, a pro-monarchist and former King Zog I's secretary, Myftar Spahiu and Gani Tafilaj from Legaliteti, whilst Halil Maçi, Vasil Andoni, and Abaz Ermenji from Balli Kombëtar.
Gaqo Gogo served also as Executive Secretary, while Abaz Kupi was appointed chairman of the military junta, with Ermenji and Kryeziu as his deputies.

On September 6, 1949, the committee proclaimed itself in a BBC radio transmission. In the following days, Mithat Frashëri would organize a press-conference, which rose another conflict with pro-Yugoslavian British authorities, opposing Frashëri's words which included "Kosovo", stating that he should speak only regarding territories subject to Albanian state.

Soon-after, the British intelligence officer Billy McLean together with Alan Hare and Harold Perkins flew to Alexandria, Egypt where they joined Julian Amery and Robert Low. They had a meeting with King Zog trying to persuade him to recognize the committee. Former King of Albania, Ahmet Zogu, opposed the committee even though his supporter Abaz Kupi was one of the founders, with the explanation that he was the only legitimate representative of Albania.

The committee published the biweekly journal "Shqiperia" (Albania) in Albanian language.

Post 1949

The committee was restructured with its center in New York City. After Frashëri's death in October 1949, Hasan Dosti took over, but later Rexhep Krasniqi, a Kosovar Albanian became chairman with support of Xhafer Deva who had previously settled in US. Abas Ermenji continued to work in France, where he published the journal "Qëndresa Shqiptare" (Albanian: Albanian Resistance).

The committee collaborated with CIA into forming the Company 4000 military units, stationed in Hohenbrunn, Bavaria, West Germany in 1950. The "company" consisted of trained military units, supporting the Albanian Subversion, though it was never effective.

With Albania joining UN in 1955, the committee's activities diminished over the years, but it continued to organize political gatherings, conferences, and seminars. Over 15,000 Albanian refugees were resettled in the United States through its efforts. Krasniqi publisher the newspaper "The Free Albanian" (Albanian: Shqiptari i lirë) from November 1957 to 1970. It was one of the nine national representations which were used by State Department to create the Assembly of Captive European Nations (ACEN).

With the demise of communism, the board of directors of the FAC decided that its functions would no longer be needed, and it was disbanded in 1992.

CIA involvement

Recent(2013) CIA documents becoming public, which found a vast reflection in the Albanian media, showed CIA's deep involvement in committee's creation and activity, as well as the sponsor.

References

"Free Albania" National Committee Wikipedia


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