Ford Foundation

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On January 15, 1936, Edsel Ford, the son of auto industry pioneer Henry Ford, formed this ‘philanthropic organization’ with a donation of $25,000. By 1947, after the death of the two founders, the foundation owned 90% of the non-voting shares of the Ford Motor Company (The Ford family retained the voting shares). The foundation, which was established in part as a legal way for the Ford family to avoid the hefty inheritance taxes that President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration imposed on large estates, grew into a multi-billion dollar institution. Between 1955 and 1974, the foundation sold its Ford Motor Company holdings and now plays no role in the automobile company. From its very origins there was a close structural relation and interchange of personnel at the highest levels between the CIA and the FF. This structural tie was based on the common imperial interests which they shared – imperial U.S. hegemony and a new world order – funding re-education, cultural change via socialist, anti-business, and/or anti-American hate Groups.

Between 1947 and 1966 the Ford Foundation played a key role in the network of US interference in Europe through the subvention of magazines, scientific programs and non-communist left-wing organizations. The largest philanthropic organization in the world was in fact providing a respectful facade for CIA financial and contact operations. This role was even more possible by the fact that the same persons designed and directed both organizations.

By the late 1950s the Ford Foundation possessed over $3 billion in assets. The leaders of the Foundation were in total agreement with Washington’s post-WWII projection of world power. A noted scholar of the period writes: “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). This is graphically illustrated by the naming of Richard Bissell as President of the Foundation in 1952. In his two years in office Bissell met often with the head of the CIA, Allen Dulles, and other CIA officials in a “mutual search” for new ideas. In 1954 Bissell left Ford to become a special assistant to Allen Dulles in January 1954 (Ibid, p. 139). Under Bissell, the Ford Foundation (FF) was the “vanguard of Cold War thinking”.

One of the FF first Cold War projects was the establishment of a publishing house, Inter-cultural Publications, and the publication of a magazine Perspectives in Europe in four languages. The FF purpose according to Bissell was not “so much to defeat the leftist intellectuals in dialectical combat (sic) as to lure them away from their positions” (Ibid, p. 140). The board of directors of the publishing house was completely dominated by cultural Cold Warriors. Given the strong leftist culture in Europe in the post-war period, Perspectives failed to attract readers and went bankrupt.

Another journal Der Monat funded by the Confidential Fund of the U.S. military and run by Melvin Lasky was taken over by the FF, to provide it with the appearance of independence (Ibid, p. 140).

In 1954 the new president of the FF was John McCloy. He epitomized imperial power. Prior to becoming president of the FF he had been Assistant Secretary of War, president of the World Bank, High Commissioner of occupied Germany, chairman of Rockefeller’s Chase Manhattan Bank, Wall Street attorney for the big seven oil companies and director of numerous corporations. As High Commissioner in Germany, McCloy had provided cover for scores of CIA agents (Ibid, p. 141).

McCloy integrated the FF with CIA operations. He created an administrative unit within the FF specifically to deal with the CIA. McCloy headed a three person consultation committee with the CIA to facilitate the use of the FF for a cover and conduit of funds. With these structural linkages the FF was one of those organizations the CIA was able to mobilize for political warfare against the anti-imperialist and pro-communist left. Numerous CIA “fronts” received major FF grants. Numerous supposedly “independent” CIA sponsored cultural organizations, human rights groups, artists and intellectuals received CIA/FF grants. One of the biggest donations of the FF was to the CIA organized Congress for Cultural Freedom which received $7 million by the early 1960s. Numerous CIA operatives secured employment in the FF and continued close collaboration with the Agency (Ibid, p. 143).

From its very origins there was a close structural relation and interchange of personnel at the highest levels between the CIA and the FF. This structural tie was based on the common imperial interests which they shared. The result of their collaboration was the proliferation of a number of journals and access to the mass media which pro-U.S. intellectuals used to launch vituperative polemics against Marxists and other anti-imperialists. The FF funding of these anti-Marxists organizations and intellectuals provided a legal cover for their claims of being “independent” of government funding (CIA).

The FF funding of CIA cultural fronts was important in recruiting non-communist intellectuals who were encouraged to attack the Marxist and communist left. Many of these non-communist leftists later claimed that they were “duped”, that had they known that the FF was fronting for the CIA, they would not have lent their name and prestige. This disillusionment of the anti-communist left however took place after revelations of the FF-CIA collaboration were published in the press. Were these anti-communist social democrats really so naive as to believe that all the Congresses at luxury villas and five star hotels in Lake Como, Paris and Rome, all the expensive art exhibits and glossy magazines were simple acts of voluntary philanthropy? Perhaps. But even the most naive must have been aware that in all the Congresses and journals the target of criticism was “Soviet imperialism” and “Communist tyranny” and “leftist apologists of dictatorship” — despite the fact that it was an open secret that the U.S. intervened to overthrow the democratic Arbenz government in Guatemala and the Mossadegh regime in Iran and human rights were massively violated by U.S. backed dictators in Cuba, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and elsewhere.

The “indignation” and claims of “innocence” by many anti-communist left intellectuals after their membership in CIA cultural fronts was revealed must be taken with a large amount of cynical skepticism. One prominent journalist, Andrew Kopkind, wrote of a deep sense of moral disillusionment with the private foundation-funded CIA cultural fronts. Kopkind wrote:

“The distance between the rhetoric of the open society and the reality of control was greater than anyone thought. Everyone who went abroad for an American organization was, in one way or another, a witness to the theory that the world was torn between communism and democracy and anything in between was treason. The illusion of dissent was maintained: the CIA supported socialist cold warriors, fascist cold warriors, black and white cold warriors. The catholicity and flexibility of the CIA operations were major advantages. But it was a sham pluralism and it was utterly corrupting” (Ibid, pp. 408-409).”

When a U.S. journalist Dwight Macdonald who was an editor of Encounter (a FF-CIA funded influential cultural journal) sent an article critical of U.S. culture and politics it was rejected by the editors, working closely with the CIA (Ibid, pp. 314-321). In the field of painting and theater the CIA worked with the FF to promote abstract expressionism against any artistic expression with a social content, providing funds and contacts for highly publicized exhibits in Europe and favorable reviews by “sponsored” journalists. The interlocking directorate between the CIA, the Ford Foundation and the New York Museum of Modern Art lead to a lavish promotion of “individualistic” art remote from the people — and a vicious attack on European painters, writers and playwrights writing from a critical realist perspective. “Abstract Expressionism” whatever its artist’s intention became a weapon in the Cold War (Ibid, p. 263).

The Ford Foundation’s history of collaboration and interlock with the CIA in pursuit of U.S. world hegemony is now a well-documented fact. The remaining issue is whether that relationship continues into the new Millenium after the exposures of the 1960s? The FF made some superficial changes. They are more flexible in providing small grants to human rights groups and academic researchers who occasionally dissent from U.S. policy. They are not as likely to recruit CIA operatives to head the organization. More significantly they are likely to collaborate more openly with the U.S. government in its cultural and educational projects, particularly with the Agency of International Development.

The FF has in some ways refined their style of collaboration with Washington’s attempt to produce world cultural domination, but retained the substance of that policy. For example the FF is very selective in the funding of educational institutions. Like the IMF, the FF imposes conditions such as the “professionalization” of academic personnel and “raising standards.” In effect this translates into the promotion of social scientific work based on the assumptions, values and orientations of the U.S. empire; to have professionals de-linked from the class struggle and connected with pro-imperial U.S. academics and foundation functionaries supporting the neo-liberal model.

As in the 1950s and 60s the Ford Foundation today selectively funds anti-leftist human rights groups which focus on attacking human rights violations of U.S. adversaries, and distancing themselves from anti-imperialist human rights organizations and leaders. The FF has developed a sophisticated strategy of funding human rights groups (HRGs) that appeal to Washington to change its policy while denouncing U.S. adversaries their “systematic” violations. The FF supports HRGs which equate massive state terror by the U.S. with individual excesses of anti-imperialist adversaries. The FF finances HRGs which do not participate in anti-globalization and anti-neoliberal mass actions and which defend the Ford Foundation as a legitimate and generous “non-governmental organization”.

History and contemporary experience tells us a different story. At a time when government over-funding of cultural activities by Washington is suspect, the FF fulfills a very important role in projecting U.S. cultural policies as an apparently “private” non-political philanthropic organization. The ties between the top officials of the FF and the U.S. government are explicit and continuing. A review of recently funded projects reveals that the FF has never funded any major project that contravenes U.S. policy.

In the current period of a major U.S. military-political offensive, Washington has posed the issue as “terrorism or democracy,” just as during the Cold War it posed the question as “Communism or Democracy.” In both instances the Empire recruited and funded “front organizations, intellectuals and journalists to attack its anti-imperialist adversaries and neutralize its democratic critics. The Ford Foundation is well situated to replay its role as collaborator to cover for the New Cultural Cold War.

Ford Foundation grants since its inception have been directed generously and vigorously towards socialist, anti-business, anti-American hate Groups that promote loathing of America internationally and self loathing domestically. Basically, they are an instrument of the political left. A brief review of Ford Foundation grant recipients reveals a great deal about the Foundation agenda. The President of the Ford Foundation from 1996-2007 was Susan Berresford, shortly after the massacre of thousands of Americans at the World Trade Center in 2011 she made a statement sympathetic to the cause of the hijackers and asked Americans to blame themselves for the attack.

‘[Americans better] explore the issues behind the headlines and broaden [their] understanding about the countries from which the attacks came.’

She then proceeded to expedite a grant to the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), a group which provides for the legal defense of terrorists and panders to their causes. CCR president Michael Ratner, in a grotesque statement of convoluted logic, placed the blame for anti-American terrorism on the United States. [1]

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) was founded in the 60s by radical leftist attorneys William Kunstler, Morton Stavis, Ben Smith, and Arthur Kinoy, all were longtime members of the Communist Party, and supporters of Fidel Castro. CCR represents the Cuban Castro regime.

As per the New York Times

“The two lawyers [Rabinowitz and Boudin] won the new revolutionary government of Cuba as a client over a poolside chess game with Che Guevara at the Havana Hotel Riviera in 1960. Guevara won, then gave them Cubas business.”

Groups, whose very existence were made possible by capitalism and free enterprise such as the Ford Foundation, it’s protege organizations the Tides foundation, National Lawyers Guild, Rockridge Institute, Social Venture Network, Urgent Action Fund and dozens more all support the lunatic elements of the American political arena which are steadfastly becoming mainstream.

National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Supports Illegal Aliens and provides assistance to foreign persons and entities seeking to undermine the territorial integrity of the United States. At one time, the NLG was alleged by Attorney General Herbert Brownell Jr. and others to be a Communist front organization, but these allegations were never substantially proven. They are one of the chief organizations championing the rights of Taliban terrorists held by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

La Raza and a similar organization ‘MALDEF’ are groups that the Ford Foundation was instrumental in establishing. Ford remains their principal source of funding.

The Raza program teaches that the inferior white race maintains influence only if minorities are oppressed and bizarrely attempts to explain all social, political and economic events in this context. The course taught that California, Arizona, New Mexico, parts of Texas and Colorado belong to the mythical/hypothetical Aztlan, they claim it was the ancient homeland of the Aztecs, and still rightfully belongs to their descendants of Mexican heritage.

Amazingly, this hate group in addition to being funded by Ford received $15.2 million in federal grants in 2005 and over $30 million since 1996. The U.S. Department of Education funneled nearly $8 million in taxpayer grants to the group for a nationwide charter-schools initiative which are used to further indoctrination of adolescents in anti-American rhetoric.

The Tides Foundation, receives grants from the Ford Foundation as well as George Soros. During the 3 + decades of existence, the Tides network has provided funding to pro-socialist groups, gun control groups, pro- abortion rights groups, homosexual groups, organizations encouraging voter fraud and undermining the Democratic system, groups that spit on our returning soldiers, and organizations that seek to destroy what’s left of American Democracy. All told, in excess of 100 leftist organizations are funded by the Tides Foundation and its splinter groups. A Convicted Terrorist Brett Kimberlin Receives funding from Tides Foundation, Barbara Streisand, and the wife of presidential aspirant John Kerry.

“….convicted domestic terrorist, Brett Kimberlin, known as “the Speedway Bomber.” He spent nearly 17 years in prison after being convicted of launching a week-long bombing spree that terrorized the residents of Speedway, Indiana in the late 1970’s. One of the blasts horribly maimed a man so badly that it directly led to that man’s suicide a few years later, which was proven when the widow of that bombing victim successfully sued and won a civil judgment against Kimberlin for $1.6 million. Kimberlin was also convicted on drug charges in another case, and has a long history of telling lies. …Where does some of Velvet Revolution’s funding come from? The same place Media Matters gets much of its money: The Tides Foundation” See Convicted Terrorist Brett Kimberlin Received $70,000 From Tides Foundation, $10,000 From Streisand, $20,000 from John Kerrys Wife

A U.S. Congressional investigation in 1976 revealed that nearly 50% of the 700 grants in the field of international activities by the principal foundations were funded by the CIA (Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War, Frances Stonor Saunders, Granta Books, 1999, pp. 134-135). The CIA considers foundations such as Ford “The best and most plausible kind of funding cover” (Ibid, p. 135). The collaboration of respectable and prestigious foundations, according to one former CIA operative, allowed the Agency to fund “a seemingly limitless range of covert action programs affecting youth groups, labor unions, universities, publishing houses and other private institutions” (p. 135). The latter included “human rights” groups beginning in the 1950s to the present. One of the most important “private foundations” collaborating with the CIA over a significant span of time in major projects in the cultural Cold War is the Ford Foundation. The Ford Foundation-CIA connection was a deliberate, conscious joint effort to strengthen U.S. imperial cultural hegemony.

The Ford Foundation was also at the forefront (along with George Soros) of the internet censorship movement:

Sources:

Chronological History of Events Involving the Ford Foundation

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