John Perazzo / FrontPage Magazine.com – 2006-10-02 22:04:59
(October 3, 2006) — While battling the murderous scourge of Islamic terrorism in the Middle East, the United States simultaneously faces a most formidable foe within its own borders. Determined, well organized, and immensely wealthy, this enemy pours untold sums of money into the coffers of organizations dedicated to ensuring America’s defeat in that war. Yet few Americans are even remotely familiar with this foe, whose benign sounding name — Peace and Security Funders Group (PSFG) — gives no hint of the potential national catastrophe that its policies encourage.
Established in 1999, PSFG is an unincorporated association of more than 50 private and public foundations that give a portion of their $27 billion in combined assets to leftist organizations that undermine the war on terror in several interrelated ways:
(a) by characterizing the United States as an evil, militaristic, oppressive nation that exploits vulverable populations all over the globe;
(b) by accusing the US of having provoked, through its unjust policies and actions, the terror attacks against it, and consequently casting those attacks as self-defensive measures taken in response to American transgressions;
(c) by depicting America’s military and legislative actions against terror as unjustified, extreme, and immoral;
(d) by steadfastly defending the civil rights and liberties of terrorists whose ultimate aim is to facilitate the annihilation of not only the United States, but all of Western civilization; and
(e) by striving to eradicate America’s national borders and institute a system of mass, unregulated migration into and out of the United States — thereby rendering all distinctions between legal and illegal immigrants anachronistic, and making it much easier for aspiring terrorists to enter our country.
Asserting that the US budget allocates too much money to the military and too little to social welfare programs, PSFG directs its philanthropy toward organizations that seek to address the “root causes” of war and violence — causes which it characterizes as: poverty, ethnic and religious differences, “social injustices,” and competition for natural resources. The main source of these “root causes,” says PSFG, is the United States, where social, economic, and religious injustices allegedly abound.
A key member of PSFG’s steering committee is Cora Weiss, currently the president of the Samuel Rubin Foundation, a PSFG member. The daughter of Faberge millionaire Samuel Rubin, Weiss established her reputation as a far leftist during the Vietnam War, when she participated in the psychological warfare conducted by the Vietcong against US prisoners of war who were being held in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.”
At that time, Weiss was a leader of Women Strike for Peace, an organization that, according to a Congressional study, “enjoyed the complete support of the Communist Party.” As co-director of the “Committee for Liaison with the Families,” Weiss, who knew the names of many American prisoners, told their relatives that if they would actively join the anti-war movement and speak out against US policies, they might be able to win the release of the POWs. (None of the families accepted that arrangement.) Weiss made one trip to Hanoi by invitation and returned to the US with two American POWs.
Upon her return, she told the press that Hanoi’s jails were “immaculate,” and that American prisoners were well fed and cared for. When the two aforementioned POWs objected to her cheerful portrayal of North Vietnamese prison conditions, Weiss replied that one of the two was a “war criminal.” After the war, Weiss worked on behalf of Vietnam’s admission to the United Nations, and later served as chairwoman of the committee celebrating that country’s actual admission.
In 1978 Weiss was invited by the Reverend William Sloane Coffin to direct the Disarmament Program at New York’s Riverside Church. Riverside’s program was a leader in supporting the USSR-backed nuclear freeze campaign that would have consolidated Soviet nuclear superiority in Europe. While at Riverside, Weiss co-organized a massive1982 disarmament rally in New York City, where a coalition of communist organizations convened to condemn American militarism. In 1983 Weiss was a delegate to a US-Soviet disarmament conference, where she mingled with fellow delegates who, like her, had supported the Communist regime in North Vietnam and the Marxist revolutions in Africa and Central America.
Following are brief descriptions of a number of the key PSFG member foundations.
• Agape Foundation: Aimed at countering America’s allegedly warlike proclivities and forestalling their inevitably disastrous consequences, the Agape Foundation’s self-defined purpose is “to fund nonviolent social change organizations committed to peace and justice issues.” The foundation’s objectives are firmly rooted in socialist values, as evidenced by its declaration: “We are committed to true human security through equitably redistributing resources, and challenging all forms of oppression.” The foundation further boasts of its commitment to “creating systemic change for social justice,” which writer Barry Loberfeld has described as “the theory that implies and justifies the practice of socialism … domination by the State … the absence of a free market … repudiation of property rights … the opposite of capitalism.”
• CarEth Foundation: This foundation deems it axiomatic that “the major cause of destructive conflict” around the world is “the existing polarization between the powerful and oppressed.” In CarEth’s view, international peace can best be achieved through a socialist model of wealth redistribution, resulting in “social, economic, and political equality for all.” In its analysis of current trends around the world, the CarEth Foundation makes no specific mention of the social injustices of any nation except those of the United States, where many people allegedly “have been excluded from full participation” in political and economic life.
The CarEth Foundation seeks to use its philanthropy to “promote the creation of a global community of shared values,” a goal founded on the premise that all cultures and traditions, regardless of how antithetical their worldviews or objectives may be, can find common ground upon which to build harmonious relationships. Islamist terrorism and its calls for worldwide jihad have not prevented the foundation from reassessing its notion that power and wealth imbalances — particularly between the affluent United States and poorer nations — are the major obstacles stopping nations from “unit[ing] in the common purpose of becoming a global community founded in compassionate peace.”
• Colombe Foundation: A project of the Proteus Fund, the Colombe Foundation seeks “to create a peaceful world through changes in American policy.” Toward this end, the foundation supports a host of groups and programs it deems committed to bringing about “a shift from war and aggression to conflict prevention and conflict resolution; and a shift from wasteful military spending to investments in programs addressing poverty, environmental degradation and other root causes of violence.”
These objectives are based on the premise that the United States is naturally inclined to pursue war rather than peace; that current US policies are largely to blame for international conflicts in which our nation is involved; and that the widespread anti-Americanism that exists overseas is in fact a logical, justifiable response to American transgressions.
• Compton Foundation: Suggesting that American policies are to blame for much of humanity’s international strife, this foundation’s Peace and Security program aims to “focus public attention on the need for US and international policy change in war-torn areas, including the need for new approaches and increased public funding for peace operations.” In the fall of 2002 the Compton Foundation co-founded the Iraq Peace Fund, a short-term project aimed at raising money to promote the anti-war movement during the run-up to the 2003 war in Iraq. The Fund raised $750,000 to disseminate its anti-Iraq War message to the American public, and it made grants totaling more than $400,000 to 27 separate leftist and anti-war organizations.
• Ford Foundation: In the wake of 9/11, Ford Foundation President Susan Berresford exhorted Americans to “explore the issues behind the headlines and broaden [their] understanding about the countries from which the attacks came.” Characterizing the deadly hijackings as a wake-up call designed to make Americans see the responsibility they themselves bore for the horrors of that day, Berresford said: “For many living and working near ground zero, the 9/11 attacks had the same effect as any terrible shock. They forced us to think more deeply about what we do, how we live our lives, and whether we can do better.”
• Steven and Michele Kirsch Foundation: Identifying the United States as the chief agent of nuclear peril worldwide, this foundation says: “Despite the Cold War being over for more than a decade and the Soviet Union no longer in existence, the nuclear legacy of that time period still remains. … Much more troubling, the US is actively pursuing strategies, such as new nuclear weapons and a missile defense system, that seriously jeopardize the current international, treaty-based system.”
• John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation: One of the ten largest private philanthropic foundations in the United States, this foundation supports groups that advocate juvenile justice reform, alternatives to incarceration for criminals, low-rent housing for the poor, radical feminist causes, gay rights, and “community change” initiatives to counter America’s allegedly rampant racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia. Further, it supports organizations that oppose the US military’s development of an anti-missile defense system. Favoring redistributive economic policies that can avert “costly conflicts between haves and have-nots,” the MacArthur Foundation states that “emerging economic theory suggests that inequality may have adverse effects blunting productive incentives.”
• Mertz Gilmore Foundation: Mertz Gilmore’s funding priorities are predicated on the notion that the United States is a nation rife with injustice against minorities and women; a place where human rights are routinely violated by the government. The foundation affirms its “recognition” of what it calls “the US government’s historical antipathy toward applying human rights standards within the US”
• A.J. Muste Memorial Institute: Named after socialist, union activist, and war resister Abraham Johannes Muste, this Institute was founded in 1974 by a group of pacifists who proclaimed a deep “commitment to nonviolent radical change by providing the movement for peace and justice with practical, concrete support.” Working out of its New York City headquarters, a building it dubs the “Peace Pentagon,” the Institute publishes books and pamphlets deriding war as an illegitimate alternative in any conflict. It also rents out low-cost office space to a number of organizations that share its leftist perspectives, and it uses its tax-exempt status to sponsor likeminded anti-war organizations that are not tax-exempt, thereby enabling the latter to receive tax-deductible contributions from the public.
• New-Land Foundation: This foundation seeks to downsize the American military, which it views as a provocateur of much international strife. The president of its Board of Directors, Hal Harvey, in 1989 co-authored the article “Alternative Security,” wherein he advocated “a policy known as ‘non-provocative defense'” as a means by which “to reduce military tensions and budgets.” This perspective exhorts the US military to dispose of all weaponry designed for offensive purposes, and to “restructure US military capabilities so that they are unambiguously defensive, and at the same time to persuade other nations to do likewise.” Harvey advised the US to “focus on causes [of conflict], not symptoms … [and to] give greater priority to eliminating the economic and political roots of conflict through non-provocative forms of persuasion and cooperation.”
To help compensate for the absence of an offensive arsenal, and to supplement the approved defensive weaponry in the event of an attack, Harvey advocated a strategy called “civilian-based defense,” which he described as follows: “Populations would be trained to make their country ungovernable in the face of an attack. They would be taught, for example, how to resist military occupation (or, for that matter, domestic tyranny) through strikes, boycotts, noncooperation, and obstruction which would make takeover a more costly goal for any attacker. … Frontal barriers would stop or slow advancing forces. Forces breaking through would then face techno-commando units. Then enemy occupiers would have to cope with civilian-based defense units.”
• Open Society Institute (OSI): One of the numerous foundations belonging to the billionaire financier George Soros, OSI endorsed the Civil Liberties Restoration Act of 2004, which was designed to roll back, in the name of protecting civil liberties, vital national-security policies that had been adopted after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. OSI was also a signatory to a November 1, 2001 document characterizing the 9/11 attacks as a legal matter to be addressed by criminal-justice procedures rather than military means. Ascribing the hijackers’ motives to alleged social injustices against which they were protesting, this document explained that “security and justice are mutually reinforcing goals that ultimately depend upon the promotion of all human rights for all people,” and called on the United States “to promote fundamental rights around the world.”
• Peace Development Fund: Established in 1981, this Fund views the United States as a nation characterized by enormous injustice, and thus in need of a massive overhaul of its social and economic institutions. “Recently,” explains PDF, “we have witnessed the negative effects of neo-liberalism and the globalization of capitalism, the de-industrialization of the US and the growing gap between the rich and poor, Affirmative Action rollbacks, Welfare Reform and the strengthening of the Right. Some of these effects are the widening gap between rich and poor, increasing incidences of hate crimes and increasing poverty and unemployment. This is evidence that some of the institutional and structural causes of injustice … remain largely intact. Challenging those causes and moving towards a more just, nonviolent society is at the heart of our program.” A vital first step in that direction, says PDF Executive Director Paul Haible, is for white Americans to acknowledge their responsibility for the suffering of nonwhites. According to Haible, whites must “deal with that original discord in our nation, like the contact between Europeans and Native Americans and what happened to the original people here—and our families’ role in that.”
* Public Welfare Foundation (PWF): This foundation formulates its grant-making decisions with the aim of addressing what it deems the inherent flaws of American society — particularly vis a vis immigrants and minorities in the post-9/11 era. Such people, said an October 2002 article posted on the PWF website, must endure “violence, discrimination, workplace abuse, police brutality, cultural isolation, and economic exploitation” and the erosion of civil liberties by “policies such as the USA Patriot Act.”
• Ploughshares Fund: Established in 1981 by Sally Lilienthal, the Ploughshares Fund describes itself as “a public grantmaking foundation that supports initiatives to prevent the spread and use of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and other weapons of war, and to prevent conflicts that could lead to the use of weapons of mass destruction.” The Executive Director of the Ploughshares Fund is Naila Bolus, a co-founder of the Women Legislators’ Lobby whose goal is to “persuade Congress to redirect excessive military spending toward unmet human and environmental needs.”
• Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF): Seeking to foster “greater understanding between Muslim and Western Societies,” RBF’s Peace and Security Program asserts that “[t]he tensions that currently characterize this relationship seem to be rooted, at least in part, in profound misunderstanding and lack of communication” that is exacerbated by “the complex impact of globalization and the juxtaposition of great wealth and extreme poverty.” In other words, America’s affluence is a source of Muslim resentment. The program’s philanthropy is directed toward “efforts to contribute to the improvement of communication and understanding between Muslim and Western societies, including the United States.” No mention is made of the radical Islamic movements now spanning the globe and proclaiming their fervent desire to destroy Western, non-Muslim civilizations. Rather, RBF places responsibility for international disharmony squarely on the shoulders of the United States: “[T]here exists a pressing need to examine the content, style, and tone of US global engagement.”
• Samuel Rubin Foundation: Founded by Samuel Rubin, who claimed to be appalled by the “plunder, hunger, and devastation” which he considered to be the bitter fruits of Western capitalism, this foundation is headed by the aforementioned Cora Weiss, who sits on PSFG’s Board of Directors and was instrumental in the creation of the Institute for Policy Studies, America’s oldest leftist think tank.
• Simons Foundation: This foundation favors US disarmament as a strategy for encouraging similar military downsizing in other nations. Its former president, Jennifer Allen Simons, lamented: “We live in a warrior culture in which we human beings are engaged in a struggle to maintain our human dignity and to live in a peaceful and just society. … [we live in] a system seemingly determined to annihilate us as it accumulates arsenals.”
• Stanley Foundation: Stating that its mission is to promote “public understanding, constructive dialogue, and cooperative action on critical international issues,” the Stanley Foundation places its faith in the possibility of international consensus on all matters, or what it calls “principled multilateralism in addressing international issues” so that “the causes of conflict are addressed and disputes are resolved without recourse to violence.” In short, it rejects the notion that unilateral military action may sometimes be warranted or justified.
Characterizing “US policies toward the Muslim world” as inequitable, the foundation declares: “American approaches to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan … continue to generate difficulties for the United States in its relations with much of the Muslim world.” The foundation further seeks “to change US policies toward a more balanced approach that includes US-Iranian détente and the construction of a more cooperative Gulf security environment that respects the national interests, sovereignty, autonomy, and domestic cultural values of every state in the region.”
• Threshold Foundation: Reasoning from the premise that American society is riddled with injustice and thus needs a radical transformation, the Threshold Foundation seeks to be “a quiet catalyst to the social change movement, by seeding thousands of non-profits and by supporting the evolution of many sister donor organizations and socially responsible business networks throughout the world.” Blaming the US for provoking foreign antipathy, the foundation’s Policy and Systemic Change Committee advocates “systemic policy change” that addresses “the root causes of harmful and unjust conditions.”
• Tides FoundationImmediately after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Tides formed a “9/11 Fund” to advocate a “peaceful national response” to al Qaeda’s act of war. The Tides Foundation later replaced the 9/11 Fund with the “Democratic Justice Fund,” which was funded in large measure by the Open Society Institute of George Soros.
• Town Creek Foundation: This foundation supports initiatives that “challenge and critique the military budget”; “encourage greater public debate and deliberation about national budget priorities”; and “promote the elimination of nuclear weapons and testing, strengthen arms control programs, or seek responsible weapons disposal programs.”
• Working Assets: Strongly opposed to the Iraq War, Working Assets produced a letter to US Congressional Reprsentatives (for which it collected some 30,000 signatures) titled “Congress: Admit You Regret Voting for Iraq War.” The organization similarly stands in strong opposition to the Patriot Act anti-terrorism legislation, which it views as an assault on the civil liberties of Americans. The Working Assets website recently featured an article that stated the following: “A few short years ago, almost no one in America had heard of places called Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. Now, those names have become infamous worldwide — for repeated instances of torture, inflicted by Americans on prisoners we continue to hold there as part of the so-called ‘war on terror.'”
The foregoing foundations funnel many millions of dollars each year to organizations dedicated to America’s defeat in the terror war. Among these beneficiaries are the following:
• Not In Our Name: This self-described “peace movement” was initiated on March 23, 2002 by the longtime Maoist activist C. Clark Kissinger, who is a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist group calling for the overthrow of the US government and its replacement with a Communist dictatorship. The organization opposes America’s “injustices”; its pursuit of “endless war”; its greed-driven “transfusions of blood for oil”; its determination to “erode [our] freedoms”; and its eagerness to “invade countries, bomb civilians, kill more children, [and annihilate] families on foreign soil.”
• United For Peace and Justice: This anti-war coalition consists of more than 1,300 local and national groups joined together “to protest the immoral and disastrous Iraq War and oppose our [American] government’s policy of permanent warfare and empire-building.” The coalition’s Unity Statement denounces “the ‘pre-emptive’ wars of aggression waged by the Bush administration” in its “drive to expand US control over other nations and strip us of our rights at home under the cover of fighting terrorism and spreading democracy.” “The world,” says UFPJ, “is destined to find itself in a state of perpetual war so long as the United States maintains its bloated nuclear arsenal.” The co-chair and principal leader of UFPJ is Leslie Cagan, a longtime communist who proudly aligns her politics with those of Fidel Castro’s Cuba.
• Global Exchange: In the aftermath of 9/11, this pro-Castro organization advised Americans to examine “the root causes of resentment against the United States in the Arab world — from our dependence on Middle Eastern oil to our biased policy towards Israel.” It impugned the Bush administration for having “responded to the violent attack of 9/11 with the notion of perpetual war … that … led to the killing and maiming of thousands of civilians. … We must insist that governments stop taking innocent lives in the name of seeking justice for the loss of other innocent lives.”
During the last week of December 2004, Global Exchange joined Code Pink and Families for Peace in donating $600,000 in medical supplies and cash to the families of the insurgents who were fighting American troops in Fallujah, Iraq. Said Global Exchange founder Medea Benjamin, “I don’t know of any other case in history in which the parents of fallen soldiers collected medicine … for the families of the ‘other side.’ It is a reflection of a growing movement in the United States … opposed to the unjust nature of this war.”
• Code Pink for Peace: Rejecting “the Bush administration’s fear-based politics that justify violence,” this organization calls instead “for policies based on compassion, kindness and a commitment to international law.” In 2003 Jodie Evans, the group’s nominal leader, took a delegation of fifteen Code Pink women to Baghdad, where they met with Iraqi women for the purpose of “creat[ing] the understanding that the people of Iraq are no different than you and me.” “We who cherish children,” said Evans, “will not consent to their murder … in a war for oil.”
In addition to scorning America’s military action in Iraq, Code Pink also condemns the racism, sexism, poverty, corporate corruption, and environmental degradation they claim are rampant in the United States. Depicting the financial cost of the Iraq War as a drain on resources that would be better earmarked for other purposes, Code Pink laments that “[M]any of our elders … now must choose whether to buy their prescription drugs, or food. Our children’s education is eroded. The air they breathe and the water they drink are polluted. Vast numbers of women and children live in poverty.”
The threat of distant terrorists, claims Code Pink, is insignificant when compared to the “real threats” that Americans face every day: “the illness or ordinary accident that could plunge us into poverty, the violence on our own streets, the corporate corruption that can result in the loss of our jobs, our pensions, our security.”
In conjunction with Global Exchange and United For Peace and Justice, Code Pink helped establish Iraq Occupation Watch to monitor potential American abuses — including “possible violations of human rights, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly” — during the reconstruction of Iraq. Code Pink’s stated objective is to thin US forces in Iraq by causing soldiers to seek discharges and be sent home as conscientious objectors.
• Lynne Stewart Defense Committee: This organization’s namesake is the self-proclaimed “radical attorney” who has openly advocated “violence directed at the institutions which perpetuate capitalism, racism, sexism, and at the people who are the appointed guardians of those institutions and accompanied by popular support.” In an interview with the Marxist magazine Monthly Review, Stewart described the Muslim jihadists who have declared war on America as “basically forces of national liberation.”
In February 2005, Stewart was convicted of having provided material support to the Islamic Group, an Egypt-based terrorist organization with close links to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network. She did this by illegally facilitating prohibited communications between the Islamic Group and her incarcerated client Omar Abdel Rahman, who masterminded the 1993 World Trade Center bombing as well as a failed Islamic Group plot to destroy other Manhattan landmarks including the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, the United Nations building, and the George Washington Bridge.
• War Resisters League: This was perhaps the first major anti-war organization to blame America for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. On that very day, WRL stated, “We urge Congress and George Bush that whatever response or policy the US develops, it will be clear that this nation will no longer target civilians. … The policies of militarism pursued by the United States have resulted in millions of deaths.” Regarding the Iraq War, WRL has stated the following: “The US-led occupation of Iraq is an ongoing crime against humanity. … And [it] can only be maintained through violations of human rights on a massive scale, as the US and its allies commit daily atrocities to enforce an illusory security and keep a fictitious peace. Routinely, coalition soldiers are invading homes, destroying farms and kidnapping families. The occupying forces disfigure the Iraqi’s human dignity — and their own — as they kill civilians, detain and torture individuals without charging them or affording them due process, seize personal and public treasure, … criminally neglect the civilian infrastructure.” WRL has established a War Tax Resistance program, which encourages Americans to “refus[e] to pay some or all of those federal taxes that contribute to military spending.”
• Witness For Peace: This pro-Castro organization coordinates trips for American college students to Cuba, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Colombia, to let them see firsthand the alleged “horrors” created by American foreign policy. When war with Iraq was imminent in early 2003, WFP stated: “[W]e … strongly condemn the current Administration’s insistence on war as the only solution to the current situation. … [T]he Bush Administration has manufactured a crisis to suit its warlike political needs. … Having borne witness to US military and economic aggression in many nations, we have a unique perspective on the extraordinary toll of warfare.” In February 2003, just a month before the US invasion of Iraq, WFP likened the US to Nazi Germany.