Peace and Justice


An Open Letter to U.S, Policy Leaders April 22, 2006

Dick Bernard

OPEN LETTER to all Officers and Board members of:
National Endowment for Democracy
International Republican Institute
National Democratic Institute
Mailed April 22, 2006

[W]hile claiming to build 'democracy' and promote 'freedom' in other places, groups like yours are destroying both, and in the end we in the U.S. will be the ultimate victims of our duplicity and greed.

Three years ago I had never heard of NED, NDI, or IRI. They are like many parts of our gigantic military-industrial complex federal government, basically hidden from public view (and, perhaps hopefully, from public scrutiny or interest.) Allied NGOs include assorted 'faith-based' hierarchies and so many others who 'sell their souls' wishing to share in the largesse of those who control and dispense government funds and favors.

NED, IRI and NDI are no longer invisible to me. The spotlight shines on yours and other aspects of my government. I don't like what I see.

Regrettably, I have to say that the entire official structure of our U.S. government today seems addicted to dishonesty, secrecy, manipulation and control, affecting both our own citizens and those of other sovereign nations. ('Official' means people like yourselves who set the direction and make the decisions in executive offices, on Boards like yours and in insider conversations.) The oft-touted 'Democracy' and 'Freedom' initiatives have become no more than euphemisms for U.S. domination and control everywhere.

I have many concerns, only a few follow: (My focus here is on two events in Haiti, but I am convinced that there is a U.S. destabilization 'template' adaptable to any government structure and in use everywhere - only the specific targets and methods of implementation might differ.)

HAITI: Unlike many people who visit places for various reasons, I decided, after my first visit to Haiti, December 2003, to delve into U.S./Haiti geopolitics. I knew almost nothing about Haiti before my trip - my ignorance then has been a blessing, not a curse, in my search for truth. As 'experts' tend to be defined, I'll never be one; neither am I any longer a na´ve amateur. (An "expert" often neither earns nor deserves his/her status, as you know. "Expert" is a conferred title, whether deserved or not. 'Experts' serve a useful purpose, sometimes, though not always an honorable purpose.)

LIES. MANIPULATION AND CONTROL: While the finely tuned Lie ('spin', in old-speak, 'propaganda') seems the current coin of the realm in our U.S. government, I have learned that truth is available, often simply through patience and persistence, and sometimes by accident. I have come to believe that it is the ill-advised person who believes on its face our government and NGO narratives of reality. "Spin" rules.

I completed the enclosed Anatomy of an Official Lie three days prior to spending a week in the Central Department of Haiti, March 2006. Like my previous trip to Haiti, this was a powerful visit at ground level - with and about the common people whose story never appears in the American media except if a few thousand die in a hurricane or some non-man-induced catastrophe. I have a great deal of admiration for the Haitian people, and I think they have more than a little awareness that they are being (and have always been, for their entire 202 year history) used and stepped on by their enormous neighbor to the west, my United States. They are - let's be real - still a slave state. We simply replaced France, and it's not at all ironic that when it was time to get rid of President Aristide, it was the French and the U.S. who did the deed.

Haitians do (at least theoretically) have Democracy and the right to vote, but paradoxically this seems an intolerable mistake, at least as viewed from your Board rooms, since the Haitians have elected the wrong people as their leaders. So, the official U.S. has worked hard and spent a lot of money to de-stabilize and remove the government they elect, working in many and devious and even brutal ways to assure the same electoral mistakes will not be made again, through tacit support of oppression and deception, and then lying about our role to those who care enough to wonder. While the U.S. plays Power Politics and devious public relations, Haitians continue to suffer.

I suspect that this general scenario happens everywhere, and it happens with your general knowledge and approval. Your business is, after all, exporting 'democracy'.

Becoming aware of the extent official U.S. dishonesty even to its own citizens is not pleasant for me. In a few days I'll be 66, and I've spent my entire life as a loyal U.S. citizen. I'm a military veteran (in October, 1962, in an Army barracks during the Cuban Missile Crisis, I and fellow GIs watched President Kennedy address the nation.) I come from roots that tended to trust government and were staunchly self-reliant. An uncle went down with the Arizona at Pearl Harbor; a grandfather was among the first troops in Manila in 1898; another uncle, a naval officer, docked in Tokyo bay September 10, 1945, two brothers are retired Air Force officers with much Vietnam service. Etc. It is not pleasant to face the current reality where the prudent person will accept at face value nothing he or she is told by U.S. officials, people he previously assumed to be credible simply by virtue of their words or their elected or appointed position.

SECRECY: Soon after my first trip to Haiti, just out of curiosity, I wanted to find out where our stated Foreign Aid money went (see enclosed Dec 31 2003 news release). January 9, 2004, I asked Dept. of State a very simple question about this release: who had control of the money allocated to Haiti? After more than two years, repetitive reminders, a Freedom of Information Act Request, a shunting of my request from State to U.S. AID and Department of Defense, my net results: zero. My simple question with an equally simple answer is apparently dangerous. It is a reprehensible and arrogant dismissal of a loyal taxpaying citizen's request.

I have often said, since it became obvious that my request was going to be ignored, that in January, 2004, I would (imprudently) have believed almost anything the Department of State might have told me. Now, I will take nothing my government tells me at face value, and distrust even what might be an inadvertent truth in the words and numbers I might ultimately receive.

I am experiencing first-hand a common tactic of powerful people: withhold information from a subordinate seeker; then criticize that peasant for being ignorant. It works well.

CONSEQUENCES: My judgment is harsh. My criticism crosses the major political party boundary of Republican and Democrat, though the current radical Republican leadership of our government has descended to depths beyond anything I can remember in at least 50 years. I see near visions of Joe McCarthy and HUAC in play today. There is an element of fear in even sending this letter, challenging my government.

It is uncomfortable to confront an apparent truth, and in this case, the truth seems to be that the Lie ('spin'), Secrecy, etc. are the standard operating procedure of the U.S. government and the essentially still captive main-stream media is being used.

It may be possible for the U.S. (us) to survive in this kind of environment for a while. Most people, after all, are like I was. There is too much to know, so most people trust their leaders, and most, like George Orwell's Proles and Herman Goering's 'slobs', are just trying to survive and are easy to manipulate. Sooner or later the piper will be paid, and we and our U.S. society will become the ultimate victims of our own imperial designs (as the Germans began to learn in 1943). The architects of this - people like yourselves - are responsible, but will deny responsibility to the very end.

Perhaps one or more of you will take an interest in what I have to say. I suspect I'll end up on some 'watch list' with the FBI or Homeland Security. So be it. Our nine grandkids and their fellow citizens worldwide will inherit the mess we're bequeathing them, and likely even I will probably be adversely and severely affected before I die. At minimum I want to be on record that I at least sounded the alarm. (I harbor no illusions: those grandkids will blame me, just like common Germans of Hitler's day are still wearing the hair shirt of responsibility for the holocaust, even though they may truly have known nothing of what was happening in their name.)

At some future day, perhaps sooner than we like to think, there will come a day of reckoning for us in the United States. It will not be a biblical Armageddon; rather it will be a self-imposed decline and fall (and I speak as one who is a lifelong practicing Catholic.) Likely, our decline and fall will not mirror the 'old' ways, like the destruction of Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan in 1945. Nor will there likely be a world-wide Marshall Plan to rescue us from our sins. Such is the fate of to-be-Kings and their serfs.

You are in a far better position to re-direct the fatal U.S. course than I. Do so.

Dick Bernard

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana quote seen on a visit to Auschwitz, May 2000

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