31 Jan 12 / 17:30:47
Albanian Media Embellish Mayors US Visit
A spokesperson for the mayor of Washington told Balkan Insight that the mayor did not invite Lulzim Basha to the US as local media have erroneously reported.
|Tirana Mayor Lulzim Basha|
Tirana’s Mayor is visiting the United States and the government-friendly media in Albania have already added several twists concerning the nature of the visit, even though the municipality has given few details.
Contacted by Balkan Insight on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the municipality of Tirana, could not say if the visit was „official“ or who had invited Basha to Washington.
We will compile a press statement later on and give details on the visit, Erald Kapri said.
But pro-government newspapers in Tirana, citing sources inside the municipality, have for days filled their pages with stories about Bashas visit, claiming he was invited to Washington by the city’s mayor, Vincent Gray.
A spokesperson for the mayor, Doxie McCoy, told Balkan Insight that no such invitation had been forwarded.
A short meeting will take place tomorrow, Tuesday, McCoy said. A resident of Albanian descent asked Mayor Gray to grant the Albanian Mayor a courtesy visit and Mr Gray complied, as he often holds these kinds of meetings with visiting dignitaries, he added.
Basha is a controversial figure in Albania. As Minister of Transport, in 2008 he was indicted for abuse of power in a highway project, which allegedly cost the state about 230 million euro. The indictment against him was thrown out by the Supreme Court on procedural grounds.
His election as Mayor of Tirana followed a controversial race. The battle for Tirana was seen as the key contest in the May 8, local elections , pitting former interior minister Basha, candidate of the centre-right government of Sali Berisha, against the opposition Socialist leader and incumbent Tirana mayor, Edi Rama.
After two months of legal wrangling, Albanias Electoral College declared Basha the winner with a razor-thin victory, following a recount of miscast ballots, which opposition Socialists challenged as illegal.
The United States is Albanias most important ally and local officials and the media have frequently distorted the nature of visits by officials to Washington.
After attending President Obamas inauguration on January 20, 2009, for example, the press staff of parliamentary speaker Jozefina Topalli passed around a photo of her posing with a congressman, Bill Hanbury, who later turned out to be a tour operator.
Although blaming the mistake on a staff glitch, Topalli had more trouble explaining the fabricated news on Albanian state television, TVSH, which claimed that she had met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit.
A similar case was reported in 2001, when Iir Meta than Socialist Prime Minister held a meeting with the former US Vice-President, Dick Cheney.
After coming out from the meeting with Cheney, Meta briefly ran into President George Bush in the corridor. This casual meeting was also blown-up by the media at the time.
Albanian politicians, both from the government and the opposition, spend hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in lobbying in the United States.
A review by Balkan Insight of the filings of these lobbying companies under the Foreign Agent Registration Act, FARA, showed their activities were concentrated on securing meetings with American officials for Albanian politicians and media access during their visits.
The government of Albania pays currently for the services of two lobbying firms in Washington, the Podesta Group and Patton Boggs.
Lobbyist have been employed often in the past two decades also by the opposition Socialist Party and by the current government’s junior partner party, The Socialist Movement for Integration.
Fake Meeting in September 2011 !
false meetings: gefakte US Treffen des PM Salih Berisha mit Obama und Aussenminister Edmond Haxhinasto mit Clinton
Alle angeblichen Treffen und Meetings, zwischen Salih Berisha, mit Obama und seiner Frau, ebenso des Aussenministers Haxhinasto mit Hillary Clinton (Fotos in der Albanischen Presse), sind zusammen gefaelscht, bzw, es sind alte Fotos, von frueheren Treffen. Es gab kein Haende schuetteln etc.. und Nichts ist in den Protokollen des Weissen Hauses erwaehnt.
Das war sowieso jedem im voraus klar, weil solche Treffen mit Profi Gangstern (im Null Funktion Staat) zu peinlich waere. Der Luegner Haxhinasto, einem uralt Partner des Super Verbrechers Ilir Meta und seiner Bande, behauptet er haette ein Treffen mit Hillary Clinton gehabt! Eine Luege, es gibt ebenso, keinen Vermerk, um US Statedepartment hierueber.
Sali Berisha, traf in einem hochgeheimen Treffen, Williams Burns !
4 Tage, die Protokolle des Weisses Hauses und des US Statedepartsments, ueber alle Treffen und Fakten.
23 Shtator, 2011
Provat/ Zbulohen mashtrimet Berisha-Haxhinasto, për takimet Klinton-Obama
Për të gjithë lexuesit e agjencisë AMA, për shkak të konfuzionit që është krijuar për vizitën e kryeministrit Sali Berisha në SHBA dhe zëvendësit të tij Edmond Haxhinasto, po japim një sqarim të plotë dhe me prova. Zyra e Kryeministrit dhe Ministrit kanë njoftuar këto ditë zhvillimin e takimeve të rëndësishme me Sekretaren e Shtetit Hillari Klinton dhe Presidentin Barack Obama.
Peinlich, was wir schon länger sagen und für praktisch fast alle Politker gilt in Albanien:
Former US ambassador in Tirana, John Withers
Unfortunately, the Albanian leaders, even when they are at the age of Prime Minister Berisha or Lulzim Basha, they lack of this trust. It has a vital importance for Albania to find other leaders, men or women, young or old, from whatever religion or ethnicity, but that have democracy fire is still shining, Withers Top-Channel
Gerdeci, government concealed truth
After the letter sent to Top Channel, through which he explained his role regarding the cables sent to Washington and the critical declarations on Voice of America, for the danger that threaten Albania, the former US ambassador in Tirana, John Withers, launches harsh critics towards the Albanian government, for which he says that it reigns, rather than governing.
The governments reaction about the Gerdeci strategy remains one of its biggest failures. We must not forget that Gerdec was a human tragedy, and people lost their children and relatives in an event that can be described only as a criminal act. It is a basic responsibility of this government to guarantee justice, so that the victims of this terrible deed can see the people who bear legal and moral responsibility to answer for their actions. But the Albanian government not only has neglected finding the truth about Gerdec, but it has also used its maximum power for not allowing the truth to come to light, Withers declared.
The former US diplomat to Tirana analyzed the verdict that doesnt mention the word death, although 26 people were killed.
After the Tirana Court verdict, other questions have surfaced. No one has defended more than me the independence of the Albanian judicial system. But even those who strongly believe in the autonomy of courts, these verdicts are strange and disappointing. The court verdict was about the violation of the security regulation at work, and property destruction due to negligence. But how is it possible that they avoided the key element, the central fact of the Gerdeci tragedy: that 26 innocent people were killed by those explosions, and that someone is responsible for those lives?, Withers underlined.
Albania needs new leaders
What should change in the behavior of the Albanian politicians? This is the answer given by John Withers:
What should change most than everything in the Albanian political elite, is the mentality. The Albanian ruling class is based on an old and regressive concept, thinking that they enjoy more privileges compared to the common people, that they are immune to the rule of law, that they do not have to submit to the peoples will. Nothing has influenced more than these archaic behaviors of the ruling people for undermining the democratic progress that the country needs. Albania is a young democracy. In the last 20 years, after the fall of communism, their biggest need was the construction of the basic democratic institutions: an independent and reliable judicial system, a free media, a honest and free electoral system, a rule of law that really fights corruption. Nothing of these has been achieved, Withers emphasized.
Look at the current government. The work that they have left behind is completely against the concept of democracy construction. They have consistently threatened courts, even under the facade of an anti-constitutional lustration law. They have attacked the Prosecution with the most humiliating way, while they tried to find an answer for the tragedies of Gerdec and for the January 21st events. They have tried to limit the media freedoms through non-democratic laws and through pressures in the media premises. They have manipulated the most basic and democratic right, the electoral process, he underlined.
For this situation to change on behalf of the Albanian citizens, the former Ambassador Withers gives some suggestions.
What Albania needs are not politicians who are younger in their age, but a new mentality. The real men of states, such as Nelson Mandela in South Africa, or the late Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic, were very old aged men, but their trust on democratic principles was the essence of their character and their being. Unfortunately, the Albanian leaders, even when they are at the age of Prime Minister Berisha or Lulzim Basha, they lack of this trust. It has a vital importance for Albania to find other leaders, men or women, young or old, from whatever religion or ethnicity, but that have democracy fire is still shining, Withers added. http://www.top-channel.tv/english/artikull.php?id=5127