Saturday, 27 August 2016
Written and produced by SF Team: J.Hawk, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watson
Recent weeks have seen a series of incidents, mainly on the Donbass, suggesting a large-scale escalation of combat operations cannot entirely be ruled out. Ukrainian forces have stepped up bombardments of frontline LPR/DPR positions and of Novorossia cities and towns. There have been a number of efforts by regular UAF forces and by “volunteer battalions” to seize key terrain features and occupy abandoned villages located in the “no-man’s land” separating the warring parties. The head of LPR Igor Plotnitskiy barely survived an assassination attempt. Most recently, the FSB has thwarted a terror plot in the Republic of Crimea hatched by infiltrators from Ukraine proper at the cost of the deaths of two Russian servicemembers and the wounding of several others. One of the detainees is a so-called “ATO veteran”, and is reputed to be working for Ukraine’s military intelligence. These events suggest that there indeed are parties interested in a military escalation. Who are they?
Even though Barack Obama, who is by now a lame-duck president, and Secretary of State John Kerry have pursued a relatively moderate line toward Ukraine and Russia since the winter 2014/15 campaign, it does not mean everyone in the Washington establishment shares their priorities. There are plenty of hotheads in Ashton Carter’s Defense Department, the intelligence establishment, as well as the State Department itself, and they are both betting that Hillary will be their next president and doing their utmost to ensure she gets elected.
Because she will need all the help she can get. In spite of a massive fundraising advantage and the endorsements of Washington establishment, Hillary is not decisively ahead of Trump in the polls. Many former Bernie Sanders supporters are looking to Donald Trump or Green Party candidate Jill Stein. The candidates have yet to undergo the customary three televised debates, and in the primary battles Trump performed rather better than Clinton in that venue.
The wild accusations of the Hand of the Kremlin interfering in US elections are a clear-cut reflection of the ill-concealed panic felt by the Democratic Party establishment. Unable to deal with the problems inherent in their candidate and campaign, they seek to divert attention by accusing Russia of somehow being behind Trump’s candidacy. Since these accusations are not having their desired effect, why not change the news cycle by having Ukraine, which has been all but forgotten by Western media, since its problems are an embarrassment to the Western leaders who were behind the Maidan “revolution of dignity”, return to Breaking News-level coverage because of, once again, “Russian aggression.” Given the extensive backing Hillary enjoys among the foreign policy establishment, it is entirely possible the appropriate encouragement could be unofficially given to the relevant parties in Kiev, behind the backs of the Kerry and even Obama himself. But who are the relevant parties in Kiev?
They are the usual suspects. National Security and Defense Council chief Turchinov, Minister of the Interior Avakov, and the whole array of “volunteer battalions” are the most interested in an escalation, and the sooner the better. Using the SBU and the Prosecutor General’s Office, Poroshenko has been steadily encroaching on the Turchinov’s and Avakov’s empires, including their most important assets–the volunteer battalions. Normalization of relations with Russia would spell doom to these formations, and even the absence of active fighting is sufficient to undermine their raison d’etre for while the population at large could accept the existence of these marauders in their midst as long as the masses were convinced “Russia was invading”, when there is no fighting their presence is turning large swaths of the population against them. Therefore it is no accident that Turchinov is always among the first to call for the introduction of “martial law” in Ukraine. But for that you need a war, and if Poroshenko is unwilling to give them one, they can very easily manufacture one themselves by escalating on the Donbass, staging assassination attempts, and even infiltrating terrorists into Crimea.
All of that is placing Poroshenko is a difficult spot because he really does not want to choose between Putin and the hardliners. Given the state of the military and its infiltration by nationalist elements, it is by no means clear that Poroshenko would emerge the winner of a general civil war. The UAF is badly short of equipment and experienced personnel, has been reduced to issuing World War 2-vintage weapons to its troops, and is experiencing shortages even of small-arms ammunition as it has no munitions factories of its own. Moreover, Vladimir Putin’s reaction to the capture of a Ukrainian operative in Crimea left Poroshenko little wiggle room. Putin not only made it clear he is not interested in further “Normandy Format” talks, but also referred to the Lugansk People’s Republic by its full name for the first time ever thus hinting at its recognition by the Russian Federation, and in general used language very similar to that used vis-a-vis Turkey following the shoot-down of the Su-24. Poroshenko no doubt caught the suggestion that he is now expected to end his double game and make a firm choice in favor or either peace or war. Historically, Poroshenko has preferred something in the middle, knowing that a wrong step in one or the other direction would surely cost him his presidency. Peace would force him to face popular discontent with the economy and corruption that the imitation of war with Russia helps keep at bay. Outright war would lead to a swift military defeat and replacement by one of the hardliners who could rightly place all of Ukraine’s failings at Poroshenko’s feet. But now the pressure on Poroshenko to make peace appears to be increasing, in the same way that it was ratcheted up against Erdogan.
The final component is the Georgian diaspora, most visibly represented by Georgia’s ex-president Saakashvili, with many senior officials seeded throughout Ukraine’s state administration. Their numbers, status, and ties to the West (which are far more extensive than any of the other two factions’) make them a potent faction in their own right, a veritable tie-breaker in any conflict between the hardliners and “moderates”. They, too, favor an escalation because peace means death for them too. Fixing Ukraine is beyond their abilities, even if it ever was their intent, for their eyes have always been oriented toward Georgia. Saakashvili and others dream of returning to Georgia as conquering heroes, flush if not with their successes at reforming Ukraine’s economy and political system, then at least on the wings of US military support. For that reason, as far as they are concerned, escalation is the only card remaining for them to play.
In the rest of the world things are not going Ukraine’s way. Not only has Turkey’s president Erdogan come to Moscow to apologize for the Su-24 shoot-down and thank Putin for his support during the coup, it looks like UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May is about to follow suit. EU’s continental powers have had enough of Ukraine and want the problem to go away as quickly as possible, now that Turkey is once again threatening to flood the continent with refugees. All of that, plus the never-ending economic malaise, mean that Europeans are unwilling to continue the current course of sanctions, though no single European leader wants to be the first to travel to Moscow and imitate Erdogan’s performance, though May’s visit just might trigger something of the kind. The shift in the public and elite opinion away from the idea of desirability of confrontation with Russia is also a restraining factor on Ukraine’s actions, though it has to be noted that Europe’s “softness” represents a major reason for Hillary’s minions to undermine the looming Russia-West rapprochement.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
Global Research, August 25, 2016
In 2006, the Kremlin denounced the proliferation of foreign associations in Russia, some of which would have participated in a secret plan, orchestrated by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), to destabilise the country. To prevent a “colour revolution”, Vladislav Surkov drew up strict regulation over these non-governmental organizations (NGOs). In the West, this administrative framework was described as a “fresh assault on freedom of association by Putin the “Dictator” and his adviser”.
This policy has been followed by other States who in their turn, have been labelled by the international press as “dictators”.
The US government guarantees that it is working towards “promoting democracy all over the world”. It claims that the US Congress can subsidize NED and that NED can, in turn and wholly independently, help directly or indirectly, associations, political parties or trade unions, working in this sense anywhere in the world. The NGOs being, as their name suggests, “non-governmental” can take political initiatives that ambassadors could not assume without violating the sovereignty of the States that receive them. The crux of the matter lies here: NED and the network of NGOs that it finances: are they initiatives of civil society unjustly repressed by the Kremlin or covers of the US Secret Services caught red-handed in interference?
In order to respond to this question, we are going to return to the origins and function of NED. But our first step must be to analyze the meaning of this official US project: “exporting democracy”.
The puritans that founded the United States wanted to create a “radiant city” whose light would illuminate the whole world. They considered themselves the missionaries of a political model.
The puritans that founded the United States wanted to create a “radiant city” whose light would illuminate the whole world. They considered themselves the missionaries of a political model.
The US, as a people, subscribes to the ideology of their founding fathers. They think of themselves as a colony that has come from Europe to establish a city obeying God. They see their country as “a light on the mountain” in the words of Saint Mathew, adopted for two centuries by most of their presidents in their political speeches. The US would be a model nation, shining on top of a hill, illuminating the entire world. And all other people in the world would hope to emulate this model to reach their well-being.
For the people of United States, this very naïve belief implies without more that their country is an exemplary democracy and that they have a messianic duty to superimpose it on the rest of the world. While Saint Mathew envisaged propagating faith exclusively through the example of a righteous life, the founding fathers of the United States thought of illumination and propagating their faith in terms of regime change. The English puritans beheaded Charles I before fleeing to the Netherlands and the Americas, then the patriots of the New World rejected the authority of King George III of England, proclaiming the independence of the United States.
Impregnated by this national mythology, the people of the United States do not perceive their government’s foreign policy as a form of imperialism. In their eyes, it is all the more legitimate to topple a government that has the ambition to take the form of a model which is different from theirs and thus evil. In the same way, they are persuaded that due to the messianic mission that has been thrust upon them, they have arrived to impose democracy by force in the countries that they have occupied. For example, at school they learn that GIs brought democracy to Germany. They do not know that history indicates quite the opposite: their government helped Hitler to topple the Republic of Weimar and set up a military regime to fight the Soviets. This irrational ideology prevents them from challenging the nature of their institutions and the absurd concept of a “forced democracy”.
Now, according to President Abraham Lincoln’s formula, “democracy is the government of the people, by the people for the people”.
From this point of view, the United States is not a democracy but a hybrid system where executive power is returned to the oligarchy, while the people limit its arbitrary exercise through legislative and judicial powers that can check it. Indeed, while the people elect Congress and some judges, it is the states of the federation that elect executive power and the latter appoints the high judges. Although citizens have been called to determine their choice of president, their vote on this matter only operates as a ratification, as the Supreme Court pointed out in 2000, in Gore v. Bush. The US Constitution does not recognize that the people are sovereign, because power is divided between them and a federation of states, in other words, between the leaders of the community.
As an aside, we observe that in contrast, the Russian Federation’s Constitution is democratic – on paper at least. It declares: “the holder of sovereignty and the sole source of power in the Russian Federation is its multinational people.” (Title I, Ch. 1, art.3).
This intellectual context explains that the US supports its government when it announces that it wants “to export democracy”, even if, its own constitution signals that it is not one. But it is difficult to see how it could export something it does not possess and does not wish to have at home.
For the last thirty years, this contradiction has been supported by NED and given specific form through destabilizing a number of States. With a smile that a clean conscience blesses upon them, thousands of activists and gullible NGOs have violated the people’s sovereignty.
A Pluralist and Independent Foundation
In his famous speech on 8 June 1982 before the British Parliament, President Reagan denounced the USSR as “the empire of evil” and proposed to come to the aid of dissidents over there and elsewhere. He declared: “We need to create the necessary infrastructure for democracy: freedom of the press, trade unions, political parties and universities. This will allow people the freedom to choose the best path for them to develop their culture and to resolve their disputes peacefully”.
On this consensual basis of the struggle against tyranny, a commission of bipartisan reflection sponsored the establishment of NED at Washington. This was established by Congress in November 1983 and immediately financed.
The Foundation subsidizes four independent structures that redistribute money abroad, making it available to associations, trade unions and members of the ruling class, and parties on the right and left. They are:
Free Trade Union Institute (FTUI), today renamed American Centre for International Labour Solidarity (ACILS), managed by the trade union AFL-CIO;
Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), managed by the US Chamber of Commerce;
International Republican Institute (IRI), run by the Republican Party;
National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), run by the Democratic Party.
Presented in this manner, NED and its four tentacles appear to be anchored in civil society, reflecting social diversity and political pluralism. Funded by the US people, through Congress, they would have worked to a universal ideal. They would be completely independent of the Presidential Administration. And their transparent action could not be a mask for secret operations serving undeclared national interests.
The reality is completely different.
In 1982, Ronald Reagan established NED in partnership with the United Kingdom and Australia to topple the “Empire of Evil”.
A Drama produced by the CIA, MI6 and ASIS
Ronald Reagan’s speech in London took place in the aftermath of scandals surrounding revelations by Congressional Committees enquiring into the CIA’s dirty-trick coups. Congress then forbids the Agency to organize further coups d’etat to win markets. Meanwhile, in the White House, the National Security Council (NSC) looks to put in place other tools to circumvent this prohibition.
The Commission of Bipartisan Reflection was established prior to Ronald Reagan’s speech, although it only officially received a mandate from the White House afterwards. This means it is not responding to grandiloquent presidential ambitions but precedes them. Therefore, Reagan’s speech is only rhetorical dressing of decisions already taken in principle, and meant to be implemented by the Bipartisan Commission.
The Chair of the Bipartisan Commission was the US Special Representative for Trade, who indicates that she did not envisage promoting democracy but, according to current terminology, “market democracy”. This strange concept is in keeping with the US model: an economic and financial oligarchy imposes its political choices through the markets and a federal state, while parliamentarians and judges elected by the people protect individuals from arbitrary government.
Three of NED’s four peripheral organizations were formed for the occasion. However, there was no need to establish the fourth, a trade union (ACILS). This was set up at the end of the Second World War even though it changed its name in 1978 when its subordination to the CIA was unmasked. From this we can extract the conclusion that the CIPE, IRI and NDI were not born spontaneously but were engineered into being by the CIA.
Furthermore, although NED is an association under US law, it is not a tool of the CIA alone, but an instrument shared with British services (which is why Reagan announced its creation in London) and the Australian services. This key point is often glossed over without comment. However, it is validated by messages of congratulations by Prime Ministers Tony Blair and John Howard during the 20th anniversary of the so-called “NGO”. NED and its tentacles are organs of an Anglo-Saxon military pact linking London, Washington and Canberra; the same goes for Echelon, the electronic interception network. This provision can be required not only by the CIA but also by the British MI6 and the Australian ASIS.
To conceal this reality, NED has stimulated among its allies the creation of similar organizations that work with it. In 1988, Canada is fitted out with a centre Droits & Démocratie, which has a special focus first on Haiti, then Afghanistan. In 1991, the United Kingdom established the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD). The functioning of this public body is modelled on NED: its administration is entrusted to political parties (eight delegates: three for the Conservative Party; three for the Labour Party; and one for the Liberal Party and one for the other parties represented in Parliament). WFD has done a lot of work in Eastern Europe. Indeed in 2001, the European Union is equipped with a European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), which arouses less suspicion than its counterparts. This office is EuropAid, led by a high official as powerful as he is unknown: the Dutchman, Jacobus Richelle.
Presidential Directive 77
When US parliamentarians voted for the establishment of NED on 22 November 1983, they did not know that it already existed in secret pursuant to a Presidential Directive dated 14 January.
This document, only declassified two decades later, organizes “public diplomacy” a politically correct expression to designate propaganda. It establishes at the White House working groups within the National Security Council. One of these is tasked with leading NED.
Consequently, the Board of Directors of the Foundation is only a transmission belt of the NSC. To maintain appearances, it has been agreed that, as a general rule, CIA agents and former agents could not be appointed to the board of directors.
Things are nonetheless no more transparent. Most high officials that have played a central role in the National Security Council have been NED directors. Such are the examples of Henry Kissinger, Franck Carlucci, Zbigniew Brzezinski, or even Paul Wolfowitz; personalities that will not remain in history as idealists of democracy, but as cynical strategists of violence.
The Foundation’s budget cannot be interpreted in isolation because it receives instructions from the NSC to lead action as part of vast inter-agency operations. It merits mention that funds are released from the International Aid Agency (USAID), without being recorded in NED’s balance sheet, simply for “non-governmentalizing”. Furthermore, the Foundation receives money indirectly money the CIA, after it has been laundered by private intermediaries such as the Smith Richardson Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation or even the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.
To evaluate the extent of this programme, we would need to combine the NED’s budget with the corresponding sub-budgets of the Department of State, USAID, the CIA and the Department of Defense. Today, such an estimation is impossible.
Nonetheless, certain elements we know give us an idea of its importance. During the last five years, the United States has spent more than one billion dollars on associations and parties in Libya, a small state of 4 million inhabitants. Overall, half of this manna was released publicly by the State Department, USAID and NED; the other half had been secretly paid by the CIA and the Department of Defence. This example allows us to extrapolate the US’s general budget for institutional corruption that amounts to tens of billions of dollars annually. Furthermore, the equivalent programme of the European Union that is entirely public and provides for the integration of US actions, is 7 billion euro per year.
Ultimately, NED’s legal structure and volume of its official budget are only baits. In essence, it is not an independent organization for legal actions previously entrusted to the CIA, but it is a window through which the NSC gives the orders to carry out legal elements of illegal operations.
The Trotskyite Strategy
When it was being set up (1984), NED was chaired by Allen Weinstein, then by John Richardson for four years (1984-88), finally by Carl Gershman (from 1998).
These three men have three things in common:
They are Jewish;
They were active in the Trotsky party, Social Democrats USA; and
They have worked at Freedom House.
There is a logic in this: hatred of Stalinism led some Trotskyites to join the CIA to fight the Soviets. They brought with them the theory of global power, by transposing it to the “colour revolutions” and to “democratisation”. They have simply displaced the Trotsky vulgate by applying it to the cultural battle analysed by Antonio Gramsci: power is exercised psychologically rather than by force. To govern the masses, the elite has to first inculcate an ideology that programmes their acceptance of the power that dominates it.
The American Centre for the Solidarity of Workers (ACILS)
Known also as Solidarity Centre, ACILS, a trade union branch of NED, is easily its principal channel. It distributes more than half the Foundation’s donations. It has replaced the previous organizations that served during the Cold War to organize non-communist trade unions in the world, from Vietnam to Angola, by-passing France and Chile.
The fact trade unions were chosen to cover this CIA programme is a rare perversity. Far from the Marxist slogan, “Proletariats from all countries – unite”, ACILS brings together US working class trade unions in an imperialism that crushes workers in other countries.
Some authors swear that Brown was the son of a white Russian, a companion of Alexander Kerensky. What we know for sure, is that he was an OSS agent, (i.e. an agent of the US intelligence service during the Second World War); and he participated in establishing the CIA and NATO’s Gladio network. However, he refused to lead it, preferring to focus on his area of expertise, trade unions. He was based at Rome, then Paris and never at Washington. So he had a significant impact on Italian and French public life. At the end of his life, he also boasts that he did not stop directing the French trade union, Force Ouvrière behind the scenes, and that he pulled the strings of the Student trade union UNI (where the following are active: Nicolas Sarkozy and his ministers François Fillon, Xavier Darcos, Hervé Morin and Michèle Alliot-Marie, as well as the President of the National Assembly, Bernard Accoyer and the President of the majoritarian parliamentary group, Jean-François Copé), and to have personally formed on the left, members of a Trotsky-ite break away group which included Jean-Christophe Cambadelis and the future Prime Minister Lionel Jospin.
At the end of the nineties, members of the confederation AFL-CIO requested accounts of ACILS’s actual activity, while its criminal character had been fully documented in a number of countries. One could have thought that things would have changed after this great outpouring. Nothing of the sort occurs. In 2002 and 2004, ACILS has participated actively in a failed coup d’Etat in Venezuela to oust President Hugo Chavez and in a successful one in Haiti in toppling Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Today, ACILS is directed by John Sweeney, the former president of the confederation AFL-CIO, which itself also originates from the Trotskyite Party – Social Democrats USA.
The Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)
CIPE focuses on the dissemination of liberal capitalist ideology and the struggle against corruption.
The first success of CIPE: transforming in 1987 the European Management Forum (a club of CEOs of big European companies) into the World Economic Forum (the club of transnational ruling class). The big annual meeting of the world’s economic and political who’s who in the Davos Swiss ski resort contributed to creating a class membership that transcended national identity. CIPE makes sure that it does not have any structural ties with the Davos Forum, and it is not possible – for the moment – to prove that the World Economic Forum is an instrument of the CIA. On the contrary, the heads of Davos would have much difficulty explaining why certain political leaders have chosen their Economic Forum as the locus for acts of the highest importance if there were not operations planned by the US NSC. For example:
1988: it is at Davos – not the UN – that Greece and Turkey made peace.
1989: it is at Davos that the two Koreas on the one hand held their first summit at the ministerial level and the two Germany’s on the other hand held their first summit on the reunification.
1992: it is again at Davos that Frederik de Klerk and the freed Nelson Mandela come together to present their common project for South Africa for the first time abroad.
1994: still more improbable, it is at Davos, after the Oslo Accord, that Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat come to negotiate and sign its application to Gaza and Jericho.
The connection between Washington and the Forum is notoriously through Susan K. Reardon, former director of the Association of Professional Employees of the Department of State, having become director of the Foundation of the US Chamber of Commerce which manages CIPE.
The other success of the Centre for International Private Business is Transparency International. This “NGO” was officially established by Michael J. Hershman, an officer of US military intelligence. He is furthermore, a CIPE director and today Head of Recruitment of FBI informants as well as Managing Director of the private intelligence service Fairfax Group.
Transparency International is first and foremost a cover for economic intelligence activities by the CIA. It is also a media tool to compel states to change their legislation to guarantee open markets.
To mask the origin of Transparency International, the CIPE makes and appeal to the savoir-faire of the former press officer of the World Bank, the neo-conservative Frank Vogl. The latter had put in place a Committee of individuals that have contributed to creating the impression that it is an association born of civil society. This window-dressing committee is led by Peter Eigen, former World Bank Director in East Africa. In 2004 and 2009, his wife was the SPD candidate for the Presidency of the German Federal Republic.
Transparency International’s work serves US interests and cannot be relied upon. Thus in 2008, this pseudo NGO denounced that PDVSA, Venezuela’s public oil company, was corrupt; and on the basis of false information, placed it last in its global rankings of public companies. The goal was evidently to sabotage the reputation of a company that constitutes the economic foundation of the anti – imperialist policy of President Hugo Chavez. Caught in the act of poisoning, Transparency International refused to respond to questions from the Latin American press and to correct its report. Furthermore, it is astonishing when we recall that Pedro Carmona, the CIPE correspondent at Venezuela, had been briefly put in power by the USA, during a failed coup d’Etat in 2002 to oust Hugo Chavez.
To some extent, focussing attention on economic corruption enables Transparency International to mask NED’s activities: corrupting the ruling elite for Anglo-Saxon advantage.
The International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI)
The goal of IRI is to corrupt the parties of the Right, while the NDI deals with left wing parties. The first is chaired by John McCain, the second by Madeleine Albright. So these two personalities should not be considered ordinary politicians, a leader of the opposition and a retired dean. Rather, as active leaders of the NSC programmes.
To contextualize the principal political parties in the world, IRI and NDI have renounced their control over l’Internationale libérale and l’Internationale socialiste. They have thus created rival organizations: the International Democratic Union (IDU) and the Alliance for Democrats (AD). The first is chaired by the Australian, John Howard. The Russian, Leonid Gozman of Just cause (Правое дело) is its vice-president. The second is led by the Italian Gianni Vernetti and co-chaired by the Frenchman, François Bayrou.
IRI and NDI are also supported also by political foundations linking them to big political parties in Europe (six in Germany, two in France, one in the Netherlands and another one in Sweden). Furthermore, some operations have been sub-contracted to mysterious private companies such as Democracy International Inc which has organized the recent rigged elections in Afghanistan.
All this leaves a bitter taste. The US has corrupted most of the big political parties and trade unions all over the world. For sure, the “democracy” that they promote consists in discussing local questions in each country – hardly ever societal questions such as women’s rights or gay rights – and it is aligned with Washington on all international issues. The electoral campaigns have become shows where NED picks the cast by providing the necessary financial means to some and not to others. Even the notion of variation has lost meaning since NED promotes alternatively one camp or another provided it follows the same foreign and defense policy.
Today, in the European Union and elsewhere, one laments the crisis of democracy. Those responsible for this are clearly NED and the US. And how do we classify a regime such as the US regime where the Leader of the Opposition, John McCain, is in fact a leader of the National Security Council? Surely not as a democracy.
The Balance of the System
Over time, USAID, NED, their satellite institutions and their intermediary foundations have produced an unwieldy and greedy bureaucracy. Each year, when Congress votes on the NED’s budget, animated debates arise on the inefficiency of this tentacular system and rumours that funds have been appropriated to benefit US politicians in charge of administering them.
To achieve sound management, a number of studies have been commissioned to quantify the impact of these financial flows. Experts have compared the sums allocated in each state and the democratic ranking of these states by Freedom House. Then they calculated how much they needed to spend (in dollars) per inhabitant to improve the democratic ranking of a State by a point.
Of course, all this is only an attempt at self-justification. The idea of establishing a democratic mark is not scientific. In some ways, it is totalitarian, for it assumes that there is only one form of democratic institutions. In other ways, it is infantile for it established a list of disparate criteria which it will measure with fictional coefficients to transform a social complexity into a single figure.
Furthermore, the vast majority of these studies conclude that it is a failure: although the number of democracies in the world has increased, there would be no link between democratic progress and regression on the one hand and the sums spent by the NSC on the other. On the contrary, it confirms that the real objectives have nothing to do with those indicated. However, those running USAID cite a study by Vanderbilt University, according to which only the NED operations co-financed by USAID have been effective because USAID manages its budget rigorously. Thus it is not surprising that this individual study has been financed by …. USAID.
Be that as it may, in 2003, on its twentieth anniversary, NED drew up a political account of its action, evidencing that it has financed more than 6,000 political and social organizations in the world, a figure that has not stopped increasing from that time. NED claims to have single-handedly set up the trade union Solidarnoc in Poland, Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia and Otpor in Serbia. It was pleased that it had created from scratch Radio B92 or the daily Oslobodjenje in the former Yugoslavia and a series of new independent media in the “liberated” Iraq.
After experiencing global success, the rhetoric of democratization no longer convinces. By using it in all circumstances, President George W. Bush has depleted it of meaning. Noone can seriously claim that the subsidies paid by NED will make international terrorism go away. The claim that the US troops have toppled Saddam Hussein to offer democracy to Iraqis, cannot be asserted more persuasively.
Furthermore, citizens all over the world that fight for democracy have become distrustful. They now understand that the aid offered by NED and its tentacles is in fact aimed at manipulating and snaring their country. This is why they are increasingly refusing the contributions “with no strings or sticks attached” offered to them.
Also, US heads from different channels of corruption have tried to silence the system once again. After the CIA dirty tricks and the transparency of NED, they envisage creating a new structure that would replace a discredited package. It would not be managed by trade unions, management and the two big parties, but by multinationals on the model of the Asia Foundation.
In the eighties, the press revealed that this organization was a CIA cover to fight communism in Asia. It was then reformed and its management was entrusted to multinationals. (Boeing, Chevron, Coca-Cola, Levis Strauss etc…). This re-styling was enough to give the impression that it was non- governmental and respectable – a structure that never stopped serving the CIA. After the dissolution of Russia, it was replicated: the Eurasia Foundation, whose mandate extends covert action to the New Asian states.
Another issue that sparks debate is if the contributions for “promoting democracy” would have to take the exclusive form of contracts to carry out specific projects or subsidies with no duty to reach targets. The first option offers better legal cover but the second is a much more efficient tool of corruption.
Given this panorama, the requirement laid down by Vladimir Putin and Vladisl Surkov to regulate the funding of NGOs in Russia is legitimate even if the bureaucracy they have set up for doing so is outrageous and difficult to satisfy. The instrument of NED, put in place under the authority of the US NSC not only fails to support attempts at democracy all over the world but poisons them.
The original source of this article is Voltaire Net
Copyright © Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Net, 2016
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
Eva Bartlett is a freelance journalist and rights activist with extensive experience in the Gaza Strip, where she lived a cumulative three years (from late 2008 to early 2013), arriving by boat as a part of the Free Gaza missions. She documented the 2008/9 and 2012 Israeli war crimes and attacks on Gaza while riding in ambulances and reporting from hospitals. Eva accompanied Palestinian fishers and farmers as they came under intensive fire from the Israeli army. She has been to Syria four times since April 2014 and works to convey the voices of a people suffering under the foreign war on Syria. Her writings can be found on her blog, In Gaza.
Published time: 23 Aug, 2016 09:37
In early August, Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, Political and Media Adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, spoke with me about how the Western media is stifling Syrian voices, endlessly propagating false allegations against the Syrian government and army.
On the question of the Western media’s reaction whenever the Syrian Arab Army liberates areas from foreign-backed terrorists (the most recent examples include the liberation of Aleppo’s Bani Zaid and Lairamoun industrial districts from the so-called “Free Syrian Army” (FSA), Jabhat al-Nusra, Nouriddeen Al-Zinki, and Ahrar al-Sham, among other terrorist factions), which was met with deafening silence by Western corporate media, Shaaban accused the Western media of“double standards.”
“If the West really wants to end this terrorism, why are they so upset about liberating Bani Zaid in Aleppo, which was responsible for killing thousands of civilians in Aleppo? They should have hailed the Syrian Arab Army that liberated these Syrian citizens from terrorism, and they should have hailed overcoming these terrorist groups that were sending hell into Aleppo.“There’s no real stand against terrorism,” the Syrian president’s adviser continued. “Not only do they not care about the lives of civilians in Aleppo or Syria, they don’t care about the lives of civilians in Nice or Paris or in the USA. The lives of civilians in Syria is as worthy as the lives of civilians in any European country, and one should be human in this regard.”
Comparing the Russian method of battling terrorism in Syria to the Western coalition forces, Shaaban said the Western forces lack the necessary will to fulfill their mission.
“Russia believes that terrorism is a world-wide cancer, and therefore it should be fought truly and drastically in Syria so that it doesn’t get to other countries. But the West doesn’t have this conviction, doesn’t have this will or intention.
Government amnesty actions ignored
The Syrian government has since the start of the war shown a willingness to work for a political solution, including the establishment in 2012 of a Reconciliation Ministry, which has overseen numerous reconciliation agreements that allow Syrians caught up in the war to surrender their weapons and receive an official pardon.
Yet, this willingness to offer a political means of re-joining Syrian society has been ignored in the Western media.
“Regardless of what [anti-government mercenaries/groups] did, the President issued a decree to grant them clemency, and he called on all of them to return to their country and be constructive in rebuilding their country, with no punitive measures against them. This is maximum forgiveness. I don’t think any other country or president would do that.Still, this has not been mentioned in Western media, at all. Not even by the UN mediator, he did not mention this at all, which tells you volumes about the ‘efforts’ they are making for a political solution in Syria.”
At this point in the interview, the Syrian president’s political and media adviser had harsh words for the present state of the Western media, which she said routinely “falsifies the facts”.
“There’s no free press in the West. There is a corporate media who have an agenda and who try to portray everything according to that agenda. Either they’re labeling accusations against us or falsifying facts and reporting things that have nothing to do with the truth…
Shaaban lamented that because the media has “demonized us in the eyes of Western people,” the Western people “don’t know who we are”.
“We don’t have a voice with Western people. We have no channel of communication; the corporate media is blocking the channels of communication between us and the West,” she continued.
The conversation then moved to the recent announcement that Jabhat al-Nusra’s had changed its name and whether this means they are somehow no longer terrorists.
“They are terrorists,” Shaaban responded. “It is the deeds that matter, not the name. This is good for a Hollywood film: a terrorist organization that has been killing in Syria for five years and is an offshoot of al-Qaeda is now changing its name, which means that it has become a ‘moderate opposition’. This is absolutely ludicrous, and no sensible person should take this seriously.”
Shaaban expressed serious reservations over the term ‘moderate opposition,’ which she said does not exist in Syria.
“There is nothing in Syria called ‘moderate opposition’. All of those criminal groups are killing people, confiscating land, looting hospitals and factories, and they are all the same, no matter what names they might take.”
The UN Resolution that disappeared
Shaaban also spoke on the West’s fight against terrorism, which she described as a“farce.” To support the assertion, Shaaban pointed to Western leaders and the UN itself disregarding UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2253, which entails stopping terrorism in Syria. At the same time, they support UNSC Resolution 2254 and NATO’s alliance plan of implementing a change of government in Syria.
“I would like anybody in the UN to answer this question: You want to implement 2254? Why don’t you mention 2253? They should be dealt with with the intention in which they were taken: implement 2253 first, and then it would be very easy to implement 2254,” Dr. Shaaban asserted.
Indeed, the focus of UNSC Resolution 2253 is specific to actually stopping terrorism of“ISIL (also known as Da’esh), Al-Qaida, and associated individuals, groups ..” in Syria, after which a political resolution could follow. Stipulations include a cessation of funding terrorist groups (including ransom payments), travel bans, an arms embargo, and to“bring to justice, extradite, or prosecute any person who supports, facilitates, participates or attempts to participate in the direct or indirect financing of activities conducted by ISIL, Al-Qaida and associated individuals, groups…,” as noted in the UN Press Release regarding the resolution.
On the subject of UNSC Resolution 2253, Dr. Shaaban had this to say:
“It is a Security Council resolution and it was issued under the 7th Chapter, so it is more obliging than 2254. And yet even the UN people don’t mention it. This is the double-standards of the West: they address their audience with having a stand against terrorism and wanting to fight terrorism, when in reality they are facilitating terrorism and not even mentioning even a Security Council Resolution under the 7th Chapter, that was taken 24 hours before 2254.I think they don’t mention it because 2253 has the prerequisite of stopping terrorism in Syria, because it speaks about a punishment for financing, arming, facilitating terrorism into Syria. And if this resolution is implemented, it means that the Turkish border should be closed, it means that Saudi Arabia and Qatar should be brought to task because of financing the terrorists, it means that there would be no justification for more terrorists to cross the border and come to Syria.”
Regarding the disappearance of 2253, unimplemented and not discussed, Dr. Shaaban concluded what this means to her:
“First, is it tells me that those who have taken this decision, including the UN and the West, are not serious in fighting terrorism. In fact they don’t want to fight terrorism. They want to employ terrorism for their own purposes, and threats to fulfill their agenda, through using the weapon of terrorism.Second, they would not be able to implement 2254, with all the good intentions on earth, because in order to implement 2254 you need to fulfill the prerequisite of at least controlling terrorism. Otherwise, how can you reach a political solution in Syria? How can you negotiate, how can you liberate Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor and the rest of Aleppo, unless you first undermine terrorism?There is no real international will to stop this war on Syria, no matter what they are saying. It’s not important what they say, it’s important what they do. Unfortunately, it is the Syrian people that who are paying the price, first and foremost.Those who targeted Syria from the beginning, whether they are regional or international partners, they do not want this war on Syria to end. Thus, it is becoming like a war of attrition against the Syrian people.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
Initial army probe of West Bank shooting of Palestinian man says he most likely did not pose threat to soldiers.
Mourners carry the body of of 38-year-old Palestinian Iyad Hamed, 38, during his funeral in Silwad after he was killed by Israeli troops. August 26, 2016. Abbas Momani, AFP
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
No Need for Russia to Apologize for Curbing US Provocation
By Finian Cunningham
Predictably, Western protestations ensued after Russia this week blacklisted a group of US-based so-called non-governmental organizations as being “undesirable” on its territory. Among the banned group of seven were the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy and the Open Society run by capitalist billionaire-speculator George Soros. These organizations have launched numerous “civil-society groups” in Moscow over recent years which allegedly are involved in promoting “democracy”, “business enterprise” and “free media”.
© FLICKR/ INSIDER MONKEY
Under Russian law, passed in 2015, the government has the right to sanction any group as “undesirable” if it is deemed to undermine Russia’s constitution and state security. It is a moot point why such American outfits that have demonstrable political allegiance to Washington and its inimical agenda towards Russia were even allowed to set up in the country in the first place.
US ambassador to Russia John Tefft decried the latest sanction by the Kremlin. He said: “We see this move by the Russian government as another deliberate step to further isolate the Russian people from the world.”
The arrogance in the American ambassador’s words are astounding, but typical of Washington’s supremacist self-regard.
So Russian people are, we are told, being isolated from the rest of the world? Notice how US-based advocacy groups are somehow equated with access to “the world” and as if they are paragons of virtue.
The quickest way to gain a reality-check is from asking this question: how many Russian NGOs are operating in the US? That’s right – none. Yet, the self-proclaimed “exceptional” Americans consider it their prerogative to export groups to promulgate supposed “Western values” in Russia and dozens of other countries around the globe.
© AFP 2016/ LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI Soros Hacked: US Billionaire Manipulated Europeans Into Accepting Maidan
Bear in mind, too, RT and Sputnik are publicly recognized news channels. They are not clandestine organizations operating with a hidden agenda.
Now, if that’s the kind of hostility which legitimate Russia-based international news channels are hit with, one can only imagine the uproar if there were actually Russian-sponsored “civil-society” groups based in Washington that published reports and press releases which continually sought to undermine the American constitution, institutions and government policies.
Such hypothetical Russia-supported networks would be booted out of the country as “agents of a foreign enemy” if not facing jail time as “spies”.
Again, as a measure of the likely furore, look at the recent alleged computer hacking of the Democrat party’s database and how that has been rabidly attributed to “Russia trying to interfere in the US presidential elections”. There isn’t a shred of evidence for such alarmist hacking claims, but the point to note is how knee-jerk bellicose Washington is to even the mere notion that Russia could possibly be intruding in American domestic politics.
But in Russia’s case against the US organizations, this isn’t hypothetical. The list of American NGOs banned this week by Russia are provably inimical to Russia’s domestic politics, its constitution and institutions.
© AFP 2016/ KARAM AL-MASRI
George Soros, Mister Money-Bags behind Open Society, has repeatedly accused Russia of outlandish policies, such as precipitating the European refugee problem as a way to undermine the European Union, as well as intending to invade Eastern European states.
The term “non-governmental organization” is a complete misnomer. It is a clever fraud, just like many of the other claims made by these groups. Far from being supposedly independent and private, the blacklisted groups are bankrolled by the US State Department and Congress, and, especially in the case of Soros’ Open Society, are intimately linked with Washington’s foreign policy goals.
That makes them very much “American governmental agencies”.Under the thinly veiled guise of promoting “democracy” the US-sponsored agencies are all about destabilizing Russian society and undermining the governing authorities. This subversive activity would not be tolerated for one second if the shoe were on the other foot over in the United States. So why should Russia accept unilateral American subversion and sanctimony?
The insidious, and frankly dangerous, purpose of the National Endowment for Democracy, Open Society and all the other Orwellian-named American outfits can be gleaned from the way these same groups are responsible for a host of “color revolutions” and regime changes since the dissolution of the Soviet Union nearly a quarter of a century ago. They serve as the soft power arm of US imperialism.
Former Soviet Republic Ukraine was a prime target. State Department official Victoria Nuland is on record for disclosing that $5 billion was funneled into the country from the early 2000s to precipitate regime change that culminated in 2014 when the elected government in Kiev was ousted by CIA-backed fascists. The new regime is responsible for a war on ethnic Russians in the east of the country since 2014 which has killed 10,000 people, and for ongoing efforts to sabotage Crimea. The bigger purpose of the US-backed regime change operation in Ukraine is to act as a spearhead against the real prize, Russia.
It was the US State Department and George Soros who were instrumental in overseeing the Kiev regime-change coup.
Translated from Orwellian lexicon, “promoting democracy” means promoting Washington’s version of “democracy” which is to install vassal regimes that will roll over for American capitalists like Hungarian-born Soros.
© AP PHOTO/ ANDREW KRAVCHENKO, POOL
Russia’s independent government under President Putin has qualified it for Washington-inspired regime change. And as Russia defies Washington’s hegemonic ambitions over Ukraine and Syria, the target on Putin becomes ever more intense, as far as the imperialist warmongers in Washington are concerned.
Previous Russian elections have been disparaged by the NED, Soros and the other US-sponsored agents. With the forthcoming Kremlin elections one could expect that a major negative media onslaught was being prepared by these same Washington-funded groups. Allegations of election fraud flagged by Soros and NED-funded networks in Moscow would have been amplified by Western media outlets in the usual manner.
Also, if Democrat contender Hillary Clinton wins the US presidential poll in November it is a safe bet that the Washington warmongering cabal in the CIA and foreign policy establishment would have ramped up the subversive thrust of the US agencies in Moscow.
Russia is therefore right to pre-empt. After all, would the reverse have been accepted in the US. No way.
The inevitable Western outcry alleging Russia “clamping down on democratic rights” is laughable for its arrogant double think.
The West imposes sanctions on Russia over trumped-up claims, then expects to get away with Washington-funded groups infiltrating with destabilizing disinformation; and then when the Russian government restricts these groups, Washington has the brass neck to protest.This is the mindset of a megalomaniac. What does it want next? Russia to apologize for existing?