July 6, 2013
Party of Albania
of Albanians for a Democratic Albania, I would like to congratulate you on your
clear your leadership and a well-run campaign were critical factors in your
overwhelming defeat of the Berisha regime.
But another important factor was the widespread discontent among
Albanians who were fed up with Sali Berisha and his corrupt, authoritarian
I wrote to Sali Berisha just after he regained power. I told him that he had an historic
opportunity to right many of Albania's wrongs and move Albania forward as a democracy. He squandered that opportunity and made Albania even more corrupt than it was
under the Nano government. He also moved
to aggressively dismantle key pillars of democracy such as freedom of the
press, and with his manipulation of the courts he made a mockery of the concept
of rule of law.
have been given the enormous responsibility of putting Albania back on its rightful path as a
democracy toward integration with the European Union. Obviously, there are many important problems
for you to focus on, not the least of which is the Albanian economy which
suffers from extremely high unemployment.
But on this occasion I would like to offer several suggestions as you
prepare to assume the position of Prime Minister of a new Albanian government:
eight years of corrupt practices and
mismanagement by the Berisha regime, your government is faced with a massive
array of problems, but perhaps your most important priority will be to attack
what is at the core of all that is wrong with Albania: the absence of a judiciary that enforces the
rule of law. There must be a complete overhaul of Albania's judicial system so
that there is a truly independent judiciary empowered to enforce the rule of
law, not manipulate it as was the case with past governments. Until now, senior government officials who
committed crimes have thumbed their noses at the legal system knowing they
could bribe their way out of criminal prosecution by paying off the best judges
money could buy. No one should be above
the law andanyone and everyone who has broken the law must be subject to due
process of law - even the Prime Minister.
This should apply to anyone who has committed a crime including members
of past governments and any members of your government who may be indicted for
criminal activity. If you are serious
about tackling this problem, you have a unique individual human resource to
call upon in Albania.
If you elect to use this resource, it will signal your government's
sincerity about addressing this important issue. Albania cannot take its place among
legitimate democracies without adherence to the rule of law.
of speech is one of the most fundamental pillars of democracy, but the
independence of media outlets to criticize the government was seriously
compromised by the Berisha regime.
Berisha was not the only political figure to undermine a free
press. In fact, I have found my own
attempts to express my opinions in Albania's media censored by governments
led by both the Socialist and Democratic Parties. I encourage you to work toward building the
foundation for a truly free and open media so that Albania's journalists can criticize
government leaders without fear of reprisal.
For Albania to have a valid democracy, you
should follow this course even at the risk of one day becoming the target of
media criticism yourself.
respect to the use of lobbyists, frankly, it's somewhat pathetic that these
consultants, who are relatively obscure to the American public, have taken on
larger than life roles in Albania.
The Republic of Albania has paid enormous fees to Washington lobbying
firms while receiving little, if anything, in return. The services of these firms should have been
used for the ultimate benefit of the people of Albania.
Your government should determine if government funds paid to the Podesta
Group or Patton Boggs were in any way misappropriated for use by Berisha's
campaign or to advance Berisha's own personal agenda. For instance, was Donald
Rumsfeld paid a fee for his visit to Albania, and if so, were government funds
used for this purpose? If so, Berisha
should be prosecuted for misappropriation of government funds. It should also be determined if Patton Boggs
and Podesta Group have any liability to the Albanian government or if they have
violated U.S. statutes. I would be happy to provide whatever
assistance I can to help with this matter.
With respect to your intention to work with Tony Blair, on the surface
it sounds like this may be a productive relationship due to his stature on the
world stage. This assumes his fees are
within reason and, unlike Berisha, you are focused on using his influence to
advance the interests of the people of Albania, not those of your party.
Furthermore, it is unlikely Tony Blair has the answer to all of Albania's problems. For instance, there are professional,
prestigious international consulting firms and academic institutions that have
verifiable track records in helping developing countries implement
comprehensive plans for economic development, infrastructure development and
the development of specific industries, such as tourism. Albania's leaders have made feeble
attempts to use such consultants in the past, and they usually resorted to
working with charlatans posing as experts.
As Mayor of Tirana, you implemented programs that greatly improved the
appearance and infrastructure of Tirana, and I hope you will use your past
experience as a paradigm for improving Albania.
4. In my opinion, the Albpetrol scandal
was a pre-meditated attempt to defraud Albania of one of its largest state owned
assets. As I suspected, Vetro Energy
appears to have been little more than a phantom company, and if you look, you
will find that Vetro doesn't even have a functioning web
sitewww.vetroenergy.com . Yet, Vetro
Energy was selected to lead the "Vetro Silk Road consortium" that was
controlled by Rezart Taci, a Berisha crony, and Mathew Roszak, who was charged
with insider trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission. I was responsible for exposing the fact that
American Chartered Bank never issued the $85 million Euro guarantee that was
required to be posted by Vetro Silk Road under the terms of the tender. If I could uncover these inconsistencies with
just my access to the internet and a few telephone calls, then Patton Boggs and
senior Albanian officials should have also been able to see through this
scheme, especially since I provided ample warnings to them well before the
decision was made to award the tender to Vetro Silk Road. If Patton Boggs was working for the Republic of Albania, why did they ignore my warnings
and why did they decide to award Albpetrol to a "consortium" that now
looks like it was led by a phantom company with little in the way of financial
resources? What was it that made Patton
Boggs declare the American Chartered Bank "guarantee" as valid when,
in fact, it never existed? Supposedly,
an investigation has commenced in Albania to get to the bottom of this
fraud; however, the prosecutor's office has not contacted me to discuss this
matter. Therefore, since I uncovered
this fraud, without my input the integrity of this "investigation"
seems suspect. There must be an
aggressive investigation of this matter that pursues all who conspired to strip
this state owned asset from Albanians, even if it means stretching across
borders to determine why a fraudulent bank guarantee was used in this attempted
grand theft of Albpetrol. I stand ready
to provide whatever assistance is necessary to prosecute this case.
5. 21 and 26 represent two symbolic numbers
to Albanians. January 21 is the date
that four unarmed protesters were murdered in cold blood. Albanians need to know who ordered these
executions, and you now have the power to find the answer to this
question. 26 represents the victims of
Gerdec and, more than five years later, those who were charged with wrong doing
walk the streets as free men while the families of the victims are still
waiting for justice to be served.
Furthermore, others who should have been investigated for their roles in
Gerdec, like Fatmir Mediu and Shkelzen Berisha, have evaded prosecution. You should now push for the vigorous
prosecution of those responsible for this mass murder so that there can be
closure for all Albanians, especially those who lost loved ones in this
tragedy. And all of those who have already
been convicted must be sentenced and begin serving their terms -
immediately! Furthermore, you should
press for the extradition of General Luan Hoxha.
6. The AEY scandal could not have occurred
without the cooperation of senior Albanian government officials, and I have
recently received information that further implicates Shkelzen Berisha. Obviously, this transaction required the
approval of Fatmir Mediu and Illi Pinanari, yet more than five years after this
fraud was perpetrated against the U.S. government, not one Albanian has
been investigated for this crime. This
is despite the fact that four Americans were indicted, convicted and are
currently serving prison sentences for their roles in AEY. I remind you that there were also transfer payments
from AEY to MEICO through a Cyprus-based company controlled by Henri Thomet,
the notorious arms dealer, and there is evidence that the payments were used in
part to compensate Albanian government officials. AEY's co-conspirators in Albania must answer for this crime, and I
urge you to support the prosecution of this matter. Unfortunately, several U.S. government officials were eager
to cover up this scandal because of their concerns about having their own
incompetence and improprieties exposed. The U.S. government should now be ready
for this cooperation, especially since AEY caught the attention of Secretary
John Kerry when he served in the U.S. Senate.
However, if for any reason there is any resistance, please let me know,
and I will do whatever is necessary to see that those in the U.S. government who attempt to block
this matter are exposed and dealt with accordingly. Further, Kosta Trebicka's
"accidental" death is still the subject of debate in Albania, and there should be closure to
this case, especially for his family.
Kosta's remains should be exhumed and examined by an experienced
forensic pathologist. There are several
renowned pathologists in the U.S. who specialize in investigating
cases like this, and I would be happy to provide guidance with this matter.
tenders for the privatization of Albanian state owned assets must be fully
transparent and advised by highly qualified consultants with relevant expertise
and verifiable track records, not like the incompetent clowns that were hired
by past governments because they could be easily manipulated. From this point on, there will be no excuse
for Albanians to be subjected to any more New World Telecoms, Albtelecoms,
ARMOS or Albpetrols.
8. As you
are aware, I was instrumental in uncovering the biased agreements in Albania's telecom sector which have
subjected Albanians - and those making calls to Albania - to what are among the highest
telephone calling rates in the world. Albania's telecommunications landscape
must be overhauled to bring it in line with European standards. As I suggested to Berisha in 2005, the
International Telecommunications Union should be invited by your government to
conduct a comprehensive study of Albania's telecom system. I now offer the same advice to you.
Heretofore, Albanian leaders have functioned as servants to American government
leaders. Berisha and Nano bent over
backward to accommodate American demands, not necessarily because their
cooperation helped Albania, but because it enabled them to
curry favor with American leaders. With
regard to the latest example of this behavior, I see no benefit in Albania taking in terrorists just because
other countries rejected this request from the U.S.
America is greatly admired and respected
by Albanians, and Albanians certainly can count themselves among the best
friends in the world to the U.S.; therefore, Albania must strive to be a strategic
partner with the U.S., not a strategic pawn.
on reports in Albania's media, Ambassador Arvizu has been
fired and is being replaced by Donald Lu.
If true, the timing of this announcement is very troubling due to Lu's
close relationship with Frank Wisner. Lu, who is currently DCM at the U.S.
Embassy in India, was a protégé of Wisner when he
served as Ambassador to India.
The presence in Albania of Bay Fang of Podesta Group when the story
about Arvizu's termination first surfaced is also troubling. Therefore, if Lu does succeed Arvizu as U.S. Ambassador
to Albania, it must be determined if
Patton Boggs or the Podesta Group played any role in this intrigue as this
would constitute a national security concern for both the Albanian and American
governments. You should be aware that I
have been in communication with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and I
have requested that Lu be questioned about this matter if he is formally
nominated to be the next Ambassador to Albania.
I suggest that your government also ask the U.S. Senate to address this
matter during Lu's confirmation. As for
Ambassador Arvizu's tenure, I cannot say that I agreed with all of his actions,
but he was 100% on target for challenging Berisha's heavy handed handling of
the Central Election Committee, and he should be commended for his stance.
respect to EU membership, in the past, Albanian government leaders have focused
too much on the goal and not enough on the means to the end, in other words,
they put the cart before the horse.
It's time to focus on the means, like fighting corruption and enforcing
the rule of law. Then, the goal of
European integration will follow as a natural progression.
are declaring the recent elections the best Albania has ever had. That may be true, but bragging about this
would be somewhat analogous to boasting about being tallest midget in a room
full of midgets. The fact that the CEC
issue was unresolved on the date of the election is absurd. There were other methods by which the Berisha
government tried to improperly influence the vote, such as having senior level
officials pressuring subordinates to vote for his party. Then there is the issue of buying votes, and
it appears that both the Berisha campaign and your coalition share guilt for
this infraction. There is still much
work to be done to assure that Albania conducts free and fair elections
going forward, and the time to implement reforms is now, not a few weeks before
the next round of elections. It is very
possible that if there had not been such a wide margin of victory that was
beyond dispute, this election cycle may not have been viewed as favorably as
has been the case.
Albanians who were persecuted under communism have viewed your party with
suspicion because of the SP's roots in the Communist Party. As a person whose family name has become
synonymous with persecution, I can sympathize with their feelings. It's time to
exorcise Albania's communist ghosts and heal the
wounds that were so unfairly inflicted upon those who were persecuted. I urge you to take the lead in addressing
their grievances once and for all, particularly as it relates to compensation
for their pain and suffering and their property rights.
President Obama said last Sunday in his speech before students at the University of Cape Town, "History tells us that true
progress is only possible where governments exist to serve their people, and
not the other way around."
now at a fork in the road to Albania's future. You can travel down the same path chosen by
Berisha and serve yourself and your friends, and there may be those in your coalition
who would like you to take this road. Or
you can grasp the great opportunity that has been presented to you to serve the
people of Albania and go down in history as the man
who placed the country firmly on the path of integration with Europe and helped Albania embrace true democratic
standards. The ball is in your court.
know that ADA stands ready to assist you in any way to help Albania move forward as a democracy.
in your new role as Prime Minister and with the challenges that lie ahead.