NED Scrubs Ukraine Activities From Website Amid Renewed Scrutiny on “CIA Cutout”

© Sputnik / Andrey SteninPolice officers and opposition supporters are seen on Maidan Nezalezhnosti square in Kiev, where clashes began between protesters and the police. (File)
Police officers and opposition supporters are seen on Maidan Nezalezhnosti square in Kiev, where clashes began between protesters and the police. (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.03.2022
The National Endowment for Democracy, a CIA spinoff organization employed by the US government since 1983 to “promote democracy” using ‘soft power’ abroad, has suddenly and inexplicably removed all references to their funding of Ukrainian groups.
If you hear its CEO Damon Wilson tell it, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is nothing like the labels independent and critical journalists have used for years to describe the organization: “CIA cutout,” America’s meddling machine,” or “CIA sidekick,” to name just a few. Instead, he told a crowd of Ukrainian protesters in Washington on Sunday that the NED is “America’s foundation for freedom.”
And “today,” he bellows, “the fight for freedom is in Ukraine.”
But as of two weeks ago, just what exactly the group has been doing to “fight for freedom” in Ukraine is no longer publicly accessible information. All descriptions of the Ukrainian recipients, and the exact quantity of American taxpayers’ largesse, has since been completely scrubbed from the site. Anyone wishing to understand exactly how the US’ democratic crusade is being waged in Ukraine must now access an archived version of the site.
As detailed by journalist Jeremy Kuzmarov in Covert Action Magazine–the outlet cofounded by famed CIA whistleblower Philip Agee–their involvement has been considerable: “The NED played a pivotal role in helping to trigger the conflict with Russia by supporting two color revolutions.”
In just 2020 alone, “the NED provided $4.6 million to Ukraine for purposes that included raising awareness of alleged human rights abuses by Russia in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, and fomenting opposition and resistance to Russia.”
According to the NED, Ukraine is the world’s fourth-greatest recipient of its funding and has been a “major partner” of the organization since 1989.
A 2020 article in Counterpunch explained the extent of the NED’s supposedly pro-democracy activities in the unrest following Ukraine’s 2004 election:
“NED activists and [George] Soros’s [Open Society Institute] employed a broad public relations strategy to aid a youth protest movement, bus paid out-of-town protesters into Kiev, create an online TV protest station, create agitation paraphernalia, and provide offshore training to the anti-Yanukovych student leadership based on a template “revolutionary” strategy and the writings of Gene Sharp they had previously successfully employed in Serbia with a youth group called “Otpor!”
Figures like Sharp and “Otpor!” founder Srdja Popovic are regular fixtures in US-backed regime change operations across the globe. Friends and associates of Sharp and Popovic (described by The Guardian in 2015 as “the secret architect of global revolution”) have appeared in prominent roles in attempted coups in Venezuela and Bolivia, among others.
Ukrainian service members unpack Javelin anti-tank missiles, delivered by plane as part of the U.S. military support package for Ukraine, at the Boryspil International Airport outside Kyiv, Ukraine February 10, 2022.  REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.03.2022
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The organization Popović heads, the so-called “Center for Applied Non-Violent Actions and Strategies,” or CANVAS, claims to have trained “pro-democracy activists” in more than 50 countries–virtually all of which are current targets of western-backed regime change efforts or home to strategically significant resource reserves. Popović’s ‘democratic’ cabal worked closely with Pora!, a Ukrainian pro-regime change youth group loosely modeled after Otpor! in the 2004 color revolution often referred to in corporate media as the “Orange Revolution.”
Concerns over the organization’s practices have dogged it since its inception. As early as 1986, members of US Congress were pushing back against its excessive meddling, with one threatening to "throw the book" at the NED and lambasting officials for getting "involved in a partisan issue" after it emerged that anti-Sandinista groups in Nicaragua received NED cash and spent thousands to propagandize American citizens at home in the pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post.
"I've had it with NED," fumed Rep. Daniel A. Mica (D-Fla.), chairman of the international operations subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which oversees the group's budget.
For the past 40 years, these beneficiaries of the NED have done it all with money from US taxpayers. As the New York Times explained in 1997, the NED was “created… to do in the open what the Central Intelligence Agency has done surreptitiously for decades.” It’s an understanding shared by the NED cofounder Allen Weinstein, who bragged to the Washington Post in 1991, “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”
Just what–if anything–has changed since then is anyone’s guess.
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