As if Secretary of State Antony Blinken weren’t embroiled in enough foreign debacles, he now stands accused of meddling in Albanian elections on behalf of billionaire financier George Soros and is being sued for defamation in an international court as a result.
One of Blinken’s curious first actions on taking office being sworn in last year was to sanction the former president and prime minister of Albania, Sali Berisha, the anti-communist ally of Presidents H.W. and W. Bush, and who has been in opposition for eight years, and who is a vocal opponent of Soros and his Open Society Foundations, which has been pushing judicial and electoral “reform” in Albania.
In an official statement and accompanying tweet last April, Blinken alleged that Berisha is “corrupt” and had “undermined democracy in Albania,” and barred him, his wife and two children from entering the US.
Berisha strenuously denies the allegations, is outraged that Blinken never provided any proof, claims the US government is trying to prop up the socialist Albanian government of Soros ally Prime Minister Edi Rama and has launched a defamation action against the secretary in a Paris court. Last year, the correctional tribunal of Paris agreed to hear his case.
“Never in my life was I accused by a person or an institution of corruption,” Berisha said on the phone from the Albanian capital Tirana. “The opposite was true. I worked very closely with the US government in fighting corruption.”
The problem with Soros
He says that the sanctions are retaliation for his attempt to declare Soros “persona non grata” in Albania after he grew concerned at the malign influence of Soros’ Open Society Foundations on his country.
“I’ve never had a personal problem with George Soros. The problem is first he helped Albania to have civil society and I was thankful but in a short time it became crystal clear that he was creating a monastic model of civil society . . .
“The Soros group dictated everything. So we have now a justice system, totally controlled by the government . . . The heads of judiciary institutions, in violation of constitutional laws, are for the moment former communist prosecutors.”
Berisha, a cardiologist who led the movement to topple Albania’s communist dictatorship, served as the first non-communist president of Albania from 1992 and later as its prime minister and opposition leader.
New York Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin smells a rat, and has demanded three times that Blinken provide evidence to back up his corruption allegations against Berisha. During a House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting last June, Zeldin said the move came “seemingly out of nowhere.”
Zeldin said Berisha “was also known to be an aggressive opponent of George Soros. What specific information can you share with the committee at this time to justify this dramatic move?”
‘Unacceptable and suspicious’
Matt Palumbo claims in his new book “The Man Behind the Curtain: Inside the Secret Network of George Soros” that Blinken has family ties to Soros.
He points to the fact that the secretary of state’s father, Donald Blinken, the former US ambassador to Hungary, and his wife Vera funded the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives at the Central European University in Budapest, which was founded and funded by Soros.
Palumbo also cites a Soros Foundations Network report from 2002, in which Donald Blinken is listed on the Board of Trustees for the university, with Soros as chairman.
After Antony Blinken was confirmed as secretary of state, Hungarian newspaper Magyar Nemzet called it “great news for George Soros.”
In November, Zeldin again wrote to Blinken demanding he justify his actions in Albania.
“This is now my third request for additional information since raising the issue of sanctioning Sali Berisha with Secretary Blinken during the June 7, 2021 House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing,” Zeldin wrote.
“Congress plays an important oversight role for the executive branch including the Department of State, yet my office has received alarmingly few details in response to my inquiries. It is unacceptable and suspicious that the Department of State has not sufficiently fulfilled this request for additional information in a timely manner and has instead chosen to slow-walk a Congressional request for transparency.”
Blinken needs to come clean. If he has evidence that Berisha is corrupt, he should make it public. Otherwise, America’s reputation is damaged.
Court gets swing at Bidens’ pal
Devon Archer, Hunter Biden’s former business partner, best friend, and fellow Yale alum, finally will be sentenced later this month, which could put an end to the jet-setting lifestyle he’s indulged in while on bail.
Archer, 47, lost his appeal to the Supreme Court in December to have his 2018 criminal conviction overturned, relating to a $60 million scheme to defraud a Native American tribe.
The president’s son never was charged over the fraud and was not alleged to have been involved. But the court heard that his name was used as a selling point, and he was described in promotional brochures as a vice chairman for Burnham Financial Group, the firm at the center of the scam.
Unlike Archer’s pals Bevan Cooney and John Galanis, who were tried alongside him in 2018 and jailed, Archer had his conviction overturned by US District Judge Ronnie Abrams.
Judge Abrams, an Obama appointee married to Mueller special counsel prosecutor Greg Andres, said she was “left with an unwavering concern that Archer is innocent of the crimes charged.”
Her decision was reversed on appeal and Archer’s last port of call was the Supreme Court.
In the middle of his legal woes, Archer complained to Hunter about his predicament.
“Why did your dad’s administration appointees arrest me and try and put me in jail?” he wrote on March 6, 2019, in a text message found on Hunter’s abandoned laptop. “Why would they try and ruin my family and destroy my kids and no one from your family’s side step in and at least try to help me? I don’t get it.”
Hunter replied with a dissertation on co-equal branches of government before reassuring his friend he would not be abandoned by the Biden family.
“Every great family is persecuted . . . you are part of a great family— not a side show, not deserted by them even in your darkest moments. That’s the way Bidens are different, and you are a Biden. It’s the price of power and the people questioning you truly have none.”
Now Archer’s luck may have run out as he faces potential jail time.
Perhaps the shock of his imminent date with destiny made him forget his golf clubs at the Plandome Country Club, where he has been playing over the last year. A local spotted the Yale-themed golf bag abandoned outside the private Long Island club last month. No word on when Archer will be teeing off again.
* Miranda Devine is the author of “Laptop from Hell: Hunter Biden, Big Tech, and the Dirty Secrets the President Tried to Hide” (Post Hill Press).