Paul Roberts, Counterpunch – The Mousavi protests have set up Iran either for a US puppet government or for a military strike. The mullahs are in a lose-lose situation. Even if the mullahs hold together and suppress the protests, the legitimacy of the Iranian government in the eyes of the outside world has been damaged. Obama’s diplomatic approach is over before it started. The neo-cons and Israel have won. . .
In Iran’s system, election fraud has no purpose, because a small select group of ruling mullahs select the candidates who are put on the ballot. If they don’t like an aspiring candidate, they simply don’t put him on the ballot.
When the liberal reformer Khatami ran for president, he won with 70 per cent of the vote and served from 1997-2005. If the mullahs didn’t defraud Khatami of his win, it seems unlikely they would defraud an establishment figure like Mousavi, who was foreign minister in the most conservative government, and is backed by another establishment figure, Rafsanjani.
As Mousavi was seen as Rafsanjani’s man, why is it “unbelievable” that Ahmadinejad defeated Mousavi by the same margin that he defeated Rafsanjani in the previous election?
Neoconservative Kenneth Timmerman let the cat out of the bag that there was an orchestrated “color revolution” in the works. Before the election, Timmerman wrote: “there’s talk of a ‘green revolution’ in Tehran.” Why would protests be organized prior to a vote and announcement of the outcome? Organized protests waiting in the wings are not spontaneous responses to a stolen election.
Timmerman’s organization, Foundation for Democracy, is funded by the National Endowment for Democracy for the explicit purpose of promoting democracy in Iran. According to Timmerman, NED money was funneled to “pro-Mousavi groups who have ties to non-governmental organizations outside Iran that the National Endowment for Democracy funds.”. . .
Jared Israel, Emperor’s Clothes, 2005 – People in the US – and all over the world – were originally told it was necessary to launch a military attack on Afghanistan to get rid of the Taliban and to arrest Osama bin Laden. But as far back as December, [Undersecretary of State Elizabeth Jones] said something quite different in the media-free privacy of the U.S. Senate. She explained that no matter what happened in Afghanistan, the US and its allies would stay and “assist” the Central Asian Republics. However, “that assistance was conditional on economic and democratic reforms and the observance of human rights. . . In her Senate testimony, Undersecretary Jones made it clear she wishes to transform the Central Asia Republics into US protectorates. She didn’t say it outright, of course, but she used easily decipherable code. “The USA believes, Jones said, that “certain countries” in the region should noticeably step up their economic reforms and democratic processes, the observance of human rights and the formation of a strong civil society.”. . .
“Civil society” is strengthened when USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy and other government agencies in the U.S., Norway, Holland and Germany, as well as seemingly private groups, like the CIA-connected Open Society Foundation of George Soros, move in. What do these agencies do? They fund people who work for the Empire in the guise of “democratic” this and “human rights” that and “institutes for economic reform” and “independent media.” In the words of Allen Weinstein, the man who conceived the National Endowment of Democracy: “‘A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”
Kim Scipes Labor Notes, 2004 – The AFL-CIO is once again on the scene, this time in Venezuela, just as it was in Chile in 1973. Once again, its operations in that country are being funded by the U.S. government. This time, the money is being laundered through the quasi-governmental National Endowment for Democracy, hidden from AFL-CIO members and the American public. Once again, it is being used to support the efforts of reactionary labor and business leaders, helping to destabilize a democratically-elected government that has made major efforts to alleviate poverty, carried out significant land reform in both urban and rural areas, and striven to change political institutions that have long worked to marginalize those at the lowest rungs in society.
B.Raman, South Asia Analysis Group, 2004 – The post-Watergate enquiries into the activities of the Central Intelligence Agency of the US exposed details of its covert political activities in other countries in order to promote US foreign policy objectives. Amongst such activities were the secret funding of individuals, political parties and non-governmental organizations favorable to US interests and funneling of money to counter the activities of those considered anti-US. . .
After his election in November, 1980, and before his taking-over as the President in January, 1981, Mr. Reagan appointed a transition group headed by the late William Casey, an attorney and one of his campaign managers, who was to later take over as the CIA Director, to recommend measures for strengthening the USA’s intelligence capability abroad.
One of its recommendations was to revive covert political activities. Since there might have been opposition from the Congress and public opinion to this task being re-entrusted to the CIA, it suggested that this be given to an NGO with no ostensible links with the CIA.
The matter was further examined in 1981-82 by the American Political Foundation’s Democracy Program Study and Research Group and, finally, the National Endowment for Democracy was born under a congressional enactment of 1983 as a “non-profit, non-governmental, bipartisan, grant-making organization to help strengthen democratic institutions around the world.”
Though it is projected as an NGO, it is actually a quasi-governmental organization because until 1994 it was run exclusively from funds voted by the Congress (average of about US $6 million per annum in the 1980s and now about US $30 million) as part of the budget of the US Information Agency. Since 1994, it has been accepting contributions from the private sector to supplement the congressional appropriations. . .
Since its inception, the NED and its affiliates have been mired in controversy in the US itself as well as abroad. Amongst its strongest supporters in the US is the Heritage Foundation of Washington DC, a conservative think tank, which played an active role in influencing the policies of the Reagan and Bush Administrations. . .
Amongst the critics of the NED are Ms. Barbara Conry, a foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute of Washington D.C. and Mr. Ralph McGehee, stated to be a former CIA official. In a paper of November 8,1993, Ms.Conry said: “NED is resented (abroad) as American interference; it is often further resented because it attempts to deceive foreigners into viewing its programs as private assistance. . . On a number of occasions, NED has taken advantage of its alleged private status to influence foreign elections, an activity that is beyond the scope of AID (Agency For International Development) or USIA and would otherwise be possible only through a CIA covert operation. . .
Another NGO of the US has said: “NED engages in much of the same kinds of interference in the internal affairs of foreign countries which were the hallmark of the CIA. The NED has financed, advised and supported in many ways selected political parties, election campaigns, unions, student groups, book publishers, newspapers, other media, even guerillas in Afghanistan and, in general, organizations and individuals which mesh well with the gears of the globalized-economy machine. . .
The governments and movements whom the NED targets call it destabilization.”
Bill Blum, Third World Traveler – NED likes to refer to itself as an NGO (non-governmental organization) because this helps to maintain a certain credibility abroad that an official US government agency might not have. But NGO is the wrong category. NED is a GO. . . In effect, the CIA has been laundering money through NED. . .
In a multitude of ways, NED meddles in the internal affairs of foreign countries by supplying funds, technical know-how, training, educational materials, computers, fax machines, copiers, automobiles and so on, to selected political groups, civic organizations, labor unions, dissident movements, student groups, book publishers, newspapers, other media, etc. NED programs generally impart the basic philosophy that working people and other citizens are best served under a system of free enterprise, class cooperation, collective bargaining, minimal government intervention in the economy and opposition to socialism in any shape or form. A free market economy is equated with democracy, reform and growth, and the merits of foreign investment are emphasized.
Ukrainian Weekly, 2003 – Mr. Yushchenko began his meetings with senior [Bush] administration officials on February 5 with Vice-President Richard Cheney and concluded them on February 7 with Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. . . Our Ukraine deputies were the guests of honor at two evening receptions. One was hosted by three organizations involved in democracy-building efforts in Ukraine – the National Endowment for Democracy, the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute. . .
Cato Institute – The National Endowment for Democracy is a foreign policy loose cannon. Promoting democracy is a nebulous objective that can be manipulated to justify any whim of the special-interest groups–the Republican and Democratic parties, organized labor, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce–that control most of NED’s funds. As those groups execute their own foreign policies, they often work against American interests and meddle needlessly in the affairs of other countries, under- mining the democratic movements NED was designed to assist. Moreover, the end of the Cold War has nullified any usefulness that such an organization might ever have had. There is no longer a rival superpower mounting an effective ideological challenge, and democracy is progressing remarkably well on its own. NED, which also has a history of corruption and financial mismanagement, is superfluous at best and often destructive. Through the endowment, the American taxpayer has paid for special-interest groups to harass the duly elected governments of friendly countries, interfere in foreign elections, and foster the corruption of democratic movements.
Bill Blum, Rogue States – The Endowment played an important role in the Iran-Contra affair of the 1980s, funding key components of Oliver North’s shadowy “Project Democracy” network, which privatized US foreign policy, waged war, ran arms and drugs and engaged in other equally charming activities. . .
Harry Kelber, Labor Educator – Hardly any union member knows anything about the AFL-CIO’s American Center for International Labor Solidarity, because it operates largely as a clandestine organization. It was established in 1997 to replace the four regional organizations under former AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland, whose staffs had worked with CIA agents to destabilize democratically-elected governments in the Dominican Republic, Guyana and Chile and to undermine governments that were either friendly to the then Soviet Union or hostile to American business interests. . .
Solidarity Center gets three-quarters of its budget from government sources, with annual grants from the State Department, the Agency for International Development, the Labor Department and the National Endowment for Democracy. The AFL-CIO also donates a significant amount to the Center. Repeated attempts to get a complete list of donors and the amount of their contributions have been rebuffed. . .
Boston Globe, 2002 – Over the two years preceding the thwarted coup in April against President Hugo Chavez, a US-funded pro-democracy group financed a range of antigovernment programs, including some that have come under scrutiny for the way they spent their money. An examination of grants of more than $1 million, given to organizations in Venezuela by the National Endowment for Democracy, has found that US tax money financed several Chavez opponents, including two organizations prominent in the protests that led up to the coup. The documents and interviews also report that money sent to one US-funded organization never reached its intended target and that another organization apparently falsified its Venezuelan accomplishments. An endowment-funded trip to Washington by Chavez opponents may have accelerated the events leading to the April 11 uprising. The revolt against Chavez fell apart after two days, allowing him to return to power. The United States soon came under a barrage of criticism for appearing to support the coup against a democratically elected president, apparently in contradiction to US policy to strengthen democracy in Latin America.