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Friday, February 26, 2010

Guilt by Association Fun: From Old Europe to the Village and Emerging Markets

From Washington Life Magazine that includes Sid and Mercedes Bass, John and Diana Negroponte.

Let's play Guilt by Association, both as a diversion from the yuckiness of day-to-day NPR programming and as a way of investigating the coziness of the village people. Start with Diana Villiers Negroponte, who in the above picture (far right) is shown paired with her (they are the Muckety 2009 Power Couple) charming husband, John. It is reported that they have 5 adopted children from Honduras, where John and Diana inhabited the US ambassador's mansion during the Reagan years - the years when the School of the Americas graduates such as General Reinaldo Andino Flores were known for arbitrary detention, torture, and rape.

Guilt by association? I'd say! Though John and Reinaldo are almost never associated in the US press - where John and Diana are treated as royalty. There is, of course, much more evidence of guilt for Negroponte's involvement with Battalion 3-16, among a host of other vile atrocities. Negroponte was even involved in the recent coup d'etat in Honduras.

Her Royal Highness Diana hails from thoroughly British corporatist and royalist stock. She is a descendant of King Charles, II and a daughter of Sir Charles Villiers, a merchant banker who was the chairman of British Steel from 1974 until 1988. Of course, for those to whom much is given, much is expected, and her many philanthropic causes include service as a trustee of Freedom House, whose web site claims, "Freedom House has opposed tyranny around the world, including dictatorships in Latin America...". Really now. Gilded irony?

Robert Parry has reported that veteran CIA officer Walter Raymond Jr. was recruited to lead Ronald Reagan's National Security Decision Directive 77, which called for "the creation of an inter-agency public diplomacy mechanism that included the use of seasoned intelligence specialists [] to sway the media, the Congress, and American public opinion in the direction of the Reagan administration’s policies." Parry documents how the lost chapter of the Iran/Contra Report was deleted as part of a compromise to appease house Republicans such as Dick Cheney. We see how Freedom House both lends HRH Diana an air of do-goodedness and becomes an avenue for propagating the very repression they purportedly oppose. Parry writes,
In line with its clandestine nature, Raymond also suggested routing the “funding via Freedom House or some other structure that has credibility in the political center.”
Ok, now for the association with NPR. I know this is a loose association, since the Brooking institute is so huge, but I find it incriminating all the same: Ms. Negroponte is a senior visiting fellow at the Brookings Institute where Antoine W. van Agtmael is a trustee. Mr. Agtmael is president and CIO of Emerging Markets Management, LLC and a great advocate for exploiting opportunities of ballooning numbers of new consumers in Asia and other "emerging markets," a phrase he claims to have coined. It so happens that Antoine is also, wouldn't you know, chair of the NPR Foundation.

More significantly (perhaps ), Mr. Agtmael is a trustee at the Washington National Opera, where HRH Negroponte was pictured above at their Golden Gala. Also in attendance were Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz.

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