Ashwini Upadhyay, who recently resigned from the AAP National Executive has brought serious charges of CIA involvement against AAP. I am generally inclined to dismiss these as conspiracy theories of a disgruntled member, though the CIA does have a long record of political interventions throughout the world, interfering in democratic processes for its own objectives and for “regime change.” So I decided to dig into its plausibility of these charges from someone who, until recently, was an AAP insider.
There have been prior allegations of Ford Foundation funding for AAP which AAP has rebutted on its website. The AAP website rebuttal of the Ford Foundation charges states that it has never received funds from Ford Foundation and points instead to Gujarat government initiatives Gujarat Ecological Educational & Research (GEER) and Gujarat Institute of Development Research (GIDR) as receiving Ford Foundation funds.
First we need to understand the grant giving of Ford Foundation.
The CIA uses philanthropic foundations as the most effective conduit to channel large sums of money to Agency projects without alerting the recipients to their source. From the early 1950s to the present the CIA’s intrusion into the foundation field was and is huge. A U.S. Congressional investigation in 1976 revealed that nearly 50% of the 700 grants in the field of international activities by the principal foundations were funded by the CIA
Ford Foundation has a large presence in India.
FF’s developmental activities continue under the heading “asset-building and community development”, but it has added two other heads: “peace and social justice” and “education, media, arts and culture”. This is in line with changes in foundation/funding agency policy worldwide, whereby, since the late 1970s, a new breed of ‘activist’ NGOs, engaging in social and political activity, have been systematically promoted.  (Italics in original)
AAP’s rebuttal of Ford Funding on their website ends with a denial of direct funding by Ford Foundation while pointing to funding for Gujarat government projects.
“So Mr. Modi, his Government and the BJP are happy to take $$$ from Ford foundation but accuse AAP which has not taken one penny from Ford or any other foreign donors.”
This is deceptive in what AAP chooses not to reveal. While pointing at Gujarat governmental organizations supported by FF, it fails to reveal the deep involvement and funding to its National Executive members through FF funded NGO’s. This is also true in Kejriwal’s direct interview denying Ford Foundation funding from AAP but choosing not to reveal Ford Foundation repeatedly and consistently funded him through his NGO’s. AAP cannot be funded directly by Ford Foundation since it is a political party; rather the Foundation works by creating long-term assets through NGO’s and a large number of AAP national executives have been part of such NGO’s. This deception worries me because AAP, rather than being straightforward is trying to mislead with an oranges to apples comparison – “no funding to AAP, but funding to Gujarat NGO’s”.
AAP and BJP are political parties. The question is not of AAP getting funded directly by the Ford Foundation. That would be clearly illegal and neither AAP and, especially not the Ford Foundation, are that stupid. Ford Foundation’s work with the CIA is naturally clandestine. Also the example given by AAP of Ford Foundation giving to Gujarat governmental organizations is a diversion. There is a big difference between giving to governmental or semi-governmental agencies versus small private NGO. Also, if everything that Ford Foundation did was CIA business it would blow its cover. It needs to have a reasonable front. It must include legitimate grants mixed in with small NGO grants where it cultivates long-term “strategic assets” over a period of time.
The system of private patronage was the pre-eminent model of how small, homogenous groups came to defend America’s—and, by definition, their own—interests. Serving at the top of the pile was every self-respecting WASP’s ambition. The prize was a trusteeship on either the Ford Foundation or the Rockefeller Foundation, both of which were conscious instruments of covert US policy, with directors and officers who were closely connected to, or even members of American intelligence. 
These grants are to small NGO’s and a disturbingly large number of prominent AAP members were recipients of this kind of Ford Foundation patronage. Has the Ford Foundation put together its strategic assets when it needed to?
Why did AAP not come clean on its website about these links of their founding executive members to the Ford Foundation? If it spoke about funding to semi-governmental NGO’s in Gujarat, shouldn’t it have revealed grants to its members from Ford Foundation through NGO’s they ran, precisely the kinds of grants the CIA uses to cultivate strategic assets? Why is AAP not honest and upfront about these linkages to its sincere and committed support base that are looking up to it as an honest party?
Now let us look at some of the notables in AAP who have been involved with FF-funded NGO’s.
Sab bike hue hain? Kejriwal and associates’ funds from Ford & Rockfeller Foundations—partial list 
|Arvind Kejriwal||$80,000Rs. 74,54,706||ParivartanKabirRamon Magasasay Award||Ford FoundationFord FoundationRockefeller Brothers Fund|
|Manish Sisodia||Rs. 74,54,706||Kabir||Ford Foundation|
|Yoginder Yadav||ICSSR||Ford Foundation|
|Meera Sanyal||Pradan||Ford Foundation|
The Ramon Magsaysay Award is also a strategic award funded by these US foundations and comes with a history [8, See Notes]. Now, we are not suggesting that all these individuals are crooks, though Manish Sisodia in under a cloud for misuse of the funds and Kejriwal is alleged to have illegally started NGO’s and received funds while still a government employee. Many of these people may be quite sincere and I do not want to suggest that they are all knowingly acting on behest of the US, simply because of being funded by the Ford Foundation. US soft power is exercised in many ways, including having people feel that they are all working for a good cause and using the language of “human rights” and “people’s rights.” But when principals of these agency funded NGO’s later start running for parliament, it is bound to raise eyebrows.
What is the strategic interest of the US here?
The question is why would the US have activated its assets? The US is also not a monolith. There is a part of the US that wants to see India as a counterweight to China. There is another that does not want another strong player on the international stage. Even as a counterweight to China it would prefer a weaker and more pliable India, something that a strong central leadership with a clear mandate may not be.
It is frightening when you realize that an unstable coalition and mid-term polls are exactly the results that AAP is shooting for, having convinced thousands of its well-meaning, sincere, patriotic Indian supporters towards this aim as an antidote against corruption.
Maybe all this Ford Foundation involvement is in the past and it is a coincidence that a bunch of Ford Foundation awardees happened to congregate in AAP. I am sure there are plenty of Ford Foundation grantees in India who are not sold out. But, it gets even more frightening. Ashwini Upadhyay recently resigned from the AAP National Executive and is bringing forth even more direct and serious allegations, the extent of which is difficult to imagine.
According to the Ford Foundation website, Kavita Ramdas “ serves as the representative for the foundation’s office in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, where she oversees all of our grant making in the region.” It is one thing to be a recipient of Ford Foundation funds through NGO’s. But it is difficult to imagine that the head of Ford Foundation India would not be complicit in US state department and intelligence objectives in India. So when the head of the Ford Foundation (or people close to her) is participating in the strategy meetings of a party that may be king maker in the upcoming Indian elections, there is serious cause for concern for every AAP supporter and thinking Indian.
Anna Hazare, Ramdev, Kiran Bedi, Kejriwal and others had created a big movement that had inspired all of us. People like Anupam Kher had jumped in to lend it star power. Kejriwal did not have the start power or following compared to Anna., Ramdev, Kiran Bedi or Anupam Kher. He is also the most implicated in his continuous relationship with the Ford Foundation through various NGO’s that funded him to leave his government job. Most of these notable people that we respect that formed the popular anti-corruption movement explicitly dissociated themselves from AAP and have also accused Kejriwal of using them to launch himself.
I have myself gone from a I-am-Anna topi-wearing supporter to cheering the Delhi victory of AAP, to being skeptical about their plans, to being deeply concerned about what they are up to as all clear-thinking Indians should be, most of all AAP supporters who are investing their time, emotions and money into this. Former RAW Officer RSN Singh also provides evidence of agency funding to manipulate elements of Indian media that may be working in conjunction with this plan. 
AAP supporters should ask AAP to come clean and ask them:
- Please reveal the details of all the NGO’s that members of your national executive, office bearers and election nominees have been involved with.
- Reveals the details and amounts of funding from Ford Foundation, Rockfeller Foundation, HIVOS and any other foreign donors towards any of these associated NGO’s, including an salaries of expense reimbursements you got from these NGOs.
- Respond to Ashwini Upadhyaya’s serious allegations of Ford Foundation executives and their family members being involved in strategic planning for AAP.
- Come clean about their post poll strategy—what are you aiming for and whether you will be willing to support existing political parties and which ones so that your supporters know what you are working towards. AAP’s election plans appear murky even to your supporters who are not able to articulate your end game in the Lok Sabha elections.
- Explain how your close association to CIA-linked foreign foundations would not compromise National Security.
AAP supporters, your dedication and concern for the country is amazing and something that I share deeply. But please, please be very careful that your vote, idealism and patriotism does not get misused for its exact opposite result and does not play into the hands of destabilizing forces. Currently all we have is the word of AAP that they are fighting corruption. How they will actually act if they come to power is completely unknown. So far their words and actions have been inconsistent. Those people whose only platform is a fight for transparency must start by demonstrating that they are fully transparent themselves.
References & Notes
1. Mr. Mohan and Prof. Vaidyanathan, “Is India Safe—What is Ford Foundation?”
2. Singh, RSN, (former military intelligence and RAW officer), “Kejriwal, India’s biggest Scam.” This has a lot of detailed documents, must read.
3. Ford Foundation, a philanthropic façade for the CIA http://www.voltairenet.org/article30039.html
4. Education or Domination? The Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Ford Foundations Developing Knowledge for the Developing World. http://andrewgavinmarshall.com/2011/10/21/education-or-domination-the-rockefeller-carnegie-and-ford-foundations-developing-knowledge-for-the-developing-world/
5. ECONOMICS AND POLITICS OF THE WORLD SOCIAL FORUM, NO. 35, Sept. 2003.
6. Saunders, Frances Stonor (1999). The cultural cold war: the CIA and the world of arts and letters.
7. Negi, Rajender Singh, “Magsaysay Award: Asian Noble, not so Noble”, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 43, No. 34 (Aug. 23 – 29, 2008), pp. 14-16
8. It is also worth noting that the US-funded Ramon Magsaysay award comes with a history. The American installed president of Philippines Ramon Magsaysay, “brutally out down dissenting voices and allowed America to pull the strings of power in his country” and is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and general promotes US strategic interests. Like everything else, this does not mean that every recipient is under US control; notables like sitarist Ravi Shankar, Kiran Bedi and M.S. Subbulakshmi have been recipients, but there is need for caution when this award is given outside the Arts and Culture fields.
9. Blum, William, Killing Hope. U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions since World War II. Common Courage Press 2003.