Soft power for sale: Money talks through NGOs backed by Soros, Putin, et al.

Ostensibly benign, independent NGOs are effective propaganda tools for those with the means — such as Russia.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are becoming ever-more significant on the international scene. Non-profit and generally non-taxed organizations, ostensibly with educational, charitable, human rights and environmental and other goals and activities, do studies, issue reports, hold meetings and conferences and lobby governments and international organizations.

It is often believed that these NGOs are either naïve, or driven by ideology, or both, and they have often been accused of being one-sided in their studies and publications, carefully choosing data that supports their positions and ignoring contrary data. Nevertheless, they continue to exert substantial influence over many areas of public debate, often because they provide ammunition to government officials and bureaucrats, as well as to candidates and political parties supposedly coming from “objective” sources.

In the past few weeks it has transpired that several respected environmental NGOs, such as the Sierra Club, one of the largest and most respected, had been receiving millions of dollars from various Bermuda-based companies and funds, the ultimate source of which was non-other than the government of Russia. The purpose of this support was to increase public and government opposition to fracking technologies, which have resulted in substantial competition to those countries dependent on oil and gas revenues, such as Russia. The curious failure for years of the Obama Administration to approve the oil pipeline from Western Canada to heavy-oil refineries in Texas, despite two favorable environmental impact reports from the State Department, may be traced to the influence of environmental NGOs, the activities of which are, in turn, financed by Russia.

The financier George Soros has been funding Jewish organizations opposed to the current government of Israel, such as J Street and others, in an attempt to assure the defeat of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the impending election. The lessons to be learned from these and other examples are, first: take all studies, reports and allegations with a large grain of salt until confirmed by alternative and non-related sources, especially when it comes to “scientific” evidence that it may turn out is not so much scientific as purchased. Secondly, all NGOs should be forced not only to reveal funding sources, but to identify who or what is behind some benign-sounding funders, such as “Earth-Friendly Fund of the Cayman Islands” (or whatever).

Full article: Soft power for sale: Money talks through NGOs backed by Soros, Putin, et al. (World Tribune)

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