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Beware of USAID ‘projects’ in the Eastern Province: the timing is ominous


Sri Lanka should not think that the warding-off of the attempted meddling by Miliband and his friends will be the end of the matter: while they would have shrugged their shoulders at the failure, smiled and gone home empty handed, they, sure as hell, consider this as a ‘slight’ and will seek revenge while acting diplomatically.

As usual, they will resort to dastardly methods to try and, in their language, to ‘put pressure’ on Sri Lanka. The UK, US and EU are acting as a pack on these matters and their chief weapon is the global media monopoly exercised through the disgraceful Reuters (including the Alert Net), AFP, AP wires and of course, the BBC.

Miliband himself threatened, as soon as he got off the plane, UN Security Council action (he is dreaming!). Reuters reported some manufactured news in the form of an ‘unidentified’ U.S. Government official’s threat that the IMF loan will be delayed. The President of the UN Security Council Clyde Heller and the British Ambassador to the UN have denied the imbecile Miliband’s attempt to ‘punish’ Sri Lanka (there is a hint of instructions from Gordon Brown there!).

IMF sources have also denied any plans to delay the loan as ‘punishment’; this is hardly surprising because one of the main objectives behind the fear campaign on the Global Financial Crisis is to get the IMF noose around the necks of the developing world who had stopped going there for loans! Now the Western owned and controlled wires are taking up the battle: their strategy seems to be to relay the obviously bogus reports appearing on that pathetic sewer known as

Sri Lanka should be able to depend on the friendship and decency of China and Russia to chase the dogs away from the UN Security Council floor because they themselves have been the victims of Reuters, AFP and AP led frauds many a time.

However, there are significant security threats that are being launched inside Sri Lanka by the so-called diplomats and aid-workers of the imperialists, with the connivance of local agents and the so-called NGOs. One such ‘trap’ that is being laid is ‘a program to strengthen local authorities in the East’ launched on 29 April by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

This ‘program’ (within the US Embassy walls it will be a ‘project’!) involving funding for two-years, is purportedly to ‘Support Regional Governance’ (note the acronym ‘SuRG’) and to ‘strengthen local governance’ (read ‘devolution’) in conflict-affected areas of the East.

We are asked to believe that under this totally altruistic and noble program aimed at civilising the East, USAID will provide ‘training and technical assistance’ local authorities, (Pradesheeya Sabhas), with a view to ‘increase public participation in local decision making, improve transparency in local government, and strengthen the relationships between different levels of government and elected officials’.

SuRG will provide ‘training and technical assistance’ to PS and Urban Council chairmen, other elected officials and administrative staff. USAID will also train ‘community groups’ (could they be unemployed Tamil youth?) on the roles and responsibilities of local authorities and the ways citizens can engage with officials to address community needs. Eleven PSs will be participating in 2009 and a further 14 next year.

It is claimed that the program received ‘the support’ of the Ministry of Local Government and Provincial Councils. But the agreements are signed directly between Ms Susan Ward of USAID, Head of the SuRG Program, and chairmen of the PSs. Rebecca Cohn (there is an ‘e’ missing here!) is the USAID Mission Director in Colombo.

As a person with a background in monitoring the activities of USAID over a ‘very’ long period, this writer has one piece of advice to the Sri Lankan government, the police, the army and to the intelligence services in particular; WATCH OUT!

USAID has long been a conduit for CIA funding to subversive activities overseas and a front for CIA intelligence gathering. USAID is the collaborator and executor of CIA plots, and secret plans of the State Department. Its role is to act as an instrument of CIA penetration into civil society by enabling the “legitimate” funding aimed at promoting U.S. foreign policy abroad and influencing internal politics of foreign nations. The US Embassy’s propaganda line that USAID is the ‘development agency’ of the U.S. Government should not be believed. The Sri Lankan government including the bureaucracy needs to be aware that USAID is one of the empire’s principal weapons in maintaining its dominion over the developing world. The history proves it.

The USAID was created in 1961 by President John Kennedy, designed as part of the U.S. campaign to bolster popular support for the South Vietnamese puppet government of Ngo Dinh Diem. Due to the clear military objectives behind its origins, USAID was moulded by military men and spymasters like William Colby. USAID operated in Vietnam until the very end and the fall of Saigon. USAID's mission in the war however, is absent in the vast body of Vietnam War literature, due to obvious reasons.

With South Vietnam receiving by far the largest share of the global foreign aid programme of the US, (more than $550 million out of $2 billion in 1967, for a nation of 17 million people) USAID was training South Vietnamese police and intelligence services in fighting the Viet-Cong. Under a covert programme named CORDS, a collection of counterinsurgency programs, USAID provided cover to South Vietnamese military and CIA personnel to set up programs designed to win Vietnamese peasants over and to develop local militias known as the Regional and Popular Forces.

Included in CORDS was the Phoenix program the aim of which was to eliminate the rural Viet Cong infrastructure by capturing suspected guerrillas and by either converting or killing them. Louis Wolf, co-publisher of ‘Covert Action Quarterly’ and John Paul Vann (in his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography ‘A Bright Shining Lie’, written by Journalist Neil Sheehan) bear testimony to the fact that USAID provided cover to the CIA personnel working in Operation Phoenix. Richard Holbrooke, President Obama’s ‘special envoy’ to South Asia was a USAID operative in the Mekong Delta, in 1963-64, when he was 22 years old.

The deepest penetration in to civil society by USAID, in pursuit of military and other subversive activities has been in Latin America. Dozens of USAID agents operate in right-wing organisations such as Freedom House, known front for organizing operations against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua, as well as backing the ARENA Party in El Salvador and his death squads.

The CIA used USAID in the failed coup attempt to bring down the government of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela in April 2002. Leading up to the coup, between 2002 and 2004, USAID had palmed out $2.3 million to Chávez’s right-wing political opponents under the guise of 67 ‘programs’.

The USAID has an even more dishonourable record in attempting to subvert Cuba. Audits of its Cuba Program by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2006 and the Office of Inspector General (OIG) in 2007 pointed to serious mismanagement of public funds earmarked for ‘humanitarian aid’ for subversive activities against the Castro government. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been defrauded by the leaders of the anti-Cuban Center for a Free Cuba, a pseudo-NGO in Miami.

The USAID has an extremely long history in Bolivia where it was attempting to Balkanise the country and funding anti-government violence, all under the guise of humanitarian programs. Antonio Veciana, the terrorist who plotted the CIA organised assassination attempt on President Fidel Castro during his visit to Chile in 1971 was working in the US embassy in Bolivia under USAID cover. There was an international scandal in the 70s, when Dan Anthony Mitrione, a U.S. instructor in torture techniques, was provided by USAID to Uruguay to train police for a secret program directed at destroying left-wing forces in all of Latin America.

In Haiti, the USAID, under the guise of its so-called ‘Democracy Enhancement’ program, toppled the democratically elected government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide by organising, directing and funding street demonstrations of the ‘Cannibal Army’. It was USAID that sponsored the formation of FRAPH, a terrorist organization responsible for some 5,000 murders, by Emmanuel ‘Toto’ Constant in the wake of the military coup that removed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, from his first term as elected president in 1991.

Similar intervention also occurred during the Western conspiracy in the Balkans: under the guise of 'Promoting Democracy in Yugoslavia', the CIA and USAID distributed $35 million in 1998, with $10 million to the media ‘to emphasise instances of repression’, $5 million to NGOs and another $10 million to political parties ‘who cooperate with the NGOs’.

But there are exceptions: during the ‘Oslo peace process’ (remember that?) USAID cancelled its support for the independent Palestinian TV stations, despite an existing fledge to support independent media, due to the extremely popular talk shows on these stations criticising the Oslo process.

As this global, inglorious history of USAID shows that it’s ‘Governance Enhancement Programs pose a real danger to Sri Lanka. There is an eerie similarity with the British ODA and British Council programs of the 70’s in the North; it was through these programs that Anton Balasingham was used to finance a multitude of youth-based insurgency outfits in Jaffna.

It is not difficult to imagine the ‘possibilities’ as well as the final outcomes when an organisation with a history like that of USAID is allowed to freely hand out money, several million US dollars direct to local groups of their choosing, purportedly to teach them ‘how to get more out of government’.

There is an urgent need to deploy intelligence services to closely monitor USAID activities as well as to legislate the requirement that any offers of foreign aid be directed to the Sri Lankan government. Foreign agents should not be allowed to finance projects identified, designed and agreed upon by them.

After all, we were kindly given ‘independence’ in 1948, weren’t we?

Ajit Randeniya

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