OP. HMG Trojan Horse. Part 5: Fracturing the Balkans IIMatthew Doer
Next is the bid of BBC Media Action:
The project will mostly be implemented by locals from Western Balkan countries:
BBC Media Action complete bid. Supporting Greater Media Independence in the Western Balkans.
You might think that no one else can compete with those masters of black propaganda from BBC MA and ZINC for the piece of the StratComm pie. You will be surprised to learn that a pseudo charity British Council actually won the bid. Yes, they are not only organising people2people campaigns but also brainwash the people with propaganda. The consortium also includes a well-known Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Thomson Reuters is responsible for dealing with Mass Media, while the British Council's task is to work with young people through the network of its local offices and affiliated companies.
Besides, the British requested that a local company BIRN consider plans to setup a digital resource that would enable local officials to anonymously leak confidential information that compromises local governments.
Basically, the FCO is creating a WikiLeaks analogue, at the same time Julian Assange is detained in Belmarsh prison. Hypocritical bastards, that's who they are!
Please pay attention to the extent the 'charity' has penetrated the Western Balkans:
Can there be any doubts about the true goals of the British Council?
Take a look at their vast resources:
We also publish the signed contract so that they couldn't find any excuses like 'this is just a proposal':
British Council complete bid. Supporting Greater Media Independence in the Western Balkans.
Now let's move to another propaganda project to promote media literacy and strengthen independent Media in the Western Balkans.
The FCO requirements:
What company do you think is implementing the project? Well, those masters of black propaganda from Syria and Lebanon - Albany Associates. What can they teach the people and journalists in the WB we wonder? Will they use the same approach they used for the jihadists in the Middle East?
Albany complete bid. Promoting Media Literacy and Strengthening Independent Media in the Western Balkans.
Do you know what is also of great interest? In June 2020 the FCO ordered that as part of the Promoting Media Literacy and Strengthening Independent Media in the Western Balkans project Albany should help the government in Bosnia & Herzegovina to brainwash their people to accept a very unpopular Corona Law. Well here we can see two quite outrageous moments. First, the FCO is continuing to manually micromanage its intelligence cutouts by assigning specific tasks to them, although they were supposed to be engaged in promoting media literacy among the youth and strengthen independent Media instead of dumping troves of disinformation on the people. Second, recall that in June 2020 the UK didn't know what to do about the COVID-19 crisis. There were thousands on the streets of the UK cities protesting against the lockdowns, while HMG struggled to find the solution. At the same time the FCO orders its intelligence cutouts to brainwash the people in Bosnia & Herzegovina to make them tamely accept the anti-COVID-19 measures of their government. Regardless of what you think about COVID-19, we believe it is the summit of hypocrisy.
Bosnia & Herzegovina Covid 19.
Now let's move to a Serbian propaganda project:
Terms of reference. Serbia promoting freedom of expression and public dialogue.
Masters of propaganda from BBC MA implemented the project.
The project's aims were to strengthen Serbia's freedom of speech environment and conditions through raising capacity of media to act as a platform for democratic debate, strengthening professional associations, especially in the field of self-regulation, increase public demand for quality media and alternative voices, improved internal governance and transparency within media outlets.
The UK Embassies in Belgrade and Skopje provided BBC Media Action with a list of partners:
Serbia: Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM), the Online Media Association (OMA) which brings together 18 internet portals in Serbia.
Macedonia: BIRN, two channels TV 24 - cable and TV Telma that are not aligned to government, Alsat is the biggest Albanian channel not aligned to government, A1 Online and NovaTv news websites, documentary Sabotage (Sabotaza).
BBC MA adopted with the partners a blended approach employing a combination of mentoring / on-the job training, production support and co-production. They focused on training editors, creating and moderating online discussions in digital media, online video production, technical training on digital broadcasting, production of a wide range of media content and formats (such as factual and entertainment formats including drama / web drama, debate programming, call-in and magazine shows) for multiple platforms (TV, radio, online and mobile).
As a result, BBC Media Action emphasised that support to the production of media content had impact with Serbian and Macedonian audiences, while also training media practitioners and strengthening long-term commitment to meeting audiences' needs.
Here is the bid:
Please pay close attention to the contents of the documents. And be sure to note what BBC MA has achieved in the Balkans since 1996 (!):
Specific experience in Serbia and the Western Balkans:
BBC Media Action has been active in the Western Balkans since 1996, working on a range of media capacity-building, reform and change management projects combined with a tangible transfer of skills to local people to ensure sustainability.
Projects have included:
* Support to the Kosovo Media Institute
* Reporting Diversity in Macedonia, a series of workshops focusing on the challenges of reporting on an ethnically diverse community
* Providing management training for RTCG, the Montenegrin state broadcaster, with a view to reforming institutional structures and developing core skills
* Supporting the Broadcast Media in Bosnia (1996 - 2003) through a wide range of capacity-building and training activities channelled through the Mediacentar in Sarajevo
* Change management at B92 in Serbia: a programme of management and journalism training aimed at strengthening B92's market position
* Setting up a modern, fully-equipped radio and television training centre in central Belgrade - the European Centre for Broadcast Journalism (ECBJ)
* Supporting the development of the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) in Bosnia-Herzegovina by facilitating the creation of a fourth entity, the Corporation of PBS.
Over the past ten years, BBC Media Action has delivered four large-scale projects in Serbia, which varied enormously in their design and focus, yet all embody BBC Media Action's commitment to promote media freedom and the highest professional norms and standards in journalism.
In May 2007, BBC Media Action embarked on a challenging undertaking with Radio Television Serbia (RTS), to assist in its transition from state to public service broadcaster. Over two years, BBC Media Action delivered intensive training in Journalism and Production, focusing on developing craft and editorial skills across the radio and TV news teams. Despite the fact that the training coincided with unprecedented change at RTS including a mass redundancy programme and the transition from state to public service, no training course was cancelled and there were visible and audible changes to output as a result of the project. At the end of the two years, the following successes could be attributed to the project:
* Undoubted improvements to the TV news and current affairs output, both technical and editorial. This was noted by, among others, the Ministry of Culture.
* A radical improvement in the content and style of Radios 202 and Belgrade 1 primetime news and current affairs output
* The successful re-launch of the Radio Belgrade 1 breakfast programme
* Organisational change in the TV newsroom
* A heightened awareness of the public service ethos due, in large part, to management training and eight study tours to British and Irish public service broadcasters
A smaller project was delivered within the same period, 'Strengthening the Capacity of Local Community Media in Serbia to Resist Political Interference and Promote Good Governance'. BBC Media Action worked to professionalise and help 5 local radio stations based outside Belgrade to develop their capacity to hold local government to account and decrease political interference into the daily news agenda by improving News reporting and package-making skills and delivering training to Editors in how to mentor and transfer skills to junior colleagues. At the end of the project, positive improvements were recognised:
* The managers were interested throughout and responded to recommendations made to improve the quality of their broadcasts.
* Skill levels showed a marked improvement and there was a sense of greater confidence amongst radio station staff.
Although hampered by financial difficulties and low-level resources, the stations demonstrated that they were prepared to include more local issues in their programming, where local authorities/governments play a key role.
Between December 2009 and December 2012, BBC Media Action implemented 'Support for Media Capacity in the Area of EU Integration' with local partner, Mre~a PG. The project strengthened media capacities for improving objective public information about all aspects of EU integration, by capacity building and by support to media production - including managing a 1.9m Euro grant fund to 25 media of all platforms and advising the production houses and TV stations on production and editorial values throughout the programme-making process. The extent of the content generated by the Media Fund can be seen through some surprising statistics:
* 174 different TV programmes or series
* Average viewership of 500,000 for the 15-part RTS series "What's in it for me?" which also won a national EU/SEIO award for best EU-related documentary.
* International exposure - including a showing at the United Nations - for the Monte Royal Production on human trafficking, Sisters, plus numerous awards and an audience of more than half a million for the premier on TV Prva. The official opening in Dom Omladine, Belgrade, received unprecedented coverage in local and national media.
In 2012, BBC Media Action also provided technical expertise to an innovative multi-platforms media project run by the B92 Fund with and for youth across five Balkan countries to build young people's capacity for civic participation and increase levels of mutual understanding. Building on research conducted with teenagers ages 13 - 18, the centrepiece of the project is a social media-based educational web drama, #SamoKazem (Just Saying), which enables young people from across the region to find common solutions to common problems. The drama is complemented by social media debates, as well as linking users to offline activities to translate awareness into action for change. #SamoKazem achieved high viewership online and has won numerous international awards and honours. It is the first regional youth drama production since the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
BBC Media Action worked on providing assistance to the Digital Broadcasting Switchover in Serbia between January 2011 and September 2013. This comprised working with the relevant Ministries and key stakeholders to set up a strong platform, establish strategy, timetable and legal and regulatory framework to implement the Government's plan to complete a smooth transition from analogue to digital television including delivery and installation of equipment.
From November 2015 to 31 March 2016 BBC Media Action also worked on helping the Macedonian media to effectively cover elections by developing election reporting guidelines and giving them training on how to use them. The guidelines were based on the BBC's guidelines on covering elections. The Guidelines were created to help ensure that the Macedonian national broadcaster, MRTV, would be able to perform its duty to act as watchdog, promoting transparency and giving voters an understanding of their democratic rights.
Finally, as part of BBC Global news, BBC Media Action has access to the wider BBC's wealth of experience and talent in creating quality journalism and compelling programmes. This includes solid understanding of how technology is transforming journalism and content-making as well as access to a broad range of innovative digital tools like the BBC Digital Lab, BBC connected studios or the BBC Blue Room.
Training 1200 journalists... setting up 5 radio centres... 174 different TV programmes or series, average viewership of 500,000 for the 15-part RTS series "What's in it for me?". And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
These are the 'achievements' of a single intelligence cutout in the Balkans over the past 25 years of presence. Just imagine what they have done together! This is pure neocolonialism.
Complete BBC Media Action bid on Promoting Freedom of Expression and Public Dialogue.
We've done with the propaganda projects for now. Let's move to HMG operations on the ground.
A detailed 68 pages-long report titled 'Western Balkans Rule of Law Initiative Scoping' was prepared in March 2019 at the request of CSSF. (according to the annex to the research, the rule of law is a system of predictable laws that govern people's behaviour and encompasses the ends that are valued by society).
The document contains challenges the UK faces in the rule of law sector in all of the six Western Balkans countries; key issues that must be taken into account when developing the programme projects; an outlined theory of change with all corresponding schemes and tables.
The introduction in the document says that a lot of foreign donors (from the US and EU) work in the Western Balkans implementing rule of law programmes. The UK, the EU and the US are reforming the security sector in the WB including the police and intelligence services, therefore there's no need to interfere with the well-defined process. That is why the British decided to implement the rule of law programme by reforming the judicial and prosecution systems and their cooperation when it comes to supervising law enforcement agencies.
The document is not a simple research but a directive to unlawful actions aimed at interfering in internal affairs of sovereign states. It thrives with highly sensitive remarks. Particularly, section 3.1 Lessons learned about what works in the region contains the following paragraph:
A key lesson is the need to go with the grain, where we can build relationships and alliances with those who share our objectives and values for reform. This means building local ownership, through identifying policy priorities that are foremost in government intuitions thinking and planning. For example this would imply ensuring that future interventions in the rule of law sector can be closely linked to priorities set out in the forthcoming Ministry of Justice strategy. In Kosovo, for example, there have been success in counter terrorism where there were common political interests between the international community and Kosovan political leadership. In a region with a history (or indeed present reality) of state capture and where politicisation of the judicial sector runs deep, this approach does come with risks. As a result, it needs to be informed by careful political economy analysis8, and an approach to programming where monitoring, learning and adaptation are engrained. In contexts where elite incentives are not aligned with our objectives/values, resulting in a concerted erosion of the rule of law and citizen rights, an approach that seeks to hold elite politicians to account might be needed. However, WB ROLI needs to avoid investing resources solely into supply side technical and capacity building support for justice institutions where political interest and ownership in reform does not exist, and little or no change will result.
It is clearly stated that if local elite politicians disagree with the UK intervention and reforms, then they will have to be replaced.
The rather lengthy document contains detailed description of the situation in all of the six Western Balkans countries as well as recommendations on implementing operations there. We think it is practical to closely examine their proposals for Serbia, the most difficult state that is resisting the process of forceful democratisation.
Authors of the research underline that politicisation is pervasive in Serbia, with the ruling coalition of political parties not only undermining judicial independence but also restricting the ability of parliament, independent oversight bodies (including the Anti-Corruption Agency), the media and independent NGOs to undertake effective transparency, accountability and oversight roles. Serbian interviewees saw a steady increase in politicisation of independent authorities including the Anti-Corruption Agency and little real interest amongst political elites to tackle corruption seriously. The Judiciary remains strongly politicised, and there is strong resistance on the part of the Executive and Legislature to allow it greater independence.
Serbian rule of law bodies (judiciary, prosecutor's office) generally lack meaningful accountability, both to relevant State accountability and oversight mechanisms (horizontal accountability) and to Parliament and civil society (vertical accountability). CSOs have only a limited capacity to monitor key areas and to provide a bottom-up push/watchdog function. Within the justice system, disciplinary sanctions and incentives are weak. Judges are risk averse, and cautious about decision-making unless subject to very clear guidance. There are discrepancies emerging between court jurisprudence and judicial interpretation of legislation in different parts of Serbia.
Corruption is pervasive in Serbia. There are significant levels of grand and petty corruption, including within rule of law institutions. Low levels of corruption are viewed as 'normality' by many Serbian citizens. Public procurement was also considered a major corruption risk area yet is not seen by the Government of Serbia as a priority area. Interviewees assessed that petty corruption is a real problem for ordinary Serbs, including with regard to access education, healthcare and other key government services. There is general criticism of the way the Judiciary handles corruption cases. Links between criminal interests and state actors are recognised.
Access to justice is a serious problem in Serbia and is constrained by: the cost of justice services and a lack of free legal aid; a lack of understanding about rights and how to assert them; the tendency of government bodies to ignore enquiries or complaints ('silence of the administration').
Gender-based violence (GBV) and gender equality remain key challenges. Responding effectively to these is hampered by poor coordination within State agencies and an anti-independent CSO narrative that has included women's NGOs, including those providing services on GBV, as targets.
Independent CSOs are vibrant and well-established in Serbia. They work on many areas relevant to the rule of law but are frustrated by marginalisation by the State/the ruling Coalition, the proliferation of GONGOs (government owned NGOs), and the challenges of getting CSOs and citizens to form effective coalitions around important issues. Major media outlets tend to be either friendly to or controlled by the Government. There is widespread intimidation of independent media, use of 'fake news' by State or Statealigned media outlets, and leaking of embarrassing personal information (including medical records).
Following the research CSSF prepared Terms of Reference that contained specific tasks for potential suppliers to reform the rule of law sector in the Western Balkans.
The ultimate goal of the programme is to strengthen the rule of law and access to justice.
Achieving the goal means achieving the intermediate outcomes:
1. New, improved or functional procedures to safeguard transparency and accountability in the delivery of justice are developed, tested and are being publicly monitored and disseminated.
2. Criminal justice cases are processed faster.
3. Approaches for victims of GBV (including domestic violence) to access justice have been strengthened and trialled and evidence has been created around what works.
4. Citizens, including from socially excluded groups, are aware of their access to justice rights.
5. There is increased legal certainty in, and appropriate selection of sentencing.
6. Grassroots civil society organisations are supporting socially excluded citizens to access justice, working in parallel with the programme's supply side projects.
7. There is a body of robust data and evidence about rule of law in the Western Balkans has been collected, and is actively being used by Embassies and implementer to understand what works.
CSSF demands that the programme needs to include two periods:
- More detailed mapping of donor programming in rule of law (EU, US etc.), and consultations with all donors to identify options;
- Support to UK embassy teams to develop country level theories of change;
- Support to UK embassy teams to design initial projects to deliver against the theory of change;
- Conduct of political economy analyses to inform programming decisions;
- Engagement with the regional programme hub, to assist them in final decision making about theories of change, reporting processes and programming;
- Identification of different project modalities and processes to deliver these;
- Agreement on lessons learning and knowledge management systems;
- Establishment of knowledge sharing and lessons learning plans, systems and repositories. As the WB programme of HMG is actively intensifying, all suppliers on the ground need to be able to provide reasonable explanations to local governments should they take interest in the programme, and the explanations must not contradict the stated objective.
- Work proactively with embassy staff in identifying programming options, in line with country theories of change;
- Manage the delivery of these projects, in terms of identification of local and international delivery partners, teams, contracting, tasking, day to day management, for casting, payments and financial management to champion value for money;
- Play a lead role in communicating with and managing counterparts, and act as a key contact for British Embassies;
- Monitoring project progress (both in terms of implementation and progress towards achievement of theory of change outcomes), relevant contextual and political changes and escalating issues and risks, ensuring that embassies and the Western Balkans regional programme hub are informed early of any potential obstacles to progress;
- Operate a ring-fenced funding facility (which may be different between countries) focused on monitoring delivery of justice, primarily by NGOs which work to bring local governments to account to align the programme with stated goals;
- Undertake a planned lessons learning and knowledge sharing programme for NGOs to achieve the goals, including the goal of engaging as many locals as possible;
- Develop a strategic communications programme to support implementing the projects and mitigate risks.
The document emphasises that, despite corruption being the key problem in the rule of law sector, judicial corruption however emerged as a priority in the scoping. Anti- corruption is very broad, and there is ongoing work in the region through GGF and SOC programming.
The programme should not target rule of law issues being covered by other existing or new UK programmes: directly countering SOC; war crimes; media freedom and transparency; democracy and electoral process. The programme should build on some successful support on probation and alternative sanctions, but not focus on prisons. Work on police should look at how they work effectively, and in coordinated fashion with prosecutors and other parts of the judicial system, but scoping did not suggest investment in police reform.
GGF should cover rule of law work where it is focused on economic and business growth (eg regulatory issues, commercial courts and commercial mediation). Support to the World Bank Multi-Donor Trust Fund in Serbia should also stay within GGF, as this is part of a wider relationship with the World Bank, led by DFID.
This is a rather lengthy document but it is a base road map to capture the region. If you are really curious about specific operations the British conduct to take the WB countries under control, you most definitely need to examine it very closely.
The file also shows that the Brits don't really care about the Rule of Law in the Western Balkans. It is just a convenient entry-point, just like it was with garbage collection and refugee camps in Lebanon or corruption and human rights in Russia.
Western Balkans Rule of Law Initiative Scoping. Final Report.
A small overview of HMG operations in the Western Balkans that had been going on long before the report was made. That's the way they started capturing civil society back in 2016:
Terms of reference. Western Balkans Civil Society Empowerment.
Albany, Oxford Policy Management, East-West Bridge and BORA implemented project:
That's the way the project is intertwined with P2P:
Albany. Western Balkans Civil Society Empowerment.
A well-known pseudo charity British Council also planned to implement the project:
British Council. Western Balkans Civil Society Empowerment.
The British also wanted to strengthen Kosovo's judicial system:
Please pay attention to 'What is HMG doing and Why?'.
Apparently, it's a norm for them to supervise the appointment of prosecutors and judges. Does anyone else have any doubts as to the fact that the country is managed by foreign actors?
CSSF Strengthening the Judicial System of Kosovo. Statement of requirements.
HMG employed specialists from Adam Smith International who used to create quasi states in Syria:
They employed quite prominent experts:
This is a truly neocolonial operation.
Adam Smith International. CSSF Strengthening the Judicial System of Kosovo.