Osetinskoe Radio i Televedenie, Russia
Clinton and Human Rights Activists
By Elena Pustovoitova
Translated By Sierra Perez-Sparks
22 December 2011
Edited by Gillian Palmer
Russia - Osetinskoe Radio i Televedenie - Original Article (Russian)
In this large American political “piano,” each key sounds as if it were tuned by specialists from the U.S. Department of State. It sounds this way because it is paid for, tested and hooked up to an amplifier. It is the American machine that produces information and mobilizes hand-picked elements of Russian “civil society.” Each of these “keys” waits for the signal of an American conductor ...
Recently, in an interview with PBS, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was forced to reassure the public that the protests against the results of the Russian parliamentary elections were not instigated by American interference.
Actually, for a dialogue with Clinton on this topic, it would have been sufficient to simply provide a list of those who receive funding from the U.S. State Department and spend all of it during the year so that their master will be pleased and continue to pay. It’s simple enough to do this; the names of the recipients of grants are not a secret, and they are published in an annual departmental account of services. These people are chump change in the big American political game. They aren’t clandestine agents, although they do the same dirty work that American James Bonds did until the Watergate scandal, which got Richard Nixon into hot water.
We’ll provide this list for you at the end of the article. But to start, a small reminder.
In January 1970, scandal broke out when it became known that the American army was spying on the domestic population. Sam Ervin led a Senate investigation that followed the scandal. No sooner had the average American moved past these experiences did the New York Times, on Dec. 22, 1974, publish the CIA “Family Jewels” article, which detailed recent CIA operations and secret programs, including attempts to assassinate foreign leaders and overthrow foreign governments. It also collected information about the political activities of American citizens. Within a year the Church Committee began to publish its reports on the U.S. intelligence services, their operations, violations of law and the power that was concentrated in their hands. Of what exactly did American lawmakers accuse the CIA? Of plotting the assassinations of foreign leaders, including Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, the Diem Brothers of Vietnam and General René Schneider of Chile. It was also accused for its involvement in President Kennedy’s plan to use the mafia to murder Fidel Castro of Cuba.
Under the pressure of this committee, Gerald Ford, the man who replaced Richard Nixon as president, issued Executive Order 11905 to ban sanctioned assassinations of foreign leaders. In 1982 Reagan reversed the decree.*
High-profile revelations at the time tied the hands of the CIA. Namely, it was then that the idea was born to entrust the organization with ideological sabotage, information warfare and funding various opposition groups that act in the interests of the U.S. in other countries, “civil” and “independent” organizations like Freedom House, RAND Corporation, Human Rights Watch, the Henry Jackson Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for Democracy...
We’ll dwell especially on the last of the “civil” and “independent” organizations.
In 1983, Congress established the National Endowment for Democracy with a budget of $30 million. The activities of the fund are financed from the governmental budget as a part of State Department expenditures on the U.S. Agency for International Development. Approximately half of the endowment’s resources are spent on the activities of four associated organizations: the American Center for International Labor Solidarity; the Center for the International Private Enterprise, run by U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas J. Donohue; the International Republican Institute, led by Senator John McCain; and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, headed by the well-known Madeleine Albright.
From its inception, the activities of the National Endowment for Democracy have been closely connected to the CIA and directed at the overthrow of political regimes that the U.S. deems undesirable. Namely, the National Endowment for Democracy financed the opposition movements Solidarity in Poland, Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia and Otpor! in Serbia. In 2004, the National Endowment for Democracy awarded Chechen separatist Ilyas Akhmadov a Reagan-Fascell research grant, even though the Russian authorities had evidence that Akhmadov was connected to Maskhadov and Chechen armed rebel leader Basaev. Last fall, WikiLeaks published information that the fund had provided support to Arab youth movements that actively participated in the Middle East revolutions that erupted in 2011.
By no means do these well-known facts embarrass the U.S. administration or Clinton and her State Department: “The National Endowment for Democracy supports non-profits through grants. ... Just as the National Endowment for Democracy was able to provide critical support to the dissidents of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union before the collapse of communism, today we are able to help democratic movements in Myanmar, China, Cuba, the Balkans, the Middle East and Central Asia.”
To put it firmly, in his time, Abraham Lincoln said succinctly that Americans are the “last best hope of earth.” The National Endowment for Democracy bases its activities on this idea of being chosen: “American assistance in the defense of democracy abroad benefits the U.S. and those who fight for freedom and self-determination around the world.” In other words, “everything that is good and useful for America is good and useful for the entire world.” And grants are given only to those projects that enable the development of “freedom and democracy” in the American sense and the self-determination of peoples, say the Chechens in Russia or the Albanians in southern Serbia. Well, self-determination is in the future for all the peoples of Russia who are not yet absolutely self-governing, in accordance with the 1959 U.S. law on “captive nations.”
In short, there is no foreseeable end to the American effort to redefine the world! And so that it can happen quickly, the National Endowment for Democracy finances foreign “democratic” groups that need resources and are willing to do this and that to benefit the American ruling circles in their large and important work.
Of course, pro-American human rights activists are not engaged in the hunt for secrets about Russian weaponry, photographing military interests, industrial espionage or political assassinations. They, as leading Russian human rights activist L.M. Alekseeva once fairly noted, competently take into account the interests of both sides. You ask, what is a common point of interest? It should be to defend civil rights and freedom without American dollars; that isn’t happening for the rights activists.
Evidently, conscience won’t allow it.
Assistant Secretary Philip Gordon recently calculated that in the last 35 months, the U.S. authorities made 84 public declarations concerning “human rights” in Russia. And the States continue to do everything so that those who are involved in serious human rights abuses will feel “serious consequences.” He clarified, “We have restricted travel to the United States by such individuals.”
It is logical to suggest that those who defend these American “rights” in Russia travel to the U.S. for free, with their hosts footing the bill. Well, let them go. It is more important that the U.S. authorities have given $160 million in the last two and a half years to support Russian “civil society.” According to Gordon, money from the American budget was used to support “independent monitoring” during the Duma elections. “We are grateful to Congress for continuing to provide these resources, especially in this difficult budgetary environment,” Gordon said in a curtsey to lawmakers.
And he gladdened grant recipients in Russia with important news: Consultations with Congress are underway to create a new fund to support Russian non-governmental organizations. Moreover, this support comes not only in dollars, but also in the personal patronage of the U.S. president. While in Russia in July 2009, Obama shook hands with “hundreds of civil society leaders and opposition political figures in Moscow.” How are these Russian citizens valuable to Washington?
They are paid to “work with local governments to identify and address community priorities,” explained Philip Gordon.
Today in Russia, it is simple to identify the problems. Who doesn’t know that we need to solve the problem of bribery? Or combat drug addiction, legal violations regarding elections, economic crimes or the exodus of brains and capital out of the country? Everyone knows — but not everyone can “direct the priorities of development.” But it is easier for those whom Barack Obama claps on the back and to whom he pays a salary. The entire Western information machine works for them, as do many in the Russian media, who readily give free advertising to Obama’s chosen ones.
No matter how sincere the intentions of grant recipients who live in my country, they will never convince me that they are defending my rights and my Russia. Just as I will not be able to convince them that they are only “keys” in a large piano, from which the American conductor makes sound.
I counted 52 such “keys” in the National Endowment for Democracy's budget for 2012 — the year of the presidential elections in Russia. Who will lead us into an American tomorrow? Analysts from the Levada Center? The Agency for Social Information? Civil Rights Defenders? The Andrei Sakharov Foundation? The Committee Against Torture? Or, just maybe, the Chechen Committee for National Salvation?
Pick for yourselves. The list is attached and states the cost of services that each of the organizations has pledged to provide their American donors in 2012:
All-Russian Public Organization for the Victims of Terrorism "Voice of Beslan": $20,000
Center for Social and Labor Rights: $60,000
Memorial Center for the History of Political Repression Perm-36: $50,000
Yuri Levada Analytical Center: $61,460
Institute of Globalization and Social Movements: $22,125
Agency for Social Information (ASI): $65,000
Centre de la Protection Internationale: $50,000
Ural Human Rights Group: $57,000
Civil Rights Defenders: $115,000
Dagestan Regional Social Organization "Informational-Analytical Center ‘Rakurs’": $54,998
Etudes Sans Frontieres: $15,832
Foundation "Independent Press Center": $60,000
Foundation for the Support of Information Freedom Initiatives: $80,000
Human Rights Resource Center (HHRC): $39,000
The Andrei Sakharov Foundation: $75,000
Interregional Association of Human Rights Organizations "AGORA": $100,000
Center for Information and Protection of Human Rights: $40,000
Center for the Development of Social Partnership: $50,000
Committee Against Torture (CAT): $79,540
Council of Non-Governmental Organizations: $45,000
Center of Social and Educational Initiatives (CSEI): $28,600
Kabardino-Balkar Republic Public Human Rights Center: $50,000
National Democratic Institute for International Affairs: $134,200
Non-Profit Partnership "Lawyers for a Civil Society": $50,000
Media Lawyers Collegium: $27,008
Nonviolence International: $50,000
Ozersk City Socio-Ecological Public Organization "Planet of Hopes": $45,852
Perm City Public Organization "Center for Civic Education and Human Rights": $55,000
Pskov Regional Public Organization "Council of Soldiers' Mothers": $21,692
Regional Civic Institute Research and Information Center Memorial: $55,000
Regional Civic Organization in Defense of Democratic Rights and Liberties "GOLOS": $65,000
Regional Human Rights Public Organization "Niiso": $23,623
International Protection Center: $50,000
Chechen Committee for National Salvation: $75,000
Independent Council of Legal Expertise: $50,000
Information Research Center "PANORAMA": $65,000
Moscow Group of Assistance in the Implementation of the Helsinki Accords: $50,000
Moscow Group of Assistance in the Implementation of the Helsinki Accords: $55,000
Regional Civic Initiative: The Right to Life and Human Dignity: $47,000
Regional Public Organization for Assistance in Observance of Human Rights "Hot Line": $65,810
Center for Public Information (CPI): $60,000
Information and Analysis Center “SOVA”: $70,000
Rostov City Nonprofit Organization "Eko-logika": $25,000
Rostov Regional Public Organization "League for Civil Rights Protection": $40,000
Russian-Chechen Friendship Society: $49,980
St. Petersburg Human Rights Public Organization "League of Women Voters": $45,000
St. Petersburg Public Organization "Environmental Human Rights Center Bellona": $49,720
Soldiers' Mothers of St. Petersburg: $85,000
Sverdlovsk Oblast Public Organization "Parity": $30,984
Vladimir Oblast Intellectual Public Movement "Lebed": $45,570
Yaroslavl Regional Public Organization in support of Civic Initiatives "Dialog": $24,000
The grant listings posted here are from the 2010 Annual Report, published in August 2011.
*Translator’s Note: The author is mistaken. Reagan’s Executive Order 12333, issued on Dec. 4, 1981, reiterated the prohibition on assassination. See Section 2.11: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/codification/executive-order/12333.html#2.11
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