Talk:Foundation for the Defense of Democracies

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The following was removed from the main page of this article by CMD Staff for further review:

The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) is a neoconservative think tank aand lobbying organization that claims to conduct "research and education on international terrorism — the most serious security threat to the United States and other free, democratic nations. FDD produces independent analyses of global terrorist threats, as well as of the historical, cultural, philosophical and ideological factors that drive terrorism, and which threaten democracies and the individual freedoms guaranteed within democratic societies." Their work is closely linked with that of the National Endowment for Democracy.[1] FDD was created two days after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Ever since its creation, FDD has pushed for US wars against Iraq and Iran – Eli Clifton states that "In recent years, FDD has become one of the the premiere DC organizations promoting more aggressive actions against Iran."[2] Clifton adds:

"While FDD has a 10-year history of engaging in alarmist rhetoric and fear mongering — e.g. in 2002 FDD aired a series of ads conflating Osama bin Laden, Yasser Arafat and Saddam Hussein — and helped promote the “Bush doctrine” which led to the invasion of Iraq, its donors have, for the most part, hidden behind their anonymous contributions to the organization. The new documents should permit for greater scrutiny of the interests and individuals behind FDD’s hawkish presence in the Washington think tank world."[3]

FDD run the Long War Journal.

Origins of FDD

Daniel McCarthy expressed an enhanced view of FDD's origins in the November 17, 2003, issue of The American Conservative.[4]

In early 2001, a tightly knit group of billionaire philanthropists conceived of a plan to win American sympathy for Israel's response to the Palestinian intifada. They believed that the Palestinian cause was finding too much support within crucial segments of the American public, particularly within the media and on college campuses, so they set up an organization, Emet: An Educational Initiative, Inc., to offer Israel the kind of PR that the Israeli government seemed unable to provide itself.
At first, Emet floundered, without an executive director or a well-defined mission. But that changed after Sept. 11, and Emet changed too, into what is now the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. The name is different, but the goal of influencing America's opinion-forming classes remains.
What makes all of this possible is the support the foundation receives from its billionaire backers. Its nearly $3 million annual budget comes from 27 major donors, most of whom are members of "the Study Group"--also sometimes called the "Mega Group" because of their sizeable contributions--a semi-formal organization of major Jewish philanthropists who meet twice a year to discuss joint projects.
Leonard Abramson was the point man for establishing Emet. He, Michael Steinhardt, and Edgar Bronfman were the foundation's board of directors at the time of its incorporation in the spring of 2001.

Funding Sources

Eli Clifton reports that the following billionaires/millionaires are the principal source of FDD funding[5]:

A Critical Assessment of the FDD

According to Jeffrey Blankfort, a Jewish anti-Zionist activist in California (former editor of the Middle East Labor Review, and victim of a spying operation directed against him by the ADL), the FDD:

For those of you who haven't heard of this "foundation," it is one of the most influential and powerful of the Zionist lobbies which changed its name and sprung into action immediately after 9-11. If you check its board, its advisors, you'll find a lot of familiar names, the neocons, of course, and some surprises, like the Democrat's ranking African-American spokesperson, Donna Brazile. It claims to have seven articles from FDD sources appear in the mainstream media every day and if you check its site, that appears to be the truth. That President Bush chose this group for the first of a series of speeches defending his Iraq policy is not an accident but a genuflection to the FDD's power. Another reflection of its power is the apparent unwillingness of the major media, such as the NY Times, to identify it for what it is.[6]

Jeffrey Blankfort suggests that the best assessment of FDD is that it is the successor of PNAC, as many of the PNAC-associated neocons now reside at the FDD.[7]

President Bush's address to FDD

On March 13, 2006, President George W. Bush addressed the FDD on the war in Iraq.[8]

Spinning FDD bias

Non-partisan, non-ideological

The FDD states the following on its website:[9]

"FDD is a tax-exempt, non-profit, non-partisan, non-ideological institution. We do not seek to advance any political party or views."

The tax-exempt and non-profit claims are true. However, the non-partisan and non-ideological assertions are very suspect.

Directors, Fellows, Personnel

The following information was updated August 16, 2007.[10]

Board of Directors

Distinguished Advisors

Board of Advisors

Previously listed

Senior Fellows

Adjunct Fellows

Previously listed



Contact information

Foundation for the Defense of Democracies
P.O. Box 33249
Washington D.C. 20033
Phone: 202 207-0190
FAX: 202 207-01915
Email: info AT

Resources and articles

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. [1]
  2. Eli Clifton, Documents Shed Light On Those Underwriting The Foundation For Defense Of Democracies, Think Progress, 19 July 2011.
  3. ibid.
  4. Daniel McCarthy, "Most Favored Democracy. The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies goes on offense," The American Conservative, November 17, 2003.
  5. Eli Clifton, Documents Shed Light On Those Underwriting The Foundation For Defense Of Democracies, Think Progress, 19 July 2011.
  6. Jeffrey Blankfort, 15 March 2006
  7. Jeffrey Blankfort, Takes on the World, Radio4All, 26 October 2011.
  8. "President Discusses Iraq to FDD," George Washington University, March 13, 2006.
  9. "Frequently Asked Questions About FDD," FDD website, accessed August 16, 2007.
  10. Biographies, FDD, accessed August 16, 2007.
  11. FDD: Senior Fellows: profile (Accessed: 3 December 2011).
  12. FDD: Staff: profile (Accessed: 3 December 2011).

External articles






External resources

End Page Excerpt

Hold pending source

Zionist political action committee

Jeffrey Blankfort, a Jewish anti-Zionist activisit in California (former editor of the Middle East Labor Review), wrote the following March 15, 2006, about the FDD:

For those of you who haven't heard of this "foundation," it is one of the most influential and powerful of the Zionist lobbies which changed its name and sprung into action immediately after 9-11. If you check its board, its advisors, you'll find a lot of familiar names, the neocons, of course, and some surprises, like the Democrat's ranking African-American spokesperson, Donna Brazile. It claims to have seven articles from FDD sources appear in the mainstream media every day and if you check its site, that appears to be the truth. That President Bush chose this group for the first of a series of speeches defending his Iraq policy is not an accident but a genuflection to the FDD's power. Another reflection of its power is the apparent unwillingness of the major media, such as the NY Times, to identify it for what it is.

Hold pending rewrite (an essay/commentary)

FDD's claim of "non-ideological" is non-sensical. Webster's defines idealogy as "the body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc., that guides an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group."[1]

The FDD provides a page defining its core beliefs.[2] Beliefs do comprise an ideology.

Although this analysis may be too pendantic about FDD's use of "non-ideological", it is likely that its usage is meant to imply that the FDD possesses no inherent bias towards the common U.S. political ideological binary classes like "Conservativism/Liberalism", "Democrat/Republican" and "Right/Left"; although the term, "nonpartisan", used in place of "nonideological, would offer more clarity in this context. To judge how "non-ideological" FDD is from this perspective requires an examination of the personnel makeup of FDD and the site's literature.

When examining the biographies of individuals associated with FDD, the ideological makeup of the individuals ranges from neo-conservatives (William Kristol, Richard Perle, and Newt Gingrich) and conservatives (Steve Forbes and Gary Bauer) to, at best, moderate (Donna Brazile), with a large percentage of those listed normally considered to be (neo-)conservative. For example, the Board of Directors is comprised of Steve Forbes, Jack Kemp, and Dr. Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, all known to be conservative (as well as Republican).

The President of FDD, Clifford D. May, has served as Director of Communications for the Republican National Committee (RNC) from 1997 to 2001: "In that role, he was the Republican Party's staff spokesman, and appeared frequently on national television and radio programs. In addition, he managed all RNC communications activities, including long-range strategic planning; press, radio and television services; online services; TV and radio coaching; speech writing; advertising and marketing. He also served as the Editor of the official Republican magazine, Rising Tide." t is also worth noting that Mr. May worked for a PR agency: "After leaving the RNC, he was named Senior Managing Director in the Washington, D.C. office of BSMG Worldwide, a firm specializing in public affairs advocacy, public relations and media relations." [2]

The site's biographies' page provides and indicator for party affiliations for members currently holding political office, but fails to list party affiliations for ex-office holders, giving an appearence of bipartisanship (note, we do not use the term non-partisan as FDD does). By the way, just because an organization includes former, or current, Republican and Democratic politicians, does not imply that the organization contains a variety of views. As politics, especially modern politics, has shown us, party affiliation does not imply a given set of views by any individual and it is quite common for political bureaucrats to serve with both major parties. For example, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., who is on FDD's Board of Advisors, worked both in the Ronald Reagan (Republican) administration (and at one time worked directly under Richard Perle) and as an aide to a Democratic Senator. [3]

With a few possible exceptions, the members of FDD are predominately conservative and neo-conservative and the articles written by FDD's members and the literature on their site promote a neo-conservative slant.

For example, FDD's page on Iraq provides a list of documents authored by FDD members or documents FDD believes are worth highlighting. All the documents (as of this writing with documents ranging in dates from 8/2002 to 6/2003) support the hawkish view of Iraq. No documents provide any critical perspectives of U.S. policies towards Iraq. Also, some of the documents listed cite "facts" that have been proven to be false, such as the linkage of Saddam Hussein with al-Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks, as well as with Saddam's highly active WMD programs (see Weapons of mass deception for related analysis).

Clifford D. May (discussed earlier) wrote a July 3, 2003 article justifying military action in Africa, mainly due to the press about the problems in Liberia. The article is guilty of overall generalization, labeling, and statements of "facts" that not backed by references. For example, he accuses "liberal" think tanks that insisted "Africa's young nations were making progress, [stating]... that it bordered on the racist to suggest otherwise. Any problems that could not be wished away were dismissed as 'the legacy of colonialism.' And, of course, the consequence of too little U.S. foreign aid." However, May fails to provide any references to back this up, including that all "liberal" organizations share the same view. Use of such rhetoric shows an ideological bias.

May continues by blaming "the legacy of socialism" as the "obvious" reason for Africa's problems since, as May states, "The first generations of post-independence African leaders were advised by European and American intellectuals (many of them at those universities and think tanks) to forego capitalism in favor of 'the socialist path to development.'" First, May fails to cite references to back up this view along with dimissing factors like ancient tribal conflicts (which was made worse by the effects of colonialism), the legacy of Western support of dictators during the Cold War to fight off Soviet influence, and the interference by large multinational corporations seeking to profit from Africa's natural resources.

Clifford May then provides justifications for military intervention in Africa that mirror the justifications promoted by hawks for the war in Iraq, but with a slight twist: failed African nations "are apt to become terrorist havens." So, we have now moved from nations believed to be supporting terrorists as a justification for military action to nations that may become breeding grounds for terrorists. Any humanitarian concerns are listed last and hints of oil (Nigeria) exist in the reasons.

Another indicator of FDD's ideological bias is provided on their related websites page. They provide links to numerous conservative think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute (which some FDD members are either current or former fellows of) and the Hudson Institute. There is a link to the so-called student group Oxford Democracy Forum which portrays the same hawkish perspective and includes the same rhetoric with respect to Iraq and terrorism as is coming out of the Bush administration and neo-con controlled media. On OxDems' FAQ page, it repeats false information about Iraq, such as its links to Al-Qaeda by citing Colin L. Powell's discredited United Nations speech.

The list of related media links provided by FDD is very interesting, with Fox News listed first, and mostly conservative publications (like fellow FDD member Bill Kristol's Weekly Standard) that follows. CNN and the Washington Post are listed, but these news organizations are moderate at best. The New Republic is the only exception, as most consider it a liberal-oriented publication.

The stub needs a bit of a rewrite

My original intent in editing this page was just to add and correct personel I scraped from the FDD site today on a visit. I can scrape data fairly easily, and upon checking the sourcewatch stub, found it in need of an update.

While adding the data, I decided to optimise the article for a TOC by adding some section titles, and synchronised the spelling of the term "non-ideological' in its occurrences.

I also checked the current FAQ at FDD and discovered that the term, "non-ideological" is no longer used to describe them. Maybe they read sourcewatch.

The term non-ideological had been removed from the FDD FAQ, but it still shows on a google cache from June 3, 2005.

"non-ideological" is also found on several other pages of FDD - (tiny url pointing to google search):

Two past press releases:

plus the following:

"Pragmatic, nationalistic and non-ideological, Allawi has emerged as a rallying figure to most major forces in Iraq. He has mitigated the fears of the Kurds by assuring them of their autonomy. He has obtained the implicit blessing of Iraq's highest Shiite cleric, Ayatollah Ali Sistani. The Catholic Chaldeans and Orthodox Assyrians find him reassuring and understanding of their fear of Islamists and of Kurdish hegemony in the north of Iraq. Many Sunnis and Baathists perceive him as a savior who could salvage some of their past privileges and guarantee their political inclusion. Even the Shiite extremist Muqtada al-Sadr, who, though opposing Allawi's government, has sent the leader a mixed signal that he will lead a peaceful resistance."
Walid Phares, Robert G. Rabil, "Prime Minister's Coalition-Building Serves Iraqis Well", Chicago Sun-Times, July 30, 2004
The big news in Woodward's book is that Bush was deeply skeptical about the CIA's conclusions regarding Iraqi WMD - even after he was presented with a "Top Secret" document starkly warning: "Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons."
What changed the president's mind? Woodward vividly describes a meeting in the Oval Office in which George Tenet, the director of central intelligence, responded to Bush's doubts by rising up from his seat and throwing his arms in the air. "It's a slam-dunk case!" he said.
Even that didn't quite persuade Bush. He pressed further, asking Tenet: "George, how confident are you?" At which point, the nation's top spy - a nonideological nonpartisan who held the same job in the Clinton administration - "threw his arms up again. 'Don't worry, it's a slam dunk!' he repeated."
Imagine if - instead of heeding this warning - Bush had ignored it, put on his sweat suit and gone for a jog around the White House. Imagine if a terrorist attack, utilizing WMD supplied by Saddam Hussein, had followed. Bush would have faced impeachment - and deservedly so.
Clifford D. May, "Seeing Only What They Want to See", Scripps Howard News Service, April 21, 2004
But we now know that many of abductions in Iraq are carried out by non-ideological criminals who then sell their victims to the highest bidder. The throat-cutting of the hostages that often follows is a competence that probably can be mastered in a variety of environments.
Clifford D. May, "Get Smart", Scripps Howard News Service, June 30, 2005 - (also served under the same url plus attrib_id=7374)
Denationalized corporate elites who are non-ideological, but seek economic advantage, often have a symbiotic relationship with the transnational progressives.
John O'Sullivan, Editor, "The National Interest", Number 76 - Summer 2004 - (pdf)

These instances were contexually the same improper distortion that the criticism in the article points out.

The use of the term "ideological" is much more frequently used on the site, (307 instances -tiny url of google search), often with an ideologically loaded context.

personal tirade

I was disgusted by the article "The Geneva Convention Is Not a Suicide Pact", and am not presently in a state of mind to re-edit this stub.

The FDD is comprised of cowardly UnAmerican bastards. No the Geneva Conventions are not a suicide pact, but it is an expression of the Dreamtime America at its apogee.

These learned asses would have us believe that America's core is no longer valid:

  • We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all human sare creeated equal, and endowed by what they perceive as their creator with inalienable rights; that among these rights, three delienated here are: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
  • No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
  • In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Due process rights are held by all humans, and a just government will not infringe upon them, no matter how evilly their intentions are posited. To legitimately strip any human of life, liberty or property requires a proper procedure that adheres to due process of law. This right is a natural right which was never ceded to the government. A government which steals these rights is an illegitimate tyranny.

The title of the second Press Release, "If We Appease Terrorism, We'll Get More Terrorism", shows just how wrongfully hammerheaded the HDD is. There will be no converts to our worldview from the unchained US war machine's injust destruction, there will be none from our inhumane treatment of detainees. There will just be humans brooding in their chains and tempering their blades in the fire of their passion. --Hugh Manatee 17:06, 27 Oct 2005 (EDT)

Relocated the following from the erroneously named Foundation for the Defence of Democracies created by User:Mike:

The Foundation for the Defence of Democracies (FDD) was:

"founded two days after the September 11 attacks, it would be difficult to conceive of an organization more centrally connected to US corporate interests and the neo-conservative agenda. The FDD is funded by private donations from some of the wealthiest individuals and companies in the US, including:

"The Ameriquest Capital Corporation, the largest privately held mortgage company in the US, donated over $1.5 million to FDD in 2004. Ameriquest is headed by Roland Arnall, who with his wife Dawn has been the biggest contributor to the Bush campaigns since 2002. In 2005, Roland Arnall was appointed as US ambassador to the Netherlands while his company was under investigation for predatory lending practices in the US."

"Leonard Ambramson a member of the Board of Directors of the NASDAQ Stock Market, Inc., the Board of Trustees of the Brookings Institution, and the Board of Trustees of Johns Hopkins University. Ambramson personally donated $250,000 to FDD in 2004."

"Steinhardt Partners, one of the largest hedge funds in the world during the 1990s, donated $250,000 to FDD in 2004."

"Jerome Goodman, a former director of Aetna Inc., one of the largest health insurers in the US, donated over $240,000 to FDD in 2003."

"The Sarah Scaife Foundation, a well-known supporter of neo-conservative think-tanks whose fortune is financed by the Mellon oil and banking empire, donated $125,000 to the FDD in 2004."

"The Russel Berrie Foundation, which also funds ‘educational’ programs for Israeli soldiers, gave $75,000 in 2004."

"Appropriately enough - given that most of these names appear on the periodic lists of the wealthiest individuals and corporations in the US - Steven Forbes, CEO of Forbes Inc.]], sits on the three-person board of FDD. Forbes himself is a strident advocate of neo-liberal policies, in particular the introduction of a flat-tax that would see him pay the same amount of tax as the poorest working Americans. Forbes is also a board member of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), another neo-conservative think-tank. The ‘distinguished advisors’ to the FDD board of directors includes James Woolsey, former director of the CIA, Louis Freeh, former director of the FBI, and rabid neo-conservative Newt Gingrich. In 2006, Tanya Gilly, a staff member of the FDD was actually elected to the Iraqi National Assembly as a Kurdish representative. Gilly was highly placed at the FDD in the position of director of democracy programs." [4]

The funding information has been taken from public IRS 990 forms available on non-profit organizations, including the FDD, from the GuideStar website (

External Links

  • Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996. Emphasis added.
  • [About, FDD.