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KevinTheOmnivore KevinTheOmnivore is offline
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Old Jun 20th, 2003, 03:33 PM        Bush to NGOs: Watch Your Mouths

Published on Friday, June 20, 2003 by the Globe and Mail (Canada)

Bush to NGOs: Watch Your Mouths
by Naomi Klein

The Bush administration has found its next target for pre-emptive war, but it's not Iran, Syria or North Korea -- not yet, anyway.

Before launching any new foreign adventures, the Bush gang has some homeland housekeeping to take care of: It is going to sweep up those pesky non-governmental organizations that are helping to turn world opinion against U.S. bombs and brands.

The war on NGOs is being fought on two clear fronts. One buys the silence and complicity of mainstream humanitarian and religious groups by offering lucrative reconstruction contracts. The other marginalizes and criminalizes more independent-minded NGOs by claiming that their work is a threat to democracy. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is in charge of handing out the carrots, while the American Enterprise Institute, the most powerful think tank in Washington, D.C., is wielding the sticks.

On May 21 in Washington, Andrew Natsios, the head of USAID, gave a speech blasting U.S. NGOs for failing to play a role many of them didn't realize they had been assigned: doing public relations for the U.S. government. According to InterAction, the network of 160 relief and development NGOs that hosted the conference, Mr. Natsios was "irritated" that starving and sick Iraqi and Afghan children didn't realize that their food and vaccines were coming to them courtesy of George W. Bush. From now on, NGOs had to do a better job of linking their humanitarian assistance to U.S. foreign policy and making it clear that they are "an arm of the U.S. government." If they didn't, InterAction reported, "Natsios threatened to personally tear up their contracts and find new partners."

For aid workers, there are even more strings attached to U.S. dollars. USAID told several NGOs that have been awarded humanitarian contracts that they cannot speak to the media -- all requests from reporters must go through Washington. Mary McClymont, CEO of InterAction, calls the demands "unprecedented," and says, "It looks like the NGOs aren't independent and can't speak for themselves about what they see and think."

Many humanitarian leaders are shocked to hear their work described as "an arm" of government; most see themselves as independent (that would be the "non-governmental" part of the name).

The best NGOs are loyal to their causes, not to countries, and they aren't afraid to blow the whistle on their own governments. Think of Médecins sans frontières standing up to the White House and the European Union over AIDS drug patents, or Human Rights Watch's campaign against the death penalty in the United States. Mr. Natsios himself embraced this independence in his previous job as vice-president of World Vision. During the North Korean famine, he didn't hesitate to blast his own government for withholding food aid, calling the Clinton administration's response "too slow" and its claim that politics was not a factor "total nonsense."

Don't expect candor like that from the aid groups Mr. Natsios now oversees in Iraq. These days, NGOs are supposed to do nothing more than quietly pass out care packages with a big "brought to you by the U.S.A." logo attached -- in public-private partnerships with Bechtel and Halliburton, of course.

That is the message of NGO Watch, an initiative of the American Enterprise Institute and the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, which takes aim at the growing political influence of the non-profit sector. The stated purpose of the Web site, launched on June 11, is to "bring clarity and accountability to the burgeoning world of NGOs."

In fact, it is a McCarthyite blacklist, telling tales on any NGO that dares speak against Bush administration policies or in support of international treaties opposed by the White House.

This bizarre initiative takes as its premise the idea that there is something sinister about "unelected" groups of citizens getting together to try to influence their government. "The extraordinary growth of advocacy NGOs in liberal democracies has the potential to undermine the sovereignty of constitutional democracies," the site claims.

Coming from the AEI, this is not without irony. As Raj Patel, policy analyst at the California-based NGO Food First, points out, "The American Enterprise Institute is an NGO itself and it is supported by the most powerful corporations on the planet. They are accountable only to their board, which includes Motorola, American Express and ExxonMobil." As for influence, few peddle it quite like the AEI, the looniest ideas of which have a way of becoming Bush administration policy. And no wonder. Richard Perle, member and former chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, is an AEI fellow, along with Lynne Cheney, wife of the vice-president; the Bush administration is crowded with former AEI fellows.

As President Bush said at an AEI dinner in February, "At the American Enterprise Institute, some of the finest minds in our nation are at work on some of the greatest challenges to our nation. You do such good work that my administration has borrowed 20 such minds." In other words, the AEI is more than a think tank; it's Mr. Bush's outsourced brain.

Taken together with Mr. Natsios's statements, this attack on the non-profit sector marks the emergence of a new Bush doctrine: NGOs should be nothing more than the good-hearted charity wing of the military, silently mopping up after wars and famines. Their job is not to ask how these tragedies could have been averted, or to advocate for policy solutions. And it is certainly not to join anti-war and fair-trade movements pushing for real political change.

The control freaks in the White House have really outdone themselves this time. First they tried to silence governments critical of their foreign policies by buying them off with aid packages and trade deals. (Last month U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick said that the United States would only enter into new trade agreements with countries that offered "co-operation or better on foreign policy and security issues.") Next, they made sure the press didn't ask hard question during the war by trading journalistic access for editorial control.

Now they are attempting to turn relief workers in Iraq and Afghanistan into publicists for Mr. Bush's Brand U.S.A., to embed them in the Pentagon, like Fox News reporters.

The U.S. government is usually described as "unilateralist," but I don't think that's quite accurate. The Bush administration may be willing to go it alone, but what it really wants is legions of self-censoring followers, from foreign governments to national journalists and international NGOs.

This is not a lone wolf we are dealing with, it's a sheep-herder. The question is: Which of the NGOs will play the sheep?

Naomi Klein is the author of 'No Logo' and 'Fences and Windows'.

© 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc.
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Jeanette X Jeanette X is offline
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Old Jun 20th, 2003, 04:14 PM       
So who are the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies? Whats their agenda?

This is an opposing view I found. I think it's bullshit, but feel free to comment.


NGOs - The New World Order

By Peter and Helen Evans on 06/20/03
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When the dictator, Josef Stalin, first appeared at the brand-new United Nations accompanied by representatives of Soviet "labor unions," other delegates cried foul, asking, "How can there be labor unions in a government-run society?" Stalin explained, "Ah, but these are Non-Governmental Organizations," and the term "NGO" first came into the world's vocabulary.
Nowadays, most of us are likely to think of NGOs as large-scale charitable organizations who work all over the world providing medical care in disaster situations, food to famine sufferers or advocacy for political prisoners. One of the main reasons we even recognize the names of the well-known groups is that they often canvass door to door for donations to support their good works.
However, there is a growing number of less well-known NGOs who don't want to help the hungry feed themselves, rather, their aim is to "eradicate hunger." They don't want to help the poor become wealthy, rather, their goal is to "eliminate poverty." Do these distinctions sound picky? Well, they're not. Helping people means getting down to cases with the real people who are asking for help, finding out what they really need and helping them in ways that enable them to actually provide it for themselves. The much more abstract aims of "eliminating" hunger or poverty typically involve utopian plans that are to be imposed upon people "for their own good."

Consider the "elimination of poverty." This abstract notion breeds another: the "re-distribution of wealth." We see this in the United States when our own Congress takes more and more wealth (in the form of taxes) from those who create it and "re-distributes" it, in the form of entitlements, to those who don't create, or earn, it. This is bad enough when a democratic nation, essentially, "does it to itself" through government policy. The citizens have the option of changing policies through democratic means. But what happens when non-governmental organizations try the same thing?

Consider a recent, international case: the "Kyoto Protocol To The United Nations Framework Convention On Climate Change." If you think it's about controlling climate change, read it again. If it were implemented, its real function would be the "re-distribution of wealth" from the industrialized, developed nations to the less-industrialized, less-developed nations who, under Kyoto, will basically be paid not to develop. The important thing to notice though, is the composition of the United Nations. Although seats in the U.N. General Assembly are ostensibly held by 185 "sovereign nations" from around the world, they are outnumbered more than two-to-one by about 500 seat-holding NGO's who can submit papers, call for votes, exercise influence by lobbying 'real' members, etc. The only thing they can't do is vote. An additional 3,000 NGOs hold, not seats, but "consultant" status at the U.N.

Who the heck are all those NGOs and what are they doing at the UN? Well, they are self-appointed groups vying for government-sized budgets and global power, claiming a pseudo-governmental legitimacy while side-stepping the accountability that is the essential requirement of legitimate government. In short, these burgeoning elements of the global New-Left are "hijacking democracy."

This is the title of an analytical synthesis of studies conducted over the last decade by Marguerite Peeters, subtitled "the power shift to the un-elected. "http://www.aei.org/publications/pubID.14879,filter./pub_detail.asp" Ms Peeters gave a brief overview of the trends indicated by her research at a recent conference at the American Enterprise Institute. She also told those assembled of a tentative meeting scheduled this fall for representatives of major NGO's, the European Union and the Democratic Party of the U.S. Do you know why Bill Clinton has hinted that he'd like to be Secretary-General of the UN? He would be the leader of the largest socialist organization in the world, while his wife... well, you know where her sights are aimed. We should "be afraid; be very afraid" of where this trend is taking us, but only if the fear mobilizes us to change its direction.
We should begin by learning more about the pervasive influence NGO's already have and would like to have on our lives. The American Enterprise Institute "http://www.aei.org" and the Federalist Society "http://www.fed-soc.org/" have collaborated on a new website, NGO Watch "http://www.ngowatch.org" Check it out. It's time for us to use our own influence.

"Recent years have seen an unprecedented growth in the power and influence of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). While it is true that
many NGOs remain true to grassroots authenticity conjured up in images of protest and sacrifice, it is also true that non-governmental organizations are now serious business. NGO officials and their activities are widely cited in the media and relied upon in congressional testimony; corporations regularly consult with NGOs prior to major investments. Many groups have strayed beyond their original mandates and assumed quasi-governmental roles. Increasingly, non-governmental organizations are not just accredited observers at international organizations, they are full-fledged decision-makers." ~ NGO Watch.org
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VinceZeb VinceZeb is offline
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Old Jun 20th, 2003, 07:53 PM       
I found this on CommonDreams...

"CommonDreams says jump, Kevin says 'How High'?"
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KevinTheOmnivore KevinTheOmnivore is offline
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Old Jun 21st, 2003, 07:17 PM       
I see your stuff has diminished in quality since Max bitch slapped you around on two boards.

Common Dreams generally re-publishes items that have already been released. They serve much like a NewsMax or a Drudge Report.

Any opinions on the actual subject matter, Vince? Too complex for you?? It's ok, you can head back over to Newsfilter board and pretend to be a philosope, ok?
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ranxer ranxer is offline
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Old Jun 24th, 2003, 01:15 PM       
i really cant see anything but bush wrecking everything he touches.. kinda like a reverse midas .

The best NGOs are loyal to their causes, not to countries, and they aren't afraid to blow the whistle on their own governments.
oh no! not for bushy! that's the WORST NGO's on his list.
i don't understand how bush can justify making overt political statements with a NON-Governmental organization.. but then again i can't think in bush-simpletonese very easily. gah.. bush makes me sick.

yall seen bush's resume? http://www.mindfully.org/Reform/2003...ume23may03.htm

just add destroying any credibility NGO's might have had to the list.
the neo-capitalists believe in privatizing profits and socializing losses
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The_Rorschach The_Rorschach is offline
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Old Jun 24th, 2003, 06:41 PM       
"Who the heck are all those NGOs and what are they doing at the UN? Well, they are self-appointed groups vying for government-sized budgets and global power, claiming a pseudo-governmental legitimacy while side-stepping the accountability that is the essential requirement of legitimate government. In short, these burgeoning elements of the global New-Left are "hijacking democracy."

Does this mean we shall be doing away with lobbyists as well now? They are much the same, really, only the scale of influence is different. I thought the NGO's have been fairly obviously and clumsy in their political machinations, and that everyone was well aware of them. By the tone of this article, it would seem this unfortunate author simply rolled over one morning and discovered them. It may be enough for him to grow hysterical over their presence, but they don't impress me much.
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mburbank mburbank is offline
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Old Jun 25th, 2003, 11:18 AM       
Shach, you beat make to the punch. The NGO watch argues against not only the existance of all lobbying and all PACS, but argues against it's own existance as well.

This is deeply cynical, and should be seen as an insult by voters. It is hysterical screed and unfortunately just the sort of shit that snowballs.
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