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FTR #858 The NED File

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. [1] The new dri­ve is a 32-giga­byte dri­ve that is cur­rent as of the pro­grams and arti­cles post­ed by late spring of 2015. The new dri­ve (avail­able for a tax-deductible con­tri­bu­tion of $65.00 or more) con­tains FTR #850 [1].  (The pre­vi­ous flash dri­ve was cur­rent through the end of May of 2012 and con­tained FTR #748 [2].)

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This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment [7]

[8]Intro­duc­tion: Resum­ing a thread of analy­sis from FTR #857 [9], this pro­gram exam­ines aspects of the most inap­pro­pri­ate­ly-named Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy. A direct exten­sion of the U.S. intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty, NED has assumed many of the func­tions per­formed by CIA in the past, and is a tool for the use of “soft pow­er” to inter­fere in the affairs of oth­er nations.

The over­all goal and rai­son d’e­tre for the NED is regime change.

Since his spon­sor­ship of Cit­i­zen Green­wald’s lat­est jour­nal­is­tic efforts, EBay king­pin Pierre Omid­yar has enjoyed a lus­trous pub­lic per­sona. His polit­i­cal efforts not only belie his sup­posed altru­is­tic ori­en­ta­tion but are inex­tri­ca­bly linked with covert oper­a­tions and the pro­mo­tion of fas­cists of var­i­ous kinds.

A devo­tee of the Aus­tri­an school of eco­nom­ics [10], Omid­yar not only pro­mot­ed and has ben­e­fit­ed from the elec­tion of Hin­du Nationalist/fascist Naren­dra Modi [11]in India, he oper­at­ed through NED and the Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment to help finance the Maid­an coup in Ukraine [10]. That coup, a covert oper­a­tion that took advan­tage of pop­u­lar dis­sat­is­fac­tion result­ing from the endem­ic cor­rup­tion plagu­ing Ukraine, brought to pow­er the direct polit­i­cal heirs to the OUN/B.

[12]

Glenn Green­wald and Ron Paul

Omid­yar is now part­ner­ing with the NED [13] to estab­lish a fact-check­ing ser­vice, and is also help­ing to finance Ukrain­ian media. Omid­yar has also bought par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment.

Activ­i­ties of the sort that NED engages in have moved Russ­ian pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin to crack down [14] on its oper­a­tions in Rus­sia. NED exec­u­tive Carl Ger­sh­man open­ly called for the West to gain polit­i­cal con­trol over Ukraine, as prepa­ra­tion for effect­ing “regime change” in Rus­sia itself.

Next, the pro­gram excerpts AFA #36 [15], detail­ing the pro­jec­tion of World War II-era fas­cist ele­ments into Lithua­nia by the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy.

The actions of the NED and the resul­tant re-emer­gence of Baltic Waf­fen SS units in places like Lithua­nia is to be seen against the back­ground of the Cru­sade For Free­dom, the same “op” that result­ed in the pro­jec­tion of the OUN/B fas­cists into Ukraine fol­low­ing the over­throw of Yanukovich.

An ille­gal domes­tic covert oper­a­tion, the CFF brought Nazi allies [16] such as the OUN/B, the Croa­t­ian Ustachi, the Roman­ian Iron Guard, the Hun­gar­i­an Arrow Cross, the Bul­gar­i­an Nation­al Front and oth­ers into the Unit­ed States in order to dri­ve the polit­i­cal spec­trum to the right.

As of 1952, the  CFF became inex­tri­ca­bly linked with the GOP, with Arthur Bliss Lane play­ing a key role in the GOP’s 1952 cam­paign, as well as being cen­tral­ly involved in the CFF. The CFF spawned the GOP’s eth­nic out­reach orga­ni­za­tion, which was able to deliv­er the swing vote in five key states in Pres­i­den­tial elec­tion years. It even­tu­al­ly became a per­ma­nent part of the GOP.

Con­ceived by Allen Dulles, the CFF was over­seen by Richard Nixon. Its chief spokesper­son was Ronald Rea­gan. The State Depart­ment offi­cial respon­si­ble for bring­ing “fas­cist free­dom fight­ers” like the OUN/B into the Unit­ed States was William Casey (Ronald Rea­gan’s cam­paign man­ag­er in the 1980 Pres­i­den­tial race and lat­er Rea­gan’s CIA direc­tor.) The Nazi wing of the GOP was installed as a per­ma­nent branch of the Repub­li­can Part when George H.W. Bush was the head of the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee.

The OUN/B was a key ele­ment of the GOP’s eth­nic out­reach orga­ni­za­tion. It is note­wor­thy that the orga­ni­za­tions that were rep­re­sent­ed in the GOP sub­group were all affil­i­at­ed with the SS dur­ing World War II. They were also inex­tri­ca­bly linked with the Rein­hard Gehlen orga­ni­za­tion [17].

Per­haps the most impor­tant effect of the Gehlen orga­ni­za­tion [18] was to intro­duce “roll­back” or “lib­er­a­tion the­o­ry”  [19]into Amer­i­can strate­gic think­ing. Roll­back was a polit­i­cal wafare and covert oper­a­tion strat­e­gy which had its gen­e­sis in the Third Reich Ost­min­is­teri­um head­ed by Alfred Rosen­berg. This strat­e­gy entailed enlist­ing the aid of dis­si­dent Sovi­et eth­nic minori­ties to over­throw the Sovi­et Union. In return, these minori­ties and their respec­tive republics were to be grant­ed nom­i­nal inde­pen­dence while serv­ing as satel­lite states of “Greater Ger­many.”

In its Amer­i­can incar­na­tion, lib­er­a­tion the­o­ry called for “rolling back” com­mu­nism out of East­ern Europe and the break-up of the Sovi­et Union into its con­stituent eth­nic Republics. Lip-ser­vice was giv­en to ini­ti­at­ing democ­ra­cy in the “lib­er­at­ed” coun­tries. Lib­er­a­tion the­o­ry was pro­ject­ed into main­stream Amer­i­can polit­i­cal con­scious­ness through the Cru­sade for Free­dom.

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

1. Mark Ames has a new update on the ever evolv­ing nature of Pierre Omidyar’s new media empire: First is now invest­ing in a new inter­na­tional “fact check­ing” ser­vice with the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­racy, which is inex­tri­ca­bly linked with U.S. intel­li­gence and fre­quent­ly func­tions as a front for covert oper­a­tions. He also invest­ed in a Ukrain­ian news ser­vice set up on the eve of the Maid­an rev­o­lu­tion. And it looks like there could be many more invest­ments in media orga­ni­za­tions yet to come because it now looks like the whole mod­el for First Look Media has changed: instead of set­ting up a con­stel­la­tion of sep­a­rate inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­is­tic out­lets, First Look is just going to start invest­ing in exist­ing media enter­prises.

Note that one of the founders of NED was the late Allen Wein­stein, who served as George W. Bush’s head of the Nation­al Archives [22].

“What Pierre Did Next” by Mark Ames; Pan­do Dai­ly;  [13]7/31/2015. [13]

The Guardian report­ed [24] on Tues­day that the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­racy has just been banned from Rus­sia, under strict new laws reg­u­lat­ing NGOs act­ing as for­eign agents.

In that sto­ry, the Guardian cit­ed the fact that Inter­cept pub­lisher Pierre Omid­yar co-fund­ed Ukraine rev­o­lu­tion groups with USAID and the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­racy (NED).

If the Omid­yar con­nec­tion sounds famil­iar, that’s because it was Pan­do that first broke the sto­ry [25] in Feb­ru­ary 2014 (the Guardian linked to our orig­i­nal scoop in its cov­er­age.)

In the 18 months since we broke the sto­ry, Ukraine has col­lapsed into war and despair, with up to 10,000 peo­ple killed and one and a half mil­lion inter­nal­ly-dis­placed refugees — and top US brass talk open­ly of a new Cold War with nuclear-armed Rus­sia, while US mil­i­tary advi­sors train and arm Ukraini­ans to wage war on Russ­ian-backed sep­a­ratists.

Svit­lana Zal­ishchuk [20], one of the lead­ers of the Omid­yar-fund­ed NGO [26] that helped orga­nize last year’s rev­o­lu­tion in Kiev, is now in pow­er as an MP in Ukraine’s par­lia­ment [27], a mem­ber of the new, pro-NATO president’s par­ty bloc. She’s gone from plucky Omid­yar-fund­ed adver­sar­ial activist [26], to head­ing a par­lia­men­tary sub­com­mit­tee [28] tasked with inte­grat­ing Ukraine into NATO.

I can’t think of anoth­er media tycoon who co-fund­ed a pro-US regime change with Amer­i­can intel­li­gence cutouts like USAID and the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­racy. That Putin tar­geted the NED does not mean it’s either hero­ic or evil—the NED’s sto­ry speaks for itself: The brain­child of Reagan’s CIA direc­tor Bill Casey, the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­racy was set up as an intel­li­gence cutout to sup­port US geopo­lit­i­cal pow­er and under­mine unfriend­ly regimes. One of the NED co-founders, Allen Wein­stein, explained [29] its pur­pose to the Wash­ing­ton Post [29]:

“A lot of what we do today was done covert­ly 25 years ago by the CIA.”

Through­out its 30-year his­tory it’s been mired in very typ­i­cal CIA con­tro­ver­sies: In the 80s, the NED was caught fund­ing an out­lawed extreme-right French para­mil­i­tary [30] gang dur­ing Social­ist pres­i­dent Mitterand’s rule; fund­ing a mil­i­tary leader’s vic­to­ri­ous elec­tion in Pana­ma against a more mod­er­ate civil­ian can­di­date; and financ­ing rightwing oppo­nents of Cos­ta Rica’s demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly-elect­ed Nobel Peace Prize-win­ning pres­i­dent, whose sin was oppos­ing Reagan’s dead­ly, dirty war in Nicaragua.

More recent­ly, the NED was caught fund­ing groups that orga­nized the 2002 coup [31]against Venezuela’s demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly-elect­ed pres­i­dent Hugo Chavez; plant­ing [32]a “free-lance jour­nal­ist”    in the AP [33] and New York Times to report [34] on Haiti while the NED was simul­ta­ne­ously fund­ing [35] rightwing groups to under­mine Haiti’s rul­ing par­ty; and co-fund­ing Ukraine regime-change groups with Pierre Omid­yar.

This week, Omid­yar Net­work announced yet anoth­er part­ner­ship [36] with the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­racy and the Poyn­ter Insti­tute to cre­ate an inter­na­tional online fact-check­ing hub. Giv­en the pow­er that a monop­oly on “objec­tive” fact-check­ing offers, the tie-up with the NED takes the Omid­yar alliance with the US empire and media to new­er, creepi­er lev­els. In yet anoth­er Omid­yar-as-pri­vate-arm invest­ment, Omid­yar invest­ed in the slick new Ukrain­ian media, Hromadske.tv [37], which was set up on the eve of the Maid­an rev­o­lu­tion with ini­tial seed fund­ing com­ing from the US Embassy in Kiev. Omidyar’s involve­ment in Ukraine media and “fact-check­ing” is all the more seri­ous giv­en that now Wash­ing­ton and NATO talk about “coun­ter­ing” Russia’s over­hyped “infor­ma­tion war” on the West and on Ukraine—this “infor­ma­tion war” which I cov­ered a bit in my piece on Peter Pomer­ant­sev [38], is con­sid­ered a top and urgent geostrate­gic pri­or­ity for NATO and the West.
...

And now in the last week, the lat­est twist to the far­ci­cal “jour­nal­ism par­adise” shit­show: Omid­yar is report­edly in talks [39] with the king of online tabloid-sleaze, Nick Den­ton, to invest in the latter’s per­ma-sued orga­ni­za­tion. As Pando’s Paul Carr wrote ear­lier this week [39], the ground seems to be being pre­pared for a full-on merg­er of the Inter­cept and Gawk­er, backed by Omidyar’s cash.

As of yes­ter­day, Nick Den­ton appoint­ed [40] John Cook — for­merly edi­tor of the Inter­cept — to be the “tem­po­rary” exec­u­tive edi­tor of Gawk­er. When Cook depart­ed the Inter­cept, he wrote that “Work­ing with my Inter­cept col­leagues has been one of the most ful­fill­ing things I’ve done in my career, and my deci­sion to leave was a painful one to make.”

At the same time, IBT report­ed that Chief Rev­enue Offi­cer, Michael Rosen, had resigned [41] from First Look Media. Rosen’s depar­ture comes just a week after John Tem­ple, First Look’s “Pres­i­dent, Audi­ence and Prod­ucts,” stepped down [42] from his job say­ing “There clear­ly is much excite­ment ahead for First Look, but I feel my con­tri­bu­tion is large­ly com­plete.”

Per­haps it’s a coin­ci­dence that both the guy who is in charge of build­ing an audi­ence for the Inter­cept and the guy tasked with mak­ing it prof­itable have left. Or per­haps not: IBT quotes a source explain­ing that “First Look would soon be mov­ing away from try­ing to cre­ate a con­stel­la­tion of mag­a­zines and begin to focus on empow­er­ing ‘con­tent cre­ators.’ That is, Omid­yar will be invest­ing cash in sites like Gawk­er, along­side his invest­ments in fact-check­ing sites and Ukraine rev­o­lu­tion­ary groups.

How will the Intercept’s audi­ence, which accept­ed Greenwald’s deci­sion to pri­va­tize the Snow­den secrets to Omid­yar, react if Omid­yar then sells jour­nal­ism par­adise to jour­nal­ism sleaze and the Snow­den secrets — our secrets, the public’s secrets — wind up as cap­i­tal assets in First Gawk­er Media?

Snow­den revealed that NSA spooks were spy­ing on their lovers online habits — how will that be mon­e­tized in First Gawk­er Media? Where will Denton’s 20% sleaze dis­count be applied?

2. Next, the pro­gram high­lights Russ­ian pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin’s shut­ting down of NED fronts in Rus­sia. To get an idea of the nature of the so-called “democ­rats” being pro­mot­ed by NED and relat­ed ele­ments, exam­ine the polit­i­cal career of Alex­ei Naval­ny. [43]

“Why Rus­sia Shut Down NED Fronts” by Robert Par­ry; Con­sor­tium News; 7/30/2015. [14]

The Wash­ing­ton Post’s descent into the depths of neo­con­ser­v­a­tive pro­pa­gan­da – will­ful­ly mis­lead­ing its read­ers on mat­ters of grave impor­tance – appar­ent­ly knows no bounds as was demon­strat­ed with two decep­tive arti­cles regard­ing Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and why his gov­ern­ment is crack­ing down on “for­eign agents.”

If you read the Post’s edi­to­r­i­al on Wednes­day and a com­pan­ion op-ed by Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy Pres­i­dent Carl Ger­sh­man, you would have been led to believe that Putin is delu­sion­al, para­noid and “pow­er mad” in his con­cern that out­side mon­ey fun­neled into non-gov­ern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions rep­re­sents a threat to Russ­ian sov­er­eign­ty.

The Post and Ger­sh­man were espe­cial­ly out­raged that the Rus­sians have enact­ed laws requir­ing NGOs financed from abroad and seek­ing to influ­ence Russ­ian poli­cies to reg­is­ter as “for­eign agents” – and that one of the first fund­ing oper­a­tions to fall prey to these tight­ened rules was Gershman’s NED.

The Post’s edi­tors wrote that Putin’s “lat­est move, announced Tues­day, is to declare the NED an ‘unde­sir­able’ orga­ni­za­tion under the terms of a law that Mr. Putin signed in May. The law bans groups from abroad who are deemed a ‘threat to the foun­da­tions of the con­sti­tu­tion­al sys­tem of the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion, its defense capa­bil­i­ties and its nation­al secu­ri­ty.’

“The charge against the NED is patent­ly ridicu­lous. The NED’s grantees in Rus­sia last year ran the gamut of civ­il soci­ety. They advo­cat­ed trans­paren­cy in pub­lic affairs, fought cor­rup­tion and pro­mot­ed human rights, free­dom of infor­ma­tion and free­dom of asso­ci­a­tion, among oth­er things. All these activ­i­ties make for a healthy democ­ra­cy but are seen as threat­en­ing from the Kremlin’s ram­parts. …

“The new law on ‘unde­sir­ables’ comes in addi­tion to one signed in 2012 that gave author­i­ties the pow­er to declare orga­ni­za­tions ‘for­eign agents’ if they engaged in any kind of pol­i­tics and receive mon­ey from abroad. The des­ig­na­tion, from the Stal­in era, implies espi­onage.”

But there are sev­er­al salient facts that the Post’s edi­tors sure­ly know but don’t want you to know. The first is that NED is a U.S. gov­ern­ment-fund­ed orga­ni­za­tion cre­at­ed in 1983 to do what the Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency pre­vi­ous­ly had done in financ­ing orga­ni­za­tions inside tar­get coun­tries to advance U.S. pol­i­cy inter­ests and, if need­ed, help in “regime change.”

The secret hand behind NED’s cre­ation was CIA Direc­tor William J. Casey who worked with senior CIA covert oper­a­tion spe­cial­ist Wal­ter Ray­mond Jr. to estab­lish NED in 1983. Casey – from the CIA – and Ray­mond – from his assign­ment inside Pres­i­dent Ronald Reagan’s Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil – focused on cre­at­ing a fund­ing mech­a­nism to sup­port groups inside for­eign coun­tries that would engage in pro­pa­gan­da and polit­i­cal action that the CIA had his­tor­i­cal­ly orga­nized and paid for covert­ly. To par­tial­ly replace that CIA role, the idea emerged for a con­gres­sion­al­ly fund­ed enti­ty that would serve as a con­duit for this mon­ey.

But Casey rec­og­nized the need to hide the strings being pulled by the CIA. “Obvi­ous­ly we here [at CIA] should not get out front in the devel­op­ment of such an orga­ni­za­tion, nor should we appear to be a spon­sor or advo­cate,” Casey said in one undat­ed let­ter to then-White House coun­selor Edwin Meese III – as Casey urged cre­ation of a “Nation­al Endow­ment.”

NED Is Born

The Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy took shape in late 1983 as Con­gress decid­ed to also set aside pots of mon­ey — with­in NED — for the Repub­li­can and Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ties and for orga­nized labor, cre­at­ing enough bipar­ti­san largesse that pas­sage was assured. But some in Con­gress thought it was impor­tant to wall the NED off from any asso­ci­a­tion with the CIA, so a pro­vi­sion was includ­ed to bar the par­tic­i­pa­tion of any cur­rent or for­mer CIA offi­cial, accord­ing to one con­gres­sion­al aide who helped write the leg­is­la­tion.

This aide told me that one night late in the 1983 ses­sion, as the bill was about to go to the House floor, the CIA’s con­gres­sion­al liai­son came pound­ing at the door to the office of Rep. Dante Fas­cell, a senior Demo­c­rat on the House For­eign Affairs Com­mit­tee and a chief spon­sor of the bill. The fran­tic CIA offi­cial con­veyed a sin­gle mes­sage from CIA Direc­tor Casey: the lan­guage bar­ring the par­tic­i­pa­tion of CIA per­son­nel must be struck from the bill, the aide recalled, not­ing that Fas­cell con­sent­ed, not ful­ly rec­og­niz­ing the sig­nif­i­cance of the demand.

The aide said Fas­cell also con­sent­ed to the Rea­gan administration’s choice of Carl Ger­sh­man to head the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy, again not rec­og­niz­ing how this deci­sion would affect the future of the new enti­ty and Amer­i­can for­eign pol­i­cy. Ger­sh­man, who had fol­lowed the clas­sic neo­con­ser­v­a­tive path from youth­ful social­ism to fierce anti­com­mu­nism, became NED’s first (and, to this day, only) pres­i­dent.

Though NED is tech­ni­cal­ly inde­pen­dent of U.S. for­eign pol­i­cy, Ger­sh­man in the ear­ly years coor­di­nat­ed deci­sions on grants with Ray­mond at the NSC. For instance, on Jan. 2, 1985, Ray­mond wrote to two NSC Asian experts that “Carl Ger­sh­man has called con­cern­ing a pos­si­ble grant to the Chi­nese Alliance for Democ­ra­cy (CAD). I am con­cerned about the polit­i­cal dimen­sion to this request. We should not find our­selves in a posi­tion where we have to respond to pres­sure, but this request pos­es a real prob­lem to Carl.”

Cur­rent­ly, Gershman’s NED dis­pens­es more than $100 mil­lion a year in U.S. gov­ern­ment funds to var­i­ous NGOs, media out­lets and activists around the world. The NED also has found itself in the mid­dle of polit­i­cal desta­bi­liza­tion cam­paigns against gov­ern­ments that have got­ten on the wrong side of U.S. for­eign pol­i­cy. For instance, pri­or to the Feb­ru­ary 2014 coup in Ukraine, over­throw­ing elect­ed Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych and installing an anti-Russ­ian regime in Kiev, NED was fund­ing scores of projects.

A sec­ond point left out of the Post’s edi­to­r­i­al was the fact that Ger­sh­man took a per­son­al hand in the Ukraine cri­sis and rec­og­nized it as an inter­im step toward regime change in Moscow. On Sept. 26, 2013, Ger­sh­man pub­lished an op-ed in the Wash­ing­ton Post that called Ukraine “the biggest prize” and explained how pulling it into the West­ern camp could con­tribute to the ulti­mate defeat of Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Putin.

“Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accel­er­ate the demise of the ide­ol­o­gy of Russ­ian impe­ri­al­ism that Putin rep­re­sents,” Ger­sh­man wrote. “Rus­sians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find him­self on the los­ing end not just in the near abroad but with­in Rus­sia itself.” In oth­er words, NED is a U.S. gov­ern­ment-financed enti­ty that has set its sights on oust­ing Russia’s cur­rent gov­ern­ment.

A third point that the Post ignored is that the Russ­ian law requir­ing out­side-fund­ed polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tions to reg­is­ter as “for­eign agents” was mod­eled on a U.S. law, the For­eign Agent Reg­is­tra­tion Act. In oth­er words, the U.S. gov­ern­ment also requires indi­vid­u­als and enti­ties work­ing for for­eign inter­ests and seek­ing to influ­ence U.S. poli­cies to dis­close those rela­tion­ships with the U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment or face prison.

If the Post’s edi­tors had includ­ed any or all of these three rel­e­vant fac­tors, you would have come away with a more bal­anced under­stand­ing of why Rus­sia is act­ing as it is. You might still object but at least you would be aware of the full sto­ry. By con­ceal­ing all three points, the Post’s edi­tors were trick­ing you and oth­er read­ers into accept­ing a pro­pa­gan­dis­tic view­point – that the Russ­ian actions were crazy and that Putin was, accord­ing to the Post’s head­line, “pow­er mad.”

Gershman’s Op-Ed

But you might think that Ger­sh­man would at least acknowl­edge some of these points in his Post op-ed, sure­ly admit­ting that NED is financed by the U.S. gov­ern­ment. But Ger­sh­man didn’t. He sim­ply por­trayed Russia’s actions as despi­ca­ble and des­per­ate.

“Russia’s newest anti-NGO law, under which the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy on Tues­day was declared an “unde­sir­able orga­ni­za­tion” pro­hib­it­ed from oper­at­ing in Rus­sia, is the lat­est evi­dence that the regime of Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin faces a wors­en­ing cri­sis of polit­i­cal legit­i­ma­cy,” Ger­sh­man wrote, adding:

“This is the con­text in which Rus­sia has passed the law pro­hibit­ing Russ­ian democ­rats from get­ting any inter­na­tion­al assis­tance to pro­mote free­dom of expres­sion, the rule of law and a demo­c­ra­t­ic polit­i­cal sys­tem. Sig­nif­i­cant­ly, democ­rats have not backed down. They have not been deterred by the crim­i­nal penal­ties con­tained in the ‘for­eign agents’ law and oth­er repres­sive laws. They know that these laws con­tra­dict inter­na­tion­al law, which allows for such aid, and that the laws are meant to block a bet­ter future for Rus­sia.”

The ref­er­ence to how a “for­eign agents” reg­is­tra­tion law con­flicts with inter­na­tion­al law might have been a good place for Ger­sh­man to explain why what is good for the goose in the Unit­ed States isn’t good for the gan­der in Rus­sia. But hypocrisy is a hard thing to ratio­nal­ize and would have under­mined the pro­pa­gan­dis­tic impact of the op-ed.

So would an acknowl­edge­ment of where NED’s mon­ey comes from. How many gov­ern­ments would allow a hos­tile for­eign pow­er to spon­sor politi­cians and civic orga­ni­za­tions whose mis­sion is to under­mine and over­throw the exist­ing gov­ern­ment and put in some­one who would be com­pli­ant to that for­eign pow­er?

Not sur­pris­ing­ly, Ger­sh­man couldn’t find the space to include any bal­ance in his op-ed – and the Post’s edi­tors didn’t insist on any.

3. Exem­pli­fy­ing the type of activ­i­ty in which the NED spe­cial­izes, we review infor­ma­tion about that orga­ni­za­tion’s suc­cess­ful pro­jec­tion of Lithuan­ian Nazi and fas­cist ele­ments into that for­mer Sovi­et Repub­lic. In FTR #848 [44], we exam­ined how the seeds sown by NED took root and flow­ered.

“NED Med­dles in Lithua­nia: Nur­tur­ing Baltic Reac­tion” by Philip Bonosky; Covert Action Quar­ter­ly; Num­ber 25 (Fall 1990).

In April of 1990, the Sovi­et Repub­lic of Lithua­nia star­tled the world by declar­ing itself inde­pen­dent of the U.S.S.R. The U.S. has not yet rec­og­nized Lithua­nia as inde­pen­dent, and Bush’s pub­lic remarks have been mod­er­ate. But beneath this facade of calm state­craft there runs a famil­iar cur­rent of silent U.S. involve­ment in the polit­i­cal affairs of anoth­er coun­try.

The most vis­i­ble inter­ven­tion has been via the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy (NED), which has sup­plied funds, equip­ment, and advice to the prin­ci­pal nation­al­ist oppo­si­tion par­ty Sajud­is. NED has cho­sen to fun­nel its Lithuan­ian aid through one orga­ni­za­tion: the New York-based Lithuan­ian Catholic Reli­gious Aid (LCRA) and its pro­pa­gan­da arm, Lithuan­ian Infor­ma­tion Cen­ter (LIC).

These two orga­ni­za­tions are run by arch-con­ser­v­a­tive Catholic cler­gy. The founder, cur­rent board chair, and the man who has “presided over the steady growth and increas­ing effec­tive­ness of LCRA, Bish­op Vin­cen­tas Briz­gys, was alleged­ly a Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor dur­ing World War II. [Raul Hilberg’s The Destruc­tion of the Euro­pean Jews (New York: 1961), and Charles R. Allen’s Nazi War Crim­i­nals Among Us (New York: Jew­ish Cur­rents Reprint, 1963), doc­u­ment Briz­gys’s back­ground. Allen repro­duced Nurem­berg Tri­bunal doc­u­ments relat­ing to the Bish­op.] Briz­gys vehe­ment­ly denies the charge. Sajud­is itself is linked in a vari­ety of ways to the sym­bols and sen­ti­ments of the fas­cist and Nazi peri­ods of Baltic his­to­ry.

The Coun­try in Ques­tion

Lithua­nia lies on the east­ern shore of the Baltic Sea, bor­dered on the south by Poland, on the north by the Lat­vian S.S.R., and on the east by the Byeloruss­ian S.S.R. [Sovi­et Social­ist Republic–a mem­ber of the for­mer U.S.S.R.] It is the west­ern­most extent of the Sovi­et Union, with a pop­u­la­tion (1980) of just over three mil­lion. In the 14th cen­tu­ry invad­ing Ger­mans con­quered the area and imposed the Catholic faith. In the mod­ern era, Lithua­nia has been repeat­ed­ly buf­fet­ed by the shift­ing polit­i­cal and mil­i­tary map of Europe.

Lithua­nia declared inde­pen­dence from Czarist Rus­sia in 1918, but in 1926, the nation­al­ist par­ty took pow­er through a mil­i­tary coup. Declar­ing him­self pres­i­dent Augus­tus Volde­mares and his pre­mier, Antanas Sme­t­ona shaped Lithua­nia into Europe’s sec­ond fas­cist state, based explic­it­ly on the exam­ple of Mus­solin­i’s Italy. Lithua­nia remained a dic­ta­tor­ship until 1939, when Sme­toma fled to the U.S. and a new par­lia­ment vot­ed unan­i­mous­ly to become a con­stituent repub­lic of the U.S.S.R. With the Ger­man inva­sion of the Sovi­et Union 1n 1941, Lithua­ni­a’s nation­al­ists returned briefly to pow­er and assist­ed the Nazis in the swift, sys­tem­at­ic slaugh­ter of more than 130,000 Lithuan­ian Jews, com­mu­nists and oth­er “unde­sir­ables.”

Enter NED

In April 1990, a 34-year-old Amer­i­can, William J.H. Hough III, was very  busy in Lithua­nia. Hough was sent to Lithuania–although he does­n’t speak Lithuanian–as legal advis­er to Vytau­tas Lands­ber­gis, the leader of the nation­al­ist par­ty. He was rec­om­mend­ed by LCRA/LIC, which the U.S. press has cit­ed as very enthu­si­as­tic about his work.

Coop­er­at­ing close­ly with Hough, LCRA/LIC has sup­plied Sajud­is with paper, pho­to­copy machines, com­put­ers, laser print­ers, FAX machines, and video cam­eras. With addi­tion­al polit­i­cal and tech­ni­cal exper­tise, Vil­nius quick­ly became a com­mu­ni­ca­tions hub for seces­sion­ist forces in Lithua­nia and oth­er Sovi­et republics.

Professionally,Hough is a lawyer. He was also an edi­tor of The New York Law School Jour­nal of Inter­na­tion­al and Com­par­a­tive Law, which pub­lished in its Win­ter 1985 issue his book-length arti­cle titled, “The Annex­a­tion of the Baltic States and its Effect on the Devel­op­ment of Law Pro­hibit­ing Forcible Seizure of Ter­ri­to­ry.” Hough describes the inter­war peri­od of Lithuan­ian his­to­ry [its fas­cist period–D.E.] as one of “polit­i­cal and con­sti­tu­tion­al sta­bil­i­ty” and “progress toward the restora­tion of full democ­ra­cy.” He fails to men­tion the col­lab­o­ra­tion of nation­al­ists and Nazis. In his pub­lic jus­ti­fi­ca­tions of seces­sion, Lands­ber­gis has fre­quent­ly referred to Hough’s inter­pre­ta­tion of Lithuan­ian his­to­ry.

Hough’s his­to­ry of Lithua­nia must be reas­sur­ing to NED’s ide­o­logues and their Lithuan­ian clients, some of whom share a past they might rea­son­ably pre­fer to for­get.

Chan­nel­ing Endow­ment Dol­lars

Dur­ing the past two years, NED has grant­ed $70,000 to LCRA/LIC. They are not obvi­ous­ly demo­c­ra­t­ic orga­ni­za­tions. Found­ed in 1961 to “pro­vide the Church under the Sovi­et oppres­sion with spir­i­tu­al and mate­r­i­al assis­tance . . . .,” LCA’s par­ent orga­ni­za­tion was the Lithuan­ian Roman Catholic Priests’ League. The qui­et obscu­ri­ty of this group belies the wel­come they receive in the halls of pow­er. LCRA exec­u­tive direc­tor Father Casimir Pugevi­cius served on an advi­so­ry com­mit­tee to Sen­a­tor Charles Per­cy (Rep.–Ill.), then a mem­ber of the Sen­ate For­eign Rela­tions Com­mit­tee. He was also wel­comed in the Rea­gan White House in 1986.

Accord­ing to LCRA/LIC, its 1990 grant appli­ca­tion to NED request­ed $618,300 and out­lined its ambi­tious pro­pos­al as fol­lows:

. . . . five sep­a­rate pro-demo­c­ra­t­ic orga­ni­za­tions would receive tech­ni­cal and mate­r­i­al aid. The first, a coali­tion of demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ties enjoy­ing broad sup­port in Lithua­nia and capa­ble of assum­ing lead­ing roles in the new leg­is­la­ture would receive com­put­er and audio-visu­al equip­ment . . . . Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and video equip­ment will also be trans­port­ed to the Sajud­is Infor­ma­tion Agency . . . . [Accord­ing to NED, funds went only to  Sajud­is.]

The sec­ond part of the project would ensure a con­tin­u­ous sup­ply of much need­ed paper for inde­pen­dent pub­lish­ers and orga­ni­za­tions. The dra­mat­ic increase in the num­ber of demo­c­ra­t­ic groups in Lithua­nia in the past year has caused severe short­ages in the very lim­it­ed pool of resources. . . . Because of the greater degree of lib­er­al­iza­tion in Lithua­nia, this repub­lic has emerged as the pub­lish­ing cen­ter for the inde­pen­dent groups through­out the Sovi­et Union. . . .

With­in weeks of the arrival of these goods, tra­di­tion­al sources of infor­ma­tion in Lithua­nia were sup­pressed or tak­en over by Sajud­is. Nation­al­ist sym­pa­thiz­ers cut off broad­cast pro­gram­ming  from Moscow, and Lithua­nia was soon flood­ed with seces­sion­ist pro­pa­gan­da. In the ensu­ing elec­tion, Sajud­is man­aged to dom­i­nate the scene by rid­ing the crest of a wave of nation­al­ist sen­ti­ment. It won a major­i­ty in the Seim (par­lia­ment). In March, a hasti­ly con­vened ses­sion of par­lia­ment vot­ed for seces­sion (91–38) in a mat­ter of hours. Laws were passed curb­ing oppo­si­tion news­pa­pers and chang­ing the flag and nation­al anthem, revert­ing to ver­sions in use dur­ing the nation­al­ist peri­od. As to whether, or what, of real sub­stance should change, Sajud­is remained silent.

Echoes From the Past

To Lithua­ni­ans old enough to remem­ber the Sec­ond World War, the ener­getic activ­i­ties of Sajud­is, LCRA, and LIC must seem vague­ly famil­iar. Lands­ber­gis’s father was a mem­ber of the Savan­do­ri­ai (nation­al­ist mili­tia), who fought the Rus­sians (1918–1919), helped enforce the suc­ces­sive dic­ta­tor­ships of Volde­mares and Sme­t­ona, and col­lab­o­rat­ed with the Ger­man occu­pa­tion.

A reporter for Der Spiegel wrote in April 1990 that: “Every­body fears Sajud­is. Any­one who attacks Sajud­is is declared an an ene­my of the peo­ple by Lands­ber­gis, and that hap­pens very quick­ly.”  In addi­tion the Savan­do­ri­ai (ille­gal under Sovi­et law) have been revived under the lead­er­ship of retired army offi­cers.

Pri­or to the Ger­man inva­sion in June 1941, a Berlin-based “Lithuan­ian Infor­ma­tion Bureau,” the pro­pa­gan­da arm of the Lithuan­ian Activist Front, a nation­al­ist exile orga­ni­za­tion, sent the fol­low­ing mes­sage into Lithua­nia:

. . . . lib­er­a­tion is close at hand. . . . upris­ings must be start­ed in the cities, towns and vil­lages of Lithua­nia. . . . com­mu­nists and oth­er trai­tors. . . . must be arrest­ed at once. . . . (The trai­tor will be par­doned only pro­vid­ed beyond doubt that he has killed one Jew at least.)

In the book Blow­back, Christo­pher Simp­son crisply sum­ma­rizes part of the “lib­er­a­tion” that fol­lowed:

. . . . munic­i­pal killing squads employ­ing Lithuan­ian Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors elim­i­nat­ed 46,692 Jews in few­er than three months, accord­ing to their own reports, main­ly by com­bin­ing clock-like liq­ui­da­tions of 500 Jews per day in the cap­i­tal city of Vil­nius with mobile “clean-up” sweeps through the sur­round­ing coun­try­side.

Such squads were con­sis­tent­ly used by the Nazis for the dirty work that even the SS believed  to be beneath the dig­ni­ty of the Ger­man sol­dier. . . . .

On August 4, 1941, the Lithuan­ian Activist Front, installed a pro­vi­sion­al gov­ern­ment, tak­ing care to coop­er­ate ful­ly with the Nazis. The invaders let pres­i­dent Juozas Ambraze­vi­cius’s gov­ern­ment stand for three months, dur­ing which time the worst of the killings occurred. After the war, Ambraze­vi­cius fled to the U.S., where he changed his name to Brazaitis.

The crimes which prompt­ed the post-war flight of many Lithuan­ian nation­al­ists were stark­ly doc­u­ment­ed in the “Jaeger Report,” an offi­cial count by the SS offi­cer who super­vised the mas­sacres:

Ein­satzkom­man­do 3 Kovno, Decem­ber 1, 1941

Secret State Doc­u­ment

Sum­ma­ry of all exe­cu­tions car­ried out in the sphere of action of Ein­satzkom­man­do 3 up to Decem­ber 1, 1941.

Ein­satzko­man­do 3 took over its duties as secu­ri­ty police in Lithua­nia on the 2nd of July 1941. . . . In com­pli­ance with my direc­tives and on my order the Lithuan­ian par­ti­sans have car­ried out the fol­low­ing exe­cu­tions. . . .

What fol­lowed was a chrono­log­i­cal account­ing of the activ­i­ties of the killing squads. Vic­tims were neat­ly cat­e­go­rized: Jew­ish men, Jew­ish women, Jew­ish chil­dren, Poles, Lithuan­ian com­mu­nists, Russ­ian com­mu­nists, Intel­lec­tu­al Jews, Lunatics, Gyp­sies, Polit­i­cal Instruc­tors, Arme­ni­ans. . . .

After the first 3,000 deaths, Jaeger appar­ent­ly decid­ed that the Lithuan­ian nation­al­ists alone were equal to the task;

. . . . After orga­niz­ing a mobile unit under SS-Ober­s­tum­fuhrer Hamann and 8 to 10 tried men of EK 3 the fol­low­ing actions were car­ried out in coop­er­a­tion with the Lithuan­ian par­ti­sans. . . .

. . . . Before the EK 3 assumed secu­ri­ty duties, the par­ti­sans them­selves killed [4,000 ] Jews through pogroms and exe­cu­tions. . . .

. . . . I can state today that the goal of solv­ing the Jew­ish prob­lem in Lithua­nia has been reached by EK 3. There are no Jews in Lithua­nia any­more except the work Jews and their fam­i­lies. . . .The goal to clear Lithua­nia of Jews could be achieved only thanks to . . . men . . . . who adopt­ed my goal with­out any reser­va­tions and man­aged to secure the coop­er­a­tion of the Lithuan­ian par­ti­sans and and the respec­tive civ­il offices. . . .

The final tal­ly of those killed was 137, 346. As the report clear­ly indi­cates, the Nazis were assist­ed by both the para­mil­i­tary bands asso­ci­at­ed with the nation­al­ists, and by those in posi­tions of authority–including mem­bers of the Catholic cler­gy.

A Nazi Col­lab­o­ra­tor Pros­pers in Chica­go

As aux­il­iary Bish­op of Kau­nas, (Kovno) dur­ing the Ger­man occu­pa­tion, Bish­op Vin­cen­tas Briz­gys, founder of LCRA/LIC, lent his spir­i­tu­al author­i­ty to fas­cism. When the Nazis retreat­ed, so did he, first to Ger­many, then to Chica­go where he has lived, worked, and car­ried the nation­al­ist ban­ner for 25 years.

The cler­gy hat­ed social­ism or very clear rea­sons. The social­ist gov­ern­ment which came to pow­er in 1939 had sep­a­rat­ed church and state. Church prop­er­ty was con­fis­cat­ed, includ­ing large farms where peas­ants labored under semi-feu­dal con­di­tions elim­i­nat­ed else­where in Europe cen­turies before. Cler­gy were removed from gov­ern­ment and the edu­ca­tion­al sys­tem, two insti­tu­tions where they had long wield­ed pow­er­ful influ­ence.

Arch­bish­op Skvireckas, Briz­gys’s supe­ri­or, doc­u­ment­ed the bish­op’s col­lab­o­ra­tionist activ­i­ties with evi­dent sat­is­fac­tion. The arch­bish­op’s diary for July 1, 1941, reveals that Briz­gys made con­tact:

. . . . with the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Ger­man gov­ern­ment for the Baltic sta­t­ics. [Dr. Groffe, for­mer­ly head of Gestapo in East Prus­sia who] . . . pro­posed . . . . that he [Briz­gys] should make an appeal to the peo­ple to behave qui­et­ly and pur­sue their dai­ly busi­ness with con­fi­dence, with­out any fear that they might be harmed. . . .

On June 30, 1941, the arch­bish­op had writ­ten: “The ideas in Mein Kampf on the ques­tion of the Bol­she­vik-Jew­ish con­ta­gion are splen­did . . . . they prove that Hitler is not only an ene­my of the Jews, but gen­er­al­ly speak­ing has the right ideas.”

An appeal to wel­come the Nazis was broad­cast by radio, ten pub­lished in a major Kau­nas news­pa­per, signed by Skviteckas, Briz­gys and Vic­ar Gen­er­al Saulys. Their sig­na­tures were also on a for­mal telegram of thanks to Hitler for “Lithua­ni­a’s Lib­er­a­tion,” sent in the mid­dle of July 1941.

As the Nazis and their col­lab­o­ra­tors imple­ment­ed the dia­bol­i­cal log­ic of Mein Kampf, Briz­gys “set an exam­ple for the entire pop­u­la­tion by for­bid­ding the cler­gy to aid the Jews in any way.” He also urged from his pul­pit, and via radio and news­pa­per, that Lithua­ni­ans coop­er­ate with the Nazis.

When the Sovi­et army, led by its 16th Lithuan­ian divi­sion, drove the Nazis out in 1944, Briz­gys fled to safe­ty in Ger­many, then to the U.S. Send to the arch­dio­cese of Chica­go, he helped launch Lithuan­ian Catholic Reli­gious Aid in 1961, and served as LCRA pres­i­dent until 1986. He is now chair of the board of direc­tors.

Oth­er Friends of Lithuan­ian Democ­ra­cy

  • Direc­tor of Spe­cial Projects for LCRA/LIC is Rasa Raz­gaitis, step­daugh­ter of accused war crim­i­nal Jur­gis Juodis. Because of his involve­ment as a nation­al­ist mil­i­tary offi­cer in the mas­sacres of 1941, Juodis became the sub­ject of a Jus­tice Depart­ment Office of Spe­cial Inves­ti­ga­tions (OSIS) inquiry in 1981. In addi­tion to her work with LCA, Raz­gaitis is head of “Amer­i­cans for Due Process,” an orga­ni­za­tion “formed sole­ly to chal­lenge the activ­i­ties of the Jus­tice Depart­men­t’s war crimes unit.” She is also a friend of Patrick Buchanan, through whom she gained access to the Rea­gan White House when Buchanan was Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Direc­tor.
  • AFL-CIO pres­i­dent Lane Kirk­land is a long time mem­ber of the cold war­rior clique Com­mit­tee on the Present Dan­ger, and sup­ports CIA manip­u­la­tion of labor move­ments around the globe. Kirk­land has wel­comed Lands­ber­gis as a friend dur­ing his U.S. vis­its. Kirk­land’s name was on an open let­ter to Pres­i­dent Bush pub­lished in the April 22, 1990 New York Times call­ing for imme­di­ate recog­ni­tion of Lithuan­ian inde­pen­dence. Kirk­land is on the NED board.
  • Richard Ebel­ing, vice pres­i­dent of the Future Free­dom Foun­da­tion (FFF) of Den­ver, has been invit­ed by Sajud­is to lec­ture “in Lithua­nia, on the prin­ci­ples of free­dom.” In addi­tion, six Sajud­is econ­o­mists have met with lead­ers of FFF to dis­cuss “free mar­ket pro­pos­als . . . .  made as rad­i­cal as pos­si­ble.” Among oth­ers dis­cussed were the now-famil­iar calls for rapid dena­tion­al­iza­tion of all indus­tries and state pros­per­i­ty; decon­trol of all prices and wages, both in the con­sumer and pro­duc­tion mar­kets; and pri­va­ti­za­tion of social ser­vices includ­ing med­ical retire­ment pen­sions. . . . . .