The overt face of covert operations…

Don’t you love it when things like this see the light of day? No wonder people in other countries are always wary of so called ‘philanthropic organizations’ that come bearing gifts. I know, I grew up under a military dictatorship and the sole mention of USAID, for example, would raise the hair in the back of our collective necks as a suporter of a regime that oppressed, disappeared and tortured its people for over a decade. I thought these dinosaurs were children of the Cold War. It appears they are just the children of an imperialist mentality.

Diana Barahona and Jeb Sprague: Reporters Without Borders and Washington’s Coups

The I.R.I., an arm of the Republican Party, specializes in meddling in elections in foreign countries, as a look at NED annual reports and the I.R.I. website shows. It is one of the four core grantees of the NED, the organization founded by Congress under the Reagan administration in 1983 to replace the CIA’s civil society covert action programs, which had been devastated by exposure by the Church committee in the mid-1970s (Ignatius, 1991). The other three pillars of the NED are the National Democratic Institute (the Democratic Party), the Solidarity Center (AFL-CIO) and the Center for International Private Enterprise (U.S. Chamber of Commerce). But of all the groups the I.R.I. is closest to the Bush administration, according to a recent piece in The New York Times exposing its role in the overthrow of Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide:
“President Bush picked its president, Lorne W. Craner, to run his administration’s democracy-building efforts. The institute, which works in more than 60 countries, has seen its federal financing nearly triple in three years, from $26 million in 2003 to $75 million in 2005. Last spring, at an I.R.I. fund-raiser, Mr. Bush called democracy-building ‘a growth industry.'” (Bogdanich and Nordberg, 2006)

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