Notice the "nongovernmental" - part of the image,
part of the myth. In actuality, virtually every penny of its funding comes
from the federal government, as is clearly indicated in the financial
statement in each issue of its annual report.
NED likes to refer to itself
NGO (Non-governmental organization) because this helps to maintain a
certain credibility abroad that an official US government agency might not
But NGO is the wrong category. NED is a GO.
"We should not have to do this kind of work covertly," said Carl Gershman in
1986, while he was president of the Endowment.
"It would be terrible for
democratic groups around the world to be seen as subsidized by the CIA. We
saw that in the 60's, and that's why it has been discontinued. We have not
had the capability of doing this, and that's why the endowment was
And Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED,
declared in 1991:
"A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago
by the CIA." (2)
In effect, the CIA has been laundering money through NED.
The Endowment has four principal initial recipients of funds:
International Republican Institute
the National Democratic Institute for
an affiliate of the AFL-CIO (such as the American
Center for International Labor Solidarity)
an affiliate of the Chamber
of Commerce (such as the Center for International Private Enterprise)
institutions then disburse funds to other institutions in the US and all
over the world, which then often disburse funds to yet other organizations.
In a multitude of ways, NED meddles in the internal affairs of numerous
foreign countries by supplying,
...and so on, to
other media, etc.
NED typically refers to the media it supports as "independent" despite the
fact that these media are on the US payroll.
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 in their economy are emphasized.
From 1994 to 1996, NED awarded 15 grants, totaling more than $2,500,000, to
the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD), an organization used by
the CIA for decades to subvert progressive labor unions.(3)
within Third World unions typically involved a considerable educational
effort very similar to the basic NED philosophy described above.
description of one of the 1996 NED grants to AIFLD includes as one its
"build union-management cooperation".(4)
Like many things that
NED says, this sounds innocuous, if not positive, but these in fact are
ideological code words meaning,
"keep the labor agitation down... don't rock
the status-quo boat".
The relationship between NED and AIFLD very well
captures the CIA origins of the Endowment.(5)
NED has funded centrist and rightist labor organizations to help them oppose
those unions which were too militantly pro-worker. This has taken place in
France, Portugal and Spain amongst many other places.
In France, during the
1983-4 period, NED supported a,
"trade union-like organization for professors
and students" to counter "left-wing organizations of professors".
end it funded a series of seminars and the publication of posters, books and
pamphlets such as "Subversion and the Theology of Revolution" and
"Neutralism or Liberty".(6) ("Neutralism" here refers to being unaligned in
the cold war.)
NED describes one of its 1997-98 programs thusly:
"To identify barriers to
private sector development at the local and federal levels in the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia and to push for legislative change... [and] to
develop strategies for private sector growth." (7)
Critics of Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic, a socialist, were supported by NED grants for
In short, NED's programs are in sync with the basic needs and objectives of
the New World Order's economic globalization, just as the programs have for
years been on the same wavelength as US foreign policy.
Interference in elections
NED's Statement of Principles and Objectives, adopted in 1984, asserts that,
"No Endowment funds may be used to finance the campaigns of candidates for
But the ways to circumvent the spirit of such a prohibition
are not difficult to come up with; as with American elections, there's "hard
money" and there's "soft money".
As described in the "Elections" and "Interventions" chapters, NED,
successfully manipulated elections in
Nicaragua in 1990 and Mongolia in 1996
helped to overthrow democratically
elected governments in Bulgaria in 1990 and Albania in 1991 and 1992
worked to defeat the candidate for prime
minister of Slovakia in 2002 who was out of favor in Washington
from 1999 to 2004, NED heavily funded
members of the opposition to President
Hugo Chavez in Venezuela to subvert
his rule and to support a referendum to unseat him
in the 1990s and afterward, NED
supported a coalition of groups in Haiti known as the Democratic
Convergence, who were united in their opposition to Jean-Bertrand
Aristide and his progressive ideology, while he was in and out of
the office of the president (9)
The Endowment has made its weight felt in the electoral-political process in
numerous other countries.
NED would have the world believe that it's only teaching the ABCs of
democracy and elections to people who don't know them, but in virtually all
the countries named above, in whose electoral process NED intervened, there
had already been free and fair elections held.
The problem, from NED's point
of view, is that the elections had been won by political parties not on
NED's favorites list.
The Endowment maintains that it's engaged in "opposition building" and
"We support people who otherwise do not have a
voice in their political system," said Louisa Coan, a NED program
But NED hasn't provided aid to foster
progressive or leftist opposition in,
...or, for that matter, in the United States -
even though these groups are hard pressed for funds and to make themselves
Cuban dissident groups
and media are heavily supported however.
NED's reports carry on endlessly about "democracy", but at best it's a
modest measure of mechanical political democracy they have in mind, not
economic democracy; nothing that aims to threaten the powers-that-be or the
way-things-are, unless of course it's in a place like Cuba.
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 (North’s euphemism for the North-Secord “Enterprise”
of private companies), which privatized US foreign policy, waged war, ran arms and drugs,
and engaged in other equally charming activities.
At one point in 1987, a
White House spokesman stated that those at NED "run Project Democracy".(11)
This was an exaggeration; it would have been more correct to say that NED
was the public arm of Project Democracy, while North ran the covert end of
things. In any event, the statement caused much less of a stir than if - as
in an earlier period - it had been revealed that it was the CIA which was
behind such an unscrupulous operation.
NED also mounted a multi-level campaign to fight the leftist insurgency in
the Philippines in the mid-1980s, funding a host of private organizations,
including unions and the media.(12)
This was a replica of a typical CIA
operation of pre-NED days.
And between 1990 and 1992, the Endowment donated a quarter-million dollars
of taxpayers' money to the Cuban-American National Foundation, the
ultra-fanatic anti-Castro Miami group. The CANF, in turn, financed Luis
Posada Carriles, one of the most prolific and pitiless terrorists of modern
times, who had been involved in the blowing up of a Cuban airplane in 1976,
which killed 73 people.
In 1997, he was involved in a series of bomb
explosions in Havana hotels,(13) and in 2000 imprisoned in Panama when he
was part of a group planning to assassinate Fidel Castro with explosives
while the Cuban leader was speaking before a large crowd, although
eventually, the group was tried on lesser charges.
The NED, like the CIA before it, calls what it does supporting democracy.
The governments and movements whom the NED targets call it
1. The New York Times, June 1, 1986
2. Washington Post, September 22, 1991
3. NED Annual Reports, 1994-96.
4. NED Annual Report, 1996, p.39
5. For further information on AIFLD, see: Tom Barry, et al., The Other
Side of Paradise: Foreign Control in the Caribbean (Grove Press, NY,
1984), see AIFLD in index; Jan Knippers Black, United States Penetration
of Brazil (Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1977), chapter 6; Fred Hirsch,
An Analysis of Our AFL-CIO Role in Latin America (monograph, San Jose,
California, 1974) passim; The Sunday Times (London), October 27, 1974,
6. NED Annual Report, November 18, 1983 to September 30, 1984, p.21
7. NED Annual Report, 1998, p.35
8. See NED annual reports of the 1990s.
9. Council on Hemispheric Affairs (Washington, DC), press release, June
13, 2002, www.coha.org; Washington Post, November 18, 2003; NED Annual
Report, 1998, p.53; Haiti Progres (Port-au-Prince, Haiti), May 13-19,
10. New York Times, March 31, 1997, p.11
11. Washington Post, February 16, 1987; also see New York Times,
February 15, 1987, p.1
12. San Francisco Examiner, July 21, 1985, p.1
13. New York Times, July 13, 1998
14. For a detailed discussion of NED, in addition to the sources named
above, see: William I. Robinson, A Faustian Bargain: U.S. Intervention
in the Nicaraguan Elections and American Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold
War Era (Westview Press, Colorado, 1992), passim