Thursday, May 30, 2024

Beware of these CIA “Foundations”

The most influential liberal foundations of the 20th century are Carnegie Corporation, the Rockfeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation, collectively known as the Big Three. All three were set up by America’s leading capitalists in 1911, 1913 and 1936 respectively. They are known to provide key support in medicine and education. For many decades now, distinguished scholars have done research to point out the agenda which masks their generally humanitarian profile.

Since our concern is Ford Foundation, and the considerable funding it provides to a few of India’s elite educational institutions, presently in the eye of a storm due to the Centre’s decision to put Ford Foundations on a watch-list and restrict its funding, based on Gujarat’s government’s view of its “covert activities”, a quote from “Philanthropy and Cultural Imperialism” (author Robert F. Arnove) is a good starting point:

“Through the educational programs they fund, foundations are able to influence the world views of the general public as well as the orientations and commitments of the leadership which will direct social change.”

In other words, the philosophy of these Big Three is designed to sustain the hegemony of the existing market forces, capitalism if you like, of the world.

The celebrated Haitian writer Nadine Pinede along with Arnove, in their paper: “Revisiting the Big Three Foundations” wrote thus: “Though they claim to attack the root causes of the ills of humanity, they essentially engage in ameliorative practices to maintain social and economic systems that generate the very inequalities and injustices they wish to correct.” They conclude that the Big Three remain “ultimately elitist and technocratic institutions.” Joan Roelofs (Foundations and Collaborations, p 480)) also supports the viewpoint, concluding that foundations are “prime constructors of hegemony,” which “promote consent and discourage dissent against capitalist democracy.”

Worse, these liberation foundations are accused of working closely with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States. A US Congressional investigation in 1976 revealed that nearly 50% of the 700 grants in the field of international activities by the principal foundations was funded by the CIA (Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War : Frances Stonor Saunders, Grants Books, 1999, pp. 134-135).

By the late 1950s, the Ford Foundation possessed over $3 billion in assets. The leadership of the Foundation were in total agreement with Washington’s post-WWII projection of world power. “At times, it seemed as if the Ford Foundation was simply an extension of government in the area of international cultural propaganda. The foundation had a record of close involvement in covert actions in Europe, working closely with Marshall Plan and CIA officials on specific projects ( ibid, p.139).

One of the Ford Foundations first Cold War projects was the establishment of a publishing house, Inter-Cultural Publications, and the launch of a magazine “Perspectives” in Europe in four languages. The Ford Foundation purpose, according to its own then-president Richard Bissell in 1952, was not “so much to defeat the leftist intellectuals in dialectical combat (sic) as to lure them away from their positions.” ( Ibid, p.140)

In 1954, the new president of the Ford Foundation was John McCloy. Earlier, he had been Assistant Secretary of War, president of the World Bank, High Commissioner of the occupied Germany, chairman of Rockfeller’s Chase Manhattan Bank and Wall Street attorney for the big seven oil companies. As high commissioner in Germany, McCloy had provided cover for scores of CIA agents ( ibid, p. 141).

The Ford Foundation provided $292 million to America’s Public Broadcasting System between 1951-1977. Glenda Bales ( “Recovering a public vision for public television”, p 96, p 113) surmised that the Ford Foundations’ influence “limited its range, scope and audience base,” and that its Educational Television served to “promote the speech, ideas, and public policy interests of the educated and professional classes, and worked to contain a potentially disruptive popular democracy.”

Indeed Bales writes that under the Ford Foundation’s guidance, public broadcasting “evolved to become not an advocate for participatory democracy and community ties, but a paternalistic, top-down provider of  `quality’ and `expert voices.” ( ibid p 117)

Quoting Rockfeller Foundation Seminar’s internal papers, William Buxton quoted the Group in his book (From Radio Research to Communications Intelligence):  “Governments which rests upon consent rests upon knowledge of how best to secure consent…Research in the field of mass communication is a new and sure weapon to achieve that end.”

Indeed, in the cultural wars of the world, Ford Foundations and others are important collaborators. The present clampdown by the Centre must be allowed a deeper discourse instead of a rushed judgment.


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