The government of Cambodia has exposed and expelled a US network attempting to interfere in the nation’s political processes. The US National Democratic Institute (NDI) was reportedly ordered to end its activities in the country and remove all of its foreign staff.
In a statement, the foreign ministry accused the National Democratic Institute (NDI) of operating in Cambodia without registering, and said its foreign staff had seven days to leave. Reuters in an article titled, “Cambodia orders U.S.-funded group to halt operations, remove staff,” would claim:
Authorities were “geared up to take the same measures” against other foreign NGOs which fail to comply with the law, the ministry added.
The article also noted that:
Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has ruled Cambodia for more than three decades, on Tuesday ordered the English-language The Cambodia Daily newspaper to pay taxes accrued over the past decade or face closure. The paper was founded by an American.
He also lashed out at the United States and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and accused them of funding groups attempting to overthrow his government.
The American-owned Cambodia Daily newspaper in its own article titled, “NDI Ordered to Halt Operations, Foreign Staff Face Expulsion,” would note that:
The announcement comes less than a week after documents leaked on Facebook and circulated on government-affiliated media appeared to show political cooperation between NDI and the opposition party, amid increased tension in recent weeks between the government and U.S.-backed NGOs and media outlets.
NDI could not immediately be reached for comment.
Radio Free Asia and Voice of America have also both been accused of not fulfilling tax and registration obligations. The Cambodia Daily, whose publisher is a U.S. citizen, was hit with a $6.3 million unaudited tax bill and threatened with imminent closure if it is not paid by September 4.
Reuters would cite NDI’s own website in an attempt to inform readers about what its role is in Cambodia claiming, “the NDI works with political parties, governments and civic groups to “establish and strengthen democratic institutions.””
NDI is a US government and US-European corporate-funded organisation chaired by representatives from America’s business and political community. Of the 34 listed members of NDI’s board of directors, virtually all of them either have direct ties to US corporations and financial institutions, are members of corporate-funded policy think tanks or previously were employed by the US State Department, or a combination of the three. Yet, even a cursory investigation of NDI and the media and political organisation in its orbit and the very nature of even its proposed role in Cambodia’s political process indicates impropriety and subversion. Reuters is intentionally failing to convey to readers.
What NDI Really is and What it Really Does
Directors with particularly prominent conflicts of interest include:
Madeleine Albright: Albright Stonebridge Group and Albright Capital Management LLC
Harriet Babbitt: Council on Foreign Relations
Robert Liberatore: former senior vice president of DaimlerChrysler, an NDI financial sponsor
Bernard Aronson: former Goldman Sachs adviser
Howard Berman: senior advisor at Covington & Burling
NDI director Thomas Daschle, for example, actually has foreign political parties as paying clients through his “Daschle Group,” including VMRO DPMNE based in Macedonia as revealed by The Hill. NDI is likewise active in Macedonia, providing support directly to VMRO DPMNE, even co-hosting events in the country according to NDI’s own social media account on Facebook.
In Southeast Asia, Freedom House, yet another subsidiary of NED, would provide extensive aid to opposition groups in Thailand led by ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, with Freedom House director Kenneth Adelman (PDF) concurrently providing paid-for lobbying services to Thaksin Shinawatra himself.
It appears that such conflicts of interests are not the exception, but the rule indicating that NED and its subsidiaries including NDI pursue the collective corporate and financial interests of their boards of directors merely behind the guise of “strengthening democratic institutions.”
An examination of NDI’s corporate sponsors casts further doubts upon its alleged mission statement. Its financial sponsors, according to NDI’s 2005 annual report (PDF), include:
- British Petroleum
- Bell South Corporation
- Coca Cola
- DaimlerChrysler Corporation
- Eli Lilly & Company
- Exxon Mobil
- Time Warner
Donors also include convicted financial criminal George Soros’ Open Society Foundation as well as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) of which NDI is a subsidiary of, as well as the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US State Department itself. . .