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“Reporters without borders” serve US government intrests

Ralf Streck - translation | 17.05.2005 23:00 | Indymedia | Repression | World

“Yes, this is correct, we receive money from NED and this isn't a problem for us”, admitted the boss of “Reporters without borders” Robert Ménard. But the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is not any organisation. It has been founded 1983 under the admistration of Reagan to enforce a politic which specifically aimed to destabilise Cuba and Sandinista Nicaragua.

For twenty years, the french organisation “Reporters without borders” (RSF/ ) exists, for twenty years Robert Ménard presides over this organisation, and for twenty years the rumours have never stopped, that there are close relationships to the US secret service CIA and other government authorities of the USA.

Lately the hints and investigations point directly to the RSF being financed by US state departments. The journalist Diana Barahona reported ( ) in the US journalist association “The Newspaper Guild” ( ) about the RSF being financed by NED ( ) .

Because of the pressure on Ménard, he had to officially acknowledge the financing.
In a forum of the french weekly magazine “Le Nouvel Observateur” Ménard was asked directly by a user about the investigations by Barahona.
He replied then: “Yes, exactly, we receive money by the NED and that is not any problem for us.”

But it should be a problem, if only because this money doesn't appear in the statement of accounts of the organisation. ( .

According to own reports in the financial year 2003 the RSF had a household of 3.472.122 Euros. 11% by the french state, 12% of sponsors, 4% donations, 15% by EU, 10 % by “punctual actions”
The biggest contribution: 48% by publications, the organisation claims by selling picture publications. That would be 250.000 sold calendars. Either NED received a big part of these, or there are undeclared deals and fonds.

For a long time the reputation of the organisation sufferes because of the selective cognition of violations against press freedom.
In Europe it can be noticed in the case of the Basque country. In 2004 the Basque underground organisation ETA is listed as a specific threat to press freedom. Though they haven't conducted any deadly attacks for years nor has there been any imitation against press representatives nor press institutions for years. The “preventive” shutdown of the Basque daily newspaper in contrast is justified in the annual report with suspicion of “collaboration with ETA” ().

No word about the factual prohibition existing already for more than a year at the time of publication of the report. It exists up to today, and up to now, no evidence has been presented. But the journalists have notified the public believably of having been tortured.
Then and today the criticism is missing on pointing out the missing enquiries of the accusations or the fact, that in Spain no trial nor court case has been conducted up to today in the case of the 1998 “preventive” closedown of the newspaper and Radio Egin or the newspaper Ardi Beltza (2000).

In particular the militancy against Cuba under Fidel Castro is striking as well as against Venezuela under Hugo Chavez. Because of its aggressive manner towards Cuba the RSF lost its status as consulting member of the UNO.
The request to exclude the RSF restricted in first instance for a year has been filed
by the UN commission for NGOs, because of a by the RSF provoked incidence during the opening of the 59th human rights commission on the 17th of march 2003 in Geneva.

But even the most recent annual report is conspicuous, which was presented on “Press Freedom Day” on 3rd of may. (

In which 53 killed journalists are mentioned and Iraq is presented as the “most dangerous place”. But the organisation is more than retentive in regards to journalists, who have been shot by US occupying troops. Here the organisation takes over the US language regulations and talks of “accidents”. That is also the coice of words in the case of the Italian Giuliana Sgrena ().
But the death of her protector even lead to a crisis with Italy, because the government Berlusconi does not believe in a “tragic accident”.

But at the end of april the reports by RSF about incidents in Iraq became more critical again. The organisation wrote at the start of may a letter to General Abizaid demanding the release of the cameraman Abdel Amir Hussein, who is working for the CBS News and has been arrested in Mosul start of april and is imprisoned since then without any presentation of any evidence whatsoever in Abu Ghraib.
Even on the 26th of april, several days after the confession to have received funds from NED, the RSF showed worries about the arrest of journalists, who are in Iraq or American prisons partly for several months without any formal charge.
Has this been a reaction to try to evade the suspicion that there is any influence by the US government, or has this been accidental?

It is striking in the report about the Americas, that the RSF starts with “in general press freedom would be respected in this region”. But that would not apply for Cuba, and it is infringed in Colombia and threatened in Venezuela.
Then the organisation talks about “12 killed journalists”, three more than in the year before: Mexico (3), Nicaragua (2), Peru (2) and in other countries the deat of one journalist each is mourned.
It stands out that Cuba is not amongst these countries, where since 1959 no journalist has been murdered.

Totally aside from this, the latinamerican journalist association CIAP-FELAP () talks about 20 murdered journalists for the continent and even 117 world-wide.
Instead of a general press freedom the local organisation talks about a “fatal singularity” and a new “record” for America regarding the numbers of killed journalists.

Diana Baraona pointed in her article also out, that the “total press freedom” which the Parisian organisation generally certifies the USA, is not that reaching that far.
She refers to the cases of Judith Miller and Mattew Cooper.
The journalist of the New York Times and the journalist of Time magazine
(, who were sentenced to 18 months, because of their refusal to name their information sources. They had uncovered a CIA agent.

Neither to these cases nor to the case of the black journalist Mumia Abu Jamal the RSF has ever mentioned a word. Only a massive grassroots campaign has prevented the deat penalty to be carried out and changed into a lifelong prison sentence.
Altough he is a honoury citizen of Paris, the Parisian RSF has never taken up te case.
Thereby there were many inconsistencies in the proceedings against the uncomfortable journalist, who has already been imprisoned for nearly 25 years.

Besides Cuba, which is allegedly the only country in America, which would imprison journalists, the organisation is also criticising sharply Venezuela.
Here, again, a conformity with the US foreign policy is established.
Barahona is not only pointing out that the NED is financing not only the RSF, but also supports groups and mediawic have been involved in the 2002 coup against the Chavez government. (
Although these media outlets haven't lost their license, the RSF is talking about an “autoritarian system” and is openly taking sides for the coup. Now, a dubious media law is used by both, which though has never been applied so far. ( )

These conformities with the US policy and the specifics amongst the evaluation of press freedom are not a coincidence given the relevation that “Reporters without borders” are also financed by the NED.
Whoever is financed secretly by the NED, which is subordinate to the US state department, can hardly be called independent anymore.
The former CIA agent Philip Agee describes the NED like following:
It was founded under the Reagan administration and several foundations belonged to it.
The congress made several million dollars available in 1984 and distributed the money to the four “nuclear foundations”, which distributed it to the foreign beneficiaries.

“The first recipient from the NED was the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF), which was the reservoir of the extremist Castro opponents, from individuals to organisations, in the USA. But the first real test for this new system came in Nicaragua.”

There the Sandinista Liberation Front (FSLN) hunted away the bloody dictator Somoza in 1979.
The logistics, the organisation and the support of the Contras was carried out from Honduras. Tis CIA intervention was also financed by selling weapons to the iranian "Mullahs" (religious clerics?). (,bedeutung.htm).
In the country itself the NED and its four foundations have been active to create collectively with the CIA an anti-sandinista political front.
It speaks for itself, that the international court in The Hague sentenced the USA for their actions against Nicaragua.

© Ralf Streck den 08.05.2005

Ralf Streck - translation
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