Difference between revisions of "Talk:Internews"

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The [[National Endowment for Democracy]] (NED) is a US government-funded "private" entity whose activities are designed to support US foreign policy objectives, doing today what the CIA did during the Cold War. To these ends the NED funds organisations such as [[Internews]] and others in fostering "regime change" and "democracy promotion."
Internews views itself thus:
"The association fosters independent media in emerging democracies, trains journalists and station managers in the standards and practices of professional journalism, produces innovative television and radio programming and Internet content, and uses the media to reduce conflict within and between countries. Internews programs are based on the conviction that vigorous and diverse mass media form an essential cornerstone of a free and open society."<ref>Internews (2004) [http://internews.tv/about/ar2004/ar_2004_toc.html About Us]</ref>
Many countries in which the NED's 'family' of organisations work are aware of the ambiguous status of these organisations and something of a backlash against them has occurred — the NED family regard this as harrassment — in which Internews has been caught up.  The [[Educated Media Foundation]] (formerly Internews Russia), was raided by employees of the Department of Economic Security of the Interior Ministry of Russia, who carried out a seizure of financial documentation. These investigative activities, according to the official explanation, were in connection with the January 2007 detainment at an airport of the head of the Educated Media Foundation [[Manana Aslamazyan]] with 9,500 Euros that she had not declared to customs.<ref>[http://www.internews.tv/home/appeal.html An Open Letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin The Kremlin Moscow] Note the organisations of the supporters and their relation to Aslamazyan, particularly the Glasnost Defense Foundation which she started.</ref>
The Educated Media Foundation "had been seeking to teach Russian journalists how to do real reporting" according to a supportive blog <ref>[http://russophobe.blogspot.com/2007/04/more-on-educated-media-foundation-raid.html La Russophobe]</ref>with alarming neo-colonial candour — not to mention willful ignorance —  but any serious investigative journalist would take one look at the funding of the organisation (NED, U.S. Agency for International Development etc. see below), the make-up of its board and their connections to past US propaganda operations (Hill and Knowlton, National Security Council and so forth) and unambiguously declare it —not that there is credible denial — part of the US government's covert operations, soft power and public diplomacy.
The [[Hoover Institution]] has a somewhat brash version of what were the Russians might have been worried about:
:"Did Americans meddle in the internal affairs of Ukraine? Yes. The American agents of influence would prefer different language to describe their activities—democratic assistance, democracy promotion, civil society support, and so on—but their work, however labeled, seeks to influence political change in Ukraine. The U.S. Agency for International Development, the National Endowment for Democracy, and a few other foundations sponsored certain U.S. organizations, including Freedom House, the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, the Solidarity Center, the Eurasia Foundation, Internews, and several others, to provide small grants and technical assistance to Ukrainian civil society. The European Union, individual European countries, and the George Soros–funded International Renaissance Foundation did the same."<ref>Michael McFaul (2005) [http://www.hoover.org/publications/digest/3001086.html What Democracy Assistance Is ... and Is Not], Hoover Digest.</ref>
The Hoover Institution also argue that American democracy assistance groups do not carry out the will of the Bush administration and that (despite National Security Council members being on Internews etc.) "policymakers at the White House and the State Department have had almost nothing to do with the design or implementation of American democracy assistance programs."  This is contradicted by a number of accounts: indeed Bush held a 35-minute meeting with some of Putin's more vocal critics in his hotel minutes before he attended a Victory Day parade in Red Square (at the invitation of Mr Putin) back in 2005:
:"The meeting, described by one of those who attended as an "important sign to Mr Putin that America is interested in the development of independent society in Russia", let Mr Bush hear from organisations working in the fields of human rights, media freedom and environmental issues in Russia. Manana Aslamazyan, from the media support group Internews Russia, said Mr Bush told them the US was ready to support their work. "He said that we need to work for more democracy in Russia," she said." <ref>Nick Paton Walsh (2005) [http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1480147,00.htmlBush offers support to Putin's critics: US president takes advantage of Victory Day in Moscow to meet advocates of 'civil society' and democracy], May 10, The Guardian.</ref>
Aslamazyan does have the support of that bastion of freedom Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and in an interviewed with them she said this:
:"All the international resources we received and spent were received with the authorization of the Russian government, and went through special government commissions that exempt these resources from taxation. They certainly knew the nature of our work. We kept regular records. All of them have been filed with these commissions. It seems to me that they're simply mistaken. I want to think that some groundless suspicion arose. It's a mistake, and it will soon be resolved."<ref>Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (2007) [http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2007/06/009d16dd-99ed-41ca-a7ff-79d504ebc72d.html Russia: 'Common Attitude Of Suspicion' Behind NGO Struggles] June 21.</ref>
The Washington Post (which has ties to the NED), quoting the Russian authorities, stated that "During the investigation it was revealed that the following money transfers by foreign organizations were made to the bank account of 'Educated Media' during the period of December 2006 to March 2007: 70,000 euros from Internews Europe Association (France) and $300,000 from [[Financial Service Center]] (USA). However, there is no data on spending those amounts."  They note that Internews Europe is an organization affiliated with the [[Educated Media Foundation]] adding: "The Financial Services Center is the U.S. State Department disbursing office that makes overseas payments for U.S. agencies with foreign operations, according to a U.S. Embassy spokeswoman."  The report adds:
:"The $300,000 was a scheduled disbursement from the U.S. Agency for International Development, according to U.S. officials and Aslamazyan.  Since 2004, USAID has given approximately $8 million to the Educated Media Foundation and its predecessor organization, Internews Russia. From 1998 to 2004, the United States provided almost $30 million to Internews U.S., some of which was sent to the organization's Russian arm. The embassy spokeswoman said the U.S. government is satisfied that the grant money was spent properly. She noted that Educated Media, like all recipients of U.S. grants, is subject to annual independent audits and is required to submit regular financial and programmatic reporting. "Internews has complied with all of these requirements and has had no material negative findings against them," the spokeswoman said."<ref>Peter Finn (2007) [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/28/AR2007062802298_pf.html Russian Probe Shuts Media Foundation: Critics See Political Motive in Charges Against Group's Leader, Raid at Offices], Washington Post Foreign Service, June 29.</ref>
In the 60s, following revelations by Ramparts magazine concerning the [[Congress for Cultural Freedom]], The Washington Post's John Harwood wrote of the the U.S. Central Information Agency's disinformation program that begun late in the 1940s and early 1950s. This program eventually involved most of the major private institutions in American life: "It was not enough for the United States to arm its allies, to strengthen government institutions, or to finance the industrial establishment through economic and military programs," wrote  Harwood. "Intellectuals, students, educators, trade unionists, journalists and professional men had to be recruited directly through their private organizations." <ref>John Harwood (1967) "O What a Tangled Web the CIA Wove," Washington Post, February 26.  Quoted Enver Masud (2001) from [http://www.twf.org/News/Y2001/0215-CIAfunds.html Millions Spent Subverting 'Enemies,' Stifling Dissent]</ref>
The Washington Post article includes a chart, "This is How the Money Goes Round," upon which the accompanying chart and the following description is based.
[[Image:Cia circles.gif|centre|]]
Following the Watergate scandal, and investigations by the Church Committee of the Senate, the Pike Committee of the House, and the Rockefeller Commission, the CIA was becoming an embarassment, and Congress decided something had to be done and the US Congress created the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), ostensibly set up to support democratic institutions throughout the world through private, nongovernmental efforts.  As the NED's own history puts it:
:"NED's creation was soon followed by establishment of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), and the National Republican Institute for International Affairs (later renamed the International Republican Institute or "IRI"), which joined the Free Trade Union Institute (FTUI) as the four affiliated institutions of the Endowment. (FTUI was later reorganized as the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, also known as the "Solidarity Center.")"<ref>David Lowe (2006) [http://www.ned.org/about/nedhistory.html Idea to Reality: A Brief History of the National Endowment for Democracy].</ref>
Since the end of the Cold War,"democracy assistance" has become a key focus (and disguise) of this continuation: the U.S. Agency for International Development spent $649 million on democracy programs in 2000, a substantial increase from $165 million in 1991. <ref>[http://www.twf.org/News/Y2001/0215-CIAfunds.html Millions Spent Subverting 'Enemies,' Stifling Dissent]</ref>
Other western countries now have government foundations similar to NED, and they work collaboratively, e.g., the [[Canadian Rights and Democracy]] and the British [[Westminster Foundation for Democracy]]. Additional US agencies have joined NED and the CIA in this work, notably, the Agency for International Development (USAID) and United States Information Agency (USIA), which support and create foreign NGOs and media.<ref>Enver Masud (2001) [http://www.twf.org/News/Y2001/0215-CIAfunds.html Millions Spent Subverting 'Enemies,' Stifling Dissent]</ref>
:". . . these public-private philanthropies have worked together to fund and direct overthrow movements. . . . The grantees' activities included destabilization, the creation of mobs preventing elected governments from ruling, chaos, and violence. Among those funded were the Civic Forum in Czechoslovakia, Solidarity in Poland, Union of Democratic Forces in Bulgaria, Otpor in Serbia, and, more recently, similar groups in the succession states of the USSR. Sometimes mobs (especially of young people) have been moved around from one country to another to give the impression of vast popular opposition. The NED, Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, and the Soros philanthropies have been particularly active in these operations. Human Rights Watch (formerly Helsinki Watch) has nurtured opposition groups.<ref>Joan Roelofs, "The NED, NGOs and the Imperial Uses of Philanthropy: Why They Hate Our Kind Hearts, Too," counterpunch.org, May 13, 2006</ref>
The NED also branched out in 1994 with the creation of the [[International Forum for Democratic Studies]]: an centre for analysis of the theory and practice of democratic development worldwide and part of the Endowment structure and receiving funding from the NED appropriation, with additional provided by private foundations, which have also helped fund the [[Democracy Resource Center]], a variety of research conferences on democratic themes, and a small fellowship program. The Forum also encompasses the [[Journal of Democracy]], now published by Johns Hopkins University Press.  A related development that emerged from NED's efforts to stimulate the promotion of 'democracy' has been the creation of the [[World Movement for Democracy]], a "network of networks".<ref>David Lowe (2006) [http://www.ned.org/about/nedhistory.html Idea to Reality: A Brief History of the National Endowment for Democracy].</ref>
[[Image:John Lennon.jpg|right|"Long live the Socialist Revolution in the whole world!" ]]
[[Image:John Lennon.jpg|right|"Long live the Socialist Revolution in the whole world!" ]]

Revision as of 20:40, 1 November 2007


"Long live the Socialist Revolution in the whole world!"

Manana Aslamazyan: President, Educated Media Foundation According to her internews profile, together with Alexei K. Simonov she:

"launched Russia’s first freedom of speech organization in 1991, the Glasnost Defense Foundation (GDF). In 1992, Aslamazyan began to work with Internews Network to organize events for newly formed independent TV stations around the former Soviet Union. She became its first foreign staff person and by 1994, was managing the Russian operation, which in 1997 registered as a fully independent Russian non-commercial organization. In 2006, in response to changing legislation and its increased focus on training, Internews Russia re-organized as the Educated Media Foundation (EMF)."

Internews Russia/EMF had been involved in numerous projects including the launch of Internews Russia/EMF’s Journalism School and the Russian-American Media Entrepreneurship Dialogue. Aslamazyan served on the boards of several 'Russian' NGOs, Internews Network, and Internews International (a collection of local Internews organizations around the world) and Internews Europe. Aslamazyan's profile states she was part of the Russian Duma Committee on Information Policy, and from 2000 to 2004, the Federal Competition Commission of Ministry of Press, TV Broadcasting and Mass Media. She is a board member of the Academy of Russian Television and served for three years as a Vice-President of the National Association of TV and Radio Broadcasters (NAT).

She was also a trustee of the Institute for Urban Economics (IUE) this also includes Raymond Struyk, Senior Fellow, the Urban Institute, USA (set up in 1968 by President Lyndon B. Johnson) and which the IUE works alongside: such as its International Conference on Decentralization and Development of Local Self