Washington rushes to hide its ‘octopus’ NED funding in Ukraine
Many sections of the corporate media and a legion of propaganda agencies are openly and secretly funded by the US.
As Russia finally invaded Ukraine – on a rationale similar to that of the US invasion of Iraq, but with greater substance – Washington rushed to delete funding details of Ukraine groups through its Congress-funded ‘National Endowment for Democracy’ (NED).
As US Professor John Mearsheimer said, Washington created the crisis in Ukraine, hoping to surround and fragment Russia, using NATO expansion and its Neo-Nazi allies. Instead, it seems that Russia will dismantle Ukraine. In the meantime, the U.S. in decline uses financial assets and networks to subvert most of the world.
Despite the attempt to hide this sponsorship, an 80-page document showing US government NED funding for hundreds of Ukraine groups has been leaked. Now posted on several sites this document allows us a window into some of the internal U.S. influence since the CIA orchestrated Kiev coup of 2014. Many of the allocations have to do with anti-Russian propaganda, usually in the name of ‘transparency’, human rights, ‘independent journalism’, monitoring and so on.
For example, the list shows us that a Ukraine group ‘InformNapalm’, set up “to debunk myths and expose secrets of the Russian hybrid war” and which claims to be “a purely volunteer endeavor which does not have any financial support from any government or donor”, is actually US Government funded. The group publishes anti-Russian propaganda on its website in 31 languages.
Other sources show us that the U.S. Government funds Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi linked Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine (the KVPU), through its NED funded partner the AFL-CIO’s ‘Solidarity Center’. There are few sectors which the NED has not penetrated.
In Ukraine, this has meant that, especially since 2014, the anti-Russian feeling already embedded in Ukraine nationalism and ultra-nationalism, has been inflamed, setting the country on a collision source with its Russian-speaking minority and with its big eastern neighbor. The NED has culturally reinforced NATO’s drive to war.
NED & USAID openly finance propaganda operations
As the New York Times pointed out in 1997, the NED was set up under the Reagan administration in the 1980s “to do in the open what the Central Intelligence Agency has done surreptitiously for decades”. Since WW2 Washington, “usually acting covertly through the CIA, has installed or toppled leaders on every continent, secretly supported political parties of close allies like Japan, fomented coups, spread false rumors, bribed political figures and spent countless billions of dollars to sway public opinion.”
While the CIA and the US military continue the covert subversion of ‘enemies’ and control of ‘allies’, the NED and USAID openly finance political and propaganda operations.
Marjorie Cohn recently reminded us that William Blum wrote: “the idea was that the NED would do somewhat overtly what the CIA had been doing covertly for decades, and thus, hopefully, eliminate the stigma associated with CIA covert activities”. NED co-founder Allen Weinstein affirmed: “a lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”
Washington often complains about ‘state media’ propaganda in its targeted countries, but its own agencies including the NED have funded corporate media in friends and enemies alike – e.g. by pouring millions into ‘independent’ British media groups – and by funding individual journalists, as well as auxiliary ‘independent’ propaganda outfits like Index on Censorship, Article 19, Finance Uncovered and Bellingcat.
The annual report of Thomson Reuters acknowledges NED funding; Open Democracy acknowledges that it receives funds from the NED; and Bellingcat, used to run US war propaganda about Syria, Iraq and Ukraine, also acknowledges NED funding.
A history of subversion
The obvious subversion through this foreign funding has led several independent states to ban NED operations. For example, NED grantees have been arrested and charged with criminal offenses in Cuba and Venezuela.
In 2000 President George W. Bush quadrupled NED funding to opposition groups in Venezuela, including to a right wing union group (the Confederación de Trabajadores Venezolanos: CTV), an educational group (the Asamblea de Educación), the political party Primero Justicia, the Chamber of Commerce Fedecámaras, Súmate and some others.
Venezuelan prosecutors laid treason charges against Súmate leaders, saying that NED funds were used to finance an anti-government political campaign, rather than for the claimed ‘educational’ purposes.
A few years later the NED was said to have “channeled multi-million dollar funding to .. [the] political parties Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular” as well as to Súmate. The NED also funded Venezuela’s opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Table (MUD), via the US International Republican Institute (IRI).
Washington has used several agencies, including the NED, to subvert its small neighbor Cuba, against which the U.S. government has mounted an economic blockade for the past six decades. The U.S. has spent many millions in failed attempts at pseudo ‘democracy’ promotion in Cuba.
Other U.S. agencies are involved. In 2010 it was revealed that the directors of U.S. state media Radio and Television Marti had made secret payments to at last nine Miami journalists to ensure (if that were needed) that the trial of five Cuban anti-terrorist agents was seriously prejudiced.
The Cuban government sent these men to Miami in the 1990s to collect information on U.S.-backed groups which were making terrorist attacks on Cuba; the US government, in turn arrested and charged them with ‘espionage’. Some of the paid journalists were themselves members of para-military, anti-Cuban groups.
In recent times some NED funding, like that of the CIA, has moved off the public record. In 2021 it was reported that the NED had “failed to disclose 21% of Cuba grants”.
In 2013, Bolivian President Evo Morales expelled USAID from the country, for similar activity to the NED. Several years later US agencies were found to be complicit in the 2019 coup against President Morales.
In 2015 the British Guardian reported that the NED “was the first ‘undesirable’ NGO banned in Russia”. This was half-true. The NED funds NGOs but is not itself an NGO.
In 2021 a report in China’s Global Times called the NED an “obnoxious pest” and certainly not an NGO, nor anything to do with promoting ‘democracy’. Tens of millions had been provided to anti-China separatist groups the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) and several ‘independence’ preachers in Hong Kong.
In Ukraine, the Russia invasion provoked a strong US reaction to the exposure of their clients. For much the same reason, the NED hides the identities of most of its funded agencies inside Iran, Cuba and Venezuela. The NED was a key sponsor of Iran’s failed ‘Green Revolution’ of 2009. These paid propaganda channels, in the name of ‘liberty’, facilitate the desired cultural context for economic wars and direct interventions.
Washington’s NED ‘octopus’ reminds us that U.S. ‘state media’ is not just Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia and so on. Many sections of the corporate media and a legion of propaganda agencies are openly and secretly funded by the US.