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Albania as a “narco-state” and the 10bn euros of the drug industry

The investigation of the journalists of RAI 3 helped our effort (as journalists) to emphasize the issue of the “narco-state” that Rama has built and deserves to be greeted both by us (as free and honest journalists of course) and from the Albanian people

Ylli Përmeti

06/06/2024 - 09:21

In two series of investigations, RAI 3 journalists tried to show the character of Rama`s state: that it is a “narco-state” and a “mafia-state”, implying that it is headed by a “mafioso”. It followed several similar accusations from countries like the US and Britain in the last two to three years. But with a difference: RAI 3 journalists intend to cancel “Meloni-Rama” agreement for the refugees.

But it must be said that in the second series they showed Rama`s role more clearly, using not only the testimonies of several journalists who are close to Berisha, but also the long-awaited statement of the former Deputy Prime Minister Arben Ahmetaj from Switzerland, where he has requested political asylum because he believes that the accusation against him is “political” and not fair: that Rama believes that through the drug industry he can develop the economy and as such he has organized the sector.

While in the first investigation Rama refused to speak to the relevant journalists and after its broadcast he dared and called the relevant television calling the investigation “scandalous” and justifying it with his attempt to “protect” our country “from prejudice”, he agreed to speak on their second attempt, and on the day the transmission was announced, he warned a few hours before it, trying to discredit it and calling it “disgusting” (“schifosa”) and connected it with the “scum” of Berisha`s journalists and with the latter`s own attempt to show the prime minister as a “Mafioso”.

He acted in the same way the day after the broadcast, but this time not by writing on his website but by holding a stand up recorded on video where he tries to show to our people the “pseudo-investigation” of the Italian journalists and his “purity” regarding the accusations while a few hours later welcomed Meloni, in their attempt to speed up the works in the two refugee camps, while in the media controlled by the two main parties, the “debate” related to those accusations was highlighted: Rama's opponents called his state a “narco-state” (as Berisha calls it) while his supporters opposed him, but neither party convinced with their arguments and counterarguments.

For example, a non-journalist pretending to be a journalist, Artan Hoxha, said that our country is not “narco-state” because it does not produce cocaine like Latin countries (ignoring the fact that our country produces cannabis as never before) while Ylli Manjani, a “lawyer” and former minister of justice of the “Rama-1” government, instead of connecting the “narco-state” with any legal definition, as he should, connected it with the weak “lek” (our currency) in relation to the “euro”!

Oxford dictionary defines a “narco-state” as “a country whose economy is dependent on the trade of illegal drugs” while a “mafia state” is usually called a “government associated with organized crime”.

To prove that our country is dependent on the drug market, we have two facts or evidence:

• one is related to Rama's attempt to develop the drug industry, because he believes that it can “develop the economy”, a fact that I have been saying for years, judging from what I have witnessed from Rama, who initially destroyed the small industry of Berisha in Lazarat (presumably to show to the world that he was serious in attacking the drug industry allowed by the previous government and cutting off an important income to Berisha`s becoming an opposition) and began to create an industry throughout the country, with the first attempt in Xibrakë, to create a cocaine laboratory, where it failed, but supported by the banks, a fact which was also reported by the head of SPAK (our new justice institution) in his annual report and now we have Ahmetaj`s statement, according to which Rama believes that the drug industry would develop the economy while meeting regularly with representatives of the industry (for such an industry has been already jailed his former interior minister, Saimir Tahiri); and

• the other, related to drug revenues: according to a 2019 report cited by “The Guardian”, the Albanian mafia was “on their way to near total takeover of the UK`s £5bn cocaine market”. But cocaine is only one substance; because our country trades also other substances, with cannabis as the main one. For the latter, some calculations show, based on the confiscated quantity by the police, that the amount should be around 1.3bn euros (2017).

Despite the difficulty of estimating the total income by the industry that Rama developed (perhaps he keeps notes and has a more accurate amount) judging by the two reports mentioned, but also by the fact that since 2017 and 2019 have passed more than seven years, and as a result the income has increased, the amount should be around 10bn euros. This amount is almost a quarter (or 25 percent) of the total GDP of our country!

The investigation of the journalists of RAI 3, in other words, helped our effort (as journalists) to emphasize the issue of the “narco-state” that Rama has built and deserves to be greeted both by us (as free and honest journalists of course) and from the Albanian people. But they should have included the annual report of SPAK, which shows the level of organized crime, to give their investigation a legal “weight”. It could have even included the fact mentioned by the head of the SPAK that the public administration does not report corruption as before (presumably, because it was instructed by Rama to hinder investigations).

However, the investigation of RAI 3 is already exerting tremendous pressure on SPAK to investigate Rama also for the issue of the drug industry (and not only for the “incinerators” while “MacGonigal” issue is waiting), for which he has shown great concern both in the annual report and later when has requested greater cooperation with the Albanian society as a whole. It also accelerates the effort to create a technocratic government and run the country temporarily to conduct free and fair elections and to assist justice.   

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