So-called National Endowment for Democracy is a largely US taxpayer funded group that proudly meddles in 90 countries.
3/8/18, “The National Endowment for (Meddling in) Democracy,” Daniel Lazare, Consortium News
“The unwritten rule governing the NED’s [National Endowment for Democracy] activities is that the U.S. has an unqualified right to do unto others what others may not do unto the U.S., explains Daniel Lazare.”
““They’re meddling in our politics!” That’s the war cry of outraged Clintonites and neocons, who seem to think election interference is something that Russians do to us and we never, ever do to them….
Today, an alphabet soup of U.S. agencies engage in political interference virtually around the clock, everyone from USAID to the VOA, RFE/RL to the DHS—respectively the U.S. Agency for International Development, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the Department of Homeland Security. The last [DHS] maintains some 2,000 U.S. employees in 70 countries to ensure that no one even thinks of doing anything bad to anyone over here.
Then there is the National Endowment for Democracy, a $180-million-a-year government-funded outfit that is a byword for American intrusiveness. The NED is an example of what might be called “speckism,” the tendency to go on about the speck in your neighbor’s eye without ever considering the plank in your own (see Matthew 7 for further details).
Prohibited by law from interfering in domestic politics, the endowment devotes endless energy to the democratic shortcomings of other countries, especially when they threaten American interests.
A year later, it gave $400,000 to the anti-Sandinista opposition in Nicaragua and then another $2 million in 1988. It used its financial muscle in the mid-1990s to persuade a right-wing party to draw up a “Contract with Slovakia” modeled on Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America; persuaded free marketeers to do the same in Mongolia; gave nearly $1 million to Venezuelan rightists who went on to mount a short-lived putsch against populist leader Hugo Chavez in 2002; and then funded anti-Russian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko in Ukraine in 2005 [via George W. Bush], and the later anti-Russian coup there in 2014 [under Obama].
What all this had to do with democracy is unclear, although the NED’s role in advancing U.S. imperial interests is beyond doubt. Rather than “my country right or wrong,” its operating assumption is “my country right, full stop.” If Washington [What is definition of “Washington?”] says Leader X is out of line, then the endowment will snap to attention and fund his opponents….
It doesn’t matter if, like Putin, the alleged dictator swept the last election with 63.6 percent of the vote and was declared the “clear” winner by the European Union and the U.S. State Department. If he’s “expanding [Russia’s] influence in the Middle East,” as NED President Carl Gershman puts it, then he’s a “strongman” and an “autocrat” and must go.
America’s own shortcomings meanwhile go unnoticed. Meanwhile, the NED, as it nears the quarter-century mark, is a bundle of contradictions: a group that claims to be private even though it is almost entirely publicly funded, a group that says democracy “must be indigenous” even though it backs U.S.-imposed regime change, a group that claims to be “bipartisan” but whose board is packed with ideologically homogeneous hawks like Elliott Abrams, Anne Applebaum, and Victoria Nuland, the latter of whom served as assistant secretary of state during the coup in Ukraine.
Historically speaking, the NED feels straight out of the early 1980s, when Washington was struggling to overcome “Vietnam Syndrome” in order to rev up the Cold War. The recovery process began with Ronald Reagan declaring at his first inaugural, “The crisis that we are facing today [requires] our best effort, and our willingness to believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds, to believe that together with God’s help we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us….
Additional input for the new NED in 1983 came from spymaster William Casey, CIA director from 1981 to 1987, who, after the intelligence scandals of the 70s, had swung around to the view that certain covert operations were better spun off into what the British call a “quango,” a quasi-non-government organization.
“Obviously we here should not get out in front in the development of such an organization,” he cautioned, “nor do we wish to appear to be a sponsor or advocate.” It was a case of covert backing for an overt turn.
Others who helped lay the groundwork were:
*Neoconservative ideologue Jeane Kirkpatrick, Reagan’s ambassador to the UN, famous for her argument that “traditional authoritarian governments” should be supported against “revolutionary autocracies” because they are “less repressive” and whose UN aide *Carl Gershman would become NED president and serves to this day *Human rights Democrats who believe that America’s [taxpayers’] job is to enforce democratic standards throughout the world, however idiosyncratic and self-serving they may be *Old-fashioned pluralists who maintained that the power to succeed existed in different groups’ working separately toward a common goal, in this case, spreading democracy abroad.
The result was an ideologically lethal package that assumed whatever Americans did was democratic because God is on our side, that old-fashioned CIA skullduggery was passé, and that the time had come to switch to more open means. “We should not have to do this kind of work covertly,” Gershman later explained. “We saw that in the 60s, 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.”
In the interests of pluralism, the NED adopted a quadripartite structure with separate wings for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO, the GOP, and the Democrats, each working separately yet somehow together.
Pluralism helped tamp down debate and also shore up support on Capitol Hill. Liberal Democrats were initially skeptical due to the NED’s neocon tilt. Michigan Congressman John Conyers Jr. tried to kill it in 1985, and The Nation magazine complained a few years later that the group served as little more than “a pork barrel for a small circle of Republican and Democratic party activists, conservative trade unionists, and free marketeers who use endowment money to run their own mini State Department.”
But when the House voted unexpectedly to defund the agency in 1993, beneficiaries sprang to its defense. Major-league pundits like George Will, David Broder, and Abe Rosenthal “went into overdrive,” according to The Nation, as did the heavy hitters of the Washington Post editorial page. Vice President Walter Mondale, a member of the NED board of directors, worked the phones along with Lane Kirkland, George Meany’s successor as head of the AFL-CIO.
Ronald Reagan wrote a letter, while Senators Richard Lugar, Orrin Hatch, and John McCain pitched in as well. So did prominent liberals like Paul Wellstone, John Kerry, Tom Harkin, Ted Kennedy, and Carol Moseley-Braun. These people normally couldn’t bear to be in the same with one another, but they were of one mind when it came to America’s divine right to intervene in other nations’ affairs.
The anti-NED forces didn’t stand a chance. Twenty-five years later, the endowment is again under attack, although this time from the right. Gershman started the ball rolling when, in October 2016, he interrupted his busy pro-democracy schedule to dash off a column in the Washington Post accusing Russia of using “email hackers, information trolls and open funding of political parties to sow discord” and of “even intervening in the U.S. presidential election.”
Since there was no question whom Russia was [allegedly] intervening for, there was no doubt what the article amounted to: a thinly veiled swipe at a certain orange-haired candidate. Never one to forget a slight, Trump got his revenge last month [Feb. 2018] by proposing to slash the NED budget by 60 percent. [Please remember slashing budgets of neocon groups like NED is exactly why Trump was elected. Voters want a drastic cutback in US sabotage of other governments]. The response was the same as in 1993, only more so. Uber-hawk Senator Lindsey Graham pronounced the cut “dead on arrival,” adding: “This budget destroys soft power, it puts our diplomats at risk, and it’s going nowhere.”
Gershman said it would mean “sending a signal far and wide that the United States is turning its back on supporting brave people who share our values,”
[Exactly what “values” are these? Why do you, Gershman, a parasite, get to decide what US “values” are? Who says your so-called “values” are shared by most or all Americans? Why are you subverting governments in 90 countries? Have you invited the 90 countries to meddle in the US? There are plenty of “brave” people in the US who need and deserve the tax dollars parasites like you take out of the US Treasury.]
(continuing): “while Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin moaned [3/4/18] that the administration was guilty of an “assault on democracy promotion.” The ever-voluble Democratic Congresswoman Nita Lowey accused the administration of “dismantling an agency that advances critical goals.”
“The work our government does [enabled only by unlimited access to US taxpayer cash] to promote democratic values [regime change and bloodshed] abroad is at the heart of who we are as a country,” added Senator John McCain. America is democracy, democracy is America, and, as history’s first global empire, the U.S. has an unqualified right to do unto others what others may not do unto the U.S. Only a “Siberian candidate,” “a traitor,” or “a Russian stooge” could possibly disagree.”
[OK, “the heart” of Mexico, Central America, and Wall St. is to erase the US border and enslave US taxpayers. That’s “who they are.” So they can do it?]
Added: Further on links author provides above: “Siberian candidate:” 7/22/2016, “Donald Trump, the Siberian Candidate,” NY Times, Paul Krugman, opinion. Mr. Krugman mainly wants US taxpayers to remain slaves of an unelected, unaccountable world order imagined after World War II, funded in perpetuity by US taxpayers and which includes permanent so-called “allies” as if such imaginings are or should be permanent and not subject to review by US taxpayers and voters.
Added: “A traitor:” 2/16/2018, “Is Donald Trump a Traitor?” James Risen, The Intercept. Mr. Risen chooses to avoid the immediate US problem, that the greatest enemy of the American people is within its borders (such as they are). Time wasted focusing on Russia is precious time not addressing larger, life and death problems of the US. For example, US voters are no longer allowed to decide presidential elections. If the voters' choice isn't approved by the Endless Unwinnable War Industry, his presidential powers will be effectively nullified. US taxpayers are born into bondage of the Endless Unwinnable War Industry.
Added: “A Russian stooge,” 7/25/2016, “Is Trump a Russian Stooge?“ Foreign Policy, Julia Ioffe
“It seems almost indisputable that this is what happened: The Russian government hacked the DNC’s computers, then passed the embarrassing info to WikiLeaks so they could cheer a leftist hero and take down Hillary Clinton, whom the Kremlin doesn’t want to see in the White House.”]
“Daniel Lazare is the author of The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace, 1996) and other books about American politics. He has written for a wide variety of publications from The Nation to Le Monde Diplomatique, and his articles about the Middle East, terrorism, Eastern Europe, and other topics appear regularly on such websites as Jacobin and The American Conservative. [This article originally appeared on The American Conservative. Republished with permission.]”
Top image from TheTechnocraticTyranny.com, 2/27/16, “State Department’s Mission: Coup d’etat“
Added: “Democracy” is for Fat Cats: “NED’s [National Endowment for Democracy] board of directors represents Fortune 500 corporations, insidious corporate-financier funded policy think-tanks, and a wide variety of other obvious conflicts of interest:”
6/24/2016, “The National Endowment for Democracy: Not National and Not for Democracy,” New Eastern Outlook, journal-neo.org, Tony Cartalucci
“Quite literally, each and every member of the NED’s board of directors represents Fortune 500 corporations, insidious corporate-financier funded policy think-tanks, and a wide variety of other obvious conflicts of interest unbecoming of an organization truly interested in, “the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world.”“
Added: US oligarchs Bill Clinton, Harvard cronies, George Soros, and Harvard Institute for International Development plundered Russia’s wealth and destroyed its middle class. Hundreds of millions of US tax dollars were also lost through lavish USAID grants-May 14, 1998, “The Harvard Boys Do Russia,“ The Nation, Janine R. Wedel
“The [GAO] audit team concluded, for example, that the U.S. government exercised “favoritism” toward Harvard, but this conclusion and the supporting documentation were removed from the final report....The very people who were supposed to be the trustees of the system not only undercut the aid program’s stated goal of building independent institutions but replicated the Soviet practice of skimming assets to benefit the nomenklatura.”
Added: US “manufactures dissent” against governments it dislikes. US taxpayers are forced to fund the undermining of Latin American governments by US parasite/oligarchs like Carl Gershman:
March 2015, “How the US Funds Dissent against Latin American Governments,“ telesurtv.net (Venezuela)
“NED, National Endowment for Democracy, created in 1983, is funded by US taxpayers via Congress and USAID, also a US taxpayer funded group. It functions outside of US government and has a board of directors.
“Only recently has there been wider acknowledgement about the role that U.S. funding to nongovernmental organizations — particularly via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) — plays in furthering U.S. foreign policy.
For example, in 2012 governments of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) collectively signed a resolution to expel USAID from each of the member countries.
Those countries include Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Dominica, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.
The National Endowment for Democracy (NED)
The NED was created by the administration of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1983, operates as a foundation that provides grants for “democracy promotion.” The foundation is structured as an umbrella with an almost corporatist flavor.
It houses four other organizations reflecting U.S. sectoral and party interest: the U.S. labor-affiliated American Center for International Labor Solidarity (ACILS); the Chamber of Commerce-linked Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE); and the other two, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), reflect Democrat and Republican affiliations respectively.
In many ways the NED resembles previous CIA efforts in the 1950s, 60s and 70s to provide mostly public money for secret operations aimed to bolster pro-U.S. governments and movements abroad. In South America for example, between 1975 and 1978 the U.S. helped with the creation and implementation of Operation Condor. The U.S. provided right-wing dictatorships in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela and Ecuador with technical and military support for the goal of hunting down and killing political opponents. Some estimate that Operation Condor killed between 60,000 and 80,000 people.
In 1986, the then president of the NED, Carl Gershman, explained to the New York Times, “We should not have to do this kind of work covertly…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 60s, 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.”
U.S. citizens fund the NED with public money, for the most part without their knowledge or consent. The U.S. government allocates part the budget of the U.S. Department of State to USAID, which in turn provides most of the NED’s funding.
Although it receives practically all of its funding from the U.S. government, the NED is technically a nongovernmental organization, headed by a board of directors. The current board includes:
*Francis Fukuyama, a political economist, author and free-market universalist;
*Elliott Abrams, former deputy assistant and deputy national security adviser on Middle East policy in the administration of George W. Bush;
*Moises Naim, Venezuelan Minister of Trade and Industry during the turbulent early 1990s and former executive director of the World Bank;
*Robert B. Zoellick, former deputy secretary of state under George W. Bush and Vice Chairmanship at Goldman Sachs Group.
The scope of activity of the NED is truly impressive. According to the NED website, it supports more than 1,000 non-government projects in more than 90 countries.
At its inception in the early 1980s, the NED’s funding allocation was set at US$18 million and reached its peak in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Allocations for 2014 and 2015 have been approved for US$103.5 million, while over US$7 million was directed primarily to opposition organizations in Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela and Cuba in 2013.
Within the U.S. Department of State’s “Justification of Request” documents, which outline the reasons for funding requests, it is clear that funding priorities in Latin America and the Caribbean reflect the NED’s modern strategy of overtly carrying out old covert objectives.
Michel Chossudovsky, a professor emeritus of economics at the University of Ottawa in Canada, sees this funding as an element in “manufacturing dissent” against governments that the U.S. government dislikes. However, these funders do not work alone.
“The NED (and USAID) are entities linked with the U.S. State department, but they operate in tandem with a whole of other organizations,” said Chossudovsky.
In May 2010 the Foundation for International Relations and Foreign Dialogue released their report “Assessing Democracy Assistance in Venezuela,” which revealed that in addition to NED and USAID funding, a broad range of private and European-based foundations funded opposition-aligned nongovernmental organizations in the country with some US$40-50 million annually….
The United States Agency for International Development
Created in 1961 as a foreign assistance program under President John F. Kennedy, USAID commands a much larger budget and broader scope than the NED. While U.S. diplomats continue to stress that USAID funding does not have a political basis, USAID documents nonetheless acknowledge its role in “furthering America’s interests” while carrying out “U.S. foreign policy by promoting broad-scale human progress at the same time it expands stable, free societies, creates markets and trade partners for the United States.” But critics are skeptical of USAID’s missionary work, noting how its strategy has changed over time.
USAID’s mandate is “to provide development aid and historically it has provided development aid, tied into debt negotiations and so on. Subsequently with the evolution of the development aid program it has redirected its endeavours on funding NGOs,” said Chossudovsky….
The extent of U.S. political ambitions recently came into the international spotlight with the revelation that USAID had secretly spent US$1.6 million to fund a social messaging network in Cuba called ZunZuneo, with the stated purpose to “renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society.” The project was headed up by Joe McSpedon of the USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI).
Other USAID officials accused of active political meddling in the affairs of sovereign countries include regional head Mark Feierstein. According to Venezuelan investigative journalist Eva Golinger, in 2013 Feierstein met Venezuelan opposition figures including right-wing politicians Maria Corina Machado, Julio Borges and Ramon Guillermo Avelado, as well as political strategist Juan Jose Rendon, to devise a plan to undermine the Venezuelan government.
At the State Department budgetary hearing, Feierstein also confirmed “a long-standing program in place to support those who are advocating and fighting on behalf of democracy and human rights in Venezuela…and we are prepared to continue those under any scenario.”
State Department cables revealed by WikiLeaks also brought to light previous activities by USAID/OTI in Venezuela, including the development of a five-point, anti-government strategy for U.S. embassy activities, as well as the confirmation that grantees had been active in promoting street demonstrations in 2009….
In Bolivia, local rural workers’ groups and the government expelled the U.S.-based Chemonics International Inc. after their US$2.7 million USAID-funded “Strengthening Democracy” program was accused of financing destabilization attempts against the government. Chemonics operates in approximately 150 countries, offering various technical services and “consulting.”
The Bolivian government publicly outlined what they argued was proof of USAID-funded programs to mobilize the indigenous population against the government, in particular an indigenous march protesting the construction of a highway. USAID-funded programs were active in these areas, and had funded some of the leading organizations, such as the Eastern Bolivia Indigenous Peoples and Communities Confederation (CIDOB).
“USAID refused to reveal who it was funding and the Bolivian government had strong reasons to believe that it had ties and coordination with opposition groups in the country which at the time was involved in violence and destructive activities aimed at toppling the Morales government,” said Beeton. “Now we know through WikiLeaks that that’s what really was going on.”
President Evo Morales also revealed transcripts of phone calls between the anti-highway march organizers and U.S. embassy officials. The U.S. embassy confirmed the calls, but explained that they were merely trying to familiarize themselves with the country’s political and social situation.
Officials also denounced the lack of accountability to the Bolivian government or to the recipient constituencies of USAID funds. The head of the CIDOB, Lazaro Taco, confirmed that they had received “external support for our workshops,” but would not identify the source.
These and other USAID activities led Bolivian President Evo Morales to claim that the agency was conspiring against his government. The government expelled USAID from the country in May 2013, while USAID denied any wrongdoing.”…
4/7/2014, “5 Insidious Ways the US Has Tried Pulling Off Coups Through ‘Democracy Promotion’,“ AlterNet, Alex Kane
“Cuba is the latest country to be targeted by U.S.-funded groups trying to destabilize unfriendly governments.”