JOHN Kerry has acquired a financial backer likely to provide him with more problems than support in his battle for the White House: the Kosovo Liberation Army.
A documentary produced by a Dutch television crew alleges Florin Krasniqi, an Albanian arms dealer, is buying weapons in the US and sending them to Kosovo - while perfecting contacts with the Democratic Party in the United States.
Mr Krasniqi is filmed at a Kerry fundraising event handing over a cheque, then chatting and joking with senior Democrats including Wesley Clark, the former NATO commander and Richard Holbrooke, Mr Kerry's senior foreign policy adviser.
The documentary, broadcast last month in The Netherlands and seen by The Scotsman, follows Mr Krasniqi from his home in Brooklyn in New York to his Albanian base where he distributes arms to mercenaries on the Kosovo border.
Showing remarkable candour, Mr Krasniqi says the KLA has "unfinished business" with the Serbs and predicts that war will break out again in "about a year and a half" if the UN does grant Kosovo independence from Serbia and Montenegro.
The Kerry fundraising event is shown making a direct pitch for Albanian money. Mr Holbrooke warns in a speech that Mr Bush is planning to pull troops out of Kosovo - the implication being the Serbs would be unconstrained.
John Belushi, the Albanian-American actor, then appears in a video soliciting donations. "If you care about the fate of Albanians in the Balkans, I hope you'll do anything to can to make sure John Kerry is elected as our next President," he says.
The documentary goes on to show Mr Krasniqi buying guns from a dealer in St Mary's, Pennsylvania.
With frankness bordering on the brazen, he explains to the film crew how easy it is to smuggle arms. "We had set up a hunting club in Albania," he says - and simply tell anyone who asks they are planning an excursion to Tasmania.
He admits being "caught twice" - by Italian and Swiss authorities - but allowed to proceed after saying the Albanian hunting club was preparing for an expedition to hunt elephants in Tasmania. Other arms are smuggled under humanitarian aid, he says.
While there is no suggestion that Mr Kerry had knowledge about the funds being donated by Mr Krasniqi, the video will be deeply embarrassing for the Massachusetts senator as he combats accusations of being soft on terror.
Mr Krasniqi is named in the Federal Election Commission returns as a registered donor to the Kerry campaign at his Brooklyn address. The sum is dollars 1,000. The Kerry-Edwards campaign was asked to comment, but did not return calls to The Scotsman yesterday.