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Group.png USAID   Powerbase Sourcewatch WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
USAID logo.svg
Parent organizationUS/Department/State
HeadquartersRonald Reagan Building, Washington DC
SubgroupsOffice of Public Safety
Interestseconomic development
Founder ofBetter Than Cash Alliance
Sponsor ofBetter Than Cash Alliance, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, B92, Internews, Abt Associates, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Article 19, Alliance for Science
US govt organization to provide "international development", including funding of Ecohealth Alliance. Called "CIA's little sister".

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is an agency of the US State Department with the stated mission to provide "international development". In addition, it has also gained global notoriety for its extensive role in helping brutal dictatorships repress, torture and murder; its role in facilitating drug trafficking; and its decades-long effort in mass sterilization.

A former USAID director, John Gilligan, admitted it was "infiltrated from top to bottom with CIA people." Gilligan explained that "the idea was to plant operatives in every kind of activity we had overseas; government, volunteer, religious, every kind."[1]

It also plays a big role in other strategic projects, such as population control and forced sterilization campaigns.

Office of Public Safety

Full article: Office of Public Safety

The Office of Public Safety (OPS), nominally under USAID, was shut down in 1974 after James Abourezk revealed that it had been training torture techniques to foreign police. Ostensibly the OPS meant to teach police how to be less corrupt and more professional. In practice, it operated as a CIA proxy.[2]

In 1960, CIA officer Dan Mitrione was sent to Brazil under OPS cover to train police. Before Mitrione’s arrival, standard operating procedure for Brazilian police was to beat a suspect nearly to death. Under Mitrione’s tutelage, officers introduced refined torture techniques drawn from the pages of KUBARK, a CIA instruction manual describing various physical and psychological methods of breaking a prisoner’s will to resist interrogation. Many of the abuses in KUBARK would later become familiar to the world as the "enhanced interrogation" techniques used during the US war against terrorism: prolonged constraint or exertion, ‘no-touch’ torture (stress positions), extremes of heat, cold or moisture and deprivation or drastic reduction of food or sleep. KUBARK also covers the use of electric shock torture, a favorite tool of both the Brazilian and Uruguayan police under Mitrione’s instruction. By the end of the decade, USAID had trained more than 100,000 Brazilian police.


Funding Ecohealth Alliance

In 2021, the Daily Mail reported that USAID funded Peter Daszak's EcoHealth Alliance to the tune of $64.7 million.[3]

Targeting dissidents

In 2008, the US State Department, through its "foreign assistance" agency USAID, set up a fake social network in Cuba. Supposedly concerned with public health and civics, its operatives actively targeted likely dissidents. The site came complete with hashtags, dummy advertisements and a database of users' "political tendencies".[4]

In 2016, Wikileaks termed the Panama Papers leak a "Putin attack" and that it "was produced by OCCRP which targets Russia & former USSR and was funded by USAID & Soros".[5]

Sterilization Campaigns

Full article: Forced Sterilization Campaign

In 1966, Congress passed the Foreign Assistance Act, including a provision earmarking USAID funds for population control programs to be implemented abroad. The legislation further directed that all U.S. economic aid to foreign nations be made contingent upon their governments’ willingness to cooperate with State Department desires for the establishment of such initiatives within their own borders.[6]

An Office of Population was set up within USAID, and Dr. Reimert Thorolf Ravenholt was appointed its first director. He would hold the post until 1979, using it to create a global empire of interlocking population control organizations operating with billion-dollar budgets. As his method of operation, Ravenholt adopted the practice of distributing his funds aggressively to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the Population Council, and numerous other privately run organizations of the population control movement, enabling them to implement mass sterilization and abortion campaigns worldwide without U.S. government regulatory interference.[6]

Ravenholt also had no compunction about buying up huge quantities of unproven, unapproved, defective, or banned contraceptive drugs and intrauterine devices (IUDs) and distributing them for use by his population control movement subcontractors on millions of unsuspecting Third World women, many of whom suffered or died in consequence.[6]

Reporting to the CIA

When American humanitarian groups receive funds from USAID, their reports made the groups they assisted legible to USAID, and through USAID, this information is passed along to the CIA. Father Cotton, a missionary who became curious about the sources of mission work, described USAID as "the CIA'S little sister"[1], and worried that those working on humanitarian and assistance projects were being "plugged into an information network that starts with the U.S. government and to which the CIA is connected". Cotter also understood that the CIA valued missionaries because, like anthropologists, they tended to "spend years working with grass-roots people and helping the unfortunates among them, they win trust and confidence. People will tell them about their hopes and fears, about village happenings, and about whatever there is of interest. They learn who are the most promising leaders, what are the region's problems, and they are often given access to people and areas closed to most outsiders. This is the information wanted by the CIA, and wanted in steadily flowing streams"[1].

While groups such as Anthropologists for Radical Political Action developed critiques of military-linked anthropological projects, at times singling out USAID projects directly linked to war zone counterinsurgency operations, during the Cold War American anthropologists were slow to develop such broad critiques of the ways that modernization theory,USAID, and other development projects directly and indirectly connected with the CIA and Cold War politics[1].

USAID also helped fund opium traffickers in Laos[7].


Related Quotation

DFID“The blind eye turned by USAID and DFID to the human rights violations and forced evictions that accompany the so-called development strategy of Ethiopia is shocking. These agencies give virtually unconditional financial, political, and moral support to the Ethiopian government and DFID currently spends a larger proportion of its overseas aid budget on Ethiopia than any other country.<a href="#cite_note-1">[1]</a>

During their investigation, the DFID and USAID representatives were given first-hand accounts of human rights abuses but the agencies have subsequently claimed, and still claim, that these accounts have not been substantiated.”
Will HurdJuly 2013


Employees on Wikispooks

Jeanne BourgaultDirector of Office of Democratic Initiatives19952001
Jeanne BourgaultAdvisor19982001
David GordonRegional economic policy and democracy/governance advisor - Nairobi KenyaSpook - cover job for regime change
William MacomberAssistant administrator19641967
Sally SheltonAssistant Administrator19931999
William SteigerWhite House Chief of Staff20172021
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