To Channel Money to ‘Mercenary Army’ of Far-Left Activists in Albania
Judicial Watch — Oct 3, 2018
U.S. Embassy Officials in Albania Shown Working Directly with Soros Operatives to Channel Grant Money into Left-Wing Operations that Attack Traditional, Pro-American Groups, Governments and Policies in Name of ‘Civil Society’
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released 49 pages of new documents obtained from the U.S. Department of State about U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funding for George Soros’s left-wing nonprofit organizations in Albania. The documents deal primarily with the activities of Soros’ top operative in Albania, Andri Dobrushi, the director of Open Society Foundation-Albania, who was actively engaged in channeling funding to what Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban calls Soros’ “mercenary army.” The documents show U.S. grant money flowing through non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that profess to promote “civil society,” while in fact attacking traditional, pro-American groups, governments and policies.
Judicial Watch filed a May 26, 2017, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of State and USAID after they failed to respond to March 31, 2017, FOIA requests (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (No. 1:17-cv-01012)).
The records reveal that Soros operative Dobrushi was the first person on a list of invitees by then U.S. Ambassador to Albania Donald Lu to attend an “election rollout event” held at the U.S. Embassy on April 27, 2015. The event was intended to “launch U.S. assistance for the June local elections,” being held in Tirana, Albania. As Judicial Watch previously reported in an April 4, 2018, press release, Ambassador Lu has been closely associated with Soros and the socialist government in Albania, which he assisted by denying U.S. visas to conservative jurists from the conservative party in Albania. Lu has since been nominated by the Trump administration to become US Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan.
Additionally, a June 18, 2015, email from Ilva Cuko, a Program Specialist in the Public Affairs Office of the U.S. Embassy in Tirana, invites several people, including Dobrushi, to a “Donors Grant Reviewing meeting” at the U.S. Embassy, in which the participants would review applications for grants submitted by NGOs seeking U.S. taxpayer grant money from the State Department. Cuko says she would “like to invite you in a discussion on these proposals. Your valuable input and comments will be used by the U.S. Embassy’s Democracy Commission, which has the ultimate authority in awarding the grants.”
Cuko on August 28, 2015, also invited Dobrushi to attend another U.S. Embassy Democracy Commission Small Grants Program “Grant Proposal Technical Review” meeting on September 3 at the U.S. Embassy. At this meeting, Cuko said they would focus on applications dealing with “anti-corruption.” Ironically, under the leadership of Soros’ close friend, socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama, who took power in 2013, corruption in Albania has soared, with cannabis trafficking in the country increasing 300 percent between 2016 and 2017.
In a February 22, 2016, email, Cuko again invites several people, including Dobrushi, to another “Donors Grant Reviewing Meeting” held at the U.S. Embassy on February 26 where Dobrushi would be able to influence Embassy officials who have “the ultimate authority in awarding the grants.”
Another document, titled “Guidelines for the Democracy Commission Small Grants Program,” shows that the applications for grants that Soros’ operative was reviewing are part of a program the State Department runs in Eastern Europe and the Baltic States called the “Democracy Commission Small Grants Program,” which is supposed to “promote grassroots democracy.” The guidelines also say that the program “supports initiatives of local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) engaged in building the social and intellectual foundations of democracy, the democratic resolution of problems, strengthening civil society watchdog activities, and the institutionalization of open, pluralistic political processes.”
In addition to Albania, Judicial Watch also has filed FOIA lawsuits against the State Department and USAID for records about funding and political activities of George Soros’ Open Society Foundations in, Macedonia, Romania and Colombia.
“The Obama administration turned over key State Department activities to George Soros, especially in Albania,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Deep State continues to be aligned with Soros and uses the State Department in countries such as Albania to push his radical agenda. And, of course, tax dollars for Soros abroad frees up resources for his activities here in the United States.”
In an earlier document production connected to this lawsuit, Judicial Watch obtained 32 pages of records showing that the Obama administration sent U.S. taxpayers’ funds to a Soros-backed group that used the money to fund left-wing political activities in Albania. That included working with the country’s socialist government to push for highly controversial judicial “reform.” The records also detail how the Soros operation helped the State Department review grant applications from other groups for taxpayer funding. USAID funds were funneled to Soros’ left-wing Open Society Foundations in Albania, particularly the Soros operation efforts to give the socialist government greater control of the judiciary. USAID reportedly gave $9 million in 2016 to the “Justice for All” campaign, which is overseen by Soros’ “East-West Management Institute.”