Source: New Eastern Outlook / Voltairenet
This is the clear reaction of Washington to the decision by the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office on July 28 to declare the activities of the US National Endowment for Democracy as “undesirable in the territory of Russia.” The official statement stated that, “the National Endowment for Democracy used Russian commercial and non-commercial organizations under its control to take part in campaigns aimed at denying the legitimacy of results of Russian elections; organize political actions designed to influence the authorities’ decisions and discredit the service in the Russian Armed Forces.” It further elaborated, “In pursuit of these goals, the fund allocated about 2.5 million US dollars to Russian commercial and non-commercial organizations in 2013-2015.”
Under Russia’s law on Undesirable NGOs, adopted by the Duma or parliament and signed into law by President Putin this May, any foreign or international non-governmental organization could become “undesirable” if it threatened the foundations of Russia’s constitutional order, the country’s defense capability and the security of the Russian state.
Significantly, in a statement regarding the decision, Russia’s Foreign Ministry named Carl Gershman, the neo-conservative who has been president since NED was founded in 1983. They noted that Gershman said – absolutely openly – that the NED organization was intended to be a beautiful facade for distributing funds among opposition circles in foreign countries. That suggests they have done their homework very well before banning the NED.
In a Washington Post OpEd responding to the ban, NED President Gershman cynically wrote that the move is, “the latest evidence that the regime of President Vladimir Putin faces a worsening crisis of political legitimacy.” He failed to note that despite US economic sanctions put in place by Victoria Nuland’s neo-conservative friends in the Obama Administration, Vladimir Putin’s poll popularity currently stands at 89% according to Russia’s independent Levada Center.
‘Doing what the CIA used to do…’
The NED, along with Freedom House, has been at the center of all major US State Department-financed ‘color revolutions’ in the world since 2000 when it was used to topple Milosevic in Serbia. The NED was created during the Reagan Administration to function as a de facto CIA, privatized so as to allow more freedom of action. Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, said in a Washington Post interview in 1991, “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”
The NED was the brainchild of Reagan’s CIA Director, Bill Casey. Casey wanted to create a funding mechanism to support groups inside foreign countries that would engage in propaganda and political action that the CIA had historically organized and paid for covertly. To partially replace that CIA role, the idea emerged for a congressionally funded entity that would serve as a conduit for this money. The main revenue to finance NED activities in countries like Russia, China, Myanmar, Venezuela, Uzbekistan and other places where the regime is not 100% on Washington’s music page, comes from the United States Congress. That is supplemented by such dubious organizations as George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, which seems to always pop up where the CIA and NED want to topple a regime as in Ukraine in 2013-14.
Casey wanted to be sure to hide the strings being pulled by the CIA. In a letter to Reagan’s White House Counselor, Edwin Meese III, Casey wrote, “Obviously we here [at CIA] should not get out front in the development of such an organization, nor should we appear to be a sponsor or advocate.” To hide the CIA’s role, Casey urged creation of a “National Endowment.”
NED President since 1984 has been Carl Gershman, previously with the Freedom House, another “democracy” front for the US intelligence community involved in every Color Revolution. NATO General and former Presidential candidate Wesley Clark, the man who led the US bombing of Serbia in 1999, and who recently called for aggressive US military response to Russia, also sat on the NED Board.
The majority of the historic figures linked to clandestine CIA actions have at some time been members of the Board of Directors or the Administrative Council of the NED, including Otto Reich, John Negroponte, Henry Cisneros, and Elliot Abrams. The Chairman of the NED Board of Directors in 2008 was Vin Weber, campaign fundraiser for George W. Bush in 2000. Gershman, head of the NED since its creation to the present, worked closely with Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams and Frank Gaffney. Gershman was in a sense ‘present at the creation’ of the political-intelligence faction known as neo-conservativism.
On September 26, 2013, weeks before Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovich announced he would join Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union rather than the less appealing EU “associate membership”, Gershman wrote an OpEd to the Washington Post where he called Ukraine “the biggest prize,” explaining that pulling it into the Western camp could contribute to the ultimate defeat of Russian President Putin. Gershman wrote, “Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents. Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”
In other words, NED is a US government-financed entity that intends to topple Russia’s elected President because he displeases the folks in the Washington neo-con war faction.
Among NED projects in Russia has been to finance Russian anti-Putin opposition activist Alexei Navalny, member of a group called Russian Opposition Coordination Council. Navalny received money from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
The NED has sub-units: National Republican Institute, which is headed by Senator John McCain, the man who played a key role in the 2014 USA coup d’etat in Ukraine. The National Democratic Institute, tied to USA Democratic Party and chaired now by Clinton Secretary of State and Serbian bombing advocate, Madeline Albright. The NED Board of Directors includes the kernel of the Bush-Cheney neo-conservative warhawks like Elliott Abrams; Francis Fukuyama; Zalmay Khalilzad, former Iraq and Afghan US ambassador, and architect of Afghan war; Robert Zoellick, Bush family insider and ex-World Bank President.
Among projects in Russia the NED financed in 2014 according to their abridged annual report was $530,067 under a category, Transparency in Russia: “To raise awareness of corruption.” Are they working with Russian prosecutors or police? How do they find the corruption they raise awareness of? That naturally also has a side benefit of giving Washington intimate details of corruption, real or imagined, that can be later used by its trained activist NGOs such as Navalny groups. Another project under their NED heading, Democratic Ideas and Values: $400,000 for something called “Meeting Point of Human Rights and History–To raise awareness of the use and misuse of historical memory, and to stimulate public discussion of pressing social and political issues.” It sounds suspiciously like the State Department’s recent campaign to rewrite the history of the Second World War and the fact that Russia and her affiliated Soviet regions lost 27 million lives in bearing the brunt of the victory over Hitler.
The only real question is not why the Russian government has banned the NED as the first under their new law on Undesirable NGOs. The question is why they did not ban it twenty years ago, or at least in 1999 when Putin first became President? NATO today is in a state of semi-war against Russia. In such circumstances, banning hostile foreign NGOs like NED is prudent self-defense.
In May, referring to the passage of the new Russian Undesirable NGO law, US State Department spokesperson, Marie Harf, said the United States was, “deeply troubled” by the new law, calling it “a further example of the Russian government’s growing crackdown on independent voices and intentional steps to isolate the Russian people from the world.” Before she became State Department media Spokesperson, Harf was Press Spokesperson at the CIA where she started her career. Interesting.
Notably, at the same time as Russia is banning NED under its new Undesirable NGO law, China has just signed into law its Overseas NGO Management Law to restrict foreign NGO’s there. Last October, the same National Endowment for Democracy financed the Hong Kong Umbrella Revolution protests and the NED is financing Uygur separatists in China’s Xinjiang Province, cross-roads of all major Chinese oil and gas pipelines from Russia and Kazakhstan.
More About NED
The NED’s main principle is that “What is good for America is good for the world”. The funds are consequently managed by an Administrative Council in which the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, the US Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO trade union are represented. Each of them suggests actions that have to be accepted by two thirds of the membership.
After the money is earmarked, it goes through institutes controlled by any of the members. In practice, with this process the NED determines which are the countries that will become targets of its actions, where it will finance parties and social partners to overthrow governments and put people in power depending on “the interest of America” and not according to the interests of any of its members.
Although it was created to combat communism, it was precisely after the collapse of the Soviet Union that the NED started to enjoy better health. While it pretends to be engaged in the promotion of democracy, it actually subjugates countries where it reproduces the contradictory interests of the American ruling class.
From this point of view, the NED is probably the one responsible for the crisis of democracies around the world: it has not stopped falsifying institutional mechanisms and assimilating democracy into a “good administration” in the name of the peoples that it supplants.
Meanwhile, the use of institutes with different political trends hides from the public opinion the origin of the funds and the motives that determine their distribution. In numerous countries, the beneficiaries of this “aid” are manipulated without them noticing, even when the individuals who have negotiated the allocation of these funds are perfectly aware of the channels to which they integrate.
The NED’s four satellite institutes are:
American Center for International Labor Solidarity – ACILS. Chaired by John J. Sweeney in his capacity as general secretary of the AFLC-CIO trade union.
Center for International Private Enterprise – CIPE. Chaired by Thomas J. Donohue in his capacity as president of the US Chamber of Commerce, that is, as “boss of bosses” .
International Republican Institute – IRI. Chaired by Senator John McCain, who lost the primary elections of 2000 to George W. Bush and who is currently the main supporter in Congress of the global war against terrorism.
National Democratic Institute for International Affairs – NDI. Chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright.
The system of satellite institutes is inspired by what the United States did in Germany, as an occupation army, with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the Friedrich Naunmann Stiftung, the Hans Seidal Stiftung and the Heinrich Boell Stiftung, all used as financial transmitters in that country, instead of German institutes.
Following the same principle, the NED found correspondents in several allied states, NATO members or members of the former ANZUS, among them: the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (United Kingdom), the International Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Canada), the Fondation Jean Jaurès and the Fondation Robert Schuman (France), the International Liberal Center (Sweden) and the Alfred Mozer Foundation (Holland).
On the occasion of its 20th anniversary, the NED made an assessment of its actions that reveals that it currently finances and directs more than 6 000 social and political organizations all over the world. The NED affirms to have completely created the Solidarnosc trade union in Poland, the Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia and Otpor in Serbia. It also boasts of having set up Radio B29 and the Oslobodjenje newspaper in the former Yugoslavia as well as several new “independent” media outlets in the “freed” Iraq.
The NED publishes the Journal of Democracy, which is distributed all over the world, and the Encuentro (Meeting) magazine, especially for Cuba, as well as collective books. It also organizes prestigious conferences with the intellectuals it sponsors (for example, historian François Furet and press boss Jean Daniel in France). Finally, the NED “forms” trade union and political leading figures all over the world, in all matters relating to the exercise of “democracy”.
Officially, the NED’s budget rises to only 50 million dollars. However, vast co-funding is received and earmarked for organizing its operations. These external contributions, that rise to the tune of several hundred million dollars per year, come mainly from the State Department, the Department of the Treasury and, discreetly, from the CIA.