The Circle of Deception
Mapping the Human Rights Crowd in the Balkans

by Gilles d'Aymery

July 23, 2001

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Following a conversation with a Serbian acquaintance we investigated a report on the Destruction of Evidence on Crimes against Kosovo Albanians that was posted on balkanhr, the Balkan Human Rights List, that he had found through the Balkan Academic News.

From there, one thing leading to another and following Ariadne's thread, an unambiguous picture developed. Some people and some organizations are at the center of a vast circle of deception. They all look genuine, many are certainly well-intentioned but behind the veil of legitimacy and humanitarian concerns can be found the same powerful people and organizations such as the Open Society Institute of the billionaire and - as always characterized - philanthropist, George Soros, the Ford Foundation, the United States Institute of Peace, the National Endowment for Democracy and many more, financing and using a maze of well known NGO's such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the International Crisis Group, etc., as well as more obscure entities such as the Southeast European Politics (SEEP), the Balkan Academic News (BAN), the Consortium of Minority Resources (COMIR), the Minority Rights Group International (MRG), the Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) and myriad others. But, among all of them, shining as the Southern star, is George Soros who, like an immense Jules Verne octopus, extends his tentacles all over Eastern Europe, South-Eastern Europe, the Caucasus as well as the republics of the former Soviet Union. With the help of these various groups, their partners and associates, all having laudable names, all receiving lavish funding, and again quite possibly most of them well-intentioned, they are able not only to shape but to create the news, the agenda and public opinion to further their aims which are, in short, the control of the world, its natural resources and the furtherance of their uniform ideal of a perfect world polity made in America.

This paper goes through a maze of connections. As said it starts with a report about the Destruction of Evidence on Crimes against Kosovo Albanians that was posted on the balkanhr Distribution List in May, 2001 and that covered the story -- disseminated by the main media later on in June -- of a refrigerated truck full of corpses that was pulled out of the Danube at the Iron Gates near Kladovo, in Serbia, on 6 April 1999. The report was unsigned. Its provenance, the message said, was the Humanitarian Law Center by the way of the Greek Helsinki Monitor. The next logical move was to visit the Greek Helsinki Monitor that is a part of The BALKAN Human Rights Web Pages. There, the report was linked....back to the Balkan Human Rights List (which was founded in February 2000 by....The BALKAN Human Rights Web Pages)!

Facing our first circle we decided to visit the Humanitarian Law Center but, after an hour or so, we could not find the original report (at least originally -- please see the Note at the end of this report). So we went back to square one and decided to visit the Balkan Academic News (BAN). BAN is part of the Consortium of Minority Resources (COMIR) and affiliated with Southeast European Politics (SEEP). It is hosted by the Southeast European Politics (SEEP). BAN has its own distribution list on Yahoo. The creator of BAN is one Florian Bieber who happens to be a co-editor of SEEP. SEEP is sponsored by the Albanian Political Science Association, Tirana, Albania, the Open Society Institute, Budapest, Hungary, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, and Independent Macedonian Political Science Association, Skopje, Macedonia (no Web site). SEEP's Web site also happens to be hosted by the Central European University (CEU). CEU was founded in 1994 by George Soros. CEU's related institutions are the Open Society Institute-Budapest and the Soros Foundations Network. "The Open Society Institute-Budapest was established in 1993 to develop and implement programs in the areas of educational, social and legal reform in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. OSI-Budapest is part of the Soros foundations network, a group of autonomous organizations created and supported by George Soros," says the Web site. Florian Bieber, the co-editor of SEEP and creator of BAN worked from October 1998 to June 2000 at CEU. He holds a M.A. in Southeast European Studies from CEU (he currently is a lecturer, Regional Masters Program in Democracy and Human Rights at the University of Sarajevo). If you take the time to carefully read his resume you will notice his many connections.

The other two sponsors of SEEP are The Independent Macedonian Political Science Association, Skopje, Macedonia that has no Web site and the Albanian Political Science Association, Tirana, Albania (ALPSA). ALPSA, was founded in 2000 to "contribute to the establishment and advancement of studies in all branches of political science (comparative politics, political economy and public choice, international relations, political theory, public policy, area studies, etc.) in Albanian-language institutions and universities in Albania and elsewhere." ALPSA does not provide any information about its funding. However, two of its board members have a diploma from CEU and the site mentions that the organization is a "joint publisher of SEEP"

As said, BAN, aside from being affiliated with SEEP, is part of the Consortium of Minority Resources (COMIR). COMIR, says the Web site, is "an Internet-based cooperative project that aims at promoting the free flow of information and dialogue in the field of ethnic relations, multicultural politics and minority rights. COMIR aims to establish a clearinghouse of information and activities relevant to Europe (OSCE region) to support democratic governance of multiethnic and multinational societies. To this end, COMIR develops and promotes virtual libraries, mailing lists, a database of full text documents, training materials, etc. Major initiatives include a Virtual Library, coordinated mailing lists, a meta-search engine across founders' web sites, a Minority Rights Practitioners Resource Pack, a best practice database, curriculum development and advocacy training." COMIR is hosted by The Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative (LGI). LGI "was launched in January 1997 by the Board of the Open Society Institute-Budapest. The Initiative replaces the Institute for Local Government and Public Service and builds on its achievements," says the Web site. "The development of democratic and effective government at sub-national levels [emphasis added] remains one of the central tasks of the transition. The sharing of expertise between countries can contribute significantly to the reform process in the region. The primary mission of LGI is to foster such cross-border cooperation and to support and disseminate throughout the region potentially important policy studies which should have a significant impact on public policy reform." COMIR is theretofore hosted by George Soros' Open Society Institute.

COMIR's partner sites are: Center of Documentation and Information on Minorities in Europe - Southeast Europe; Minority Rights Group MRG LGI MMCP; Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative; European Centre for Minority Issues; Roma Rights Center; Forum Institute for Social Studies; Balkan Academic News; Human Rights Watch; Constitutional & Legal Policy Institute; European Academy Bolzano/Bozen and World Organisation Against Torture.

COMIR being a partner of the Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM), we decided to revisit GHM.

According to the Web site, "Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) was founded in 1993 by members of Minority Rights Group - Greece, affiliated to Minority Rights Group - International since 1992. In 1993, GHM became the Greek member of the International Helsinki Federation. In 1998, GHM became a member of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX); and in 2000 of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) and the Southeast Europe Media Organization (SEEMO). GHM monitors, publishes and lobbies on human rights issues in Greece and, occasionally, in the Balkans. It has participated in and often coordinated the monitoring of Greek and Balkan media for stereotypes and hate speech. It has prepared detailed reports on ethnonational, ethnolinguistic, religious and immigrant communities, in Greece; and on the Greek minorities in Albania and Turkey. [...] Since 1997, in cooperation with the European Roma Rights Center (ERRC), it runs a Roma Office for Greece. Since 1997, it also operates the Athens editorial office of the Alternative Information Network (AIM), while in 2000 it launched the electronic monthly "Dikaiomatika!" (Rightly!) in Greek. In 1998, GHM was a co-founder of the Center of Documentation and Information on Minorities in Europe - Southeast Europe (CEDIME-SE) which operates a web site (http://www.greekhelsinki.gr) and two web lists covering human rights issues and comprehensive and comparable presentations of all minorities in the region. In 2000, CEDIME-SE was one of the co-founders of the Consortium of Minority Resources (COMIR)."

"Greek Helsinki Monitor and Minority Rights Group - Greece would like to acknowledge the sponsorship of Open Society Institute, European Union's PHARE and Euromosaic programs, Austrian Government - Federal Chancellery, Nikos Dimou, "Artos Zois" Foundation, European Roma Rights Center, Berghof Foundation for Conflict Research, Aspen Institute Berlin, International Helsinki Federation, Communication and Political Research Society, Greek General Secretariat for Youth, and a few others."

So, GHM is funded, among others, by OSI. But what of the various "organizations" with which GHM is associated?

Minority Rights Group International (MRG): MRG is a "non-governmental organization based in London, UK, MRG promotes the rights of ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities." MRG does not disclose funding and sponsorship but GHM mentions that at least MRG-Greece is supported, among others, by OSI (see above). It has a link to COMIR on its front page.

The European Roma Rights Center (ERRC): ERRC is "an international public interest law organisation which monitors the human rights situation of Roma and provides legal defence in cases of human rights abuse." Major sponsors are: Open Society Institute, Ford Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Ruben and Elisabeth Rausing Trust, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and J.M. Kaplan Fund.

Please note that while GHM is partly "sponsored" by OSI, it is also partly "sponsored" by ERRC which in turn is partly "sponsored" by....OSI!

International Freedom of Expression exchange (IFEX): IFEX "was born in 1992 when many of the world's leading freedom of expression organizations came together in Montreal to discuss how best to further their collective goals." IFEX support organizations are: Canadian International Development Agency, Canada; Open Society Institute, U.S.A.; Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Denmark; The Ford Foundation, U.S.A.; Freedom Forum, U.S.A.; Humanistic Institute for Co-operation with Developing Countries (Hivos), The Netherlands; Joyce Mertz-Gilmore Foundation, U.S.A; Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland; Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation, U.S.A.; Swedish International Development Agency, Sweden; and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN): EMHRN, established in January 1997, "is a network of human rights organisations based in more than 20 countries from the Euro-Mediterranean region." Funding/sponsors are not disclosed. Among its members are Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (see below).

GHM is also related to the Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR). "Founded in 1991, IWPR is an independent educational charity based in the United Kingdom." "IWPR supports democratisation and development in crisis zones by providing an international platform, professional training and financial assistance to independent media, human rights activists and other democratic voices." The IWPR Web site acknowledges the following "private and governmental foundations and agencies supporting its regional reporting and media development activities:" Carnegie Corporation of New York; Department for International Development (UK); European Commission, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Freedom Forum; Ford Foundation; National Endowment for Democracy; Community Fund (UK); Open Society Institute; Press Now; Samuel Rubin Foundation; Swedish International Development and Cooperation Agency; US Institute for Peace and Winston Foundation for World Peace.

GHM disseminates the reports of Human Rights Watch (HRW) and is related to HRW at least through COMIR and EMHRN. George Soros is known as the "financier of HRW." For the readers who are not familiar with HRW we recommend the report by Paul Treanor, Who is behind Human Rights Watch? The European section of the Board of HRW (or committee), called the Europe and Central Asia Division is affiliated with the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (the latter, by the way, is financed by, among others, the Ford Foundation. See http://www.ihf-hr.org/about.htm#Funders).

The Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms (funding unknown) publishes a weekly report on the "situation of human rights and freedoms in Kosova" [please note the spelling]. These reports are disseminated by, among others, GHM and BAN.

So are the reports and analysis of the International Crisis Group (ICG). ICG "is a private, multinational organisation committed to strengthening the capacity of the international community to anticipate, understand and act to prevent and contain conflict." Readers may recall the ICG report dated November 26, 1999 on Trepca: Making Sense of the Labyrinth which advocated that UNMIK and KFOR take control of the Trepca mining complex - which they did. ICG is an intriguing organization that would deserve to be reviewed on its own. ICG states on its Web site that "Maintaining a diverse funding base is critical to preserving ICG's political independence and credibility." It adds that "ICG raises funds from governments, charitable foundations, companies and individual donors. The following governments currently provide funding: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, the Republic of China (Taiwan) [ed. please note how they characterize Taiwan], Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Foundation and private sector donors include the Ansary Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the Ploughshares Fund, the Sasakawa Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the U.S. Institute of Peace."

The best way to form an opinion in regard to ICG's "political independence and credibility" is to look at its Board. Among its 50+ members are the following names: Stephen Solarz (Vice-Chairman, ICG and former U.S. Congressman); Morton Abramowitz (former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State and former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey); Kenneth Adelman (former US Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Ambassador to the UN); Richard Allen (former Head of US National Security Council and National Security Advisor); Louise Arbour (Supreme Court Judge, Canada and former Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia); Wesley Clark (former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe); Allan J. MacEachen (former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada); Barbara McDougall (former Secretary of State for External Affairs, Canada); Wayne Owens (President, Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Co-operation); George Soros (Chairman, Open Society Institute); and Mortimer Zuckerman (Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, U.S. News and World Report).

So, from little-known organizations or people such as SEEP, COMIR, BAN, GHM, IFEX, ERRC, etc. and Florian Bieber to bigger fish like ICG, HRW, IPWR, etc., and Louise Arbour, Morton Abramowitz or Wesley Clark -- to cite just a few -- the agenda, the ideology, the sources of funding are the same. They originate with the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for Democracy, the US Institute for Peace, the Open Society Institute and many, many more wealthy institutions; and George Soros can invariably be found at the epicenter of this concentric maze (which will not surprise the readers who have read our August 2000 essay, Armies of Compassion: The Missionary, the Businessman and the Military).

Not only do they shape and form opinion, they create the news, they pay for -- they literally buy -- the news to be shaped and created (remember the "suitcases" of cash being funneled to the opposition -- DOS, Otpor, B92, etc. -- before the Yugoslav elections in October 2000?), to control how public opinion is shaped and created; a public who has little or no idea of how the news and their opinions are created, sculpted like a fake Rodin, and from where they really come. Total manipulation, total deception and total mind control.

Pathetic, isn't it?


Note: To demonstrate the above with a case study we are reviewing the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) and the report, "Destruction of Evidence on Crimes against Kosovo Albanians," that was found on balkanhr, the Balkan Human Rights List (but that originated with HLC) in our next commentary, The Fabrication and Dissemination of Deception.


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Published July 23, 2001
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