by Enver Masud
WASHINGTON, DC -- Half a century ago, when the perceived enemy was communism, the
United States spent millions of dollars to subvert private groups in
order to advance U.S. positions. Today, the perceived enemy are the
"Islamists," and the new White House Office of Faith-Based and
Community Initiatives has the potential for stifling dissent, and
dividing religious communities.
Consider the U.S. Central Information Agency's disinformation
program begun late in the 1940s and early 1950s.
This program eventually involved most of the major private
institutions in American life (John Harwood, "O What a Tangled Web the
CIA Wove," Washington Post, February 26, 1967). "It was not enough for
the United States to arm its allies, to strengthen government
institutions, or to finance the industrial establishment through
economic and military programs," wrote Mr. Harwood. "Intellectuals,
students, educators, trade unionists, journalists and professional men
had to be recruited directly through their private organizations."
The Washington Post article includes a chart, "This is How the
Money Goes Round," upon which we base the accompanying chart and the
Secret government funds, possibly hundreds of million, were given
by the CIA to a number of foundations depicted by the first circle
surrounding the CIA. Included in this group were a number of
foundations such as: Beacon Fund; Benjamin Rosenthal Foundation;
Independence Fund; Marshall Fund; Robb Charitable Trust; Rubicon
Foundation. Some were largely occupied with other work; some such as
the Vernon Fund, were mainly CIA conduits.
The foundations in the first circle gave money to other private
organizations. They are depicted by the second circle. Included in
this group were organizations such as: American Federation of State,
County & Municipal Employees; American Friends of the Middle East;
American Newspaper Guild; International Development Foundation;
National Education Association; National Student Association. One step
away from the source of money, they could rarely be identified as part
of the CIA pipeline.
The groups and organizations in the second circle passed the
secret funds along to specified CIA approved groups, organizations,
and study projects such as: Congress for Cultural Freedom; Foreign
News Service, Inc.; Harvard University; International Committee of
Jurists; International Federation of Free Journalists; Radio Free
Europe; University of Southern California; World Confederation of
Organizations of the Teaching Profession. These are depicted by the
last set of circles. Their job was to parcel out money to individuals.
"Allen Dulles, who ran the CIA in the 1950s, was a product of the
New York law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell, which has always epitomized
the Establishment," wrote Mr. Harwood. "While he was in charge at the
Agency, his business and legal confreres were used extensively to
enable the CIA to achieve its secret purposes."
"The list of Establishmentarians...includes such other figures as
Robert J. Manning, editor of the Atlantic Monthly, McGeorge
Bundy...foreign policy adviser to Presidents Kennedy and
Johnson...[and later] president of the Ford Foundation."
"In most cases the foundations which served as CIA conduits...were
fully aware of what they were doing. In the case of the ultimate
recipients of the money, the facts are more ambiguous. Some of them
such as the National Education Association and leaders of the National
Student Association, had no illusions about the source of their
The CIA did not act on its own initiative but "in accordance with
national policies established by the National Security Council in 1952
Following more revelations about the CIA in the 1970s, the
Watergate scandal, and investigations by the Church Committee of the
Senate, the Pike Committee of the House, and the Rockefeller
Commission, the CIA was becoming an embarassment, and Congress decided
something had to be done.
Congress created the National Endowment for
Democracy (NED), ostensibly set up to "support
democratic institutions throughout the world through private, nongovernmental
"The idea was," writes former U.S. Department of State official
William Blum, and author of Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only
Superpower, "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."
Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing
NED, is reported to have said: "A lot of what we do today was done
covertly 25 years ago by the CIA."
The major recipients of NED funds include the International
Republican Institute; the National Democratic Institute for
International Affairs; American Center for International Labor
Solidarity (an AFL-CIO affiliate); Center for International Private
Enterprise (a Chamber of Commerce affiliate).
These institutions disburse funds to other organizations which
intervene in the "internal affairs of 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.," writes Mr.
"In the decade since the end of the Cold War," writes Michael
Dobbs of the Washington Post, "democracy assistance has become an
American growth industry." The U.S. Agency for International
Development spent $649 million on democracy programs in 2000, a
substantial increase from $165 million in 1991. It is reasonable to
assume that advisers funded by the NED, also participate in these
democracy assistance programs.
This January 2001, following his innauguration as president, Mr. George Bush
announced the creation of a new White House Office of Faith-Based and Community
Initiatives. Aside from the constitutional issues relating to the separation of
church and state, some issues merit discussion: How will organizations be
selected to receive federal funds? Is this just another way for those in power
to divide and rule?
The likely result is that leaders of organizations receiving government
funds, will tend to place a higher priority on assuring the continuity of their
government funding, than on the interests of their members.
Mockingbird, Wikipedia, 1950s
Jewels," Wikipedia, 1973
Henry Makow, "Gloria Steinem: How the CIA
Used Feminism to Destabilize Society," henrymakow.com, March 18, 2002
Phil Patton, "Exposing
the Black Budget," Wired Magazine, November 1995
["Such a program would aim to undermine mosques and religious schools in the
Middle East and Southwest Asia that have become breeding grounds for Islamic
militancy. It might funnel money to help establish alternative schools or pay
foreign journalists to write articles favorable to American policies."--Eric
Schmitt, "White House
Plays Down Propaganda by Military," New York Times, December 17, 2002]
[K. S. Latourette at Yale helped kick-start East Asian studies (his
1929 book is History of the Christian Missions in China); H. E. Bolton at
Berkeley pioneered Latin American Studies (his 1936 book is The Rim of
Christendom: A biography of Eusebio Francisco Kino, Pacific Coast Pioneer); A.
C. Coolidge at Harvard worked out the contours of Slavic Studies (his big book
of 1908 is entitled The United States as a World Power). In its infancy, the
Church and Washington held sway over Area Studies. Our evangelical imperials of
today want to return to this period.--Vijay Prasad, "Confronting the
Evangelical Imperialists," CounterPunch, November 13, 2003]
Michael E. Salla, "The
Black Budget Report: An Investigation into the CIA's 'Black Budget' and the Second
Manhattan Project," American University, November 23, 2003
plan for global anti-terror army," Sydney Morning Herald, August 11, 2004
[. . . he accused the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL), an evangelical missionary
group from the United States, of sinister collusion with the oil companies.--John
Perkins, "Confessions of
an Economic Hit Man: How the U.S. Uses Globalization to Cheat Poor Countries Out of
Trillions," Berrett-Koehler Publishers (November 9, 2004), p. 142]
Diana Barahona, "Reporters
Without Borders Unmasked," CounterPunch.com, May 17, 2005
CIA 'university spies'," BBC News, June 2, 2005
Alan Cooperman, "Peace Corps Option for Military Recruits Sparks Concerns," Washington Post,
August 2, 2005
Douglas Jehl, "Spy
Agencies Told to 'Bolster the Growth of Democracy'," New York Times, October 27,
[Why would two such disparate areas as Muslim Algeria and Hindu Rajasthan, India, pass
laws that infringe upon both freedom of speech and freedom of religion? The sad truth is
that there has been a long tradition of Christian missionary efforts being used for
nefarious purposes over the centuries.--Jerald F. Dirks, "On Proselytizing," American Muslim, May 4, 2006]
[Other capitalist democracies now have government foundations similar to NED, and they
work collaboratively, e.g., the Canadian Rights and Democracy and the British
Westminster Foundation for Democracy. Additional US agencies have joined NED and the
CIA in this work, notably, the Agency for International Development (USAID) and United
States Information Agency (USIA), which support and create foreign NGOs and media.
. . . these public-private philanthropies have worked together to fund and direct
overthrow movements. . . . The grantees' activities included destabilization, the
creation of mobs preventing elected governments from ruling, chaos, and violence. Among
those funded were the Civic Forum in Czechoslovakia, Solidarity in Poland, Union of
Democratic Forces in Bulgaria, Otpor in Serbia, and, more recently, similar groups in
the succession states of the USSR. Sometimes mobs (especially of young people) have
been moved around from one country to another to give the impression of vast popular
opposition. The NED, Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, and the Soros philanthropies
have been particularly active in these operations. Human Rights Watch (formerly
Helsinki Watch) has nurtured opposition groups.--Joan Roelofs, "The NED, NGOs and the
Imperial Uses of Philanthropy: Why They Hate Our Kind Hearts, Too,"
counterpunch.org, May 13, 2006]
[Private companies now perform key intelligence-agency functions, to the tune, I'm told,
of more than $42 billion a year. Intelligence professionals tell me that more than 50
percent of the National Clandestine Service (NCS) - the heart, brains and soul of the
CIA - has been outsourced to private firms such as Abraxas, Booz Allen Hamilton,
Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.
. . . more than half the workforce in two key CIA stations in the fight against
terrorism - Baghdad and Islamabad, Pakistan - is made up of industrial contractors--R.J.
Hillhouse, "Who Runs the CIA? Outsiders for Hire," Washington Post, July 8, 2007]
DOCUMENTARY: John Pilger, "The War On
Democracy," johnpilger.com, 2007 -- The National Endowment for Democracy
funded the 2002 coupe against the Hugo Chavez government in Venezuela
Jeff Sharlet, "The
Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power,"
Harper Perennial (June 2, 2009)
[ . . . the US Congress voted $120 million for anti-regime media broadcasts into
Iran, and $60-75 million funding opposition parties, violent underground
Marxists like the Mujahidin-i-Khalq, and restive ethnic groups like Azeris,
Kurds, and Arabs under the so-called 'Iran Democracy Program.' . . .
Pakistani intelligence sources put CIA's recent spending on 'black operations'
to subvert Iran's government at $400 million.--Eric Margolis, "Seeing Through All the Propaganda About
Iran," ericmargolis.com, June 22, 2009]
Nikolas Kozloff, "Otto Reich and the
International Republican Institute: Honduran Destablization, Inc.,"
counterpunch.org, July 9, 2009
[After years of trying to hide it, Robert Menard, Paris-based Secretary-General
of Reporters Sans Frontieres or RWB, confessed that the RWB budget was primarily
funded by "US organizations strictly linked to US foreign policy." Those US
organizations behind RWB include the Open Society Foundation of billionaire
speculator, George Soros, the US Agency for International Development (USAID)
and the US Congress' National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Also included is
the Center for Free Cuba, whose trustee, Otto Reich, was forced to resign from
the George W. Bush Administration after exposure of his role in a CIA-backed
coup attempt against Venezuela's democratically elected President Hugo Chavez.
As one researcher found after months of trying to get a reply from NED about
their funding of Reporters Without Borders, which included a flat denial from
RSF executive director Lucie Morillon, the NED revealed that Reporters Without
Borders received grants over at least three years from the International
Republican Institute. The IRI is one of four subsidiaries of NED.--F. William
Without Borders seems to have a geopolitical agenda," voltairenet.org,
May 5, 2010]
[And in 2005, the US Congress authorized $3 million to fund "the advancement of
democracy and human rights" in Iran, a move the Iranian UN ambassador called a
"clear violation of the Algiers
accords". . . .
In 2008, president George W Bush signed a "non-lethal presidential finding"
that, according to ABC News, initiated a CIA plan involving "a coordinated
campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran's currency and
international financial transactions".--Rob Grace, "Covert ops
sabotage US-Iran ties," atimes.com, October 24, 2010]
Tony Cartalucci, "Naming Names: Your Real Government," Land Destroyer
Report, March 21, 2011
"Speakers and Specialists Used by U.S.
Dept. of State," FOIA Case #200604684, June 17, 2011
[CSID appears to be funded entirely by the U.S. government -- when asked,
Masmoudi did not deny it. One of its officers or employees, Radwan Ziadeh, lists
his address at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in Washington,
DC.--Enver Masud, "Revealed: America's Hidden
Hand Behind The UN Resolution For A No-fly Zone Over Libya," The Wisdom Fund,
March 19, 2011]
[InterAction, an alliance of 190 US-based NGOs, has called on the spy agency to
stop using humanitarian work as a cover for counter-terrorism.--Declan Walsh,
"Aid agency withdrew Pakistan staff after CIA fake vaccination
scheme," Guardian, September 28, 2011]
[The New York Times in its article, "U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings," clearly stated as
much when it reported, "a number of the groups and individuals directly involved
in the revolts and reforms sweeping the region, including the April 6 Youth
Movement in Egypt, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and grass-roots activists
like Entsar Qadhi, a youth leader in Yemen, received training and financing from
groups like the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic
Institute and Freedom House, a nonprofit human rights organization based in
Washington."--Tony Cartalucci, "BOMBSHELL: US Caught Meddling in Russian Elections! Putin
compares US funded NGOs to Judas the betrayer," Land Destroyer Report,
December 4, 2011]
[The IRI is an international arm of the U.S. Republican Party, . . . in 2004,
the IRI played a major role in overthrowing the democratically elected
government of Haiti. In 2002, the head of the IRI publicly celebrated the
short-lived military coup that overthrew the democratically elected government
of Venezuela. The IRI was also working with organizations and individuals that
were involved in the coup. In 2005, the IRI was involved in an effort to
promote changes in Brazil's electoral laws that would weaken the governing
Workers' Party of then President Lula da Silva.--Mark Weisbrot, "Egypt's crackdown on Republican and
Democratic organisations is hardly surprising: they're widely seen as stooges of
US empire," Guardian, January 31, 2012]
[It's a tale about some of the most quoted members of the Syrian opposition
and their connection to the Anglo-American opposition creation
business.--Charlie Skelton, "The Syrian Opposition: Who's Doing The Talking?,"
Guardian, July 12, 2012]
[CAII doesn't just restrict itself to Orwellian revisionism. It also plays a
part in covert operations.--Mark Graham, "USAID in
Afghanistan: Plunderers and Prey," counterpunch.org, December 5, 2012]
Steve Coll, "REMOTE CONTROL: Our Drone Delusion,"
newyorker.com, January 19, 2013
[While U.S.-funded democracy promotion is portrayed as benign, the National Endowment
for Democracy, the International Republican Institute, DNI, and Freedom House have been
linked to revolutions that brought down regimes in Serbia, Ukraine, Georgia, Uzbekistan,
and Kyrgyzstan, and nearly succeeded in Belarus.--Patrick J. Buchanan, "Outside
Agitators," antiwar.com, June 7, 2013]
[Washington's democracy assistance programme for the Middle East is filtered through a
pyramid of agencies within the State Department. Hundreds of millions of taxpayer
dollars is channeled through the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL), The
Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), USAID, as well as the Washington-based,
quasi-governmental organisation the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
In turn, those groups re-route money to other organisations such as the International
Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute (NDI), and Freedom House--Emad Mekay, "US
bankrolled anti-Morsi activists," aljazeera.com, July 10, 2013]
Eva Golinger, "The Dirty Hand of the National Endowment for Democracy
in Venezuela," counterpunch.org, April 25, 2014