featured, Guardian Watch, Kit, Syria, United States

Guardian sells space to war-profiteers to promote war

by Kit


It seems like all I do these days is skim through the “about” pages of an endless list of NGOs with countless varieties of the same name, looking for the same half-a-dozen funds, endowments, organisations, slogans, mottos and buzzwords that always appear. It’s got to the point where it’s simply a matter of ticking off the items on a shopping list.

The National Endowment for Democracy…check.
The International Monetary Fund…check.
George Soros…check.

It’s always the same. It has come to the point where, if the “Our Partners” section of an organization with a vaguely benign-sounding name, along the lines of Middle East Fund for Democracy and Liberty or somethingorother, DIDN’T contain a reference to George Soros’ Open Society Foundation or the World Bank…I just wouldn’t be able to contain my shock.

Checking up on the sources and organisations behind this opinion piece on the Guardian yesterday morning (September 23rd) did not shock me, in the least.

It headlines:

Enough is enough. It’s time to protect aid workers

Before insisting, in the subhead:

Attacks on those who respond to global emergencies must be stopped – and the perpetrators must be held accountable

The article, written by Patricia McIlreavy, is long on generals but short on specifics. Long on problems, but short on solutions. It doesn’t discuss the war in Syria, except in the most simplistic terms. It doesn’t lay blame for any “attacks” at the feet of anyone specific, it just condemns attacks in general. The gaping maw of the unsaid echoes into infinity. Its final paragraph:

There comes a time when enough is enough, when even the most altruistic among us become angry. That time is now. World leaders must recognise and respect those who rush in to help when all others turn away, and provide humanitarians the protection they need and deserve.

Stop the attacks, and hold accountable those who seek to harm us. The time for talk is over.

It’s perfectly clear what she means, she just can’t actually say it. When she talks about “altruism” becoming anger, when she says the time for talk is over, she is talking about war. She is proposing that UN “peacekeepers” or NATO troops or a “coalition of the willing” or any and all of the above march into Syria and “protect” NGO employees…by attacking the Syrian government, and almost certainly coming into conflict with the Russian military.

But who is this author making this argument and what is the organisation she represents? What is the section of the Guardian which showcases such articles? And what is the foundation that “sponsored” this material in the Guardian?

Let us tackle these one at a time.

1. The Author’s Foundation

The author, the Guardian tells us, is Patricia McIlreavy, the vice-president of Humanitarian Policy and Practice at InterAction.

“What is InterAction?”, you ask?


InterAction is an alliance organization in Washington, D.C. of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Our 180-plus members work around the world. What unites us is a commitment to working with the world’s poor and vulnerable, and a belief that we can make the world a more peaceful, just and prosperous place – together.

InterAction serves as a convener, thought leader and voice of our community. Because we want real, long-term change, we work smarter: We mobilize our members to think and act collectively, because we know more is possible that way. We also know that how we get there matters. So we set high standards. We insist on respecting human dignity. We work in partnerships.

Doesn’t that sound nice? Working in partnerships, protecting the vulnerable, human dignity. That’s all good stuff, right? Shame on you for thinking it’s nothing but empty marketing and PR sloganeering.

I mean, just because the author of the article used to work at USAID, and just because their CEO worked for the Obama and Clinton administrations and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and just because their President used to work for the World Bank and also worked for the Obama administration…wait a minute…

2. The Section

The Guardian’s “Global development professionals network” was first launched in 2012. It is subsidiary to their “Global Development website”, which was launched a year earlier. Their purpose, to quote their own description, is to provide:

A space for NGOs, aid workers and development professionals to share knowledge and expertise

It is, to read between the words of that sentence, a space for the Guardian to publish opinion pieces and press releases from US and UK government-backed NGOs, whilst taking no direct editorial responsibility for this blatant issuing of propaganda. It is much the same as the New East Network in this regard.

In case you were wondering where they get their funding for this:

Like the main Guardian global development website, the professional network is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as by a range of sponsors.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is on the list of predictable names I referenced at the beginning of this article. wherever there is creepy Orwellian propaganda pushing for odd social controls in the name of “justice” (be it common core education, or remote control contraception) you will find Bill and Melinda Gates. The foundation is also, of course, a corrupt tax dodge.

Now, you might be worried about the impartiality of a newspaper that is part-funded by the richest man that has ever existed, and other (unnamed) “sponsors”, but don’t be concerned because:

All our journalism remains independent of sponsorship and follows GNM’s published editorial code.


Any content produced by, or in partnership with our funding partners, will be clearly labelled.

So that’s alright then.

3. The Sponsor

Here we come to the worst part. The part that, only two years ago, would have shocked me. The article was apparently “supported by” a private corporation: Crown Agents, who describe themselves thus:

We are an international development company that partners with governments, aid agencies, NGOs and companies in nearly 100 countries. Taking on clients’ fundamental challenges, we make lasting change to the systems and organisations that are vital for people’s well-being and prosperity.

We bring an agile and resourceful approach to complex development issues.

Which, when translated from neo-liberal BS language into actual English, means they act as a bridgehead in allowing corporations to move into third world countries and make a fortune by buying up public assets from corrupt or incompetent governments. Take a look at their latest projects for proof. When they’re not helping the Americans privatize Pakistan’s state assets, they’re “facilitating” Ukraine’s joining of the WTO. Interestingly they also enjoyed a very large contract for “rebuilding” peace in Libya.

They are all over the so-called developing world, “boosting revenues”, “fighting corruption” and “reforming financial practices”. They do all this in cooperation with their partners at the US government, the UK government and certain (unnamed) “private foundations“.

To be very clear about this – Crown Agents is NOT an NGO. They are not a charity, or an aid organisation, or a barely-there disguise of some alphabet agency. They are a private business, they make money, they are FOR PROFIT.

The same company which made money off the aftermath of the Libyan war, is now sponsoring an article calling for war in Syria. It is an undeclared agenda, a classic conflict of interest, and totally disgusting. That it takes place in a supposedly “liberal paper”, with supposedly “progressive values”, in the name of charity and humanitarianism, is the height of modern hypocrisy.

The Guardian are selling space in their paper to for-profit companies, who publish pro-war opinion pieces, trying to incite public support for a war that will make them money.

That would have been shocking once upon a time.


  1. ankerzan says

    “Development Professionals” ….is that what they call neo blimps now? Hilarious.

    • Russell says

      Well I suppose it would be funny if the subject wasn’t war.

  2. damien says

    On the topic of NGO’s and Western sponsored regime change I would like to thank you Kit for your outstanding article on The Guardian’s New East Network.

    Many of the writers at the New Eastern Network come from UK Right wing think tanks aligned to the US and NATO that are actively promoting Syrian, Russian and Iranian regime change. They include Douglas Murray and Michael Gove from the Henry Jackson Society, and Jeffrey Gedman, Anne Applebaum and Peter Pomerantz from the CIA backed Legatum Institute.

    The Atlantacist ties run very deep (Jeffrey Gedmin, for example, served for four years as President and CEO of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty). These groups promote propaganda themes that infest our MSM: starvation of civilian populations by Assad, ‘weaponized propaganda’ from Russia, the Russian military ‘invasion’ of Ukraine, Islam as the enemy of democracy.

    Legatum has high level UK political backing —

    “A few months later [mid 2014] Weiss, with Legatum fellow Peter Pomerantsev, published a think-tank report on Russian media. To publicize it, they appeared at a Legatum event in London alongside Applebaum, US ambassador to Kiev Geoff Pyatt and John Herbst of the Atlantic Council. Their own website admitted that the evening was ‘hosted in cooperation with the US Department of State and the US Embassy in London’. Later Weiss spoke alongside Janis Karklins, Director of the Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence of NATO, on a Legatum podcast.”

    Here’s some of my posts on these deep ties that may fill the gaps for interested readers:


  3. Seamus Padraig says

    “That would have been shocking once upon a time.”

    Nothing’s shocking anymore.

  4. Kathleen Lowrey says

    “We bring an agile and resourceful approach to complex development issues.”

    you learn a new synonym for “brass knuckles” every day, you really do.

  5. michaelk says

    Journalism, like so much in the economy and society, is becoming more polarized, seemingly, by the month. On one side the mainstream, corporate/state media, on the other various platforms, like Wikileaks and Off-Guardian, that are determined to challenge the stories or big narrative that’s being stuffed down people’s throats, by the Guardian and the BBC, and, sadly this is mirrored all across the western world. Most of the rest of the West’s media copies, virtually word for word, the stories appearing in the BBC, Guardian and the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times. They actually often wait when something happens until these media leaders have spoken, before they publish their own versions, in case they by mistake say anything that might contradict Washington’s line. And Washington is out like a shot with their version and framing of events, like the convoy attack, which means it’s incredibly difficult for the journalists in client or vassal states to challenge, even if they wanted to, the events framed by Washington. ‘Freedom’ u gotta luv it!

    The economics of newspapers, being what they are, which is, increasingly dire. Means that it’s getting harder and harder to tell the difference between, what amount to paid advertisements produced by corporations or ‘NGOs’ that are really part of corporations or linked to the State. This is a trend and it’s getting worse and is bound to grow in importance and the cost of ‘real journalism’ is becoming prohibative. Journalists are being replaced by PR people, people who sell ‘independent’ revues of all sorst of consumer products, movies, music… and, increasingly, our overseas military campaigns/interventions, which used to be called, wars; imperialist wars.

    • wardropper says

      Sadly, journalism is even worse than “polarized” today.
      The opposite pole to good journalism is actually being systematically destroyed.

  6. Interestingly enough this is a list (see below) of the Guardian’s Executive board as first published in Sodium Haze.
    Neil Berkitt – a former banker (Lloyds, St George Bank) who then helped vulture capitalist Richard Branson with Virgin Media.
    David Pemsel – Former head of marketing at ITV.
    Nick Backhouse – On the board of the bank of Queensland, formerly with Barings Bank.
    Ronan Dunne – On the Telefónica Europe plc board, Chairman of Tesco Mobile. He has also worked at Banque Nationale de Paris plc.
    Judy Gibbons – Judy is currently a non-executive director of retail property kings Hammerson, previously with O2, Microsoft, Accel Partners (venture capital), Apple and Hewlett Packard.
    Jennifer Duvalier – Previously in management consultancy and banking.
    Brent Hoberman – Old Etonian with fingers in various venture capital pies including car rental firm EasyCar.
    Nigel Morris – chairman of network digital marketing giants Aegis Media.
    John Paton – CEO of Digital First Media – a very large media conglomerate which was sued successfully in the U.S. for rigging advertising rates.
    Katherine Viner – Startlingly not a banker, in marketing or venture capital. She is I gather (gulp) a journalist.
    Darren Singer – formerly with BSkyB, the BBC and Price Waterhouse Coopers.
    the only remaining guy is the secretary Philip Tranter – but don’t worry, he is a proper sort from some posh law firms in London.
    If any of the members of the Guardian Media Group get bored they can surely get a slot with the BBC Trust which is also stuffed full of bankers and establishment big wigs.

    Says it all I think.

  7. Jen says

    Sad to see The Guardian has become nothing more than a corporate public relations firm. All that’s now needed is to change its staff’s job titles from journalists to sales representatives, columnists to consultants and specialists, freelancers to contractors, editors to administrators, and chief editor to CEO.

  8. Sav says

    The Guardian is nothing more than a brand. Stripped of journalism and purporting to be a newspaper. It may as well be owned by Unilever with every article from music to International politics reminding us that our shirts really aren’t white enough.

  9. Excellent report!

    I’m no longer shocked by anything. But my sadness has deepened. Noam Chomsky says good things about Yoweri Musuveni (http://bit.ly/2d9jpgp – forget which book), Democracy Now is partly funded by George Soros (and appears to be pro Bush-connected Politico, while allowing space to the likes of destroyer Jeffrey Sachs), Mother Jones disappears all of my critical commentary re John Oliver’s anti Brexit bullcrap (http://bit.ly/29KOYrW), Robert Parry allows space for articles by CIA asset Graham Fuller, the Toronto Star disappears my posts expressing sympathy for Gazan victims of US/Israeli aggression (before finally axing all online, direct reader feedback, which Leftie Rick Salutin supports – http://bit.ly/2cZPm8S) and rabble.ca carries imperialist, pro R2P and Rwandan genocide propagandist Gerald Caplan’s (http://bit.ly/2d9lSHT) columns and so on.

  10. deschutes says

    Great article, good research looking into the background of these shady NGOs and foundations who publish their propaganda hit pieces in the guardian. It’s quite telling how they try so hard to hide their tracks, their true sponsors and motivations. As always, the guardian (lower case ‘g’ intentional to reflect my utter lack of regard for this insufferable ‘news’ outlet) never fails to consternate and annoy with pseudo propaganda.

    • I don’t read it regularly, but you, and others here, seem to be right about it’s fall. I just watched Snowden (which was excellent, but covers ground that lefties visiting sites like OG are familiar with) and, while it was perhaps called for, Stone’s line (via the character of Laura Poitras) exclaiming to Glenn Greenwald (if I recall) something like ‘Not bad for mainstream media, eh?’, in regard to The Guardian might rankle a bit, considering how, on balance, it serves power, not the people.

      • Jen says

        I saw the film too. It is basically a biopic narrowly focused on Snowden so there is really not much criticism of the corporate news media. Even the weeny bit of conflict between Zachary Quinto’s Greenwald character and Guardian America is over an issue as to the timing of the release of Snowden’s information and getting legal clearance. On the whole the film treats The Guardian gently and says nothing about Greenwald leaving The Guardian and taking Snowden’s material with him after having worked for the paper for less than a calendar year. Indeed the film itself is partly based on the book about Edward Snowden that regular Guardian v***** i**** hack Luke Harding wrote (“Edward Snowden: the Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man”).

        Even with the restricted focus on Snowden, Oliver Stone still had problems in bringing the film project to screen. No movie studio in Hollywood would stump up the money for it.

        • Interestingly, ln an interview on Democracy Now, Stone admits that the film, while based on facts, is a drama. It’s given oomph with drama, supposedly. Perhaps. But not in all areas. The most dramatic activity in the movie ‘could’ have been when Greenwald was musing about creating a website and publishing through it. (Which would have gained the respect of Sibel Edmonds, who, rather harshly, calls Glen a sell-out.) The movie completely leaves out Glen’s constant communications with his partner David Miranda and does not reveal David’s insistence, which Glen couldn’t argue with but didn’t follow, that Glen should leave the traitorous Guardian to it’s own devices. Glen was pushed right to the edge by (forget the name of his Guardian editor) but hung in there even past his own deadline, which turned out, by chance, to be the right decision. The movie mostly conveys facts, but in trying to dramatize that event by slightly fictionalizing it, drama is actually lost. I can tell you because I read “No Place To Hide” and it will have you on the edge of your seat and biting your nails. In the movie (small spoiler here), Glen tells his editor to fu*& herself and calls it off. But in reality, he didn’t. He came close only.

          As for the (shudder) Harding book which you refer to, Is it so that Stone relied upon that? It would surprise me. Stone’s JFK was entertaining as hell, but based on faulty history passed down from John Newman (which Chomsky points out in “Rethinking Camelot”). I would have thought that he learned something from that, but possibly I’m wrong. As far as I know, Snowden has no problem with the movie, other than the fact that he never wanted any attention on himself. He probably didn’t expect that he’d be free to join us in conversation about his revelations. I’m glad he is.

          • I’m home now and after a few minutes of searching through my copy of “No Place To Hide – Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State,” by Glenn Greenwald, I found the name of the British editor in chief of the American edition of The Guardian (who struggled valiantly to publish the first of the NSA files revealed by Snowden while enduring Glenn’s understandable distrust), which is Janine Gibson.

        • deschutes says

          I wonder what actually happened between the guardian and Greenwald, that caused him to leave the paper so quickly? Before switching to the guardian, Greenwald wrote for Salon.com for many years (it too seems to have lost its way). Now Greenwald is at the Intercept which seems to be working out for him. If I had to surmise what happened to cause Greenwald to leave the guardian, I think it was too much interference from the editors about what he could/couldn’t publish. So they just had Greenwald basically for that big Snowden dump, then he left after British government started threatening guardian staff to destroy its hard drives that had the Snowden files, detained Greenwald’s partner, and so on. Those were crazy times. Remember when they grounded that plane with Bolivia’s Morales on it, forcing it to land in Austria thinking Snowden was hiding under one of the seats? LOL! What losers.

          • Actually, The Guardian left Glenn completely alone for most of his time there. They only started communicating as a result of the Snowden affair.

            “From the first glimpse I’d had of just these few documents, I knew two things: I needed to get to Hong Kong right away…

            “Using Skype, I called Janine Gibson, the British editor in chief of the US edition of the Guardian. My agreement with the Guardian was that I had full editorial independence, which meant that nobody could edit or even review my articles before they ran. I wrote my pieces, and then published them directly to the internet myself. The only exceptions to this arrangement were that I would alert them if my writing could have legal consequences for the newspaper or posed an unusual journalistic quandary. That had happened very few times in the previous nine months, only once or twice, which meant that I had had very little interaction with the Guardian editors.” -pg 21 of “No Place To Hide”

            I am sure that there’s one or two sentences only in the book where Glenn says something about when he decided to leave, but he doesn’t get into that and checking my own notes that I scribbled in white sections of the book, I see no reference to that. I’d have to re-read the whole book to find it. But pages 238 through 242 gives readers a good idea what Glenn thought about the Guardian well into the Snowden affair. He thought the Guardian caved to the UK government and it’s GCHQ when it bullied the staff into destroying certain of it’s computers in the basement of the Guardian building. At the same time, He gives the Guardian credit for being as brave as it was in publishing as much as it did (bringing it credit with the Left, no doubt, that it has perhaps been coasting on). He feels it did the best job out of the major media that did receive Snowden revealed documents.

            Laura Poitras has been totally soured on the Guardian. It did, afterall, threaten the whole operation when it initially insisted that Ewan McAskill join Glenn and Laura in meeting Snowden, who Glen and Laura promised they alone would make contact with him. But when Laura took a thumb drive with some of the Snowden archive given to Glenn, from Glenn in Brazil to Berlin, to get it repaired (it had been corrupted), the Guardian employee who went to Berlin to pick it up and then take it to Glenn in Brazil got cold feet once he (gender?) had the data and requested that he be allowed to Fed Ex it to Glenn. Fed Ex it!!!! Janine Gibson insisted that that was a mistake and the employee did fly to Brazil to deliver the package, but that was too much for Laura.

            • deschutes says

              Thanks for posting what Greenwald says about his time with the Guardian from his autobiography, much appreciated.

              • My pleasure. Further to my immediate above post, the gender of that Guardian employee is male. And he didn’t offer to Fed Ex the thumb drive, but rather he suggested to Laura that she do so. All else is as I have stated. I would have reacted the same way Laura did. This was her reaction:

                “Don’t you see what they’re doing?… They want to be able to say, ‘We had nothing to do with transporting those documents, it was Glenn and Laura who passed them back and forth’.” -pg 241

  11. The Guardian isn’t the only one wearing pom-poms, lustily cheering on endless wars in the ME and all for antagonizing Russia.
    In the last several months, I’ve written two letters to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch pointing out that since Syria didn’t invite us to bomb them, nor do we have a UN mandate nor did Congress declare war, that we are guilty of committing a massive number of war crimes against the Syrian people.

    Both letters were refused, yet the syndicated columnists, like Krauthammer, keeps up the war mongering, with blood lusting eyes glancing at Iran, the next ME nation that will be the next Pentagon’s target if we are allowed to bomb Syria back to the Stone Age.

    And for what? What is all this misery, death and destruction getting Americans? Our kids coming home in body bags or severely wounded, either mentally or physically while our nation’s infrastructure falls apart at an increasing pace.

    There is NO benefit to this madness for the USA. The only ones benefiting are Israel and those Too Big to Fail Wall Street casinos, making money off financing this insanity.

  12. Matt says

    And this is why I hope that The Guardian dies off rather quickly. I’d rather have no representation in MSM than disingenuous snake oil sellers using smoke and mirrors to sell us The Establishment. Good on Off-Guardian, The Canary and many other alternative media beaming a light into investigative journalism.

    The Guardian played a dangerous hand when it veered to ‘The Right’ to try to get Daily Hate, and Telegraph readers (and advertising revenue) – it’s core readers saw this and abandoned it. The BTL is now a cesspit of rote learnt bashing.

    • passerby says

      Even if there was not a single Guardian reader left, the newspaper will continue to be published as long as someone is willing to pay for advertorials. There is huge demand for newspapers like The Guardian. Not from readers, but from advertisers – NGO’s, companies and lobbyists.

  13. It’s perfectly obvious that we (sorry, those Guardian readers who haven’t yet woken up to the fact that the Guardian is now probably second only to the BBC in the UK as a propaganda mouthpiece for the “Atlanticists” – which also include that rogue state at the end of the Mediterranean) are meant to see through the deliberately vague reference to “humanitarians” and understand that the writer is referring to the alleged attack on the aid convoy in Syria.

    The timing may well have something to do with the fact that Mr. Lavrov has challenged the US and its allies to set up a genuinely independent investigation into the affair, for which Russia – with every good reason – denies culpability.

    But I’m sure all (or most) OG readers would back the writer’s call for the “perpetrators to be held accountable”. If only!! Sadly, they continue to get away with their false flag attacks – not because they carry them out so well that the real perps cannot be detected, but simply because they control the mainstream media and by dint of repetition can turn a lie into an apparent truth.

    I’m waiting for Putin and Lavrov to really take the gloves off …

    • Yonatan says

      Regarding the alleged attack on the humanitarian aid convoy, an ex-military commentator (Paveway IV) at Moon of Alabama (reported on Zero Hedge) noted that the early video of the explosions showed evidence of an explosion caused by a metal augmented charge warhead. Such warheads are fitted to some Hellfire missiles which are carried by large US drones. The Russians noted a US drone was flying in the area around the time of the attack and left shortly afterwards.

      Versions of the video put out on MSM outlets were subtly blurred to hide this subtle detail.


      If true, this means the aid convoy was deliberately attacked by the US.

  14. Lumpy Gravy says

    The Guardian has been publishing this sort of junk since ages. In 2010 I once posted a comment on cif raising questions about the author and the D.C. based “Enough Project” she was working for. But I didn’t receive any replies.

    (User WakaJawaka, direct links to old comments no longer work and the recommendations have all been deleted).

Comments are closed.