Why Russia shut down National Endowment for Democracy (NED) fronts

Global Research, July 31, 2015
Consortium News 30 July 2015

The Washington Post’s descent into the depths of neoconservative propaganda – willfully misleading its readers on matters of grave importance – apparently knows no bounds as was demonstrated with two deceptive articles regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin and why his government is cracking down on “foreign agents.”

If you read the Post’s editorial on Wednesday and a companion op-ed by National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman, you would have been led to believe that Putin is delusional, paranoid and “power mad” in his concern that outside money funneled into non-governmental organizations represents a threat to Russian sovereignty.

The Post and Gershman were especially outraged that the Russians have enacted laws requiring NGOs financed from abroad and seeking to influence Russian policies to register as “foreign agents” – and that one of the first funding operations to fall prey to these tightened rules was Gershman’s NED.

The Post’s editors wrote that Putin’s “latest move, announced Tuesday, is to declare the NED an ‘undesirable’ organization under the terms of a law that Mr. Putin signed in May. The law bans groups from abroad who are deemed a ‘threat to the foundations of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation, its defense capabilities and its national security.’

“The charge against the NED is patently ridiculous. The NED’s grantees in Russia last year ran the gamut of civil society. They advocated transparency in public affairs, fought corruption and promoted human rights, freedom of information and freedom of association, among other things. All these activities make for a healthy democracy but are seen as threatening from the Kremlin’s ramparts. …

“The new law on ‘undesirables’ comes in addition to one signed in 2012 that gave authorities the power to declare organizations ‘foreign agents’ if they engaged in any kind of politics and receive money from abroad. The designation, from the Stalin era, implies espionage.”

But there are several salient facts that the Post’s editors surely know but don’t want you to know. The first is that NED is a U.S. government-funded organization created in 1983 to do what the Central Intelligence Agency previously had done in financing organizations inside target countries to advance U.S. policy interests and, if needed, help in “regime change.”

The secret hand behind NED’s creation was CIA Director William J. Casey who worked with senior CIA covert operation specialist Walter Raymond Jr. to establish NED in 1983. Casey – from the CIA – and Raymond – from his assignment inside President Ronald Reagan’s National Security Council – focused on creating 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.

But Casey recognized the need to hide the strings being pulled by the CIA. “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,” Casey said in one undated letter to then-White House counselor Edwin Meese III – as Casey urged creation of a “National Endowment.”

NED Is Born

The National Endowment for Democracy took shape in late 1983 as Congress decided to also set aside pots of money — within NED — for the Republican and Democratic parties and for organized labor, creating enough bipartisan largesse that passage was assured. But some in Congress thought it was important to wall the NED off from any association with the CIA, so a provision was included to bar the participation of any current or former CIA official, according to one congressional aide who helped write the legislation.

This aide told me that one night late in the 1983 session, as the bill was about to go to the House floor, the CIA’s congressional liaison came pounding at the door to the office of Rep. Dante Fascell, a senior Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a chief sponsor of the bill. The frantic CIA official conveyed a single message from CIA Director Casey: the language barring the participation of CIA personnel must be struck from the bill, the aide recalled, noting that Fascell consented, not fully recognizing the significance of the demand.

The aide said Fascell also consented to the Reagan administration’s choice of Carl Gershman to head the National Endowment for Democracy, again not recognizing how this decision would affect the future of the new entity and American foreign policy. Gershman, who had followed the classic neoconservative path from youthful socialism to fierce anticommunism, became NED’s first (and, to this day, only) president.

Though NED is technically independent of U.S. foreign policy, Gershman in the early years coordinated decisions on grants with Raymond at the NSC. For instance, on Jan. 2, 1985, Raymond wrote to two NSC Asian experts that

“Carl Gershman has called concerning a possible grant to the Chinese Alliance for Democracy (CAD). I am concerned about the political dimension to this request. We should not find ourselves in a position where we have to respond to pressure, but this request poses a real problem to Carl.”

Currently, Gershman’s NED dispenses more than $100 million a year in U.S. government funds to various NGOs, media outlets and activists around the world. The NED also has found itself in the middle of political destabilization campaigns against governments that have gotten on the wrong side of U.S. foreign policy. For instance, prior to the February 2014 coup in Ukraine, overthrowing elected President Viktor Yanukovych and installing an anti-Russian regime in Kiev, NED was funding scores of projects.

A second point left out of the Post’s editorial was the fact that Gershman took a personal hand in the Ukraine crisis and recognized it as an interim step toward regime change in Moscow. On Sept. 26, 2013, Gershman published an op-ed in the Washington Post that called Ukraine “the biggest prize” and explained how pulling it into the Western camp could contribute to the ultimate defeat of Russian President Putin.

“Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents,” Gershman wrote. “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 U.S. government-financed entity that has set its sights on ousting Russia’s current government.

A third point that the Post ignored is that the Russian law requiring outside-funded political organizations to register as “foreign agents” was modeled on a U.S. law, the Foreign Agent Registration Act. In other words, the U.S. government also requires individuals and entities working for foreign interests and seeking to influence U.S. policies to disclose those relationships with the U.S. Justice Department or face prison.

If the Post’s editors had included any or all of these three relevant factors, you would have come away with a more balanced understanding of why Russia is acting as it is. You might still object but at least you would be aware of the full story. By concealing all three points, the Post’s editors were tricking you and other readers into accepting a propagandistic viewpoint – that the Russian actions were crazy and that Putin was, according to the Post’s headline, “power mad.”

Gershman’s Op-Ed

But you might think that Gershman would at least acknowledge some of these points in his Post op-ed, surely admitting that NED is financed by the U.S. government. But Gershman didn’t. He simply portrayed Russia’s actions as despicable and desperate.

“Russia’s newest anti-NGO law, under which the National Endowment for Democracy on Tuesday was declared an “undesirable organization” prohibited from operating in Russia, is the latest evidence that the regime of President Vladimir Putin faces a worsening crisis of political legitimacy,”

Gershman wrote, adding:

“This is the context in which Russia has passed the law prohibiting Russian democrats from getting any international assistance to promote freedom of expression, the rule of law and a democratic political system. Significantly, democrats have not backed down. They have not been deterred by the criminal penalties contained in the ‘foreign agents’ law and other repressive laws. They know that these laws contradict international law, which allows for such aid, and that the laws are meant to block a better future for Russia.”

The reference to how a “foreign agents” registration law conflicts with international law might have been a good place for Gershman to explain why what is good for the goose in the United States isn’t good for the gander in Russia. But hypocrisy is a hard thing to rationalize and would have undermined the propagandistic impact of the op-ed.

So would an acknowledgement of where NED’s money comes from. How many governments would allow a hostile foreign power to sponsor politicians and civic organizations whose mission is to undermine and overthrow the existing government and put in someone who would be compliant to that foreign power?

Not surprisingly, Gershman couldn’t find the space to include any balance in his op-ed – and the Post’s editors didn’t insist on any.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/why-russia-shut-down-national-endowment-for-democracy-ned-fronts/5466119

Project Camelot and Chile

Originally found at
http://www.randomcollection.info/mcf/project-camelot-chile.htm

From The Rise and Fall of Project Camelot: Studies in the Relationship Between Social Science and Practical Politics, Irving Louis Horowitz, ed. (Cambridge MA: The M.I.T. Press, 1967), pp. 47-49 (document) and 232-36 (Jorge Montes):

Document Number 1

The following description of Project Camelot was released on December 4, 1964, through the Office of the Director of the Special Operations Research Office (SORO) of the American University in Washington, D.C. It was sent to scholars who were presumed interested in the study of internal war potentials and who might be willing to assemble at a four-week conference at the Airlie House in Virginia in August 1965. This release, dated December 4, 1964, is a summary version of a larger set of documents made available in August 1964 and in December 1964 [I.L.H.].

Project CAMELOT is a study whose objective is to determine the feasibility of developing a general social systems model which would make it possible to predict and influence politically significant aspects of social change in the developing nations of the world. Somewhat more specifically, its objectives are:

First, to devise procedures for assessing the potential for internal war within national societies;

Second, to identify with increased degrees of confidence those actions which a government might take to relieve conditions which are assessed as giving rise to a potential for internal war; and

Finally, to assess the feasibility of prescribing the characteristics of a system for obtaining and using the essential information needed for doing the above two things.

The project is conceived as a three to four-year effort to be funded at around one and one-half million dollars annually. It is supported by the Army and the Department of Defense, and will be conducted with the cooperation of other agencies of the government. A large amount of primary data collection in the field is planned as well as the extensive utilization of already available data on social, economic and political functions. At this writing, it seems probable that the geographic orientation of the research will be toward Latin American countries. Present plans call for a field office in that region.

By way of background: Project CAMELOT is an outgrowth of the interplay of many factors and forces. Among these is the assignment in recent years of much additional emphasis to the U.S. Army’s role in the over-all U.S. policy of encouraging steady growth and change in the less developed countries in the world. The many programs of the U.S. Government directed toward this objective are often grouped under the sometimes misleading label of counterinsurgency (some pronounceable term standing for insurgency prophylaxis would be better). This places great importance on positive actions designed to reduce the sources of disaffection which often give rise to more conspicuous and violent activities disruptive in nature. The U.S. Army has an important mission in the positive and constructive aspects of nation building as well as a responsibility to assist friendly governments in dealing with active insurgency problems.

Another major factor is the recognition at the highest levels of the defense establishment of the fact that relatively little is known, with a high degree of surety, about the social processes which must be understood in order to deal effectively with problems of insurgency. Within the Army there is especially ready acceptance of the need to improve the general understanding of the processes of social change if the Army is to discharge its responsibilities in the over-all counterinsurgency program of the U.S. Government. Of considerable relevance here is a series of recent reports dealing with the problems of national security and the potential contributions that social science might make to solving these problems. One such report was published by a committee of the Smithsonian Institution’s research group under the title, “Social Science Research and National Security,” edited by Ithiel de Sola Pool. Another is a volume of the proceedings of a symposium, “The U.S. Army’s Limited-War Mission and Social Science Research.” These proceedings were published in 1962 by the Special Operations Research Office of the American University.

Project CAMELOT will be a multidisciplinary effort. It will be conducted both within the SORO organization and in close collaboration with universities and other research institutions within the United States and overseas. The first several months of work will be devoted to the refinement of the research design and to the identification of problems of research methodology as well as of substance. This will contribute to the important articulation of all component studies of the project toward the stated objectives. Early participants in the project will thus have an unusual opportunity to contribute to the shaping of the research program and also to take part in a seminar planned for the summer of 1965. The seminar, to be attended by leading behavioral scientists of the country, will be concerned with reviewing plans for the immediate future and further analyzing the long-run goals and plans for the project.

A Communist Commentary on Camelot

by Jorge Montes Chilean Chamber of Deputies, 1965

A number of newspapers, and particularly El Siglo, have been referring to a so-called “Project Camelot.” What is this project? In order to define it, we shall textually quote from an official document. [See Document No.1 above, from which excerpts were cited.]

These quotes from the project reveal the determination on the part of U.S. foreign policy to intervene in any country of the world where popular movements might threaten its interests. To this end, they use a covert form of espionage, which they try to present in terms of scientific research, thus violating the most elementary norms of sovereignty.

Indeed, our own country, Uruguay, Colombia, and Venezuela in Latin America, Senegal and Nigeria in Africa, and India, Vietnam, and Laos in Asia are the countries in which organized espionage, under the appearance of sociological investigation and under the rubric of “Project Camelot,” is being carried out. Continue reading