Posts Tagged ‘usaid’
by stuartbramhall in Inspiring Moments in Resistance, Things That Aren't What They Seem
According to Reuters, Bolivia’s President Evo Morales celebrated International Workers Day (May 1) by expelling the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Mr Morales accused the agency, which operates under State Department auspices, of seeking to “conspire against” the Bolivian people and his government. USAID has been working in Bolivia for almost five decades. According to its website, it dedicated $52.1 million to Bolivia in 2010 .
On previous May Days, Mr Morales announced the nationalization of key industries, such as hydroelectric power and the electricity grid. This year he announced he “would only nationalize the dignity of the Bolivian people”. Speaking at a rally in La Paz, the president said there was “no lack of US institutions which continue to conspire against our people and especially the national government, which is why we’re going to take the opportunity to announce on this May Day that we’ve decided to expel USAID”.
Morales explained the expulsion was in protest to a recent remark by US Secretary of State John Kerry, who referred to Latin America as “the backyard of the United States”. The term evokes strong emotions in the region, which experienced several U.S.-backed coups during the Cold War. The Bolivian leader has threatened USAID with expulsion in the past, asserting that its programs have “political rather than social” ends. He has also accused it of “manipulating” and “using” union leaders.
USAID’s Unsavory Past
I and other veterans of the 1980s Central American solidarity movement are only too aware of USAID’s unsavory past. Its reputation of being used as cover, like many US embassies, for the CIA and other US intelligence agencies, was in large part responsible for President Putin’s decision to expel USAID from Russia last fall.* Many older activists vividly recall USAID’s heavy hand in suppressing domestic opposition (by destabilizing human rights and labor initiatives, meddling in local elections and collaborating with right wing coups to overturn democratic elections) to US military intervention in El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua and maintaining South American dictatorships friendly to US corporate interests.
Bolivian present criticisms of USAID are far more nuanced. The main complaint seems to be that the US agency contrasts unfavorably with European development programs, which are totally open and transparent and consistently consult and collaborate with the Bolivian government. USAID differs significantly in its heavy reliance on private contractors and drug eradication (which is controversial among Bolivian farmers and a low priority for the government), who rarely collaborate with local officials and are generally extremely secretive about their activities.
Mr Morales, who heads his country’s union of coca growers, has also been critical in the past of US counter-narcotic programmes in Bolivia, repeatedly stating that the fight against drugs is driven by geopolitical interests.
In 2008, Mr Morales expelled the US ambassador and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for allegedly conspiring against his government.
The State Department Response
US state department spokesman Patrick Ventrell rejected the allegations as “baseless and unfounded”. He added “We think the programs have been positive for the Bolivian people, and fully coordinated with the Bolivian government and appropriate agencies under their own national development plan.”
A prepared statement from USAID further read: “Those who will be most hurt by the Bolivian government’s decision are the Bolivian citizens who have benefited from our collaborative work on education, agriculture, health, alternative development, and the environment.”
Evo Morales became Bolivia’s first socialist and indigenous president in 2005. He was re-elected by a landslide in 2009,
*I was interviewed by Voice of Russia radio at the time of the Russian move to expel USAID. The transcripts unfortunately are in pigeon English, with Parts I and II on two separate sites. For this reason, I also include a link to the audio file of the entire interview:
Crossposted at Daily Censored
by stuartbramhall in Mind Control and Disinformation, Things That Aren't What They Seem
According to Daniel Hopsicker in MadCow Morning News, it turns out Ruslan Tsarni, the uncle of the two alleged Boston bombers, was married to the daughter of former top CIA official Graham Fuller. Uncle Ruslan, in turn, had a decade-long business relationship with Halliburton, the oil company/defense contractor formerly run by Dick Cheney that awarded billions of dollars in no-bid contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Back in the nineties, Tsarni served for two years as a “consultant” for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan. It’s been well-documented that USAID (which is funded by the US State Department) is often used as a front for CIA and other US intelligence operations.
In the early 1990s Ruslan Tsarni married the daughter of former top CIA Graham Fuller, who spent 20 years as operations officer in Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Hong Kong. In 1982 Fuller was appointed the National Intelligence Officer for Near East and South Asia at the CIA, and in 1986, under Ronald Reagan, he became the Vice-Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, with overall responsibility for national level strategic forecasting.
At the time of their marriage, Ruslan Tsarni was known as Ruslan Tsarnaev, the same last name as his nephews Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the alleged bombers.
It is unknown when he changed his last name to Tsarni.
Coincidentally Graham Fuller is listed as one of the American Deep State rogues on FBI translator whistleblower Sibel Edmonds’ State Secrets Privilege Gallery. According to Edmonds, the gallery features subjects of FBI investigations she became aware of during her time as an FBI translator.
She asserts that these individuals engaged in criminal activities subsequently protected under the doctrine of State Secrets. After Attorney General John Ashcroft went all the way to the Supreme Court to silence her, she posted the twenty-one photos to the Internet with no names.
One photo has been subsequently identified as Graham Fuller.
All this is just the tip of the iceberg. Read full post here: MadCow Morning News
Crossposted at Daily Censored
by stuartbramhall in Attacks on the Working Class, The Global Economic Crisis
Someone has leaked to the UK Guardian an email the “troika” (consisting of the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund) recently sent the Greek government with additional conditions they plan to impose as a condition of the next bailout. These new conditions confirm what many of us suspected all along – that the so-called Greece’s so-called “austerity” measures aren’t about balancing budgets or even sound economic policy. Like the structural adjustment packages the IMF is notorious for imposing on third world countries, the EU’s plans for Greece are about exploitation. The goal is to brutalize Greek workers into accepting sweatshop wages and working conditions that will make the country attractive to multinational corporate investors.
Imposing a Six Day Work Week
Despite the fact Greek workers already work 2017 hours per year, which is more than any other EU country (German workers average 1408 hours per year), the troika is demanding they increase their work hours by adopting a six day work week. Additional “troika” demands include reducing the mandatory daily rest requirement to eleven hours, eliminating restrictions on the minimum break between morning and afternoon shifts, reducing the minimum wage, reducing employer pension and welfare contributions, cutting laid-off workers severance package by 50% and reducing employer reporting requirements to the Greek Labor Inspectorate, which monitors unsafe working conditions and unfair labor practices.
These demands come on top of prior severe austerity cuts that have caused the Greek economy to shrink by 7%, an extreme level of deflation leading to the shutdown of 68,000 businesses, 33% unemployment and widespread malnutrition, preventable illness and suicide.
Readers can read the full “troika” memo on Zero Hedge. They need to be mindful that the IMF’s malignant designs aren’t limited to Greece. The international agency has a long standing agenda of making labor markets safe for multinational corporations. If and when Greece agrees to these conditions, the IMF will surely surely turn their attention to Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland and other EU countries struggling to refinance their sovereign debt. Don’t doubt for a moment their intentions to impose the same kind of austerity cuts and labor deregulation on the UK and the US. The US will be low hanging fruit in this regard. Owing to extremely low union membership, American workers are expected to offer little organized resistance.
Lessons from Haiti
A close look at the neoliberal reforms the IMF and World Bank have imposed on Haiti following the devastating 2010 earthquake is instructive in understanding what lies in store for the indebted industrial north. (I remind readers that the US was instrumental in two coups – in 1996 and 2004 – against Haiti’s democratically elected president Jean Baptiste Aristide. He was allowed to return to Haiti in Jan 2011 after agreeing to a law that forbids him from ever standing for president again.).
In case people wonder why hundreds of thousands of Port-Au-Prince residents still live in tents, they need to understand there has been virtually no aid directed towards government and non-profit agencies that could potentially re-house them. Instead international lending institutions and US agencies (such as USAID) have narrowly focused international aid on the implementation of a longstanding US/IMF agenda (revealed in 1996 Wikileaks cables) of privatizing Haiti’s state owned utilities (electricity, airport, seaport, telephone, health) to open them up to foreign investment and creating low wage, sweatshop-like enterprise zones producing garments and other labor-intensive manufactured goods.
Matt Kinnard writes about the “forensic” investigation he has conducted into the IMF’s shameful treatment of Haiti in the Aug 14 Open Democracy.
by stuartbramhall in China Watch
(This is the second of two blogs contrasting US and Chinese foreign policy in Angola and other oil-rich African countries.)
The Angolan civil war ended in 2002 with one million dead, four million permanently exiled and a country rich in natural resources littered with landmines and crumbling infrastructure. The MPLA government was left with the daunting task of clearing landmines, rebuilding the decimated infrastructure, retrieving weapons from a heavily-armed civilian population and resettling tens of thousands of refugees who had fled the fighting. Eduardo dos Santos, who has been president for more than 30 years, remains immensely popular, with the MPLA winning an 82% majority in the 2008 election, the second in Angolan history.
In addition to underwriting Angola’s oil industry, low interest Chinese loans and investment have helped fund mineral prospecting in the country’s copper, iron and gold mines, as well as financing landmine clearance necessary to re-establish coffee and cotton plantations. Now that oil revenues are no longer needed to purchase armaments and pay government troops, they are used for national reconstruction projects – roads, airports, bridges, hospitals and schools. Angolan refugees in their millions once clamored for admission to Portugal. Now the reverse is happening. With Portugal in severe recession, more than 10,000 Portuguese natives emigrated to Angola last year, in search of business and employment opportunities.
Extreme Income Inequality
The Angolan middle class is doing great. The Porsche dealer in Luanda, the capitol city, can’t keep up with orders. Ironically Angola was also in the unique position of having 4G mobile access ahead of most of Europe and much of the US. The government partnered in this venture with the Chinese phone giant ZTE. The latter provided all the equipment, including the handsets, and most of the installation engineers.
Unfortunately the majority of the Angolan people has yet to benefit from the economic boom. Seventy percent of the population still lives below the poverty line. Half the country lives on less than $2 and one-fifth of all children die before their fifth birthday (though this number has improved significantly with the end of the civil war).
The Angolan “Arab Spring”
Unita, the official opposition in Parliament, complains bitterly that the ruling party silences any and all criticism. In 2011 a group of young Angolans, influenced by the “Arab Spring” movement, protested in the capital demanding Santos’ resignation. Their protests were quickly and forcefully put down by the Angolan police. Dos Santos also receives unfavorable publicity about human rights abuses in Cabinda province, home to a separatist movement that predates the civil war. Much of the country’s oil wealth comes from Cabinda. Human rights groups allege that Angolan troops deployed there have committed civilian atrocities.
Given the CIA’s historic links with Unita, their historic opposition to the MPLA and the role of CIA-funded foundations, such as National Endowment for Democracy (NED), United States Agency for International Development, and Center for Applied Nonviolent Strategies (CANVAS) in funding and training other “Arab Spring” activists (see Smoking Gun: US Role in Arab Spring, it’s hard to believe the CIA doesn’t have their sticky fingers in Angola’s “Arab Spring,” as well. The Agency also finds separatist movements hard to resist, especially those in regions suitable for cocaine or heroin trafficking (as in Kosovo and Balochistan – see Our CIA Freedom Fighters in Pakistan).
It may be pure coincidence that Angola is a growing transshipment hub for Nigerian traffickers transporting Brazilian cocaine to Nigeria or Europe.
by stuartbramhall in Things That Aren't What They Seem
(This is the second of five posts about the American godfather of nonviolent resistance, Gene Sharp, and the role of CIA and Pentagon-funded foundations and think tanks in funding and promoting nonviolent resistance)
The current brouhaha over Gene Sharp was initially triggered by an article, The Albert Einstein Institution: Nonviolence According to the CIA, Thierry Meyssan published on Voltaire Net in October 2005. Meyssan, a French intellectual and political activist, first gained international prominence in 2002 by publishing a French best seller entitled L’effroyable imposteur (English title: The Big Lie). The book claimed that the 9-11 attacks were directed by right-wingers in the U.S. government and the military industrial complex seeking justification for military action in Afghanistan and Iraq. Meyssan’s 2005 article on the Albert Einstein Institutes enumerates a long list of instances in which the US government and CIA-funded foundations arranged for Sharp to meet with opposition groups receiving covert US support in their efforts to bring down Asian and Eastern European governments unfriendly to US interests.
Iran and Venezuela’s Denunciation of Sharp
The article was widely reposted on leftist and libertarian websites. In 2008, it resulted in a formal denunciation of Sharp by the Iranian government and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, both targets of AEI destabilization activities. In June 2008, Stephen Zunes, chair of the Academic Advisory Committee of the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict (founded and run by Wall Street financier Peter Ackerman) issued a rebuttal, Sharp Attack Unwarranted, in Foreign Policy in Focus. The latter is an on-line magazine of the Institute for Policy Studies, where Zunes serves as Middle East Editor. The article was simultaneously reprinted in the Huffington Post.
Stephen Zunes Defends Sharp’s Progressive Credentials
Like Sharp Zunes, who also teaches Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, is frequently lauded as a progressive thinker and writer without close examination of some of his affiliations or his open pro-Zionism. Zunes is a self-declared Zionist: “I will be Zionist as long as there is anti-Semitism.” He has frequently and publicly asserted that he supports Israel as a Jewish state (i.e. a religious state with a single official religion) and cites the establishment of Israel as “an example of global affirmative action.” (see Stephen Zunes biographical details). Moreover, as several analysts point out, Zunes routinely minimizes or dismisses as “conspiracy theory” the role CIA-funded democracy manipulating foundations have played in “regime change” in Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa (see Capital Driven Civil Society and Critique of Antiwar.com)
Zunes subsequently persuaded Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Code Pink and other high profile progressives to help launch an on-line petition defending Sharp’s progressive credentials. However, as numerous critics point out, he never addressed Meyssan’s most important concerns: the military/intelligence backgrounds of many of the Albert Einstein Institution’s (AEI’s) directors and advisory board members; their documented collaboration, together with Sharp, with opposition groups responsible for the “color” revolutions in Eastern Europe; and their work with Venezuelan opposition groups in an effort to topple president Hugo Chavez.
Sharp himself responded to Meyssan’s article in June 2007. Meyssan has posted Sharp’s letter with the original article. In it, Sharp denies ever receiving US government, CIA or NATO support or funding, except for a Department of Defense grant to support the 1972 publication of The Politics of Nonviolent Action. He acknowledges meeting with numerous opposition groups in Asia and Eastern Europe but insists that the AEI “never told them what to do.” (This contradicts reports on the AEI website that Sharp and other AEI staff trained them in nonviolent resistance techniques). Like Zunes, he fails to address the involvement of military/intelligence officials on AEI’s board of directors or AEI’s meetings with Venezuelan opposition groups.
AEI Links with the State Department and the Military-Intelligence Complex
Both Australian researcher of CIA-funded foundations, Michael Barker and Canadian activist Stephen Gowans wrote responses to Zunes’ Foreign Policy in Focus article. Barker’s rebuttal is entitled Sharp Reflection Warranted. In it, Barker points out that the problem of elite manipulation of ostensibly progressive groups isn’t a new problem and points readers to excellent links regarding collaboration between the CIA and the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and others. Barker goes on to elaborate on the right wing corporate and/or military-intelligence background of many of AEI’s board members. He also looks at the twenty or so countries where (according to the AEI website) Sharp worked with opposition groups simultaneously receiving major funding and support from the US State Department, NED and/or both.
To be continued, with a discussion of Gowans’ more lengthy and extensive rebuttal.
by stuartbramhall in Things That Aren't What They Seem
(This is the first of five posts about the American godfather of nonviolent resistance, Gene Sharp, and the role of CIA and Pentagon-funded foundations and think tanks in funding and promoting nonviolent resistance)
One important aspect of the debate over “diversity of tactics” (i.e. the decision whether to be exclusively nonviolent) in the Occupy movement relates to mounting evidence of the role CIA and Pentagon-funded foundations and think tanks play in funding and promoting nonviolent resistance training. The two major US foundations promoting nonviolence, both overseas and domestically, are the Albert Einstein Institution (AEI) and the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC). Both receive major corporate and/or government funding, mostly via CIA “pass through” foundations. While the ICNC is funded mainly by the private fortune of hedge fund billionaire (junk bond king Michael Milken’s second in command) Peter Ackerman, the AEI has received funding from the Rand Corporation and the Department of Defense, as well as various “pass-through” foundations, such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the International Republican Institute (IRI), the US Institute of Peace and the Ford Foundation (see The Ford Foundation and the CIA),which all have a long history of collaborating with the Pentagon, the State Department and the CIA in destabilizing governments unfriendly to US interests.
This is a strategy Frances Stonor Saunders outlines in her pivotal Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters. According to Sanders, right wing corporate-backed foundations and the CIA have been funding the non-communist left since the late sixties, in the hope of drowning out and marginalizing the voice of more militant leftists. It’s also noteworthy that the governing and advisory board of both AEI and ICNC have been consistently dominated by individuals with either a military/intelligence background or a history of prior involvement with CIA “pass-through” foundations, such as NED and USAID.
Gene Sharp, the Fervent Anticommunist
Much of this debate focuses around America’s godfather of nonviolent resistance, Gene Sharp, the founder and director of the Albert Einstein Institution. Sharp’s handbooks on nonviolent protest were widely disseminated in the Eastern Europe color revolutions, in the Arab spring revolutions and in the Occupy movement in the US (see http://mailstar.net/Sharp-Soros-NED-CIA.html). Unfortunately Sharp has become a decoy in this debate, deflecting attention from the larger question of whether the US government is actively financing and promoting the work of the AEI, the ICIC and other high profile organizations that promote nonviolent civil disobedience. The question is extremely important, in my view, because it possibly explains the rigid and dogmatic attitude in the US progressive movement regarding nonviolent civil disobedience. In other words, I think it explains the knee-jerk rejection of more militant tactics, such as smashing windows and other property damage that don’t involve physical violence towards human beings.
Is Military-Intelligence Funding Compatible with Progressive Politics?
The institutional nonviolence clique has cleverly refocused the debate on whether Sharp, who is 83, is a CIA agent and whether he actively participated in US-funded destabilization efforts in Tunisia, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Iran and elsewhere that resulted in so-called “Arab Spring” revolutions. The obvious answer to both questions is no. For me the more important question is why the alternative media and “official” progressive movement embrace Sharp unconditionally as a fellow progressive without a careful look at his past or his ideological beliefs. Sharp has never made any secret of his fervent anticommunist (and antisocialist – he shares the US State Department’s animosity towards Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez) views.
Sharp makes no secret of the funding he has received from the Defense Department; the Rand Corporation; CIA-linked foundations, such as NED, the IRI and the US Institute of Peace; and George Soros’s Open Society Institute. All this information is readily available from the AEI website. Sharp himself states, “I have been arguing for years that governments and defense departments – as well as other groups – should finance and conduct research into alternatives to violence in politics and especially as a possible basis for a defense policy by prepared nonviolent resistance as a substitute for war.” (See The living library: some theoretical approaches to a strategy for activating human rights and peace, George Garbutt, 2008, Southern Cross University, Australia).
Less well known is the role military and intelligence figures have played in helping Sharp set up and run the AEI. I think most progressives would be extremely disturbed by the major role played by the military-intelligence establishment in funding and running the AEI. I think they would find it even more troubling that progressives who refer to any of this on so called “independent” or “alternative” media websites and blogs have their posts removed.
To be continued.
by stuartbramhall in The Wars in the Middle East, Things That Aren't What They Seem
by Ahmed Bensaada
(Michel Brule May 2011)
In tracking down sources for an upcoming presentation on the antiglobalization movement, I have come across a little gem called Arabesque Americaine by French Canadian author Ahmed Bensaada. The full title is Arabesque Americaine: Le role des Etats-Unis dans les revoltes de la rue arabe — translated American Arabesque: the Role of the US in the Revolts in the Arab Streets.
I have been increasingly skeptical of the authenticity of the “Arab Spring” revolutions — especially in Egypt (where the outcome is a military junta) and Libya (which, like Iraq , has been bombed back to the Middle Ages). Last February, a few blogs mentioned a 2009 meeting between Hillary Clinton and one of Egypt ‘s (presumably) US funded pro-democracy groups. Then the English alternative media and blogosphere went all quiet on the issue.
Arabesque Americaine leaves absolutely no doubt that the “Arab Spring” — like the earlier “color revolutions” in eastern Europe — were almost certainly destabilization/regime change operations, funded and orchestrated by the CIA, State Department, historic CIA-funded foundations — and last, but not least, Google.
Bensaada’s 120-page book provides a carefully researched and referenced account of each of the foundations that are “exporting democracy” to MENA (the Middle East and North Africa ), along with an exact accounting of the millions of dollars given to each country in 2009 and the specific groups the funds went to.
My favorite chapter was the one describing the role these foundations, the State Department, and Google have played in training young MENA activists in the use of social media (e.g. Facebook and Twitter). I was particularly interested in the free access and training they provide international youth activists on TOR, a special software designed to evade government surveillance (which, under the Patriot Act, is illegal in the US ).
Bensaada, who was born and received his early education in Algeria, devotes special attention to the Egypt revolution, emphasizing the role Google played via their star employee Wael Ghonem.
The following is a brief outline of the topics covered:
Chapter 1 — concerns the secret American funding and orchestration of the so-called “color revolutions” in Eastern Europe , with particular focus on Serbia (2000), Georgia (2003), Ukraine (2004) and Kirghizistan(2005). In each case, pro-Soviet governments were overthrown by mobilizing disaffected, pro-Western young people — financed by the CIA, State Department, and Pentagon linked “democracy manipulating” foundations. The latter include National Endowment for Democracy (NED), National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), Freedom House (FH), the Albert Einstein Institute, the Center for Non Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) — and George Soros’ Open Society Institute (OSI).
Chapter 2 — contains a detailed discussion of the above think tanks and foundations, which includes a description of the their government funding, as well as the subversive activities (espionage, election rigging, an popular destablization activities) they promote in countries like Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba and Iran that oppose America’s pro-corporate agenda.
Chapter 3 — discusses the promotion, by the State Department and these think tanks and foundations, of new technologies in these destabilization campaigns. I was fascinated by Bensaada’s description of Guide Star’s TOR Project, which permits anonymous navigation of the Internet. According to their own website, TOR is funded by Google, the US Naval Research Lab, and Human Rights Watch (HRW). In 2004 Paul Treanor documented that HRW is a joint project of Soros’ Open Society Institute and the State Department (http://web.inter.nl.net/users/Paul.Treanor/HRW.htm). US Wikileaks spokesperson Jacob Appelbaum, the main TOR spokesperson, travels all over the world training activists in the use of TOR (Wikileaks uses TOR on their servers).
Chapter 3 also discusses the role of Movements.org and the Alliance of Youth Movements in promoting the use of social media to international youth activists (once again, Bensaada points out that promoting protests via social media is illegal in the US — he cites the example of an activist arrested at the 2009 G20 Summit in Pittsburgh). Movements.org is run by Jared Cohen, the director of Google Ideas and a former adviser to both Condolizza Rice and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Jason Libman, another Google employee formerly employed by both the State Department and the Pentagon. AYM executive director David Nassar was formerly employed by NDI, USAID and IRI. The list of luminaries who participated in a 2008 Summit focused on teaching international activists how to use Facebook and Twitter is also extremely enlightening: Sherif Mansour from Freedom House, James Glassman from the State Department, Larry Diamond from NED, and national security advisor Shaarik Zafar.
Chapter 4 — focuses on the specific case of Egypt, with particular attention to the role played by Google employee Gael Ghonem, who was given paid leave from his job (Google’s chief of marketing for MENA) to participated in the Tahrir Square uprising. Ghonem was responsible for creating the Facebook page “We are all Mohamed Bouazizi” after the Tunisian fruit seller trigger the Tunisian revolution by setting himself on fire. Ghonem also created the “We are all Tal Al-Mallou” to pressure Syria to release the Syrian blogger after she was arrested for espionage activities in the Syrian Embassy in Cairo . Back in 2009, he also set up a Facebook page for Egyptian exile Mohammed El-Baradei, in advance of his February 2010 visit to Cairo to explore a bid for the Egyptian presidency. The visit, according to Wikileaks cables, was organized through the US embassy. Please note this was a full year before the Tahrir Square protests.
In this chapter, Bensaada also focuses on two lead organizers in the April 6th movement (Bassam Samir and Adel Mohamed) with strong links to Washington and the “color revolutions.”
Chapter 5 — focuses on the pro-democracy organizations in other Arab countries (Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebannon, Lybia, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, Yemen, and Syria) financed by the State Department and the “democracy manipulating” foundations. In his appendix, Bensaada identifies the specific pro-democracy groups by name and the exact amount of US funding each received in 2009.
Chapter 6 — a summation and analysis, which explores the ethical dilemma faced by many Egyptian activists on learning the non-violent materials they were using to organize demonstrations were the creation of CIA and State Department Funded think tanks and Foundations.
Arabesque Americaine is available in print for $16.95 from Amazon Canada (with links to discount distributors selling it for $11.08). It’s also available in Epub from two sites. According to one ebook distributor, Archambault, the Epub version is only available in Canada to “protect the rights” of the author. A second site, Livresquebecois.com allowed me to pay for and download the Epub version. However the file they provided is corrupted and had to be converted to PDF (via free downloadable software) in order to read it.
Bensaada’s writing is unusually clear and concise. Thus I highly recommend the book, even where readers have only limited knowledge of French. More than half the reference links are to English sites. That alone, in my opinion, is more than worth $11.08 for a print copy .
by stuartbramhall in Attacks on the Working Class, Things That Aren't What They Seem
The Role of Left Gatekeeping Foundations
To fully understand the role of International Center for Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) and its sister foundations in promoting a de facto taboo on violent protest in the North America, it’s helpful to understand the role they have played in galvanizing the “color” revolutions in the Philippines, Eastern Europe and elsewhere now the Middle East and North Africa. According to Australian journalist and research Michael Barker (http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/38214), this role (in the Philippines, Nicaragua, Chile and Haiti) was first identified in William I. Robinson’s groundbreaking 2006 book Promoting Polyarchy. “Polyarchy” is defined “low intensity democracy” – a form of government that replaces violent coercive control with the type of ideological control (i.e. brainwashing) that Noam Chomsky describes in Manufacturing Consent. As Ward Churchill (in Pacifism as Pathology) and Peter Gelderloos (in How Nonviolence Protects the State) clearly articulate, white middle class activists have very complex psychological reasons for their dogmatic attitude towards political violence. However I feel it’s also important to look at the role played by the US government and the corporate elite in covertly promoting these attitudes.
In Promoting Polyarchy, Robinson describes how the CIA, the FBI and other intelligence agencies were pressured to cut back on many of their more repressive covert activities (i.e. covert assassination) as a result of Church committee reforms enacted in the 1970s. This resulted, in 1984, in the creation of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which works closely with the CIA and the US Agency for International Development (the USAID is a well-documented conduit for CIA funding), as well as other “democracy manipulating” foundations, such as US Institute for Peace, the Albert Einstein Institute, the Arlington Institute, Freedom House and the International Republican Institute. Robinson specifically outlines how these US-based “democracy manipulating organizations” orchestrated “non-violent” revolutions in the Philippines and Chile to prevent genuinely democratic governments from coming to power, as well as sabotaging democratically elected governments in Nicaragua and Haiti (where they caused the ouster of the Sandinista government and the populist priest Jean Bastion Aristide).
Since then numerous studies have furnished further examples where these organizations have infiltrated and “channeled” (i.e. co-opted) the genuine mass movements that form naturally in countries dominated by repressive dictators. The goal is to make sure they don’t go too far in demanding economic rights (for example, labor rights or restrictions on foreign investment) that might be detrimental to the interests of multinational corporations. All the “color” revolutions in Eastern Europe, which also received substantial funding from George Soros’ Open society Institute, have been a major disappointment owing to their failure to bring about genuine change (see http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2006/09/29/the-color-revolutions-fade-to-black/).
The ICNC’s PBS Documentary
Barker’s work goes even further than Robinson’s, examining the effect of the ICNC in particular, on progressive organizing within the US. He points to the phenomenal influence of the 2000 book and PBS documentary (and now computer game) A Force More Powerful: A Century of Nonviolent Change.
The ICNC is understandably defensive about research by Barker and others linking them to the NED and other “democracy manipulating” foundations. In fact their website devotes an entire page “Setting the Record” straight http://www.nonviolent-conflict.org/index.php/about-icnc/setting-the-record-straight, in which they refute these studies. Their main argument is that they receive no NED or other foundation or government funding. This is totally factual, as they’re entirely funded by their co-founder Peter Ackerman, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and his wife Joanne Leedom-Ackerman. Ackerman earned his fortune as a specialist in leveraged buyouts, the second highest paid in Wall Street history (Michael Milken made more but wound up in jail.)
Why Is the ICNC Seeking to Oust Hugo Chavez?
Barker refers to the argument over the source of their funding as whitewashing, especially in view of the recent collaboration between the ICNC and the Albert Einstein Institute in training members of the Venezuelan resistance seeking to oust democratically elected Hugo Chavez.
As Barker points out, both Ackerman and his wife and ICNC co-founder Jack Duvall have a long history of working for and with the other “democracy promoting” foundations. In addition many of the vice presidents and other officers they hire to run the ICNC seem to connections to US or foreign military/intelligence operations or other “democracy promoting” foundations.
This is clear from the following three diagrams, which summarize the “democracy manipulating” and military intelligence links of the people who run the ICNC (see http://quotha.net/node/1606 and http://quotha.net/node/1609 for a detailed explanation of each of these links and an explanation of their role in “democracy manipulating”):
A detailed description of ICNC co-founder Jack Duvall’s “democracy manipulating” links can be found at http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Jack_DuVall
by stuartbramhall in Things That Aren't What They Seem
The two most prolific contemporary writers regarding foundation funded Cointelpro-style counterinsurgency tactics are historian and journalist Webster Tarpley (in Barack H Obama: the Unauthorized Autobiography) and Australian-born academic researcher Michael Barker. A list and link to all Barker’s publications (which include fascinating articles on Noam Chomsky’s anti-conspiracy views and the aggressive promotion of “non-violent protest” by CIA-funded foundations) can be found on his website and blog at http://michaeljamesbarker.wordpress.com/ My sense, related to direct personal experience with foundation-funded “astroturf” (see * below) and “counterinsurgency” activity in the single payer movement, is that the domestic variant of left gatekeeping tends to rely less on CIA or other government funding than on direct right wing corporate funding.
Barker’s articles devote particular attention to the role played by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the US Institute for Peace, the Albert Einstein Institute, the Arlington Institute, Freedom House, the NED-funded Human Rights Watch, the International Republican Institute and individual philanthropists (for example, Bill Gates and George Soros) in “democracy manipulating” activities overseas. (http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/38214).
However he also writes about the role three foundations (the Ford Foundation, the Benton Foundation and the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict) have played in “counterinsurgency” activities in the progressive movement within the US. His 2006 article “Corporate Fronts, Astroturf Groups and Co-opted Social Movements” (http://www.zcommunications.org/corporate-fronts-astroturf-groups-and-co-opted-social-movements-by-michael-barker) raises concerns about funding the World Social Forum, among other progressive groups, derives from CIA-linked foundations.
The Role of “Democracy Manipulating” Foundations Overseas
According to Barker the “democracy manipulating role” played by CIA-linked foundations was first identified in William I. Robinson’s groundbreaking 2006 book Promoting Polyarchy. “Polyarchy” is defined “low intensity democracy” – a form of government that replaces violent coercive control with the type of ideological control (i.e. brainwashing) that Noam Chomsky describes in Manufacturing Consent.
In Promoting Polyarchy, Robinson describes how the CIA, the FBI and other intelligence agencies were pressured to cut back on many of their more repressive covert activities (i.e. covert assassinations) as a result of Church committee reforms enacted in the 1970s. This resulted, in 1984, in the creation of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which works closely with the CIA and the US Agency for International Development (the USAID is a well-documented conduit for CIA funding), as well as the other “democracy manipulating” foundations listed above. Robinson specifically outlines how these US-based “democracy manipulating” foundations worked to bring about “non-violent” revolutions in the Philippines and Chile to prevent genuinely democratic governments from coming to power, as well as sabotaging democratically elected governments in Nicaragua (where they orchestrated the ouster of the Sandinista government) and Haiti (where they instigated a coup against the populist priest Jean Bastion Aristide).
Since then numerous studies (which Barker references on his website) have furnished further evidence where these foundations have infiltrated and “channeled” (i.e. co-opted) the genuine mass movements that form naturally in countries dominated by repressive dictators. The goal is too make sure they don’t go too far in demanding economic rights (for example, protections for organized labor or restrictions on foreign investment) that might be detrimental to the interests of multinational corporations. All the “color” revolutions in Eastern Europe, which also received substantial funding from George Soros’ Open Society Institute, have been a major disappointment to citizens that supported them, owing to their failure to bring about genuine change (see http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2006/09/29/the-color-revolutions-fade-to-black/).
* Senator Lloyd Bentson, himself a long-time Washington and Wall Street insider, is credited with coining the term “astroturf lobbying” to describe the synthetic grassroots movements that now can be manufactured, for a fee, by a dozen or so public relations companies. The Tea Party movement, largely created and funded by the infamous Koch brothers, is probably the most high profile example of astroturfing (see http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/oct/25/tea-party-koch-brothers)
To be continued.
by stuartbramhall in Things That Aren't What They Seem
Obama’s Fictional Autobiography
The scenario Obama lays out in Dreams from My Father about his parents’ background differs markedly from limited information available from school and other public school records. Some commentators attribute this to his embarrassment over his father’s multiple marriages. Barack Obama senior’s wife (Keiza) and family in Kenya raise questions about the legality of his marriage to Stanley Ann Dunham. However the book fabricates or misrepresents events totally unrelated to the marriage between Dunham and Obama senior in February 1961.
Obama’s Grandfather Welcomes His Father to Hawaii
The first thing Obama gets wrong is the year his parents met (the year Stanley Ann and her parents moved to Honolulu from Mercer Island Washington). Obama gives this as 1959, whereas Ann’s yearbook and fellow students in her graduating class indicate she remained in Mercer Island through her June 1960 graduation. Moreover her University of Hawaii records confirm she didn’t enroll there until September 1960.
He indicates his parents first met in a Russian class at the University of Hawaii. However Wayne Madsen (see prior blog) points out that Stanley Armour Dunham, Ann’s father, already knew Obama senior. He has a 1959 photo of Dunham officially welcoming Obama senior with a traditional lei ceremony. This suggests that Stanley Armour probably relocate to Hawaii in 1959, with his family following a year later. However the photo raises the interesting question of why an alleged furniture salesman, with no prior connections to the Honolulu business community or the University of Hawaii is welcoming the first Kenya student to enroll there.
Madsen believes that rather than being a simple goat herder, as Obama claims, his father was one of 280 students from British eastern and southern African colonies sponsored to study in the US under the CIA-inspired Airlift Africa project. http://www.voltairenet.org/article166741.html The goal of the project was to counter the influence of Soviet and Chinese backed rebels and leaders as these colonies gained independence. According to Madsen, Airlift African students selected were chosen by Kenyan nationalist leader Tom Mboya, who also selected participants from Uganda, Tanganyika, Zanzibar, Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia, and Nyasaland. Mboya was a long time CIA asset who later spied for them at pan-African nationalist meetings.
It’s also Madsen’s belief that furniture sales was merely a cover, that Stanley Armour Dunham had a CIA role in overseeing Airlift Africa and other foreign students at the University of Hawaii.
Who Was the Real Ann Dunham?
Obama’s description of his mother, in Dreams from My Father, as “shy and awkward” at 18, when she met Obama senior, is also puzzling. Her friends at Mercer Island High School, where she was on the debate team (requires lots of public speaking), describe her as a firebrand who was always questioning and challenging conventional wisdom.
His parents’ brief period of domestic bliss (between February 1961 and mid-1962, when Obama senior left Honolulu to attend Harvard) is also a fabrication. His friends in Honolulu had no idea Ann even existed and report that Obama senior continued to live in bachelor quarters. Whereas transcripts from the University of Washington indicate that Ann returned to Seattle in September 1961 with her one month old son and enrolled in evening extension classes until June 1962. The woman she lived with and other Seattle friends confirm this. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann_Dunham and http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=106018 and http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2004334057_obama08m.html)
Obama also likes to portray his mother as a struggling single parent and a free spirit and “sixties child.” However Madsen has compiled considerable evidence suggesting she was actually a career employee (and possibly a NOC – an agent under non-official cover like Valerie Plame) for a series of known CIA fronts (the USAID-funded Lembaga Pendidikan Pembinaan Manajemen, Development Alternatives Inc., the Ministry of Industry Provincial Development Program, the Ford Foundation Southeast Asia regional office, and the Asian Development Bank). Among her other duties in Indonesia in the 1970s, was “anthropological” field work. Madsen believes this was actually intelligence gathering to consolidate the CIA-sponsored coup (1965-67) that overthrew Indonesian president Sukarno. (see http://www.t-room.us/2011/03/by-wayne-madsen-obamas-cia-mommy-dearest-%E2%80%94-identifying-indonesians-for-assassination/).
Among other evidence, Madsen cites a resolution passed by the American Anthropological Association in the mid-sixties condemning “intelligence meddling” of the CIA and Defense Department in anthropological field work. He also quotes the 1966 Beals Report (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/154/3756/1525.citation), which states that “several anthropologists, especially younger ones who had difficulty in securing research funds, were approached by ‘obscure’ foundations or were offered support from such organizations only to discover later that they were expected to provide intelligence information to the CIA.”
To be continued, with a look at Obama’s stepfather Lolo Soetoro and his grandmother Madalyn Dunham