Blinken Acts as Agent of George Soros in the Balkans

Secretary of State Antony Blinken faces international court after interfering in Albanian politics. The Biden Administration has again stumbled its way into creating an international fiasco, this time it’s Secretary of State Blinken leading the charge of interference in election politics, focusing his attention on Albania’s former President Sali Berisha. For those not familiar with Balkan politics, Mr. Berisha is a man with a dynamic past, a staunch opponent of communism, founder of Albania’s Democratic Party, and friend of America. Following a long career crafting Albania’s reemergence from communist oppression, Mr. Berisha has largely removed himself from direct participation in politics, preferring to aid in the promotion of like-minded conservatives and anti-socialist policies. But Secretary Blinken shocked the region in May by announcing seemingly baseless travel sanctions against Mr. Berisha and his immediate family, barring them from entry into the United States. Secretary Blinken took to Twitter to accuse Mr. Berisha of “corrupt acts” and “undermin[ing] democracy in Albania.” Former President of Albania Sali Berisha's corrupt acts undermined democracy in Albania. I am publicly designating Berisha and his immediate family members as ineligible for entry into the United States. We remain #UnitedAgainstCorruption with our partners in Albania. — Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) May 19, 2021 Berisha has slammed the actions by the State Department as the work of radical Left billionaire George Soros and his Open Society , an organization that claims to promote transparency and human rights in the Balkans. The ACLJ and our international affiliate, the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) , have been exposing Soros’s outsized, radical – and what some might call corrupt – influence on the world stage. Berisha’s claims regarding Secretary Blinken and Soros should not be dismissed so quickly. The U.S. Secretary of State’s parents, Vera and Donald Blinken, have repeatedly donated to Open Society , even creating a permanent endowment at a European-based data archive that carries their name – The Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives . Congressman Lee Zeldin (NY-1), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, recently confronted Secretary Blinken on his sudden sanctioning of Berisha. Secretary Blinken conveyed little confidence when asked for justification, stating “I don’t have anything to share.” While Blinken offered platitudes of follow-up for the Committee, no such information, or evidence, has been submitted. The circle-back saga continues. At present, the only evidence we know of is Berisha’s staunch opposition to Soros’s political interference, which Mr. Berisha has decried as circumventing the rule of law and informal influence over the entire Balkans region. Mr. Berisha himself in 2017 called on major governments to investigate Soros’s role in regional politics and went so far as to encourage others to declare Soros “non-grata.” Berisha has personal experience with Soros from the earliest days of the young nation dating back 30 years. The two had once sought to work together to develop an independent civil society; however, in the eyes of Berisha, Soros was simply creating bureaucratic safe havens for supporters of the former communist dictatorship. The tense foundational years of Albanian democracy have galvanized Berisha’s outlook, going so far as to assert that “George Soros is a fierce masked enemy of the values we believe in and share.” Secretary Blinken now faces a new challenge to his authority in the form of international courts. Last week, the Correctional Tribunal of Paris announced that it would hear Berisha and his claim that Blinken has defamed his reputation by declaring him persona non-grata. And Berisha has a point. These U.S. travel sanctions that Blinken has used against Berisha are typically a move reserved for some of the world’s most blatant, evidence-backed violations of international norms and human rights, including that of the likes of Russian oligarchs. Yet Berisha has been a friend to the U.S. and has even been hosted by both Presidents Bush. The American people, and the world, should question if they were sold a false promise by the Biden Administration. This is an Administration, after all, that promised us “a return to normalcy.” The United States is and will always be a nation governed by law and reason; and these sanctions, absent evidence, serve only to undermine U.S. credibility. Secretary Blinken must provide his supporting evidence if Congress and the American people are to have any faith in Biden’s competence on the world stage. It’s time for Congress to demand the proof about Albanian sanctions that Blinken told us he had. I personally have never seen it, and I concentrated on Balkan issues as Acting Director of National Intelligence. Support the work of the ACLJ as we continue to bring you expert analysis on the issues that matter most.