As we wait to learn the identity of the mystery Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI) “subcontractor” who was handing out cellphones and laptops like Santa Claus in Cuba this December, let’s deconstruct the recent statement by Dr. James Boomgard, DAI Chief Executive Officer, denying DAI’s relationship to U.S. intelligence services.
Boomgard said: “The detained DAI subcontractor was not working for any intelligence service.”
In this post Clinton “it depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is” world, perhaps that was meant as some kind of denial. What Boomer did not say was that the detained subcontractor was not doing the work of U.S. intelligence.
In an interview the former CIA agent Phil Agee gave to Dennis Bernstein of the Flashpoints radio program in March 2005, he explained how intelligence work came to be shifted from the CIA to contractors such as the National Endowment for Democracy and their associated subcontracting NGOs such as DAI, Chemonics International (“an international development consulting firm that promotes meaningful change to help people live healthier, more productive, and more independent lives”), Partners for Democratic Change, Albert Einstein Institution, Freedom House and countless others. Agee was speaking specifically though not exclusively of Venezuela on that occasion.
During the late 1970s there was new thinking at the highest levels of the U.S. foreign policymakers, and they reconsidered whether these ugly murderous military dictatorships of the 1970s were really the best way to preserve U.S. interests in these countries – U.S. interests being defined traditionally as unfettered access to the primary products and raw materials, to the labor and to the markets of foreign countries. This new thinking led to the establishment in 1983 of the National Endowment for Democracy. They had chosen the German pattern in which the major political parties in Germany have foundations financed by the federal government. They did more or less the same thing with the establishment of the NED as a private foundation – there is really nothing private about it, and all its money comes from the Congress.
But then there were the other core foundations – this was the fundamental mechanism for promotion of democracy around the world, but in actual fact, when they say the promotion of democracy, or civic education, or fortifying civil society, what they really mean is using those euphemisms to cover funding to certain political forces and not to others. In other words, to fortify the opposition of undesirable foreign governments as in the case of Venezuela, or to support a government that is favorable to US interests and avoid of coming to power of forces that are not seen as favorable to US interests. This will be the case since the early 1990s in Nicaragua because all those programs that were started in order to assure the defeat of Daniel Ortega in 1990 continued, and they continued to make sure that Sandinista Front was not reelected again after their defeat in 1990 – and that has been the case. These programs go on in various different countries and they require quite a bit of research. … I am sure that one could find these programs in Mexico, Colombia, Peru probably, Brazil, and other countries outside the Latin American region.
Such as Cuba.
Let’s review who the sorry subcontractor likely reported to. Michael Morfit, DAI’s Vice President for Governance and Public Sector Management began his career in Indonesia where he worked for eight years on behalf of the Ford Foundation and USAID. He later moved on to the Philippines, and finally to USAID’s Office of Caribbean Affairs and the Office of Strategic Planning. He also directed USAID’s Haiti Task Force where, according to the Georgetown University website, “he was directly involved in U.S. Government planning and policy formation for major international development initiatives.”
According to the same website, his tenure at DAI was immensely profitable for the company, since the democracy and governance portion of the business saw its revenues increase from $3 million to $25 million under his stewardship. Most recently he has been consulting in Serbia, the same land from which emerged Ivan Marovic, of OTPOR, which as both Eva Golinger and George Ciccarielo-Maher explained, was the model advised for the student protests in favor of U.S. objectives in Venezuela. Marovic later surfaced in Honduras where he was warmly received by the independent journalist Al Giordano, whose annual journalism classes are being partially underwritten this year by Peter Ackerman’s International Center for Non-Violent Conflict.
Here’s Eva (in Spanish) on Otpor and incidentally, Peter Ackerman: