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World Freedom Foundation

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World Freedom Foundation

Acronym/Code: WFF

Updated: 8/90

Principals: L. Brent Bozell III–chairman of the board; Dr. Curtin Winsor, Jr. –president; Hon. Stefan A. Halper–director of government relations; Marc S. Ryan–executive director; Leif E. Noren–administrator; Herman Pirchner–finance; Gregory Mueller–public relations; J. Curtis Herge, Esq. –legal counsel; and J. Parker Bailey, CPA–accounting. (1)

The board of directors includes Bozell, Halper, Pirchner, and Alan Keyes. (2) Other members of the board in 1988 included Marc Ryan, Norma Bozell, Richard Kimble, and Meredith Noren. (25)

Categories:Political

Background: The World Freedom Foundation (WFF) was founded by Brent Bozell III in November of 1987. Bozell began the WFF immediately after a bitter dispute with the board of the National Conservative Political Action Committee (NCPAC). This dispute resulted in his resigning (or according to some accounts, his being fired) from his positions as president of the NCPAC and executive director of the National Conservative Foundation and its publication, Newswatch. (2,8)

WFF is fanatically anticommunist. In its articles of incorporation the WFF states that its purposes are to engage in the analysis, study, and research of anticommunist causes throughout the world; to explore the background, status and potential of organizations working to combat communist systems; and to educate the public about various historical upheavals around the globe,"including the oppression and brutality suffered by those living under Communist regimes."(24)

The first page of its prospectus claims "The USSR is the cancerous primary tumor of totalitarian challenge currently facing the democratic self-realization by many of the world’s developing societies."(1) The metaphor of a metastasizing cancer is carried out in discussions of governments in Africa and Latin America viewed by WFF as nondemocratic. These include Cuba, Nicaragua (under the Sandinista government), Angola, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Poland, and Hungary. U.S. businessmen and philanthropists such as Armand Hammer, Donald Kendall, and Eugene Andreas who are working to open relationships with the Soviet Union are called "greedy capitalists," the implication being they are sacrificing the good of the nation for personal gain. (1)

Funding: We have been unable to locate the sources of WFF’s funding. The 1989 budget of WFF is $3,302,000; for 1990 the projected budget is $2,417,000. (1) Income reported on WFF’s 1988 tax return was $909,000, all of which came from direct public support. (25)

Activities: The WFF prospectus outlines an ambitious series of programs for 1989 including a series of research monographs on every "freedom movement" in the world, a series of fact-finding tours to take leaders in government and the media to visit countries with active "freedom movements," a convention in Washington for "freedom fighters," speakers tours, educational programs for TV and other media, forums for "refugees" fleeing communist countries, and finally, and perhaps most important, their special project on the February 1990 Nicaraguan elections. (1)

The WFF established a bi-partisan commission of six people to interview experts from the U.S. and Latin America about the electoral process in Nicaragua and how to make it "fair."(1) The hearings took place from May 9 through May 11, 1989 in Washington DC On WFF’s Bi-Partisan Commission on Free and Fair Elections in Nicaragua were: Curtin Winsor, Jr. and Alan Keyes of WFF; former Senator Gaylord Nelson; Sergio Bendixen; Dr. Elaine Kamarck; and Victor Gold. The commission director was Marc Ryan and the communications director was Gregory Mueller, both of WFF. (3)

The witnesses interviewed in the two-day session came primarily from conservative institutions and government or government-related agencies. Among them were: Sen. Bob Dole (RKS); Dr. John Silber, Boston University; Dr. Allen Weinstein, Center for Democracy; Dr. Carl Gershman, National Endowment for Democracy; Michael Stoddard and Mark Feierstein of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs; Ben Wattenberg and Constantine Menges of the American Enterprise Institute; Eva Loser and Georges Fauriol of the Center for Strategic and International Studies; Keith Schuette of the National Republican Institute for International Affairs; Richard Aguirre of the Embassy of Guatemala; Jack Heberle of the AFL-CIO’s American Institute for Free Labor Development; and Luigi Einaudi of the Department of State. (18) Several members of the Nicaraguan opposition testified, among them former contra leader Arturo Cruz, Sr. , but there were no witnesses from the Sandinista government. To balance out the conservative line-up, there were witnesses from Amnesty International and the Washington Office on Latin America. (18)

The WFF published a "Blueprint" of the commission’s conclusions. The highlights of that report are summarized below. The Supreme Electoral Council (CSE), the 5-member committee which runs elections and has authority over electoral processes in Nicaragua, must be balanced with two representatives from the FSLN (the Sandinista party), two opposition parties, and one independent member. The continued neutrality and fairness of the CSE would be checked bi-weekly. (19) It is unclear who would evaluate the "fairness" of the CSE.

The WFF "Blueprint" demands a public statement by the FSLN confirming its willingness to abide by the results of the election. It calls for open voter registration and open formation of parties and coalitions. It also calls for absentee registration and voting privileges, not only at Nicaraguan consulates, but also along the borders of Honduras and Costa Rica. Finally, and perhaps most important to prevailing U.S. government interests, the WFF report demands that funding of parties and coalitions from foreign sources be permitted as long as the funding is given openly and from non-governmental entities. (19)

The report goes on to detail the requirements for a fair campaign, including freedom of travel for candidates and foreign observers and press, and equal access to the media. (19) The election itself must have an effective secret ballot developed by the CSE, according to the document, and votes must be counted in the presence of poll watchers representing all candidates. The CSE must have a facility for recounts in the event of disputes. On the day of the election, all uniformed officials must be under the direct authority of the local CSE and national and international observers and media should have the right to travel freely to observe the balloting and tabulation. (19)

Government Connections: Alan Keyes was an aide to Jeane Kirkpatrick when she was ambassador to the United Nations. He also served as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations in the Reagan administration. (2)

Curtin Winsor was ambassador to Costa Rica from 1983 to 1985 during the period when the contra’s "southern front" was established with U.S. direction and aid. As a representative of the far right, Winsor was part of the group in the Reagan administration that tried to have George Shultz removed as Secretary of State. (2)

Stefan Halper is the son-in-law of Dr. Ray S. Cline, former deputy director of the CIA. (2) He was a top aide in charge of foreign policy in the 1980 Bush presidential campaign, before Bush joined Reagan’s campaign in July. (23)

Herman Pirchner is a former staffer in the Senate. (2)

Private Connections: The father of Brent Bozell III was a close associate of William F. Buckley in the early 1950s at Yale University. Bozell, Jr. married Buckley’s sister, Patricia. (22) In 1954, he and William Buckley co-authored McCarthyism–The Fight for America!, a book defending Senator Joseph McCarthy. (22) Bozell, Jr. went on to become an editor (and has been mentioned as a co-founder) of the National Review. (22) Brent Bozell III was the president of the National Conservative Political Action Committee (NCPAC) and executive director of the National Conservative Foundation (NCF), a related group that trains political campaign managers and campaign fundraisers. NCF also works on "fairness in the media" by opposing the liberal domination it sees as prevalent. (7) In the same year he founded WFF, Bozell founded and became chair of two other groups, the Media Research Center (MRC) and the Conservative Victory Committee (CVC). (2) MRC is another rightwing media watchdog; it publishes a newletter, Media Watch, which accuses the media of being too liberal. (2) MRC was very active in the defense of Oliver North and hosted a dinner in his honor subsequent to his convictions in the Iran-contra scandal. (28) The CVC uses the media to support political candidates and nominees. (2) Bozell is or was on the advisory board of the Citizens Against the Catastrophic Health Act Tax and is or was on the national policy board of the Emergency Project to Support Colonel North’s Freedom Fight in Central America. (9,10) Bozell is also on the national policy board of the American Freedom Coalition (AFC), a grassroots lobbying organization group promoting traditional values. (5) The AFC is closely connected to the Christian Voice lobby group and Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church. (6,20) The AFC was the sponsor of the Emergency Project supporting Oliver North. (10)

Alan Keyes is the Black member of the South African Lobby in the United States. He is a research scholar at the rightwing think tank, the American Enterprise Institute. Keyes was often sought as a speaker to defend the South African apartheid government. (2) He addressed the 1988 annual board meeting of the AFC and the March 1989 Council on Southern Africa meeting sponsored by the ultra-right Conservative Caucus. (2) Keyes recently became the chairman of Citizens for America, a rightwing group begun by Lewis Lehrman to support the Reagan agenda during the 1980s. Keyes is also head of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, a group promoting implementation of the recommendations of the Grace Commission. (28)

Attorney J. Curtis Herge was the registered agent for the Nicaraguan Resistance Education Foundation, a group affiliated with the contras. (2) He was the lawyer for Western Goals, a group started by ultra-rightist Rep. Larry McDonald to promote the return of internal surveillance to seek out suspected communists in the U.S. (11) He also served as attorney for Carl (Spitz) Channell’s National Endowment for the Preservation of Liberty, one of the main money conduits of Oliver North’s contra network. (12) Herge currently represents the AFC. (2) Herge is attorney, corporate secretary and board member of the National Bank of Northern Virginia. (2)

Marc S. Ryan was active with the College Republicans in Idaho and served as a media analyst with NCF’s Newswatch. (2) He currently is the associate editor of MRC’s Media Watch. (2)

Greg Mueller, director of public relations for WFF, is with the public relations firm of Keene, Shirley & Associates. (2) Keene, Shirley is a registered agent for Jonas Savimbi of UNITA, the opposition army in Angola, and the Nicaraguan Development Council, a contra front group. He also represents the Nicaraguan Democratic Resistance. (2,17) Keene, Shirley was hired as the first public relations firm for the Nicaraguan American National Foundation, a pro-contra lobbying group formed by Nicaraguan exiles. (4) Reportedly, the funds to pay the Keene, Shirley bill came from WFF and the Conservative Victory Committee. (4) At Keene, Shirley, Mueller has also represented Christian Voice and has coordinated a conference for the AFC. (2) Mueller worked with Bozell at the National Conservative Fdn as a research analyst for Newswatch. (2)

Stefan Halper is program director for Ray Cline’s United States Global Strategy Council, a group "dedicated to the improvement of strategic planning and decision-making by the Executive Branch and the Congress of the United States."(17,21) Halper joins Herge on the board of the National Bank of Northern Virginia. (2) In 1980, Halper ran a secret operation involving retired CIA officers. The task of the group was to obtain inside information from the Carter administration, especially on the American hostages in Iran. (17)

Herman Pirchner was president of the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC), a group promoting "democracy" in Central America, and supporting the Nicaraguan contras. (2) According to an article in the Washington Post, the AFPC participated in events honoring El Salvador’s Roberto D’Aubuisson, head of the ARENA party and linked to the country’s death squads. (2,11)

Curtin Winsor Jr. served on the advisory council of the Inter-American Foundation and is a member of the council of advisers of Americans for Freedom, Inc, run by Karen McKay who headed the Committee for a Free Afghanistan. (2) He was on the board of the Nicaraguan Refugee Fund, a group that raised funds to support the Nicaraguan contras. (26) Winsor regularly attends meetings sponsored by the American Security Council (ASC). The ASC’s so-called "Tuesday meetings" include National Security Council representatives, congressional staffers, and New Right groups. The ASC is another rightwing, anticommunist group promoting a strong military. The Coalition for Peace Through Strength, which numbers 242 congresspeople among its members, is a lobbying arm of the ASC. (14) Winsor was a member of the conservative Central American Working Group, a group that called upon the U.S. government to end diplomatic relations with the Sandinista government and urged that the U.S. and its allies tighten their economic boycott of Nicaragua. (15) In a 1987 interview with the New York Times, Winsor defended a loan of $375,000 made by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to John Hull. (16) Hull, who lived in Costa Rica until he was expelled in 1988, was an important link in Col. Oliver North’s contra supply network. When asked about the loan (which was made for a building which was never constructed), Winsor said that he had not been in Costa Rica for long when the loan was made. He went on to say,"Had I known then what I know now, I would have very strongly recommended it. He’s (Hull) an outstanding American citizen…"(16)

Misc: World Freedom Foundation was denied entry visas to Nicaragua to observe the 1990 elections. The reason stated for the denial was that WFF supported the contras and "their sole purpose was seen as discrediting the electoral process."(27)

Comments: It seems important to comment upon the composition of the 28 witnesses selected by WFF’s Bi-Partisan Commission. Of the 28 witnesses, 11 are connected to the U.S. government or to the Congressionally-created,"democracy-building" National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Carl Gershman, chairman of NED, testified. The National Democratic Institute and the National Republican Institute, both vehicles for NED funding, provided three witnesses. The AFL-CIO’s AIFLD, another quasi-governmental operation that receives major NED funding, provided a witness. Finally, the Center for Democracy, which also receives funding from NED, sent its president to testify.

Of the remaining 17 witnesses, four came from the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the American Enterprise Institute, both very conservative think tanks allied with the Reagan administration. Another came from the Council for Inter-American Security, the group that wrote the Santa Fe Document that provided major underpinnings for the Central American policy of the Reagan administration. John Silber of Boston University is a known hardline conservative. Silber opposed the Boland Amendment which restricted U. S funding for the contras and felt the U.S. should officially recognize and fully support the contras. Finally, there were four Nicaraguan witnesses who opposed the Sandinista government and one each from embassies of Guatemala and Costa Rica, countries receiving huge amounts of U.S. aid. The Guatemalan witness said his country took a stance of "active neutrality," but the testimony reflects a strong pro-U.S. bias; the Costa Rican representative was openly opposed to the Sandinistas.

U.S. Address: 111 South Columbus St, Alexandria, VA 22314.

Sources:1. World Freedom Foundation, prospectus, June 1989.

2."Some Notes on the World Freedom Foundation," Institute for Media Analysis, unpublished manuscript, June 1, 1989.

3."The Bi-Partisan Commission on Free and Fair Elections in Nicaragua," World Freedom Foundation brochure, 1989.

4. Alfonso Chardy,"Nicaraguans Bid for Power," Miami Herald, May 23, 1989.

5."A Promise for Their Future, American Freedom Coalition full- size brochure, Sep 1987.

6. Phone conversation with Wes McCune, Group Research, Inc. Sep 9, 1988.

7. Encyclopedia of Associations, 1989.

8. Thomas B. Edsall,"Head of Conservative PAC Quits in Dispute With Board," Washington Post, Sep 1, 1987.

9. Letter from the Citizens Against The Catastrophic Health Tax Act, undated, received in 1989.

10. Letter from the Emergency Project to Support Colonel North’s Freedom Fight in Central America, undated, corroborated by phone Sep 9, 1988.

11. Jon Lee Anderson and Scott Anderson, Inside the League: The Shocking Expose of How Terrorists, Nazis, and Latin American Death Squads Have Infiltrated The World Anti-Communist League (New York, NY: Dodd, Mead & Co, 1984).

12. Common Cause Magazine, Mar/Apr 1988.

13. Russ Bellant, Old Nazis, the New Right and the Reagan Administration (Cambridge MA: Political Research Associates, 1989).

14. Peace Through Strength, American Security Council report, undated, received Dec 15, 1988.

15. John McCaslin,"U.S. Asked to Isolate Nicaragua," The Washington Times, Oct 30, 1987.

16. Martin Tolchin,"A Contra Supplier in Costa Rica Got $375,000 U.S. Agency Says," New York Times, Oct 31, 1987.

17. Holly Sklar,"Washington Wants to Buy Nicaragua’s Elections- Again," Zeta Magazine, Dec 1989.

18. Proceedings of The Bi-Partisan Commission on Free and Fair Elections in Nicaragua, sponsored by the World Freedom Foundation, May 1989.

19."A Blueprint for Free and Fair Elections in Nicaragua," The Bi-Partisan Commission on Free and Fair Elections in Nicaragua, World Freedom Foundation, 1989.

20. Kim A. Lawton,"Unification Church Ties Haunt New Coalition," Christianity Today, Feb 5, 1988.

21. United States Global Strategy Council, brochure, 1989/1990.

22. A. Forster and B. Epstein, Danger on the Right, 1964.

23. Barbara Honegger, October Surprise, 1989.

24. Articles of Incorporation of World Freedom Foundation, State of Virginia, Nov 19, 1987.

25. Internal Revenue Service 990 Tax Return, World Freedom Foundation, 1988.

26. Internal Revenue Service 990 Tax Return, Nicaraguan Freedom Fund, Inc. , 1985.

27. Electoral Democracy: Under International Pressure, The Report of the Latin American Studies Association Commission to Observe the 1990 Nicaraguan Election, Mar 15, 1990.

28. Group Research Report, Vol 29, No. 1, Jan/Feb 1990.

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

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