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Parry writes: "A shadow foreign policy apparatus built by Ronald Reagan for the Cold War survives to this day as a slush fund that keeps American neocons well fed and still destabilizes target nations, now including Ukraine."

Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan. (photo: unknown)
Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan. (photo: unknown)


A Shadow US Foreign Policy

By Robert Parry, Consortium News

28 February 14

 

he National Endowment for Democracy, a central part of Ronald Reagan's propaganda war against the Soviet Union three decades ago, has evolved into a $100 million U.S. government-financed slush fund that generally supports a neocon agenda often at cross-purposes with the Obama administration's foreign policy.

NED is one reason why there is so much confusion about the administration's policies toward attempted ousters of democratically elected leaders in Ukraine and Venezuela. Some of the non-government organizations (or NGOs) supporting these rebellions trace back to NED and its U.S. government money, even as Secretary of State John Kerry and other senior officials insist the U.S. is not behind these insurrections.

So, while President Barack Obama has sought to nurture a constructive relationship with Russia's President Vladimir Putin especially in hotspots like Iran and Syria, NED has invested in projects in Russia's close neighbor, Ukraine, that fueled violent protests ousting President Viktor Yanukovych, who won election in 2010 in balloting that was viewed by international observers as fair and reflecting the choice of most Ukrainian citizens.

Thus, a U.S.-sponsored organization that claims to promote "democracy" has sided with forces that violently overthrew a democratically elected leader rather than wait for the next scheduled election in 2015 to vote him out of office.

For NED and American neocons, Yanukovych's electoral legitimacy lasted only as long as he accepted European demands for new "trade agreements" and stern economic "reforms" required by the International Monetary Fund. When Yanukovych was negotiating those pacts, he won praise, but when he judged the price too high for Ukraine and opted for a more generous deal from Russia, he immediately became a target for "regime change."

Last September, NED's longtime president, Carl Gershman, took to the op-ed page of the neocon-flagship Washington Post to urge the U.S. government to push European "free trade" agreements on Ukraine and other former Soviet states and thus counter Moscow's efforts to maintain close relations with those countries. The ultimate goal, according to Gershman, was isolating and possibly toppling Putin in Russia with Ukraine the key piece on this global chessboard.

"Ukraine is the biggest prize," Gershman wrote. "The opportunities are considerable, and there are important ways Washington could help. The United States needs to engage with the governments and with civil society in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova to ensure that the reform process underway not only promotes greater trade and development but also produces governments that are less corrupt and more accountable to their societies. An association agreement with the European Union should be seen not as an end in itself but as a starting point that makes possible deeper reforms and more genuine democracy.

"Russian democracy also can benefit from this process. Ukraine's choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents. … Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself."

Shadow Structure

In furtherance of these goals, NED funded a staggering 65 projects in Ukraine, according to its latest report. The funding for these NGOs range from tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars and created for NED what amounted to a shadow political structure of media and activist groups that could be deployed to stir up unrest when the Ukrainian government didn't act as desired.

This NED shadow structure, when working in concert with domestic opposition forces, had the capability to challenge the decisions of Yanukovych's elected government, including the recent coup - spearheaded by violent neo-Nazis - that overthrew him. Presumably, NED wanted the "regime change" without the neo-Nazi element. But that armed force was necessary for the coup to oust Yanukovych and open the path for those IMF-demanded economic "reforms."

Beyond the scores of direct NED projects in Ukraine, other major NED recipients, such as Freedom House, have thrown their own considerable weight behind the Ukraine rebellion. A recent Freedom House fundraising appeal read: "More support, including yours, is urgently needed to ensure that Ukrainian citizens struggling for their freedom are protected and supported." Freedom House meant the "citizens struggling" against their elected government.

So, over this past week, a policy dispute about whether Ukraine should accept the European Union's trade demands or go with a more generous $15 billion loan from Moscow escalated into violent street clashes and finally a putsch spearheaded by neo-Nazi storm troopers who took control of government buildings in Kiev.

With Yanukovych and his top aides forced to flee for their lives, the opposition-controlled parliament then passed a series of draconian laws often unanimously, while U.S. neocons cheered and virtually no one in the U.S. press corps noted the undemocratic nature of what had just happened. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Cheering a 'Democratic' Coup in Ukraine."]

An Incipient Civil War

On Wednesday, Yanukovych insisted that he was still the rightful president and his supporters seized government buildings in the eastern, ethnically Russian part of the country, setting the stage for what has the look of an incipient civil war.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government appears nearly as divided as the Ukrainian people. While neocon holdovers in the State Department, particularly Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, helped instigate the crisis, President Obama has seen his collaboration with Putin to tamp down crises in Syria and Iran put at risk. That cooperation was already under attack from influential neocons at the Washington Post and other media outlets.

Then, last December, Nuland, the wife of prominent neocon Robert Kagan, reminded Ukrainian business leaders that, to help Ukraine achieve "its European aspirations, we have invested more than $5 billion." She said the U.S. goal was to take "Ukraine into the future that it deserves," meaning out of the Russian orbit and into a Western one.

On Jan. 28, Nuland spoke by phone to U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt about how to manipulate Ukraine's tensions and who to elevate into the country's leadership. According to the conversation, which was intercepted and made public, Nuland ruled out one opposition figure, Vitali Klitschko, a popular former boxer, because he lacked experience.

Nuland also favored the UN as mediator instead of the European Union, at which point in the conversation she exclaimed, "Fuck the E.U." to which Pyatt responded, "Oh, exactly …" [See Consortiumnews.com's "Neocons and the Ukraine Coup."]

Yet, the larger question for Americans may be whether NED and its slush fund have helped create not only shadow political structures in countries around the world but whether one now exists in the United States. Though NED has always justified its budget by focusing on what it will do in other countries, it spends much of its money in Washington D.C., funding NGOs that pay salaries of political operatives who, in turn, write American op-eds often from a neocon, interventionist perspective.

Indeed, it would be hard to comprehend why the American neocon power structure didn't capsize after the disastrous Iraq War without factoring in the financial ballast provided by NED and other neocon funding sources. That steady flow of NED funding, topping $100 million, gave the neocon movement the staying power that other foreign policy viewpoints lacked.

Cold War Relic

NED was founded in 1983 at the initiative of Cold War hardliners in the Reagan administration, including then-CIA Director William J. Casey. Essentially, NED took over what had been the domain of the CIA, i.e. funneling money to support foreign political movements that would take the U.S. side against the Soviet Union.

Though the Reagan administration's defenders insist that this "democracy" project didn't "report" to Casey, documents that have been declassified from the Reagan years show Casey as a principal instigator of this operation, which also sought to harness funding from right-wing billionaires and foundations to augment these activities.

In one note to then-White House counselor Edwin Meese, Casey endorsed plans "for the appointment of a small Working Group to refine the proposal and make recommendations to the President on the merit of creating an Institute, Council or National Endowment in support of free institutions throughout the world."

Casey's note, written on CIA stationery, added, "Obviously we here should not get out front in the development of such an organization, nor do we wish to appear to be a sponsor or advocate. … We would be pleased to make suggestions on the composition of the Working Group and Commission."

To organize this effort, Casey dispatched one of the CIA's top propaganda specialists, Walter Raymond Jr., to the National Security Council. Putting Raymond at the NSC insulated the CIA from accusations that it institutionally was using the new structure to subvert foreign governments - while also helping fund American opinion leaders who would influence U.S. policy debates, a violation of the CIA's charter. Instead, that responsibility was shifted to NED, which began doing precisely what Casey had envisioned.

Many of the documents on this "public diplomacy" operation, which also encompassed "psychological operations," remain classified for national security reasons to this day, more than three decades later. But the scattered documents that have been released by archivists at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, reveal a whirlwind of activity, with Raymond in the middle of a global network.

Who Is Walt Raymond?

Reagan's White House was so nervous that the press corps might zero in on Raymond's CIA propaganda background that it prepared guidance in case anyone should ask, according to a document recently released by the Reagan library. If a reporter questioned White House claims that "there is no CIA involvement in the Public Diplomacy Program" - by asking, "isn't Walt Raymond, a CIA employee, involved heavily?" - the scripted answer was to acknowledge that Raymond had worked for the CIA but no longer.

"It is true that in the formative stages of the effort, Walt Raymond contributed many useful ideas. It is ironic that he was one of those who was most insistent that there be no CIA involvement in this program in any way."

As for the role of CIA officials, the guidance asserted, "they do not want to be involved in managing these programs and will not be. We have nothing to hide here." But if a reporter then "pressed about where [Raymond] last worked," the answer was "he retired from CIA. … If pressed about what his duties were: His duties there were classified." Indeed, sources say Raymond was the CIA's top expert on propaganda and psychological operations.

As NED took shape, Gershman was in frequent contact with Raymond, who oversaw a network of inter-agency task forces that implemented a global propaganda and psy-op strategy. Documents also make clear that Raymond kept CIA Director Casey periodically informed about the project's developments.

In effect, NED took over many CIA responsibilities but did them more openly. The U.S. government also took steps to insulate NED from the resistance of targeted countries. Governments that objected to NED's presence were deemed anti-democratic and thus subjected to other pressures.

But governments that permitted NED to function often found themselves facing internal political pressures from NED-funded NGOs to shift those countries' policies to the right by eliminating social programs deemed "socialistic" and hewing to "reform" demands from international bankers, which usually meant ceding some sovereignty to the IMF or other global institutions. [For more details on Raymond's operation, see Robert Parry's Lost History.]

A Hand Out

Documents released by the Reagan library also reveal that one of the first organizations to put a hand out for U.S. government largesse was Freedom House, which describes itself as a human rights organization.

For instance, on Aug. 9, 1982, Freedom House executive director Leonard R. Sussman complained to Raymond that money problems had caused Freedom House to consolidate two of its publications, stating: "We would, of course, want to expand the project once again when … and if the funds become available. Offshoots of that project appear in newspapers, magazines, books and on broadcast services here and abroad. It's a significant, unique channel of communication."

Once NED was up and running in 1983 and beyond, Freedom House became a major recipient of grants as it frequently echoed U.S. propaganda themes, though the public had little knowledge about the behind-the-scenes relationships.

But the network that Casey and Raymond built has outlived both of them and has outlived the Cold War, too. Nevertheless, NED and its funding recipients have pressed on, trying to implement the strategies of hardliners such as former Vice President Dick Cheney, who wanted not just the dismantling of the Soviet Union but the elimination of Russia as any kind of counterweight to U.S. hegemony.

Indeed, the momentum that this three-decade-old "public diplomacy" campaign has achieved - both from NED and various neocons holding down key positions in Official Washington - now pits this shadow foreign policy establishment against the President of the United States. Barack Obama may see cooperation with Vladimir Putin as crucial to resolving crises in Iran and Syria, but elements of Obama's own administration and U.S.-financed outfits like NED are doing all they can to create crises for Putin on his own border.

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+32 # PABLO DIABLO 2014-02-28 14:31
It's alway about money. And, Casey had his partner in the Reagan White House, George Herbert Walker Bush.
 
 
+30 # wantrealdemocracy 2014-02-28 14:48
Damn right is always about money---more money, that is, for the already weatlhy. The richest 1% of our populations has purchased the government of the Unites States. Our 'representative s' do as directed by their contributors (bribe giving corporations) and totally ignore any thing their constituents say. Contacted your rep lately? Signed a petition about an upcoming vote in Congress? What good did that do? Face it. We no longer live in a democracy and we no longer have the right to liberty, justice and the right to persue happiness. We MUST unite to change this rotten government. George Washington in his farewell address advised us to avoid foreign involvement---y ou know, mind our own business. Eisenhower warened us in his farewell address to watch out for the Militarty Industrial Complex that was attempted to take over our nation. Those leaders gave us good advice while Raygun said "Greed is good". Time for us to get rid of this rotten government and start over. Stop voting or any D or any R. There is no lesser evil between them. They are tied for the championship of corruption.
 
 
+16 # hkatzman 2014-02-28 16:11
Quoting wantrealdemocracy:
Stop voting or any D or any R. There is no lesser evil between them. They are tied for the championship of corruption.

This article highlights a Republican and Neo-con strategy. It says that this often goes against the strategy of the Obama administration, as in Ukraine. They are not "tied for the championship of corruption", the Republicans are leading the way in this. We can be disappointed in many Democrats for following.
To "stop voting for any D or any R" is to hold them equally culpable. In fact, not voting for any D or any R is, in effect, voting for R. Republicans stand for the status quo which is what we discuss changing. Democrats, on the other hand, with encouragement (i.e. votes and engagement), could work for change. Disenfranchisin g oneself says that you are satisfied and have no opinion. But then why are you reading this?
 
 
+2 # ericlipps 2014-02-28 18:40
Quoting wantrealdemocracy:
George Washington in his farewell address advised us to avoid foreign involvement---you know, mind our own business. Eisenhower warened us in his farewell address to watch out for the Militarty Industrial Complex that was attempted to take over our nation. Those leaders gave us good advice while Raygun said "Greed is good". Time for us to get rid of this rotten government and start over. Stop voting or any D or any R. There is no lesser evil between them. They are tied for the championship of corruption.

George Washington warned against foreign "entanglements" --specifically, against setting ourselves permanently with or against any other nation. That's not the same as avoiding involvement in world affairs, though it made sense for a small, weak new nation to be careful in that area.

As for not voting for any Democrat or Republican, for the foreseeable future that means kissing off having your vote count, except in a negative way (yes, Naderites, I'm talking to you).
 
 
+11 # Glen 2014-03-01 06:42
Votes don't count anyway, ericlipps. All "elections" are staged and managed through fraud, voting machine manipulation, polling misinformation, interference by local governments, the media, and illegal interference by the courts. 2000 was the best example of in-your-face voting manipulation.
 
 
+16 # polfrosch 2014-02-28 15:08
Follow the track of William J. Casey.

It will lead to the real secrets of the cold war - the unknown, unpublished secret history of the USA, when the Dual State excelled against the USSR, ceased being a tool and gained the power to reign.

Since then its rather: the Dual State uses the US government as a tool.
 
 
+6 # MidwesTom 2014-02-28 15:10
I find it hard to believe that we, or our money, caused Yanukovych, to go to refuse the EU agreement. Maybe he did when we stopped paying him.

The problem here is that we believe that money will solve any problem, and change anyone's beliefs. Maybe it will. I know that we simply made every warlord with 10 or more followers at least a millionaire in Iraq. Iraq is now awash with bundles of US cash.
 
 
+7 # mikecohen 2014-03-01 00:21
Quoting MidwesTom:
I find it hard to believe that we, or our money, caused Yanukovych, to go to refuse the EU agreement. Maybe he did when we stopped paying him.

The problem here is that we believe that money will solve any problem, and change anyone's beliefs. Maybe it will. I know that we simply made every warlord with 10 or more followers at least a millionaire in Iraq. Iraq is now awash with bundles of US cash.

Did you miss the author saying (along with all other sources) that the reason Yanukovych refused the EU agreement was that Putin offered a lot more (with other information indicating that the EU offer also had a lot more strings attached, the effect of which would be to hold down the economy and negatively affect the government's ability to positively affect that, because of the burden created by the structure of the debt service)?
 
 
-6 # MidwesTom 2014-02-28 15:16
I recently read a paper wherein the author explained that if there is any philosophy of the American Jewish community, it is the neocon approach to every problem. They are constantly at war with someone or something. The upper levels of our government are loaded with people holding dual citizenship with Israel. Until we outlaw that, we will always be close to war somewhere.
 
 
+4 # Missy 2014-02-28 15:51
Please cite who wrote this "paper." More "Blame the Jews" . Time to stop it.
 
 
+12 # ishmael 2014-02-28 18:23
It's called "scapegoating".

Bigots will always find a group of people to blame. It leaves rationality behind.
 
 
+7 # thekidde 2014-02-28 15:56
Tom, your brainless, biased rants against Jews have gotten putrid. If you can't say anything intelligent just stfu.
 
 
+8 # Tazio 2014-02-28 15:57
That paper that you recently read, but were afraid to identify, was anti-Semitic b.s. and you should just ignore all such blatantly misinformed nonsense.
There are no American Jews who are liberal?
How can you be so ignorant as to believe that?
What is your major malfunction MidwesTom?
 
 
+12 # Helen Marshall 2014-02-28 18:15
I believe his post focused on persons holding dual citizenship with Israel, which is far from saying that every Jewish person in the government should step down!
 
 
-1 # ishmael 2014-02-28 18:29
No it didn't. It attempted, in typically bigoted fashion, to stereotype members of the Jewish community.
 
 
+5 # gd_radical 2014-02-28 17:57
Quoting MidwesTom:
I recently read a paper wherein the author explained that if there is any philosophy of the American Jewish community, it is the neocon approach to every problem. They are constantly at war with someone or something. The upper levels of our government are loaded with people holding dual citizenship with Israel. Until we outlaw that, we will always be close to war somewhere.


Please Tom, just stop with this shit. I might not always agree with you but you've crossed the line with this post.
 
 
+4 # ericlipps 2014-02-28 18:42
Ach, ja--blame the Jews, yes. So it began in Germany, in 1919.
 
 
+12 # mikecohen 2014-03-01 00:24
The Neocons are extraordinarily evil. The vast majority of the "American Jewish community" DISAGREES with the Neocons. The question is why you don't know that.
 
 
+30 # btraven 2014-02-28 15:52
Tom. I am from the midwest tom and I am Jewish and I am a WW II veteran of the U.S. Army Air Corps.I am also a member of Jewish community. What have you done for your country?
Yes there are Jewish neo cons, and there are the Rumsfelds, Bushes, Cheneys who also are neo cons and mcuh more powerful. Then there are people like you who are ignorant of the fact that our country has alot of folks like you who are too simple minded to know the difference.
Yes,Israel has too much of an effect on our foreign policy but the non Jews in the oil and armaments industries are the 1%'ers pushing the buttons for our involvement with both Israeli and Saudi Arabia's fortunes. They are the ones benefitting from wars.NOT the Jewish community.
 
 
+18 # Anonymot 2014-02-28 17:04
While a few hundred people run the government in the shadows, the rest of the country has been in the dark. Thanks in large part all of this is spilling out.

Just how naive do you think Obama was when he was too far into the 2008 campaign to back out? He wasted little time filling major posts with neocons and worse. They are in every major directorship involving intelligence, security, and defense for a start. Hillary filled State with her harsh girlfriends from Rice to Powers and Nuland and every woman in America seems to want her for the next President even though she knew perfectly well about who really ran the deep state government, because her sort-of husband, Bill, certainly had experienced it.

As we better understand it the real question is, can anything be done to stop it. If we don't the world will be engulfed in terminal wars, for China, Russia and their people are not going to just lie down and become American slaves.
 
 
+25 # Farafalla 2014-02-28 17:56
You can see the NED footprint in Venezuela right now. Ukraine is now their model of successful destabilization and assimilation. Their Latin American role is to roll back the gains of the left which came through democratic elections. So Venezuela is next.
 
 
+4 # BKnowswhitt 2014-02-28 20:21
Wasn't built by Reagan. Old senile red baitin Ronnie just invigorated it .. Truman began it with the 'Bretton Woods Agreements' through Obama today .. he must abide by those agreements never mentioned in u.s media or herein at the RSP ... why us led hegemony must and will continue until something gives ...
 
 
+15 # Anarchist 23 2014-02-28 22:03
What we think of as 'the democratically elected government of the USA' is really only a paper cut-out; real power is wielded by what is rightly termed the shadow government and the people who make it up are of the Fascist persuasion since everything they do seems to lead to that...wealth produced for the few at the expense of the many. They are not interested in peace or reconciliation or ending war.
 
 
+5 # Jim Young 2014-03-01 01:27
I’ll have to read Michael Hasting’s “I Lost My Love In Baghdad”, His “love”, Andrea “Andi” Parhamovich, had worked for the State Department/USAI D/National Endowment for Democracy/Inter national Republican Institute (NED/IRI) in Iraq, before switching to the State Department/USAI D/National Endowment for Democracy/Natio nal Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NED/DNIFIA) before she was killed in Baghdad.

There is a difference I first sensed in the Dominican Republic/Haiti stories (when I believe John McCain was the Chairman of the IRI, and Madeleine Albright was the Chairwomn of the DNI). I don’t know what they do in any detail, for all the government and, I think, privately donated money, but I sure do wonder. The only clues I had back then were the stories of the IRI observing/train ing anti-Aristide groups.

What could they possibly be up to now?
 
 
+4 # Glen 2014-03-01 06:45
One Night in Baghdad Makes a Hard Man Humble - sort it out through the original "one night in Bangkok". Perfectly represents the mess and death perpetuated by the U.S.
 
 
0 # Jim Young 2014-03-12 17:37
Quoting Glen:
One Night in Baghdad Makes a Hard Man Humble - sort it out through the original "one night in Bangkok". Perfectly represents the mess and death perpetuated by the U.S.


I can't compare Baghdad to Bangkok, personally. I went through Bangkok 4 times on field trips into Thailand from Vietnam, with a few overnights and a 3 day R&R. I usually ended up as the sober designated driver and appreciated the more responsible company of Thai friends, especially a Royal Thai Air Force banquet where a friend and I were the only Americans. We took our jobs seriously, did the best we could for both Thai and Vietnamese. The way I felt might be understood by looking at http://www.scribd.com/doc/47572320/I-Remember-Honda-Rice-Rice-Today-feature
The way the Vietnamese treated me in return could be explained by the Mot Dong note a family gave me, though next to nobody understands how something worth 187,000th of a penny could be so valuable. (A USAID Veteran Brit, who joined the US Army for Korea, before working for the State Department for 7 years in Vietnam, explained it was used as a safe conduct pass by a select few on both sides).
 
 
+6 # Edwina 2014-03-01 10:26
Good to have a re-cap of these agencies. Today, in the name of "security", the government is openly carrying on ops that would once have been the work of the CIA: drone strikes and spying on American citizens. Of course we would not know about these programs if it were not for whistleblowers like Manning and Snowdon, and reporters, including Wikileaks, that published the information. I agree with MidwesTom that any government position that requires an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution should not be filled by people of dual citizenship. (Note: Israel does not even have a constitution.) Are "nationals" of any other country allowed to hold sensitive positions in our government? It would be interesting to know.
 
 
+5 # Byronator 2014-03-02 01:29
Saw Bill Kristol on Bill Maher this evening and his fumbling defense of the perpetual military buildup for war profiteers confirmed what a total whore mainstream media has been for the war machine industry. Hope Kristol and his ilk dies of ass cancer and now.
 
 
-1 # brux 2014-03-03 12:53
>> Thus, a U.S.-sponsored organization that claims to promote "democracy" has sided with forces that violently overthrew a democratically elected leader rather than wait for the next scheduled election in 2015 to vote him out of office.

"Violently overthrew a democratically elected leader ... are you f-ing kidding me?
 
 
0 # Douglas Jack 2014-03-08 14:57
Thank you Robert Parry for this research into the money & organizational flow of death, mayhem & suffering worldwide. At 100s of millions of dollars 'declared' the NED is a small player in this 100s of billion dollar destabilizing effort by the world Finance-Media-M ilitary-Industr ial-Legislative -Complex hell-makers.

MIC propaganda & acts tell us about the nature of their/our dictators. A few trillionaires who own the MIC are characteristic paranoid psychopaths, who value things over people, mechanical & biological-chan ge technology above biosphere nature. Basing economics on their deluded unsustainable inefficient human technology, they also believe people are disposable, too-many. They propagate negative competitive views of life & humanity in media, school, business & their control of government 'representatives'.

Humanity's 'Indigenous' (Latin 'self-generatin g') ancestors & present day peoples leave us with a prescription for reasserting ourselves economically with the Great Law of Peace. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/home/2-mutual-aid very similar to Mohandas Gandhi's 'Swadeshi'. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/structure/2-satyagraha
 

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