NED  means National Endowment for Democracy an American organisation.The claim that it is a U.S. non-profit organization is a fallacy which exists only in the world of those who cannot see beyond the lines. The philosophy behind its formation in 1983 was to promote and export western democracy by providing cash grants funded primarily through an annual allocation from the US Congress. The matrix of non-profit making only occurs at the level of NED grantees. The actual profit accrues to the United States government whose main objective in funding NED is to subvert foreign governments whose policies may be viewed as a threat to its foreign policy. Although NED is administered and run as a private organization, it is important to note that it was established by an act of Congress essentially and legally to continue the CIA’s prohibited activities of supporting selected political parties abroad. NED is therefore a foreign policy instrument which also supports and houses the Journal of Democracy, the World Movement for Democracy, the International Forum for Democratic Studies, the Reagan-Fascell Fellowship Program, the Network of Democracy Research Institutes and the Centre for International Media Assistance.

It all started at the Palace of Westminster in 1982 when President Ronald Reagan proposed in a speech, “to foster the infrastructure of democracy- the system of a free press, unions, political parties and universities” The US government through the USAID then took the initiative to contract The American Political Foundation to study democracy promotion in a programme which became popularly known as “The Democracy Program” The name NED came out of this study by the American Political Foundation and was given the status of bipartisan, private, non-profit corporation. It is subject to Congressional oversight and receives annual appropriations from the US government.
In the year 1983, the House’s Foreign Affairs Committee proposed the legislation to provide its initial funding of $ 31.3 million as part of the State Department Authorisation Act (H.R. 2915). Also included in the legislation was $ 13.8 million for the Free Trade Union Institute, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, $2.5 million for an affiliate of the National U.S Chamber Foundation, and $ 5 million each for two party institutes. On 17 November 1983, Congress adopted the Conference Report H.R. 2915 and the following day on the 18 November, the Senate approved it or adopted it. The same day Articles of incorporation were filed in the District of Columbia to establish the National Endowment for Democracy as a nonprofit organization.
The establishment of NED is structured to act as conduit through which grants are made to various so-called private non-governmental organizations for the purpose of promoting western democratic values. Consequently, almost half of NED’s annual funding from the US government goes to its four core institutions which are: (1) American Center for International Labour Solidarity (ACILS), (2) the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) (3) the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), (4) and the International Republican Institute (IRI). The other half of its allocation is awarded to a handful of NGOs based abroad. The NGOs which are funded and controlled by NED are mainly in three distinct catagories: (1) The so called Democratisation NGOs, (2) Humanitarian NGOs and a host of locally created and nurtured Civic Organisations.
NED the Trojen Horse.
In order to understand NED from a different angle, one must dig into the history of CIA operations in the 1960-1980s. This period saw CIA operations coming under a close scrutiny from the American public. Many began to question the involvement of the CIA in dirty and covert operations against legitimate foreign governments. Dirty and covert operations such as the Irangate scandal, the Watergate scandal and the ousting of Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua by the CIA abroad caused a lot of agitation which US government officials found difficult to justify. Pressure from the Tax Payers grew loud and clear and threatened to turn tables upside down against the CIA which was then becoming a major liability to the Tax Payers. The CIA came under particular scrutiny especially in the second half of the 70s. Spurred by the negative revelations of the Watergate scandal, the Church Committee of the Senate, the Pike Committee and the Rockefeller Commission created by the Regan regime to investigate the CIA, every other day there was a new headline about the awful things including criminal conduct by the CIA. These events caused a lot of embarrassment to the powers-that-be to the extent that they had to be seen to be doing something.
Indeed, government officials had to do something to cover up these dirty tricks of the CIA however, according to William Blum in one of his articles to the debate on the establishment of NED, he says, unfortunately what was done was not to stop doing awful things. What government Officials simply did was to shift these awful things to a new organization with a nice sounding name thus, The National Endowment for Democracy was founded and established to do what the CIA could no longer justify. It is from this understanding of the background to the formation of NED and its founding objectives that Contemporary Strategist argue that NED does not represent in any way what it purports to represent. It simply represents American hypocrisy at its best. This is the reason somewhere in this discussion people will find reference being made to NED as National Endowment for Hypocrisy. The hypocrisy is merely intended to demystify overtly what the CIA had been doing for decades covertly, with a view to eliminate the stigma associated with American Foreign policy objectives.
William Blum goes on to say that the idea of coming up with NED as an alternative foreign policy instrument of the US government was a masterpiece, of politics, of public relations and of cynicism.
The fact that virtually every penny of NED funding comes from the Federal government as clearly indicated in each issue of the US annual report, effectively diminishes any claim that it is non-governmental. It’s a myth only to exist in the world of fools who lack an in-depth understanding of Statecraft. The American idea of using the NGO status is intended to achieve a certain degree of credibility abroad which any other US government agency may not be able to achieve. There is nothing Non-governmental about NED, it is simply and effectively an extension of CIA.
Carl Gersham president of NED openly declared in 1986 that, “We should not have to do this kind of work covertly” he went further to say that, ” It would be terrible for democratic groups around the world to be seen as subsidized by the CIA. We saw that in the 60’s 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,” Gersham goes on, ” A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years by the CIA”. Given the circumstances surrounding the established of the NED, there is enough evidence to conclude that besides its direct funding from the US government, the CIA also funds the activities of the NED and this probably explains why it has been so generous in donating to dubious organizations such as The Zimbabwe Crisis Coalition, ZESN, Doctors for Human Rights, Lawyers for Human Rights, Zim Rights and MISA to mention but a few.
It must be clear to all peace loving citizens of this nation of Great Zimbabwe that the funding by NED of such groups as mentioned above, NED is effectively meddling in our internal affairs with the sole objective to effect Regime Change. NED modus-Operandi is to supply funds, technical know-how, training, educational materials, computers, faxes, copiers, automobiles and many other gadgets to selected political groups, civic organizations like Zimbabwe Crisis Coalition, ZESN, Doctors for Human Rights, Lawyers for Human Rights, Zim Rights and MISA to mention but a few, labour unions, dissidents movements, student groups such as ZINASU, book publishers, newspapers and other media to undermine the legitimacy of the targeted or host nation. The question is, to what extent can we say organizations which are on a foreign government payroll are independent? Yes the may be independent to the host nation but can they equally be independent to their Paymasters? This is food for thought to all Zimbabweans who may find themselves somewhat entangled in the NED entanglement.
NED’s Overt Interference in Elections
NED Programmes basically impart the belief that that a Free Market Economy is equal to Democracy and that all working class people and other citizens are best served by a system of free enterprise, class cooperation, collective bargaining, and minimum government intervention in the economy. It supports all forms of opposition to Socialism in any form or shape and has over the years made significant strides in undermining Labour Progressive Unions through subversion. The subversion of the ZCTU in Zimbabwe and its subsequent conversion into a political party called the MDC subdued the interest of workers and converted the MDC into an extension of the USA government foreign policy.
Between 1994-1996, NED awarded 15 grants totaling $2,500,000.00 to the American Institute for Free Labour Development, an organization used by the CIA for decades to subvert Progressive Labour Unions. The case of our very own Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions bears heavy testimony to what NED can do to subvert progressive workers movements. Georg Limke, a Danish Labour governance expert was smuggled into Zimbabwe in the 1990s with explicit instruction to nurture and *transform the ZCTU into an opposition political Party. By the time the Zimbabwe government became aware of Georg’s real motive leading to his deportation in 1999, he had already finished his work. Georg’s work was clandestinely carried out within the confines of NED’s philosophy of “build union-management cooperation”. Just like any other programmes of NED which at face value appear to be innocuous, positive and progressive, the actual and underlying theme behind its educational effort simply meant that, “Keep the labour agitation down…don’t rock the status-quo boat” Centrist and rightist labour organizations which oppose the militant Labour Unions which are pro-workers are NED’s prime targets for funding.
In France, in 1983-4 NED supported a trade union-like organization for professors and students, to counter left wing organizations of professors. NED funded and conducted a series of workshops and seminars including publication of posters, books and pamphlets such as “Subversion and the Theology of Revolution” and Neutralism or Liberty” In this case neutralism referred to being non-aligned in the cold war.
In Yugoslavia, for years critics of President Slobodan Milosevic a socialist, received NED support through its programmes between 1997-98. These programmes were “to identify barriers to private sector development at the local and Federal levels and to push for legislative change… to develop strategies for private sector growth”
All these events help us to conclude that NED’s policy objectives are generally in sync with the dictates of the so called New World Order’ economic globalization and are at the same wave length with US foreign policy.
As much as NED may want to have people believe that it is a genuine organization concerned with the propagation of democratic ethos and values as annunciated in its statement of Principles and Objectives adopted in 1984, its role in the Nicaraguan Elections of 1990 and Mongolia bears testimony to the contrary. Again in Haiti, NED supported a coalition of groups known as the Democratic Convergence opposed to Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his progressive ideology. Further violation of its Principle that. “No Endowment funds may be used to finance the campaigns of candidates for public office” was evident in the overthrow of democratically elected governments of Bulgaria in 1990 and in Albania in 1991 and 1992. In these situations, NED submits that, in the first place elections had been won by political parties opposed to its core values and therefore needed to be toppled. This reflects an inherent contradiction in itself and goes on to highlight the highest order to hypocrisy by the NED. Above all, the role of NED in the Iran-Contra affair of the 1980s through funding of Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North’s shadow ‘Project Democracy” network which privatized US foreign policy, waged war, ran arms and drug deals, clearly exposed the US hypocrisy.
Between 1990 and 1992, NED donated $250,000.00 of the Taxpayer’s money to the Cuban-American National Foundation, an ultra-fanatic anti-Castro Miami group (CANF). This organization CANF then provided funds to one of the world’s most prolific terrorist of modern times, Luis Posada Carriles in his activities which ended with the bombing of a Cuban airplane in 1976 which killed 73 people. Posada Carriles was also involved in a series of bomb explosions in 1997 in Havana hotels but ended up in jail for his involvement in the assassination attempt on the Cuban President Fidel Castro. These are some of the awful and sinful activities of the NED which seriously puts its reputation and credibility in jeopardy.
In our next issue of the NED, we shall examine and demonstrate how NED has become its own enemy and how it has been paying to make enemies of America. An attempt will also be made to suggest how targeted African governments could respond to NED overtures,