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NGO crackdown: Egypt Denies Licenses to 8 U.S.-based Non-profits

By Anne Sewell

Apr 24, 2012 in World
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Egypt has denied licenses to eight US-based non-profit groups, saying they violated the country’s sovereignty. Many states are concerned that foreign government-backed NGOs are really agents for their sponsors, rather than independent action groups.

­Among the organizations banned from continuing their work in Egypt are the Carter Center for Human Rights, set up by former US President Jimmy Carter, Christian group The Coptic Orphans, Seeds of Peace and other groups.

Egyptian authorities warned that if the NGOs try to work without a license, Cairo would “take relevant measures”.

Local media speculate that the rejection may be temporary, and licenses could be granted later, after the presidential election due on May 23 and 24.

Monday’s move revives a crackdown by the Egyptian authorities on foreign-funded NGOs, which recently provoked a serious diplomatic row with long-term ally US. In late December 2011, security forces raided offices of a number of groups suspected of receiving money in violation of Egyptian legislation.

In February, prosecutors charged 43 people with instilling dissent and meddling in domestic policies following last year’s mass protests, which resulted in the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak. Among them were citizens of the US, Germany, Serbia, Norway and Jordan.

In March, an Egyptian court revoked the travel ban for 17 indicted Americans following Washington’s threat to withdraw $1.3 billion annual military aid to Cairo. The decision provoked a wave criticism of the ruling military council in Egypt. Many activists accused them of betraying national interests under American pressure.

“NGO”: The Guise of Innocence | The Illusion of Innocent Philanthropic Activity

The term “NGO” is used deliberately to create an illusion of innocent philanthropic activity. In this case the Egyptian government is investigating the operations of organisations in receipt of US state funding which have a proven history of covertly funding political parties, influencing elections and aiding coups against both autocratic and democratic non-compliant and left-leaning governments around the world. Yet one mention of the Egyptian government’s raid on the offices of so-called “pro-democracy NGOs” in Cairo was enough to spark an international outcry. The result has been an almost complete failure by the Western press to investigate at all the history of the organisations involved or the validity of the charges being brought against them.

by Jenny O’Connor

Global Research, April 8, 2012 | Irish Foreign Affairs (Vol 5, No. 1, March 2012) and Dissident Voice

 

 

In December Egyptian prosecutors and police raided 17 offices of 10 groups identifying themselves as “pro-democracy” NGOs, including four US-based agencies. Forty-three people, including 16 US citizens, have been accused of failing to register with the government and financing the April 6th protest movement with illicit funds in a manner that detracts from the sovereignty of the Egyptian state.

The US has applied massive pressure on Egypt to drop the case, sending high-level officials to Cairo for intense discussions and threatening to cut off up to $1.3bn in military aid and $250m in economic assistance if the US citizens were tried. A travel ban was imposed on seven of them by Egypt’s Attorney General, including Sam LaHood, son of Obama’s Transportation Secretary. By the first day of the case all but the seven with travel restrictions had left the country and those who remained did not even attend court. A day after the ban was lifted a military plane removed the remaining seven US citizens from Egypt after the US government provided nearly $5m in bail.

The Egyptian authorities stated that the matter was firmly in the hands of the judiciary and out of control of government and accused the US of unacceptable meddling. The international community has expressed outrage at the affair and accused the Egyptian military of inciting paranoia of foreign interference so as to deflect attention from the slow pace of political and democratic reform a year after the revolution. Amid the high-profile diplomatic strife there has been an almost total global journalistic silence on the nature and funding of these “NGOs”.

State Sponsored Organisations, Not NGOs

The people standing trial are repeatedly referred to by governments and the media as “NGO workers”. The 43 defendants worked for five specific organisations; Freedom House; the National Democratic Institute (NDI); the International Republican Institute (IRI); the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. Only one of these organisations, the ICFJ, can be considered as non-governmental in that it does not receive the majority of its funding either directly or indirectly from a government.

The NDI, chaired by Madeline Albright, and the IRI, chaired by Senator John McCain, represent the US Democratic and Republican political parties. The NDI and IRI, together with the Center for International Private Enterprise, which represents the US Chamber of Commerce, and the Solidarity Centre, which represents the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), make up the four “core institutions” of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). NED is a non-profit, grant-making institution that receives more than 90% of its annual budget from the US government. While Freedom House claims to be independent it regularly receives the majority of its funding from the NED. The Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, sometimes referred to as the German NED, is a non-profit foundation associated with the Christian Democratic Union. It receives over 90% of its funding from the German government. This means that the IRI, the NDI, Freedom House and the Konrad Adenauer Stifung – four of the five accused organisation – are state sponsored institutions and can not be defined as NGOs.

Freedom House has long been criticised for its right wing bias, favouring free markets and US foreign policy interests when assessing civil liberty and political freedom “scores” in countries around the world. Freedom House statistics for 2011 claim that Venezuelans had the same level of political rights as Iraqis. Bolivia’s overall score was reduced from “Free” to “Partially Free” after mass protests removed American-educated millionaire Gonzalo Sanchez de Losada from power after he initiated a sweeping privatization program. Now, under the first government in her history to really recognise the rights of the indigenous majority, Bolivia is still rated by Freedom House as only partially free and received a lower overall score than Botswana where one party (the BDP) has been in power since the first elections were held there in 1965. Freedom House has also been accused of running programmes of regime destabilisation in US “enemy states” and a 1996 Financial Times article revealed that Freedom House was one of several organisations selected by the State Department to receive funding for “clandestine activities” inside Iran including training and funding groups seeking regime change, an act that received criticism from Iranian grass roots pro-democracy groups.1

The most nefarious of these organisations by far, however, are the IRI and the NDI. They receive NED grants “for work abroad to foster the growth of political parties, electoral processes and institutions, free trade unions, and free markets and business organizations.” 2  On March 6th, a protest march was organised by American civil society organisations at the offices of the NED in Washington, demanding; “NO ATTACKS ON DEMOCRACY ANYWHERE! CLOSE THE NED”. Union members and labor activists have protested and campaigned for years demanding that the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center break all ties to the NED.

Board of Directors

Chaired by Richard Gephardt – former Democratic Representative, now CEO of his own corporate consultancy and lobbying firm – the NED’s board of directors consists of a collection of corporate lobbyists, advisors and consultants, former U.S congressmen, senators, ambassadors and military and senior fellows of think tanks. For example, John A. Bohn, a former high level international banker and former President and Chief Executive Officer of Moody’s Investors Service, is now Commissioner of the California Public Utilities Commission, a principal in a global corporate advisory and consulting firm and Executive Chairman of an internet based trading exchange for petrochemicals. Kenneth Duberstein, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff under Reagan, is now Chairman and CEO of his own corporate lobbying firm. He also sits on the Board of Governors of the American Stock Exchange and NASD and serves on the Boards of Directors of numerous conglomerates including The Boeing Company, ConocoPhilips and Fannie Mae. Martin Frost is a former congressman who was involved in writing the 1999 “Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act” also known as the “Citigroup Relief Act”, and William Galston, former student of Leo Strauss, is a US Marine Corp veteran.

The Board also contains four of the founding members of ultra-conservative think tank Project for a New American Century; Francis Fukyama (author of ‘The End of History’), Will Marshall (founder of the ‘New Democrats’, an organisation that aimed to move Democratic Party policies to the right) former congressman Vin Weber (who retired from Congress in 1992 as a result of the House Banking Scandal and is now managing partner of a corporate lobbying firm) and Zalmay Khalilzad. Under George Bush Jr., Khalilzad served as US Ambassador to Iraq, Afghanistan and the UN.  He is now President and CEO of his own international corporate advisory firm which advises clients – mainly in the energy, construction, education, and infrastructure sectors – wishing to do business in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also briefly consulted for Cambridge Energy Research Associates while they were conducting a risk analysis for the proposed Trans-Afghanistan gas pipeline.

History

The NED was founded in 1983 when Washington was embroiled in numerous controversies relating to covert military operations and the training and funding of paramilitaries and death squads in Central and South America. The NED was formed to create an open and legal avenue for the US Government to channel funds to opposition groups against unfavourable regimes around the world, thus removing the political stigma associated with covert CIA funding. In a 1991 Washington Post article, “Innocence Abroad: The New World of Spyless Coups”, Allen Weinstein (who helped draft the legislation that established the NED) declared; “A lot of what we [the NED] do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA”. 3

In 1996 the Heritage Foundation published an article in defence of continued NED congressional funding which accurately summed up the NED as a US foreign policy tool; “The NED is a valuable weapon in the international war of ideas. It advances American national interests by promoting the development of stable democracies friendly to the U.S. in strategically important parts of the world. The U.S. cannot afford to discard such an effective instrument of foreign policy…Although the Cold War has ended, the global war of ideas continues to rage”. 4

As well as ongoing campaigns of regime destabilisation in undemocratic US enemy states such as Cuba and China, and its well known funding of “colour” revolutionaries in the former soviet space, the NED has been repeatedly involved in influencing elections and overthrowing governments in left-leaning and anti-US democratic regimes around the world. This is achieved by providing funding and/or training and strategic advice to opposition groups, political parties, journalists and media outlets. As Barbara Conry of the Cato Institute wrote: “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.”5

From 1986 to 1988 the NED funded the right-wing political opposition to Nobel Peace Price winner, President Oscar Arias, in democratic Costa Rica because he was outspokenly critical of Reagan’s violent policies in Central America. During the 1980s the NED was even active in “defending democracy” in France due to the dangerous rise in communist influence perceived as occurring under the elected socialist government of Francois Mitterrand. Money was channelled into opposition groups including extreme right-wing organisations such as the National Inter-University Union. In 1990 the NED provided funding and support to right wing groups in Nicaragua, and Daniel Ortega and the Sandinistas were removed from power in an election described by Professor William I. Robinson as an event in which “massive foreign interference completely distorted an endogenous political process and undermined the ability of the elections to be a free choice”.6

In the late 1990s the NED provided funding and support to the US backed right-wing opposition against the election campaign of progressive former president, and first democratically elected leader of Haiti, Jean-Betrand Aristide. When a coup removed Aristide from power for the second time in 2004 it was revealed that the NED had provided funding and strategic advice to the principal organizations involved in his ousting. The involvement of the NED in the 2002 attempted coup against President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela has been well researched and documented. Immediately after the coup, however, the then president of the IRI, George Folsom, revealed the institute’s role in the endeavour when he sent out a press release celebrating Chavez’s ousting: “The Institute has served as a bridge between the nation’s political parties and all civil society groups to help Venezuelans forge a new democratic future…”.

The IRI was also implicated in the 2009 Honduran coup amid claims that the organisation had supported the ousting of democratically elected leader Manuel Zelaya because of his support of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (an anti-free trade pact including Honduras, Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba) and his refusal to privatise telecommunications. According to the Council on Hemispheric Affairs AT&T – an American telecommunications giant – has provided significant funding to both the IRI and Senator John McCain (its chairman) in order to target Latin American states that refuse to privatize their telecommunications industry.7

Influence in Egypt and the Arab Spring

The NED works in democratic Turkey but does not provide “democratisation grants” to civil society organisations in Western allied absolute monarchies such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia or Oman. A number of NED backed activists have taken centre stage in the Arab Spring struggles and U.S. supported candidates have risen to occupy leading positions in newly established transitional governments. The most glaring example of this is Libya’s transitional Prime Minister, Dr. Abdurrahim El-Keib, who holds dual U.S./Libyan citizenship and is former Chairman of the Petroleum Institute sponsored by British Petroleum, Shell, Total and the Japan Oil Development Company. He handed the job of running Libya’s oil and gas supply to a technocrat and, according to the Guardian, has passed over Islamists expected to make the cabinet in order “to please Western backers”.8 Tawakkul Karman too, of Yemen, who became the youngest ever recipient of a Nobel Peace Price in 2011, was leader of a NED grantee organisation, “Women Journalists without Chains”.

In 2009 sixteen young Egyptian activists completed a two-month Freedom House ‘New Generation Fellowship’ in Washington. The activists received training in advocacy and met with U.S. government officials, members of Congress, media outlets and think tanks. As far back as 2008, members of the April 6th Movement attended the inaugural summit of the Association of Youth Movements (AYM) in New York, where they networked with other movements, attended workshops on the use of new and social media and learned about technical upgrades, such as consistently alternating computer simcards, which help to evade state internet surveillance. AYM is sponsored by Pepsi, YouTube and MTV and amongst the luminaries who participated in the 2008 Summit, which focused on training activists in the use of Facebook and Twitter, were James Glassman of the State Department, Sherif Mansour of Freedom House, National Security Advisor Shaarik Zafar and Larry Diamond of the NED.

This is rather ironic considering that in September 2009 the US authorities arrested Elliot Madison (a US citizen and full-time social worker) for using Twitter to disseminate information about police movements to G20 Summit street protesters in Pittsburgh. Madison, apparently in violation of a loosely defined federal anti-rioting law, was accused of “criminal use of a communication facility,” “possessing instruments of crime,” and “hindering apprehension”. Given that heavily armed police officers were using tear gas, sonic weapons and rubber bullets on protesters Madison’s actions were hardly unjustified. Further demonstrating the hypocrisy of Madison’s arrest is the fact that in June 2009 the State Department had requested Twitter delay a planned upgrade so that Iranian protesters’ tweets would not be interrupted. Twitter Inc subsequently stated in a blog post that it had delayed the upgrade because of its role as an “important communication tool in Iran.”9

A leaked 2008 cable from the Cairo US Embassy, entitled “April 6 activist on his US visit and regime change in Egypt”, showed that the US was in dialogue with an April 6th youth activist about his attendance at the AYM Summit.10  The cable revealed that the activist tried to convince his Washington interlocutors that the US Government and the International Community should pressure the Egyptian government into implementing reforms by freezing the off-shore bank accounts of Egyptian Government officials. He also detailed the youth movement’s plans to remove Mubarak from power and hold representative elections before the September 2011 presidential election.

While the cable revealed that the US deemed this plan “highly unrealistic”, the dialogue proves that the funding of any youth organisation associated with the April 6th movement by a US organisation since December 2008 had been done with Washington and the US embassy in Cairo being fully aware that the movement’s aim was regime change in Egypt. Yet in April 2011 the New York Times published an article entitled ‘U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings’ in which it openly stated that; “A number of the groups and individuals directly involved in the revolts and reforms sweeping the region, including the April 6th 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 IRI, the NDI and Freedom House”.

According to the NED’s 2009 Annual Report, $1,419,426 worth of grants was doled out to civil society organisations in Egypt that year. In 2010, the year preceding the January – February 2011 revolution, this funding massively increased to $2,497,457.11 Nearly half of this sum, $1,146,903, was allocated to the Center for International Private Enterprise for activates such as conducting workshops at governate level “to promote corporate citizenship” and engaging civil society organizations “to participate in the democratic process by strengthening their capacity to advo­cate for free market legislative reform on behalf of their members”. Freedom House also received $89,000 to “strengthen cooperation among a network of local activists and bloggers”.

According to the same 2010 report, various youth organisations and youth orientated projects received a total of $370,954 for activities such as expanding the use of new media and social advertising campaigns among young activists, training and providing ongoing support in “the production and targeted dissemination of social advertisement campaigns”, building the leadership skills of political party youth, strengthening and supporting “a cadre of young civic and political activists . . . well positioned to mobilize and engage their communities”, and providing youth  training workshops in “professional media skills as well as online and social networking media tools”.

But this is just the funding that is transparently made known to us on the NED’s official website. After the revolution, the NDI and IRI massively expanded their operations in Egypt, opening five new offices between them and hiring large numbers of new staff. The Egyptian authorities claim that they have found these organisations’ finances very difficult to trace. According to Dawlat Eissa – a 27-year-old Egyptian-American and former IRI employee – the IRI used employees’ private bank accounts to channel money covertly from Washington, and an IRI accountant stated that directors used their personal credit cards for expenses. Eissa and a number of her colleagues resigned from their posts with the IRI in October, and Eissa filed a complaint with the government after director Sam LaHood reportedly told employees to collect all of the organisation’s work related paperwork for scanning and shipping to the US.12

It is clear that NDI, IRI and Freedom House were training and funding the youth movement in Egypt while the US Government and its Cairo Embassy were fully aware that the youth movement aimed to remove Mubarak from power. Critics claim that the defendants are being charged with a law that is a “relic of the Mubarak era”. But, it may be replied, in what country does the law allow foreign governments to fund and train opposition groups with a stated goal of regime change? It is common sense to assume that if China or Cuba were funding similar oppositionist groups in the US, those involved would be facing far harsher sentences than the 43 now standing trial in Egypt. Yet they continue to hide behind the tattered guise of being “NGO” employees, claiming independence because their US government funding is channelled through the National Endowment for Democracy.

The term “NGO” is used deliberately to create an illusion of innocent philanthropic activity. In this case the Egyptian government is investigating the operations of organisations in receipt of US state funding which have a proven history of covertly funding political parties, influencing elections and aiding coups against both autocratic and democratic non-compliant and left-leaning governments around the world. Yet one mention of the Egyptian government’s raid on the offices of so-called “pro-democracy NGOs” in Cairo was enough to spark an international outcry. The result has been an almost complete failure by the Western press to investigate at all the history of the organisations involved or the validity of the charges being brought against them.

•  This article was first published in Irish Foreign Affairs (Vol 5, No. 1, March 2012)

  1. Guy Dinmore, “Bush enters Iran ‘freedom’ debate’”, Financial Times, March 31, 2006 [?]
  2. National Endowment for Democracy official website [?]
  3. Innocence Abroad: The New World of Spyless Coups by David Ignatius. Washington Post, September 22, 1991 [?]
  4. The National Endowment for Democracy: A Prudent Investment in the Future by James Phillips (Senior Research Fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs) and Kim R. Holmes (Vice President of Foreign and Defence Policy Studies), Heritage Foundation, 1996 [?]
  5. Conry, B. (1993) Cato Foreign Policy Briefing No. 27, November 8 [?]
  6. Robinson, William I. (1992), A Faustian Bargain: U.S. Intervention in the Nicaraguan Elections and American Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War Era,  Boulder: Westview Press, p. 150 [?]
  7. D’Ambrosio, Michaela,  ‘The Honduran Coup: Was it a matter of behind the scenes finagling by state department stonewallers?” Council on Hemispheric Affairs, September 16, 2009 [?]
  8. “Libyan PM snubs Islamists with cabinet to please western backers”, The Guardian, Tuesday  November 22, 2011 [?]
  9. Pleming, Sue. “US State Department speaks to Twitter over Iran”,  Reuters, Jun 16, 2009 [?]
  10. “Egypt protests: secret US document discloses support for protesters”,  The Telegraph, January 28, 2011 [?]
  11. All figures taken from 2009 and 2010 NED annual report’s for Egypt available on NED’s official website [?]
  12. Hill, Evan,  “Egypt dossier outlines NGO prosecution”, Al Jazeera English, February 26, 2012 [?]

Jenny O’Connor is a graduate of International Relations from Dublin City University and Communications Volunteer with the European Anti-Poverty Network Ireland. Read other articles by Jenny, or visit Jenny’s website.

The Purpose of U.S. Soft Power Themed Revolutions: Disunity and Power Projection

14.02.2012
Wayne MADSEN
Strategic-Culture.org

A U.S. “alphabet soup” agency-sponsored themed revolution in the Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean comprising twenty-six atolls, stands to plunge the nation, heretofore considered a tropical paradise for tourists, into the same kind of chaos and civil unrest now seen on the streets of Libya, Egypt, and Syria. Maldives is smaller in comparison to the nations of the Middle East where the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), International Republican Institute (IRI), National Democratic Institute (NDI), and George Soros’s Open Society Institute (OSI) have sponsored themed revolutions that have all resulted in civil unrest and a entrance of extremist Wahhabi Salafists into political power. However, the small size of Maldives provides a much clearer picture of how the aforementioned Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-sponsored “soft power” aggressors managed to turn paradise into another center of unrest in the Muslim world.

In the case of the Maldives, the road to civil strife began in 2005 when USAID- and OSI-sponsored democracy” manipulation groups took root in the country upon the legalization of opposition political parties by the government of President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. Serving as president for thirty years, Gayoom was seen by the international human rights network of non-governmental organizations as a dictator ripe for removal. The Western-sponsored NGOs settled on Mohamed Nasheed, a Maldivian opposition leader who had lived in exile in Britain – with the support of the British government — and Sri Lanka and who returned to Maldives in 2005, as their favorite candidate for president.

In preparation for the first direct presidential election for president in 2008, outside “democracy manipulators” descended on Maldives, a country that had become popular with the Soros network because of global climate change. Maldives, which is threatened by rising sea levels, became a cause célèbre for the carbon tax and carbon cap-and-trade advocates.

Nasheed was the 2008 presidential candidate of the Maldivian Democratic Party against President Gayoom’s Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party. In the first round of voting, Gayoom received a little over 40 percent of the vote in the first round to the 24 percent of Nasheed’s and his vice presidential running mate, Mohammed Waheed Hassan. To defeat Gayoom in the second round, Nasheed, obviously with the encouragement of his foreign “democracy” advisers, sought and received the endorsement of four other opposition parties, including the Saudi- and United Arab Emirates-financed Salafist Adhaalath (Justice) Party. Adhaalath is an ideological partner of the Muslim Brotherhoods of Egypt and Syria. In the second round of the election, Nasheed, with the support of the other four opposition presidential candidates, defeated Gayoom 54 percent to 46 percent.

Nasheed was immediately embraced by the world’s glitterati community of NGOs and celebrities, including carbon tax-and-trade advocate Bill McKibben of 350.org and the crowd who gathered at the Sundance Film Festival to view a sycophantic film about Nasheed called The Island President. Nasheed was called the “Mandela of the Maldives” by those celebrities whose knowledge of Maldives did not extend beyond the nation’s Wikipedia entry. In October 2009, Nasheed and his Cabinet pulled off a pre-Copenhagen climate change conference publicity stunt by holding the world’s first underwater Cabinet meeting. Nasheed and eleven of his ministers, wearing scuba gear, convened the meeting twenty feet under the surface of the Indian Ocean. Nasheed was a huge hit among the celebrity contingent at the December 2009 Copenhagen summit.

Nasheed was selected by Time magazine at the top of their “Leaders & Visionaries” list of “Heroes of the Environment.” The United Nations awarded Nasheed its “Champions of the Earth” award. Foreign Policy magazine, co-founded by the late Samuel Huntington, a chief ideologist for the neo-conservative pabulum of a “Clash of Civilizations” between the West and Islam, named Nasheed as one of its top global thinkers.

Nasheed took on as his close adviser and communications assistant Paul Roberts, a British national. In what alienated his Salafist supporters, Nasheed also opened diplomatic relations with Israel, invited Israeli surgeons to Maldives amid fears they would begin harvesting human organs for Israeli clients, met with Israeli government officials, agreed to allow direct air links between Israel and Maldives, invited Israeli trainers into Maldives to advise Maldivian security forces, and failed to ensure that Maldives voted for Palestine’s full admission to the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) during the organization’s general assembly meeting in Paris on October 31, 2011. Maldives was absent from the vote.

Maldivian opposition parties, particularly the Salafist Adhaalath Party which left Nasheed’s coalition, did not buy Nasheed’s government’s weak explanation about the Palestine vote. By the end of 2010, the four other political parties in Nasheed’s Cabinet had left and Nasheed’s government was accused by the opposition of lacking transparency. The trademark yellow neckties and shirts worn by Nasheed and his supporters and the yellow Maldivian Democratic Party flags waved by Nasheed’s supporters were yet another indication that Nasheed’s “revolution” was another “themed revolution” concocted by the Soros/NED network of NGOs and think tanks in Washington, London, and New York.

Just as other Soros / NED-installed regimes began to violate the constitutions of their respective nations, including Georgia and Ukraine, Nasheed was no different. On December 10, 2010, the Maldivian Supreme Court ruled that Nasheed’s cabinet ministers could not serve without the approval of parliament. Nasheed responded by declaring the Maldivian courts were controlled by supporters of ex-president Gayoom and on January 16, 2012, Nasheed ordered the military to arrest Abdulla Mohammed, the Chief Justice of the Criminal Court.

Counter-protests were organized by Maldives opposition parties and were backed by the police. After the military clashed with the opposition protesters and police, several military members defected and joined the protesters.

Faced with the opposition and police/military uprising, Nasheed resigned the presidency on February 7. Later, Nasheed and his British adviser Roberts claimed that Nasheed was ousted in a coup d’etat. The U.S. State Department demanded that Vice President Mohammed Waheed Hassan, who assumed the presidency and opposed the arrest order of the Chief Justice, form a government of national unity with Nasheed’s supporters. Hassan refused and India, which, in the past, has intervened militarily in Maldives to put down attempted coups, remained silent. The Soros/NED global glitterati, including the Soros-funded “Democracy Now” program hosted by Amy Goodman and partly-funded by Soros, featured Roberts on an interview in which Gayoom was described as a thug and who was trying to re-assume power. Of course, the Soros propaganda program made no mention of Nasheed’s repeated violations of the Maldivian constitution.

As with the destabilization of Iraq, Egypt, and Libya, the first target for alleged Islamist radicals after the ouster of Nasheed was the destruction of priceless museum artifacts. Unknown men broke into the Chinese-built Maldives National Museum in Male, the capital, and smashed the delicate coral and limestone pre–Islamic Maldivian Buddhist statues on display.

The yellow flag of Nasheed’s political party.

The rise of Salafists and Muslim Brotherhood adherents in the new Maldivian government parallels what occurred in Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Tunisia after their themed revolutions.

The Maldives were destabilized by the West at the same time that the Egyptian government charged 43 CIA-linked NGO personnel, including Americans, Britons, Serbs, and others working for IRI, NDI, and NED, with possessing a secret plan, including maps, to divide Egypt into an Israeli-dominated Sinai state, a Coptic state extending from Alexandria in the north to Asyut in the South, a Berber-dominated Islamic state based in Cairo, and a black African Nubian state in the south.

There now may be an attempt by the West to split up Maldives. In 1957, the British established the Gan airbase on the southernmost atoll of Addu and insisted on 100-year base rights on Seenu Atoll. After Maldives Prime Minister and President Ibrahim Nasir adopted a nationalist foreign policy, the British backed a secessionist movement in the southern atolls where the British bases were located that declared the short-lived United Suvadive Republic in 1959. After the collapse of the secessionist republic in 1965, the British bought the southernmost atoll in the Chagos-Laccadive chain of atolls from Mauritius and established the British Indian Ocean Territory. The inhabitants of the Chagos Archipelago island of Diego Garcia were forcibly removed to Mauritius and other Chagos islands and the United States established its strategic military base on the island of Diego Garcia. Maldives never recognized Mauritian claims over the Chagos atolls or the British Indian Ocean Territory. With neo-con interference in Maldives now coming to fruition, secessionist movements in the southern atolls may, once again, gain ground to ensure unfettered U.S. and British control over Diego Garcia and expansion of U.S. and British military facilities to the Addu atoll and, perhaps, further north in the Maldives chain.

Source: Strategic Culture Foundation on-line journal www.strategic-culture.org.

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 Leads Fight Against NGO Agitators | A real revolution may be about to follow

Feb 20, 2012

by Tony Cartalucci | Land Destroyer Report

Neo-Conservative Max Boot is a certified warmonger, an elitist policy wonk sitting on the Fortune 500-funded Council on Foreign Relations, has signed his name to letters that called for sidestepping both national and international law to militarily intervene further in Libya, as well as call for troops on the ground even after Tripoli fell last year. He is a man you would least expect to champion NGOs and their liberal-progressive agendas.

However NGOs are not “liberal-progressive.” They are the system administrators of modern empire, an empire being forged by the wars and covert operations Boot is a chief proponent of. The absence of NGOs in any given nation, means a nation free from the influence of Wall Street & London’s networks and meddling. That is why Boot feverishly penned, “Obama’s Egyptian Hostage Crisis,” in an attempt to spur a more vigorous response to what would seem like a very minor event in the context of greater global conflicts. Egypt’s arrest and trying of 19 Americans, all of whom are directly involved in Wall Street’s network of National Endowment for Democracy (NED) funded NGOs, including the head of the International Republican Institute (IRI) office in Egypt, signifies a potential turning point not just in Egypt, but around the world.

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.”

U.S. Bribery: The Egyptians “are going to be told to lay off the (nonprofit groups) or the money (for military) won’t be forthcoming”

Editor’s note: Not surprising, US “aid” to Egypt benefits the US much more than Egypt on many levels. It would be completely self-defeating for the US to cut this “aid”, therefore they won’t. Regarding the military, this is also an empty threat as this “aid” is a subsidy to US defence contractors which gives them much leverage, access, etc. Besides, without this “aid”, Egypt would likely turn to China and Russia … you can almost smell Washington sweating. Special thanks to Dr. Maximilian C. Forte, Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology Concordia University for his comments and insight.

U.S. Gen. Dempsey heads to Egypt with relations on line

By NANCY A. YOUSSEF, JONATHAN S. LANDAY AND HANNAH ALLAM

McClatchy Newspapers

02.07.12

Source

WASHINGTON — With $1.3 billion in annual U.S. military aid and a three-decade relationship hanging in the balance, U.S. officials said Tuesday that Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would travel to Egypt to press for the criminal charges against at least 16 American nonprofit workers to be dropped.

The visit later this week by the top U.S. military official likely represents the strongest leverage the United States has in its effort to get Egypt’s ruling generals to end a crackdown on American and Egyptian nonprofit groups. The White House and the State Department have unsuccessfully pressed the case with Egypt’s military council but no U.S. government department has worked more closely with the council over the years than the Pentagon has.

Officials said Dempsey would reinforce the message – echoing lawmakers on Capitol Hill – that unless Egypt scuttled its plan to try the American nonprofit workers on charges that their agencies illegally received foreign funds, the country seriously risked losing $1.3 billion annually in U.S. military aid.

The Egyptians “are going to be told to lay off the (nonprofit groups) or the money won’t be forthcoming,” said a person familiar with the deliberations, who wasn’t authorized to be quoted because of the issue’s sensitivity.