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NED: ‘The National Endowment for Attacking Democracy’

If the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is subverting democracy—why aren’t some of the Left media calling it out?


By Jeremy Kuzmarov
Covert Action

NED’s history should lead to it being renamed the “National Endowment for Attacking Democracy,” as journalist Stephen Kinzer suggests.

On January 17, Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis, writing for the website Declassified UK, disclosed that the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a nonprofit corporation funded by the U.S. Congress, had ploughed more than 2.6 million pounds into seven independent British media groups over the last five years.

The media groups included openDemocracy, the Media Legal Defence Intiative, Thompson Reuters and Bellingcat—which is known for promoting disinformation lending support for regime-change operations in countries such as Russia and Syria.

Though supporting the work of the Jimmy Carter Center to secure fair and transparent electionsthe NED has been involved since its founding in 1983 in trying to undermine or remove governments independent of Washington, including democratic ones in BoliviaEcuador and Venezuela.

Philip Agee, the late CIA whistleblower, wrote in the 1990s that “nowadays, instead of having the CIA going around behind the scenes and trying to manipulate the process by inserting money here and giving instructions secretly and so forth, they have now a sidekick, which is this National Endowment for Democracy, NED.”

This assessment was confirmed by Allen Weinstein, the director of the research study that led to creation of the NED in the 1980s, who remarked in 1991: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA. The biggest difference is that when such activities are done overtly, the flap potential is close to zero. Openness is its own protection.”

A ProPublica video report put it even more bluntly: “The National Endowment for Democracy was established by Congress, in effect, to take over the CIA’s covert propaganda efforts.”

These propaganda efforts appear to have extended to the U.S. itself, where the NED has received largely favorable publicity—if its activities are covered at all.

The media blackout has extended to many alternative media outlets, which fail to disclose the NED’s support for foreign protest movements.

This article provides an overview of NED’s history and discussion of its wide reach. The NED is a vital component of the U.S. empire, whose emphasis on advancing human rights and democracy helps provide a liberal veneer to imperialistic policies.

Noam Chomsky wrote that the true agenda of the NED was to “impose what is called democracy, meaning rule by the rich and the powerful, without interference by the mob, but within the framework of formal electoral procedure.”

Jonah Gindin and Kirsten Weld explained in NACLA that the NED may at times ally with movements and individuals genuinely dedicated to democratizing their countries; however, it “sets the parameters of debate by positioning a particular definition of pro-market, representative democracy as the only antiauthoritarian option,” isolating those with a more radical vision.

Referencing the NED’s efforts to influence elections in Mongolia, Albania, Bulgaria, and Slovakia and build anti-Russia movements in Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Serbia, Kosovo, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, journalist Stephen Kinzer said that the NED should be more properly called the “National Endowment for Attacking Democracy.”…

Continue this story at Covert Action

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