Are NGOs foreign funded philanthropists or actors of regime change?

Non Government Organizations

– Shenali D Waduge –

They say they are doing a magnanimous service that they are the philanthropists of the world, the saviors of humanity, the voice and will of the common masses and the world’s intellectual policemen and accuse Third World Governments of undermining their work and we say may be partly true but mostly not. There are valid reasons why we begin to doubt and look at NGOs as the alternate to military intervention and the new foot soldiers of regime change towards a new era of recolonization.

There are over 50,000 NGOs operating throughout the world. They receive over $10BILLION in international funding – their objectives vary but almost all following Western dictums and jargon. Under the false tags that they sell for their existence NGOs have become not only a platform to oust governments but has turned into a safe haven for dissidents to take cover and portray themselves as “victim” while carrying out smear campaigns which under NGO philosophy is acceptable. The NGO law is they can smear and indulge in hate speech while it is “undemocratic to react”.

When NGOs by virtue of their name “non-governmental” receive funds from overseas government how can they be “non-governmental”? Is it not to these “agencies” that they are accountable and it is these foreign governments who “review” their work and their “performance” only guarantees more allocation of funds?

With massive funds disbursed to their accounts they have attracted and created a new class of elite opening jobs for academics, professionals, journalists and even politicians. They drive posh cars, live in fashionable homes, entertain lavishly, travel extensively and make sure decorated reports reach out to the international community so that their bread and butter remains in tact. All those aligned to their way of thinking are termed the NGO darlings. Watch out for the terminology being used – these confirm links with NGOs. There is no requirement for bribes – instead there are study tours, scholarships, foreign seminars, overseas conferences, foreign accolades and awards dished out amongst the same fraternity of people – so naturally theres an airtight reason to remain within that circle throwing away what is ethically and morally right. Yet, leave aside all the sweet sounding vocabulary associated with NGOs and all that they profess to do we would like to know exactly what they have done with USD10billion for the common people – the people who should matter most, enough of crocodile tears?

Bear with us when we are finding it very difficult to comprehend and decipher what NGOs are meant to do and what they end up doing.

Thus, when former CIA agent tells us that US infiltrates “civil society” to overthrow governments (Philip Agee), we are a little dumbfounded. America is a nation that is virtuous, synonymous with freedoms, rights and all the disciplines that they aspire to promote in less civilized nations.  Why would the US involve itself in trade embargoes, military support for revolutionaries, Bay of Pigs invasion, assassination plots, commercial isolation, diplomatic isolation – you name it America has done whatever means possible to dislodge Cuba and continues to do so?

Naturally, we have reasons to be wary of foreign funded NGOs emerging to dictate terms to sovereign governments while also operating underground movements to oust the same government with which they are holding diplomatic discussions. Is this what the West calls “democracy”? Was that not why Russia has branded all NGOs as “foreign agents” and brought in stringent laws and banished USAID from operating in Russia?

India too is cracking down on over 4000 NGOs who are receiving money directly from US, UK and Germany. India suspended Indian Social Action Forum which has 700 networks across India. In 2011, about 22,000 NGOs in India had received more than $2billion from overseas of which $650million was from the US.

Firstly we need to know the entities to look out for.

Amnesty International, National Endowment for Democracy and Freedom House spearhead a new trend in the West to use NGOs as a tool in lieu of military force to create environments suitable to the West.

NED – National Endowment for Democracy

Brainchild of Allen Weinstein in 1983. Its first director of the Endowment, Carl Gershman, outright admitted that the Endowment was a front for the CIA. In 1986 he stated:

We should not have to do this kind of work covertly. It would be terrible for democratic groups around the world to be seen as subsidized by the CIA. We saw that in the ‘60s, and that’s why it has been discontinued. We have not had the capability of doing this, and that’s why the endowment was created.[5] (emphasis added).

NED is funded by US Congress implying that it works for both Republic and Democratic Governments. The Democratic Party funds NED through the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs – chaired by Madeline Albright. The Republican Party funds NED through the International Republican Institute (IRI) – chaired by Senator John McCain. NED is also funded by the American Center for International Labor Solidarity and the Center for International Private Enterprise (US Chamber of Commerce). NED’s board of directors consists of a collection of corporate lobbyists, advisors and consultants, former U.S congresspeople, senators, ambassadors, military, and senior fellows of think tanks.

NED, USAID operate globally and target political parties, trade unions, businesses, youth and student organizations, women’s groups, civic organizations, religious communities, professional bodies and of course the media.

NED funds the Freedom House which was founded in 1941 and its innocent motive is to work towards democracy and human rights but in reality it is used to push US interests. Freedom House was used by the Bush Administration to support the War on Terror with the US Govt providing 66% of funding for it through the USAID and US State Dept and the NED. This clearly shows the manner in which politics and financial connections are interlinked. Freedom House also played a major role in the Arab Spring aiding the training and financing of civil society groups and individuals. Sri Lanka’s own civil society mouthpiece Pakiasothy claims the Government is not listening to civil society. You can well imagine why we should not listen!

NED is said to have funded the opposition in Costa Rica, right wing groups in Nicaragua, funded the ousting of Haiti’s first democratically elected leader Aristide, funded coup against Chavez of Venezuela. Incidentally, Agencies and organizations acting on behalf of the Canadian Government were also involved in the regime change overthrow of Haiti President Aristide and Harper and Baird have the audacity to preach to Sri Lanka about human rights!  The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is said to have played a role in this illegal coup funneling $23million to the Group of 184 and 10 other organizations to oust Aristide. CIDA’s “development” strategy it is said was to impose an aid embargo on Aristide’s Government while assisting rebels to destabilize a legal government. We have absolutely no issues of Harper not attending CHOGM if this is the record of Canada!

The IRI is implicated in the 2009 Honduran coup, supporting the ousting of democratically elected leader Manuel Zelaya because he supported an anti-free trade pact and refused to privatize telecommunications. The Council on Hemispheric Affairs says AT&T funded both IRI and Senator McCain who sat on its Chair to target Latin American states that refused to privatize their telecommunications. So when a Government speaks of privatization it is good to know that these can be the desires of foreign conglomerates and Governments that refuses are certainly on the hit list!

Incidentally, the fall of Libya didn’t just happen. NED-backed activists helped make it happen. Libya’s transitional PM is Dr. Abdurrahim El-Keib who holds dual US/Libyan citizenship and former chair of Petroleum Institute sponsored by British Petroleum, Shell, Total and Japan Oil Development Company. Libya’s oil and gas supply according to the UK Guardian is handled by Tawakkul Karman who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 and leader of “Women Journalists without Chains” a NED grantee organization. The Arab Spring was anything but naturally conceived.

The Egyptian Spring was no different. In 2009 16 Egyptian activists were in Washington on a 2 month Freedom House Fellowship. There are many Sri Lankans too claiming to “flee” the country and ending up receiving full scholarships. These people were taught how to use social media, how to alternate computer simcards to evade state internet surveillance. The April 2011 article in the New York Times “US Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings” states “A number of the groups and individuals directly involved in the revolts and reforms sweeping the region, including the April 6th Youth Movement in Egypt, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and grass-roots activists like Entsar Qadhi, a youth leader in Yemen, received training and financing from groups like the IRI, the NDI, and Freedom House.” That was how a youth movement ousted Mubarak from power. What more do we need to say? Noteworthy too that youth movements are a target in Sri Lanka especially when envoys like Blake makes visits to universities or the current ambassador is seen funding youth activities.

NED had given $1,419,426 worth of grants to civil society organizations in Egypt in 2009. In 2010 that grant became $2,497,457 half of which was allocated to the Center for International Private Enterprise to organize workshops, engage civil society, activate bloggers etc…. and a lot of workshops, study tours, foreign tours are taking place in Sri Lanka too! German NGO Friedrich Naumann Foundation is under investigation for such. Friedrich Naumann Stiftung had also funded the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.

Incidentally, USAID has commenced a $ 4.5 mn project to strengthen rule of law, USAID is taking 13 government officials from central and provincial ministries on a seven day study tour to Timor-Leste (East Timor) to learn ‘how land ownership issues are being resolved’ in that US and Australian colony.

Amnesty International

Its supposed to be an “independent” human rights organization – but is it. Not when its new executive director in January 2012 Suzanne Nossel was a former assistant to Richard Holbrooke when he was UN ambassador, and before that she was Hillary Clinton’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations at the US State Dept and before that she was working at yet another US Government connected organization – Human Rights Watch – what can we say about the credibility of Amnesty? And when Amnesty reports on Syria without even setting a foot in the country because the Syrian Government did not allow them inside this speaks volumes about the lies that get regularly concocted by these international humanitarian organizations and their crocodile tears. Former FBI agent Coleen Rowley gives all the information about the manner that R2P – humanitarian intervention takes place.

Yes, we have every right to question. NGOs and their heads in particular maintain a very cocky attitude of their self-importance. Nevertheless the corruption, embezzlement, unaccountable for millions and the most tragic situation that aid sent never reaches the desired destination is never answered or accounted for. With all the money coming into NGO accounts there was nothing to see of what they had done in Sri Lanka’s North and nothing to see in countries of Africa.

According to the World Bank much of its aid to developing nations are channeled through NGOs and if the billions dispersed are spent on internal administrative costs of the NGOs and the luxury lives of their heads with nothing noteworthy being seen or enjoyed by the Third World it makes us wonder whether the entire humanitarian aid concept is a façade and money is simply being circulated amongst themselves and used for everything other than benefitting the poor.

A good example is how the UNDP (United Nations Development Program) has been implicated in funding regime change NGOs in Zimbabwe using over US$5million and 29 NGOs were suspected of being involved in regime change.

President of Malawi accused foreign governments in 2011 of funding NGOs to topple a legitimate government. Wikileaks revealed how US ambassador to Venezuela promoted 300 civil society organizations to oppose Chavez financially aided by USAID and the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI). OTI funded a Freedom House program in Venezuela with US$1.1 million, while Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI) provided grants totalling $726,000 on behalf of OTI.

When Sri Lanka’s US ambassador makes regular visits to the North and East it must wake up Sri Lanka’s foreign minister in slumber to take action without purposely being silent and allowing the nation to find fault with the President for inaction.

Malaysia’s former head Mahathir is also accusing the same entities of trying to cause regime change in Malaysia using Saudi funds.

Did it not take over a decade and trillions spent on the War on Terror for Hillary Clinton to acknowledge that the Al Qaeda was created by the US with Saudi money?

So if Al Qaeda was linked to the Kosovo Liberation Army and now Kosovo is a separate state should we not conclude that the entire drama was concocted to a western plan?

Similarly should we not raise eyebrows about the hundreds of other CIA-NGO success stories that include the overthrow of elected governments in Latin American, Africa, Middle East and Asia?

When CIA-linked Jamestown Foundation created a Caucasus Fund in Tbilisi, Georgia and USAID and George Soros’s Open Society Institute were heavily involved in “civil society” movements began backing terrorist groups is that not cause to wonder why?

When leaked cables reveal US, British and Norwegian support for exiled “Chechen-Ichkeria” leader Akhmed Zakayev who also received support from the governments of Denmark, Finland and the Czech Republic should we not be alarmed? The Chechen movement was also championed through the American Committee for Peace in the Caucasus (ACPC), Freedom House which is financed by the National Endowment for Democracy and USAID. ACPC and Freedom House work with the Jamestown Foundation.

So why would Freedom House be involved in elections in Ukraine in 2004 and finance the presidential candidate Victor Yushchenko though the US denied the money given to the International Centre for Policy Studies —Yushchenko was a board member. Surprisingly, Sri Lanka’s President Premadasa sent British High Commissioner Gladstone packing for interfering in Sri Lankan elections!

How is aid really spent?

What NGOs do not end up doing apart from the media blitz it enjoys portraying before any proposed event can be seen in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake where of the $1.4billion raised hardly 40% was spent and 1million Haitians still live in squalor. However thousands of organizations have begged for funds and received millions from kind hearted people but none of this money has gone to the people affected. American schoolchildren had given large sums of money to a charity called Christian Solidarity to free Christians in Sudan who were “trafficked” by Arab slavers but the story itself was concocted revealed in 60minute program where the charity had rounded up ordinary village children who were projected as “slaves”. Sri Lanka knows too well how documentaries are compiled against the State.

In 2006 the Australian accused NGOs of spending 80% of aid sent to Cambodia for salary packages and running costs with some of the directors of these NGOs giving themselves packages of US250,000 including villas in Cambodia’s capital, SUV and other perks. This cannot be any different among NGO heads elsewhere too.

A report by Action Aid in 2005 that that the top 700 international consultants were paid an average of $100,000 which was the entire annual wage of 160,000 Cambodian civil servants! This unfortunately is true where all NGO heads exist!

The international religious NGOs

From being termed a “development taboo”, religion has been turned into a powerful force. Most of the world’s powerful NGOs are while backed by Western Governments are all Christian and they openly refer to themselves as “Christian NGOs” but promoting “equality”. Thus, the Catholic Church played a major role in the fall of Governments in Eastern Europe, Latin America is experiencing a wave of Pentecostal movements and now there’s the militant Islamists and they are all connected. These new faith-based organizations (FBOs) have become foreign Governments foot soldiers. US Government openly funds these religious NGOs – World Vision is just one getting an annual budget of $1.6billion.

Quite a number of NGOs in the UN Economic and Social Council who have been granted consultative status are religious based. Which means that while engaged in development and humanitarian aid activities they invariably use that status to promote their religion and religious ideology which leads to the question of conversion. It is not by fluke that the Christian or Islamic populace has expanded and is expanding. Numerous methods are being employed to add to their numbers. There is also the fact that the Vatican is recognized as a State by the UN and many see that as a guarantee of status. The response of the Muslim world has been to create the OIC and within this there are many Islamic NGOs who receive funds in a format replicating how the Western Governments use NGOs for their purpose.

It is when countries begin to see religious NGOs being used to convert that problems arise. India is one such country where many accuse CIA of wanting to convert India to Christianity. Conversions took place in the 1950s which India and Sri Lanka experienced in the Catholic Action. In Orissa, Kerala entire coastal belt of Tamil Nadu, and most of the coastal belts in India have been converted where NGOs offer money and jobs. The aim is to have a Christian church in every post office area. In Chennai alone there are over 3000 churches excluding the prayer centers. It is also accused that Sonia G minted and circulated Indian coins with Christian cross. There are many controversies within Christianity itself making Western nations return to the Gnostic religious roots while ignorant Asians are falling for the lies being sold to them. The Roman Catholic Church links to the CIA cannot be missed. The Knights of Malta is a global charity and became a major supplier of “humanitarian aid” to the Contras during the 1980s war.

With over 50,000 NGOs enjoying $10billion – all it takes to end world poverty is $50billion a year – America spends $100billion on gambling and groceries annually, American spent $705billion for entertainment and recreation and junk food and soft drinks cost $200billion!

While the world is mesmerized by the illusion that organizations have created innocent philanthropic activity what they actually do is never accounted and never exposed because money silences many. When organizations supposedly working for “democracy” or for the betterment of civil society or for the eradication of poverty ends up using these slogans as camouflages should we not demand that these organizations come clean? Truth is that most NGOs are funded by either foreign Governments or international corporates and they are stationed in countries not to deliver any good to the society of these nations.

Truth is that they are able to create coups, brainwash innocent youth and even engulf media personnel because they are playing with Third World nations where they know the power that money can do. When politicians fall prey should we find fault with others? Yet, we cannot allow the immoral nature of what is taking place to continue. Media on their part if they are victims of handouts must keep away from manipulating news and allow the public to decide for themselves. We do not want to be fed with lies just because they are getting a better deal.