"Free Albania" National Committee
|Komiteti Kombëtar "Shqipëria e Lirë"|
Logo of the Committee, as appeared on the cover of its official newspaper "Shqiperia"
Independent anti-Communist guerrillas
|Formation||7 July 1949|
|Purpose||Overthrowing the Communist regime in Albania (1944-1992)|
|Headquarters||Paris, New York City|
|Services||Political engagement, subversion, intelligence support, financial support|
Mithat Frashëri (initial)|
|Abaz Kupi, Zef Pali, Said Kryeziu, Nuçi Kotta|
|Affiliations||National Committee for a Free Europe|
"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.
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, Hafëz Jusuf Azemi, 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.
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), Abaz 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 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).
- CIA released documents
- Owen Pearson (2006), Albania in the Twentieth Century, A History, III, Centre for Albanian Studies in association with I.B. Tauris, pp. 349–350, ISBN 9781845110161, OCLC 72140383
- Thanas Mustaqi (2011-09-23), 1949, Pentagoni: Diplomaci fleksibël me Shqipërinë [1949, Pentagon:Flexible diplomacy with Albania] (in Albanian), Lajmi, archived from the original on 2014-12-22, retrieved 2014-12-19,
Më 26 gusht të vitit 1949, në Paris u formua Komiteti Kombëtar-Demokratik "Shqipëria e lirë", me nismën e Mithat Frashërit për të "udhëhequr dhe inkurajuar njerëzit tanë të zotë në rezistencën e tyre kundër tiranisë komuniste". Këtu u zgjodh edhe Këshilli udhëheqës i saj i përbërë nga Mid’hat Frashëri (kryetar), Abas Kupi, Zef Pali, Said Kryeziu dhe Nuçi Kotta (anëtarë). Organi më i lartë ishte Këshilli Kombëtar prej 11 anëtarësh nga parti të ndryshme. Por pas disa ditësh, agjencia franceze e lajmeve AFP transmetoi një deklaratë të Mbretit në mërgim Ahmet Zogu, në të cilën thuhej se nuk e njihte Komitetin Shqipëria e Lirë dhe se "pas 7 prillit 1939, unë jam i vetmi autoritet legjitim i shqiptarëve".
- Attachment to OIZA-244, No. 3
- Robert Elsie (2010), Historical Dictionary of Albania, Historical Dictionaries of Europe, 75 (2 ed.), Scarecrow Press, p. 144, ISBN 978-0810861886
- Petrit Palushi (2014-03-12), Dëshmia e Neshat Bilalit: Pse "Kompania 4000" dështoi në rrëzimin e Enver Hoxhës [Testimony of Neshat Bilali: Why Company 4000 failed in overthrowing Enver Hoxha] (in Albanian), Tirana Observer, archived from the original on 2014-12-24, retrieved 2014-12-19
- Auron Tare (2012-06-30), Arkivi i CIA: Roma, qendra e operacioneve kundër Hoxhës [CIA archives: Rome, centre of operations against Hoxha] (in Albanian), Gazeta Panorama Online, archived from the original on 2014-12-24, retrieved 2014-12-19
- Gregg Herken (2014), The Georgetown Set: Friends and Rivals in Cold War Washington, Alfred A. Knopf, ISBN 9780307271181
- Përparim Halili (2013-04-17), Fitorja e PKSH në vitin 1944 detyroi 1100 ballistë e legalistë t’ia "mbathin" në Itali, 450 të tjerë në Greqi [Victory of PKSH in 1944 forced 1100 Balli and Legaliteti members to flee to Italy, other 450 to Greece] (in Albanian), Sot News, retrieved 2014-12-19
- Albert Lulushi (2004), Operation Valuable Fiend : the CIA's first paramilitary strike against the Iron Curtain, Arcade Publishing, ISBN 9781628723229, OCLC 876900674
- Katalin Kadar Lynn (2013), The inauguration of organized political warfare : cold war organizations sponsored by the National Committee for a Free Europe/Free Europe Committee, Helena History Press, p. 334, ISBN 9780985943318, OCLC 867652489