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Follow the Money
Reform Work in the USA
By Dr.June Terpstra
Revised 2006
Adapted from
By June Scorza Terpstra
Copyright 2004 UMI Press


This essay examines my research on the subject of reforming “the system” and “working from within” the system  in the USA.  The main methods by which I examine this subject includes my experiences as an activist and educator combined with a focus on following the money trail to identify who funds reform work in the USA and by asking who benefits from the reform programs, policies and legal strategies these philanthropists support. 


My students often ask when examining the problems of oppression and social inequalities, what can be done?  In answer to this question journalist and historian, Husayn Al-Kurdi wrote that the number one point for activists today is that we begin real change for a better world by Not trying to reform the system---stop trying to reform it, he says.  But just what is this system of inequality to which we refer? 


By “the system” I mean that economic and social system in the late stages of capitalism and imperialism since the end of World War II that we find ourselves embedded today.  Author and educator Bob Nowlan refers to this stage of capitalism as that in which the routine workings of the market are no longer sufficient to insure the stable reproduction of the necessary preconditions for the continuation of profitable capitalist production. Therefore, regular and routine intervention in the capitalist economy by federal government, world banks, state and other social institutions becomes necessary. This is sometimes referred to as “advanced capitalism” (Nowlan 1993).


By “imperialism” I refer to the political theory of the acquisition and maintenance of resources to benefit the empire through force. The term is used to describe the policy of a country or ruling group in maintaining colonies and dominance over distant lands, regardless of whether the country or group calls itself an empire or a democratic nation fighting over there so they don’t have to fight in the fatherland  where freedom isn’t free and war is peace.


By “social justice,” I am referring to the radical restructuring of the distribution of resources in a society so that all people have shelter, food, clean water, adequate medical care and the means to self-determine their own lives. By “radical” I mean “from the roots,” or the foundational causes of why people do what they do and why they organize themselves certain ways economically and socially. For example, what is the root or foundation of capitalism, the priority of capital or profit, the bottom-line that profit comes before people? Under capitalism it is logical (inhuman and evil but logical) that one should enslave people because then you make more profit off of the proceeds of your plantation or oil field.  Why?  What is the root?  The root is greed: the greed to control and possess.  A whole system was created around the greed to be gods and the greed to control all of nature.  A root response to counter the enslavement to the greed masters is liberation and emancipation.

By liberation and emancipation I mean processes that free us from mechanisms of oppression and exploitation like capitalism and imperialism and in turn provide the necessary relationships for the creation and reclamation of multiple self-determined forms of individual and social models fostering human well-being.


Practices and polices to reform this system by conservatives and progressives alike typically advise and enforce a reform praxis as opposed to revolutionary praxis.  By “praxis” I mean the many ways in which we human beings engage, individually or collectively, as subjects—in grasping, holding, shaping, and forming the world in which we live (Nowlan 1993) based on our theories about social conditions and social change.  A reform praxis is theory based action which maintains things as they are while making alterations which ultimately benefit power holders while trickling down some benefits to the rest of the people.  By revolutionary praxis I mean theory-inspired action which revolves to the core of what it means to be human by eradicating dehumanizing, oppressive and exploitative systems and relationships.  No justice, no peace.



Through-out the twentieth century a new presence of philanthropy emerged (people of wealth who give away money while getting tax breaks by giving money and resources to the social and cultural causes of friends and family while getting good PR).  These philanthropists strengthened their power base of social control by including programs and research from people on the political spectrum of left, middle and right.  The reality of revolutions and the emergence of potential revolutionary movements in the USA was a threat to their ability to maintain world power. Thus, they directed efforts using their money and resources to ensure that a shift occurred from organized radical and revolutionary activist efforts such as those manifesting in the streets all over the world in the 1960’s  to reformist governmental, non-governmental and non-profit programmatic reforms, such as new laws empowering the state to manage discrimination and diversity.  In other words, instead of destroying capitalism and imperialism by breaking down its walls and breaking its balls many activists took jobs in programs and university departments created by the super rich.  These programs and projects were developed in such a way so that they threw a bone at social and economic problems, widened consumer bases and in fact, supported the capitalists and their empire building campaigns through out the so called cold war.   


What were some of the intentions of those power holders who funded these projects and offered these jobs?  What are the power relations and practices of capitalists who focus their philanthropy and corporate partnerships toward programs, private research councils, think tanks, and the academy within the USA.  Why does the  CIA also develop and fund similar programs in NGO’s non-profit organizations, educational and media institutions.

Revolution and struggles for self-determination that aim to eradicate capitalism are not in the interest of bankers or major share holders whether they be Chase,  McDonalds, Unical, Bechtel, Halliburton or any of the major corporations who are expropriating the worlds resources.  The majority  super rich, the 1-4% who own and control the systems do not want fundamental change which redistributes wealth. 

How is that people in positions of power with tons of money win the consent of people to focus on reform instead of revolution?   One way is by not killing them or imprisoning them and instead giving them money and jobs to take over cultural forms of protest such as hip hop and make it about bling and booty.  Another way to distract people is with stories that give social meanings to the violence of the oppressor and the oppressed.  We are repeatedly told that it is ok to imprison “gangsters” who invade and occupy a neighborhood but we should support the troops who invade and occupy neighborhoods around the world.

This is an example of cultural hegemony.  Hegemony is the dominance of one group over other groups, with or without a stated threat of force, in every aspect of life and death.  Hegemony results in the dominance of cultural stories, cultural beliefs, values, and practices to the submersion and partial exclusion of others.  For example, Columbus “discovered” America.  Forget about the indigenous people tortured and killed so that Europeans could invade and occupy “the new world” and establish the “new world order”.

Hegemonic dictates require their “experts”  (intellectuals, professors, researchers, and artists to enforce  a set of tacit rules about what can and cannot be said, who can and cannot speak, who must listen, whose social constructions are valid and whose are erroneous and unimportant (Kincheloe and McLaren 2000).   For example, I was speaking the other day with a protestant minister who owns a home in Panama and claimed to be Panamanian.  He was quite angry at my claim that the invasion and occupation of Panama in 1989 was another US imperial invasion for a strategically positioned territory in the fight for world power (for more information see: ). 

The acceptable story line and spin for him was that the Panama invasion and occupation was to depose the evil president Noriega (a man who reported to Bush senior when he was the CIA director) and of course, for democracy.  Sound familiar?  This man certainly  benefited from his job as a  missionary in Panama with a house, power status and a style of living way above the everyday Panamanian people.  He was outraged that I teach the facts about the  Panama invasion.  He expressed his belief that I do not teach the facts about who invaded, who was killed and the resulting conditions for the Panamanian people.  He liked the story where he could call himself a landowning Panamian and a freedom loving American.  The facts did not fit his story.

The manner in which hegemonies works involves a highly complex media and education matrix working on the reception of  images and signs on individuals located at various race, class, gender, and sexual coordinates in the web of reality (Kincheloe and McLaren 2000).  Using the age old guidance to “follow the money” it is evident that there were and are substantial monetary allocations (big money paid out) for reformist equity, legal, social service and academic projects such as missionary programs, development projects, youth centers, shelters, diversity programs, and women’s, ethnic and peace studies programs.

The money for these programs, like those that funded the early efforts of reformers such as Jane Adams and early founders of the NAACP, put into place within the greed system reform practices based on theories that would pose no major threat to the power holders, the super rich and capitalism.  Additionally, with reform programs another layer of centralized government  was put into place increasing public consent for increased state power in the private lives of people.  For example, white social workers were given the power to go into poor peoples homes and decide whether they should receive welfare or keep their children.  

Another example of so-called reforms are drug laws which allow the police to seize the car or home or money of not only someone who is caught with a drug but also anyone with him.  Clearly, these laws do not apply to people who use alcohol which was once illegal but now legal.  Did you know that the first American President was a hemp farmer? How is it that one thing is defined as legal and another illegal and who makes these definitions and who benefits from the definitions? This is an example of ideology production--marijuana=bad, alcohol=good.  Hegemonic media tells you what is a crime, who is the gangster, who is the fascist.  They tell you a story over and over.  They do not want you to pay attention to the facts. 

In my experience from 1982-1987 writing grants to foundations owned by super rich families I obtained over $500, 000.00 in grant money for domestic violence, sexual assault, abuse prevention education, social issues theater projects, anti-racism projects and an urban teen center from foundations such as the Woods, McCormick and the Marshall Fields Foundations. I also secured city community trust, city community block grant and state funds for the programs I was developing. Each of these funding organizations had an array of “standards, requirements, and rules” to follow and reports to file in order to meet “funding objectives” toward “reforms.”  Who were the people who gave the money to make the definitions and set these standards and who decided on the right way to make things better?  Who really benefits from these programs, laws and policies?

Reform programs are influenced and driven by agenda’s set by funding agencies. In university environments faculty respond to (are often driven by) both private and public requests for proposals in specific areas of research and program development on issues such as welfare, anti-gang, peace studies, multi-culturalism or women’s leadership development, to name a few.  People with bright and creative ideas often apply for grants but their efforts are shaped and measured in relation to what is considered “fundable” by existing guidelines and standards of foundations, councils, and the national research associations.  Who are these people and where do they get their ideas and their money?

Public and private monies were made available by people with power for research and programs for centuries through patronage in many forms.  Kings and lords learned over time the manner in which they could keep people distracted and divided with cultural forms and legal processes.  Imperialists such as Julius Ceasar knew way back in the day how to manipulate and control people with cultural events featuring gladiators and legal structures dividing people into citizens and slaves.

A recent version of social control through reform is one of my own experiences exampled in what became the social service field of domestic violence in the 1980’s.   It benefited power holders (such as government and foundation managers) to get rebelious women to work with in the system and help them create laws which would give the state increased domestic management power.  This way the power holders could shape definitions, signs and symbols and strengthen the states legal power to define what is legal and what is illegal.  New non-profit groups were given money to create shelters and universities obtained grant awards for research in this area. 

In universities in which  I worked  government grants were  provided for women’s studies faculty to evaluate a state domestic violence coalition and to conduct research on local domestic violence prevention education programs. The funding of such projects and awards produce academic work products promoting the program directions already set by power holders while advancing the promotion and tenure of faculty who in turn become gatekeepers and agents of the state at elite and teaching universities.

In her book, Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism, Joan Roelofs provides an analysis that lends insight into the complex mechanisms of hegemonic ideology production (the production of research, texts, art, music, film that tells stories directing and shaping how people think and act).  Roelofs asserts that foundations hide their social control work and “become invisible by working through buffer organizations,” such as the Social Science Research Council. 

Roelofs describes how robber barons like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller reinvented themselves as “philanthropists” in the early 20th century, by establishing elite foundations such as the Carnegie Corporation and the Rockefeller Foundation. She provides a statistical portrait of the economic power of foundations and the rest of the U.S. “non-profit” world. She observes, for instance, that “the planning and coordinating arms” of the non-profit U.S. economic sector or “independent sector the foundations have billion dollar assets, with the largest private foundations being the Gates Foundation, the Lilly Endowment and the Ford Foundation (Roelofs 2003). She describes the various ways that the “third sector”/non-profit world largely function as a protective layer for capitalism” (Roelofs 2003). One “protective technique of the nonprofit sector” that she mentions is “co-optation”, a major theme of this essay (Roelofs 2003). 

The contours of the nonprofit system become clearer when we look at its great planning and funding arms: the large foundations. They contribute to amusement, to placation of artists, to biochemical research, and to routine charity, but perhaps their most interesting endeavors are in directing social reform.  The great multipurpose foundations first arose in the early 20th century, closely connecting themselves in theory and practice with Progressivism (progressing towards what?) and the rise of the social sciences. The new millionaires of robber baron infamy saw foundations as devices to serve several purposes. First, they would provide a systematic way to distribute vast fortunes. Second, they would permit considerable social control through philanthropy. John D. Rockefeller decided “to establish one great foundation. This foundation would be a single central holding company which would finance any and all of the other benevolent organizations, and thus necessarily subject them to its general supervision. Third, foundations could improve public relations; many believed that the Rockefeller Foundation was created to erase the scandal of the Ludlow Massacre in one of American history’s dramatic confrontations between capital and labor at the Rockefeller-owned Colorado Fuel and Iron Company. In a carefully planned attack on the tent colony by Colorado militiamen, coal company guards, and thugs hired as private detectives and strike breakers twenty people were shot and burned to death, including a dozen women and small children. Later investigations revealed that kerosene had intentionally been poured on the tents to set them ablaze. The deaths were blamed on John D. Rockefeller Jr. (Roelofs 2003).

In the period prior to the First World War, foundations could ameliorate the lot of the masses and at the same time co-opt (buy) intellectuals who often had socialist sympathies. They promoted an ideology that regarded social ills as problems to be solved by social scientists (Roelofs 2003).  In the 20th-century foundations influenced the direction of local, national and international governmental reform and of educational reform. The push for Congress to pass in 1921 the Budget and Accounting Act, “which turned budget interests over to the president and a newly created Bureau of the Budget,” for instance, was led by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Trustee Robert Brookings and Rockefeller Foundation men.

Foundations are in the business ideology production.  They propagate ideology via think tanks, educational institutions, academic disciplines and the media.   The Rockefeller, Carnegie and Ford foundations shaped academic political and social sciences during the 20th-century and promoted concepts and subjects such as “social work”, “multiculturalism”, “welfare reform”, “ women’s liberation” and “civic renewal”.  Today the foundations and philanthropists are funding the development of the field of criminal justice.  Defining the way people think and act in reference to these subjects was and is a major strategy in what the capitalists call the cold war and now the war on terror. For example, what do you think and what images are produced when you hear or read the phrase the war on terror or the word communist?  You have been programmed to think and believe a set of stories with these words.  You may even be willing to kill someone based on these stories.

In the 1960’s foundations encouraged the fragmentation of the  New Left in the USA and Europe by promoting “identity politics” and “helped transform radical movements into professional-led scholarly or bureaucratic organizations(Roelofs 2003).” When  dissident anti-war political scientists formed the “Caucus for New Political Science” within the American Political Science Association (APSA) in 1967 they opposed the APSA convention’s lack of concern with the Vietnam War and mass protest movements. The Caucus for New Political Science raised the issue at this time of “foundations’ influence on research topic choices and foundations’ connections to political science more generally.  There arose a movement to censor an expel those members speaking out (Roelofs 2003).

A similar movement to censor and expel those speaking against the Iraq war within educational institutions in the USA is ongoing.  For example, in 2003 I was told by a Dean that I could not sponsor anti-war guest speakers in a class I was teaching, Several funded groups are sponsoring websites to intimidate  teachers who are speaking against the war by labeling them as unpatriotic. Some faculty have been forced to resign positions and some Arab Muslim faculty have been incarcerated and deported as so-called terrorists. 

In my own experience I have been a part of foundations focus on legal reforms to solve problems of racism and discrimination. Particularly, the Ford Foundation, promotes legalistic, courtroom-oriented  strategies for groups such as Blacks and women to adopt, instead of a mass-based struggle, street protest-oriented, and fundamental political change approach.   By funding lawyers and social workers to “ work from within” foundations neutralize dissent and prevent systemic alternatives from developing credibility.   By channeling social change organizations away from criticism of the corporate economy and its global penetration and to work instead on tax programs or development projects real economic revolution is avoided.   Roelofs argues that philanthropy was directly responsible for the decline of the 1960s’ and 1970s’ protest movements” because “radical activism often was transformed by grants and technical assistance from foundations into fragmented and local organizations subject to elite control.” In addition, “energies were channeled into safe, legalistic, bureaucratic and, occasionally, profit-making activities” by the  foundation grants (Roelofs 2003).

After the Second World War, foundation intervention in the policy process increased dramatically. For example, fear of political disorder brought forth a strategy to keep people from revolting and rebelling from the Ford Foundation.  Its Report for 1949 argued that we had to strengthen our system in order to meet the challenge of communism. Problems included the unfinished business of the Civil War, the lack of political participation, and the care of maladjusted individuals. Ford’s initial strategy was to fund litigation for Supreme Court decisions, which successfully obtained increased legal equality for blacks, reform of the criminal justice system, and reapportionment of legislatures.

During the 1960s, as one response to burgeoning protest movements, the Ford Foundation took the lead in developing public interest law, which included law firms, clinical programs in law schools, specialized law reviews, and an appropriate ideology. Among the litigation organizations created were the Women’s Law Fund, Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, and a number of Legal Defense and Education Funds (LDEFs) including the Puerto Rican LDEF, Mexican-American LDEF, and Native-American LDEF. Older organizations, such as National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense and Education Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union, also became dependent on foundation funding (Roelofs 2003).

By 1984, foundations contributed about one-third of the peace movement’s income” and cites a February 1985 Monthly Review article, “Corporate Interests, Philanthropy and the Peace Movement,” which asserted that in bankrolling U.S. anti-war groups, “foundations distinguished between `acceptable and unacceptable’ activism” (Roelofs 2003). Foundations that are “bent on reforms that will contain and channel social change “include alternative, leftist, “social change foundations” such as the now-defunct Garland Fund and the Haymarket Fund (Roelofs 2003).

One program under Ford Foundation leadership, was the creation of Community Development Corporations, in an attempt to transform the “Black Power” slogan into the more acceptable “Black Capitalism.” These entities, which combine financing from government, corporations, and foundations, develop small businesses and industries in impoverished areas white and black, urban and rural. Although their return on investment is trivial, their payoff can be measured in terms of pacification, the development of moderate leadership, and social mobility for individuals. Another project of the foundation-corporation alliance was the establishment of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change in Atlanta. It was financed by the large foundations, as well as the corporate foundations of Ford Motor Company, Atlantic Richfield, Levi Strauss, Amoco, General Motors, Heublein, Corning, Mobil, Western Electric, Proctor and Gamble, US Steel, Monsanto, Morgan Guaranty Trust, etc. Along with innocuous programs like daycare centers, housing rehabilitation, and information on how to celebrate Dr. King’s birthday, are two striking projects. One is work with military chaplains to provide King Birthday observances at military bases. The other is cosponsorship of an annual lecture series entitled: “The Free Enterprise System: An Agent for Nonviolent Social Change.” Other minority movements have been transformed into standard Washington lobby format. The Southwest Council of La Raza and National Council of La Raza were created by the Ford Foundation from what were once militant movements of Chicanos in the Southwest.

Leadership training and technical assistance programs for protest and advocacy organizations also stress pragmatic goals. The foundations claim that their programs enhance “pluralism.” What they mainly do is increase the clout of the foundation-corporation network to enforce their ideological agenda. For all the emphasis on participation, ordinary people have become alienated from politics in any form, and foundation-supported policy experts nearly monopolize the political debate (Roelofs 2003).

Historically and currently, foundation power is also exercised outside the United States in foundations such as the Global Fund for Women in what could be referred to as “shadow feminism.” This is a reference to the manner in which American feminism works for the interests of capitalists by supporting wars under the guise of freeing the oppressed women of a country. One of the best examples is evidenced by the international activities of George Soros’ foundations, as well as the international activities of the Ford, Rockefeller and Carnegie foundations. These foundations fund development and leadership programs so that people around the globe become good capitalist producers and consumers. There is a connection between the NGOs and the liberal foundations in Latin America, South Africa and Eastern Europe which has undertaken what is called democratization and is promoted by the network of NGOs which the liberal foundations now fund around the globe, “the NGOs also co-opt leaders and movements for change” (Roelofs 2003).

Studies such as Roelofs’ confirm for some of us what we experienced as we attempt to develop counter-hegemonic programs.  The funding for our programs was and is a “set up” to put out for the system.   For example, after fierce debates over taking private and public monies in a variety of organizations of which I was a member we took the plunge and wrote grants and obtained funding for programs, conferences, seminars and projects. As the money rolled in we lost more and more control over what we could say and do.  Philanthropic “support” came to control major aspects of new programs while it also offered jobs to the those people acceptable to the super rich who “owned” the foundations.  

By the 1970’s the foundation structure was historically set in place to influence social program agendas that would not threaten capitalism and globalism in any fundamental way. In fact, these programs often assist in the development of a new professional group of people across race, sex and ethnicity to teach and conduct research aimed at socializing new generations of workers who will produce the stuff and consume the stuff from which capitalists get super rich (like Nikes, or computers, Wal-Mart stuff) . In the fields of education and social sciences faculty now build acceptable curricular models for a “diverse” consumer market heretofore ignored. Women and ethnic studies and queer theory became acceptable in elite research universities over time as long as they provided capitalists with the justifications to do things like make war for oil, redevelop poor people’s neighborhoods,  and cut down the rain forest for Home Depot and McDonalds.  At arts colleges they sponsor creating music and TV shows for new markets such as teens in gangs, poor black women, and gay and lesbian consumers. This is the capitalist version of good race and ethnic relations.

The Ford Foundation began supporting women’s studies programs on campuses in 1972, and by 1975 was also supporting the National Organization for Women, and Women’s Action Alliance.  Mariam Chamberlain, a former program officer at the Ford Foundation, estimates that Ford donated millions to women’s studies projects from 1972 to 1992 . . . Rockefeller Foundation also funds women’s studies, minority studies, and gay and lesbian studies, but much of their support for marginalism and multiculturalism is funneled into the arts rather than the humanities. This year Ford, Rockefeller, and Carnegie gave grants to organizations working against the California Civil Rights Initiative, a ballot measure that would bar race preferences in state employment, contracts, and college admissions. (Brandt 1996)

Today, a core group of super rich women such as Teresa Heinz Kerry oversee reform efforts. For example, Heinz Kerry donated more than million over the past ten years to the Tides Foundation, a “charity” established in 1976 by Drummond Pike. The Tides Foundation and its closely allied Tides Center, which was spun off from the Foundation in 1996 but also run by Drummond Pike, distributed nearly a million in grants in 2002 alone. In all, Tides has distributed more than a million for funds to organize peaceful antiwar demonstrations, anti-globalization demonstrations, domestic moderate Islamic groups, civil rights legal groups, environmentalists, reproductive rights work, and gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered activism. (Newman 2004)

The Tides foundation also helped establish the Iraq Peace Fund and the Peace Strategies Fund to assist funding a nonviolent antiwar movement.  These projects fund so called progressive democratic advocacy organizations such as IndyMedia which provides “alternate activist oriented media coverage.” IndyMedia, an enormous internet news and events bulletin board with local pages in most of the world’s major cities, has provided a vital link for reformist, nonviolent and civil disobedience activists to coordinate nonviolent protests and social justice organizations.

I have participated as both a street action journalist and behind the scenes as both an advocate and critic with IndyMedia organizers since 2001 in Italy and the USA. Similar to what happened in academic women’s and multicultural programs in the USA, worn out IndyMedia volunteers (mostly white women) began to see possibilities for foundation funds.  They wanted the funds so they had enough money to pay their rent and travel to do their work. They lobbied their more radical members to agree to a grant submission process that would solicit and obtain money from foundations. Many volunteers in IndyMedia from around the globe stood against this move. In turn, some of the women in the USA dumped the collective decision-making process and sent out proposals under the auspices of local autonomy with local IndyMedia centers in the USA holding non-profit status.

I saw a familiar historical pattern and a dilemma for workers in general and women specifically repeating itself in IndyMedia. Without substantive knowledge of the history of foundations and reform, small groups in the USA are playing roles as assets for capitalism as detailed in this essay. In direct opposition to the revolutionary theory and practices of key IndyMedia brothers and sisters outside of the USA, this group within the USA are organizing the professionalization of journalistic endeavors in the hopes of professional salaried status for themselves and others by applying for grant monies from foundations. This indicates to me that people now publishing articles who typically do not have access to publishing will eventually be held to standards put into place by funders and managers. IndyMedia has received money from the Tides Foundation and a recent Ford foundation grant. I predict that in a matter of one to two decades IndyMedia will have paid staff, running the organizations globally and locally with moneys and oversight from Ford, Tides, Rockefellers and Soros, who is one of the newest philanthropic barons.


Another layer in the super rich domination and social control efforts are the partnerships between the CIA and educational institutions. According to the book, CIA Off-Campus by Ami Chen Mills (1991), “CIA spokesperson Sharon Foster said in 1988 that the CIA has enough professors under Agency contract ‘to staff a large university.’“ The same book also observed:

As of the late 1970s, approximately 5,000 professors were doing CIA work in some capacity, either `spotting’ U.S. or foreign recruitment candidates, participating in research and grant work or carrying out more active programs like foreign police training. It is estimated that about 60 percent of these academics were aware of the nature of their employment, while another 40 percent did the CIA’s bidding in the dark-through front companies or foundations. In the 1990s, the number of academics on the CIA payroll has undoubtedly increased. (Chen Mills 1991)

In a recent book entitled Academic Capitalism: Politics, Policies and the Entrepreneurial University, sociologists Sheila Slaughter and Larry Leslie analyze what they term the “global knowledge economy.” This economy is structured by rapidly growing partnerships between public universities and the corporate sector. In case studies of universities in Australia, Canada, the U.K. and the U.S., Slaughter and Leslie demonstrate that public universities increasingly seek corporate money to offset the loss of government block grants which now subsidize big corporations with tax dollars. This has occasioned a cataclysmic change in the way public universities operate (and private universities also in my experience). The faculty are no longer able to occupy the tenuous space between capital and labor they have held since the Industrial Revolution (Slaughter and Leslie 1997). Instead they are increasingly becoming direct participants in the market in order to fund their research. As a result, a new breed of academic player has been bred, “academic capitalists” or “state-subsidized entrepreneurs” who “act as capitalists from within the public sector” (Slaughter and Leslie 1997). They must compete in the public sector in order to make their areas of research or individual department’s viable financial entities. This has had numerous ripple effects. Many corporations have closed their research and development departments, using public universities as their state-subsidized laboratories (Slaughter and Leslie 1997). 


It did not take long for smart capitalists to realize that creating a cross-cultural professional class who would front for the ruling class was just good business.  They created loyal producers and consumers who were successfully diverted away from work for the emancipation of oppressed and exploited people.   Many professionals who may have been real actors for social justice now are now in the employ of the government and the super rich  acting as agents and assets for the state. By agents I mean those employed by capitalist institutions who consciously act to preserve and maintain the institutions under capitalism and by extension imperialism. By assets I mean those employed or engaged with capitalist institutions that knowingly or unknowingly support capitalist and imperialist tendencies and aims.

In the past, capitalist philanthropists and government research “planning and development” experts allocated funds to programs such as ethnic studies and women’s centers to train a managerial class of people capable of negotiating and affirming “differences” in the interests of capital. Today the focus is on “criminal justice” or justice as defined by the real criminals, the capitalists. 

A professional social service class has been developed which provides “services” for the increasing numbers of oppressed and exploited peoples negatively affected by the global plunder for profit. With the allocation of resources toward these ends reformers quickly shifted their main aims and overall goals toward “professionalization.”  Jobs were opened up for “professionals” who would help “nonprofessionals.” The state would credential “professionals” with new certification processes exacting fees for the state. This also translated into professional academic and research jobs for consultants, trainers and evaluators in the nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations who would oversee and manage all this “diversity.”

Today radicalism and revolutionary theory and practice in and out of the academy barely exists. It has been well tempered. Criticalists occasionally throw some bones to the idea of producing dangerous knowledge yet most attempts to incorporate such a praxis meets fierce resistance in the academy from liberal and conservative gatekeepers alike.

The vision promoted by the ruling groups in the philanthropic foundations, think tanks and the academy structures the material relations of people sponsoring and utilizing social programs. Those working in the programs are forced to participate within the confines of that vision or lose their jobs, their grants, their positions (Hartsock 1998).  As a liminal (a person situated at a threshold, barely perceptible but offering a fresh take on a classic formula) in the academy I place myself in the historical, political, and theoretical process of constituting myself as a revolutionary subject as well as an object of history in my interpretation of social relations as seen from the threshold. I stand with one foot in the academic door and one foot in the “street” manifesting a protest for theories and actions that recognize oppression for what it is, insisting on economic redistribution and maintaining the preferential option for the poor. I believe that providing accounts of experiences of domination, especially from those working with the system, offers critical understandings about social and economic realities which produce knowledge ways to fundamentally change the system.

This is the point of this essay, many radicals and revolutionaries, after gaining access to the academy, conceded to directions, agendas and approaches set in place by super rich people and their managers.  Often times people desiring social justice become agents and assets (albeit at times unconsciously) in order to keep jobs/retain positions, receive promotions and tenure, by telling ourselves that we are opening doors for women and men across race and ethnicity, who will change the system. Although at times we would challenge and lobby elites to fund efforts for real systemic change which recognizes and redistributes resources, in my extensive experience with philanthropists and the women and men who manage philanthropic funds, these efforts do not benefit them and so they do not fund them. They fund “acceptable” strategies such as “welfare reform,” leadership development, gay and lesbian art projects, trauma therapy research, domestic violence programs, and professional development programs.

     This brings us full circle, revolving back to the core theme of the essay.  If we are truly committed to ending oppression and supporting self-determination then it is time to stop trying to reform the system.  Our work now must be fundamental change which goes to the root causes of the problems. 


Al-Kurdi, Husayn.  2004.  Orientations on Getting It Done.  Liberation Central,

Brandt, Daniel. 1996. Philanthropists at war. NameBase NewsLine 15.

Campbell Disla, Leanne. 2002. Confronting imperialism: Towards an evaluative framework for educators, researchers, and activists. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

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Borge Brende, the foreign minister of Norway, in June at the Brookings Institution in Washington. CreditStephen Crowley/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The agreement signed last year by the Norway Ministry of Foreign Affairs was explicit: For $5 million, Norway’s partner in Washington would push top officials at the White House, at the Treasury Department and in Congress to double spending on a United States foreign aid program.

But the recipient of the cash was not one of the many Beltway lobbying firms that work every year on behalf of foreign governments.

It was the Center for Global Development, a nonprofit research organization, or think tank, one of many such groups in Washington that lawmakers, government officials and the news media have long relied on to provide independent policy analysis and scholarship.

More than a dozen prominent Washington research groups have received tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments in recent years while pushing United States government officials to adopt policies that often reflect the donors’ priorities, an investigation by The New York Times has found.

The money is increasingly transforming the once-staid think-tank world into a muscular arm of foreign governments’ lobbying in Washington. And it has set off troubling questions about intellectual freedom: Some scholars say they have been pressured to reach conclusions friendly to the government financing the research.

The think tanks do not disclose the terms of the agreements they have reached with foreign governments. And they have not registered with the United States government as representatives of the donor countries, an omission that appears, in some cases, to be a violation of federal law, according to several legal specialists who examined the agreements at the request of The Times.

As a result, policy makers who rely on think tanks are often unaware of the role of foreign governments in funding the research.

Joseph Sandler, a lawyer and expert on the statute that governs Americans lobbying for foreign governments, said the arrangements between the countries and think tanks “opened a whole new window into an aspect of the influence-buying in Washington that has not previously been exposed.”

Continue reading the main story

Selected Documents on Think Tanks and Foreign Money


“It is particularly egregious because with a law firm or lobbying firm, you expect them to be an advocate,” Mr. Sandler added. “Think tanks have this patina of academic neutrality and objectivity, and that is being compromised.”

The arrangements involve Washington’s most influential think tanks, including the Brookings Institution, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Atlantic Council. Each is a major recipient of overseas funds, producing policy papers, hosting forums and organizing private briefings for senior United States government officials that typically align with the foreign governments’ agendas.

Most of the money comes from countries in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere in Asia, particularly the oil-producing nations of the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Norway, and takes many forms. The United Arab Emirates, a major supporter of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, quietly provided a donation of more than $1 million to help build the center’s gleaming new glass and steel headquarters not far from the White House. Qatar, the small but wealthy Middle East nation, agreed last year to make a $14.8 million, four-year donation to Brookings, which has helped fund a Brookings affiliate in Qatar and a project on United States relations with the Islamic world.

Some scholars say the donations have led to implicit agreements that the research groups would refrain from criticizing the donor governments.

“If a member of Congress is using the Brookings reports, they should be aware — they are not getting the full story,” said Saleem Ali, who served as a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Centerin Qatar and who said he had been told during his job interview that he could not take positions critical of the Qatari government in papers. “They may not be getting a false story, but they are not getting the full story.”

In interviews, top executives at the think tanks strongly defended the arrangements, saying the money never compromised the integrity of their organizations’ research. Where their scholars’ views overlapped with those of donors, they said, was coincidence.

“Our business is to influence policy with scholarly, independent research, based on objective criteria, and to be policy-relevant, we need to engage policy makers,” said Martin S. Indyk, vice president and director of the Foreign Policy Program at Brookings, one of the oldest and most prestigious think tanks in Washington.

“Our currency is our credibility,” said Frederick Kempe, chief executive of the Atlantic Council, a fast-growing research center that focuses mainly on international affairs and has accepted donations from at least 25 countries since 2008. “Most of the governments that come to us, they understand we are not lobbyists. We are a different entity, and they work with us for totally different purposes.”

In their contracts and internal documents, however, foreign governments are often explicit about what they expect from the research groups they finance.

“In Washington, it is difficult for a small country to gain access to powerful politicians, bureaucrats and experts,” states an internal reportcommissioned by the Norwegian Foreign Affairs Ministry assessing its grant making. “Funding powerful think tanks is one way to gain such access, and some think tanks in Washington are openly conveying that they can service only those foreign governments that provide funding.”

The think tanks’ reliance on funds from overseas is driven, in part, by intensifying competition within the field: The number of policy groups has multiplied in recent years, while research grants from the United States government have dwindled.

Foreign officials describe these relationships as pivotal to winning influence on the cluttered Washington stage, where hundreds of nations jockey for attention from the United States government. The arrangements vary: Some countries work directly with think tanks, drawing contracts that define the scope and direction of research. Others donate money to the think tanks, and then pay teams of lobbyists and public relations consultants to push the think tanks to promote the country’s agenda.

“Japan is not necessarily the most interesting subject around the world,” said Masato Otaka, a spokesman for the Japanese Embassy, when asked why Japan donates heavily to American research groups. “We’ve been experiencing some slower growth in the economy. I think our presence is less felt than before.”

The scope of foreign financing for American think tanks is difficult to determine. But since 2011, at least 64 foreign governments, state-controlled entities or government officials have contributed to a group of 28 major United States-based research organizations, according to disclosures by the institutions and government documents. What little information the organizations volunteer about their donors, along with public records and lobbying reports filed with American officials by foreign representatives, indicates a minimum of $92 million in contributions or commitments from overseas government interests over the last four years. The total is certainly more.

After questions from The Times, some of the research groups agreed to provide limited additional information about their relationships with countries overseas. Among them was the Center for Strategic and International Studies, whose research agenda focuses mostly on foreign policy; it agreed last month to release a list of 13 foreign government donors, from Germany to China, though the organization declined to disclose details of its contracts with those nations or actual donation amounts.

Michele Dunne resigned as the head of the Atlantic Council’s center for the Middle East after calling for the suspension of military aid to Egypt in 2013.CreditGlobal Development Network

In an interview, John J. Hamre, president and chief executive of the center, acknowledged that the organization’s scholars at times advocate causes with the Obama administration and Congress on the topics that donor governments have funded them to study. But Mr. Hamre stressed that he did not view it as lobbying — and said his group is most certainly not a foreign agent.

“I don’t represent anybody,” Mr. Hamre, a former deputy secretary of defense, said. “I never go into the government to say, ‘I really want to talk to you about Morocco or about United Arab Emirates or Japan.’ I have conversations about these places all the time with everybody, and I am never there representing them as a lobbyist to their interests.”

Several legal experts who reviewed the documents, however, said the tightening relationships between United States think tanks and their overseas sponsors could violate theForeign Agents Registration Act, the 1938 federal law that sought to combat a Nazi propaganda campaign in the United States. The law requires groups that are paid by foreign governments with the intention of influencing public policy to register as “foreign agents” with the Justice Department.

“I am surprised, quite frankly, at how explicit the relationship is between money paid, papers published and policy makers and politicians influenced,” said Amos Jones, a Washington lawyer who has specialized in the foreign agents act, after reviewing transactions between the Norway government and Brookings, the Center for Global Development and other groups.

At least one of the research groups conceded that it may in fact be violating the federal law.

“Yikes,” said Todd Moss, the chief operating officer at the Center for Global Development, after being shown dozens of pages of emails between his organization and the government of Norway, which detail how his group would lobby the White House and Congress on behalf of the Norway government. “We will absolutely seek counsel on this.”

Parallels With Lobbying

The line between scholarly research and lobbying can sometimes be hard to discern.

Last year, Japan began an effort to persuade American officials to accelerate negotiations over a free-trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, one of Japan’s top priorities. The country already had lobbyists on retainer, from the Washington firm of Akin Gump, but decided to embark on a broader campaign.

Akin Gump lobbyists approached several influential members of Congress and their staffs, including aides to Representative Charles Boustany Jr., Republican of Louisiana, and Representative Dave Reichert, Republican of Washington, seeking help in establishing a congressional caucus devoted to the partnership, lobbying records show. After those discussions, in October 2013, the lawmakers established just such a group, the Friends of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

To bolster the new group’s credibility, Japanese officials sought validation from outside the halls of Congress. Within weeks, they received it from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, to which Japan has been a longtime donor. The center will not say how much money the government has given — or for what exactly — but an examination of its relationship with a state-funded entity called the Japan External Trade Organization provides a glimpse.

In the past four years, the organization has given the center at least $1.1 million for “research and consulting” to promote trade and direct investment between Japan and the United States. The center also houses visiting scholars from within the Japanese government, including Hiroshi Waguri, an executive in the Ministry of Defense, as well as Shinichi Isobe, an executive from the trade organization.

In early December, the center held an eventfeaturing Mr. Boustany and Mr. Reichert, who spoke about the importance of the trade agreement and the steps they were taking to pressure the White House to complete it. In addition, at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing later that month, Matthew P. Goodman, a scholar at the center, testified in favor of the agreement, his language driving home the very message Japan’s lobbyists and their congressional allies were seeking to convey.

The agreement was critical to “success not only for the administration’s regional economic policy but arguably for the entire Asia rebalancing strategy,” Mr. Goodman said.

Mr. Hamre, the center’s president, acknowledged that his organization’s researchers were pushing for the trade deal (it remains pending). But he said their advocacy was rooted in a belief that the agreement was good for the United States economy and the country’s standing in Asia.

Continue reading the main story


Foreign Government Contributions to Nine Think Tanks

Foreign governments and state-controlled or state-financed entities have paid tens of millions of dollars to dozens of American think tanks in recent years, according to a New York Times investigation.


Andrew Schwartz, a spokesman for the center, said that language in the agreements the organization signs with foreign governments gives its scholars final say over the policy positions they take — although he acknowledged those provisions have not been included in all such documents.

“We have to respect their academic and intellectual independence,” Mr. Otaka, the Japanese Embassy spokesman, said in a separate interview. But one Japanese diplomat, who asked not to be named as he was not authorized to discuss the matter, said the country expected favorable treatment in return for donations to think tanks.

“If we put actual money in, we want to have a good result for that money — as it is an investment,” he said.

Qatar and the United Arab Emirates — two nations that host large United States military bases and view a continued American military presence as central to their own national security — have been especially aggressive in their giving to think tanks. The two Persian Gulf monarchies are also engaged in a battle with each other to shape Western opinion, with Qatar arguing that Muslim Brotherhood-style political Islam is the Arab world’s best hope for democracy, and the United Arab Emirates seeking to persuade United States policy makers that the Brotherhood is a dangerous threat to the region’s stability.

The United Arab Emirates, which has become a major supporter of the Center for Strategic and International Studies over the past decade, turned to the think tank in 2007 after an uproar in Congress about the nation’s plan to purchase control of terminals in several United States ports. After lawmakers questioned whether the purchase would be a national security threat to the United States, and the deal was scuttled, the oil-rich nation sought to remake its image in Washington, Mr. Hamre said.

The nation paid the research organization to sponsor a lecture series “to examine the strategic importance” of the gulf region and “identify opportunities for constructive U.S. engagement.” It also paid the center to organize annual trips to the gulf region during which dozens of national security experts from the United States would get private briefings from government officials there.

These and other events gave the United Arab Emirates’ senior diplomats an important platform to press their case. At a round table in Washington in March 2013, Yousef Al Otaiba, the ambassador to the United States, pressed Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, about whether the United States would remain committed to his country given budget reductions in Washington.

Mr. Dempsey’s reply was quickly posted on the Facebook page of the United Arab Emirates Embassy: The country, he assured Mr. Al Otaiba and others in the crowd, was one of America’s “most credible and capable allies, especially in the gulf region.”

Access to Power

Small countries are finding that they can gain big clout by teaming up with American research organizations. Perhaps the best example is Norway.

As one of the world’s top oil producers, a member of NATO and a player in peace negotiations in spots around the globe, Norway has an interest in a broad range of United States policies.

The country has committed at least $24 million to an array of Washington think tanks over the past four years, according to a tally by The Times, transforming these nonprofits into a powerful but largely hidden arm of the Norway Foreign Affairs Ministry. Documents obtained under that country’s unusually broad open records laws reveal that American research groups, after receiving money from Norway, have advocated in Washington for enhancing Norway’s role in NATO, promoted its plans to expand oil drilling in the Arctic and pushed its climate change agenda.

Norway paid the Center for Global Development, for example, to persuade the United States government to spend more money on combating global warming by slowing the clearing of forests in countries like Indonesia, according to a 2013project document describing work by the center and a consulting company called Climate Advisers.

Norway is a major funder of forest protection efforts around the world. But while many environmentalists applaud the country’s lobbying for forest protection, some have attacked the programs as self-interested: Slowing deforestation could buy more time for Norway’s oil companies to continue selling fossil fuels on the global market even as Norway and other countries push for new carbon reduction policies. Oilwatch International, an environmental advocacy group, calls forest protection a “scheme whereby polluters use forests and land as supposed sponges for their pollution.”

Kare R. Aas, Norway’s ambassador to the United States, rejected this criticism as ridiculous. As a country whose territory extends into the Arctic, he said, Norway would be among the nations most affected by global warming.

John J. Hamre, the president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that he did not view as lobbying his scholars’ advocacy on topics foreign donors have funded them to study. CreditDrew Angerer for The New York Times

“We want to maintain sustainable living conditions in the North,” Mr. Aas said.

But Norway’s agreement imposed very specific demands on the Center for Global Development. The research organization, in return for Norway’s money, was not simply asked to publish reports on combating climate change. The project documents ask the think tank to persuade Washington officials to double United States spending on global forest protection efforts to $500 million a year.

“Target group: U.S. policy makers,” a progress report reads.

The grant is already paying dividends. The center, crediting the Norwegian government’s funding, helped arrange a November 2013 meeting with Treasury Department officials. Scholars there also succeeded in having language from their Norway-funded research included in a deforestation report prepared by a White House advisory commission, according to an April progress report.

Norway has also funded Arctic research at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, at a time when the country was seeking to expand its oil drilling in the Arctic region.

Mr. Hamre, of the center, said he was invited to Norway about five years ago and given a presentation on the Arctic Circle, known in Norway as the “High North.”

“What the hell is the High North?” he said in an interview, recalling that he was not familiar with the topic until then.

But Norway’s government soon began sending checks to the center for a research program on Arctic policy. By 2009, after the new Norway-supported Arctic program was up and running, itbrought Norway officials together with a key member of Congress to discuss the country’s “energy aspirations for the region.”

In a March 2013 report, scholars from the center urged the Obama administration to increase its military presence in the Arctic Circle, to protect energy exploration efforts there and to increase the passage of cargo ships through the region — the exact moves Norway has been advocating.

The Brookings Institution, which also accepted grants from Norway, has sought to help the country gain access to American officials, documents show. One Brookings senior fellow, Bruce Jones, offered in 2010 to reach out to State Department officials to help arrange a meeting with a senior Norway official, according to a government email. The Norway official wished to discuss his country’s role as a “middle power” and vital partner of the United States.

Brookings organized another event in April 2013, in which one of Norway’s top officials on Arctic issues was seated next to the State Department’s senior official on the topic and reiterated the country’s priorities for expanding oil exploration in the Arctic.

William J. Antholis, the managing director at Brookings, said that if his scholars help Norway pursue its foreign policy agenda in Washington, it is only because their rigorous, independent research led them to this position. “The scholars are their own agents,” he said. “They are not agents of these foreign governments.”

But three lawyers who specialize in the law governing Americans’ activities on behalf of foreign governments said that the Center for Global Development and Brookings, in particular, appeared to have taken actions that merited registration as foreign agents of Norway. The activities by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Atlantic Council, they added, at least raised questions.

“The Department of Justice needs to be looking at this,” said Joshua Rosenstein, a lawyer at Sandler Reiff.

Ona Dosunmu, Brookings’s general counsel, examining the same documents, said she remained convinced that was a misreading of the law.

A drilling rig in the Barents Sea in 2012. Norway, which as a top oil producer has an interest in United States policy, has committed at least $24 million to Washington think tanks in recent years.CreditHarald Pettersen/Statoil, via Scanpix, via Associated Press

Norway, at least, is grateful for the work Brookings has done. During a speech at Brookings in June, Norway’s foreign minister, Borge Brende, noted that his country’s relationship with the think tank “has been mutually beneficial for moving a lot of important topics.” Just before the speech, in fact, Norway signed an agreement to contribute an additional $4 million to the group.

Limits on Scholars

The tens of millions in donations from foreign interests come with certain expectations, researchers at the organizations said in interviews. Sometimes the foreign donors move aggressively to stifle views contrary to their own.

Michele Dunne served for nearly two decades as a specialist in Middle Eastern affairs at the State Department, including stints in Cairo and Jerusalem, and on the White House National Security Council. In 2011, she was a natural choice to become the founding director of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, named after the former prime minister of Lebanon, who was assassinated in 2005.

The center was created with a generous donationfrom Bahaa Hariri, his eldest son, and with the support of the rest of the Hariri family, which has remained active in politics and business in the Middle East. Another son of the former prime minister served as Lebanon’s prime minister from 2009 to 2011.

But by the summer of 2013, when Egypt’s military forcibly removed the country’s democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, Ms. Dunne soon realized there were limits to her independence. After she signed a petition and testified before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee urging the United States to suspend military aid to Egypt, calling Mr. Morsi’s ouster a “military coup,” Bahaa Hariri called the Atlantic Council to complain, executives with direct knowledge of the events said.

Ms. Dunne declined to comment on the matter. But four months after the call, Ms. Dunne left the Atlantic Council.

In an interview, Mr. Kempe said he had never taken any action on behalf of Mr. Hariri to try to modify positions that Ms. Dunne or her colleagues took. Ms. Dunne left, he said, in part because she wanted to focus on research, not managing others, as she was doing at the Atlantic Council.

“Differences she may have had with colleagues, management or donors on Middle Eastern issues — inevitable in such a fraught environment where opinions vary widely — don’t touch our fierce defense of individual experts’ intellectual independence,” Mr. Kempe said.

Ms. Dunne was replaced by Francis J. Ricciardone Jr., who served as United States ambassador to Egypt during the rule of Hosni Mubarak, the longtime Egyptian military and political leader forced out of power at the beginning of the Arab Spring. Mr. Ricciardone, a career foreign service officer, had earlier been criticized by conservatives and human rights activists for being too deferential to the Mubarak government.

Scholars at other Washington think tanks, who were granted anonymity to detail confidential internal discussions, described similar experiences that had a chilling effect on their research and ability to make public statements that might offend current or future foreign sponsors. At Brookings, for example, a donor with apparent ties to the Turkish government suspended its support after a scholar there made critical statements about the country, sending a message, one scholar there said.

“It is the self-censorship that really affects us over time,” the scholar said. “But the fund-raising environment is very difficult at the moment, and Brookings keeps growing and it has to support itself.”

The sensitivities are especially important when it comes to the Qatari government — the single biggest foreign donor to Brookings.

Brookings executives cited strict internal policiesthat they said ensure their scholars’ work is “not influenced by the views of our funders,” in Qatar or in Washington. They also pointed to several reports published at the Brookings Doha Center in recent years that, for example, questioned the Qatari government’s efforts to revamp its education system or criticized the role it has played in supporting militants in Syria.

But in 2012, when a revised agreement was signed between Brookings and the Qatari government, the Qatar Ministry of Foreign Affairs itself praisedthe agreement on its website, announcing that “the center will assume its role in reflecting the bright image of Qatar in the international media, especially the American ones.” Brookings officials also acknowledged that they have regular meetings with Qatari government officials about the center’s activities and budget, and that the former Qatar prime minister sits on the center’s advisory board.

Mr. Ali, who served as one of the first visiting fellows at the Brookings Doha Center after it opened in 2009, said such a policy, though unwritten, was clear.

“There was a no-go zone when it came to criticizing the Qatari government,” said Mr. Ali, who is now a professor at the University of Queensland in Australia. “It was unsettling for the academics there. But it was the price we had to pay.”



Between 1989 and 1994, private foundations spent $450 million in Eastern Europe. Among the recipients were important officials and advisers in various countries. By 1995, there were 29,000 NGOs in the Czech Republic, 20,000 in Poland, and similar numbers in other countries. "They were almost entirely supported by foreign corporations, foundations, governments, political parties and international institutions such as the European Union and the World Bank."

[Democrat] George Soros is perhaps the single most significant private funder to the region. Soros foundations can be found in 34 countries around the globe, 26 of them in Eastern Europe and the former USSR. The recent 'revolution' in Georgia was backed among others by Soros (see Jacob Levich, "When NGOs Attack: Implications of the Coup in Georgia",, 6/12/03). Soros, the NED and other western funding agencies have a hand in the current crisis in Ukraine (see "US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev", Ian Traynor, 26/11/04, The Guardian; "Western aggression: How the US and Britain are intervening in Ukraine’s elections", John Laughland, The Spectator, 5/11/04,; "IMF Sponsored 'Democracy' in The Ukraine", Michel Chossudovsky, 28/11/04, [...]

Who is behind Human Rights Watch?
Ruthless Billionaire financier George Soros, for one. How an elite-controlled dialogue on "human rights" is used to justify US interventionism...

Under President Clinton, Human Rights Watch was the most influential
pro-intervention lobby: its 'anti-atrocity crusade' helped drive the wars in
ex-Yugoslavia. Under Bush it lost influence to the neoconservatives, who
have their own crusades, and it is unlikely to regain that influence during
his second term. But the 'two interventionisms' are not so different anyway:
Human Rights Watch is founded on belief in the superiority of American
values. It has close links to the US foreign policy elite, and to other
interventionist and expansionist lobbies.

George Soros
 In some ways the 'Osama bin Laden' of the human rights movement - a rich
man using his wealth, to spread his values across the world. See this
overview of his role in Eastern Europe: George Soros: New Statesman Profile
(Neil Clark, June 2003). The Public Affairs site gives this short biography
of George Soros, chief financier of HRW and of numerous organisations in
eastern Europe with pro-American, pro-market policies.

George Soros was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1930. In 1947 he emigrated to
England, where he graduated from the London School of Economics. While a
student in London, Mr. Soros became familiar with the work of the
philosopher Karl Popper, who had a profound influence on his thinking and
later on his philanthropic activities. In 1956 he moved to the United
States, where he began to accumulate a large fortune through an
international investment fund he founded and managed.

 Mr. Soros currently serves as chairman of Soros Fund Management L.L.C., a
private investment management firm that serves as principal investment
advisor to the Quantum Group of Funds. The Quantum Fund N.V., the oldest and
largest fund within the Quantum Group, is generally recognized as having the
best performance record of any investment fund in the world in its
twenty-nine-year history.

 Mr. Soros established his first foundation, the Open Society Fund, in New
York in 1979 and his first Eastern European foundation in Hungary in 1984.
He now funds a network of foundations that operate in thirty-one countries
throughout Central and Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union, as well
as southern Africa, Haiti, Guatemala, Mongolia and the United States. These
foundations are dedicated to building and maintaining the infrastructure and
institutions of an open society. Mr. Soros has also founded other major
institutions, such as the Central European University and the International
Science Foundation. In 1994, the foundations in the network spent a total of
approximately $300 million; in 1995, $350 million; in 1996, $362 million;
and in 1997, $428 million. Giving for 1998 is expected to be maintained at
that level.

Soros Foundations Network
Open Society Institute Staff Directory
Privatization Project
Open Society Institute Budapest




Human Rights Watch is the Arm of George Soros and a propaganda tool of the
CIA. So if they weigh in on the events in Palestine they are doing so for
political advantage to the US and client state Israel.

HRW is wealthy and its tentacles reach out across the globe.

HRW has opposed the sovereignty of Peoples Republic of China. Roth
prosecutes the campaign opposing the right of the Chinese government to rule
in Tibet and Xinchiang province. Roth has used the financial resources of
Human Rights Watch to develop ongoing media campaigns against the revolution
in Colombia. HRW actively opposed the election of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe.

Human Rights Watch Director Ken Roth is a powerful establishment figure. He
helped overthrow the government of Slobodan Milosevic.

In an opinion piece in of the Wall Street Journal (3/22) Roth has suggested
a new tack on the U.S. war on Iraq, "Indict Saddam Hussein."

HRW is 100% in support of the ICTY kangaroo court in The Hague. HRW
supported the right of NATO and the Security Council to transgress all
international law in the creation of such a "tribunal." HRW justified the
kidnapping which brought Milosevic to his prison in The Hague last summer.

Swans, an Internet website that posts articles not printed in the popular
media recently noted the role of the George Soros' Human Rights watch in
verifying US propaganda. Stephen Gowans on Nov. 12 writes. " Human Rights
Watch, presenting itself as an impartial observer, produces lower estimates
(of Afghan civilian deaths) than the enemy government does, and thereby
underscores Washington's claim that the enemy is exaggerating for propaganda

HRW is well-funded, and it's well-connected. Its links snake through the
foreign policy establishment of the United States, through the State
Department, and through the government's propaganda arm, Radio Free Europe."

George Soros' "Parallel Anti-War Media/Movement"
by bob feldman
Perhaps Amy Goodman should finally make full disclosure of all foundation
grants that either the Pacifica Foundation, WBAI, Democracy Now, WBAI, KPFA,
the Indymedia Centers, Free Speech TV, Deep Dish TV, the Pacifica Campaign
or the Downtown studio from which she broadcasted in 2000 and/or in 2001
have received since 1992?

 Regarding George Soros's U.S. alternative media gatekeeping/censorship
network, the following recap might be of use to U.S. grassroots anti-war
activists whose political work is not being subsidized by Establishment
Foundations such as Billionaire Global Speculator George Soros' Open Society

 1. In 1999, George Soros's Open Society Institute gave a $50,000 grant to
the Nation Institute "to support project to improve performance and reach of
Radio Nation, weekly public radio news and commentary program." George
Soros' personal advisor for politics, Hamilton Fish III, is also a top
executive at The Nation Institute.

 2. In 1999, George Soros's Open Society Institute gave a $50,000 grant to
the National Federation of Community Broadcasters, which used to be headed
by former Pacifica Foundation Executive Director Lynn Chadwick.

 3. In 1999, George Soros's Open Society Institute apparently gave a
$125,000 grant to the Citizens for Independent Public Broadcasting [CIPB}
group (on whose board sits FAIR/CounterSpin co-host Janine Jackson) "to
cover administrative and start-up costs for launching national campaign
entitled Citizens for Independent Broadcasting."

 4. In 1999, George Soros's Open Society Institute gave a $78,660 grant to
Don Hazen's Institute for Alternative Journalism/IMI/Alternet in San
Francisco "to fund start-up of Youth Source, a youth Web site which will be
part of a larger web poral, Independent Source."

 5. In 1999, George Soros's Open Society Institute gave a $126,000 grant to
the International Center for Global Communications Foundation "toward launch
of Media Channel, first global media and democracy supersite on the

 6. In 1999, George Soros's Open Society Institute gave 4 grants, totalling
$118,000, to the Internews Network.

 7. In 1999 George Soros's Open Society Institute gave a $12,000 grant to
Downtown Community Television Center. (There's a possibility that this was
the group which provided studio facilities for Democracy Now after the 1999
WBAI Christmas coup).

 8. In 1999, George Soros's Open Society Institute gave a $150,000 grant to
the Fund for Investigative Journalism. (Is this the same media group which
provided some funding for KPFA's Dennis Bernstein during the 1990s?)

 9. In 1999, George Soros' Open Society Institute gave a $35,000 grant to
American Prospect magazine.

 10. In 1999, George Soros's Open Society Institute gave a $30,000 grant to
the Center for Defense Information.

 11. In 1999, George Soros's Open Society Institute gave a $75,000 grant to
the Center for Investigative Reporting.

 12. In 1999, George Soros's Open Society Institute gave 4 grants, totalling
$220,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists--on whose board sits NATION
magazine co-owner and editorial director Victor Navasky.

 13. In 1999, George Soros' Open Society Institute gave 2 grants, totalling
$272,000, to the "Project on Media Ownership."

 14. In 1999, George Soros' Open Society Institute gave a $100,000 grant to
the Public Media Center in San Francisco.

 15. In 1999, George Soros's Open Society Institute gave a $73,730 grant to
the dance company of a Pacifica Network News staffperson's domestic partner.

 16. In 1999, George Soros' Open Society Institute gave a $50,000 grant to
Youth Radio in Berkeley.

 17. In 1999, George Soros's Open Society Institute gave 2 grants, totalling
$393,000, to the Tides Foundation.

 18. George Soros's Open Society Institute recent gave a $102,025 grant to
Radio Bilingue.

 19. George Soros's Open Society Institute has also apparently been
providing funds to subsidize a "parallel left" section of the prisoner
solidarity movement. Critical Resistance, the Prison Moratorium Project, the
Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and The Sentencing Project are all being
funded by George Soros's Open Society Institute.

 20. In 2001, George Soros's Open Society Institute also gave grants to help
subsidize the Jews for Racial and Economic Justice group, the Malcolm X
Grassroots Movement group, the Million Mom March group and the Center for
Investigative Reporting.

 21. After 9/11, George Soros's Open Society Institute gave a $75,000 grant
to the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Research Institute, a
$250,000 grant to the ACLU and a grant to the LCEF group on whose board Mary
Frances Berry used to sit.