Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #304 - The Shady World of NGOs
NGOs are used for subversion, hegemony and geopolitical wars. Altruism is just a facade. Whether it is "promoting democracy" farce or reducing poverty of the religious NGOs. Same agenda - Hegemony.
“And yet is not mankind itself, pushing on its blind way, driven by a dream of its greatness and its power upon the dark paths of excessive cruelty and of excessive devotion. And what is the pursuit of truth, after all?” ― Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim
The greatest scoundrels come up dressed in robes of nobility and visage of altruism. No one is more cunning and ready to play with your life and honor with unending ruthlessness as the man who promises you help - for nothing.
In 1995, as part of a team that was analyzing ways to improve the effectiveness of donations by the Government NGO donor - CAPART (largest donor to NGOs in India by far!), the writer had audited some NGOs and found them to be shameless scams.
One respondent in a meeting admitted in private - the NGOs which have been registered with CAPART for 3 years (qualification mark for getting donations) were being gifted as dowry in Bihar and in high demand during wedding season!
When the writer proposed a CRISIL style “credit-rating” for the NGOs in the final presentation there was an uproar by NGO leaders. All the board members ganged up and shot it down.
Those who clamor for openness and integrity from society were not willing to even entertain the thought that they had to be answerable for their work in any way.
That is all you need to know about the NGOs in India.
But the rot in this sector goes much deeper and is getting scarier than ever before. The souls are not just auctioned to the highest bidder, but to the most ruthless hegemon.
With lives of many millions - innocent millions - on the line.
The truth about the NGOs
In 2013, the Asian Centre for Human Rights had stated in its report that “India's funding to the tune of hundreds of crores to nongovernment organizations is a huge scam”.
The money was being squandered away.
In its report titled 'India's Funds to NGOs Squandered', the ACHR says: 'The selection of grantees (NGOs to whom government funds are allocated) is often determined not on ability or technical expertise but rather on the applicant's ability to pay a bribe.' 'NGOs allegedly had to pay bribes amounting to 15 per cent to 30 per cent of the grant to have their projects approved. If a conservative estimate of 15 per cent is used as a bribe to process the applications, during the fiscal years 2002-2003 to 2008-2009 at least Rs 1000 crore have been spent on bribes to different layers of officials approving the projects.' As per the replies by central and state governments to RTI pleas filed by ACHR, over Rs 6654.36 crore as grants to NGOs/voluntary organisations during 2002-2003 to 2008-2009 or an average of over Rs 950 crore every year. This includes over Rs 4756 crore given by the central Government and Rs 1,897 crore by the state governments. (Source)
Before we go into the larger picture of the money and how that money is misused, let us recapitulate about a seismic event in the Indian Human Rights NGO scene that no one talked about.
Gita Sahgal was the head of Amnesty’s Gender Unit. On April 9, 2010 Amnesty threw her out. Suspended her.
Do you know why?
Because in an interview with London Sunday Times, she called out the links between Amnesty International and Moazzam Beg as well as his organization Cageprisoners. (Source)
Victoria Brittain, a ‘journalist’ who writes for “The Guardian, ” tried to shame Gita Sahgal and spin the case of Moazzam Beg in an article on OpenDemocracy, (a project by George Soros).
Ms Sahgal’s recent disagreement with her employer, Amnesty International, and her decision to publicise her views on that in an interview with the Sunday Times, has fed into an existing virulent islamophobia. It should have remained an important internal argument inside Amnesty International. Ms Sahgal’s ill-considered words about Moazzam Begg and others at Cageprisoners have caused very serious damage to their reputation, and provoked death threats. (Source)
Moazzam Beg was a Guantanamo detainee from the UK who called Osama Bin Laden’s killing "extrajudicial.” He is also a director of a so-called “human rights” group called Cageprisoners.
Jennifer Rubin wrote in Washington Post quoting Thomas Joscelyn about why Beg and Cageprisoners are a dangerous bunch.
As Alexander Hitchens of the Centre for Social Cohesion in the UK has thoroughly documented (PDF) previously, Begg and Cageprisoners have a longstanding relationship with al Qaeda cleric Anwar al Awlaki. Cageprisoners lobbied to free Awlaki from Yemeni custody after he was detained in 2006, broadcast a live message from Awlaki during a fundraising event, reproduced Awlaki’s propaganda on its web site, and published friendly interviews with him. Begg conducted these interviews with fawning questions for the al Qaeda imam. The effect of Cageprisoners’ work was to spread Awlaki’s hateful and dangerous message in the UK — which Awlaki has repeatedly targeted as a recruiting ground. (Source)(Original source)
In her statement, Gita Sahgal laid bare the real character of Amnesty International.
The senior leadership of Amnesty International chose to answer the questions I posed about Amnesty International’s relationship with Moazzam Begg by affirming their links with him. Now they have also confirmed that the views of Begg, his associates, and his organization, Cageprisoners, do not trouble them. They have stated that the idea of jihad in self-defense is not antithetical to human rights, and have explained that they meant only the specific form of violent jihad that Moazzam Begg and others in Cageprisoners assert is the individual obligation of every Muslim. (Source)
In various statements, Sahgal called out the close links between Amnesty International and the Jihadis. We have discussed this in detail in our previous newsletter - Issue #140 - Amnesty International: 'Violent Jihad is a Right!' (interestingly, substack search results do not show this issue no matter how I search for it! Go figure!)
If you are curious, Gita Sahgal is the daughter of Nayantara Sahgal, sister of Jawaharlal Nehru.
It is not just the fiver star NGOs like Amnesty International which are running the racket in countries like India by partnering with the Jihadis as Gita Sahgal pointed out, but the foreign contributions are being used by religious organizations outside India to change demographics.
By 2010, Rs 10,000 crore were being pumped annually as “foreign contributions for NGOs.” We have discussed the details of the money being brought in to India in our newsletter issue - Issue #105 - The Plutonomy and the Rest; Walking marriages of Matriarchy
Regime change wars, Promoting democracy and NGOs
Richard Hanania is a Research Fellow at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University. He discusses in his newsletter as how NGOs are used to intervene in other countries’ governance systems by the US. “Meet the US-government staffed, US-funded, "independent" NGO that decides which countries are free” (Source) In this issue, he discusses the American fetish with “promoting/spreading democracy” in the world.
Spreading democracy is an important part of American foreign policy. While it’s fashionable to brush off concerns with democracy as hypocritical or just a cover for power politics (“look at Saudi Arabia!”), I believe that outside of the Middle East, where pretty much everyone is non-democratic, American foreign policy is driven by ideological goals that aren’t reducible to material interests. (Source)
This “Promoting Democracy” slogan is really a dog whistle for the military companies and diplomats to “attack” another country under the guise of establishing democracy on another group of hapless citizens.
Daniel Larison wrote in the Theweek in 2012 about how the “promote democracy” campaigns by the US have been abysmal failures.
Since the end of the Cold War, democracy promotion has been one of the default elements of U.S. foreign policy. Spreading democracy became a particularly important part of the Bush administration's rhetoric in support of its so-called "freedom agenda," which was at the same time far more selective and inconsistent than its universalistic assumptions would suggest. And since the beginning of popular uprisings in North Africa and the Near East last year, democracy promotion has also figured more prominently in the public rhetoric and policies of the Obama administration. But let's face it: While there may be exceptions, democracy promotion during the last decade has generally produced dismal results for the nations affected by it. (Source)
Unfortunately, the United States has this “Daddy knows best” syndrome. The governments and leaders think they know best as to what people in other countries need and want. Then it attacks those countries to force its own vision on them.
And, btw, uses their people as cannon-fodder for its own regional and geopolitics hegemonic goals as well as take away their resources and leave the once prosperous nations in the rubble.
In today’s world, the United States establishment uses NGOs to do its dirty work.
These NGOs are touted as “independent NGOs”. When you check their structure in some detail, you find they are anything but. For example, Freedom House is one such facade.
We discussed in our newsletter issue (Issue #262 - How Freedom House Subverts Democracies) - how Freedom House is just a thinly disguised arm of the US Government. 94% of its total revenues come from US Government grants, which have been growing over the years.
Hanania points out the same thing.
You might think that an organization that is funded almost completely by the American government, and staffed by former American officials, wouldn’t have much credibility as an “independent non-governmental organization.” Yet it is called an NGO, and regularly cited by the press as an objective authority on which government actions are legitimate. Much of what is called “civil society” functions this way. The American government then uses the work of “independent” organizations to justify its own policies, as you can see by going to the State Department website and searching for “Freedom House.” (Source)
This Freedom House is now the breeding ground for “democracy declining” snake oil sellers. It is a way to subvert democracies using the US establishment infrastructure and unscrupulous hegemonic business oligarchs as co-conspirators.
In his brilliant take, Niccolo Soldo shares a step-wise framework that the oligarchs like George Soros, the man behind Freedom House and OpenDemocracy networks, use to plant NGOs as part of the subversion process.
You will see that this same recipe is used in the Indian context as well.
The Shady world NGOs in India
The NGOs in India have become dens of free money via questionable programs and schemes as well as money laundering vehicles in many cases. Crimes against kids, women, and humanity, in general, have become their normal way of functioning.
The Supreme Court bench in 2015 had set a deadline - December 31st, 2015 to have all the unregistered homes close. Its verdict was clear - no unregistered NGO should be allowed to get custody of a child! Childrens’ homes run by the unregistered NGOs were in reality Child-Trafficking hubs. And they had to be stopped.
The Central Bureau of Investigation, in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court in August 2015, said that there were 31 lakh NGOs in 26 States of India. Karnataka, Odisha and Telangana are still to adduce information about the number of NGOs, so the country-total will be more than 31 lakhs. Besides, more than 82,000 NGOs are registered in the seven Union Territories. The total number of schools in the country is around 15 lakh, as per data compiled by the Planning Commission in 2011. The Commission had calculated the number of schools, classifying them as primary, upper primary, secondary, lower secondary and higher secondary. In March 2011, the total number of Government hospitals in the country was 11,993, with 7.84 lakh beds. Of these, 7,347 hospitals were in rural areas with 1.60 lakh beds and 4,146 hospitals in urban areas with 6.18 lakh beds. The number of NGOs also exceeds the strength of policemen in the country. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, there were 17.3 lakh policemen nationwide in 2014, as against a sanctioned strength of 21 lakh. (Source)
Running an NGO is a very profitable venture.
Indeed, running an NGO has become big business and many people live off it, while the cause for which they raise money through the NGO is ignored. The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, while replying to a question in Parliament, noted that foreign contributions totaling Rs13,051 crore were donated to 17,616 NGOs recently. In 2012-2013, Rs11,527 crore donations were made to 20,497 NGOs. (Source)
No wonder, while hearing one case, the honorable Delhi High Court came out with a scathing indictment of the NGOs in 2013 saying that 99% of NGOs are fraud and merely “money-making devices” and therefore tough licensing norms should be imposed on them.
The Delhi high court has called for toughening of licensing norms for NGOs observing that 99% of them are "fraud" and "merely money-making devices" "Most private run so called philanthropic organizations do not understand their social responsibilities. 99% of the existing NGOs are fraud and simply moneymaking devices. Only one out of every hundred NGOs serve the purpose they are set up for", a bench headed by Justice Pradeep Nandrajog said. "There is a need for toughening of licensing norms and legislature has to keep this in mind", the bench said. The stinging remarks came while the court was hearing a petition filed by children homes Chatravas and Arya orphanage challenging government's refusal to grant them license under the Women and Children's Institutions (Licensing) Act, 1956 and insisting on registration under the Juvenile Justice Act. (Source)
Last year in 2020, the Ministry of old-age welfare engaged an audit team with 20 students drawn from top institutes like IITs, TISS, Delhi University, and other central universities. The ministry engages NGOs in the running of schools and hostels for SCs and drug de-addiction. The ministry has a budget of Rs 500 crore for NGOs. Its functioning and engagement with the NGOs are based on the certification provided by the district social welfare officers. The results were shocking!
266 NGOs were found to be either “woefully inadequate” in terms of infrastructure or violating guidelines of the schemes or being downright fraudulent.
Sources said the 266 NGOs have been given show-cause notice to clarify on the audit findings and their grants are being cancelled. The institutions found to be indulging in grave irregularities are even being blacklisted, which means they will not be eligible in future for government contracts. Of the total 1,233 NGOs inspected, 164 are associated with "schools/hostels for SCs" of which 44 were found to be non-functional. Out of the 523 NGOs working in the running of senior citizen homes, 120 were detected as non-functional, which is roughly 23%. Around 18% or 102 NGOs of the 589 associated with de-addiction centres were found to be non-functional. (Source)
CARE is a popular non-profit that many people use to contribute in a time of need, specifically when calamities hit any place.
In its submissions to the Home Ministry, Care India revealed that it had secured Rs. 153,99,47,426.00 as donations for social purposes and Rs. 3,49,83,017.00 for educational purposes. A significant amount of its donations came from CARE organisations abroad. Other prominent donors were Amazon Development Centre India Private Limited and United States Agency for International Development (USAID). USAID donated Rs. 2,47,24,054.00 to Care India in 2018-19 and Amazon Development Centre contributed Rs. 29,19,281.00. The total contribution from foreign sources during the financial year was Rs. 157,49,30,443.00 and as a transfer from a local source was Rs. 6,66,49,693.00. (Source)
Interestingly, the USAID has always been used as a front for the CIA, specifically in regime change operations. As we discussed in our issue Issue #262 - How Freedom House Subverts Democracies that USAID was used as a funding conduit by the US intelligence to fight the battle in Ukraine against Russia in what was known as the Orange revolution. A classic “regime change” war.
Peter Kornbluh, the director of the Cuba Documentation Project at the National Security Archive confirmed this relationship in his article for New York Times in 2014.
So you see how the mesh of NGOs is being used by governments and ruthless oligarchs to profit from the poor and or weak countries?
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video corner: the Samurai rulebook
The Samurai were the hereditary military nobility and officer caste of medieval and early-modern Japan from the 12th century to their abolition in the 1870s. They were the well-paid retainers of the daimyo (the great feudal landholders).
This video from the YouTube channel Voices of the Past explores two scrolls from the famed samurai school Natori-Ryu’s 17th-century rulebook. The first scroll has codes of conduct for peacetime, with guidance ranging from the universal, such as the pitfalls of talking behind someone’s back, to the extremely samurai-specific, such as keeping a home garden that doesn’t leave you vulnerable to enemy attack. The second scroll lays out the rules of engagement in wartime and paints a much more violent portrait of samurai life, built around intricate rules for killing and being killed. These primary sources offer an intriguing window into the samurai value system, in which loss of reputation was considered a fate far worse than death. (Source)
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