Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Nicaraguan Freedom Fund

Nicaraguan Freedom Fund

Acronym/Code: NFF

Updated: 9/89

Categories:Political

Background: While no official link between the government and the Nicaraguan Freedom Fund has come to light, an article in the Village Voice reported that Natl Security Adviser Bud McFarlane received a memo from Col. Oliver North in which North suggested that "The Nicaraguan Freedom Fund, Inc. , a 501(c)3 tax exempt corporation must be established." North feared that Congress would not pass the upcoming bill on humanitarian aid to the Nicaraguan contras. North went on to write,"Several reliable American citizens must be contacted to serve on its board of directors…"(2) McFarlane noted his approval. (8) Congress rejected the contra aid package in late April. (8) And on May 8, 1985 Editor-in-Chief of the Washington Times, Arnaud de Borchgrave, announced that the Nicaraguan Freedom Foundation (NFF) had been formed by the Times to raise the $14 million for humanitarian aid to the contras that the Congress had recently rejected. (1)

Funding: Col. Bo Hi Pak, top deputy to the Rev. Moon of the Unification Church, and president of the News World Communications, parent company of the Washington Times, kicked off the campaign with a donation of $100,000. (1,4) It was reported that Jeane Kirkpatrick pledged $20,000 in lecture fees and Clare Booth Luce pledged $1,000. (1) Jeane Kirkpatrick reportedly also donated a $2,500 fee she received from Ralston Purina Co for a photograph of her pet Siamese cat, Arthur. (5)

Activities: The Nicaraguan Freedom Fund had a very showy, but short existence. It opened its doors on May 8, 1985, and according to an interview with Midge Decter reported in the Village Voice, disappeared from the political scene–perhaps as soon as 10 days after it began. (2) NFF was legally dissolved on September 9, 1985. (7) The group’s 1985 tax return for the fund reported donations of $165,648 to AmeriCares, an organization that delivered millions of dollars of humanitarian aid to Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador between 1982 and 1986. (7,8) AmeriCares used the conservative lay-Catholic group, the Knights of Malta to distribute the aid within the recipient countries. (8)

The other major expenditure from the reported income of $267,208 was $93,266. 80 for newspaper ads. (7) It can be presumed that the ads were similar to the one in the June 11th Los Angeles Times captioned "Central America Burns… Congress Fiddles."(10) It carries two photos of small children with the caption,"These are the victims. . They are the Contras."(10) The text talks about the "freedom fighters" and their need for the aid denied them by Congress. The ad, of course, contained a donation coupon. (10)

Government Connections: Clare Booth Luce was ambassador to Italy from 1953 to 1957 and representative to Congress from Connecticut from 1943 through 1947. (6)

Jeane Kirkpatrick was the U.S. delegate to the United Nations during the Reagan administration. (5) She is a member of the right-wing, secretive policy group, the Council for National Policy. (12)

William Simon was Secretary of the Treasury during the Nixon administration. (1)

Private Connections: Jeane Kirkpatrick was a prominent member of the Coalition for a Democratic Majority and on the Committee on the Present Danger, strongly anticommunist groups that formed in the 1970s. The CDM and CPD revitalized and promoted the policy of containment militarism, an anti-Soviet policy which provided the theory behind the Cold War. (11) She is on the board of the Committee for the Free World, a group of neoconservative intellectuals who via the media undertake the defense of the noncommunist world. She was also connected with the Friends of the Democratic Center in Central America (PRODEMCA), a member of the nongovernmental, neoconservative contra supply network. (19) Kirkpatrick is a resident scholar at the conservative think tank, the American Enterprise Institute and is or was on the "faculty" of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), another neoconservative, policy-developing think tank. (14,20) CSIS was closely tied to the Reagan administration and has been called "a parking lot for former government big shots."(20) Kirkpatrick made the keynote address and was honored with a reception at the Council for National Policy (CNP) meeting in Oct 1982. (21) The CNP is an exclusive, secretive, right-wing group that envisions itself as the policymaking body of the Right. (15)

William Simon appears to be the consistent link in the Nicaraguan Freedom Fund/AmeriCares/Knights of Malta network. He is on the board of first two and a long-time member of the Knights of Malta. (1,16,17) Simon also served on the national council of PRODEMCA. (19) He is an international business counselor at the Center for International and Strategic Studies (CSIS). (20) CSIS has "The William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy" which is given to scholars of free enterprise and the capitalist system. (13) He is or was also a trustee the Heritage Fdn, a policy development think tank influential in the early years of the Reagan administration. (18) Simon also has been connected with another right-wing think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, and with Accuracy in Media, a media watchdog group for the Right. (19) Simon is a member of the the Council for National Policy. (12)

Midge Decter is a another major player in the neoconservative network that came to the political forefront after Reagan’s election to the Presidency. She is the founder and executive director of the stridently anticommunist Committee for the Free World. (14) Decter was a founding member of the Coalition for a Democratic Majority and a member of the Committee on the Present Danger. (14) She was on the board of directors of the Heritage Fdn and a former senior editor at Basic Books. (14)

Clare Booth Luce is a dame in the Knights of Malta. (17)

Misc: Comments:U.S. Address:

Principals: William Simon, chairman; Jeane Kirkpatrick, vice pres; James M. Tully, sec/tres; Michael Novak, Midge Decter, and Charlton Heston, directors. (1,9) One source includes Clare Booth Luce on the board of directors. (3) Harold E. Eberle was the executive director and Jerris Leonard, the general counsel. (9)

Sources:1. Michael Isikoff,"U.S. Ex-Officials Lead ‘Contra’ Fund Drive," Washington Post, May 9, 1985.

2. Geoffrey Stokes,"Just Good Friends," Press Clips, The Village Voice, Mar 10, 1987.

3. Fred Clarkson,"Moon, the Contras and PBS," Extra!, Aug/Sep 1987.

4. Fred Clarkson,"Behind the Times: Who Pulls the Strings at Washington’s #2 Daily?," Extra!, Aug/Sep 1987.

5."The Buck Starts Here," Briarpatch, Oct 1985.

6. Phone conversation with Albuquerque Public Library, Sep 1989.

7. Nicaraguan Freedom Fund, 990 Income Tax Report, 1985.

8. John Spicer Nichols,"U.S. Government Funding of La Prensa," paper presented to the XIV International Congress of the Latin American Studies Assoc. , New Orleans, Mar 17, 1988.

9. Letterhead, Nicaraguan Freedom Fund, 1985.

10. Ad, Nicaraguan Freedom Fund, Los Angeles Times, June 11, 1985.

11. Jerry Sanders, Peddlers of Crisis: The Committee on the Present Danger and the Politics of Containment (Boston, MA: South End Press, 1983).

12. Copy of the mailing list, Council for Natl Policy, 1984.

13. Programs & Activities, Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1987-1988.

14."The Neocon Family Tree," Mother Jones, July/Aug 1986.

15. Phone interview with Sidney Blumenthal, Sep 1989.

16. AmeriCares brochure, undated.

17. Penny Lernoux,"Who Knows? Knights of Malta Know," National Catholic Reporter, May 5, 1989.

18. David Ivon,"International Freedom Foundation," Covert Action Information Bulletin, #31, Winter 1989.

19. The New Right Humanitarians (Albuquerque, NM: The Resource Center, 1986).

20. Alison Muscatine,"Georgetown’s Media Profs," Washington Post, May 11, 1986.

21. Meeting Agenda, Council for National Policy, Oct 10-11, 1982.

The underlying cites for this profile are now kept at Political Research Associates, (617) 666-5300. www.irc-online.org.

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

Update was slow, but still no lag in the editor window, and footnotes are intact.     This has been updated – Bernard Lewis, who passed away in May 2018, was a renowned British-American historian of Islam and the Middle East. A former British intelligence officer, Foreign Office staffer, and Princeton University professor, Lewis was…


Bernard Lewis was a renowned historian of Islam and the Middle East who stirred controversy with his often chauvinistic attitude towards the Muslim world and his associations with high-profile neoconservatives and foreign policy hawks.


John Bolton, the controversial former U.S. ambassador to the UN and dyed-in the-wool foreign policy hawk, is President Trump’s National Security Adviser McMaster, reflecting a sharp move to the hawkish extreme by the administration.


Michael Joyce, who passed away in 2006, was once described by neoconservative guru Irving Kristol as the “godfather of modern philanthropy.”


Mike Pompeo, the Trump administration’s second secretary of state, is a long time foreign policy hawk and has led the public charge for an aggressive policy toward Iran.


Max Boot, neoconservative military historian at the Council on Foreign Relations, on Trump and Russia: “At every turn Trump is undercutting the ‘get tough on Russia’ message because he just can’t help himself, he just loves Putin too much.”


Michael Flynn is a former Trump administration National Security Advisor who was forced to step down only weeks on the job because of his controversial contacts with Russian officials before Trump took office.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

Trump is not the problem. Think of him instead as a summons to address the real problem, which in a nation ostensibly of, by, and for the people is the collective responsibility of the people themselves. For Americans to shirk that responsibility further will almost surely pave the way for more Trumps — or someone worse — to come.


The United Nations has once again turn into a battleground between the United States and Iran, which are experiencing one of the darkest moments in their bilateral relations.


In many ways, Donald Trump’s bellicosity, his militarism, his hectoring cant about American exceptionalism and national greatness, his bullying of allies—all of it makes him not an opponent of neoconservatism but its apotheosis. Trump is a logical culmination of the Bush era as consolidated by Obama.


For the past few decades the vast majority of private security companies like Blackwater and DynCorp operating internationally have come from a relatively small number of countries: the United States, Great Britain and other European countries, and Russia. But that seeming monopoly is opening up to new players, like DeWe Group, China Security and Protection Group, and Huaxin Zhongan Group. What they all have in common is that they are from China.


The Trump administration’s massive sales of tanks, helicopters, and fighter aircraft are indeed a grim wonder of the modern world and never receive the attention they truly deserve. However, a potentially deadlier aspect of the U.S. weapons trade receives even less attention than the sale of big-ticket items: the export of firearms, ammunition, and related equipment.


Soon after a Saudi-led coalition strike on a bus killed 40 children on August 9, a CENTCOM spokesperson stated to Vox, “We may never know if the munition [used] was one that the U.S. sold to them.”


The West has dominated the post-war narrative with its doctrine of liberal values, arguing that not only were they right in themselves but that economic success itself depended on their application. Two developments have challenged those claims. The first was the West’s own betrayal of its principles: on too many occasions the self interest of the powerful, and disdain for the victims of collateral damage, has showed through. The second dates from more recently: the growth of Chinese capitalism owes nothing to a democratic system of government, let alone liberal values.


RightWeb
share