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The NED’s Useful Idiots

On Friday, June 8, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow augmented her nightly Russiagate fetish by extolling the merits of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), telling her huge audience that the NED, created in the 1980s by the Ronald Reagan administration, still does the “non-partisan hard work around the world, of promoting small D democracy and promoting the institutions of civil society that any culture needs in order to have a functioning democracy.”
By Wednesday, June 13, at least one progressive writer, Bill Berkowitz, had challenged Maddow’s viewpoint on NED as “naive”. He wrote: “Whatever else can be said about the NED and its affiliated organizations, it is hard to back up Maddow’s naive claim about its work re ‘promoting small D democracy.’ Because amid whatever success it may have had, the NED is also notable for supporting anti-democratic organizations, and contributing to the overthrow of democratically elected governments. Along the way, it has provided a glut of disinformation, misinformation, and downright fake news in pursuit of its mission.” [1]

Berkowitz correctly noted that NED and its spinoff institutions – the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, the International American Institute to Promote Private Enterprise, the International American Institute to Promote Labor Rights, and others – receive hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars every year, and largely use that money for “destabilizing governments”.

Quoting USA Today columnist James Bovard, Berkowitz wrote: “The organization [NED] ‘has been caught interfering in elections in France, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and many other nations,’ Bovard pointd out. ‘NED’s operatives helped spark bloody coup attempts in Venezuela [1999 to 2004] and Haiti; their efforts also helped topple the elected government in Ukraine in 2014 and ignite the ongoing civil war’,” [2]

As Tony Cartalucci wrote two years ago, “One of NED’s subsidiaries, Freedom House, is admittedly funded by multinational corporations including AT&T, defense contractors BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman, industrial equipment exporter Caterpillar, tech-giants Google and Facebook, and financiers including Goldman Sachs. NED itself – according to a 2013 disclosure – is funded by among others, Chevron, Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs, Google, Micrsoft, and the US Chamber of Commerce. What do these corporations have to do with ‘the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world’?” [3]

Rachel Maddow isn’t the only one who is “naive” about the National Endowment for Democracy and its spinoff institutions. Most North American know little if anything about them, and when they hear of an organization called Freedom House, they innocently assume that its title means it is benevolent. No doubt, the NED prefers us to remain such “useful idiots”.

But as writer William Blum has observed, “The NED, like the CIA before it, calls what it does supporting democracy. The governments and movements whom the NED targets call it destabilization.” [4]

Currently, NED’s affiliated institutions are funding the “regime change” protests in Nicaragua and Venezuela, along with destabilizing efforts in China and Russia.

If nothing else, Rachel Maddow’s “naive” commentary about the NED has highlighted the prevailing North American ignorance about these Orwellian institutions that for the past thirty years have been causing chaos and war in the name of “freedom” and “democracy” promotion.
Fortunately, esteemed writer F. William Engdahl (based in Germany) has just published an astonishing book that provides much of the history of the NED and other private NGOs that have sparked so-called “color revolutions” (the Orange Revolution, the Rose Revolution, etc.) around the world. Focusing on the Orwellian doublethink, or cognitive dissonance, involved in “democracy promotion” that is anything but democratic, Engdahl’s book is entitled Manifest Destiny: Democracy as Cognitive Dissonance (mine.Books, Wiesbaden) and it is essential reading for everyone attempting to understand current events.

Engdahl has filled in much of the missing history of events like the “Arab Spring” and movements like the Muslim Brotherhood, but I was especially impressed with his chapters on the rape of Russia in the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when Western financiers and billionaires proceeded to loot Russia on a gargantuan scale until 1999, when the new Prime Minister Vladimir Putin put a stop to it. Not surprisingly, Putin has been hated ever since by the wealthy elites intent on unipolar corporate rule.

In the midst of an escalating Cold War 2.0, let me urge readers to buy this book and learn some very illuminating historical background. Our media have excised much of what we need to know in order to understand rapidly evolving geopolitics, but this book goes a long way to filling in those gaps. Engdahl’s Manifest Destiny is a tremendous book that took great courage to write. It deserves a large readership, especially in North America.

Footnotes:
[1] Bill Berkowitz, “Rachel Maddow’s Praise for the National Endowment for Democracy Is Misplaced,” Buzzflash.com, June 13, 2018.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Tony Cartalucci, “The National Endowment for Democracy: Not National and Not for Democracy,” nsnbc international, June 24, 2016.
[4] William Blum “Trojan Horses and Color Revolutions: The Role of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED),” a chapter from Blum’s 2005 book Rogue State, published in Global Research, August 7, 2017.

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Joyce Nelson’s sixth book, Beyond Banksters: Resisting the New Feudalism, can be ordered at: http://watershedsentinel.ca/banksters. She can be reached through www.joycenelson.ca.

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