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Say_What Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-18-07 11:22 PM
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The Freedom House files

Freedom House is an independent non-governmental organization that supports the expansion of freedom in the world. Freedom House

Freedom House is a small but influential organization based in Washington and New York with more than 120 offices around the world and an annual budget of US$19 million.1 Calling itself Americas oldest human rights group, it is best known for its yearly Freedom in the World report, which rates countries as free, partly free and not free. What it is not known for is the high percentage of its funding that comes from the State Department -- an average of 95% between 2000 and 2003 -- or its list of trustees, a Whos Who of neoconservatives from government, business, academia, labor and the press.

In 1940, a liberal New Yorker named George Field and some friends formed the National Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies to build support for the U.S. entering WWII. The group attracted prominent figures in the arts, journalism and government -- including Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt -- and within a year it was drawing thousands to rallies at Madison Square Garden and making headlines.2 A month before the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, Field joined with Republican presidential candidate Wendell L. Willkie and some anti-Nazi groups to found Freedom House as a counterpoint to the Nazi Braunhaus, Hitler's propaganda center in Munich.3

After the war Freedom House joined with other government agencies such as the CIA and State Department to combat Soviet and Chinese Communism, anti-Semitism and the suppression of human rights in Eastern Europe and Asia.4 It championed NATO abroad but supported liberal causes at home, condemning the Ku Klux Klan and McCarthyism and sharing its New York headquarters, the Wendell Willkie Memorial Building, with the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League and the Metropolitan Council of B'nai B'rith. Field retired as executive director in 1967 but served as secretary to the board of trustees until 1970. In the 1970s and 80s, Freedom House lobbied at UNESCO against the New World Information and Communications Order, an attempt by Third World countries to create media systems that werent dominated by First World corporations and governments.

During the 1980s, the organization began to receive a majority of its grant income from the newly created NED (founded by Congress in 1983), and contracts for Latin America far surpassed those for Eastern Europe.5 Under the Reagan-Bush administrations, Freedom House continued to promote the foreign policy objectives of the United States in Central America, supporting the death squad-linked ARENA party in El Salvador while attacking the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, championing Contra leaders like Arturo Cruz, and serving as a conduit for funds from the National Endowment for Democracy.6 Considered neoconservative even at that time, the groups trustees and associates were affiliated with the State Department, the National Security Council (Jeane Kirkpatrick), the CIA (through front groups), the U.S. Information Agency, the Trilateral Commission (Zbigniew Brzezinski), the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Committee on the Present Danger, Accuracy in Media, the American Enterprise Institute, Crisis, The New Republic and PRODEMCA, a group that raised funds and lobbied for the Contras. During the 1980s, Freedom House also formed the Afghanistan Information Center, one of several NED-funded groups supporting the mujahedin. This was to complement the governments $3 billion covert funding program for the anti-Soviet groups.7

According to Freedom Houses IRS Form 990, prior to 1997 its government funding was in the form of government fees and contracts, presumably for work performed on behalf of the State Department. After that year, however, the funding was qualified as grants. But with neoconservatives such as Kenneth Adelman, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Otto Reich, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Samuel Huntington, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Malcolm Forbes Jr. on the board of trustees, there was no danger the organization would change its ideological course.8

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