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    Default A short guide to the colour revolutions and manufactured Coup d'Etat

    The Technique of a Coup d'État

    by John Laughland



    In recent years, a number of "revolutions" have broken out all over the world.
    1. Georgia
    In November 2003, the president of Georgia Edward Shevardnadze was overthrown following demonstrations, marches and allegations that the parliamentary elections had been rigged.
    2. Ukraine
    In November 2004, the "Orange Revolution" of demonstrations started in Ukraine as the same allegations were made, that elections had been rigged.
    The result was that country was ripped away from its previous geopolitical role as a bridge between East and West, and put it on the path to becoming a fully-fledged member of NATO and the EU. Considering that Kievan Rus is the first Russian state, and that Ukraine has now been turned against Russia, this is a historic achievement. But then, as George Bush said, "You are either with us or against us." Although Ukraine had sent troops to Iraq, it was evidently considered too friendly to Moscow.
    3. Lebanon
    Shortly after the US and the UN declared that Syrian troops had to be removed from Lebanon, and following the assassination of Rafik Hariri, demonstrations in Beirut were presented as "the Cedar Revolution." An enormous counter-demonstration by Hezbollah, which is the largest political party in Syria, was effectively ignored while the TV replayed endlessly the image of the anti-Syrian crowd. In one particularly egregious case of Orwellian double-think, the BBC explained to its viewers that "Hezbollah, the biggest political party in Lebanon, is so far the only dissenting voice which wants the Syrians to stay." How can the majority be "a dissenting voice"?
    4. Kyrgyzstan
    After the "revolutions" in Georgia and Ukraine, many predicted that the same wave of "revolutions" would extend to the former Soviet states of Central Asia. So it was to be. Commentators seemed divided on what colour to label the uprising in Bishkek – was it a "lemon" revolution or a "tulip" revolution? They could not make up their minds. But on one thing, everyone was in agreement: revolutions are cool, even when they are violent. The Kyrgyz president, Askar Akayev, was overthrown on 24th March 2005 and protesters stormed and ransacked the presidential palace.
    5. Uzbekistan
    When armed rebels seized government buildings, sprung prisoners from gaol and took hostages on the night of 12th–13th May in the Uzbek city of Andijan (located in the Ferghana Valley, where the unrest had also started in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan) the police and army surrounded the rebels and a long standoff ensued. Negotiations were undertaken with the rebels, who kept increasing their demands. When government forces started to move on the rebels, the resulting fighting killed some 160 people including over 30 members of the police and army. Yet the Western media immediately misrepresented this violent confrontation, claiming that government forces had opened fire on unarmed protesters – "the people."
    This constantly repeated myth of popular rebellion against a dictatorial government is popular on both the Left and the Right of the political spectrum. Previously, the myth of revolution was obviously the preserve of the Left. But when the violent putsch occurred in Kygyrzstan, The Times enthused about how the scenes in Bishkek reminded him of Eisenstein films about the Bolshevik revolution, The Daily Telegraph extolled the "power to the people," and the Financial Times used a well-known Maoist metaphor when it praised Kyrgyzstan’s "long march to freedom."
    One of the key elements behind this myth is obviously that "the people" are behind the events, and that they are spontaneous. In fact, of course, they are often very highly organised operations, often deliberately staged for the media, and usually funded and controlled by transnational networks of so-called non-governmental organisations which are in turn instruments of Western power.
    1. The literature on coups d’état
    The survival of the myth of spontaneous popular revolution is depressing in view of the ample literature on the coup d’état, and on the main factors and tactics by which to bring one about.
    It was, of course, Lenin who developed the organisational structure for overthrowing a regime which we now know as a political party. He differed from Marx in that he did not think that historical change was the result of ineluctable anonymous forces, but that it had to be worked for.

    But it was probably Curzio Malaparte’s Technique of a Coup d’état which first gave very famous expression to these ideas. Published in 1931, this book presents regime change as just that – a technique. Malaparte explicitly took issue with those who thought that regime change happened on its own. In fact, he starts the book by recounting a discussion between diplomats in Warsaw in the summer of 1920: Poland had been invaded by Trostky’s Red Army (Poland having itself invaded the Soviet Union, capturing Kiev in April 1920) and the Bolsheviks were at the gates of Warsaw. The debate was between the British minister in Warsaw, Sir Horace Rumbold, and the Papal nuncio, Monsignor Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti – the man who was elected Pope as Pius XI two years later. The Englishman said that the internal political situation in Poland was so chaotic that a revolution was inevitable, and that the diplomatic corps therefore should flee the capital and go to Posen (Poznán). The Papal Nuncio disagreed, insisting that a revolution was just as possible in a civilised country like England, Holland or Switzerland as in a country in a state of anarchy. Naturally the Englishman was outraged at the idea that a revolution could ever break out in England. "Oh never!" he exclaimed – and was proved wrong because no revolution did break out in Poland, according to Malaparte because the revolutionary forces were simply not well organised enough.
    This anecdote allows Malaparte to discuss the differences between Lenin and Trotsky, two practitioners of the coup d’état/revolution. Malaparte shows that the future Pope was right and that it was wrong to say that pre-conditions were necessary for a revolution to occur. For Malaparte, as for Trotsky, regime change could be promoted in any country, including the stable democracies of Western Europe, providing that there was a sufficiently determined body of men determined to achieve it.
    2. Manufacturing consent
    This brings us onto a second body of literature, concerning the manipulation of the media. Malaparte himself does not discuss this aspect but it is (a) of huge importance and (b) clearly a subset of the technique of a coup d’état in the way regime change is practised today. So important, indeed, is the control of the media during regime change that one of the main characteristics of these revolutions is the creation of a virtual reality. Control of this reality is itself an instrument of power, which is why in classic coups in a banana republic the first thing that the revolutionaries seize is the radio station.
    People experience a strong psychological reluctance to accept that political events today are deliberately manipulated. This reluctance is itself a product of the ideology of the information age, which flatters people’s vanity and encourages them to believe that they have access to huge amounts of information. In fact, the apparent multifarious nature of modern media information hides an extreme paucity of original sources, rather as a street of restaurants on a Greek waterfront can hide the reality of a single kitchen at the back. News reports of major events very often come from a single source, usually a wire agency, and even authoritative news outlets like the BBC simply recycle information which they have received from these agencies, presenting it as their own. BBC correspondents are often sitting in their hotel rooms when they send despatches, very often simply reading back to the studio in London information they have been given by their colleagues back home off the wire. A second factor which explains the reluctance to believe in media manipulation is connected with the feeling of omniscience which the mass media age likes to flatter: to rubbish news reports as manipulated is to tell people that they are gullible, and this is not a pleasant message to receive.
    There are many elements to media manipulation. One of the most important is political iconography. This is a very important instrument for promoting the legitimacy of regimes which have seized power through revolution. One only need think of such iconic events as the storming of the Bastille on 14th July 1789, the storming of the Winter Palace during the October revolution in 1917, or Mussolini’s March on Rome in 1922, to see that events can be elevated into almost eternal sources of legitimacy.
    However, the importance of political imagery goes far beyond the invention of a simple emblem for each revolution. It involves a far deeper control of the media, and generally this control needs to be exercised over a long period of time, not just at the moment of regime change itself. It is essential indeed, for the official party line to be repeated ad nauseam. A feature of today’s mass media culture which many dissidents lazily and wrongly denounce as "totalitarian" is precisely that dissenting views may be expressed and published, but this is precisely because, being mere drops in the ocean, they are never a threat to the tide of propaganda.
    2a. Willi Münzenberg
    One of the modern masters of such media control was the German Communist from whom Joseph Goebbels learned his trade, Willi Münzenberg. Münzenberg was not only the inventor of spin, he was also the first person who perfected the art of creating a network of opinion-forming journalists who propagated views which were germane to the needs of the Communist Party in Germany and to the Soviet Union. He also made a huge fortune in the process, since he amassed a considerable media empire from which he creamed off the profits.
    Münzenberg was intimately involved with the Communist project from the very beginning. He belonged to Lenin’s circle in Zurich, and in 1917 accompanied the future leader of the Bolshevik revolution to the Zurich Hauptbahnhof, from whence Lenin was transported in a sealed train, and with the help of the German imperial authorities, to the Finland Station in St. Petersburg. Lenin then called on Münzenberg to combat the appalling publicity generated in 1921 when 25 million peasants in the Volga region started to suffer from the famine which swept across the newly created Soviet state. Münzenberg, who had by then returned to Berlin, where he was later elected to the Reichstag as a Communist deputy, was charged with setting up a bogus workers’ charity, the Foreign Committee for the Organisation of Worker Relief for the Hungry in Soviet Russia, whose purpose was to pretend to the world that humanitarian relief was coming from sources other than Herbert Hoover’s American Relief Administration. Lenin feared not only that Hoover would use his humanitarian aid project to send spies into the USSR (which he did) but also, perhaps even more importantly, that the world’s first Communist state would be fatally damaged by the negative publicity of seeing capitalist America come to its aid within a few years of the revolution.
    After having cut his teeth on "selling" the death of millions of people at the hands of the Bolsheviks, Münzenberg turned his attention to more general propaganda activities. He amassed a large media empire, known as "the Münzenberg trust," which owned two mass circulation dailies in Germany, a mass circulation weekly, and which had interests in scores of other publications around the world. His greatest coups were to mobilise world opinion against America over the Sacco-Vanzetti trial (that of two anarchist Italian immigrants who were sentenced to death for murder in Massachusetts in 1921) and to counteract the Nazis’ claim in 1933 that the Reichstag fire was the result of a Communist conspiracy. The Nazis, it will be remembered, used the fire to justify mass arrests and executions against Communists, even though it now appears that the fire genuinely was started on his own by the man arrested in the building at the time, the lone arsonist Martinus van der Lubbe. Münzenberg actually managed to convince large sections of public opinion of the equal but opposite untruth to that peddled by the Nazis, namely that the Nazis had started the fire themselves in order to have a pretext for removing their main enemies.



    The key relevance of Münzenberg for our own day is this: he understood the key importance of influencing opinion-formers. He targeted especially intellectuals, taking the view that intellectuals were especially easy to influence because they were so vain. His contacts included many of the great literary figures of the 1930s, a large number of whom were encouraged by him to support the Republicans in the Spanish civil war and to make that into a cause-célèbre of Communist anti-fascism. Münzenberg’s tactics are of primary importance to the manipulation of opinion in today’s New World Order. More then ever before, so-called "experts" constantly pop up on our TV screens to explain what is happening, and they are always vehicles for the official party line. They are controlled in various ways, usually by money or by flattery.
    2b. Psychology and the manipulation of opinion
    There is a second body of literature, which makes a slightly different point from the specific technique which Münzenberg perfected. This concerns the way in which people can be made to react in certain collective ways by psychological stimuli. Perhaps the first major theoretician of this was Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays, whose book Propaganda in 1928 said that it was entirely natural and right for governments to organise public opinion for political purposes. The opening chapter of his book has the revealing title – "Organising chaos" – and Bernays writes,
    The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organised opinions and habits of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. [my italics]
    (The text continues: "We are governed, our minds are moulded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. ... In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons ... who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.")
    Bernays says that, very often, the members of this invisible government do not even know who the other members are. Propaganda, he says, is the only way to prevent public opinion descending into dissonant chaos. Bernays continued to work on this theme after the war, editing "Engineering consent" in 1955, a title to which Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky alluded when they published their seminal Manufacturing Consent in 1988. The connection with Freud is important because, as we shall see later, psychology is an extremely important tool in influencing public opinion. Two of the contributors to "Engineering consent" make the point that every leader must play on basic human emotions in order to manipulate public opinion. For instance, Doris E. Fleischmann and Howard Walden Cutler write,
    Self-preservation, ambition, pride, hunger, love of family and children, patriotism, imitativeness, the desire to be a leader, love of play – these and other drives are the psychological raw materials which every leader must take into account in his endeavour to win the public to his point of view … To maintain their self-assurance, most people need to feel certain that whatever they believe about anything is true.
    This was what Willi Münzenberg understood – the basic human urge for people to believe what they want to believe. Thomas Mann alluded to it when he attributed the rise of Hitler to the collective desire of the German people for "a fairy tale" over the ugly truths of reality.
    Other books worth mentioning in this regard concern not so much modern electronic propaganda but the more general psychology of crowds. The classics in this regard are Gustave Le Bon’s work The Psychology of Crowds (1895), Elias Canetti’s Crowds and Power (Masse und Macht) (1980); and Serge Tchakhotine’s Le viol des foules par la propagande politique (1939). All these books draw heavily on psychology and anthropology. There is also the magnificent oeuvre of one of my favourite writers, the anthropologist René Girard, whose writings on the logic of imitation (mimesis), and on collective acts of violence, are excellent tools for understanding why it is that public opinion is so easily motivated to support war and other forms of political violence.
    2c. The technique of opinion-forming

    After the war, many of the techniques perfected by the Communist Münzenberg were adopted by the Americans, as has been magnificently documented by Frances Stonor Saunders’ excellent work, Who Paid the Piper?, published in America under the title The Cultural Cold War.
    In minute detail, Stonor Saunders explains how, as the Cold War started, the Americans and the British started up a massive covert operation to fund anti-communist intellectuals. The key point is that much of their attention and activity was directed at left-wingers, in many cases Trotskyites who had abandoned their support for the Soviet Union only in 1939, when Stalin signed his non-aggression pact with Hitler, and in many cases people who had previously worked for Münzenberg. Many of the figures who were at this juncture between Communism and the CIA at the beginning of the cold war were future neo-conservatives luminaries, especially Irving Kristol, James Burnham, Sidney Hook and Lionel Trilling.
    The left-wing and even Trotskyite origins of neo-conservatism are well-known – even if I still continue to be astonished by new details I discover, such as that Lionel and Diana Trilling were married by a rabbi for whom Felix Dzherzhinsky – the founder of the Bolshevik secret police, the Cheka (forerunner of the KGB), and the Communist equivalent of Heinrich Himmler – represented a heroic paragon. These left-wing origins are particularly relevant to the covert operations discussed by Stonor Saunders, because the CIA’s goal was precisely to influence left-wing opponents of Communism, i.e. Trotskyites. The CIA’s view was simply that right-wing anti-communists did not need to be influenced, much less paid. Stonor Saunders quotes Michael Warner when she writes,
    For the CIA, the strategy of promoting the Non-Communist Left was to become "the theoretical foundation of the Agency’s political operations against Communism over the next two decades."
    This strategy was outlined in Arthur Schlesinger’s The Vital Center (1949), a book which represents one of the cornerstones of what was later to become the neo-conservative movement. Stonor Saunders writes,
    The purpose of supporting leftist groups was not to destroy or even dominate, but rather to maintain a discreet proximity to and monitor the thinking of such groups; to provide them with a mouthpiece so that they could blow off steam; and, in extremis, to exercise a final veto over their actions, if they ever got too "radical."
    Many and varied were the ways in which this left-wing influence was felt. The USA was determined to fashion for itself a progressive image, in contrast to the "reactionary" Soviet Union. In other words, it wanted to do precisely what the Soviets were doing. In music, for instance, Nicholas Nabokov (the cousin of the author of Lolita) was one of the Congress’ main agents. In 1954, the CIA funded a music festival in Rome in which Stalin’s "authoritarian" love of composers like Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky was "countered" by unorthodox modern music inspired by Schoenberg’s twelve-tone system.
    For Nabokov, there was a clear political message to be imparted by promoting music which announced itself as doing away with natural hierarchies …
    Support for other progressives came when Jackson Pollock, himself a former Communist, was also promoted by the CIA. His daubs were supposed to represent the American ideology of "freedom" over the authoritarianism of socialist realist painting. (This alliance with Communists pre-dates the Cold War: the Mexican Communist muralist, Diego Rivera, was supported by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, but their collaboration ended abruptly when Rivera refused to remove a portrait of Lenin from a crowd scene painted on the walls of the Rockefeller Center in 1933.)
    This cross-over between culture and politics was explicitly promoted by a CIA body which went under an Orwellian name, the Psychological Strategy Board. In 1956, it covertly promoted a European tour by the Metropolitan Opera, the political purpose of which was to encourage multiculturalism. Junkie Fleischmann, the organiser, said,
    We, in the United States, are a melting-pot and, by being so, we have demonstrated that peoples can get along together irrespective of race, colour or creed. Using the "melting-pot" or some such catch phrase for a theme we might be able to use the Met as an example of how Europeans can get along together in the United States and that, therefore, some sort of European Federation is entirely practicable.
    This, by the way, is exactly the same argument employed by, among other people, Ben Wattenberg, whose book The First Universal Nation argues that America has a special right to world hegemony because she embodies all the nations and races of the planet. The same view has also been expressed by Newt Gingrich and other neo-cons.
    Other themes promoted include some which are at the forefront of neo-conservative thinking today. First among these is the eminently liberal belief in moral and political universalism. Today, this is at the very heart of George W. Bush’s own foreign policy philosophy: he has stated on numerous occasions that political values are the same all over the world, and he has used this assumption to justify US military intervention in favour of "democracy." Back in the early 1950s, the director of the PSB (the Psychological Strategy Board was quickly referred to only by its initials, no doubt in order to hide its real name), Raymond Allen, had already arrived at this conclusion.
    The principles and ideals embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are for export and … are the heritage of men everywhere. We should appeal to the fundamental urges of all men which I believe are the same for the farmer in Kansas as for the farmer in Punjab.
    To be sure, it would be wrong to attribute the spread of ideas only to covert manipulation. They have their force in large-scale cultural currents, whose causes are multiple. But there is no doubt that the dominance of such ideas can be substantially facilitated by covert operations, especially since people in mass-information societies are curiously suggestible. Not only do they believe what they have read in the papers, they also think they have arrived at these conclusions themselves. The trick of manipulating public opinion, therefore, lies precisely in that which Bernays theorised, Münzenberg initiated, and which the CIA raised to a high art. According to CIA agent Donald Jameson,
    As far as the attitudes that the Agency wanted to inspire through these activities are concerned, clearly what they would like to have been able to produce were people who, of their own reasoning and conviction, were persuaded that everything the United States government did was right.
    To put it another way, what the CIA and other US agencies were doing during this period was to adopt the strategy which we associate with the Italian Marxist, Antonio Gramsci, who argued that "cultural hegemony" was essential for socialist revolution.
    2d. Disinformation
    Finally, there is a huge body of literature on the technique of disinformation. I have already referred to the important fact, originally formulated by Tchakotine (Chakotin), that the role of journalists and the media is key in ensuring that propaganda is constant: "Propaganda cannot take time off," he writes, thereby formulating one of the key rules of modern disinformation, which is that the required message must be repeated very frequently indeed if it is to pass. Above all, Tchakotine (Chakotin) says that propaganda campaigns must be centrally directed and highly organised, something which has become the norm in the age of modern political "spin": British Labour Members of Parliament, for instance, are not allowed to speak to the media without first asking permission from the Director of Communications in 10, Downing Street.
    Sefton Delmer was both a practician and theoretician of such "black propaganda." Delmer created a bogus radio station which broadcasted from Britain to Germany during the Second World War, and which created the myth that there were "good" patriotic Germans who opposed Hitler. The fiction was sustained that the station was actually an underground German one, and was put on frequencies close to those of official stations. Such black propaganda has now become part of the US government’s armoury of ‘spin’: the New York Times revealed that the US government makes news reports favourable to its policies which are then carried on normal channels and presented as if they were the broadcast company’s own reports.
    There are many other such authors, some of whom I have discussed in my column, All News is Lies. But perhaps the most relevant to today’s discussion is Roger Mucchielli’s book, Subversion, published in French in 1971, which shows how disinformation had moved from being an auxiliary tactic in war to a principal one. The strategy had developed so far, he said, that the goal was now to conquer a state without even attacking physically, especially through the use of agents of influence inside it. This is essentially what Robert Kaplan proposed and discussed in his essay for The Atlantic Monthly in July/August 2003, "Supremacy by Stealth." One of the most sinister theoreticians of the New World Order and the American empire, Robert Kaplan, explicitly advocates the use of immoral and illegal power to promote US control of the whole world. His essay deals with the use of covert operations, military power, dirty tricks, black propaganda, hidden influence and control, opinion-forming and other things like political assassination, all subject to his overall call for "a pagan ethic," as the means to ensuring American domination.
    The other key point about Mucchielli is that he was one of the first theoreticians of the use of bogus non-governmental organisations – or "front organisations" as they used to be known – for effecting internal political change in another state. Like Malaparte and Trotsky, Mucchielli also understood that it was not "objective" circumstances which determined the success or failure of a revolution, but instead the perception created of those circumstances by disinformation. He also understood that historical revolutions, which invariably presented themselves as the product of mass movements, were in fact the work of a tiny number of highly organised conspirators. In fact, again like Trotsky, Mucchielli emphasised that the silent majority must be rigorously excluded from the mechanics of political change, precisely because coups d’état are the work of the few and not the many.
    Public opinion was the "forum" in which subversion was practised, and Mucchielli showed the different ways in which the mass media could be used to create a collective psychosis. Psychological factors were extremely important in this regard, he said, especially in the pursuit of important strategies such as the demoralisation of a society. The enemy must be made to lose confidence in the rightness of his own cause, while all effort must be made to convince him that his adversary is invincible.
    2e. The role of the military
    One final historical point before we move onto a discussion of the present: the role of the military in conducting covert operations and influencing political change. This is something which some contemporary analysts are happy to admit is deployed today: Robert Kaplan writes approvingly of how the American military is and should be used to "promote democracy." Kaplan says deliciously that a phone call from a US general is often a better way of promoting political change in a third country than a phone call from the local US ambassador. And he approvingly quotes an Army Special Operations officer saying, "Whoever the President of Kenya is, the same group of guys run their special forces and the President's bodyguards. We've trained them. That translates into diplomatic leverage."

    The historical background to this has recently been discussed by a Swiss academic, Daniele Glaser, in his book, Nato’s Secret Army. His account begins with the admission made on 3rd August 1990 by Giulio Andreotti, the then Italian Prime Minister, that a secret army had existed in his country since the end of the Second World War, known as "Gladio"; that it had been created by the CIA and MI6; and that it was coordinated by the unorthodox warfare section of NATO.
    He thereby confirmed one of the most long-running rumours in post-war Italy. Many people, including investigating magistrates, had long suspected that Gladio was not only party of a network of secret armies created by the Americans across Western Europe to fight in the resistance to a putative Soviet occupation, but also that these networks had become involved in influencing the outcome of elections, even to the extent of forming sinister alliances with terrorist organisations. Italy was a particular target because the Communist Party was so strong there.
    Originally, this secret army was constructed with the aim of providing for the eventuality of an invasion. But it seems that they soon moved to covert operations aimed at influencing the political process itself, in the absence of an invasion. There is ample evidence that the Americans did indeed interfere massively, especially in Italian elections, in order to prevent the PCI from ever winning power. Tens of billions of dollars were funded to the Italian Christian Democrats by the US for this very reason.
    Glaser even argues that there is evidence that Gladio cells carried out terrorist attacks in order to blame Communists, and to frighten the population into demanding extra state powers to "protect" them from terrorism. Ganser quotes the man convicted of planting one of these bombs, Vincenzo Vinciguerra, who duly explained the nature of the network of which he was a foot soldier. He said that it was part of a strategy "to destabilise in order to stabilise."
    You had to attack civilians, the people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game. The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people, the Italian public, to turn to the state to ask for greater security. This is the political logic which remains behind all the massacres and the bombings which remain unpunished, because the state cannot convict itself or declare itself responsible for what happened.
    There is an obvious relevance to the conspiracy theories swirling around 9/11. Ganser presents a host of good evidence that this is indeed what Gladio did, and his arguments shed light on the intriguing possibility that there might also have been an alliance with extreme left-wing groups like the Red Brigades. After all, when Aldo Moro was kidnapped, shortly after which he was assassinated, he was physically on the way to the Italian parliament to present a programme for a coalition government between the Socialists and the Communists – precisely the thing the Americans were determined to prevent.
    3. Today’s revolutionary tacticians
    These historical works help us to understand what is going on today. My colleagues and I from the British Helsinki Human Rights Group have personally witnessed how the same techniques are used today.
    The main tactics were perfected in Latin America during the 1970s and 1980s. Indeed, many of the operatives of regime change under Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. have happily plied their trade in the former Soviet bloc under Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr. For instance, General Manuel Noriega reports in his memoirs that the two CIA-State Department operatives who were sent to negotiate and then engineer his downfall from power in Panama in 1989 were called William Walker and Michael Kozak: William Walker resurfaced in Kosovo in January 1999 when, as head of the Kosovo Verification Mission, he oversaw the artificial creation of a bogus atrocity which proved to be the casus belli for the Kosovo war, while Michael Kozak became US ambassador to Belarus, where in 2001 he mounted "Operation White Stork" designed to overthrow the incumbent president, Alexander Lukashenko. During an exchange of letters to The Guardian in 2001, Kozak brazenly admitted that he was doing in Belarus exactly what he had been doing in Nicaragua and Panama, namely "promoting democracy."
    There are essentially three branches to the modern technique of a coup d’état. They are non-governmental organisations, control of the media, and covert operatives. Their activities are effectively interchangeable so I will not deal with them separately.
    3a. Serbia 2000
    The overthrow of Slobodan Miloševic was obviously not the first time the West used covert influence to effect regime change. The overthrow of Sali Berisha in Albania in 1997 and of Vladimir Meciar in Slovakia in 1998 were heavily influenced by the West and, in the case of Berisha, an extremely violent uprising was presented as a spontaneous and welcome example of people power. I personally observed how the international community, and especially the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), fiddled its election observation results in order to ensure political change. However, the overthrow of Slobodan Miloševic in Belgrade on 5th October 2000 is important because he is such a well-known figure, and because the "revolution" which unseated him involved a very ostentatious use of "people power."
    The background to the putsch against Miloševic has been brilliantly described by Tim Marshall, a reporter for Sky TV. His account is valuable because he writes approvingly of the events he describes; it is also interesting because this journalist boasts of his extensive contacts with the secret services, especially those of Britain and America.
    At every turn, Marshall seems to know who the main intelligence players are. His account is thick with references to "an MI6 officer in Priština," "sources in Yugoslav military intelligence," "a CIA man who was helping to put together the coup," an "officer in US naval intelligence," and so on. He quotes secret surveillance reports from the Serbian secret police; he knows who the Ministry of Defence desk officer is in London who draws up the strategy for getting rid of Miloševic; he knows that the British Foreign Secretary’s telephone conversations are being listened to; he knows who are the Russian intelligence officers who accompany Yevgeni Primakov, the Russian prime minister, to Belgrade during the Nato bombing; he knows which rooms are bugged in the British embassy, and where the Yugoslav spies are who listen in to the diplomats’ conversations; he knows that a staffer on the US House of Representatives International Relations Committee is, in fact, an officer in US naval intelligence; he seems to know that secret service decisions are often taken with the very minimal ministerial approval; he describes how the CIA physically escorted the KLA delegation from Kosovo to Paris for the pre-war talks at Rambouillet, where Nato issued Yugoslavia with an ultimatum it knew it could only reject; and he refers to "a British journalist" acting as a go-between between London and Belgrade for hugely important high-level secret negotiations, as people sought to betray one another as Miloševic’s power collapsed. (My suspicion is that he may be talking about himself at this point.)
    One of the themes which inadvertently runs through his book is that there is a thin dividing line between journalists and spooks. Early on in the book, Marshall refers casually to "the inevitable connections between officers, journalists and politicians," saying that people in all three categories "work in the same area." He then goes on jokingly to say that "a combination of ‘spooks’, ‘journo’s’ and ‘politicos’, added to ‘the people’" were what had caused the overthrow of Slobodan Miloševic. Marshall clings to the myth that "the people" were involved, but the rest of his book shows that in fact the overthrow of the Yugoslav president occurred only because of political strategies deliberately conceived in London and Washington to get rid of him.
    Above all, Marshall makes it clear that, in 1998, the US State Department and intelligence agencies decided to use the Kosovo Liberation Army to get rid of Slobodan Miloševic. He quotes one source saying, "The US agenda was clear. When the time was right they were going to use the KLA to provide the solution to the political problem" – the "problem" being, as Marshall explains earlier, Miloševic’s continued political survival. This meant supporting the KLA’s terrorist secessionism, and later fighting a war against Yugoslavia on its side. Marshall quotes Mark Kirk, a US naval intelligence officer, saying that, "Eventually we opened up a huge operation against Miloševic, both secret and open." The secret part of the operation involved not only things like stuffing the various observer missions which were sent into Kosovo with officers from the British and American intelligence services, but also – crucially – giving military, technical, financial, logistical and political support to the KLA, which, as Marshall himself admits, "smuggled drugs, ran prostitution rackets and murdered civilians."
    The strategy began in late 1998 when "a huge CIA mission (got) underway in Kosovo." President Miloševic had allowed the Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission to enter Kosovo to monitor the situation in the province. This ad hoc group was immediately stuffed with British and American intelligence agents and special forces – men from the CIA, US naval intelligence, the British SAS and something called "14th intelligence," a body within the British army which operates side by side with the SAS "to provide what is known as ‘deep surveillance’." The immediate purpose of this operation was "Intelligence Preparation of Battlefield" – a modern version of what the Duke of Wellington used to do, riding up and down the battlefield to get the lie of the land before engaging the enemy. So as Marshall puts it, "Officially, the KDOM was run by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe … unofficially, the CIA ran (it) … The organisation was just packed with them … It was a CIA front." Many of the officers in fact worked for another CIA front, DynCorp, the Virginia-based company which employs mainly "members of US military elite units, or the CIA," as Marshall says. They used the KDOM, which later became the Kosovo Verification Mission, for espionage. Instead of doing the monitoring tasks assigned to them, officers would go off and use their global positioning devices to locate and identify targets which would be later bombed by Nato. Quite how the Yugoslavs could allow 2,000 highly trained secret service agents to roam around their territory is difficult to understand, especially since, as Marshall shows, they knew perfectly well what was going on.

    The head of the Kosovo Verification Mission was William Walker, the man deputed to oust Manuel Noriega from power in Panama, and a former ambassador to El Salvador whose US-supported government ran death squads. Walker "discovered" the "massacre" at Racak in January 1999, the event which was used as a pretext for starting the process which led to the bombing which began on 24th March. There is much evidence to suggest that Racak was staged, and that the bodies found were in fact those of KLA fighters, not civilians as was alleged. What is certain is that Walker’s role was so key that the country road in Kosovo which leads to Racak has now been renamed after him. Marshall writes that the date for the war – spring 1999 – was not only decided in late December 1998, but also that the date was communicated to the KLA at the time. This means that when the "massacre" occurred and when Madeleine Albright declared, "Spring has come early," she was behaving rather like Joseph Goebbels who, on hearing the news of the Reichstag fire in 1933, is supposed to have remarked, "What, already?"
    At any rate, when the KVM was withdrawn on the eve of the Nato bombing, Marshall says that the CIA officers in it gave all their satellite phones and GPS equipment to the KLA. "The KLA were being trained by the Americans, partially equipped by them, and virtually given territory," Marshall writes – even though he, like all other reporters, helped propagate the myth of systematic Serb atrocities committed against a totally passive Albanian civilian population.
    The war went ahead, of course, and Yugoslavia was ferociously bombed. But Miloševic stayed in power. So London and Washington started what Marshall happily calls "political warfare" to remove him. This involved giving very large sums of money, as well as technical, logistical and strategic support, and including arms, to various "democratic opposition" groups and "non-governmental organisations" in Serbia. The Americans were by then operating principally through the International Republican Institute, which had opened offices in neighbouring Hungary for the purpose of getting rid of Slobodan Miloševic. "It was agreed" at one of their meetings, Marshall explains, "that the ideological arguments of pro-democracy, civil rights and a humanitarian approach would be far more forceful if accompanied, if necessary, by large bags full of money." These, and much else besides, were duly shipped into Serbia through the diplomatic bags – in many cases of apparently neutral countries like Sweden who, by not participating formally in the NATO war, were able to maintain full embassies in Belgrade. As Marshall helpfully adds, "Bags of money had been brought in for years." Indeed they had. As he earlier explains, "independent" media outlets like the Radio Station B92 (who is Marshall’s own publisher) were, in fact, very largely funded by the USA. Organisations controlled by George Soros also played a crucial role, as they were later to do, in 2003–4, in Georgia. The so-called "democrats" were, in reality, nothing but foreign agents – just as the Yugoslav government stolidly maintained at the time.

    Marshall also explains something which is now a matter of public record that it was also the Americans who conceived the strategy of pushing forward one candidate, Vojislav Koštunica, to unite the opposition. Koštunica had the main advantage of being largely unknown by the general public. Marshall then describes how the strategy also involved a carefully planned coup d’état, which duly took place after the first round of the presidential elections. He shows in minute detail how the principal actors in what was presented on Western TV screens as a spontaneous uprising of "the people" were, in fact, a bunch of extremely violent and very heavily armed thugs under the command of the Mayor of the town of Cacak, Velimir Ilic. It was Ilic’s 22 kilometre-long convoy carrying "weapons, paratroopers and a team of kick boxers" to the federal parliament building in Belgrade. As Marshall admits, the events of 5th October 2000 "looked more like a coup d’état" than the people’s revolution of which the world’s media so naïvely gushed at the time.
    3b. Georgia 2003
    Many of the tactics perfected in Belgrade were used in Georgia in November 2003 to overthrow President Edward Shevardadze. The same allegations were made, and repeated ad nauseam, that the elections had been rigged. (In the Georgian case, they were parliamentary elections, in the Yugoslav case presidential.) Western media uncritically took up these allegations, which were made long before the actual voting took place. A propaganda war was unleashed against both presidents, in Shevardnadze’s case after a long period in which he had been lionised as a great reformer and democrat. Both "revolutions" occurred after a similar "storming of the parliament," broadcast live on TV. Both transfers of power were brokered by the Russian minister, Igor Ivanov, who flew to Belgrade and Tbilisi to engineer the exit from power of the incumbent president. Last but not least, the US ambassador was the same man in both cases: Richard Miles.
    The most visible similarity, however, came in the use of a student movement known as Otpor (Resistance) in Serbia and Kmara (It’s enough!) in Georgia. Both movements had the same symbol, a black-on-white stencil of a clenched fist. Otpor trained people from Kmara, and both were supported by the US. And both organisations were ostensibly structured along communist lines – combining the appearance of a diffuse structure of autonomous cells with the reality of highly centralised Leninist discipline.

    As in Georgia, the role played by US money and covert operations has been revealed – but only after the event. During the events, the television was full of wall-to-wall propaganda about how "the people" rose up against Shevardnadze. All images which counteracted the optimistic view were suppressed, or glossed over, such as the fact that the "march on Tbilisi" led by Mihkail Saakashvili started off in Gori, Stalin’s birthplace, beneath a statue of the former Soviet tyrant who remains a hero to many Georgians. The media was equally unconcerned when the new president, Saakashvili, was confirmed in office by elections which awarded him the Stalinist score of 96%.
    3c. Ukraine 2004
    In the case of Ukraine, we observe the same combination of work by Western-backed non-governmental organisations, the media and the secret services. The non-governmental organisations played a huge role in de-legitimising the elections before they occurred. Allegations of widespread fraud were constantly repeated. In other words, the street protests which broke out after the second round, which Yanukovich won, were based on allegations which had been flying around before the beginning of the first round. The main NGO behind these allegations, the Committee of Ukrainian Voters, receives not one penny from Ukrainian voters, being instead fully funded by Western governments. Its office was decorated with pictures of Madeleine Albright and indeed the National Democratic Institute was one of its main affiliates. It pumped out constant propaganda against Yanukovich.

    During the events themselves, I was able to document some of the propaganda abuses. They involved mainly the endless repetition of electoral fraud practised by the government; the constant cover-up of fraud practised by the opposition; the frenetic selling of Viktor Yushchenko, one of the most boring men in the world, as a charismatic politician; and the ridiculously unlikely story that he had been deliberately poisoned by his enemies. (No prosecutions have been brought to date on this.) The fullest account of the propaganda and fraud is given by the British Helsinki Human Rights Group’s report, "Ukraine’ Clockwork Orange Revolution." An interesting explanation of the role played by the secret services was also given in The New York Times by C. J. Chivers who explained that the Ukrainian KGB had been working for Yushchenko all along – in collaboration with the Americans of course. Other important articles on the same subject include Jonathan Mowat’s "The New Gladio in Action: Washington’s New World Order ‘Democratization’ Template," which details how military doctrine has been adapted to effect political change, and how various instruments, from psychology to bogus opinion polls, are used in it. Mowat is particularly interesting on the theories of Dr. Peter Ackermann, the author of Strategic Non-Violent Conflict (Praeger, 1994) and of a speech entitled "Between Hard and Soft Power: the Rise of Civilian-Based Struggle and Democratic Change," delivered at the State Department in June 2004. Mowat is also excellent on the psychology of crowds and its use in these putsches: he draws attention to the role of "swarming adolescents" and "rebellious hysteria" and traces the origins of the use of this for political purposes to the Tavistock Institute in the 1960s: that institute was created by the British Army as its psychological warfare arm after World War I and its illustrious alumni include Dr. David Owen, the former British Foreign Secretary and Dr. Radovan Karadžic, the former President of the Bosnian Serb Republic. Mowat recounts how the ideas formulated there by Fred Emery were taken up by one
    Dr. Howard Perlmutter, a professor of "Social Architecture'' at the Wharton School, and a follower of Dr. Emery, (who) stressed that "rock video in Katmandu," was an appropriate image of how states with traditional cultures could be destabilized, thereby creating the possibility of a "global civilization." There are two requirements for such a transformation, he added, "building internationally committed networks of international and locally committed organizations,'' and "creating global events" through "the transformation of a local event into one having virtually instantaneous international implications through mass-media.
    Conclusion.
    None of this is conspiracy theory – it is conspiracy fact. The United States considers as a matter of official policy that the promotion of democracy is an important element of its overall national security strategy. Large sections of the State Department, the CIA, para-governmental agencies like the National Endowment for Democracy, and government-funded NGOs like the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which publishes several works on "democracy promotion." All these operations have one thing in common: they involve the interference, sometimes violent, of Western powers, especially the US, in the political processes of other states, and that interference is very often used to promote the quintessential revolutionary goal, regime change.
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  2. #2

    Default National Endowment for Democracy and affiliated groups

    NED: National Endowment for Democracy
    The networks of "democratic" interference
    by Thierry Meyssan*
    In his 2004 State of the Union speech, President Bush announced his intentions to double the budget for the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). This organization was created by Ronald Reagan to extend the CIA’s secret activities by providing financial support and controlling trade unions, associations and political parties. The NED boasts about having directed and manipulated the Polish trade union Solidarnosc, the Charter 77 and many other groups. Under the direction of the State Department and associated with the Republican and Democratic parties, with the board of trustees and with trade unions, the NED has found many individual and institutional "boosters" all over the world, including in France.




    During his last State of the Union speech, on January 20th, 2004, President Bush announced that he would double the budget for the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and that its «new tasks would focus on the promotion of free elections, free exchange, freedom of press and trade union freedom in the Middle East». For the White House, it is all about complementing its military actions in the region with an ever increasing interference with the domestic affairs of certain countries.
    Early in the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan stigmatized the Soviet Union as the «Empire of Evil» and conceived new ways to fight it. Then, an ambitious endeavor of destabilization through the mobilization of the "civil society" was added to the military and diplomatic "restraint". After the CIA’s secret activities were disclosed by a series of investigation commissions and condemned by the public opinion, the National Security Council decided to continue its work with less dirty methods and under another name. Above all, the new structure had to be protected from political alternation through a bi-partisan direction.
    Officially created on November 6th, 1982, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has a legal status as a non-profit association. However, its budget is approved by Congress as part of the State Department’s appropriations for the US Agency for International Development (USAID). In order to make it look like a private organization, the NED also receives donations from three associations that, at the same time, are indirectly financed by federal contracts: the Smith Richardson Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

    Most of the historic figures involved in the CIA’s covert actions have, at some point, been members of the NED’s Administrative Council or of its board of directors; among them Otto Reich, John Negroponte, Henry Cisneros or Elliot Abrams. Currently, it is presided over by Vin Weber, former Republican congressman from the state of Minnesota, founder of the ultraconservative Empower America association and fundraiser for the presidential campaign of George W. Bush in the year 2000. Its executive director is Carl Geshman, a former Trotskyite that became the person responsible for the US Social Democrats and a member of the neo-conservative trend [1].
    The NED is simply the continuation of the CIA’s covert actions through other means, and that is why the United Kingdom and Australia associate themselves to its activities from the top in virtue of the agreement that determines the relations between their military secret services.
    The NED’s main principle is that "What is good for America is good for the world". The funds are consequently managed by an Administrative Council in which the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, the US Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO trade union are represented. Each of them suggests actions that have to be accepted by two thirds of the membership.
    After the money is earmarked, it goes through institutes controlled by any of the members. In practice, with this process the NED determines which are the countries that will become targets of its actions, where it will finance parties and social partners to overthrow governments and put people in power depending on "the interest of America" and not according to the interests of any of its members.
    Although it was created to combat communism, it was precisely after the collapse of the Soviet Union that the NED started to enjoy better health. While it pretends to be engaged in the promotion of democracy, it actually subjugates countries where it reproduces the contradictory interests of the American ruling class.
    From this point of view, the NED is probably the one responsible for the crisis of democracies around the world: it has not stopped falsifying institutional mechanisms and assimilating democracy into a "good administration" in the name of the peoples that it supplants.
    Meanwhile, the use of institutes with different political trends hides from the public opinion the origin of the funds and the motives that determine their distribution. In numerous countries, the beneficiaries of this "aid" are manipulated without them noticing, even when the individuals who have negotiated the allocation of these funds are perfectly aware of the channels to which they integrate.
    The NED’s four satellite institutes are:
    American Center for International Labor Solidarity - ACILS. Chaired by John J. Sweeney in his capacity as general secretary of the AFLC-CIO trade union.
    Center for International Private Enterprise - CIPE. Chaired by Thomas J. Donohue in his capacity as president of the US Chamber of Commerce, that is, as "boss of bosses" [2].
    International Republican Institute - IRI. Chaired by Senator John McCain, who lost the primary elections of 2000 to George W. Bush and who is currently the main supporter in Congress of the global war against terrorism.
    National Democratic Institute for International Affairs - NDI. Chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright.

    The system of satellite institutes is inspired by what the United States did in Germany, as an occupation army, with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the Friedrich Naunmann Stiftung, the Hans Seidal Stiftung and the Heinrich Boell Stiftung, all used as financial transmitters in that country, instead of German institutes.
    Following the same principle, the NED found correspondents in several allied states, NATO members or members of the former ANZUS, among them: the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (United Kingdom), the International Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Canada), the Fondation Jean Jaurès and the Fondation Robert Schuman (France), the International Liberal Center (Sweden) and the Alfred Mozer Foundation (Holland).
    On the occasion of its 20th anniversary, the NED made an assessment of its actions that reveals that it currently finances and directs more than 6 000 social and political organizations all over the world. The NED affirms to have completely created the Solidarnosc trade union in Poland, the Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia and Otpor in Serbia. It also boasts of having set up Radio B29 and the Oslobodjenje newspaper in the former Yugoslavia as well as several new "independent" media outlets in the "freed" Iraq.

    The NED publishes the Journal of Democracy, which is distributed all over the world, and the Encuentro (Meeting) magazine, especially for Cuba, as well as collective books. It also organizes prestigious conferences with the intellectuals it sponsors (for example, historian François Furet and press boss Jean Daniel in France). Finally, the NED "forms" trade union and political leading figures all over the world, in all matters relating to the exercise of "democracy".
    Officially, the NED’s budget rises to only 50 million dollars. However, vast co-funding is received and earmarked for organizing its operations. These external contributions, that rise to the tune of several hundred million dollars per year, come mainly from the State Department, the Department of the Treasury and, discreetly, from the CIA.
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  3. #3

    Default National Endowment for Democracy

    National Endowment for Democracy

    From SourceWatch

    The National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a Washington D.C-based non-profit funded by the U.S. national budget, boasts that it is "supporting freedom around the world."
    Carl Gershman has been President since April 1984.
    NED's website describes its mission as being "guided by the belief that freedom is a universal human aspiration that can be realized through the development of democratic institutions, procedures, and values." NED, which is publicly funded, "makes hundreds of grants each year to support pro-democracy groups in Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East." [1]
    According to the New York Times: "The National Endowment for Democracy is a quasi-governmental foundation created by the Reagan Administration in 1983 to channel millions of Federal dollars into anti-Communist 'private diplomacy.'" [2]
    NED funding mostly flows through the four foundations listed below; these in turn are active in influencing "civil society" and electoral processes around the world, in a process sometimes referred to as "cloak and ballot" operations. While NED remains accountable to the U.S. Congress and has to publish its disbursements, this doesn't apply to the organizations that it in turn finances.
    Other groups undertaking similar activities around the world based in other developed countries include: the Australian Centre for Democratic Institutions (CDI); the Westminster Foundation; the Canadian International Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development (now known as Rights and Democracy) and the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy.
    Another similar US group was also formed in 1984 called the Center for Democracy.
    National Endowment for Democracy: People


    Founding

    NED was founded during the Ronald Reagan presidency in 1982, and shaped by an initial study undertaken by the American Political Foundation. [3]
    NED was created with a view to creating a broad base of political support for the organization. NED received funds from the U.S. government and distributes funds to four other organizations - one created by the Republican Party, another by the Democratic Party, one created by the business community and one by the "labor" movement (N.B.: the names of these organizations have changed over time):


    Although publicly funded, the activities of these four institutes are not reported to Congress. According to William Robinson, "NED employs a complex system of intermediaries in which operative aspects, control relationships, and funding trails are nearly impossible to follow and final recipients are difficult to identify."
    In a March 2005 interview, former CIA officer Philip Agee discussed the thinking behind NED's establishment: (Dennis Bernstein, "Philip Agee, Former CIA agent speaks on Venezuela", Flashpoints, March 14, 2005)
    During the late 1970s there was new thinking at the highest levels of the U.S. foreign policymakers, and they reconsidered whether these ugly murderous military dictatorships of the 1970s were really the best way to preserve U.S. interests in these countries – U.S. interests being defined traditionally as unfettered access to the primary products and raw materials, to the labor and to the markets of foreign countries. This new thinking led to the establishment in 1983 of the National Endowment for Democracy. They had chosen the German pattern in which the major political parties in Germany have foundations financed by the federal government. They did more or less the same thing with the establishment of the NED as a private foundation – there is really nothing private about it, and all its money comes from the Congress. But then there were the other core foundations – this was the fundamental mechanism for promotion of democracy around the world, but in actual fact, when they say the promotion of democracy, or civic education, or fortifying civil society, what they really mean is using those euphemisms to cover funding to certain political forces and not to others. In other words, to fortify the opposition of undesirable foreign governments as in the case of Venezuela, or to support a government that is favorable to US interests and avoid of coming to power of forces that are not seen as favorable to US interests. This will be the case since the early 1990s in Nicaragua because all those programs that were started in order to assure the defeat of Daniel Ortega in 1990 continued, and they continued to make sure that Sandinista Front was not reelected again after their defeat in 1990 – and that has been the case. These programs go on in various different countries and they require quite a bit of research. ... I am sure that one could find these programs in Mexico, Colombia, Peru probably, Brazil, and other countries outside the Latin American region.
    Involvement in Foreign Political Processes

    NED regularly provides funding to opposition candidates in elections in countries other than the USA. According to Allen Weinstein, one of the founders of NED, "A lot of what we [NED] do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA" (Blum, Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower, 2000, p. 180).
    NED has principally supported candidates with strong ties to the military and who support the rights of U.S. corporations to invest in those countries with minimal restriction. The NED has not supported candidates who oppose investments by U.S. corporations or who promise restrictions on investment rights of U.S. corporations.
    Tom Engelhardt notes that "we've seen "the Rose Revolution" in Georgia, "the Orange Revolution" in Ukraine, and now "the Tulip Revolution" in Kyrgyzstan, all heavily financed and backed by groups funded by or connected to the U.S. government and/or the Bush administration." He then quotes Pepe Escobar of the Asia Times, who writes:
    "The whole arsenal of US foundations -- National Endowment for Democracy, International Republic Institute, International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES), Eurasia Foundation, Internews, among others -- which fueled opposition movements in Serbia, Georgia and Ukraine, has also been deployed in Bishkek [Kyrgyzstan]... Practically everything that passes for civil society in Kyrgyzstan is financed by these US foundations, or by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). At least 170 non-governmental organizations charged with development or promotion of democracy have been created or sponsored by the Americans. The US State Department has operated its own independent printing house in Bishkek since 2002 -- which means printing at least 60 different titles, including a bunch of fiery opposition newspapers. USAID invested at least $2 million prior to the Kyrgyz elections -- quite something in a country where the average salary is $30 a month." [4]


    Revolving Doorways

    The close alignment of the NEDs activities with US foreign policy interests comes as no surprise, especially when you consider the revolving doorways between the US Government and the NED Board of Directors, some of the most notable of which include:
    "...former US Secretaries of State, Henry Kissinger (Nixon) and Madeleine Albright (Clinton), former US Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci (Reagan), former National Security Council Chair Zbigniew Brzezinski (Carter), former NATO Supreme Allied Command in Europe, General Wesley K. Clark (Clinton), and the current head of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz (George W. Bush). Another notable, Bill Brock, served as a US Senator, a US Trade Representative, and US Secretary of Labor, and then Chairman of the Board of NED." [5]
    Fostering "Free Press"

    In late 2004, Adam Wild Aba wrote, "The new intelligence law also directs the State Department to promote a free press and the development of 'professional journalists' in the Muslim world. It says free press is a must as part of the overall public diplomacy strategy for the Middle East, according to the State Department’s statement. Under the law, the National Endowment for Democracy shall fund a private-sector group to establish a free-media network to help participants share information concerning development of free media in 'societies in transition'." [6]
    NED also supports the nonprofit organization Internews which encourages media worldwide to "promote democracy". In 2004, Internews had a budget of $27 million, 80 percent of which came from the U.S. government.
    "Marguerite H. Sullivan is Director of the Center on International Media Assistance at the National Endowment for Democracy."

    Covert embedded reporters

    Several articles about the political process in Haiti, Iraq, and the Palestinian-occupied territories have appeared in The New York Times, NPR, and other mainstream US media. The impression is given that the articles are from bona fide journalists, but it transpires that several of them are paid by the NED or its affiliated organizations. The case of Regine Alexandre is particularly interesting. She wrote articles for the New York Times, AP, and commented on NPR. It transpires that she is on the NED payroll, and the NED confirmed this fact. However, when confronted with this information both the NYT and NPR failed to respond or take this seriously.
    Source: Anthony Fenton and Dennis Bernstein, "AP reporter RéGINE is wearing two hats," Haiti Action.net, December 29, 2005.

    Conducting polls

    NED (or its satellite organizations) has been active in conducting election exit polls in Serbia, Ukraine, Venezuela. These results were used on occasion to cast doubt on the actual election results, and thus deligitimize the winner of the election, and thus create pressure for an election re-run. [7]
    In December 2004, the NED-association organization International Republican Institute conducted a survey in Iraq to determine the popular intent to vote. It found that 75% of Iraqis would opt to vote, thus lending some legitimacy to the electoral exercise. However, IRI didn't poll the key cities where the insurgency is strong, i.e., Fallujah, Ramadi and Mosul. [8] Such surveys lend legitimacy to so-called demonstration elections, and discredit those opposed to the elections.

    Critiques and Support

    On the right, NED has been criticized by the Cato Institute which issued a briefing which states, "NED, which also has a history of corruption and financial mismanagement, is superfluous at best and often destructive. Through the endowment, the American taxpayer has paid for special-interest groups to harass the duly elected governments of friendly countries, interfere in foreign elections, and foster the corruption of democratic movements." [9]
    On its website, NED notes the criticism but responds that "over the years mainstream conservative activists have been among the most outspoken advocates on behalf of the Endowment. Endorsements of NED have been offered by the leadership of such stalwart conservative organizations as the Heritage Foundation and Empower America, and favorable editorials have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times and National Review." [10]
    In his 2004 State of the Union Speech, Bush proposed doubling funding for NED and called for a greater focus on "its new work on the development of free elections, and free markets, free press, and free labor unions in the Middle East. And above all, we will finish the historic work of democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq, so those nations can light the way for others, and help transform a troubled part of the world." [11]
    In March 2006, a number of activists (including amongst many others Howard Zinn, Gore Vidal, Michael Parenti and David Harvey) launched a new US project called the International Endowment for Democracy which critiques the activities of the NED.
    The Respect for Democracy Campaign is a project of the Alliance for Global Justice. [1]

    Funding

    NED receives an annual appropriation from the U.S. budget and, while a non-governmental organization, is subject to Congressional oversight. In the financial year to the end of September 2002 NED's budget was US$48.5 million. [12]
    In December, 2005 PhD researcher Sreeram Chaulia noted that:
    "...97 percent of NED’s funding comes from the US State Department (through USAID and before 1999, the USIA), the rest being allocations made by right-wing donors like the Bradley Foundation, the Whitehead Foundation and the Olin Foundation.(http://www.ned.org/publications/04annual/auditors04.pdf see)" [13]
    Officers




    Directors of the Board 2006




    Affiliated Contractors

    While most of NED's funding is directed towards the four affiliated core foundations, these in turn hire a variety of "consulting" companies. In the past, these have included:



    Contact information

    1025 F Street NW, Suite 800
    Washington DC, 20004
    Phone: (202) 378-9700
    Fax: (202) 223-6042
    Web: http://www.ned.org

    SourceWatch resources




    External links


    Websites critiquing the NED




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    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  4. #4

    Default National Endowment for Democracy and affiliated groups

    NED: National Endowment for Democracy
    The networks of "democratic" interference
    by Thierry Meyssan*
    In his 2004 State of the Union speech, President Bush announced his intentions to double the budget for the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). This organization was created by Ronald Reagan to extend the CIA’s secret activities by providing financial support and controlling trade unions, associations and political parties. The NED boasts about having directed and manipulated the Polish trade union Solidarnosc, the Charter 77 and many other groups. Under the direction of the State Department and associated with the Republican and Democratic parties, with the board of trustees and with trade unions, the NED has found many individual and institutional "boosters" all over the world, including in France.




    During his last State of the Union speech, on January 20th, 2004, President Bush announced that he would double the budget for the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and that its «new tasks would focus on the promotion of free elections, free exchange, freedom of press and trade union freedom in the Middle East». For the White House, it is all about complementing its military actions in the region with an ever increasing interference with the domestic affairs of certain countries.
    Early in the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan stigmatized the Soviet Union as the «Empire of Evil» and conceived new ways to fight it. Then, an ambitious endeavor of destabilization through the mobilization of the "civil society" was added to the military and diplomatic "restraint". After the CIA’s secret activities were disclosed by a series of investigation commissions and condemned by the public opinion, the National Security Council decided to continue its work with less dirty methods and under another name. Above all, the new structure had to be protected from political alternation through a bi-partisan direction.
    Officially created on November 6th, 1982, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has a legal status as a non-profit association. However, its budget is approved by Congress as part of the State Department’s appropriations for the US Agency for International Development (USAID). In order to make it look like a private organization, the NED also receives donations from three associations that, at the same time, are indirectly financed by federal contracts: the Smith Richardson Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

    Most of the historic figures involved in the CIA’s covert actions have, at some point, been members of the NED’s Administrative Council or of its board of directors; among them Otto Reich, John Negroponte, Henry Cisneros or Elliot Abrams. Currently, it is presided over by Vin Weber, former Republican congressman from the state of Minnesota, founder of the ultraconservative Empower America association and fundraiser for the presidential campaign of George W. Bush in the year 2000. Its executive director is Carl Geshman, a former Trotskyite that became the person responsible for the US Social Democrats and a member of the neo-conservative trend [1].
    The NED is simply the continuation of the CIA’s covert actions through other means, and that is why the United Kingdom and Australia associate themselves to its activities from the top in virtue of the agreement that determines the relations between their military secret services.
    The NED’s main principle is that "What is good for America is good for the world". The funds are consequently managed by an Administrative Council in which the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, the US Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO trade union are represented. Each of them suggests actions that have to be accepted by two thirds of the membership.
    After the money is earmarked, it goes through institutes controlled by any of the members. In practice, with this process the NED determines which are the countries that will become targets of its actions, where it will finance parties and social partners to overthrow governments and put people in power depending on "the interest of America" and not according to the interests of any of its members.
    Although it was created to combat communism, it was precisely after the collapse of the Soviet Union that the NED started to enjoy better health. While it pretends to be engaged in the promotion of democracy, it actually subjugates countries where it reproduces the contradictory interests of the American ruling class.
    From this point of view, the NED is probably the one responsible for the crisis of democracies around the world: it has not stopped falsifying institutional mechanisms and assimilating democracy into a "good administration" in the name of the peoples that it supplants.
    Meanwhile, the use of institutes with different political trends hides from the public opinion the origin of the funds and the motives that determine their distribution. In numerous countries, the beneficiaries of this "aid" are manipulated without them noticing, even when the individuals who have negotiated the allocation of these funds are perfectly aware of the channels to which they integrate.
    The NED’s four satellite institutes are:
    American Center for International Labor Solidarity - ACILS. Chaired by John J. Sweeney in his capacity as general secretary of the AFLC-CIO trade union.
    Center for International Private Enterprise - CIPE. Chaired by Thomas J. Donohue in his capacity as president of the US Chamber of Commerce, that is, as "boss of bosses" [2].
    International Republican Institute - IRI. Chaired by Senator John McCain, who lost the primary elections of 2000 to George W. Bush and who is currently the main supporter in Congress of the global war against terrorism.
    National Democratic Institute for International Affairs - NDI. Chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright.

    The system of satellite institutes is inspired by what the United States did in Germany, as an occupation army, with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the Friedrich Naunmann Stiftung, the Hans Seidal Stiftung and the Heinrich Boell Stiftung, all used as financial transmitters in that country, instead of German institutes.
    Following the same principle, the NED found correspondents in several allied states, NATO members or members of the former ANZUS, among them: the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (United Kingdom), the International Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Canada), the Fondation Jean Jaurès and the Fondation Robert Schuman (France), the International Liberal Center (Sweden) and the Alfred Mozer Foundation (Holland).
    On the occasion of its 20th anniversary, the NED made an assessment of its actions that reveals that it currently finances and directs more than 6 000 social and political organizations all over the world. The NED affirms to have completely created the Solidarnosc trade union in Poland, the Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia and Otpor in Serbia. It also boasts of having set up Radio B29 and the Oslobodjenje newspaper in the former Yugoslavia as well as several new "independent" media outlets in the "freed" Iraq.

    The NED publishes the Journal of Democracy, which is distributed all over the world, and the Encuentro (Meeting) magazine, especially for Cuba, as well as collective books. It also organizes prestigious conferences with the intellectuals it sponsors (for example, historian François Furet and press boss Jean Daniel in France). Finally, the NED "forms" trade union and political leading figures all over the world, in all matters relating to the exercise of "democracy".
    Officially, the NED’s budget rises to only 50 million dollars. However, vast co-funding is received and earmarked for organizing its operations. These external contributions, that rise to the tune of several hundred million dollars per year, come mainly from the State Department, the Department of the Treasury and, discreetly, from the CIA.
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  5. #5

    Default The AFL-CIO and the National Endowment for Democracy in Venezuela

    Unholy Alliance? The AFL-CIO and the National Endowment for Democracy in Venezuela

    As two of the country’s largest unions leave the AFL-CIO, we talk to a labor journalist about what he calls an unholy alliance: the AFL-CIO and the National Endowment for Democracy in Venezuela.

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    We turn now to a story that has major implications for the future of organized labor in this country–and internationally. It’s being called one of the largest shake-ups in union history. Yesterday, two of the largest unions within the powerful AFL-CIO announced they were pulling out of the federation. The presidents of the Teamsters and the Service Employees International Union made their announcements as the AFL-CIO began its 50th anniversary convention in Chicago.
    The service employees have some 1.8 million members, while the Teamsters claim about 1.5 million. They contribute roughly $20 million dollars each year, or about one-sixth of the AFL-CIO budget.
    Two other major unions, the United Food and Commercial Workers and Unite Here, are boycotting this week’s convention and have indicated they too would leave the federation.
    At the center of this major split is the future of organized labor. The dissident unions have consistently criticized AFL-CIO President John Sweeney for not investing enough in grassroots organizing campaigns and relying too heavily on lobbying in Washington. Sweeney’s backers have accused the dissident unions of playing into the hands of opponents of organized labor.
    Another major issue for some at the AFL-CIO convention in Chicago is the issue of the federation’s alleged involvement in destabilization campaigns in countries like Venezuela. This weekend, activists held a demonstration in Chicago to protest what they see as the federation’s cooperation with the Bush administration’s hostile foreign policies and covert operations.

    • Kim Scipes, Labor Journalist and Professor of Sociology at Purdue.
    • Fred Hirsch, Vice president of the plumbers union in San Jose and longtime activist in the Latin America Solidarity Coalition.




    AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined now in Chicago by two guests. Kim Scipes is a labor journalist, Professor of Sociology at Purdue University. Also, we’re joined by Fred Hirsch. He’s vice president of the plumbers union, a long-time activist in the Latin America Solidarity Coalition. Let’s go first to Kim Scipes. Talk about why you held this protest on Sunday.
    KIM SCIPES: Okay. We have been examining AFL-CIO foreign policy for a long time, and their foreign policy goes back to the early 1900s with the AFL. They had helped intervene in the Mexican revolution. They had tried to push the U.S. into World War I. And they played a key role in setting U.S. foreign policy towards the Soviet revolution in 1917. More recently, they have been involved in overthrowing elected governments, such as Guatemala in 1954, Brazil 1964, and Chile in 1973. We thought things would change under john Sweeney, but as we examine the situation, things are going back to the bad old days, and we’re protesting that. And we are—there has been a resolution by the California state AFL-CIO that was unanimously passed that condemned the top level foreign policy leaders for their operations, and we have a resolution at the convention. We are trying to build public support to get this resolution through the resolutions committee to keep it from being blocked up and get it to the floor of the convention. That’s why we were out there.
    AMY GOODMAN: We tried to get on the Solidarity Center, the international wing of the AFL, but they didn’t want to come on with you, Kim Scipes. We hope to have them on later this week. But the AFL has said that they have taken a new approach to foreign policy, have admitted some of what AFIL did in the past, but what about today? What about the AFL today? I mean, I think most people think of the AFL-CIO as much more aligned with Democrats than with the Republican Party and President Bush’s foreign policies.
    KIM SCIPES: We have to be clear here, Amy. This is not the overall AFL-CIO. What this is is a small level of upper level, upper echelon leaders, such as John Sweeney, such as Bill Lucy, such as Barbara Shailor, such as Harry Kamberis, people at the very top that have been carrying out a foreign policy that is behind the backs, although they act in the name of American workers. But they’ve never cleared the air about what they’ve done. They’ve never cleared what their operations are in something like 40 countries around the world today. They have been repeatedly asked by affiliated unions and organizations to clear the air. They refuse. We found that they had been involved in Venezuela and that we also had found them involved with the Bush department’s Advisory Committee on Labor and Diplomacy, which has been trying to reinvigorate the labor attache program in U.S. embassies around the world, and that’s a key point for attacking unions in these developing countries.
    AMY GOODMAN: I understand—
    KIM SCIPES: Excuse me. Let me finish.
    AMY GOODMAN: Yes, go ahead.
    KIM SCIPES: Okay, I was just going to say is that it had gotten better under John Sweeney, but as we keep examining, things have gone back, and then they’re continuing relationship with the National Endowment for Democracy, and so their claims that they have cleaned up, that they cleared the air, are bogus. They’re lying still.
    AMY GOODMAN: I understand that as part of the amendment that was passed in Congress to respond to the launch of the international Latin American TV network, Telesur, was something like $9 million to the National Endowment for Democracy. Your response, Kim?
    KIM SCIPES: Well, the National Endowment for Democracy is one of the most cynical operations I have ever seen. First of all, they claim it’s private and nongovernmental, and that’s a lie from A to Z. They have been almost totally funded by the U.S. Congress. They were founded under a resolution, a legislation passed by the Congress. President Reagan signed it into law in 1983. Basically what they’re trying to do is that they’re trying to use our love for democracy; the one person, one vote; the everybody who is affected gets to have a say in decisions. They’re going back to the no taxation without representation thing. That’s what we call popular or grassroots democracy, and that’s how most Americans understand the word “democracy.”
    But the National Endowment for Democracy has no idea that what they are doing is a top-down elite-driven form of democracy, which is sometimes called polyarchal democracy, which means that people, yes people, get to vote, but their choices are do they get to vote for Pepsi or do they get to vote for Coke? Can they propose solutions? Yes, they can, as long as they have been presented by the elite. So the National Endowment for Democracy is going around the world instituting this top-down form of democracy, and yet calling it, using the terms of the grassroots, “popular democracy.” Now, combined in the National Endowment for Democracy is the international wing of the Democratic Party, the international wing of the Republican Party, the international wing of the Chamber of Commerce and the Solidarity Center, which is the international wing of the AFL-CIO, done behind the backs of the members of the AFL-CIO.
    AMY GOODMAN: Kim Scipes, before we get to the end of the program, I want to turn to our second guest. Kim Scipes, a labor journalist and Professor of Sociology at Purdue University. Fred Hirsch, also in the Chicago studio, vice president of the plumbers and pipefitters union in San Jose, longtime activist in the Latin America Solidarity Coalition. You have done particular historical research on the AFL—the National Endowment for Democracy and Chile. Can you talk about that?
    FRED HIRSCH: Yes, I first got involved with this issue in 1973, when we all had great hopes for the success of the democratically elected government and program of Salvador Allende in Chile, and when his government was overthrown. In San Jose, California, we put together an organization to defend democracy in Chile, and our labor part of the organization, labor task force, came up with some research showing how deeply involved the AFL-CIO had been through the American Institute for Free Labor Development and through use of ORIT, the InterAmerican—InterAmerican Workers Organization, part of the ICFTU, and through use of the international labor secretariats of the ICFTU, which is the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. And it became quite evident that the coup in Chile, which cost lives of well over 3,000 people, most of them trade unionists and militants, progressive people, could not have taken place without the contribution made by the AFL-CIO and, in fact, in the last words of Salvador Allende just moments before he was killed when the Pinochet coup took place, he put responsibility for what occurred in Chile that day on the leaders of the professional unions, those very unions which we later saw were under—were receiving funds and resources through AIFLD and its international network.
    AMY GOODMAN: AFILD being the international arm of the AFL-CIO years ago?
    FRED HIRSCH: Yes. That was the—an organization that lasted 35—33 years and from its inception the leaders of the CTV, the Confederation of Workers of Venezuela, were on the executive board of the AIFLD and were working in collaboration then with the top representatives of U.S. industry involved in foreign trade. The Rockefeller interests, the Anaconda Copper were—people were on that board, and they stayed there in that relationship until today—not until today, until the demise of the AIFLD in 1997, when John Sweeney reorganized the foreign operations of the AFL-CIO and centralized all activity in the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, the Solidarity Center.
    AMY GOODMAN: We have five seconds. Do you think it’s better?
    FRED HIRSCH: We have—we’re moving to do our best
    AMY GOODMAN: On that note, I’m going to have to say we’ll leave it there. We’ll continue the discussion. Fred Hirsch, vice president of the plumbers/pipefitters union in San Jose, as well as Kim Scipes, labor journalist, thank you so much for joining us.
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  6. #6

    Default National Endowment for Democracy to Fund Anti-Lavalas Groups in Haiti

    U.S. Gvt. Channels Millions Through National Endowment for Democracy to Fund Anti-Lavalas Groups in Haiti

    We take a look at Haiti, which is preparing for upcoming national elections. Independent Canadian journalist, Anthony Fenton, joins us to discuss the National Endowment for Democracy–the US government-funded group–that is pouring millions of dollars into trying to influence Haiti’s political future. [includes rush transcript]



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    Nearly two years after the overthrow of President Jean Bertrand Aristide, Haiti will be holding national elections next month. Former President Rene Preval, a Aristide ally, is leading in the polls. Meanwhile, a judge has dropped the most serious charges against jailed priest Gerard Jean Juste. Jean Juste was imprisoned in July over the murder of journalist Jacques Roche–killed while Jean Juste was in Miami. After Jean Juste’s arrest, Haitian officials prevented Lavalas–the political movement aligned with Aristide–from registering him as their presidential candidate, on the grounds he was imprisoned. Although he has been cleared in Roche’s murder, authorities say Jean Juste will remain in prison over weapons charges. Amnesty International calls him a prisoner of conscience. Calls for his release have intensified with the recent announcement he’s been diagnosed with leukemia.
    Meanwhile, violence continues to affect Haiti’s poorest areas. Last week, two Jordanian troops with the UN mission were killed in a gun-battle in the poor neighborhood of Cite Soleil. Local residents later reported UN troops had shot at a hospital in the area. UN troops have stepped up armed raids on Cite Soleil amid pressure from business leaders and foreign officials.
    We want to continue our Haiti coverage leading up to the election by looking at the activities of a government-funded organization that is pouring millions of dollars into trying to influence the country’s political future. The National Endowment for Democracy is one of a handful of state-funded groups that have played a pivotal role in the internal politics of several Latin American and Caribbean countries in the service of the US government.
    The NED operates with an annual budget of $80 million dollars from U.S. Congress and the State Department. In Venezuela, it’s given money to several political opponents of President Hugo Chavez. With elections underway in Haiti, it’s reportedly doing the same to groups linked to the country’s tiny elite and former military.
    Last week Democracy Now! interviewed Anthony Fenton about NED’s activities in Haiti and across the Caribbean and Latin America. Fenton is an independent journalist and co-author of the book “Canada in Haiti: Waging War On The Poor Majority.” He has interviewed several top governmental and non-governmental officials dealing with Haiti as well as leading members of Haiti’s business community. Last month, he helped expose an NED-funded journalist who was filing stories for the Associated Press from Haiti. The Associated Press subsequently terminated its relationship with the journalist.


    Related coverage: Did the Bush Administration Allow a Network of Right-Wing Republicans to Foment a Violent Coup in Haiti?
    Ben Nighthorse Campbell, former Senator of Colorado and former chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.
    Arturo Senclair, tribal governor of the Tiguas of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo in Texas.



    AMY GOODMAN: Last week, I interviewed Anthony Fenton, about N.E.D.‘s activities in Haiti and across the Caribbean and Latin America. Fenton is an independent Canadian journalist and co-author of the book, Canada in Haiti: Waging War on the Poor Majority. He has interviewed several top governmental and non-governmental officials dealing with Haiti, as well as leading members of Haiti’s business community. Last month, he helped expose an N.E.D.-funded journalist who was filing stories for the Associated Press from Haiti. The Associated Press subsequently terminated its relationship with her. We go now to an excerpt from that interview. Anthony Fenton was in a studio in Vancouver. I began by asking him to talk about the current situation in Haiti.
    ANTHONY FENTON: Well, indeed, obviously, there is an ongoing military occupation there ever since the forced ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February of 2004 in a coup d’etat that was assisted and planned by the Canadian government, along with the U.S. government and the French government. Of course, speaking from Canada, Canada played an integral role in the overthrow of Aristide and continues to play an integral role in the post-invasion occupation of Haiti.
    They’re leading up to what are now the fourth scheduled period of elections. There have been several postponements. This is due in part—the original intention of the invasion, of course, was to subvert the young process of popular democracy that existed in Haiti prior to the coup, and of course, if Aristide hadn’t been overthrown, Haiti would have already carried out their democratic election, their presidential elections.
    And, of course, the fear of the United States and of organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy and the State Department, of course, was that popular democracy would take root in Haiti under another Lavalas government, and they have set about to undermine the popular movement that existed in support of Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the Lavalas Party. And we’re seeing today the consolidation of the elite rule that they have long envisioned for Haiti ever since the fall of “Baby Doc” Duvalier in the mid-80s.
    AMY GOODMAN: Anthony, can you just lay out what the National Endowment for Democracy is?
    ANTHONY FENTON: Well, yeah, they were formed in the early 1980s under the Reagan administration. Ostensibly, they purport to promote pro-democracy organizations and democratic values across the world. Just last October, President Bush spoke at a National Endowment for Democracy gathering, reiterating the vision of Reagan as he set about to, as they say, “promote democracy throughout the world,” and they were given—they’ve been given various budgets allocated by Congress every year, as you said at the onset. Now their budget stands at $80 million a year. But they are, of course, just one organization among many that are linked to the U.S. Agency for International Development, as I said, the State Department. Hundreds of millions of dollars now, in fact, more money is now being spent than ever before on what they call democracy promotion.
    Now, the historical record on the National Endowment for Democracy is very clear, when we look at the work of people like Philip Agee and William Robinson and William Blum, Noam Chomsky and others, and most recently, if we look at the work of attorney and independent journalist, Eva Golinger, who exposed, through Freedom of Information Act requests, the role that the N.E.D. played in attempting to subvert democracy and the revolutionary process that’s unfolding in Venezuela in 2002. The N.E.D. played a crucial role in fomenting the opposition to Hugo Chavez, and they did play a role in the attempted coup against him in April of 2002, and very much the same patterns we have seen develop in Haiti.
    On your show, in 2004, you interviewed Max Blumenthal, who wrote an article, an important article for Salon that outlined the role of the International Republican Institute, and when we talk about the N.E.D., we can’t talk about them without also talking about the International Republican Institute and the other affiliated organizations. There’s a virtual labyrinth of these organizations that receive funding that’s specifically earmarked for the undermining of any widespread social movements, any rudiments of popular democracy that should manifest, either in Latin America or anywhere in the world.
    So, again, this is sort of the premise of what the National Endowment for Democracy really does, and as we look at what they’re doing in Haiti—and how I was able to learn about what they’re currently doing in Haiti came about through the process of a first documentary reporting trip to Haiti in September and October of 2005, where we spoke to a number of N.E.D. grantees, Haitian organizations that received funding from the National Endowment for Democracy. I returned to Canada and set about to conduct a series of interviews with N.E.D. and any program officer, in particular, with I.R.I. officials, with in-country officials who are managing several million dollars in U.S.-funded democracy promotion activities, as you said also, that are linked closely to the Haitian elite, to the opposition organizations, such as the Group of 184, the Democratic Convergence. These are the organizations that agitated most strongly for the overthrow of Aristide and that were working with the N.E.D. and the I.R.I. in the years preceding the 2004 coup.
    AMY GOODMAN: The I.R.I. being the International Republican Institute.
    ANTHONY FENTON: Yes. We know that—for example, just the other day, I spoke to a woman who is the leader of an organization called COFEL. It’s an umbrella organization of women political leaders. In the years before the coup against Aristide in 2004, the I.R.I. would bring in, they would bus in or fly in groups of anywhere between 60 and 80 of these women. And, of course, they’re busing in other men and other political figures in Haiti. But they would bus them into the Dominican Republic, because in 1999, at the time, Ambassador Timothy Carney—he was the U.S. ambassador at the time. That’s very important, because Ambassador Carney is the current interim ambassador to Haiti, and he was also a member of the lobby—the think tank in Washington called the Haiti Democracy Project that played an integral role in fomenting this demonization campaign against Aristide.
    In any case, in 1999, the I.R.I. was closed down. Their operations were shut down. They were forced to leave Haiti, and until the coup in 2004, the I.R.I. did not have an in-country presence, so they were doing most of their work in the Dominican Republic with people like Stanley Lucas, who is well known as a card-carrying Republican Haitian American who was hired by the International Republican Institute during the first coup period against Aristide in the early 1990s, and he’s the one who sort of helped to build the political opposition from the Dominican Republic and enable the coup to take place. But that process has just followed through since the coup. Well, of course, the International Republican Institute now has an in-country office in Haiti, and through that office they’re able to penetrate all sectors of Haitian civil society in their attempt to undermine the popular movement.
    Now, I would like to mention that in my interview, and this is a rare interview with an N.E.D. program officer, and this is the program officer in Washington who is responsible for Haiti currently, a woman named Fabiola Cordoba. She took over in, I believe in, November, as the program officer, and she revealed to me, not only an extensive list of documents that show the N.E.D.‘s approved grants for 2005. These are, in a sense, declassified, because these are documents that are not supposed to be published until May of 2006, at least according to another N.E.D. spokesperson. But what’s clear in these documents is that the N.E.D. went from, for example, a zero dollar budget in Haiti in 2003 to a $540,000 budget in Haiti in 2005.
    What they’ve also done—and many Haitian people that I speak to have told me that Haiti is considered the laboratory for these sort of subversive activities on the part of the United States government. And in the context of this experimental process, they’ve hired, for the first time, an in-country program officer, as you mentioned, Régine Alexandre, who was a stringer for the Associated Press and the New York Times, was doubling, moonlighting as an N.E.D. program officer, and the Associated Press severed ties with her as a result.
    Now, Fabiola Cordoba also told me that when she was in Haiti in 2002, working for one of the N.E.D.‘s affiliated organizations, the National Democratic Institute, she said a lot of lines were being drawn between Haiti and Venezuela, where although 70% of the population supported Aristide, there was a very fragmented opposition. The rest of the 30% was divided between 120 different opposition groups, so the objective of the I.R.I. and the N.E.D. was to consolidate this opposition to build a viable opposition to somehow break the grip that the popular movement in Haiti had on the political environment there. And she said that Chavez—something very similar was happening in Venezuela, and of course, in 2002, the coup d’état happened there on the basis of this sort of analysis, the basis, this fear that the United States has of popular democracy and the need to subvert any attempts at consolidating popular rule and implementing policies that are in the interests of the majority poor in places like Venezuela and Haiti.
    AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Anthony Fenton, independent author and journalist who has exposed a A.P. stringer in Haiti, Régine Alexandre, as also being on the payroll of the National Endowment for Democracy. And now talking about those parallels between Haiti and Venezuela, of course, 2002, the attempted coup against Hugo Chavez, what is your understanding of the U.S. involvement in terms of the, you know, dollar amount in Venezuela, putting money into the opposition?
    ANTHONY FENTON: Well, it is very interesting, because since the activities of the N.E.D. have been so thoroughly exposed by the likes of Eva Golinger and Jeremy Bigwood through The Chavez Code, they’re very concerned with their perception in the area. So what they’re doing, in a way, they’ve continued to funnel large amounts of money into Venezuela, but they’re doing it also by outsourcing, if you will. For example, they have given a grant to a Canadian think tank called the Canadian Foundation of the Americas, and through that, they’re attempting to go through the back door, if you will, riding the perception of Canada as being a benign counterweight to the U.S. in the hemisphere, in order to penetrate Venezuelan civil society.
    This is an important year, of course, not only in Venezuela, but throughout the hemisphere, in the sense that there are many presidential elections taking place. Now the N.E.D. program officer told me that Venezuela, Haiti, Ecuador, and Bolivia are the four top priority countries for the N.E.D. in 2006, looking ahead to 2006 and, of course, Cuba is the perennial top of that list. They’re a special exception, because the Department of State earmarks a certain amount of funds for the N.E.D.’s work in Cuba. In fact, they doubled the amount of money being used to subvert revolutionary Cuba in 2005.
    Now, what they’re doing with the Foundation of the Americas is, in fact, on the board of directors there you have a former coup plotter in the form of Beatrice Rangel, who not only played an active role, when she was an advisor to former Venezuelan president Perez in the late 1980s, literally carrying bags of money, according to William Robinson, to Nicaraguan Contras operating out of Venezuela, but she is the person, Rangel, who facilitated this N.E.D. program with this Canadian think tank, and she herself said that, you know, Canada enjoys this perception, and N.E.D.’s outsourcing to Canada is just another way for the N.E.D. to penetrate Venezuelan civil society.
    But in the case of Haiti, getting back to that point, what we’re seeing is the N.E.D. works very closely with the International Republican Institute. One of the N.E.D.‘s primary grantees in Haiti is a key member of the Group of 184 political opposition to Aristide, named Hans Tippenhauer. He heads up an organization that works with Haitian youth. Typically we see the N.E.D. working with Haitian youth, with Haitian women, but what they’re doing—Mr. Tippenhauer, he was one of the first people to call the rebels, the paramilitaries that entered from the Dominican Republic in 2004, he referred to them as “freedom fighters,” and he get grants from, not only the N.E.D., but also the I.R.I., and he also happens to be on the campaign of an independent presidential candidate named Charles Henri Baker, who was also one of the leaders of the Group of 184. He’s a sweatshop owner there and a brother-in-law of Andy Apaid, another leader of the Group of 184, who recently has been pressuring, with other members of the elite, such as Reginald Boulos, for the United Nations [inaudible] to force to enter the poor neighborhoods and commit more atrocities, so as to enable this process of consolidating elite rule in Haiti to take root.
    And so, Hans Tippenhauer, as he doubles as a campaign manager for the Group 184 political candidate, the business candidate, basically a candidate that the U.S. is supporting, he is also working to penetrate Haitian civil society on a level that will allow, in the long term, this neo-liberal vision, this corporate vision of Haiti to take root, the so-called democracy, because the National Endowment for Democracy does promote some form of democracy. It’s a very narrow institutional form, kind of like we see in Canada.
    It is ironic that we have elections going on here in Canada right now, but we don’t see the National Endowment for Democracy or the International Republican Institute here trying to manipulate the political environment, because we’re already on page with the State Department. We’re already on page with the N.E.D., so we don’t need their guidance, but a place like Haiti, where there were—where popular democracy was beginning to take root, even though in the face of a massive economic embargo and in the face of destabilization by these very organizations, it is very necessary that these organizations are in Haiti right now playing this fundamental role, behind the scenes, I should say, because the mainstream media has not written a single story about what these organizations are doing behind the scenes to effect political change in Haiti today.
    AMY GOODMAN: Independent journalist, Anthony Fenton. We will return with him in a minute.
    [break]
    AMY GOODMAN: We return to our interview on Haiti with independent journalist Anthony Fenton, co-author of the book, Canada in Haiti: Waging War on the Poor Majority.
    AMY GOODMAN: Anthony Fenton, one of the people that you have written and talked about is Ira Lowenthal. I remember him from, well, more than a decade ago in the midst of the first coup against President Aristide in 1991 to ’94, working for USAID in-country in Haiti. What is his role today?
    ANTHONY FENTON: Well, after the coup, Ira Lowenthal reentered Haiti. Now, he had had to leave, I believe, in 2002, because he was getting too hot. He was up to some activities that were being scrutinized by the Haitian government. Now, he joined and helped create the Haiti Democracy Project in 2002, in late 2002, and then he supported the emergence of the Group of 184 shortly thereafter, which is basically the Haitian version of the Haiti Democracy Project. I mentioned the Boulos family. Rudolph Boulos is a board member, founding board member of the Haiti Democracy Project, as well, and he’s actually running for Senate in the area of Haiti where they plan to develop free-trade zones and open up a whole swath of sweatshops.
    But Ira Lowenthal, he was working for the Americas Development Foundation, which is one of the key organizations implementing these so-called Democracy Enhancement projects prior to the coup. After the coup, he had a brief stint with them, and then he moved on to this other organization called the United Nations Office for Project Services. Now, it’s a very interesting organization that does reconstruction work, and they’re working—they’re called the self-financing arm or management services arm of the United Nations, very obscure and little known, but Ira Lowenthal became the director of this organization in Haiti just after the coup, and he helped set up registration centers for the elections, and he’s played an integral role in the sort of infrastructure of carrying out this election process.
    Now, he stepped down as director of UNOPS, and UNOPS currently gets a $3 million contract from USAID to work and funnel money to the political parties—the “approved” political parties, most of which happen to comprise the former political opposition to Aristide, the Democratic Convergence. Now Ira Lowenthal is a key consultant for UNOPS today, and in fact, there’s a Canadian by the name of Jean-Francois Laurent, who directs the UNOPS activities in Haiti. But Ira Lowenthal, anyone I speak to, everyone speaks glowingly of him in the democracy promotion community. He’s an old hand there, as you’ve said. He had links to the Boulos family back in the previous coup period, and, of course, the Boulos family is said to have had relations with FRAPH, the paramilitary organization set up by the C.I.A. in order to destroy the popular movement at that time.
    Now the Boulos family again, it has been widely reported that they may be linked along with the Apaids to death squad activity in Cite Soleil, anti-Lavalas gangs that are designed to destroy the popular support for the calls of demanding the return of Aristide or demanding the right to vote for the candidate of choice, now Rene Preval. But Ira Lowenthal has played an instrumental role. In fact, every week this organization, UNOPS, to give you an example of the sort of familial relations there, they meet with the I.R.I., the N.D.I., with USAID, and with I.F.E.S, which is linked to the I.R.I. The chairman of I.F.E.S. is a former Reagan advisor and a Bush appointee as U.N. ambassador just before the 9/11 attacks in 2001, William Hybl.
    So you see this family meeting on a weekly basis, coordinating their activities. They’re funneling millions of dollars to the political parties, by way of giving them credits for TV advertising, for pamphlets, for t-shirts and all sorts of other activities. And, of course, this is all geared towards—they’re hoping, I think, right now, that there will be a run-off election, sort of like there was in Liberia, where the International Republican Institute and these other organizations played a central role, as well, because if there’s a run-off election—and it’s possible that one of their rightwing candidates, perhaps such as Marc Bazin, who’s running under the Lavalas name today, but of course was a World Bank candidate that Aristide beat in a landslide in 1990—they’re hoping that one of these candidates, maybe it’ll be Henri Baker, will be able to win in a run-off.
    But there’s also the terror card that they’re holding over their heads. The paramilitaries that entered in 2004 like Guy Philippe. Other well known NARCO traffickers, the nephew of the current Prime Minister, Gerard Latortue, his name is Youri Latortue, the mere mention of his name in Haiti, strikes the fear in the people’s eyes when you speak to them, and this person is running for senate in the Artibonite region. And the possibility of a violent intervention in this election process is in the background, and it looms, and people like Ira Lowenthal and these other organizations, the N.E.D., they are well aware of this, and so it will be interesting to see how it plays out.
    AMY GOODMAN: And the role, Anthony Fenton—you’re speaking to us from Vancouver, Canada, in the midst of your own elections—of Canada and the current candidates in the coup of 2004, as well as what you understand is the U.S. role that forced Aristide out?
    ANTHONY FENTON: Well, indeed, Canada in September hosted a meeting with members of Haiti’s private sector with that think tank that I mentioned earlier that’s getting N.E.D. funding, FOCAL, the Foundation for the Americas. Reginald Boulos, one of the long-time elites who supported this U.S. vision for Haiti and has long-standing ties to Washington, he was invited to this meeting. And what you were seeing is Canada supporting whole-heartedly. In fact, Roger Noriega, former Secretary of State for the western hemisphere, came to Canada just after the coup with Adolfo Franco from USAID. Franco, incidentally, has refused to be interviewed on the question of USAID’s activities on the democracy promotion side in Haiti recently. But they came to Canada just after the coup with the intention of asking Canada to play a leadership role in Haiti, and Canada quickly acquiesced.
    In fact, when I was in Haiti in September with a couple of other Canadian journalists, we interviewed a top-level Canadian diplomat, and he was boasting how finally in Haiti there’s a government that’s being ruled by the transnational elite in the private sector and civil society. And Canada’s job is to stand on the frontlines diplomatically, politically, and they’re also helping out militarily, and on the intelligence side, to prop up this illegitimate regime that was installed by the United States, that was imported from Florida and installed—imposed on the Haitian people. And so Canada is playing an increasing role and they are expecting to play—in fact, this high level diplomat told us Canada is sort of like earning its stripes in Haiti, because there is going to be a coming transition, and he mentioned Cuba specifically, and of course, strategically where Haiti is situated—the State Department in 2005 listed Haiti and Colombia as the two primary strategic states—so it’s very important that they take control of Haiti.
    There is a Dominican Republic interest there, as well. They are possibly establishing military bases there. The U.S. has for a long time dictated the Dominican military’s policies for the region, and the Canadian government here, what we’re seeing, is under the liberal government that is about, it appears, to lose power to a neo-conservative electoral coup, if you will, led by Canada’s Conservative Party and Stephen Harper, who is a well-known admirer of George Bush. Canada, the liberal government, initiated a rightwing shift over the past decade, that we’ve seen a new role for Canada in the Americas. In fact, this high-level diplomat referred to the destiny of Canada and the Americas being fulfilled through their role in Haiti today.
    AMY GOODMAN: Anthony Fenton is our guest. He’s speaking to us from Vancouver, Canada. And the proof of the involvement of the U.S. government in the coup that forced out President Aristide February 29th, 2004?
    ANTHONY FENTON: Well, in 2003 there was a meeting held in Ottawa called the Ottawa Initiative on Haiti. At the time, it was a secret high level round table that did not involve any Haitians, although it was a meeting that was designed to discuss the future of Haiti. It was leaked by the host of that meeting, a Canadian Member of Parliament named Denis Paradis, to a Quebec magazine, that the possibility of removing Aristide and installing a U.N.-style trusteeship was discussed. This was quickly glossed over, and the Canadian government retracted that this was discussed, but after the coup I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request and did receive some of the documents, which seem to corroborate what was leaked at the time, that there were high-level meetings being held not only in Ottawa, but other follow-up meetings, I understand, in Washington and in El Salvador that planned the overthrow of Aristide on the diplomatic side.
    The Organization of American States was involved. And the then Assistant Secretary General of the O.A.S., Luigi Einaudi, who famously said on the eve of Haiti’s independence, ‘The problem with Haiti is that the international community is so screwed up and divided that we’re actually allowing Haitians to run Haiti.’ It’s people like this and sentiments like this that informed these sorts of meetings that took place before the coup, and, you know, the writing was on the wall for Aristide when he was elected in November of 2000. We saw the opposition boycott the elections. The Gallup polls indicated a landslide victory for Aristide, and again we return to the point made by the N.E.D. program officer, it was simply the case that, from the perspective of the United States, Canada, and France, and the European Union, the primary backers of this coup d’etat, that Aristide was consolidating power, that the Lavalas Party, in particular, and that the popular movement was emerging and was taking root, and that is what had to be overthrown and stopped in its tracks, and that’s what we’re seeing happen today.
    AMY GOODMAN: Very quickly, Anthony Fenton, on the issue of what is happening in the Cite Soleil with the killings of innocent residents there, also the killings of U.N. forces there, recently you had Reginald Boulos and Andy Apaid, well known anti-Lavalas leaders, holding a major protest, calling for a crackdown on Cite Soleil. Can you talk about that?
    ANTHONY FENTON: Yeah, again, this—I read that as a provocation. They’ve been—if you go back to summer of 2005, there was a kidnapping spree, as the The New York Times and the L.A. Times reported it, that was used as a pretext to demand that the U.N. go into Cite Soleil and root out the so-called chimeres, the so-called bandits, the so-called terrorists. Now, I learned through sources inside the prime minister’s office in Haiti and through other sources that, again, Youri Latortue, the nephew of Gerard Latortue, was involved in this kidnapping spree, that he was carrying out and overseeing a kidnapping ring of his own that was used as a pretext to go into these neighborhoods and commit massacres. And on July 6th, it’s been well reported and well documented that a massacre did take place, and it was carried out by the United Nations. It buckled to the pressure that was being exerted on it by the likes of Reginald Boulos and other members of the elite, like Andy Apaid.
    And so I see, I think, from what I can tell, this is being replayed, and the kidnapping spree—it’s possible that these assaults on the so-called peacekeepers, the Jordanians who have played one of the more repressive roles in Cite Soleil, that that is another provocation that is intended to pressure the U.N. forces to go into Cite Soleil and fire arbitrarily, as they’ve been doing repeatedly. You know, within the past few days a number of people have been killed in Cite Soleil, even since that demonstration. Canadian journalists who are there right now, Aaron Lakoff and Leslie Bagg, reported on how four people in Cite Soleil have been killed.
    And the U.N. knows that they can’t go into Cite Soleil and conduct these operations without killing civilians, and yet people like Reginald Boulos don’t seem to mind if civilians get killed. It’s just collateral damage, and he’s said that he is willing to create a fund to assist the victims of Cite Soleil. When we interviewed Mr. Boulos in September, he referred to himself as Mr. Cite Soleil. So, he has a vested interest in putting down this popular movement that’s calling for Aristide’s return or calling for free and fair elections that would see Rene Preval win in a likely landslide.
    AMY GOODMAN: Independent journalist Anthony Fenton, co-author of the book Canada in Haiti: Waging War on the Poor Majority. Haitian elections are February 7. Canadian elections are today.

    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  7. #7

    Default Trojan Horse: The National Endowment for Democracy

    Trojan Horse:
    The National Endowment for Democracy


    By William Blum How many Americans could identify the National Endowment for Democracy? An organization which often does exactly the opposite of what its name implies. The NED was set up in the early 1980s under President Reagan in the wake of all the negative revelations about the CIA in the second half of the 1970s. The latter was a remarkable period. Spurred by Watergate—the Church committee of the Senate, the Pike committee of the House, and the Rockefeller Commission, created by the president, were all busy investigating the CIA. Seemingly every other day there was a new headline about the discovery of some awful thing, even criminal conduct, the CIA had been mixed up in for years. The Agency was getting an exceedingly bad name, and it was causing the powers-that-be much embarrassment.
    Something had to be done. What was done was not to stop doing these awful things. Of course not. What was done was to shift many of these awful things to a new organization, with a nice sounding name—The National Endowment for Democracy. The idea was that the NED would do somewhat overtly what the CIA had been doing covertly for decades, and thus, hopefully, eliminate the stigma associated with CIA covert activities.
    It was a masterpiece. Of politics, of public relations, and of cynicism.
    Thus it was that in 1983, the National Endowment for Democracy was set up to "support democratic institutions throughout the world through private, nongovernmental efforts". Notice the "nongovernmental"—part of the image, part of the myth. In actuality, virtually every penny of its funding comes from the federal government, as is clearly indicated in the financial statement in each issue of its annual report. NED likes to refer to itself as an NGO (Non-governmental organization) because this helps to maintain a certain credibility abroad that an official US government agency might not have. But NGO is the wrong category. NED is a GO.
    "We should not have to do this kind of work covertly," said Carl Gershman in 1986, while he was president of the Endowment. "It would be terrible for democratic groups around the world to be seen as subsidized by the C.I.A. We saw that in the 60's, and that's why it has been discontinued. We have not had the capability of doing this, and that's why the endowment was created."{1}
    And Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, declared in 1991: "A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA."{2)
    In effect, the CIA has been laundering money through NED.
    The Endowment has four principal initial recipients of funds: the International Republican Institute; the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs; an affiliate of the AFL-CIO (such as the American Center for International Labor Solidarity); and an affiliate of the Chamber of Commerce (such as the Center for International Private Enterprise). These institutions then disburse funds to other institutions in the US and all over the world, which then often disburse funds to yet other organizations.
    In a multitude of ways, NED meddles in the internal affairs of numerous foreign countries by supplying funds, technical know-how, training, educational materials, computers, faxes, copiers, automobiles, and so on, to selected political groups, civic organizations, labor unions, dissident movements, student groups, book publishers, newspapers, other media, etc. NED typically refers to the media it supports as "independent" despite the fact that these media are on the US payroll.
    NED programs generally impart the basic philosophy that working people and other citizens are best served under a system of free enterprise, class cooperation, collective bargaining, minimal government intervention in the economy, and opposition to socialism in any shape or form. A free-market economy is equated with democracy, reform, and growth; and the merits of foreign investment in their economy are emphasized.
    From 1994 to 1996, NED awarded 15 grants, totaling more than $2,500,000, to the American Institute for Free Labor Development, an organization used by the CIA for decades to subvert progressive labor unions.{3} AIFLD's work within Third World unions typically involved a considerable educational effort very similar to the basic NED philosophy described above. The description of one of the 1996 NED grants to AIFLD includes as one its objectives: "build union-management cooperation".{4} Like many things that NED says, this sounds innocuous, if not positive, but these in fact are ideological code words meaning "keep the labor agitation down ... don't rock the status-quo boat". The relationship between NED and AIFLD very well captures the CIA origins of the Endowment.{5}
    NED has funded centrist and rightist labor organizations to help them oppose those unions which were too militantly pro-worker. This has taken place in France, Portugal and Spain amongst many other places. In France, during the 1983-4 period, NED supported a "trade union-like organization for professors and students" to counter "left-wing organizations of professors". To this end it funded a series of seminars and the publication of posters, books and pamphlets such as "Subversion and the Theology of Revolution" and "Neutralism or Liberty".{6} ("Neutralism" here refers to being unaligned in the cold war.)
    NED describes one of its 1997-98 programs thusly: "To identify barriers to private sector development at the local and federal levels in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and to push for legislative change ... [and] to develop strategies for private sector growth."{7} Critics of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, a socialist, were supported by NED grants for years.{8}
    In short, NED's programs are in sync with the basic needs and objectives of the New World Order's economic globalization, just as the programs have for years been on the same wavelength as US foreign policy.
    Interference in elections NED's Statement of Principles and Objectives, adopted in 1984, asserts that "No Endowment funds may be used to finance the campaigns of candidates for public office." But the ways to circumvent the spirit of such a prohibition are not difficult to come up with; as with American elections, there's "hard money" and there's "soft money".
    As described in the "Elections" and "Interventions" chapters, NED successfully manipulated elections in Nicaragua in 1990 and Mongolia in 1996; helped to overthrow democratically elected governments in Bulgaria in 1990 and Albania in 1991 and 1992; and worked to defeat the candidate for prime minister of Slovakia in 2002 who was out of favor in Washington. And from 1999 to 2004, NED heavily funded members of the opposition to President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela to subvert his rule and to support a referendum to unseat him.
    Additionally, in the 1990s and afterward, NED supported a coalition of groups in Haiti known as the Democratic Convergence, who were united in their opposition to Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his progressive ideology, while he was in and out of the office of the president.{9}
    The Endowment has made its weight felt in the electoral-political process in numerous other countries.
    NED would have the world believe that it's only teaching the ABCs of democracy and elections to people who don't know them, but in virtually all the countries named above, in whose electoral process NED intervened, there had already been free and fair elections held. The problem, from NED's point of view, is that the elections had been won by political parties not on NED's favorites list.
    The Endowment maintains that it's engaged in "opposition building" and "encouraging pluralism". "We support people who otherwise do not have a voice in their political system," said Louisa Coan, a NED program officer.{10} But NED hasn't provided aid to foster progressive or leftist opposition in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, or Eastern Europe—or, for that matter, in the United States—even though these groups are hard pressed for funds and to make themselves heard. Cuban dissident groups and media are heavily supported however.
    NED's reports carry on endlessly about "democracy", but at best it's a modest measure of mechanical political democracy they have in mind, not economic democracy; nothing that aims to threaten the powers-that-be or the way-things-are, unless of course it's in a place like Cuba.
    The Endowment played an important role in the Iran-Contra affair of the 1980s, funding key components of Oliver North's shadowy "Project Democracy" network, which privatized US foreign policy, waged war, ran arms and drugs, and engaged in other equally charming activities. At one point in 1987, a White House spokesman stated that those at NED "run Project Democracy".{11} This was an exaggeration; it would have been more correct to say that NED was the public arm of Project Democracy, while North ran the covert end of things. In any event, the statement caused much less of a stir than if—as in an earlier period—it had been revealed that it was the CIA which was behind such an unscrupulous operation.
    NED also mounted a multi-level campaign to fight the leftist insurgency in the Philippines in the mid-1980s, funding a host of private organizations, including unions and the media.{12} This was a replica of a typical CIA operation of pre-NED days.
    And between 1990 and 1992, the Endowment donated a quarter-million dollars of taxpayers' money to the Cuban-American National Foundation, the ultra-fanatic anti-Castro Miami group. The CANF, in turn, financed Luis Posada Carriles, one of the most prolific and pitiless terrorists of modern times, who had been involved in the blowing up of a Cuban airplane in 1976, which killed 73 people. In 1997, he was involved in a series of bomb explosions in Havana hotels,{13} and in 2000 imprisoned in Panama when he was part of a group planning to assassinate Fidel Castro with explosives while the Cuban leader was speaking before a large crowd, although eventually, the group was tried on lesser charges.
    The NED, like the CIA before it, calls what it does supporting democracy. The governments and movements whom the NED targets call it destabilization.{14}


    NOTES
    1. The New York Times, June 1, 1986
    2. Washington Post, September 22, 1991
    3. NED Annual Reports, 1994-96.
    4. NED Annual Report, 1996, p.39
    5. For further information on AIFLD, see: Tom Barry, et al., The Other Side of Paradise: Foreign Control in the Caribbean (Grove Press, NY, 1984), see AIFLD in index; Jan Knippers Black, United States Penetration of Brazil (Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1977), chapter 6; Fred Hirsch, An Analysis of Our AFL-CIO Role in Latin America (monograph, San Jose, California, 1974) passim; The Sunday Times (London), October 27, 1974, p.15-16
    6. NED Annual Report, November 18, 1983 to September 30, 1984, p.21
    7. NED Annual Report, 1998, p.35
    8. See NED annual reports of the 1990s.
    9. Council on Hemispheric Affairs (Washington, DC), press release, June 13, 2002, www.coha.org; Washington Post, November 18, 2003; NED Annual Report, 1998, p.53; Haiti Progres (Port-au-Prince, Haiti), May 13-19, 1998
    10. New York Times, March 31, 1997, p.11
    11. Washington Post, February 16, 1987; also see New York Times, February 15, 1987, p.1
    12. San Francisco Examiner, July 21, 1985, p.1
    13. New York Times, July 13, 1998
    14. For a detailed discussion of NED, in addition to the sources named above, see: William I. Robinson, A Faustian Bargain: U.S. Intervention in the Nicaraguan Elections and American Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War Era (Westview Press, Colorado, 1992), passim

    ?
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  8. #8

    Default National Endowment for Democracy in Iran

    Has the U.S. Played a Role in Fomenting Unrest During Iran’s Election?



    June 23, 2009
    by Jeremy R. Hammond

    Following the announcement of victory for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over his main opponent Mir Hossein Mousavi in Iran’s presidential election on June 12, the country erupted in turmoil as supporters of Mousavi flocked to the streets to protest what they claimed was a fraudulent election, while state security and militia forces cracked down on dissenters, sometimes violently. Iran claimed that the unrest was being fueled by foreign interference, a charge reported but generally dismissed in Western media accounts. But there is ample reason to believe that the U.S. likely had a hand in fomenting the chaos that has since plagued the country many commentators have compared to the 1979 revolution that overthrew the Shah.
    The role of the U.S. in overthrowing the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953 and installing the brutal regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi is by now well known. In his speech in Cairo last month, President Barack Obama even referenced the CIA-backed coup, acknowledging that “In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government.”[1]
    The U.S. lost their principle ally in the Middle East, however, when the Shah was in turn overthrown as a result of the Islamic revolution that swept the country in 1979, resulting in the clerical regime that continues to this day under Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who took over the title from the leader of the revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
    During the Reagan administration, the U.S. illegally sold arms to the Iranian regime even while supporting Saddam Hussein in Iraq’s devastating war against the Islamic Republic. And while neoconservatives in Washington had their eye on Iran as a target for regime change throughout the Clinton years, it wasn’t until George W. Bush came to be president that a strategy for bringing this about began in earnest. Whether the policy of regime change implemented under Bush has been quashed or continued by the administration of President Barack Obama remains to be seen, but what is incontrovertible is that the U.S. has a long and sordid history of interference in Iranian affairs.
    The National Endowment for Democracy
    One mechanism by which the U.S. interferes in the internal political affairs of other nations is the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a quasi-governmental agency with funding from both Congress and private individuals whose purpose is to support foreign organizations sympathetic to U.S. foreign policy goals.
    NED’s website states that its creation in the early 1980s was “premised on the idea that American assistance on behalf of democracy efforts abroad would be good both for the U.S. and for those struggling around the world for freedom and self-government.”[2]
    The idea behind NED was to create an organization to do overtly what the CIA had long been doing clandestinely, and the organization has developed its own history of foreign interference. “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA,” acknowledged Allen Weinstein, one of NED’s founders.[3]
    In Nicaragua, for instance, the CIA provoked opposition activities in the hopes that it would prompt an “overreaction” from the Sandinista government. The NED was there, also, providing money to opposition groups while the CIA armed contra terrorists (using money from the sale of arms to Iran, incidentally).[4]
    In the Bulgarian elections of 1990, NED spent over $1.5 million in an effort to defeat the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP). When the effort failed and the BSP won, NED backed opposition groups that sowed chaos in the streets for months until the president and prime minister finally resigned. [5]
    The NED was in Albania supporting the opposition to the communist government that was elected in 1991. Once again, turmoil in the streets led to the collapse of the government, forcing a new election in which the U.S.-backed Democratic Party won.[6]
    Between 1990 and 1992, NED financed the Cuban-American National Foundation, an anti-Castro group out of Miami that in turn funded Luis Posada Carriles, a terrorist harbored by the U.S. who was responsible for the bombing of a Cuban airliner in 1976 that killed 73 people.[7]
    NED was present in Mongolia helping to unite opposition parties under the National Democratic Union to defeat the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party that had won elections in 1992. With backing from NED, the NDU won in 1996 and U.S. media lauded the economic “shock-therapy” that the new pro-West government would implement. Under the new government, the National Security Agency (NSA) also set up shop with listening posts to spy on China. [8]
    During the Clinton administration, NED was in Haiti working with the opposition to ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.[9]
    And NED was in Venezuela financing the opposition to President Hugo Chavez, including groups involved in the attempted coup in 2002 that nearly succeeded in his overthrow.[10]
    NED is also active in Iran, granting hundreds of thousands of dollars to Iranian groups. From 2005 to 2007, NED gave $345,000 to the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation (ABF).[11] The group claims “no political affiliation” on its website, but is named for the founder of the National Movement of the Iranian Resistance (NAMIR), an opposition group to the clerical regime founded in 1980. According to the group’s website, Boroumand was murdered by agents of the Iranian government in Paris, France, in 1991.[12] The website is registered to the Boroumand Foundation, listed at Suite 357, 3220 N ST., NW, Washington, D.C.[13]
    Another recipient of NED grants is the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), which received $25,000 in 2002, $64,000 in 2005, and $107,000 in 2006. The 2002 grant was to carry out a “media training workshop” to train participants representing various civic groups in public relations. The 2005 money was given in part to “strengthen the capacity of civic organizations in Iran”, including by advising Iranian groups on “foreign donor relations.” The 2006 grant was similarly designed to “foster cooperation between Iranian NGOs and the international civil society community and to strengthen the institutional capacity of NGOs in Iran.”[14]
    The group’s president is Dr. Trita Parsi, whose parents fled political repression in Iran when he was four. He studied for his Doctoral thesis at the Johns Hopkins’ School for Advanced International Studies under Professor Francis Fukuyama.[15]
    Fukuyama wrote in 2007 that “Ahmadinejad may be the new Hitler”, but that the use of military force against Iran “looks very unappealing”, and that airstrikes “would not result in regime change”, which was “the only long-term means of stopping” Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program.[16] The NIAC similarly opposes the use of military force against Iran, and instead “supports the idea of resolving the problems between the US and Iran through dialogue in order to avoid war.”[17]
    Following the Iranian election and subsequent violence, NIAC issued a statement saying that “The only plausible way to end the violence is for new elections to be held with independent monitors ensuring its fairness.”[18]
    Last November, the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations Mohammad-Javad Zarif charged the U.S. with attempting to orchestrate a “velvet revolution” in Iran. One of the means by which this was being carried out, he said, was by means of workshops. “American officials have been inviting Iranian figures to so-called scientific seminars over the past few years”, he said. “However, when the Iranians attend these sessions, they realize they have gathered to discuss measures to topple the Iranian government”.[19]
    The Office of Iranian Affairs
    In February, 2006, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice requested emergency funding from Congress to the amount of $75 million, on top of a previously allocated $10 million, “to mount the biggest ever propaganda campaign against the Tehran government”, in the words of The Guardian. The money “would be used to broadcast US radio and television programmes into Iran, help pay for Iranians to study in America and support pro-democracy groups inside the country.” The propaganda effort would include “extending the government-run Voice of America’s Farsi service from a few hours a day to round-the-clock coverage.” In announcing the request, Rice said the U.S. “will work to support the aspirations of the Iranian people for freedom and democracy in their country.”[20]
    The Christian Science Monitor reported candidly on the “implicit goal” of the requested funds as being “regime change from within”, and similarly noted that “The money will go toward boosting broadcasts in Farsi to Iran, support for opposition groups, and student exchanges.”
    A former specialist on the Middle East from the National Security Council, Raymond Tanter suggested the U.S. could work with an Iranian opposition group, the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK). “If we are serious about working with groups from within,” he said, “it will have to be with the MEK, because there’s no other opposition force the regime cares about.”
    Mehdi Marand, a spokesman for the Council for Democratic Change in Iran, similarly said that some in the Congress were ready to remove the MEK from the terrorist list. “If the US really wants to help the democratic forces inside Iran,” he said, “the only way is to remove restrictions from the opposition.”[21]
    The problem is that the MEK is on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations. Based in Iraq, the group came under the sway of the U.S. after the 2003 invasion that overthrew the regime of Saddam Hussein.
    According to former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter, who was among a few lone voices pointing out prior to the invasion of Iraq that there was no credible evidence the country still possessed weapons of mass destruction, the U.S. was already working with the MEK. Well prior, in 2005, Ritter wrote that the Bush administration had authorized a number of covert operations inside Iran. “The most visible of these”, he wrote, “is the CIA-backed actions recently undertaken by the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, or MEK, an Iranian opposition group, once run by Saddam Hussein’s dreaded intelligence services, but now working exclusively for the CIA’s Directorate of Operations.” The MEK’s CIA-backed operations within Iran included “terror bombings”, Ritter charged.[22]
    A State Department cable unclassified in March, 2006 and entitled “Recruiting the Next Generation of Iran Experts” began by asserting that “Effectively addressing the Iran challenge ranks as one of the highest foreign policy priorities for our Government over the next decade.” The document outlines a plan developed under then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to “promote freedom and demoncracy [sic] in Iran.”
    To this end, the State Department created the Office of Iranian Affairs (OIA) under the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, which would “reach out to the Iranian people” and bring more Iran experts into the Foreign Service and more Persian-speaking officers into the OIA, the Intelligence and Research Bureau (INR), and other branches of the State Department. Part of the “outreach” effort would be based in Dubai, a “natural location” for a regional office due to its “proximity to Iran and access to an Iranian diaspora”.[23]
    The Dubai office would be modeled on the listening station in the Latvian capital of Riga, according to the document, which was where the U.S. had a listening station to gather information on the Soviet Union during the 1920s (George Kennan was at one time stationed there). The Iranian media has referred to the station as the “regime-change office.” A State Department official based in Dubai said the office’s purpose “is to get a sense of what’s going on in Iran. It is not some recruiting office and is not organizing the next revolution in Iran.”[24]
    But the State Department cable also stated that among responsibilities of the Deputy Director of the Dubai station would be to seek “ways to use USG programs and funding to support Iranian political and civic organizations” and “to alert Washington on [the] need to issue statements on behalf of Iranian dissidents.”
    The OIA would also create an International Relations Officer Generalist (IROG) position in Istanbul to advance “U.S. policy objectives with the Iranian [expatriate] community” in Turkey and Israel. A similar position would be created for the same purpose in Frankfurt, London, and Baku.[25]
    In an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times critical of the Bush administration’s designs on Iran, Charles A. Kupchan, a professor of international affairs at Georgetown University and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and Ray Takeyh, also a senior fellow at the CFR, observed that the objective was “not just to contain Tehran’s nuclear ambitions but also to topple the Iranian government.” Their main criticism with the new “strategy for regime change” is that it was likely to “backfire and only strengthen Tehran’s hard-liners” by giving them cause to decry “U.S. ‘interference’” and thus lending them political leverage to implement a crackdown on dissidents.[26]
    When asked whether the OIA was intended to promote regime change, a State Department senior official told CNN it was “to facilitate a change in Iranian policies and actions” before acknowledging, “Yes, one of the things we want to develop is a government that reflects the desires of the people, but that is a process for the Iranians.”[27]
    Then US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton acknowledged in October 2006 that regime change was the “ultimate objective” of the U.S. sanctions policy, and adding that it “puts pressure on them internally” and “helps democratic forces” within the country and amongst the Iranian diaspora.[28]
    Administration officials told the New York Times that then Vice President Dick Cheney was promoting the “drive to bring Iranian scholars and students to America, blanket the country with radio and television broadcasts and support Iranian political dissidents.” The program was to be “overseen by Elizabeth Cheney, a principal deputy assistant secretary for Near Eastern affairs, who is also the vice president’s daughter.”[29]
    A Washington Post article on the new office noted money would be spent on “opposition activities” and observed that “Although administration officials do not use the term ‘regime change’ in public, that in effect is the goal they outline as they aim to build resistance to the theocracy.” The Post also noted that a “setback” for the Bush administration had come when Congress cut $19 million from the funding that would mainly affect broadcast operations, thus affecting plans to increase Voice of America (VOA) broadcasts into Iran to 24-hours a day.[30]
    The Financial Times reported in April, 2006 that the effort was being coordinated with the U.K. and noted that criticism of the administration’s strategy included some of the same Iranians the program was designed to bolster. “Serious Iranian opposition politicians are virtually unanimous in saying that foreign funding of activities designed to promote democracy, especially by the US or UK, would be counter-productive”, the Financial Times reported. The article also quoted Ali Akbar Javanfekr, a press adviser to President Ahmadinejad, as saying that Iranians are “alert” to the “propaganda of enemies”.[31]
    In May, the Los Angeles Times reported that the OIA was headed by David Denehy, a specialist at the International Republican Institute (IRI).[32] The IRI has been a recipient of NED funds, and was active in Venezuela, including the year of the attempted coup, when the IRI received $299,999 from NED to “train” political parties (including the IRI, over $1 million in grants was given by NED to groups operating in Venezuela in 2002).[33]
    NIAC president Trita Parsi explained the goal of the U.S. policy by saying, “The administration is trying to make regime change through democratization the policy, instead of making confrontation by military means the policy.”
    The L.A. Times also reported that “at the Pentagon, an Iranian directorate will work with the State Department office to undercut the government in Tehran.” The new Iranian directorate, the report noted, “has been set up inside its policy shop, which previously housed the Office of Special Plans [OSP]”.[34]
    The OSP was the office headed by Douglas Feith that was created to bypass the normal intelligence review process and stovepipe information bolstering the policy of regime change in Iraq, including information from Iraqi dissidents like Ahmad Chalabi, who was afforded little credibility outside Feith’s office.
    In an article for Rolling Stone, author James Bamford revealed how a member of Feith’s cabal at the OSP, Michael Ledeen, set up a meeting with Iranian dissidents to further the goal of regime change in Iran. Ledeen had served as the Reagan administration’s intermediary with Israel during the illegal arms deal that became known as the Iran-Contra Affair.
    At the meeting in Rome, Ledeen, along with Larry Franklin and Harold Rhode, met with an Iranian named Manucher Ghorbanifer in a safehouse provided by Nicolò Pollari, the director of Italy’s Military Intelligence and Security Service (SISMI). Pollari had just months before been responsible for providing to that Bush administration what would later be revealed to have been fabricated documents purporting to show that Saddam Hussein had obtained yellowcake uranium from Africa. The men discussed the possibility of using the MEK to further their goal of regime change in Iran, according to Bamford’s sources who were familiar with the meeting.
    Additionally, Larry Franklin, who worked under Feith in the OSP, later met with two other men “who were also looking for ways to push the U.S. into a war with Iran.” The two men were Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). With the FBI watching, Franklin illegally passed classified information on a National Security Presidential Directive dealing with U.S. policy on Iran to AIPAC with the goal of having the influential Israeli lobby exert pressure on the White House to adopt the draft directive.
    In the July 24 article, Bamford wrote, “Over the past six months, the administration has adopted almost all of the hard-line stance advocated by the war cabal in the Pentagon…. To back up the tough talk, the State Department is spending $66 million to promote political changes inside Iran—funding the same kind of dissident groups that helped drive the U.S. to war in Iraq.”
    Writing in the New York Times Magazine in June, 2007, Negar Azimi wrote about how the Iranian newspaper Kayhan “editorializes almost daily about an elaborate network conspiring to topple the regime. Called ‘khaneh ankaboot,’ or ‘the spider nest,’ the network is reportedly bankrolled by the $75 million and includes everyone from George Soros to George W. Bush to Francis Fukuyama to dissident Iranians of all shades.”
    Azimi added, “If the spider’s nest had a headquarters, it might well be the Office of Iranian Affairs, which sits on the second floor of the State Department” and “was charged with outlining, in close consultation with Denehy, how to spend the democracy fund.”
    $36.1 million of the funds was to go to VOA Persian and Radio Farda. VOA has often featured Reza Pahlavi, son of the former Shah, who now lives in Maryland. On April 1, 2007, VOA featured the head of the Balochi terrorist group Jundallah, Abdel Malek Rigi, who was “introduced as the leader of an armed national resistance group.”
    Mehdi Khalaji, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who previously had worked for three years at Radio Farda, told Azimi that the VOA’s new administrators “do not seem to be able to distinguish between journalism and propaganda…. If you host the head of Jundallah and call him a freedom fighter or present a Voice of America run by monarchists, Iranians are going to stop listening.”[35]
    U.S. Covert Operations in Iran
    In April, 2006, investigative journalist Seymour M. Hersh wrote in the New Yorker magazine that “The Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack.”
    A source with ties to the Pentagon told Hersh that American units were operating in Iran and “working with minority groups in Iran, including the Azeris, in the north, the Balochis, in the southeast, and the Kurds, in the northeast.” The principle goal was to “‘encourage ethnic tensions’ and undermine the regime.”[36]
    Asia Times Online reported shortly thereafter that a “former Iranian ambassador and Islamic Republic insider” had provided details “about US covert operations inside Iran aimed at destabilizing the country and toppling the regime – or preparing for an American attack.” According to the source, “The Iranian government knows and is aware of such infiltration.”
    Richard Sale, intelligence correspondent for United Press International, corroborated the charges made by Hersh, saying that “The Iranian accusations are true,” but that “it is being done on such a small scale – a series of pinpricks – it would seem to have no strategic value at all.”
    The Asia Times Online article continued, noting recent unrest in Iranian ethnic minority communities, including amongst Kurdish, Arab, and Balochi populations. In one incident “in late January, a previously unknown Sunni Muslim group called Jundallah (Soldier of Allah) captured nine Iranian soldiers in the remote badlands of Sistan-Balochistan province that borders Afghanistan and Pakistan.”[37]
    In July, Seymour Hersh repeated in an interview with NPR that the U.S. was supporting anti-regime terrorist groups including the MEK, Jundallah, and the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK). “The strategic thinking behind this covert operation is to provoke enough trouble and chaos so that the Iranian government makes the mistake of taking aggressive action which will give the impression of a country in acute turmoil”, Hersh said, in order to give the White House a casus belli.[38]
    In a July 29 article, Scott Ritter wrote that “American taxpayer dollars are being used, with the permission of Congress, to fund activities that result in Iranians being killed and wounded, and Iranian property destroyed…. The CIA today provides material support to the actions of the MEK inside Iran. The recent spate of explosions in Iran … appears to be linked to an MEK operation….”[39]
    Hersh wrote another article in the New Yorker in November noting that the Pentagon was increasingly conducting covert operations that had traditionally been the CIA’s domain and giving further details about its activities in Iran. “In the past six months, Israel and the United States have been working together in support of a Kurdish resistance group known as the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan”, which has conducted raids into Iran. He repeated that the “Pentagon has established covert relationships with Kurdish, Azeri, and Balochi tribesman, and has encouraged their efforts to undermine the regime’s authority in northern and southeastern Iran.”[40]
    On Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh joined Scott Ritter in a conversation about the topic of Ritter’s book, Target Iran: The Truth About the White House’s Plans for Regime Change, which claimed the U.S. was conducting operations in Iran using the MEK. Ritter said the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad was building a station in Azerbaijan to work with Iran’s Azeri population and was also working closely with the MEK.[41]
    On February 27, 2007, the London Telegraph reported, “America is secretly funding militant ethnic separatist groups in Iran in an attempt to pile pressure on the Islamic regime to give up its nuclear program.
    “In a move that reflects Washington’s growing concern with the failure of diplomatic initiatives, CIA officials are understood to be helping opposition militias among the numerous ethnic minority groups clustered in Iran’s border regions.
    “The operations are controversial because they involve dealing with movements that resort to terrorist methods in pursuit of their grievances against the Iranian regime.
    “In the past year there has been a wave of unrest in ethnic minority border areas of Iran, with bombing and assassination campaigns against soldiers and government officials.
    “Such incidents have been carried out by the Kurds in the west, the Azeris in the north-west, the Ahwazi Arabs in the south-west, and the Balochis in the south-east.”
    A former high-ranking CIA official told the Telegraph that the CIA’s funding for opposition and separatist groups was “no great secret”.
    Fred Burton, a former US State Department counter-terrorism agent and author of Ghost: Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent (published in 2008), also told the Telegraph that “The latest attacks inside Iran fall in line with US efforts to supply and train Iran’s ethnic minorities to destabilize the Iranian regime.”
    And John Pike of the Global Security think tank in Washington said, “The activities of the ethnic groups have hotted up [sic] over the last two years and it would be a scandal if that was not at least in part the result of CIA activity.” Pike also said that “A faction in the Defense Department wants to unleash” the MEK. “They could never overthrow the current Iranian regime but they might cause a lot of damage.”[42]
    Journalist and later author of The Iran Agenda: The Real Story of U.S. Policy and the Middle East Crisis (published in October 2007) Reese Erlich told Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! in March 2007 that the U.S. was using Kurdish groups against Iran. “In the case of one group,” he disclosed, “the P.K.K. or the Kurdistan Workers Party and they are, along with Israel, sponsoring them to carry out guerilla raids inside Iran, and it’s part of a much wider plan by the United States to foment discontent and actual terrorist activities by ethnic Iranians in various parts of Iran. And when I was in northern Iraq, I was able to determine that that kind of activity is going on from Iraqi soil under the Kurdish controlled areas of Iraq, into Iran.”
    Erlich also explained how the PJAK was formed as a breakaway group from the PKK and added that “they’re playing a very similar game with the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, another Iranian Group, and with groups in Balochistan, which is near the Pakistan Iranian border where some revolutionary guard bus was blown up.” He added that Israel was also “backing various Kurdish groups.”[43]
    Further corroboration was given in April, according to the ABC News blog “The Blotter”, which reported that according to U.S. and Pakistani intelligence sources, the Balochi group Jundullah, operating out of the Balochistan province in Pakistan, was carrying out deadly operations inside Iran under the guidance and encouragement of the U.S. Funding for Jundullah was not provided directly, but instead, “Tribal sources tell ABC News that money for Jundullah is funneled to its youthful leader, Abdel Malik Regi, through Iranian exiles who have connections with European and Gulf states.”
    Referencing the attack on the bus Erlich spoke of in his interview with Amy Goodman, ABC News noted that Jundullah had taken credit for a number of terrorist attacks and kidnappings, including “an attack in February that killed at least 11 members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard riding on a bus in the Iranian city of Zahedan.”[44]
    Again in May, ABC News reported that “The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert ‘black’ operation to destabilize the Iranian government,” according to current and former intelligence officials. The presidential finding “reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran’s currency and international financial transactions.”
    Retired CIA senior official Bruce Riedel said he couldn’t “confirm or deny whether such a program exists”, but added that “it would be consistent with an overall American approach trying to find ways to put pressure on the regime”.
    Vali Nasr, adjunct senior fellow for Mideast studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, told ABC News, “I think everybody in the region knows that there is a proxy war already afoot with the United States supporting anti-Iranian elements in the region as well as opposition groups within Iran”.[45]
    The same day as the ABC News report, the Telegraph also reported that “President George W Bush has given the CIA approval to launch covert ‘black’ operations to achieve regime change in Iran, intelligence sources have revealed.” The official document endorsed “CIA plans for a propaganda and disinformation campaign intended to destabilize, and eventually topple, the theocratic rule of the mullahs.” The plan would also include sabotaging Iran’s economy “by manipulating the country’s currency and international financial transactions.”[46]
    In July, 2008, former Pakistan Army Chief General Mirza Aslam Baig went public with the charge that the U.S. was backing Jundullah operations based out of Balochistan province.[47]
    Jundullah claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing of the Amir al-Mohini mosque in the city of Zahedan on May 14, 2009, and said the target had Revolutionary Guards holding a meeting inside. Iran accused the U.S. of being behind the bombing.[48]
    Jalal Sayyah, an official at the governor’s office in Sistan-Baluchestan province, told state radio, “The terrorists, who were equipped by America in one of our neighboring countries, carried out this criminal act in their efforts to create religious conflict and fear and to influence the presidential election”.[49] Interior Minister Sadegh Mahsooli similarly said, “Enemies try to influence the election by terror, just as they did in Zahedan yesterday…. The terror agents are neither Sunni nor Shiite but American and Israeli seeking a Sunni-Shiite divide.” Opposition candidate to President Ahmadinejad Mir-Hossein Mousavi also blamed “foreign forces” for the bombing.[50]
    The U.S. naturally denied the charge. “We condemn this terrorist attack in the strongest possible terms,” said State Department spokesman Ian Kelly. “We do not sponsor any form of terrorism in Iran.”[51] White House spokesman Robert Gibbs issued a statement saying, “The United States strongly condemns the recent terrorist attacks in Iran…. The American people send their deepest condolences to the victims and their families. No cause justifies terrorism, and the United States condemns it in any form, in any country, against any people.”[52]
    The next day, gunmen attacked President Ahmadinejad’s campaign headquarters in Zahedan, and three men were arrested as they tried to escape.[53] The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported that three people, including a child, had been wounded in the attack. According to Al-Arabiya, a Saudi-financed channel in Dubai, Jundullah had claimed responsibility for the attack.[54]
    On June 9, 2009, just days before the presidential election, the Iranian state news agency Press TV reported that the brother of Jundullah leader Abdel Malik Rigi, Abdulhamid Rigi, had confirmed in an interview that the U.S. had met with the group since 2005 and helped to arm them. He himself had also met with the Americans in Islamabad, Pakistan, he said, according to the report.[55]
    A ‘Velvet Revolution’
    Two months before the election, Iran announced that its Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) had uncovered a plot to overthrow the regime and accused the Netherlands of conspiring with the U.S. and U.K. to provide financial support to opposition groups and websites for “anti-government activities” to bring about a “soft overthrow” of the government.[56]
    Following the disputed election that resulted in an overwhelming win for the incumbent candidate President Ahmadinejad, rallies erupted in the streets of Tehran, with protesters charging that the election had been fraudulent and calling for an annulment of the announced result. Protests in some cases turned into riots resulting in property destruction and acts of arson. State security forces responded violently to some protests, and the state-backed Basij militia was blamed for storming Tehran University and killing 13.[57] The Basij was also blamed for other atrocities, including the murder of a young woman identified as Neda Agha Soltan. Neda was captured on a grisly video that has gone viral on the internet showing her lying in the street bleeding to death after apparently having been shot.[58]
    Amid the chaos and charges of foreign interference in the elections, Iran cracked down further on dissent, blocking websites and issuing a ban on foreign reporters. During the confusion, the social-networking internet site Twitter reportedly became an important means for protesters to organize and keep each other updated. A Twitter user posts brief updates (“tweets”) via a web browser or cell phone text messaging. Other users may subscribe to that user’s tweets to receive instant updates. Thus, despite efforts to block other internet sites, Iran could not put a stop to Twitter activity without blocking all SMS communications.
    But the “Twitter Revolution”, as some Western media have dubbed it, may not be all it appears. Blogs in the U.S. exploded with unconfirmed reports based on anonymously submitted tweets, many ostensibly coming from inside Iran. But as the Washington Post observed, “It is hard to say how much twittering is actually going on inside Iran.”[59]
    While much of what was being Twittered has since been confirmed, there has been no shortage of dubious information going around. The New York Times observed that “just as Twitter has helped get out first-hand reports from Tehran, it has also spread inaccurate information, perhaps even disinformation.” Among the false information spread via Twitter and repeated by bloggers were: “That three millon protested in Tehran last weekend (more like a few hundred thousand); that the opposition candidate Mir Hussein Moussavi was under house arrest (he was being watched); that the president of the election monitoring committee declared the election invalid last Saturday (not so).”[60]
    The popularity of the latter claim was in no small part due to a post by Andrew Sullivan in his popular blog “The Daily Dish” at The Atlantic. Sullivan reported, “Yes, the president of Iran’s own election monitoring commission has declared the result invalid and called for a do-over. That is huge news: when a regime’s own electoral monitors beak [sic] ranks, what chance does the regime have of persuading anyone in the world or Iran that it has democratic legitimacy?”[61]
    Sullivan linked to a Farsi language website as his source, Peykeiran.com,[62] but Sullivan admittedly cannot read Farsi, so he was clearly merely relaying information he saw elsewhere, perhaps on Twitter, without attribution. Sullivan’s relayed claim, whatever its true origin, was promptly repeated in blogs across the net following his posting it at The Daily Dish.
    But when shown the post and the linked-to page in Farsi, Kourosh Ziabari, an Iranian journalist and correspondent for Foreign Policy Journal, replied, “Actually, Andrew Sullivan has made a mistake, as far as I see. The one who asserted that the election results were invalid was Ali-Akbar Mohtashami, the Administrator for the Committee of Votes Preservation at the national campaign of Mir-Hossein Mousavi.”[63] This is hardly the same “huge news” Sullivan claimed it to be.
    The New York Times also observed that “Not only is it hard to be sure that what appears on Twitter is accurate, but some Twitterers may even be trying to trick you.” An example cited is that of fabricated posts purporting to be from ABC News reporter Jim Sciutto.[64]
    In that case, Sciutto said, the Iranian government attempted “to turn technology against the protesters. Officials have started a number of fake opposition pages on Twitter, which are tweeting propaganda and misleading information.”[65]
    Sciutto offered no evidence that it was actually the Iranian government that was responsible for Twittering in his name, but then, of course, it is easy to accept that the Iranian government is using Twitter to spread misinformation simply as a matter of faith. And yet, despite the great amount of false or unsubstantiated claims made by apparent supporters of the opposition, there’s reluctance on the part of the mainstream media and bloggers to attribute to it the word “propaganda”, much less to suggest that there might have been a coordinated effort by anti-regime groups or foreign intelligence services to spread misinformation or foment unrest.
    Evgeny Morozov, a blogger for Foreign Policy and a fellow at the Open Society Institute, questioned the “Twitter revolution” in an op-ed for the Boston Globe. He pointed out that “social media could do wonders when it comes to making many people aware of government’s abuse or the venue of a rally”, but “organizing protests is quite different from publicizing them; the former requires absolute secrecy, that latter one strives for the opposite.”
    “However tempting it might be to attribute the Iranian protests to the power of Twitter, Facebook, and other social media,” Morozov added, “we should be extremely careful in our conclusions, especially given that the evidence we are working with is extremely sparse.”[66]
    Morozov also told the Washington Post that it “is not at all certain” that Twitter “has helped to organize protests”, but “in terms of involving the huge Iranian diaspora and everyone else with a grudge against Ahmadinejad, it has been very successful.”
    During a live discussion with readers, he observed that many posters had listed their location as Tehran in “solidarity” and that the Iranian diaspora was highly active in using social media. He also pointed out that it isn’t known whether a person with an Iranian sounding name posting content Farsi about events in Tehran was actually “in Tehran or, say, Los Angeles”.[67]
    When Twitter Inc scheduled maintenance for the website, the U.S. asked the company to postpone the work so the service would not be interrupted as it was being used to rally people into the streets to protest the election. “One of the areas where people are able to get out the word is through Twitter,” a senior State Department official told reporters. “They announced they were going to shut down their system for maintenance and we asked them not to.”[68]
    Iran shortly thereafter summoned the Swiss ambassador, who also represents U.S. interests in the country since the U.S. severed diplomatic relations after the 1979 revolution, to complain about American interference in Iranian affairs.[69]
    One might be tempted to argue that the strategy for regime change implemented under the Bush administration that including funding for propaganda, support for Iranian dissident groups, and backing for anti-regime militants and terrorists has changed under the new administration of President Barack Obama. There is no evidence, many have pointed out, of U.S. meddling in the Iranian election.
    But then, neither is there any clear indication that Obama ever revoked the policy strategy implemented under Bush. The most likely scenario is that Obama has put the military option favored by some in the Bush administration on the back burner in favor of other means to carry out a change of regime in Iran.
    Whatever the case may be, given the record of U.S. interference in the state affairs of Iran and clear policy of regime change, it certainly seems possible, even likely, that the U.S. had a significant role to play in helping to bring about the recent turmoil in an effort to undermine the government of the Islamic Republic.

    Certain name variants in this report have been changed within quoted text for consistency. British spellings have also been changed to American English. An earlier version of this report said that Al-Arabiya was a “state owned” channel. It is a Saudi-financed channel operating out of Dubai and the text has been changed to reflect this.
    [1] Remarks by President Barack Obama in Cairo, Egypt, White House, June 4, 2009
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_...rsity-6-04-09/
    [2] David Lowe, “Idea To Reality: A Brief History of the National Endowment for Democracy”, National Endowment for Democracy, Accessed June 22, 2009
    http://www.ned.org/about/nedhistory.html
    [3] William Blum, Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2000), p. 180
    [4] Susan F. Rasky, “C.I.A. Tied to Nicaragua Provocations”, New York Times, September 21, 1988
    http://www.nytimes.com/1988/09/21/wo...vocations.html
    William Blum, Rogue State, p. 175
    [5] William Blum, Rogue State, p. 157
    [6] Ibid., p. 157-8
    [7] Ibid., p. 183
    [8] Ibid., p. 177
    [9] Ibid., p. 182
    [10] William Blum, “US coup against Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, 2002” (Excerpted from Freeing the World to death: Essays on the American Empire), KillingHope.org, accessed June 22, 2009
    http://killinghope.org/essays6/venez.htm
    Eva Golinger, “The Proof is in the Documents: The CIA Was Involved in the Coup Against Venezuelan President Chavez”, VenezuelaiFOIA.info, accessed June 22, 2009
    http://venezuelafoia.info/evaenglish.html
    [11] Information on grants for years 2005-2007 available on the National Endowment for Democracy website, accessed June 22, 2009
    http://www.ned.org
    [12] Information from the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation website, accessed June 22, 2009
    http://www.iranrights.org/
    [13] WHOIS domain lookup, accessed June 22, 2009
    http://www.whois.net
    [14] National Endowment for Democracy website, accessed June 22, 2009
    http://www.ned.org/grants/06programs...na06.html#iran
    [15] Information from the National Iranian American Council website, accessed June 22, 2009
    http://www.niacouncil.org/index.php?...=826&Itemid=28
    [16] “The neocons have learned nothing from five years of catastrophe”, The Guardian, January 31, 2007
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf...31/comment.usa
    [17] National Endowment for Democracy website, accessed June 22, 2009
    [18] “NIAC Calls for New Election in Iran”, National Iranian American Council Press Release, June 20, 2009
    http://www.niacouncil.org/index.php?...=1452&Itemid=2
    [19] “US plotting Velvet Revolution in Iran?”, Press TV, November 18, 2008
    http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id...onid=351020101
    [20] Ewen MacAskill and Julian Borger, “Bush plans huge propaganda campaign in Iran”, The Guardian, February 16, 2006
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2006/feb/16/usnews.iran
    [21] Howard LaFranchi, “A bid to foment democracy in Iran”, Christian Science Monitor, February 17, 2006
    http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0217/p03s03-usfp.html
    [22] Scott Ritter, “The US War with Iran has Already Begun”, Al Jazeera, June 20, 2005
    http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0620-31.htm
    [23] “Recruiting the Next Generation of Iran Experts: New Opportunities in Washington, Dubai and Europe”, Unclassified State Department Cable, released March, 2006
    http://images1.americanprogress.org/...6/0293_001.pdf
    “New ‘Office of Iranian Affairs’ Outlined in State Department Cable”, Think Progress, March 1, 2006
    http://thinkprogress.org/2006/03/01/iran-doc/
    [24] Lionel Beehner and Greg Bruno, “Intelligence on Iran Still Lacking”, Council on Foreign Relations, December 4, 2007
    http://www.cfr.org/publication/12721/
    [25] “Recruiting the Next Generation of Iran Experts”
    [26] Charles A. Kupchan and Ray Takeyh, “The wrong way to fix Iran”, Los Angeles Times, February 26, 2006
    http://articles.latimes.com/2006/feb...n/oe-kupchan26
    [27] Elise Labott, “U.S. to sharpen focus on Iran”, CNN, March 2, 2006
    http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/03/02/us.iran/
    [28] Guy Dinmore and Daniel Dombey, “Bolton: sanctions ‘help regime change’”, Financial Times, October 24, 2006
    http://us.ft.com/ftgateway/superpage...0242214&page=2
    [29] Steven R. Weisman, “Cheney Warns of ‘Consequences’ for Iran on Nuclear Issue”, New York Times, March 8, 2006
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpag...pagewanted=all
    [30] Peter Baker and Glenn Kessler, “U.S. Campaign Is Aimed at Iran’s Leaders”, Washington Post, March 13, 2006; A01
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...031201016.html
    [31] Guy Dinmore, “US and UK develop democracy strategy for Iran”, Financial Times, April 21, 2006
    http://us.ft.com/ftgateway/superpage...1075322&page=1
    [32] Laura Rozen, “U.S. Moves to Weaken Iran”, Los Angeles Times, May 19, 2006
    http://articles.latimes.com/2006/may...ld/fg-usiran19
    [33] Grant information obtained from the National Endowment for Democracy website, accessed June 23, 2009
    http://www.ned.org/grants/02programs/grants-lac.html
    [34] Laura Rozen, “U.S. Moves to Weaken Iran”, Los Angeles Times, May 19, 2006
    http://articles.latimes.com/2006/may...ld/fg-usiran19
    [35] Negar Azimi, “Hard Realities of Soft Power”, New York Times Magazine, June 24, 2007
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/24/ma...gewanted=print
    [36] Seymour M. Hersh, “The Iran Plans”, New Yorker, April 17, 2006
    http://www.newyorker.com/archive/200.../060417fa_fact
    [37] “Tehran insider tells of US black ops”, Asia Times Online, April 25, 2006
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/HD25Ak02.html
    [38] “Seymour Hersh On Covert Operations in Iran”, NPR, June 30, 2006
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...oryId=92025860
    [39] Scott Ritter, “Acts of War”, Truthdig, July 19, 2008
    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/...9_acts_of_war/
    [40] Seymour M. Hersh, “The Next Act”, New Yorker, November 27, 2006
    http://www.newyorker.com/archive/200.../061127fa_fact
    [41] “Target Iran: Former UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter and Investigative Journalist Seymour Hersh on White House Plans for Regime Change”, Democracy Now!, December 21, 2006
    http://www.democracynow.org/2006/12/...pons_inspector
    [42] William Lowther and Colin Freeman, “US funds terror groups to sow chaos in Iran”, Telegraph, February 25, 2007
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...s-in-Iran.html
    [43] “Report: U.S. Sponsoring Kurdish Guerilla Attacks Inside Iran”, Democracy Now!, March 27, 2007
    http://www.democracynow.org/2007/3/2...rdish_guerilla
    [44] “ABC News Exclusive: The Secret War Against Iran”, ABC News ‘The Blotter’, April 3, 2007
    http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/...ws_exclus.html
    [45] “Bush Authorizes New Covert Action Against Iran”, ABC News ‘The Blotter’, May 22, 2007
    http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/...uthorizes.html
    [46] Tim Shipman, “Bush sanctions ‘black ops’ against Iran”, The Telegraph, May 27, 2007
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...inst-Iran.html
    [47] “Former Pakistan Army Chief General Retired Mirza Aslam Baig says Iran and Pakistan under siege of western conspiracies”, Pakistan Daily, July 8, 2008
    http://www.daily.pk/politics/politic...spiracies.html
    “‘US backs Jundullah to destabilize Iran’”, Press TV, July 9, 2008
    http://www.presstv.ir/Detail.aspx?id...onid=351020101
    [48] ‘Gunmen attack’ south Iran election office”, BBC News, May 29, 2009
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8074640.stm
    [49] “Iran official blames U.S. in deadly mosque bombing”, Reuters, May 29, 2009
    http://www.reuters.com/article/topNe...edName=topNews
    [50] “Gunmen attack Ahmadinejad election office”, Agence France-Presse, May 29, 2009
    http://rawstory.com/news/afp/Gunmen_..._05292009.html
    [51] “‘Gunmen attack’ south Iran election office”, BBC News, May 29, 2009
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8074640.stm
    [52] “US condemns ‘terrorist attacks’ in Iran”, Agence France-Presse, May 30, 2009
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp...1VBz_0RwB7iVGQ
    [53] “‘Gunmen attack’ south Iran election office”
    [54] “Gunmen attack Ahmadinejad election office”
    [55] “Rigi’s brother exposes US ties with Jundullah”, Press TV, June 9, 2009
    http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id...onid=351020101
    [56] “Iran ‘uncovers cyber plot to topple gov’t’”, Press TV, April 11, 2009
    http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id...onid=351020101
    [57] Johns Lyons, “Students slaughtered in Tehran university attack”, The Australian, June 19, 2009
    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au...96-601,00.html
    [58] Michael Weissenstein and Anna Johnson, “Amateur video turns woman into icon of Iran unrest”, Associated Press, June 23, 2009
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/...esBPAD9902QK00
    [59] Mike Musgrove, “Twitter Is a Player In Iran’s Drama”, Washington Post, June 17, 2009
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...061603391.html
    [60] Noam Cohen, “Twitter on the Barricades: Six Lessons Learned”, New York Times, June 20, 2009
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/21/we...1cohenweb.html
    [61] Andrew Sullivan, “Follow-Up On Earlier Posts”, The Atlantic ‘The Daily Dish’, June 13, 2009
    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.co...ier-posts.html
    [62] Peykeiran.com webpage, accessed June 23, 2009
    http://www.peykeiran.com/Content.aspx?ID=2104
    [63] E-mail correspondence with Kourosh Ziabari
    [64] Noam Cohen
    [65] “ABC’s Jim Sciutto’s Twitter Account ‘Hijacked’ By Pro Iranian Government Messengers”, ABC News ‘The World Newser’, June 18, 2009
    http://blogs.abcnews.com/theworldnew...essengers.html
    [66] Evgeny Morozov, “The repercussions of a ‘Twitter revolution’”, Boston Globe, June 20, 2009
    http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ed...er_revolution/
    [67] Evgeny Morozov, “Iran Elections: A Twitter Revolution?”, Washington Post, June 17, 2009
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...061702232.html
    [68] Mike Musgrove
    [69] Ali Akbar Dareini, “Iran accuses the US of meddling in election crisis”, Associated Press, June 17, 2009
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090617/..._iran_election


    Jeremy R. Hammond
    Jeremy R. Hammond is the Editor of Foreign Policy Journal, an online source for news, critical analysis, and opinion commentary on U.S. foreign policy. His articles have been featured and cited in numerous other print and online publications around the world. He has appeared in interviews on the GCN radio network, Talk Nation Radio, and Press TV’s Middle East Today program.
    http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  9. #9

    Default NED funds 'Reporters Without Borders'

    International Republican Institute Grants Uncovered

    Reporters Without Borders and Washington's Coups

    By DIANA BARAHONA and JEB SPRAGUE
    British press baron Lord Northcliff said, "News is something that someone, somewhere wants to keep secret, everything else is advertising." If this is true, then U.S. government funding of Reporters Without Borders must be news, because the organization and its friends in Washington have gone to extraordinary lengths to cover it up. In spite of 14 months of stonewalling by the National Endowment for Democracy over a Freedom of Information Act request and a flat denial from RSF executive director Lucie Morillon, the NED has revealed that Reporters Without Borders received grants over at least three years from the International Republican Institute.
    The NED still refuses to provide the requested documents or even reveal the grant amounts, but they are identified by these numbers: IRI 2002-022/7270, IRI 2003-027/7470 and IRI 2004-035/7473. Investigative reporter Jeremy Bigwood asked Morillon on April 25 if her group was getting any money from the I.R.I., and she denied it, but the existence of the grants was confirmed by NED assistant to the president, Patrick Thomas.
    The discovery of the grants reveals a major deception by the group, which for years denied it was getting any Washington dollars until some relatively small grants from the NED and the Center for a Free Cuba were revealed (see Counterpunch: "Reporters Without Borders Unmasked"). When asked to account for its large income RSF has claimed the money came from the sale of books of photographs. But researcher Salim Lamrani has pointed out the improbability of this claim. Even taking into account that the books are published for free, it would have had to sell 170 200 books in 2004 and 188 400 books in 2005 to earn the more than $2 million the organization claims to make each year * 516 books per day in 2005. The money clearly had to come from other sources, as it turns out it did.
    The I.R.I., an arm of the Republican Party, specializes in meddling in elections in foreign countries, as a look at NED annual reports and the I.R.I. website shows. It is one of the four core grantees of the NED, the organization founded by Congress under the Reagan administration in 1983 to replace the CIA's civil society covert action programs, which had been devastated by exposure by the Church committee in the mid-1970s (Ignatius, 1991). The other three pillars of the NED are the National Democratic Institute (the Democratic Party), the Solidarity Center (AFL-CIO) and the Center for International Private Enterprise (U.S. Chamber of Commerce). But of all the groups the I.R.I. is closest to the Bush administration, according to a recent piece in The New York Times exposing its role in the overthrow of Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide:
    "President Bush picked its president, Lorne W. Craner, to run his administration's democracy-building efforts. The institute, which works in more than 60 countries, has seen its federal financing nearly triple in three years, from $26 million in 2003 to $75 million in 2005. Last spring, at an I.R.I. fund-raiser, Mr. Bush called democracy-building 'a growth industry.'" (Bogdanich and Nordberg, 2006)
    Funding from the I.R.I. presents a major problem for RSF's credibility as a "press freedom" organization because the group manufactured propaganda against the popular democratic governments of Venezuela and Haiti at the same time that its patron, the I.R.I., was deeply involved in efforts to overthrow them. The I.R.I. funded the Venezuelan opposition to President Hugo Chavez (Barry, 2005) and actively organized Haitian opposition to Aristide in conjunction with the CIA (Bogdanich and Nordberg, 2006).
    The man who links RSF to these activities is Otto Reich, who worked on the coups first as assistant secretary of state for Latin American affairs, and, after Nov. 2002, as a special envoy to Latin America on the National Security Council. Besides being a trustee of the government-funded Center for a Free Cuba, which gives RSF $50,000 a year, Reich has worked since the early 1980's with the I.R.I.'s senior vice president, Georges Fauriol, another member of the Center for a Free Cuba. But it is Reich's experience in propaganda that is especially relevant. In the 1980's he was caught up in investigations into the Reagan administration's illegal war on the Sandinistas. The comptroller general determined in 1987 that Reich's Office of Public Diplomacy had "engaged in prohibited covert propaganda activities." (Bogdanich and Nordberg, 2006). In early 2002, once George Bush had given him a recess appointment to the State Department, "Reich was soon tasked to orchestrate a massive international media defamation campaign against Chávez that has continued until this day" (Conkling and Goble, 2004).
    Did Reich introduce RSF to the I.R.I. grants and coach the group in its propaganda efforts against Aristide, Chavez and Cuba? A look at the group's methods indicates this may be the case; the propaganda against Aristide, a former priest, was as crude as any of Reich's trademark slanders of Latin American leaders. RSF branded the Haitian president a "predator of press freedom" after linking him, without any evidence whatsoever, to the murders of journalists Jean Dominique and Brignol Lindor. It prominently featured photographs of the journalists' bodies on its web site, turning them into poster victims of Aristide's alleged repression against the press.
    In 2002 RSF wrote, "A journalist was beaten to death in the town of Petit-Goâve on 3 December 2001 by a gang of killers with ties to local politicians and President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's Lavalas ("Avalanche") movement. The murder happened at a time when press freedom in Haiti was steadily deteriorating in the wake of the killing of Jean Dominique, head of the radio station Haiti-Inter, on 3 April the previous year" (Lionet and Avila, 2002). Note the intentional mistranslation of Lavalas (which means flood, not avalanche), and the way RSF tied the gang of killers to "Aristide's Lavalas movement," implying that the president himself was in charge of the gang.
    The article is riddled with this kind of innuendo and outright falsehoods: "In this atmosphere, the killing of Lindor was seen by the entire media as a new warning." Here RSF has already tried and convicted Aristide by implying that he ordered the murders of the journalists to send a warning to the opposition media not to be critical of him. But Jean Dominique was murdered in April of 2000, many months before Aristide was even elected, and there is likewise no evidence the president had knowledge of the Lindor murder.
    In the same piece RSF called the Aristide government an "authoritarian regime," accused him of calling for lynchings by the "necklace" method (see origin of this slander below), described Aristide supporters as "street thugs" and concluded that all of these alleged actions the group imputed to the government were "part of a wider strategy by the authorities to make use of para-legal militias to intimidate the media."
    The propaganda would have been bad enough if RSF hadn't taken additional steps to help strangle the desperately poor, aid-dependent country * a tactic it has also tried to employ against Cuba (Barahona, 2005). AP quotes Secretary General Robert Menard, referring to the government's alleged failure to bring Dominique's killer to justice, "President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is responsible for this obstruction, and we will list him among the Predators of Press Freedom, if no progress is made in coming months" (Norton, 2001).
    The article continued,"Menard said he hoped the list, which would be sent to world governments and financial institutions, would help influence the European Union to prolong the suspension of some $100 million in foreign assistance." The economic sanctions imposed by the United States caused inflation to soar and deprived the government of the money it needed to operate or defend itself. To illustrate RSF's double standards, Colombia has a dismal record when it comes to prosecuting the killers of journalists, but Menard has never lobbied the United States or the EU to cut off aid to the Uribe government.
    But Reporters Without Borders wasn't content with a mere cutoff in aid; by January 2002 Menard was calling on the U.S. Congress and the EU to take "individual sanctions" against Aristide and Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, including "the refusal of entry and transit visas" and "the freezing of any foreign bank accounts they have" (Norton, 2002).
    Following the Feb. 29, 2004 ouster of Aristide, RSF ignored nearly all of the violence and persecution against journalists critical of the foreign-imposed Latortue government, instead claiming that press freedom had increased. RSF's 2005 and 2006 reports failed to condemn the extrajudicial execution of community journalist and radio reporter Abdias Jean, whom witnesses say was killed by police after he had snapped shots of three youngsters the police had killed. It also ignored the arrests of journalists Kevin Pina (Pacifica Radio) and Jean Ristil, and failed to properly investigate several attacks on pro-Lavalas radio stations.
    Asked for his response to news of the grants, Pina had the following to say: "It was clear early on that RSF and Robert Menard were not acting as objective guardians of freedom of the press in Haiti but rather as central actors in what can only be described as a disinformation campaign against Aristide's government. Their attempts to link Aristide to the murder of Jean Dominique and their subsequent silence when the alleged hit man, Lavalas Senator Dany Toussaint, joined the anti-Aristide camp and ran for president in 2006 is just one of many examples that expose the real nature and role of organizations like RSF. They provide false information and skewed reports to build internal opposition to governments seen as uncontrollable and unpalatable to Washington while softening the ground for their eventual removal by providing justification under the pretext of attacks on the freedom of the press."
    We asked the group's Haiti expert based in Paris why RSF had ignored the murder of Abdias Jean, and he said, "We asked the police about the killings of Abdias Jean and we were told by the police that it was an attack made by the police but that they didn't know he was a journalist. He was taking pictures." He admitted that none of the witnesses to the murder had been interviewed, while all the unpublished information he had on the case was based on the testimony of the police, known for their widespread killings and abuses. Regarding the arrest of Pina and Ristil he said, "Generally when somebody is put in jail, we wait to see how long they will stay.They were released so we did not take up that case." Considering RSF never took up the case of Abdias Jean, the likelihood it would stick its neck out for Pina, a critic of both the interim government and of RSF, is negligible.
    He who pays the piper calls the tune. Taking its cues from the State Department, RSF has been guilty of demonizing governments that the U.S. wanted to overthrow, such as Cuba, Venezuela and Haiti, while downplaying the human rights abuses of strategic allies such as Mexico and Colombia. Because it was able to hide I.R.I. grants which would have alerted people to its ulterior motives, RSF has been an effective tool in the Bush administration's covert attacks on recalcitrant Latin American leaders. The organization has also leveraged its image as an independent human rights organization to get its message into the U.S. media and university textbooks. This would be an impressive feat for a small group of individuals with no apparent journalistic credentials were it not for the fact that they have the richest, most powerful patrons in the world.
    Diana Barahona is an independent journalist with an interest in Latin American politics. She can be reached at dlbarahona@cs.com
    Jeb Sprague is a graduate student, freelance journalist, and a correspondent for Pacifica Radio's Flashpoints. Visit his blog at http://www.freehaiti.net
    Special thanks to Jeremy Bigwood and attorney Michael D. Steger.
    Barahona, D. (2005, May 17). Reporters Without Borders Unmasked: It's Secret Deal With Otto Reich to Wreak Cuba's Economy. Counterpunch.org.
    David Ignatius (Sept. 22, 1991). Innocence Abroad: The New World of Spyless Coups. The Washington Post. Retrieved from ProQuest database. "'A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA,' agrees [Allen] Weinstein."
    Bogdanich, Walt and Nordberg, Jenny (2006, Jan. 29). Mixed U.S. Signals Helped Tilt Haiti Towards Chaos. The New York Times. Retrieved from ProQuest database.
    Barry, Tom (2005, Aug. 4). Profile: International Republican Institute. International Relations Center. Retrieved July 4, 2006, from
    Conkling, Will and Goble, Sam (2004, July 13). Otto Reich: A Career In Disservice. Council on Hemispheric Affairs.
    Lionet, Christian and Avila, Calixto (2002, Sept. 10). Zero tolerance for the media : an enquiry into the murder of journalist Brignol Lindor. Reporters Without Borders. Retrieved on 7 July 2006 from www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=3755
    Necklace slander: The "necklace" allegations, as explained by Erwin Stotzky in his book Silencing the guns of Haiti , refered to a 1991 speech given by Aristide at the UN in which he vowed to "turn the streets red" employing the well-known kreyol protest mechanism of burning tires, with no explicit reference to "necklacing" or any method of violence. Soon after the speech, the Haiti Observateur, a right-wing opposition paper, twisted the kreyol metaphor into the allegation of support for "necklacing," which was recycled tenfold over the years by foreign media, CIA reports, and conservative think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation.
    Norton, Michael (2001, Nov. 24). International press freedom group blasts Haitian government for stalling progress in Jean Dominique murder investigation. Associated Press. Retrieved 7 July 2006 from Lexis-Nexis database.
    Obstruction slander: Three suspects (Ti Lou, Guimy and Markington) were arrested in connection with Dominique's murder under the Aristide government but they mysteriously escaped in a "prison mutiny" under Latortue's watch in February of 2005 and were never apprehended.
    Norton, Michael (2002, Jan. 10). Journalists Group Urges Sanctions for Haiti's President. Associated Press. Retrieved 7 July 2006 from Lexis-Nexis database. "Aristide is personally responsible for the deterioration of press freedom in Haiti and sanctions should be taken against him personally," Menard said.

    http://counterpunch.org/barahona08012006.html
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  10. #10

    Default National Endowment for Democracy info from Afro Cuban Web




    NED - National Endowment for Democracy

    "Together with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the National Endowment for Democracy has functioned as an instrument of the U.S. government’s democratization strategy over the past two decades. Whereas USAID is an agency of the State Department, quasi-governmental NED is organized as a nonprofit but funded almost entirely by the U.S. government. Since 1982, when President Reagan launched what he called a “crusade” to foster “free market democracies” and spread the a neoliberal version of the “magic of the marketplace,” both USAID and NED have channeled U.S. government development and public diplomacy funding into the democratization programs of the international institutes of the Republican and Democratic Parties, the AFL-CIO, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as well as a wide range of institutes, political parties, and nongovernmental organizations abroad." -- From World Movement for Democracy-Made in the USA 7/28/2009 Political Research Associates:
    Representative Gregory W. Meeks, Democrat - 6th District, NY, is a member of the NED Board of Directors.
    Particularly instructive are the NED activities in Haiti, where NED funding was viciously used to promote the elite and the military against the population. The articles below are sorted by country and include a section on Haiti.

    Some of our research on NED funding of anti-Castro organizations
    Invoking MLK and Rosa Parks in Cuban Exile Politics, Claude Betancourt, 5/30/09: Brothers to the Rescue, Florida's MLK Institute for Nonviolence, and manipulating Cuban dissidents.

    Articles

    Cuba

    Getting Smart About Cuba 3/8/2008 Foreign Policy in Focus: "Beyond the blood ties, there is a more subtle and significant architecture that supports the status quo. It’s a taxpayer-funded “embargo industry” that employs hundreds, if not thousands, whose livelihoods depend on Cuba remaining, well - Cuba. It began during the Reagan years with appropriations for Radio and TV Marti that today top $500 million to beam U.S. propaganda into Cuba. In the case of TV Marti, even $225 million can’t buy Cuban viewers since the Cuban government jams the signal. But a half a billion bucks does buy jobs, contracts and political loyalties. Almost simultaneously, hardliners helped create the National Endowment for Democracy. One of the agency’s first grants went to the powerful Cuban American National Foundation - a group that delivered the first Cuban-Americans to Congress. Since 2000, NED has provided at least $4.9 million to Cuba related pro-democracy programs. The windfall from these first programs emboldened the hardliners to write more legislation funding more work for Cuba democracy-builders, that is - embargo supporters - in Miami and worldwide. U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) grants to “support political transition in Cuba” totaling more than $40 million have gone primarily to Miami-based groups since they were first doled out in 1996."

    International Republican Institute Grants Uncovered Reporters Without Borders and Washington's Coups 8/1/2006 Counterpunch: "In spite of 14 months of stonewalling by the National Endowment for Democracy over a Freedom of Information Act request and a flat denial from RSF executive director Lucie Morillon, the NED has revealed that Reporters Without Borders received grants over at least three years from the International Republican Institute. The NED still refuses to provide the requested documents or even reveal the grant amounts, but they are identified by these numbers: IRI 2002-022/7270, IRI 2003-027/7470 and IRI 2004-035/7473. Investigative reporter Jeremy Bigwood asked Morillon on April 25 if her group was getting any money from the I.R.I., and she denied it, but the existence of the grants was confirmed by NED assistant to the president, Patrick Thomas. The discovery of the grants reveals a major deception by the group, which for years denied it was getting any Washington dollars until some relatively small grants from the NED and the Center for a Free Cuba were revealed (see Counterpunch: "Reporters Without Borders Unmasked"). When asked to account for its large income RSF has claimed the money came from the sale of books of photographs. But researcher Salim Lamrani has pointed out the improbability of this claim. Even taking into account that the books are published for free, it would have had to sell 170 200 books in 2004 and 188 400 books in 2005 to earn the more than $2 million the organization claims to make each year 516 books per day in 2005. The money clearly had to come from other sources, as it turns out it did."

    W. BUSH CON LOS FINANCISTAS DE ENCUENTRO 11/9/2003 Jiribillas: "Además de financiar a la terrorista Fundación Nacional Cubana Americana, la NED ha sido la principal fuente de dinero de las publicaciones fabricadas para la campaña de subversión contra Cuba, privilegiando entre ellas a la revista Encuentro, a la cual la «cuasi gubernamental agencia» beneficia con 83 000 dólares anuales, según consta en su página web."

    NED Covert Action Cuba 1/14/1996 CIA Base: "Some of the entries on NED operations related to CUBA are listed below."


    Haiti

    Haitian recipients of USAID/IRI/NED/EU to destabilize, starve democracy and foment violence and Coup D'etat, mostly under the guise of "democracy or justice and peace enhancement programs 6/1/2008 Marguerite Laurent: "The subcontracted Haitians below have sold the nation to foreigners and their NGOs in exchange for visas, jobs and a few "trickle down" dollars."

    Left, Right, Left, Right: Running off With Haiti's Democracy 2/15/2006 Zmag: "Further insight into the 'socialist coalition' is found in IRI reports from 2000 and 2001 for the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), obtained through FOIA by journalist Jeremy Bigwood. These reports describe how prominent members of opposition parties OPL and KONAKOM, Irvelt Cherie and Victor Benoit respectively, attended meetings with the IRI and U.S. officials in Washington, along with other prominent Haitians including Rudy Boulos, a wealthy business elite who would later help found the Washington-based Haiti Democracy Project, an anti-Aristide lobby group and think tank, and the foreign public relations arm of the Group of 184 and Democratic Convergence opposition bloc. Interestingly, Boulos resigned from his seat on the Board of the HDP in order to run for Senate in the NorthEast department with the Fusion, the party which comprise part of the "socialist coalition" and "agreement for modernity and democracy" signed with Haiti's right-wing parties in November. We should also recall that another Haiti Democracy Project Board member, Timothy Carney, also resigned in order to take over as interim Ambassador to Haiti. Carney has long been a fierce defender of the IRI's activities in Haiti and an ally of Haiti's elite. It was while he was U.S. Ambassador to Haiti in 1998-99 under Clinton that the IRI was forced to shut down its operations there, and set up shop in the Dominican Republic under the leadership of IRI Program Officer Stanley Lucas. In a recent NYT article, the IRI and Stanley Lucas were singled out as, in effect, 'rogue elements' straying from an otherwise benign U.S. 'democracy promotion' program for Haiti. Nowhere in the extensive NYT piece, nor in the IRI-led propaganda melee that has ensued, is there mention of an across-the-board strategy coordinated by the State Department, the NED, USAID, among other foreign actors, to collectively foster the conditions for elite rule in Haiti in strict accordance with the dictates of neoliberal globalization. One example of the coordinated effort to help build and consolidate an opposition to Aristide and Lavalas came from a current program officer for the National Endowment for Democracy. I spoke to Fabiola Cordova in December, 2005. She had just recently taken over at the NED's Washington office after some staff turnover in the Latin American and Caribbean division. Her experience in Haiti came from a six month job as an in-country program officer for the National Democratic Institute (NDI), one of the four core grantees of the NED. With combined grants coming from NED, the State Department, and USAID, NDI's budget for "democracy promotion" is over $100 million a year."

    U.S. Gvt. Channels Millions Through National Endowment for Democracy to Fund Anti-Lavalas Groups in Haiti 1/23/2006 Democracy Now: "The NED operates with an annual budget of $80 million dollars from U.S. Congress and the State Department. In Venezuela, it’s given money to several political opponents of President Hugo Chavez. With elections underway in Haiti, it’s reportedly doing the same to groups linked to the country’s tiny elite and former military. Last week Democracy Now! interviewed Anthony Fenton about NED’s activities in Haiti and across the Caribbean and Latin America. Fenton is an independent journalist and co-author of the book “Canada in Haiti: Waging War On The Poor Majority.” He has interviewed several top governmental and non-governmental officials dealing with Haiti as well as leading members of Haiti’s business community. Last month, he helped expose an NED-funded journalist who was filing stories for the Associated Press from Haiti. The Associated Press subsequently terminated its relationship with the journalist."

    Batay Ouvriye's Smoking Gun 1/10/2006 Znet: "Recently declassified National Endowment for Democracy (NED) documents reveal that a "leftist" workers' organization, Batay Ouvriye (BO), which promoted and called for the overthrow of the constitutionally elected government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was the targeted beneficiary of a US $99,965 NED grant routed through the AFL-CIO's American Center for International Solidarity (ACILS). Listed in NED's "Summary of Projects Approved in FY 2005" for Haiti, the grant states, "ACILS will work with the May 1st Union Federation- Batay Ouvriye [ESPM-BO] to train workers to organize and educate fellow workers."

    Denial in Haiti 12/31/2005 Consortium News: "Major U.S. news organizations, including the New York Times, also have had to grapple with star reporters, like Judith Miller, who shed professional skepticism and parroted administration propaganda as news. A similar issue has now arisen in Haiti, where a stringer for the Times and the Associated Press appears to have done work for the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy. After the story broke, the AP severed its relationship with the stringer and the Times is investigating."

    Denial in Haiti: AP reporter REGINE is wearing two hats ( 0) 12/30/2005 Haiti Action: "Regine Alexandre, whose name appears as an AP by-line at least a dozen times starting in May of 2004, and appears as a contributor to two NY Times stories, is a part of an NED "experiment" to place a representative on the ground in countries where the NED has funded groups."

    The Reporters Without Borders Fraud 5/13/2005 Marguerite Laurent: [This article deals only marginally with Haiti, but it is crucial to understand the context of RSF's anti Lavalas bias and their reporting on Haiti that has been severely lacking in objectivity. D. Esser] "The strong suspicions that have surrounded the dubious and partisan activities of Reporters without Boarders (RSF) were not unfounded. For many years, various critics have denounced the largely political actions of the Parisian entity, particularly with regards to Cuba and Venezuela, whose characteristics that utilizes propaganda is obvious. The positions of RSF against the governments of Havana and Caracas are found in perfect correlation with the political and media war that Washington carries out against the Cuban and Venezuelan revolutionaries. Finally the truth has come to light. Mr. Robert Ménard, secretary general of the RSF for twenty years, has confessed to receiving financing from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), an organization that depends on the U.S. Department of State, whose principal role is to promote the agenda of the White House for the entire world. Ménard was indeed very clear. “We indeed receive money from the NED. And that hasn’t posed any problem.” (1) Former U.S. president, Ronald Reagan, created the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in 1983, during a period in which military violence took the place of traditional diplomacy in order to resolve international matters."

    Did the Bush Administration Allow a Network of Right-Wing Republicans to Foment a Violent Coup in Haiti? 7/20/2004 Democracy Now: "We speak with Max Blumenthal contibutor to Salon.com and author of a new investigative piece that examines the role of the United States in destabilizing the democratically-elected government of Jean Bertrand-Aristide through the International Republican Institute, a federally-funded [frequently by NED], nonprofit political group backed by powerful Republicans close to the Bush administration."


    Iran

    World Movement for Democracy-Made in the USA 7/28/2009 Political Research Associates: "Together with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the National Endowment for Democracy has functioned as an instrument of the U.S. government’s democratization strategy over the past two decades. Whereas USAID is an agency of the State Department, quasi-governmental NED is organized as a nonprofit but funded almost entirely by the U.S. government. Since 1982, when President Reagan launched what he called a “crusade” to foster “free market democracies” and spread the a neoliberal version of the “magic of the marketplace,” both USAID and NED have channeled U.S. government development and public diplomacy funding into the democratization programs of the international institutes of the Republican and Democratic Parties, the AFL-CIO, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as well as a wide range of institutes, political parties, and nongovernmental organizations abroad."

    NED's WMD 3/18/2008 Critical Montages: "The National Endowment for Democracy, in its tireless effort to give democracy a bad name, initiated a project called "World Movement for Democracy" in 1999. The project's acronym, WMD, may very well be a bad inside joke among the guardians of the empire today."


    United States

    NED Articles 6/5/2009 International Endowment for Democracy: The National Endowment for Hypocrisy Democracy

    Change and Regime Change - What the 2008 Democratic Landslide Means for the National Endowment for Democracy 3/1/2009 Narco News: "... the biggest reason that it makes sense to close the NED is that, even under the best of circumstances, details about and the true nature of NED activities remain hidden. Its very structure is anti-democratic, no matter what the name says."

    NED 2005 Africa Programs 5/2/2008 NED

    Afro-Latinos in Latin America and Considerations for U.S. Policy 7/13/2007 LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE: "The National Endowment for Democracy (NED), funded by Congress since 1983, plans and administers grants to promote pluralism and democratic governance in more than 90 countries around the world. The primary focus of these organizations is to foster participation of citizens in their national political systems. Between FY2002 and FY2008, NED provided more than $1.7 million in grants to organizations working with Afro- Latinos in Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, and Peru. Two of its largest grantees have been the Association of Youth Groups Freedom, which supports Afro-Colombian citizen participation in local and national politics, and the League of Displaced Women, which supports training and leadership programs for displaced Afro-Colombian and indigenous women. NED has also provided some $297,066 to support AfroAmerica XXI, an organization based in Colombia that helps promote the political participation of Afro-Latino organizations throughout the region. In FY2008, NED sponsored programs related to Afro-Latinos in Cuba, Ecuador, and Peru."

    NED Grants for FY 2005 1/1/2006 International Endowment for Democracy: [publication date approximate] "In the Name of Democracy researcher Anthony Fenton received this information (below) from a NED program officer in December. According to NED spokesperson Jane Riley Jacobson, it was not intended to be made public (all or portions thereof, in conjunction with the publication of their annual report) until May 2006. NB: Special DOS (Department of State) Funds are provided in addition to NED's yearly appropriation and are to be used in a specific, and often priority, country. In LAC in 2005, Cuba is the only country for which NED receives special funds. They review Cuba proposals following their standard guidelines and procedures; the only difference is the funding source (DOS rather than NED)."

    National Endowment for Democracy: Paying to Make Enemies of America 10/11/2003 AntiWar: by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) - "The misnamed National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is nothing more than a costly program that takes US taxpayer funds to promote favored politicians and political parties abroad. What the NED does in foreign countries, through its recipient organizations the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), would be rightly illegal in the United States. The NED injects "soft money" into the domestic elections of foreign countries in favor of one party or the other. Imagine what a couple of hundred thousand dollars will do to assist a politician or political party in a relatively poor country abroad. It is particularly Orwellian to call US manipulation of foreign elections "promoting democracy." How would Americans feel if the Chinese arrived with millions of dollars to support certain candidates deemed friendly to China? Would this be viewed as a democratic development?"

    Trojan Horse: The National Endowment for Democracy 6/1/2000 World Traveler: from Rogue State, by William Blum, published in 2000 - "The idea was that the NED would do somewhat overtly what the CIA had been doing covertly for decades, and thus, hopefully, eliminate the stigma associated with CIA covert activities. It was a masterpiece. Of politics, of public relations and of cynicism. Thus it was that in 1983, the National Endowment for Democracy was set up to "support democratic institutions throughout the world through private, nongovernmental efforts". Notice the "nongovernmental"-part of the image, part of the myth. In actuality, virtually every penny of its funding comes from the federal government, as is clearly indicated in the financial statement in each issue of its annual report. NED likes to refer to itself as an NGO (non-governmental organization) because this helps to maintain a certain credibility abroad that an official US government agency might not have. But NGO is the wrong category. NED is a GO. Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, was quite candid when he said in 1991: "A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA." In effect, the CIA has been laundering money through NED."

    THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY OF US 4/13/2000 South Asia Analysis Group: "The matter was further examined in 1981-82 by the American Political Foundation's Democracy Programme Study and Research Group and, finally, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was born under a Congressional enactment of 1983 as a "non-profit, non-governmental, bipartisan, grant-making organisation to help strengthen democratic institutions around the world." Though it is projected as an NGO, it is actually a quasi-governmental organisation because till 1994 it was run exclusively from funds voted by the Congress (average of about US $ 16 million per annum in the 1980s and now about US $ 30 million) as part of the budget of the US Information Agency (USIA). Since 1994, it has been accepting contributions from the private sector too to supplement the congressional appropriations. Thirty per cent of the budgetary allocations constitute the discretionary fund of the NED to be distributed directly by it to overseas organisations and the balance is distributed through what are called four "core organisations"---the International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) and the Free Trade Union Institute (FTUI)."


    Venezuela

    Beware Venezuela, Here Come the Democratic Hawks 11/13/2006 Venezuela Analysis: "With the Democrats now taking over Congress, the question is: what will the change in leadership mean for U.S. policy towards Venezuela? While it's heartening that some progressive legislators will be headed to Washington, unfortunately some hawkish figures stand to influence Latin America policy. Unless he is upended by Representative Howard Berman, Tom Lantos will become the Chair of the House International Relations Committee… The bad blood between the Venezuelan regime and Lantos goes back to 2004. Lantos, along with fellow lawmakers such as Republican Henry Hyde, sent a letter to Chavez complaining that the Venezuelan government was abusing its power when it accused Sumate, an opposition group, of conspiring with the U.S. to topple the Chavez regime. In the letter, Lantos and others admit that Sumate had been financed by the U.S. taxpayer funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) but that this financing would help encourage Venezuelan democracy. Lantos's letter elicited a sharp rejoinder from Venezuela's ambassador to the U.S., Bernardo Alvarez, who commented that the U.S. government was inconsistent when it came to democracy, and that the U.S. was the only country in the hemisphere to recognize the illegitimate Carmona regime which came to power in a brief coup d'etat in April 2002. Things deteriorated further last year when Lantos was allegedly refused entry into Venezuela and was stopped at the airport. Lantos had gone to the South American country as part of a high-level delegation headed by Republican Henry Hyde, the same legislator who had defended NED the year before."

    US Works to Delegitimize Venezuela's December Presidential Election 10/28/2006 Znet: "Venezuela's ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) and Vice Foreign Minister Jorge Valero told us, "The enemy is not the opposition but Mr. Bush. Millions of dollars have been channeled into the opposition parties and leaders, not only formally through the NED (National Endowment for Democracy) and AID (US Agency for International Development) but informally. What right does the US have to fund parties in other countries when that is illegal if done in the US?" And Jose Albornoz, General Secretary of the Patria Para Todos party and member of National Assembly where he chairs the Committee for the Investigation of NGO Funding added, "Under Clinton we talked. When Bush came in the decision seemed to be to get rid of Chavez rather than work out our differences." The issue of US military intentions is not far from the thoughts of many Venezuelans. The US war against Iraq is intensely unpopular across the political spectrum. Freelance journalist Gregory Wilpert said many members of the Chavez government "from the top on down" are convinced the US will invade Venezuela. Several people we met with said that the US either participated in or knew in advance about the short-lived coup of April 11, 2002. Golinger told us that the US is building a new military base on Curacao, the Dutch colony off Venezuela's coast and near the oil state of Zulia. She speculated that one possible outcome of the December election would be for the US to refuse to recognize Chavez' election and for Rosales to go back to Zulia and refuse to recognize the central government. There is already a secession movement in Zulia. With US forces in Colombia, on Curacao, and nearly constant navy war games in the Caribbean, it is possible that Venezuela could be stripped of its major oil producing state."

    NED $$$ Out of Venezuela and Haiti 3/6/2006 Hands Off Venezuela: "The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) channels money on behalf of the US government through four core institutes: the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, the Solidarity Center (AFL-CIO) and the Center for International Private Enterprise (Chambers of Commerce). Under the guise of “spreading democracy” around the world, the NED has used these funds for everything from manipulating elections to coordinating coups against popular governments opposed to the domination of US corporate and military interests and the poverty and exploitation they impose on the world’s population."

    Eva Golinger: NED on the offensive in Venezuela 3/3/2006 Vheadlines: published 11/04, background to the current controversy about Golinger's charges that Afro-Venezuelans are taking NED money

    Afro-Venezuelans denounce divide-and-conquer scheme by Willie Thompson 3/1/2006 SF Bay View: "Eve Golinger-Moncada, a Venezuelan-American attorney and author of “The Chavez Code,” is reported by Afro-Venezuelans to be denouncing Afro- and Indigenous Venezuelans on radio and television in Caracas. She alleges that they are taking money from U.S. government agencies – NED, IRI and USAID – to destabilize and overthrow the Bolivarian Venezuelan government of President Hugo Chavez. The reports, brought back from the 2006 World Social Forum recently held in Venezuela and received in emails, are deeply troubling to both Afro-Venezuelans and African North Americans. Golinger-Moncada is said not to have named any specific Afro- or Indigenous-Venezuelan groups or organizations. Afro-Venezuelans believe she is trying to divide the Afro- and Indigenous Venezuelans from the Bolivarian movement so as to aid the real opponents of the Venezuelan government for personal gain. In 2004, Golinger-Moncada published a list of organizations receiving funding from the U.S., but it isn’t clear that they included Afro- and Indigenous Venezuelan organizations. It is important to know that Congressman Gregory Meeks of the Congressional Black Caucus is a member of the NED (National Endowment for Democracy) board of directors."

    Declassified Documents Back Venezuelan President’s Claim of US Aid to Opposition Groups 2/10/2004 Venezuelanalysis.com: "The documents discovered through Bigwood’s FOIA requests on Venezuela reveal a consistent pattern of funding from various U.S. agencies and entities, such as the Department of State and the National Endowment for Democracy, to several known anti-Chávez groups in Venezuela. One of these groups, Sumate, received USD$53,400 for “Electoral Education” during the period September 2003 – September 2004. The funds awarded to Sumate were, according to the NED grant, to “train citizens throughout Venezuela in the electoral process and to promote participation in a recall referendum.” Sumate is the organization that led an unapproved referendum drive back in February 2003, attempting to remove President Chavez before half of his term, which is not permitted by Venezuelan law. Sumate claimed to have collected “27 million signatures in one day”, yet it was later discovered that a majority of these signatures were gathered through fraudulent means, including photocopied from bank records and credit card receipts."

    Our Gang in Venezuela? 7/18/2002 The Nation

    Viva Vin Weber 5/15/2002 City Pages, Minneapolis - St, Paul: "Weber, a power player in GOP political circles who retired from Congress in 1993, has served as chairman of the board for the obscure but influential National Endowment for Democracy since January 2001. The NED, a private nonprofit agency, was founded in the early Eighties with the express goal of fostering democratic ideals abroad...In all, some $877,000 in NED funds has been distributed in Venezuela in the past year. Most of those funds were funneled to opposition movements by the four NED affiliates, including the International Republican Institute (IRI). The day after Chavez's removal, IRI President George Folsom--an advisor to former President George H.W. Bush--issued a statement praising the coup, saying, "The Venezuelan people rose up to defend democracy in their country." Defending it against the 60% of the people who voted for Chavez, not once but twice?


    http://www.afrocubaweb.com/ned.htm
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

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