One of the American foundations which featured prominently in every color-coded “revolution” and every enforced regime change throughout the world during the past three decades, the allegedly non-government National Endowment for Democracy (NED), is currently charged of supporting at least three present day projects for dismantling the state sovereignty in Myanmar, China’s Tibet and the continued devouring of Serbian state, through the northern region of Vojvodina.
In the article titled Risky Geopolitical Game: Washington Plays ‘Tibet Roulette’ with China, F. William Engdahl asserts that the the current on-again, off-again “Saffron Revolution” in Myanmar and Tibet “Crimson revolution” are another set of Washington-orchestrated campaigns aimed against China, fashioned after the cookie-cutter ‘revolutions’ imitating popular uprisings that swept through the Eastern Europe.
The kind of activities that previously belonged almost exclusively to the realm of covert CIA operations have, for the past couple of decades, been taken over by its extended arm, US Congress-funded NED.
NED Funds Dalai Lama’s Anti-China Movement
Under the subtitle The NED at work again…, Engdahl reveals that “According to declassified US intelligence documents released in the late 1990s, ‘for much of the 1960s, the CIA provided the Tibetan exile movement with $1.7 million a year for operations against China, including an annual subsidy of $180,000 for the Dalai Lama.’
“With help of the CIA, the Dalai Lama fled to Dharamsala, India where he lives to the present. He continues to receive millions of dollars in backing today, not from the CIA but from a more innocuous-sounding CIA front organization, funded by the US Congress, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The NED has been instrumental in every US-backed Color Revolution destabilization from Serbia to Georgia to Ukraine to Myanmar. Its funds go to back opposition media and global public relations campaigns to popularize their pet opposition candidates. [emphasis added] “As in the other recent Color Revolutions, the US Government is fanning the flames of destabilization against China by funding opposition protest organizations inside and outside Tibet through its arm, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
“The NED was founded by the Reagan Administration in the early 1980’s, on the recommendation of Bill Casey, Reagan’s Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), following a series of high-publicity exposures of CIA assassinations and destabilizations of unfriendly regimes. The NED was designed to pose as an independent NGO, one step removed from the CIA and Government agencies so as to be less conspicuous, presumably. The first acting President of the NED, Allen Weinstein, commented to the Washington Post that, ‘A lot of what we [the NED]do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.’
“American intelligence historian, William Blum states, ‘The NED played an important role in the Iran-Contra affair of the 1980s, funding key components of Oliver North’s shadowy ‘Project Democracy.’ This network privatized US foreign policy, waged war, ran arms and drugs, and engaged in other equally charming activities. In 1987, a White House spokesman stated that those at NED ‘run Project Democracy.’
“The most prominent pro-Dalai Lama Tibet independence organization today is the International Campaign for Tibet, founded in Washington in 1988. Since at least 1994 the ICT has been receiving funds from the NED. The ICT awarded their annual Light of Truth award in 2005 to Carl Gershman, founder of the NED. Other ICT award winners have included the German Friedrich Naumann Foundation and Czech leader, Vaclav Havel. The ICT Board of Directors is peopled with former US State Department officials including Gare Smith and Julia Taft.
“Another especially active anti-Beijing organization is the US-based Students for a Free Tibet, founded in 1994 in New York City as a project of US Tibet Committee and the NED-financed International Campaign for Tibet (ICT). The SFT is most known for unfurling a 450 foot banner atop the Great Wall in China; calling for a free Tibet, and accusing Beijing of wholly unsubstantiated claims of genocide against Tibet. Apparently it makes good drama to rally naïve students.
“The SFT was among five organizations which this past January that proclaimed start of a ‘Tibetan people’s uprising’ on Jan 4 this year and co-founded a temporary office in charge of coordination and financing.
“Harry Wu is another prominent Dalai Lama supporter against Beijing. He became notorious for claiming falsely in a 1996 Playboy interview that he had ‘videotaped a prisoner whose kidneys were surgically removed while he was alive, and then the prisoner was taken out and shot. The tape was broadcast by BBC.’ The BBC film showed nothing of the sort, but the damage was done. How many people check old BBC archives? Wu, a retired Berkeley professor who left China after imprisonment as a dissident, is head of the Laogai Research Foundation, a tax-exempt organization whose main funding is from the NED.
“Among related projects, the US Government-financed NED also supports the Tibet Times newspaper, run out of the Dalai Lama’s exile base at Dharamsala, India. The NED also funds the Tibet Multimedia Center for ‘information dissemination that addresses the struggle for human rights and democracy in Tibet,’ also based in Dharamsala. And NED finances the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy.”
Non-Governmental Government Organization Continues to Crumble Serbia
Around the same time Engdahl’s article was published, Serbian political commentatorSladjan Nikolic focused on the latest announcement by an allegedly independent Association of Vojvodina Journalists (NDNV) about their new web site, lobbying for the secession of the northern Serbian region of Vojvodina, supported and funded by no other than the same US Congress’ non-governmental government foundation NED.
“… The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a non-profit organization financed by the American Government, with the basic annual budget of 30 million dollars. The budget is approved by the US Congress, based on the NED’s report about activities that need to be financed.
“NED is the umbrella organization which runs its activities through the other non-profit organizations, like the NDI (National Democratic Institute), IRI (International Republican Institute), CIPE (Center for International Private Enterprise) and ACILS (American Center for International Labor Solidarity). NED closely cooperates with the United States Information Agency (USIA), as well as with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). USIA presents itself as the ‘independent’ foreign affairs agency within the American Government, while the USAID is supposed to be “an independent federal government agency” which provides the economic, humanitarian and democratic assistance overseas, while protecting the economic and political interests of the US.
“On the web sites of these organizations it is stated that they are all non-profit and non-governmental, but being that their work is financed by the American Government and their budget is approved by the US Congress, the ‘non-governmental’ attribute is entirely false — they could be the non-profit, but they are also governmental. At the same time, if one looks at the NED’s background, it becomes obvious that the term ‘non-governmental’ is merely a cover-up for the operations run by the United States Government through these non-profit organizations.
Tool for Enforcing the American Foreign-Affairs Interests
“NED was established after the fierce discussions in the Senate during the 1970s and at the beginning of the 1980s, in regards to the illegal activities of American Central Intelligence Agency, CIA. The first scandal took place in 1967, when some of the CIA covert operations were revealed in the magazine Ramparts. The report uncovered CIA operations of controlling and financing some 30 foreign syndicates, youth and university organizations and the political institutions. Ramparts magazine published that the moneys went from CIA, through the American private or fake front-organizations, to the actual beneficiaries overseas. The article shook the Congress and initiated the Senate hearing.
“…The Senate investigation started only towards the end of 1970s. These were the famous investigations of the Church’s Board, named after the Senator Frank Church. The Board published six reports which were very unfavorable for the CIA, and led to to the reevaluation of its methods and purposes. It is especially interesting that these reports uncovered the pervasive collusion of the CIA with the media and journalists. In this context, the big media manipulations and campaigns in various countries were mentioned, which had the purpose to demonize the political option which was deemed adverse to the American interests by the CIA. The investigation also revealed the assassinations of the ‘uncooperative’ foreign political leaders and state functionaries, the attempted coups against Castro, Chilean President Allende, etc.
“In order to avoid the similar scandals and embarrassments which painted CIA in the negative light, at the start of the 1980s, CIA chief Casey suggested to the President Reagan to conduct those same activities in a different way in future. This is how the NED was established as an allegedly non-governmental organization, since it was assessed that an organization with the ‘non-governmental’ prefix will be able to act with more elegance in the foreign countries.
Securing the Electoral Success to Pre-Selected Politicians
“University of Portland Professor Gerald Sussman also wrote about NED’s ‘elegance’, citing numerous examples. He described in detail how the American experts, together with the former KGB agent who joined an American PR company, helped Boris Yeltsin destroy his left-leaning political opponents through the media campaigns. The advisers NED financed requested that Yeltsin ‘establishes an authoritarian control’ and to subjugate the state television to his will.
“Ahead of the 2004 elections, the Hungarian socialists received American support only after they cleansed their political program of every trace of socialism, with the aid of advisers from two Washington companies. Sussman claims that the NED, an organization which channels funds for the similar ‘projects’ in more than 80 states in the world, organized and financed the toppling of the Bulgarian socialist government.
“NED’s first acting President Allen Weinstein said that ‘a lot of what we [the NED]do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA’. The main idea of the project was to provide funds for the foreign political parties, syndicates, student and other associations, as a cover-up for the CIA financing.
“Professor Sussman explained that NED was meant to provide the alternative to CIA while, unlike the CIA agents, NED’s political operatives don’t have to lead underground lives and assume the false identities. Sussman asserts that the NED and the ‘institutes’ through which it operates have proven to be a far more effective instrument of the US foreign policy than CIA ever was. The nearly transparent operations have helped NED better camouflage its imperialist goals. According to Professor Sussman, US concluded that the military interventions and the support for the dictatorial regimes, even though still useful, are often times less efficient than when the neoliberal goals—securing the electoral success for the free-market-oriented politicians—are achieved and legitimized through the so-called ‘democracy assistance’.
“Democracy Assistance” to the Selected Serbian Politicians
“In Serbia, it was shown that the ‘democracy assistance’ to selected political parties and organizations through the electoral interventions aimed at achieving the neoliberal goals, is much more efficient than the military intervention. NED has had a decisive influence on creation of the numerous non-governmental organizations in Serbia, some of which have grown into the political parties.
“According to the Swedish Aftonbladet, neoliberal G17 Plus was created by the NED’s subsidiary CIPE, as confirmed by the NED report from December 10, 1998, written by Paul McCarthy. G17 Plus had demonstrated gratitude to its founders by immediately destroying Serbia’s banking system, under the conductorship of the World Bank bureaucrats, and by imposing the neoliberal economic concept in Serbia during all these years. CESID [Centre for Free Election and Democracy] wouldn’t exist either if it wasn’t for the NED, which even today finances the work of this organization, according to their web site.
“One of the probably best public sources which describes in detail the type of ‘democracy assistance’ USA provided for the selected political parties and organizations in Serbia during the 2000 elections is the article published in Washington Post on December 11, 2000, titled US advice guided Milosevic opposition.
“The article [written by Michael Dobbs]describes this operation, the bizarre mixture of secrecy and transparency, financed by the Congress with around 10 million USD in 1999 and 31 mill. USD in 2000.
“The lead role was taken by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, the government’s foreign assistance agency, which channeled the funds through commercial contractors and nonprofit groups such as NDI and its Republican counterpart, the International Republican Institute (IRI). While NDI worked closely with Serbian opposition parties, IRI focused its attention on Otpor, which served as the revolution’s ideological and organizational backbone. In March, IRI paid for two dozen Otpor leaders to attend a seminar on nonviolent resistance at the Hilton Hotel in Budapest, a few hundreds yards along the Danube from the NDI-favored Marriott, the article reads.
“Even the very words uttered during the electoral campaign [of the Milosevic’s opposition]were chosen in Washington, the article reveals: According to Stevanovic, the coalition marketing expert, every word of the opposition’s one-minute and five-minute core political messages used by opposition spokesmen across the country was discussed with U.S. consultants and tested by opinion poll. Coalition candidates running for the Yugoslav parliament and tens of thousands of local government positions received extensive training on how to stay “on message,” answer journalists’ questions and rebut the arguments of Milosevic supporters.
“According to Washington Post, Vojislav Kostunica was also selected by the Americans as a presidential candidate, based on the poll the US pollsters, hired by the Washington, carried out in Serbia. […] 20 [Serbian] opposition leaders accepted an invitation from the Washington-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) in October 1999 to a seminar at the Marriott Hotel in Budapest, overlooking the Danube River. The key item on the agenda: an opinion poll commissioned by the U.S. polling firm Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates.
“The poll reported that Milosevic had a 70 percent unfavorable rating among Serbian voters. But it also showed that the big names in the opposition–men such as Zoran Djindjic and Vuk Draskovic–were burdened with negative poll ratings almost as high as Milosevic’s. Among the candidates best placed to challenge Milosevic, the poll suggested, was a moderate Serbian nationalist named Vojislav Kostunica, who had a favorable rating of 49 percent and an unfavorable rating of only 29 percent.
“Kostunica’s selection as the opposition presidential candidate in August was shaped, in large measure, by the opinion polls. “The polls showed that Kostunica could defeat Milosevic in the easiest possible way,” recalled Dusan Mihajlovic, leader of the New Democracy party, one of 18 political parties that made up the coalition. Part of Kostunica’s appeal, the polls showed, was that he was widely perceived as anti-American. Because he was an outspoken critic of the NATO bombing of Serbia, it was difficult for the Milosevic government to label him a Western stooge or a traitor to Serbian interests.
Destabilization of the Progressive Movements and Electoral Interventions
“After the 2000, through its ‘democracy assistance’ program NED and its subsidiaries, through the network consisting of certain NGOs, public opinion research agencies and the media, have focused on destabilization of the progressive movements in Serbia, especially those with the national, socialist and social-democratic profile.
“NED’s ‘program’ has succeeded almost completely: the syndicates are extremely weak, with almost non-existent organizing, there is no left-leaning political force which would articulate and suggest the corrective mechanisms, the national organizations are constantly under attack by the media financed by NED, etc. All the serious public debates about the consequences of the often mistaken, clumsy or reckless enforcement of the neoliberal recipes initiated during the past years were undermined by the media, and those who point to the mistakes are publicly labeled, belittled and denied media access…
“Apart from this, according to Professor Sussman, NED and its subsidiary organizations have also intervened in the last parliamentary and presidential elections in Serbia, in order to crush the national and socialist resistance to the neoliberalism. The intervention was conducted through the public opinion research run by the NED-funded agencies, through the training and the creation of the electoral campaigns based on the public opinion research, through the articles in the press and the campaigns of the media controlled by the NED, through the training of the political activists of the selected political parties….
The New Target: Vojvodina
“The Independent Association of the Journalists of Vojvodina (NDNV), on the page ‘About Us’ on its web site, states that ‘the main goals of the Association, today as before, were the struggle for the freedom of the press, for removal of the political influences which aim to instrumentalize the media in the propaganda purposes, in word — the advocacy of the professional, objective and sound informing.’
“So, the Association advocates the removal of the political influences ‘which aim to instrumentalize the media in the propaganda purposes’ while, at the same time, the entire project The Public Discussion About Vojvodina [under which the Association operates]is funded by the NED, which is a well-known US Government tool for enforcing its foreign policy. Therefore, the Independent Association of the Journalists of Vojvodina has, knowingly or unknowingly, trampled over its key principle: struggle against the political propaganda instrumentalization of the media.
“NDNV further claims it was denounced as an ‘extended arm of the foreign powers by the Milosevic’s regime loudspeakers’. Evaluation of whether the NDNV is an extended arm of the foreign powers would demand a deeper analysis, but it is entirely evident this Association is receiving funds from the official institution of one foreign power, with an aim to realize its government’s foreign policy interests. So, for example, the Independent Association of the Journalist from Vojvodina received a donation by the NED in 2006 in the amount of $24,610, an information that can be found on the NED’s own web site.
“During the past period, NDNV has organized numerous round table discussions, which have demonstrated their close connections with the Soros-funded Open Society Institute, Center for the Cultural Decontamination, Helsinki Board for Human Rights—all sponsored by the foreign states, and with the Center for the New Media Kuda.org, financed by the German foundation Schuler helfen leben.
“The series of the public forums produced by the NDNV under the common heading Interview InVivo, held between October 29, 2005 and February 9, 2006, has been backed by the LSV Nenad Canak, who personally took part in the discussions, and by the cabinet of the Autonomous Vojvodina Parliament president, Bojan Kostres.
“The subjects of these forums were, for example, ‘Radovan Karadzic Life and Events’ [Zivot i prikljucenija Radovana Karadzica], where the alleged mythical and mytho-maniacal consciousness of the Serbian nation was discussed, its ‘xenophobic culture and consequences’, the Serbian nationalism as the only opposition to communism and the fear of the Mitteleuropa (Central Europe); the ‘Mission Impossible’ was examining the assumed ‘hate-speech’ against Albanians and Kosovo, according to the NDNV web site. The hate speech against Kosovo? Does this Association considers Kosovo an independent state entity?
“The subject of the forum ‘Clericalization of the Society’ held on November 30, 2005, was the supposed threat to the secularism and the alleged ‘political goals’ of the Serbian Orthodox Church. The NDNV site claims a very important question was raised on that occasion: could Serbia wake up one morning to find one of the Bishops in power? It is 2008 now, and we still haven’t waken up with a Serbian Orthodox Church Bishop in power […]
Serbia Needs to Snap Out of the Slumber
“Independent Association of the Journalists of Vojvodina is comprised of the journalists perfectly spread through the media (Novi Sad daily Dnevnik, BETA news agency, Belgrade daily Vreme, B92…), which enables it to manipulate the information and to secure the tight connections between the media and the above mentioned foreign funded NGOs. The strongholds these organizations have in the political parties such as those run by Nenad Canak and Bojan Kostres point to the network consisting of the media, NGOs and the political parties. Such network hasn’t been established by coincidence. It was created by the National Endowment for Democracy and it can be easily used to destabilize Vojvodina, for the purpose of realizing the US interests.
“The opening of the B92 Info [TV] channel and the creation of the NDNV web site on the same day should not be regarded as a mere coincidence either, but the simultaneous occurrence timed by the NED. Coupled with the February 21, 2008 petition of the ‘National Foundation for Democracy’, requesting ‘greater respect for the human rights and the protection of the journalists’ from President Tadic and Premier Kostunica, it becomes clear that the new media offensive is in the making.
“This will be the orchestrated attack upon everything with national and Serbian orientation in Vojvodina, and upon the Serbian Orthodox Church. This is the media preparation of the public for the further de-sovereinization and crumbling of Serbia, this time around through Vojvodina.
“Serbian state and its security and media systems have not found the modalities for control of the activities by the so-called non-governmental organizations such as National Endowment for Democracy, a tool of the US foreign policy. It is a high time for it to find those ways, because the new offensive, this time targeting Vojvodina, is at the start of its realization.”