February 15, 2001
The Wisdom Fund

Millions Spent Subverting 'Enemies,' Stifling Dissent

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 following description:

CIA Funds Flow

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 funds."

The CIA did not act on its own initiative but "in accordance with national policies established by the National Security Council in 1952 through 1954."

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 efforts".

"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. Blum.

"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.

"Operation Mockingbird, Wikipedia, 1950s

"Family Jewels," Wikipedia, 1973

Henry Makow, "Gloria Steinem: How the CIA Used Feminism to Destabilize Society,", 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

"Pentagon 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,", May 17, 2005

"Fears over 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, 2005

[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,", May 13, 2006]

["This is a memo that describes how we're going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran."--Wesley Clark, "
Seven Countries in Five Years," Democracy Now, March 2, 2007]

[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,", 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,", June 22, 2009]

Nikolas Kozloff, "Otto Reich and the International Republican Institute: Honduran Destablization, Inc.,", 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 Engdahl, "Reporters Without Borders seems to have a geopolitical agenda,", 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,", 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,", December 5, 2012]

Steve Coll, "REMOTE CONTROL: Our Drone Delusion,", 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,", 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,", July 10, 2013]

Eva Golinger, "The Dirty Hand of the National Endowment for Democracy in Venezuela,", April 25, 2014

[Over at least two years, the U.S. Agency for International Development - best known for overseeing billions of dollars in U.S. humanitarian aid - sent nearly a dozen neophytes from Venezuela, Costa Rica and Peru to gin up opposition in Cuba.--Desmond Butler et al, "US Sent Latin Youth Undercover in Anti-Cuba Ploy,", August 4, 2014]

[ . . . the leaders of "Occupy Central" are verified to be directly backed, funded, and directed by the US State Department, its National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and its subsidiary, the National Democratic Institute (NDI).--Tony Cartalucci, "Entire 'Occupy Central' Protest Scripted in Washington,", October 5, 2014]

Julian Assange, "When Google Met Wikileaks," O; 1ST edition (2014)

[Cohen's directorate appeared to cross over from public relations and "corporate responsibility" work into active corporate intervention in foreign affairs at a level that is normally reserved for states. Jared Cohen could be wryly named Google's "director of regime change."--Julian Assange, "Google Is Not What It Seems,", October 5, 2014]

[When Whitlam was re-elected for a second term, in 1974, the White House sent Marshall Green to Canberra as ambassador. Green was an imperious, sinister figure who worked in the shadows of America's "deep state". Known as the "coupmaster", he had played a central role in the 1965 coup against President Sukarno in Indonesia - which cost up to a million lives.--John Pilger, "How America and Britain Crushed the Government of Their 'Ally' Australia,", October 23, 2014]

[In 2014 USAID was caught red-handed in bizarre schemes to destabilize Cuba through Twitter and by funding hip hop artists. . . .

"DAI acted as a conduit for USAID (through the Office of Transition Initiatives) and National Endowment for Democracy (NED} funds to the Venezuelan opposition to president Hugo Chavez."--Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero, "Who Was Alan Gross Working For?,", December 22, 2014]

Margaret Sarfehjooy and Coleen Rowley, "Selling 'Peace Groups' on US-Led Wars,", December 22, 2014

[NED and Freedom House often work as a kind of tag-team with NED financing "non-governmental organizations" inside targeted countries and Freedom House berating those governments if they crack down on U.S.-funded NGOs.--Robert Parry, "CIA's Hidden Hand in 'Democracy' Groups,", January 8, 2015]

[The White Helmets were founded in collaboration with USAID's Office of Transitional Initiatives - the wing that has promoted regime change around the world - and have been provided with $23 million in funding from the department. USAID supplies the White Helmets through Chemonics, a for-profit contractor based in Washington DC that has become notorious for wasteful aid imbroglios from Haiti to Afghanistan.--Max Blumenthal, "How the White Helmets Became International Heroes While Pushing U.S. Military Intervention and Regime Change in Syria,", October 2, 2016]

[The CIA monitors upcoming conferences worldwide--Daniel Golden, "The science of spying: how the CIA secretly recruits academics,", October 10, 2017]

"American regime changes and their aftermaths, from Hawaii to Libya," RT, May 16, 2018

USA REGIME CHANGE GUIDE: Will Irwin, "Support to Resistance: Strategic Purpose and Effectiveness," Joint Special Operations University Press, 2019

[with the end of the Cold War, Moynihan started arguing that the country did not need a CIA--John Kiriakou, "Time to Revive the 1995 Act that Called for Abolishing the CIA,", December 16, 2022]

The Grayzone debates National Endowment for Democracy VP on group's CIA ties, May 29, 2023

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