In May, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken banned Sali Berisha, former President of Albania, from entering the US on grounds of corruption. In a video speech, Berisha went on to defend himself. Remarkably, in the video he admits that he asked former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to remove the MEK from the US terrorism list before he would accept the group in Albania. The State Department formally removed the MEK from the Foreign Terrorist List in September 2012. In May 2013, the first MEK members began arriving in Albania. Three tranches of ten million dollars were paid to the Albanian government. Some of which was intended to build an Institute for the De-Radicalisation of extremists, including the MEK. This was not established or created.
As an organised crime group, the MEK lost no time in making itself at home in Albania – a country notorious for its three major mafia families and corrupt government and state institutions. The MEK bribed, intimidated and flouted its way into the Albanian system. This enabled the MEK to build a closed, military-style camp in which the enslaved members are held, and bend Albania’s foreign policy to its own agenda.
Meanwhile, after the MEK settled in Albania, Berisha and other politicians found lucrative work in advocating for the group. Berisha regularly spoke in the MEK rallies in Paris and, after Maryam Rajavi was expelled from the EU, in Albania. In 2019, Berisha boasted that by backing the MEK, he had chosen the right side.
It appears, however, that Secretary Blinken takes a different view of ‘the right side’ and has found Berisha on the wrong, corrupt, side.