From Blendi Fevziu
Hasan Luçi’s confession: “We had other information that some of the top leadership were agents, but our collaborators, who passed this on to us, killed them”!
Memorie.al / Foreign services have tried time and time again to liquidate Enver Hoxha. On their agenda, assassinations against him have not been missing either. During a confession on the show “Opinion”, by the well-known journalist Bledi Fevziu, former head of the Secret Intelligence Service (outside) Hasan Luçi, revealed two of the failed attempts of Western agencies to kill the communist dictator. The first case, the head of the Zulus remembers, belongs to Abdyl Banushi, the agent who tried to shoot Enver Hoxha, on the parade stand, from the “Shallvareve” palaces. So, returning you to the well-known story of Xhevdet Mustafa’s gang, he sheds light on many of the details of the game of the secret service, with its people. Luçi calls untrue the claim of the former communist leadership, Enver Hoxha, according to which the gang was called by order of Kadri Hazbiu, to eliminate the leader of the Party. Focusing on other aspects of his sector, the former head of Political Intelligence singles out some of the main operations of the Albanian secret service. “Until the 70s, he claims, around 100 detectives operated abroad, but later this figure began to decrease.” Interesting in Luçi’s story are the memories of how the former King Zog was followed, and some of the high personalities of the Albanian political exile, in the West…!
Lord Hasan! For a long time, from the 60s to the mid-80s, you performed important tasks in the Intelligence service, outside the borders of Albania. When does your career start in this service?
After I graduated from the intelligence faculty in Moscow, I did a very intensive program, which was planned for three years and I did it for two years, I returned to Albania and started working at the center.
What did you learn in Moscow?
Discovery theory and practice as well as service techniques and tactics. There I was filled with all the qualities to be a discoverer.
You went to school in the Soviet Union, at the time of healthy relations between our two countries. And after the divorce, did you feel the risk of being discovered by the KGB?
In fact, the KGB prepared us professionally. At that time we were brothers. We fought and worked for the same ideals, for the same issue. When relations broke down, another situation followed. Again we did not have to leave the service. There were many ways to avoid being discovered by the KGB. When I continued school there, I was not with my identity, but with a different name…!
You finished your studies in Moscow in the 1960s…?
No, I graduated in 1958
When you came from studies, did you enter the service of Discovery?
In the Intelligence service, I was already in 1955. That is, before I went to the Soviet Union. When I returned from Moscow, I started working at the center in Tirana. Then I went to the Third Secretary at our Embassy in Paris…!
What was the object of discovery at that time?
To reveal any activity that harms the interests of the Albanian state.
What about the facility?
The object of the pursuit was the states or the people, the various institutions or organizations that acted against Albania that harmed the interests of the state and the Albanian people…!
What exactly was being followed…?
In the first place, we had for object the neighboring countries, then the distant areas, NATO, the USA and other countries, included in the Atlantic Alliance, which acted against Albania.
What about exile?
The emigrant was one of the objects of discovery. In its ranks there were contingents of diversion, which operated constantly.
What about counterintelligence, what role did it play?
Counterintelligence had another mission. Currently, there is a lot of confusion about intelligence and counterintelligence reports. Many times they even equate them with each other as the same service. It should be noted that here we are dealing with two separate things. Discovery has the object of its mission, abroad. Counterintelligence operates within the state territory. It is understood that there is cooperation and interaction between them, there are also joint operations, but however, they remain two different services.
The Albanian discovery initially had cooperation with the Yugoslav one and later with the service of the Soviet Union. Was the period of breaking relations with them accompanied by consequences?
In the years ’47-’48, when we broke with the Yugoslavs, they destroyed our agency abroad, as they were aware of the communication code. Such a situation also happened after the break with the Russians. Russian and Yugoslav agents made various provocations and clashes from time to time. After breaking with the KGB, we adapted the platform of our service according to Western models, taking experience from the American service, Israeli intelligence, etc.
What was the number of Albanian detectives operating abroad?
The truth is, there was no exact number. By the 70s, there were 100 scouts operating outside. Then slowly, this figure started to reduce…!
What about the number of associates?
Their number depended on the situation. In the case of serious situations and crises, such as the issue of relations with Berlin or the sudden suicide of Mehmet Shehu, the need arose for the addition of collaborators.
Were the collaborators only Albanians, or were there also foreigners?
Undoubtedly, most of them were Albanian, but there were also foreigners, because Albania has had friends and true friends. They kindly offered us information, because they loved our country, no matter what they were, priests, journalists, etc.
Were the collaborators paid?
Our service was only on a voluntary basis. Rarely have there been those occasions when we have given any reward, quite modest.
What about coercive methods, did you recruit collaborators?
With payment and coercive methods, we have recruited very few collaborators.
Did Albania have agents at high levels in Western countries?
There were heads.
In what sense?
In the sense that, if we have not had prime ministers and government officials, we have had MPs and important public figures from different countries.
In recent years, it has been said that Mit’hat Frashëri was poisoned in 1949, in the USA, by the Albanian secret service. Is it true?
Such a statement is not true. We had clear orders not to allow acts of terror in any way. An action of this nature would be foolish for our service.
So you are saying that the secret service has not disappeared anyone in the West?
The truth is that there have been such proposals, especially for various saboteurs, but in no case have they been approved. Regarding their pursuit, we had as objective the annihilation behind the trap in Albania.
The Secret Service has been following King Zog. Did you carry the information about Enver Hoxha?
Any information of the Discovery went to Enver Hoxha. Meanwhile, there were cases for which special information was prepared.
It has been said that sometime in the 70s, the Intelligence Service passed on information, according to which Ramiz Alia was a KGB agent, and this information did not reach Enver Hoxha. Do you know about this?
Enver Hoxha received all information from the Intelligence Service. There was information like this about Ramiz Ali for other members of the Political Bureau. Whether they were true or not, they went to Enver Hoxha. We were only responsible for transmitting the information and had no duty to verify it…!
Where did this information come from?
They came from various collaborators, but also from foreign discoveries. Of course there were fakes among them. These were verified by the high level. We had no right to verify them…!
What about Mehmet Shehu, was there such information?
Some information has arrived about him, through agents. They were talked about only after the suicide of Mehmet Shehu…!
There are rumors that the associate who informed that Ramiz Alia was in the service of the KGB has been killed. Is this true?
Of the service associates, not only one was killed, but several were killed in mysterious circumstances…!
Was there a discovery plan to annihilate Leka Zogu?
There was never such a plan.
Is he regularly tracked by your service?
It was definitely guarded, that he had weapons, was preparing interventions in Albania, and had active activity against our country. Several bombs that were thrown at our embassies in Rome and Paris in the 70s were designed by him.
Has it been verified that they were thrown from Leka Zogut?
It has been verified that the bombs were thrown by his men, but not by himself.
Leka Zogu has also been accused of Xhevdet Mustafa’s gang; he claimed that he had no knowledge of it?
He has published a statement in Paris, where he took over the organization of the gang, despite saying that it was very dangerous to fulfill that mission at that time.
During your service in the West, were you aware of any plan by the foreign services to kill Enver Hoxha?
Of course we were aware. One of these plans, even the most dangerous, was what is now known as Xhevdet Mustafa’s gang.
So you say that Xhevdet Mustafa’s gang had the mission of eliminating Enver Hoxha?
This has already been confirmed. The goal of Xhevdet’s gang was precisely the assassination of Enver.
What about the case of Abdyl Banushi?
Even Abdyl Banushi was in this category.
Would he also commit terrorist acts?
He would commit acts of terror. More precisely, he would kill Enver Hoxha. He came with this mission. He stayed for several days for its realization, in the “Shallvareve” area in Tirana.
Where did Abdyl Banushi enter Albania?
Entered the land route. He had been in and out several times. When he came last, we were informed and followed him. We knew where he lived…!
When was the last time he came and was caught, how long did he stay in Albania?
It lasted about a week.
Was Abdyl Banushi a dangerous person?
Very dangerous. I have met him myself.
In what circumstances…?!
I met him six years after his arrest. At that time, he was serving his sentence in Burrell prison. I went and met him there. It happened that we were both from two villages close to each other (I from Kuçi and Abdyli from Golemi i Gjirokastra) I talked to him for a long time. I noticed many things that my friends had traced in his activity. He was surprised at the information I possessed about him. In the end, I made him a proposal. What if we put you back in the game, I said, you’ll accept. So I asked him to cooperate with us.
How did he answer?
“Even if they take me out of here a hundred times,” he said with conviction, “I will do the same thing 100 times.” Then, I said, okay. In recent years, he has written in a newspaper (“Gazeta Shqiptare”, interview with journalist D. Kaloçi), that after that reaction, I would report him and he would be killed. The truth is that I briefly informed that Abdyl Banushi has not changed his mind.
How was the plan organized to kill Eagainst Hoxha?
The plan was made, that Banushi would shoot Enver, on the podium of the parade. He would shoot directly from “Shallvaret”, with a sniper weapon. This was the reason that the parade stand was moved that year, from the “Dajti” hotel, in front of the Prime Minister’s Office. We were informed before, about Banushi’s plan, that’s why these measures were taken.
Another plan of the foreign services, for the assassination of Enver Hoxha, was that of Xhevdet Mustafa’s gang. When did you become aware of her mission?
We received the information about Xhevdet Mustafa’s gang about six months before he landed. A friend from Kosovo had learned in a friendly way that a gang was preparing to go to Albania and had very serious intentions. We evaluated it in time and with the measures taken, we managed to identify it. It was confirmed that we were dealing with an American-Yugoslav gang. Other services were also invested there, so that this gang could be compacted and trained…!
What information did you have that the US service was involved in this gang?
Our colleague Halit Bajrami, who joins the gang, without being understood by its members, as a Security man. But other collaborators had also declared that this gang was led by the CIA. Xhevdet Mustafa was previously captured by the Americans. There was talk of a million dollars…!
Did you know before, how many people were part of this gang?
Of course we knew. Initially there were many. About 20 of them were very dangerous. Finally, only four people were selected, one of whom was our colleague. In the last moments, one of them withdrew. He was Fadil Kaceli, who got scared and turned back, while the others boarded the boat. There he became ill and retired. He saw it as a suicidal act. Kaceli was one of the Albanian refugees in Italy…!
During the six-month period that the gang was preparing, were you in control?
Of course. We knew where he trained. We have seen them exercising. We knew where they got the weapons, where they got the boat. We even knew the lek, as they were taken in Albania with the secret service game…!
So you gave the Albanian money…?
They sent their man and we gave them the money, as ordered. We gave them big cuts, so that when they arrived, they would be forced to break them…!
Where to break them?
We, with the internal network, had ordered our people, that anyone who appeared with large and new cuts would be followed and reported immediately. The counter-intelligence had made a money plan, very detailed…!
From what information you had, did you know the members of the gang, were you aware of their preparation?
We had full information, for everyone. We knew that Xhevdet Mustafa was the one who would carry out the act. Sabaudini, was the brain of the group. We knew where they would come from and where they would go. We knew, however, that each of them had their own points of contact in Albania…!
And the date when they would land, did you know?
We almost knew. We knew they would come within the month of September. We also had information that they would land somewhere in the Golem-Divjak area…!
Did you have the opportunity to arrest them at sea, without entering the Albanian territory?
We could not arrest them without entering our territory.
Xhevdet Mustafa’s gang landed in the area of Divjaka and reached Rrogozhina. When did you face him directly?
The gang was tracked down in the bar of Rrogozhina. There they entered, as the train had run away. If they had caught the train and got into it, of course it would have been very difficult to deal with it. They were dictated to, because they did not know the way. Second, they were dictated by foreign athletes. In these cases, usually big stocks fail not for important things, but for stupid, mundane issues.
What about the other clothes, did they fit them?
The clothes they wore were more or less fitted and did not stand out. First, the bar employee dictated to the train station and immediately notified the police on duty there. The latter called Halit Bajram. Halit Bajrami, pointing to Xhevdet and Sabaudini, who were a little further away, said: Look at them! I have the weapons. They only have one pistol each. So Xevdeti left immediately. Sabaudini entered a bunker nearby…!
And at this moment…?!
Xhevdeti ran away, took the car and left quickly. The volunteer squad of Rrogozhina did what should not be done. All as it was, they stormed the bunker where Sabaudini was and killed him. They knew what weapon he had with him, but they were in a hurry. The order was to capture him alive and the possibility of such a thing was very great.
Could Xevdeti be caught alive?
He too had to be captured alive, even if there were opportunities. The truth is that I did not follow that dynamic on the ground, because at that moment, we were at the meeting of the party organization, where we were discussing the “Synoptic Table” of the hostile activity of Mehmet Shehu. There they informed us about what had happened. When we went, it was all over. Near Kavaja, we faced an open “Gaz” of army, in which they had thrown the body of Xhevdet Mustafa…!
What about Halit Bajrami, where did it end?
He was our collaborator and should not have been treated the way he was treated. I met Halit Bajram in the afternoon and the next day, to get the latest information. He was quite tired and shaken. He told me some things, but he was not in a good mood. He was very excited. Shortly after that, I was removed from the operation without any reason and other people were engaged with him.
Halit Bajram was then sent abroad…?
Later I found out that he was escorted out of Greece and he arrived in New Zealand.
Was it true what was said that the gang came at the behest of Kadri Hazbi to kill Enver Hoxha?
For me, the gang was used to accuse Kadri Hazbiu, as if he was the one who brought it. I have never received any information that Kadri Hazbiu was an agent of any foreign agency.
Did the Albanian Discovery follow Fan Nolin in America?
There was no processing, (as we call it in the language of the service), for Fan Noli and I don’t believe that he was followed by the Albanian Discovery…! Memorie.al