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Note to the reader:

This article is being re-published here with permission from the author.  It is the first of two articles originally published at OpEdNews.com, 4/16/2011.  The second article is here.

You can find Dr. Bramhall’s blog here: The Most Revolutionary Act / (About the Author)

Does the CIA Fund Both the Right and the Left?

By Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall 

 How Left Gatekeeping Foundations Suppress Dissent – Part I

 (This is the first of two articles related to left gatekeeping foundations. It relates mainly to their links to so-called alternative media. The second will focus on Cointelpro-type “counterinsurgency” roles played by left gatekeeping foundations, both overseas and within the US.)

Since the October 2008 economic collapse, American workers have faced an unprecedented “austerity cuts,” with major hits on their livelihoods and labor and pension rights. Yet Americans, unlike the rest of the world, don’t respond by taking to the street in the millions. Why is this? Why, is the American response apathy and passive acquiescence instead of militant protest, even rioting, in some countries? apathetic

The Deep State, Peter Dale Scott’s term for shadowy network of government officials and corporate elite that secretly steers foreign and domestic policy behind the façade of democracy (see The “Deep State” behind U.S. democracy), seems to rely on two main strategies in suppressing opposition to their agenda. The first involves rigid censorship of public information by the corporate controlled media. The second involves a large interlocking network of so-called “left gatekeeping foundations” that heavily dominate progressive organizing in the US.

Progressive media critics have written extensively about the corporate takeover of a mainstream media that strictly censors anti-corporate news and totally saturates American lives with pro-corporate messaging. The role of left gatekeeping foundations, which may be even more critical in suppressing organized dissent, receives scant attention, even in the “alternative” media outlets (The NationMother JonesDemocracy Now!, and The Progressive, among others). Some analysts believe this relates to the heavy reliance of these outlets on these same left gatekeeping foundations for grant funding.

Does the CIA Fund Both the Right and the Left?

I first learned that the Nation was indirectly funded by the CIA through Sherman Skolnick’s investigation of the 990 and 990A tax returns of the Ford Foundation and other allegedly “liberal” foundations that were funding them. Skolnick felt this was the main reason for The Nation‘s doggedly dismissive attitude towards the scrupulous research of Peter Dale Scott, Carl Oglesby, Sylvia Meagher and other scholars into the role US intelligence played in both Kennedy assassinations, the Martin Luther King assassination and other so-called “conspiracies” involving government criminal activity.

I was unaware of the domestic “counterinsurgency” role — involving a range of “Cointelpro”-type functions — of left gatekeeping foundations prior to reading Webster Tarpley’s Barack H. Obama: the Unauthorized Biography.

The Role of the CIA in Protecting Corporate Interests

I think it’s also essential here to clarify what the CIA is and who they represent. Their official function is to gather intelligence overseas, though it’s an open secret that they also engage in international “counterinsurgency” activities: they covertly intervene in foreign elections; they orchestrate political instability by funding and training opposition groups (as in Libya); they organize military coups to overthrow democratically elected governments (as in Guatemala, Chile, Iran and Indonesia); they organize and fund mercenary armies (often by collaborating with them in narcotics trafficking, as in Vietnam, Central America and Afghanistan) to overthrow democratically elected governments; they torture suspected Islamic terrorists; and they covertly assassinate foreign political leaders and labor and human rights activists.

According to the corporate media spin, the CIA does all this to protect the American public from Communists, Muslims, immigrants or whatever bogeyman the corporate media happen to be serving up on the six o’clock news. However careful study shows that the CIA operates almost exclusively to support and protect corporate interests. The CIA was initially started by Wall Street lawyers (Allen Dulles, a former United Fruit Company board member, and Frank Wisner) and largely recruits its leadership from Yale, Harvard, Princeton and other Ivy League Schools. When it assassinates a foreign leader or overthrows a democratically elected government in Chile, Indonesia, Iran or Guatemala, it does so for the benefit of Wall Street companies who want access to that country’s natural resources (the 1954 coup in Guatemala followed Arbenz’s attempt to nationalize a United Fruit Company plantation), markets and cheap labor.

Allen Dulles – 1st CIA director by CIA

An Impressive Body of Research

Although both Tarpley and Skolnick are often dismissed as conspiracy-obsessed wing-nuts, the fundamental role left gatekeeping foundations play in progressive American politics isn’t a half baked conspiracy theory. There happens to be an extensive, carefully documented body of research into why these foundations were formed and why they knowingly agreed to be co-opted by the CIA.

Attorney General Robert Kennedy was the first, in 1967, to investigate the use of the Ford Foundation and other foundations as “conduits,” “pass-throughs,” and “fronts” to disguise CIA funding for domestic operations (it’s technically illegal for the CIA to operate on US soil under federal law). In 1976, the investigation was taken up by the Church Committee, a Senate Select Committee formed in the aftermath of Watergate. The Church Committee found that between 1963-1966, 164 foundations gave out 700 grants over $10,000. Of these, 108 involved partial or complete funding by the CIA (Frances Stoner Saunders, Who Paid the Piper?: the CIA and the Cultural Cold War)

Saunder’s work was the first, in an impressive body of research by progressive academics and investigative journalists:

  • Who Paid the Piper?: the CIA and the Cultural Cold War(1999) by British historian and journalist Frances Stonor Saunders
  • Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism (2003) by New Hampshire political science professor Joan Roelof
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex (2007) by Incite! Women of Color Against Violence
  • The Shock Doctrine (2007) by Canadian author and social activist Naomi Klein
  • Towers of Deception: the Media Cover-up of 911 (2006) by Canadian journalist, documentary producer and political activist Barry Zwicker
  • Barack H. Obama: the Unauthorized Biography (2008) by historian and journalist Webster Tarpley

CIA Funding of Alternative Media

Most of the research into left gatekeeping foundations involves the funding of so-called alternative media outlets, largely based on information derived from tax returns. The most prolific writer in this area is Massachusetts-based investigative journalist Bob Feldman. Feldman published the bulk of his research in a paper in Critical Sociology“Report from the Field: Left Media and Left Think Tanks — Foundation-Managed Protest?” In addition, Feldman and others have republished excerpts elsewhere on the Internet. Edward Ulrich published a helpful digest of Feldman’s work in March 2011 at his blog “News of Interest” at: Media Outlets Such as ”Democracy Now!” are Establishment Controlled News Sources

The History of CIA/Ford Foundation Collaboration

Feldman starts (Freedom Of The Press) by recapping the history Frances Sanders lays out in Who Paid the Piper?: the CIA and the Cultural Cold War).

The Ford Foundation was created in 1936 from the immense Ford family fortune. Historically its governance and mission has been conservative and pro-corporate, in line with its namesake Henry Ford, a rabid anti-Semite who inspired Adolph Hitler with his serialized publication The International Jew and later helped finance his rise to power.

The International Jew by Henry Ford by The French Connection

The Ford Foundation under John McCloy

The CIA-Ford Foundation collaboration began in 1953, when John McCloy, another Nazi sympathizer, because the director of the Ford Foundation. McCloy’s corporate credentials include serving as chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank, Westinghouse, AT&T, Allied Chemical and United Fruit Company. As a lawyer, he served as chief counsel to Standard Oil of New Jersey, Mobil, Texaco and Gulf I.G. Farben (German chemical company that was Hitler’s primary German sponsor and which developed the nerve gas used in the mass executive of European Jews). Mcloy watched the 1936 Berlin Olympics from Hitler’s box seat and as the Assistant Secretary of War, blocked Jewish immigration to the US, as well as the bombing of railroads leading to Nazi concentration camps. As High Commissioner of Germany following the war, he pardoned a large majority of Nazi war criminals and assisted in their secret repatriation in the US and South America.

McCloy openly advocated for the Ford Foundation to cooperate with the CIA. He argued that open collaboration was a better alternative than having the Agency secretly infiltrate the Foundation’s lower echelons and subvert their work. McCloy also chaired a three man committee that had to be consulted every time the CIA wanted to use the Foundation as a pass-through.

Ford Foundation archives reveal a raft of joint Foundation-CIA projects. The most prominent of these CIA fronts are the Eastern European Fund, the Congress for Cultural Freedom, and International Rescue Committee (where William van den Heuvel, father of Nation editor and publisher Katrina van den Heuvel, was a long time board member). The Ford Foundation has also been the primary funder of two secret elite planning groups, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission.

Alternative Media Outlets Funded by the Ford Foundation

According to Feldman, the so-called alternative media outlets receiving Ford Foundation funding (based on their tax returns) include:

  • Democracy Now!
  • Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) and their radio program Counterspin
  • Working Assets Radio
  • The Progressive
  • Mother Jones
  • South End Press (Z Magazine)
  • Alternative Radio
  • Ms. Magazine
  • Political Research Associates (run by rabid anti-conspiracist Chip Berlet)

As Feldman points out, each of these outlets has systematically marginalized independent researchers who have systematically studied 9-11 and the JFK and other political assassinations.

The Nation Magazine and the CIA

Bob Feldman’s unraveling of the indirect CIA funding received by the Nation and Radio Nation is the most instructive in demonstrating how “pass-through” funding works (see Ford Foundation, The CIA & U.S. Establishment Conspiracy). According to their tax returns, the Nation Institute receives major funding from the MacArthur Foundation and the J. M. Kaplan Family Foundation. Both, according to Frances Stoner Saunders (Who Paid the Piper?: the CIA and the Cultural Cold War), have a history of accepting CIA “pass-through” funding and collaborating with them on cold war projects. The Nation also has an interesting relationship with a third left gatekeeping foundation the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute (FERI), in that publisher, editor and part owner Katrina van den Heuvel serves on the FERI governing board and her father, William vanden Heuvel, on the board of directors. FERI, like its namesake Eleanor Roosevelt has always pursued a clear mandate of supporting the development of anti-communist “parallel left” political groups.

Moreover William van den Heuvel himself has well-established intelligence credentials, as a protege and executive assistant to “Wild Bill” Donovan, the founder and director of OSS (Office of Strategic Services). The OSS, which oversaw intelligence operations during World War II, became the CIA in 1947. In 1953-54 van den Heuvel accompanied Donovan to Thailand, where he served as ambassador (and lead CIA agent) to Thailand. Later as executive assistant to Robert Kennedy, van den Heuvel was the architect of the Kennedy administration’s staunch anti-Castro policy.

Other Left Gatekeepers Funding Alternative Media

Here is a brief summary of “alternative” media outlets that Feldman has linked to foundations the Church Committee identified as receiving CIA pass-through funding (see Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War by Frances Stonor Saunders).  It is also of note that they all systematically marginalize journalistic and academic research into 911 and CIA-linked political assassinations.

MacArthur Foundation

  • FAIR
  • The Progressive
  • Working Assets Radio

Rockefeller Foundation

  • FAIR
  • The Progressive
  • Working Assets Radio

Carnegie Foundation

  • Democracy Now!

 M. Kaplan Family Foundation

  • Democracy Now!

Soros Family Foundation

  • Pacifica Radio
  • The Nation

Although Soros himself has no known CIA connections, he’s strongly linked to the military industrial complex as a major stockholder in Bush senior’s Carlyle Group and through his direct funding of “color” revolutions in Eastern Europe.

Schumann Foundation

  • Mother Jones
  • Alternet
  • Fair
  • Z Magazine

Run for many years by “progressive-lite” Bill Moyers, the Schuman Foundation (as evidenced by the projects it funds) has a rabidly pro-capitalist agenda. According to Feldman, Moyers himself has engaged in some pretty anti-progressive behavior, such as orchestrating (as Lyndon Johnson’s press secretary) the wiretapping of Martin Luther King and leaking the transcripts to the media. And his heavy promotion of the rabid anti-Semite and Holocaust denier Joseph Campbell on PBS (see hereherehere and here).

Feldman notes that the alternative magazine Counterpunch receives no direct left gatekeeper funding, although one of their editors is on the Nation payroll (which does).

Feldman’s co-author Eric Salter has drawn up a more detailed flow sheet demonstrating these complex inter-relationships at: Freedom Of The Press

You can wait for the second part of this article to appear here, or you can read it now by following this link: The Cointelpro Role of Left Gatekeeping Foundations