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NGOs: The Missionaries of Empire

by Devon DB

Global Research | March 3, 2012

Non-governmental organizations are an increasingly important part of the 21st century international landscape performing a variety of humanitarian tasks pertaining inter alia to issues of poverty, the environment and civil liberties. However, there is a dark side to NGOs. They have been and are currently being used as tools of foreign policy, specifically with the United States. Instead of using purely military force, the US has now moved to using NGOs as tools in its foreign policy implementation, specifically the National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House, and Amnesty International.

National Endowment for Democracy

According to its website, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is “a private, nonprofit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world,” [1] however this is sweet sounding description is actually quite far from the truth.

The history of the NED begins immediately after the Reagan administration. Due to the massive revelations concerning the CIA in the 1970s, specifically that they were involved in attempted assassinations of heads of state, the destabilization of foreign governments, and were illegally spying on the US citizens, this tarnished the image of the CIA and of the US government as a whole. While there were many committees that were created during this time to investigate the CIA, the Church Committee (led by Frank Church, a Democrat from Idaho) was of critical importance as its findings “demonstrated the need for perpetual surveillance of the intelligence community and resulted in the creation of the permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.” [2] The Select Committee on Intelligence’s purpose was to oversee federal intelligence activities and while oversight and stability came in, it seemed to signal that the CIA’s ‘party’ of assassination plots and coups were over. Yet, this was to continue, but in a new way: under the guise of a harmful NGO whose purpose was to promote democracy around the world- the National Endowment for Democracy.

The NED was meant to be a tool of US foreign policy from its outset. It was the brainchild of Allen Weinstein who, before creating the Endowment, was a professor at Brown and Georgetown Universities, had served on the Washington Post’s editorial staff, and was the Executive Editor of The Washington Quarterly, Georgetown’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, a right-wing neoconservative think tank which would in the future have ties to imperial strategists such as Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski. [3] He stated in a 1991 interview that “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” [4]

The politics of charity

Aid is not designed to bring the wretched of the earth out of poverty but to pacify unrest in the donor country’s domestic sphere

Sreeram Chaulia | The Asian Age

Feb 22, 2012

Foreign aid is both a sop to the liberal conscience of the donor state’s domestic society as well as an instrument of indirect control over recipient states. The motivations and effects of aid are frequently ulterior and detrimental, notwithstanding the altruistic rhetoric. These ugly realities were reified recently by two prominent cases, one in post-revolutionary Egypt and the other in economically growing India.

Egypt’s military-dominated interim regime is prosecuting 19 American citizens working for “pro-democracy” NGOs linked to the two main US political parties. They are facing charges for taking unauthorised foreign aid and undermining Egyptian sovereignty by funding street protests, which have become ubiquitous since Hosni Mubarak’s downfall in February 2011.

The three American NGOs in the line of fire — the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute and Freedom House — have a reputation of channelling partisan US government aid to alter internal political processes of countries that receive aid. Since they are organisations serving American strategic interests in the name of advancing human rights and civil liberties, the Egyptian authorities have a valid reason in investigating their activities.

But what’s interesting here are the shrill cries that emanated from the US Congress in response to Egypt’s filing of legal suits against the NGO employees. Last week, there was an uproar on Capitol Hill exhorting the Barack Obama administration to deny vital military and development aid to Egypt, which is the fifth-largest recipient of American largesse. At stake is $1.6 billion of aid that Washington annually gifts to Cairo and which is now the lifeline for the transitional Egyptian state.

Egyptian civilians, who are disillusioned with the revolution and fear falling under a fourth successive military dictator since the 1950s, know that the US has leverage over Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of Egypt’s ruling military council, and his officer ranks owing to their dependence on Washington’s aid. As the anti-military sentiment has risen into a mass fervour on the streets, the fact that the US was not using the aid card to force the Army to hand over power to civilians had, despite the charade, been frustrating activists. But sadly for their cause, not even the NGO arrests have pushed the US executive away from pampering the Egyptian military.

In the last few days, US Senators and representatives who had earlier demanded an end to the harassment of American NGO staffers have toned down their stridency on retaliation for the arrests. The key to this turnaround has to do with Israel’s fears that shutting off the aid tap will push the Egyptian military to abandon its three-decade-old peace treaty with Tel Aviv.

Foreign aid from Washington to successive Egyptian regimes since the days of Anwar Sadat is actually a bribe to perpetuate their entente cordiale with Israel — anger on the streets in Egypt against a sell-out on the Palestinian cause had to be salved through this form of payment from the US to the Egyptian military. Sensing Israel’s fear and the US’ vulnerability, the Muslim Brotherhood, which currently dominates the Egyptian Parliament, has threatened to “review” relations with Israel if the aid stops flowing from Washington. The Brotherhood and Tantawi’s officer corps know that in an election year, Mr Obama would not dare to weaken Israel geopolitically.

The outcome of this sordid game over aid is that the people of Egypt who are desperately striving for civilian supremacy and de-politicisation of the Army, are being cheated by the strategic aid policy of the US, which is nothing but a guarantee for Israel’s security. The NGOs who claim to be helping to democratise Egypt are playing their parts as cogs in this structural vicious circle.

The India-UK row over foreign aid is equally convoluted. Some British MPs, angered by New Delhi’s award of a major fighter jet contract to a French defence manufacturer, pressured the David Cameron government to cancel the £280 million worth of annual development assistance to India. If development aid does not buy lucrative contracts to Britain’s military industrial complex, they argued, Britain should stop its charity pretentions and suspend aid deliveries to India.

Following this muscle-flexing, it emerged from leaked memos that India was anyway not clamouring for British development aid. India’s then foreign secretary, Nirupama Rao, is said to have recommended that Delhi stop accepting British aid due to the “negative publicity of Indian poverty” promoted by UK’s DFID (Department for International Development). India’s finance minister Pranab Mukherjee bluntly remarked in 2011 that Britain’s aid was “peanuts” and was not welcome.

Yet, as in the case of the US and Egypt, the British government has not withdrawn its unsolicited aid to India owing to domestic compulsions. The justification for this puzzling act of unwarranted benevolence is that British ministers had painstakingly sold the policy of foreign aid to their electorates and that pulling the plug now on India would cause “grave political embarrassment”.

In other words, the myth that Britain is still a liberal saviour of suffering people of the world has to be kept up for a domestic audience that is suffering under the weight of a prolonged economic downturn. Aid is, thus, not designed to bring the wretched of the earth out of poverty but to pacify unrest in the donor country’s domestic sphere. This has echoes from colonial times, when workers at home were kept under leash by means of the civilising mission and the “white man’s burden” overseas — the propaganda in Victorian England about the supposed uplifting nature of British colonialism was couched in humanitarian aid terms and was a means to cover up the Dickensian gloom of factory labour exploitation.

Last year, China surpassed the World Bank as the world’s biggest development lender. Apart from the political leverage, market penetration and energy security that Beijing gets in return from Africa and Latin America, Chinese aid investments also serve domestic purposes. Beijing’s “chequebook diplomacy” keeps internal dissent under check by peddling the vision of a benevolent state whose foreign policy is empowering the world’s underdogs.

Charity indeed begins at home, but in a rather murky way. Aid has never pitchforked receiving societies out of poverty, although donor states and their allies routinely benefit from developmental loans and grants thrust upon the wary. Egypt and India would fare better if liberated from foreign aid and its entwining strings.

The writer is vice-dean of the Jindal School of International Affairs and the author of the recent book, International Organizations and Civilian Protection: Power, Ideas and Humanitarian Aid in Conflict Zones

http://www.asianage.com/columnists/politics-charity-832

 

 

EGYPT: New Raids on NGOs Expected

“Foreign funding has also been another reason to target NGOs, which, again, must be approved by the Ministry of Social Solidarity. In August, the Supreme State Security Prosecution launched investigations into foreign funding allegations, warning that groups could be charged with high treason, conspiracy against the state and compromising national security through the implementation of foreign agendas.” – NGO crackdown: Frontline of the ongoing revolution, Jan 5, 2012

Photo: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks with “Egyptian activists promoting freedom and democracy”, prior to meetings at the State Department in Washington, DC, May 28, 2009. Source: Part I: Occupy Wall Street and “The American Autumn”: Is It a “Colored Revolution”?

The judge presiding over the investigation of accusations against civil society organisations says he ordered a warrant for searching several NGOs anew

 Ahram Online, 8 Feb 2012

Egypt’s ruling military council has rejected US threats to end aid payments to the country. US-Egypt tensions have risen considerably following the decision to refer 43 civil society workers to a Cairo court on charges of violating laws regulating the operation of non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

A statement released on the council’s official Facebook page stressed that Egypt is a country with a rich heritage that cannot be pressured or blackmailed into doing someone else’s bidding. The council also added that Egypt’s international relations with the US and others countries were governed by the common interests of both parties, and that “Egypt does not bow to the domination of anyone.”

Occupy Wall Street and “The American Autumn”: Is It a “Colored Revolution”?

Part I

by Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, October 13, 2011

There is a grassroots protest movement unfolding across America, which includes people from all walks of life, from all age groups, conscious of the need for social change and committed to reversing the tide.

The grassroots of this movement constitutes a response to the "Wall Street agenda" of financial fraud and manipulation which has served to trigger unemployment and poverty across the land.

Does this movement constitute in its present form an instrument of meaningful reform and social change in America?

What is the organizational structure of the movement? Who are its main architects?

Has the movement or segments within this movement been co-opted?

This is an important question, which must be addressed by those who are part of the Occupy Wall Street Movement as well as those who, across America, support real democracy.

Introduction

Historically, progressive social movements have been infiltrated, their leaders co-opted and manipulated, through the corporate funding of non-governmental organizations, trade unions and political parties. The ultimate purpose of "funding dissent" is to prevent the protest movement from challenging the legitimacy of the economic elites:

"In a bitter irony, part of the fraudulent financial gains on Wall Street in recent years have been recycled to the elites’ tax exempt foundations and charities. These windfall financial gains have not only been used to buy out politicians, they have also been channelled to NGOs, research institutes, community centres, church groups, environmentalists, alternative media, human rights groups, etc.

The inner objective is to "manufacture dissent" and establish the boundaries of a "politically correct" opposition. In turn, many NGOs are infiltrated by informants often acting on behalf of western intelligence agencies. Moreover, an increasingly large segment of the progressive alternative news media on the internet has become dependent on funding from corporate foundations and charities.

The objective of the corporate elites has been to fragment the people’s movement into a vast "do it yourself" mosaic." (See Michel Chossudovsky, Manufacturing Dissent: the Anti-globalization Movement is Funded by the Corporate Elites, Global Research, September 20, 2010)

"Manufacturing Dissent"

At the same time, "manufactured dissent" is intent upon promoting political and social divisions (e.g. within and between political parties and social movements). In turn, it encourages the creation of factions within each and every organization.

With regard to the anti-globalization movement, this process of division and fragmentation dates back to the early days of the World Social Forum. (See Michel Chossudovsky, Manufacturing Dissent: The Anti-globalization Movement is Funded by the Corporate Elites, Global Research, September 20, 2010)

Most of the progressive organizations of the post-World War II period, including the European "Left" have, in the course of the last thirty years, been transformed and remoulded. The "Free Market" system (Neoliberalism) is the consensus of the "Left". This applies, among others, to the Socialist Party in France, the Labour Party in Britain, the Social Democrats in Germany, not to mention the Green Party in France and Germany.

In the US, bi-partisanship is not the result of the interplay of Congressional party politics. A handful of powerful corporate lobby groups control both the Republicans and the Democrats. The "bi-partisan consensus" is established by the elites who operate behind the scenes. It is enforced by the main corporate lobby groups, which exert a stranglehold over both major political parties.

In turn, the leaders of the AFL-CIO have also been co-opted by the corporate establishment against the grassroots of the US labor movement.

The leaders of organized labor attend the annual meetings of the Davos World Economic Forum (WEF). They collaborate with the Business Roundtable. But at the same time, the grassroots of the US labor movement has sought to to carry out organizational changes which contribute to democratizing the leadership of individual trade unions.

The elites will promote a "ritual of dissent" with a high media profile, with the support of network TV, the corporate news as well as the internet.

The economic elites — which control major foundations — also oversee the funding of numerous civil society organizations, which historically have been involved in the protest movement against the established economic and social order. The programs of many NGOs (including those involved in the Occupy Wall Street Movement) rely heavily on funding from private foundations including the Ford, Rockefeller, MacArthur, Tides foundations, among others.

Historically, the anti-globalization movement which emerged in the 1990s has opposed Wall Street and the Texas oil giants controlled by Rockefeller, et al. Yet the foundations and charities of Rockefeller, Ford et al have, over the years, generously funded progressive anti-capitalist networks as well as environmentalists (opposed to Big Oil) with a view to ultimately overseeing and shaping their various activities.

"Colored Revolutions"

In the course of the last decade, "colored revolutions" have emerged in several countries. The "colored revolutions" are US intelligence ops which consist in covertly supporting protest movements with a view to triggering "regime change" under the banner of a pro-democracy movement.

"Colored revolutions" are supported by the National Endowment for Democracy, the International Republican Institute and Freedom House, among others. The objective of a "colored revolution" is to foment social unrest and use the protest movement to topple the existing government. The ultimate foreign policy goal is to instate a compliant pro-US government (or "puppet regime").

"The Arab Spring"

In Egypt’s "Arab Spring", the main civil society organizations including Kifaya (Enough) and The April 6 Youth Movement were not only supported by US based foundations, they also had the endorsement of the US State Department. (For details see Michel Chossudovsky, The Protest Movement in Egypt: "Dictators" do not Dictate, They Obey Orders, Global Research, January 29, 2011)

Egyptian dissidents, Fellows of Freedom House in Washington DC (2008)

"In a bitter irony, Washington supported the Mubarak dictatorship, including its atrocities, while also backing and financing its detractors,… Under the auspices of Freedom House, Egyptian dissidents and opponents of Hosni Mubarak (see above) were received in May 2008 by Condoleezza Rice … and White House National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley." (See Michel Chossudovsky, The Protest Movement in Egypt: "Dictators" do not Dictate, They Obey Orders, Global Research, January 29, 2011)

The following year (May 2009), a delegation of Egyptian dissidents was received by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (See below)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks with "Egyptian activists promoting freedom and democracy", prior to meetings at the State Department in Washington, DC, May 28, 2009.
Compare the two pictures. Part of the 2008 delegation meeting Condoleeza Rice is part of the 2009 delegation meeting Hillary Clinton

OTPOR and the Centre for Applied Non Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS)

Dissidents of Egypt’s April 6 Youth Movement, which, for several years, was in permanent liaison with the US Embassy in Cairo, were trained by Serbia’s Centre for Applied Non Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS), a consulting and training firm specializing in "Revolution" supported by FH and the NED.

CANVAS was established in 2003 by OTPOR, a CIA supported Serbian organization which played a central role in the downfall of Slobodan Milosevic in the wake of the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

Barely two months after the end of the 1999 bombings of Yugoslavia, OTPOR was spearheaded into playing a central role in the installation of a US-NATO sponsored "caretaker" government in Serbia. These developments also paved the way towards the secession of Montenegro from Yugoslavia, the establishment of the US Bondsteel military base and the eventual formation a Mafia State in Kosovo.

In August 1999, the CIA is reported to have set up a training program for OTPOR in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia:

"In the summer of 1999, the head of the CIA, George Tenet, set up shop in Sofia, Bulgaria to “educate” the Serb opposition. Last August. 28 [2000], the BBC confirmed that a special 10-day class had been given to the Otpor militants, also in Sofia.

The CIA program is a program in successive phases. Early on, they flatter the Serbs’ patriotism and spirit of independence, acting as if they respect these qualities. But after having sown confusion and broken the unity of the country, the CIA and NATO would go much further."

(Gerard Mugemangano and Michel Collon, "To be partly controlled by the CIA ? That doesn’t bother me much.", Interview with two activists of the Otpor student movement, International Action Center (IAC), To be partly controlled by the CIA ? October 6, 2000. See also "CIA is tutoring Serbian group, Otpor", The Monitor, Sofia, translated by Blagovesta Doncheva, Emperors Clothes, September 8, 2000 )

"The Revolution Business"

OTPOR’s Centre for Applied Non Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS) describes itself as "an International network of trainers and consultants" involved in the "Revolution Business". Funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), it constitutes a consulting outfit, advising and training US sponsored opposition groups in more than 40 countries.

OTPOR played a key role in Egypt.

Egypt Tahir Square: What appeared to be a spontaneous democratization process was a carefully planned intelligence operation. View video below.


Egypt. The Logo of the April 6 Movement

Egypt’s “April 6 Youth Movement,” the same fist logo, Source Infowars

Both the April 6 Movement and Kifaya (Enough!) received prior training from CANVAS in Belgrade "in the strategies of non-violent revolution". "According to Stratfor, The tactics used by the April 6 Movement and Kifaya "were straight out of CANVAS’s training curriculum." (Quoted in Tina Rosenberg, Revolution U, Foreign Policy, February 16, 2011 )

It is worth noting the similarity of the logos as well as the names involved in CANVAS-OTPOR sponsored "Colored Revolutions" The April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt used the clenched fist as its logo, Kifaya ("Enough!") has the same name as the Youth Protest movement supported by OTPOR in Georgia which was named Kmara! ("Enough!"). Both groups were trained by CANVAS.

Georgia’s Kmara ("Enough!")

The Role of CANVAS-OTPOR in the Occupy Wall Street Movement

CANVAS-OPTOR is currently involved in the Occupy Wall Street Movement (#OWS).

Several key organizations currently involved in The Occupy Wall Street (#OWS) movement played a significant role in "The Arab Spring". Of significance, "Anonymous", the social media "hacktivist" group, was involved in waging cyber-attacks on Egyptian government websites at the height of "The Arab Spring".(http://anonops.blogspot.com, see also http://anonnews.org/)

In May 2011, "Anonymous" waged cyberattacks on Iran and last August, it waged similar cyber-attacks directed against the Syrian Ministry Defense. These cyber-attacks were waged in support of the Syrian "opposition" in exile, which is largely integrated by Islamists. (See Syrian Ministry Of Defense Website Hacked By ‘Anonymous’, Huffington Post, August 8, 2011).

The actions of "Anonymous" in Syria and Iran are consistent with the framework of the "Colored Revolutions". They seek to demonize the political regime and create political instability. (For analysis on Syria’s Opposition, see Michel Chossudovsky, SYRIA: Who is Behind The Protest Movement? Fabricating a Pretext for a US-NATO "Humanitarian Intervention" Global Research, May 3, 2011)

Both CANVAS and Anonymous are now actively involved in the Occupy Wall Street Movement.

The precise role of CANVAS in the Occupy Wall Street Movement remains to be assessed.

Ivan Marovic, a leader of CANVAS recently addressed the Occupy Wall Street protest movement in New York City. Listen carefully to his speech. (Bear in mind that his organization CANVAS is supported by NED).

Click link below to listen to Ivan Marovic’s address to Occupy Wall Street in New York City

Ivan Marovic addresses Occupy Wall Street

Marovic acknowledged in an earlier statement that there is nothing spontaneous in the planning of a "revolutionary event":

"It looks like people just went into the street. But it’s the result of months or years of preparation. It is very boring until you reach a certain point, where you can organize mass demonstrations or strikes. If it is carefully planned, by the time they start, everything is over in a matter of weeks." (Quoted in Tina Rosenberg, Revolution U, Foreign Policy, February 16, 2011)

This statement by OTPOR’s spokesperson Ivan Marovic would suggest that the protest movements in the Arab World did not spread spontaneously from one country to another, as portrayed by the Western media. The national protest movements were planned well in advance. The chronology and sequencing of these national protest movements were also planned.

Similarly, Maravic’s statement also suggests that The Occupy Wall Street movement was also the object of careful advanced planning by a number of key organizations on tactics and strategy.

It is worth noting that one of OTPOR’s tactics is "not try to avoid arrests", but rather to "provoke them and use them to the movement’s advantage." as a PR strategy. (Ibid)

Occupy Wall Street Clenched Fist on http://occupywallst.org