The Ford Foundation and the CIA: Two-Headed Philanthropy – III/III

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American academic, Joan Roelofs, in Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism (State University of New York Press, 2003) argues that Ford and similar foundations play a key role in co-opting opposition movements:

While dissent from ruling class ideas is labeled ‘extremism’ and is isolated, individual dissenters may be welcomed and transformed. Indeed, ruling class hegemony is more durable if it is not rigid and narrow, but is able dynamically to incorporate emergent trends. Roelofs reports that John J. McCloy, while chairman of the Foundation’s board of trustees, ‘…thought of the Foundation as a quasi-extension of the U.S. government. It was his habit, for instance, to drop by the National Security Council (NSC) in Washington every couple of months and casually ask whether there were any overseas projects the NSC would like to see funded.’ Roelofs also charges that the Ford Foundation financed counter-insurgency programs in Indonesia and other countries. Continue reading

Ford Foundation/CIA: Two-Headed Philanthropy – I/III

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Last month I received an email from a South American gentleman I had never met. He said that he and his wife were coming to Spain on vacation and that an old friend of mine had recommended that they stop by Granada to visit us. I was bemused because more than 30 years ago we decided that this “old friend,” admittedly a guy I had grown up and gone to college with, was probably a CIA agent, and we haven’t had any contact with him since. I won’t tell you the names of the South American gentleman (SAG) nor the old friend (OF), as I’m not so much interested in discrediting them personally as describing the intricately devious world they operate in. The Spanish say, “You name the sin, not the sinner…” (“Se dice el pecado, no el pecador…”)

Before SAG and his wife arrived I did a Google search on him and discovered that he has been since the early 1970’s an eminence in the South American human rights movement, was even imprisoned there, and that he remains active promoting the cause around the world. This work took him on a dozen trips to different world capitals last year. When they arrived we picked them up at their hotel in Granada and drove them to our favorite village restaurant, where SAG insisted upon inviting us. We were both struck by his cosmopolitan air, his charm and erudition, his excellent spoken English, and the tasteful gift of flowers his wife presented to Maureen. SAG was surprisingly up on everything from the primary elections in the United States to contemporary art and the films of Stanley Kubrick, from which he could quote whole paragraphs of dialogue. In all he seemed quite a formidable person.

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