[Marxism] Reporters Without Borders

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Aug 1 10:26:44 MDT 2006

Counterpunch, August 1, 2006
International Republican Insitute Grants Uncovered
Reporters Without Borders and Washington's Coups


British press baron Lord Northcliff said, "News is something that someone, 
somewhere wants to keep secret, everything else is advertising." If this is 
true, then U.S. government funding of Reporters Without Borders must be 
news, because the organization and its friends in Washington have gone to 
extraordinary lengths to cover it up. In spite of 14 months of stonewalling 
by the National Endowment for Democracy over a Freedom of Information Act 
request and a flat denial from RSF executive director Lucie Morillon, the 
NED has revealed that Reporters Without Borders received grants over at 
least three years from the International Republican Institute.

The NED still refuses to provide the requested documents or even reveal the 
grant amounts, but they are identified by these numbers: IRI 2002-022/7270, 
IRI 2003-027/7470 and IRI 2004-035/7473. Investigative reporter Jeremy 
Bigwood asked Morillon on April 25 if her group was getting any money from 
the I.R.I., and she denied it, but the existence of the grants was 
confirmed by NED assistant to the president, Patrick Thomas.

The discovery of the grants reveals a major deception by the group, which 
for years denied it was getting any Washington dollars until some 
relatively small grants from the NED and the Center for a Free Cuba were 
revealed (see Counterpunch: "Reporters Without Borders Unmasked"). When 
asked to account for its large income RSF has claimed the money came from 
the sale of books of photographs. But researcher Salim Lamrani has pointed 
out the improbability of this claim. Even taking into account that the 
books are published for free, it would have had to sell 170 200 books in 
2004 and 188 400 books in 2005 to earn the more than $2 million the 
organization claims to make each year ­ 516 books per day in 2005. The 
money clearly had to come from other sources, as it turns out it did.

The I.R.I., an arm of the Republican Party, specializes in meddling in 
elections in foreign countries, as a look at NED annual reports and the 
I.R.I. website shows. It is one of the four core grantees of the NED, the 
organization founded by Congress under the Reagan administration in 1983 to 
replace the CIA's civil society covert action programs, which had been 
devastated by exposure by the Church committee in the mid-1970s (Ignatius, 
1991). The other three pillars of the NED are the National Democratic 
Institute (the Democratic Party), the Solidarity Center (AFL-CIO) and the 
Center for International Private Enterprise (U.S. Chamber of Commerce). But 
of all the groups the I.R.I. is closest to the Bush administration, 
according to a recent piece in The New York Times exposing its role in the 
overthrow of Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide:

"President Bush picked its president, Lorne W. Craner, to run his 
administration's democracy-building efforts. The institute, which works in 
more than 60 countries, has seen its federal financing nearly triple in 
three years, from $26 million in 2003 to $75 million in 2005. Last spring, 
at an I.R.I. fund-raiser, Mr. Bush called democracy-building 'a growth 
industry.'" (Bogdanich and Nordberg, 2006)

Funding from the I.R.I. presents a major problem for RSF's credibility as a 
"press freedom" organization because the group manufactured propaganda 
against the popular democratic governments of Venezuela and Haiti at the 
same time that its patron, the I.R.I., was deeply involved in efforts to 
overthrow them. The I.R.I. funded the Venezuelan opposition to President 
Hugo Chavez (Barry, 2005) and actively organized Haitian opposition to 
Aristide in conjunction with the CIA (Bogdanich and Nordberg, 2006).

The man who links RSF to these activities is Otto Reich, who worked on the 
coups first as assistant secretary of state for Latin American affairs, 
and, after Nov. 2002, as a special envoy to Latin America on the National 
Security Council. Besides being a trustee of the government-funded Center 
for a Free Cuba, which gives RSF $50,000 a year, Reich has worked since the 
early 1980's with the I.R.I.'s senior vice president, Georges Fauriol, 
another member of the Center for a Free Cuba. But it is Reich's experience 
in propaganda that is especially relevant. In the 1980's he was caught up 
in investigations into the Reagan administration's illegal war on the 
Sandinistas. The comptroller general determined in 1987 that Reich's Office 
of Public Diplomacy had "engaged in prohibited covert propaganda 
activities." (Bogdanich and Nordberg, 2006). In early 2002, once George 
Bush had given him a recess appointment to the State Department, "Reich was 
soon tasked to orchestrate a massive international media defamation 
campaign against Chávez that has continued until this day" (Conkling and 
Goble, 2004).

full: http://www.counterpunch.com/barahona08012006.html


My own take on the matter: 

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