British journalist and historian Frances Stonor Saunders charged in Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Lectures that the CIA funded the non-communist left since the late 1960 through pass-through organizations. She mentioned the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the US Institute of Peace, the Ford Foundation, The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, CANVAS (Center for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies in Serbia) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Professor Noam Chomsky described NED (in reference to Nicaragua) as “an attempt to impose what is called democracy, meaning rule by the rich and the powerful. Without interference by the mob but within the framework of formal electoral procedures.”
A New York Times article echoed the list of democracy groups funded by the government: International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, Freedom House, Egypt’s April 6 Youth Movement, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, and individuals such as Entsar Qadhi, a Yemeni young woman activist. The State Department’s staffer Michael Posner stated in 2011 that the government spent $50 million in the previous two years on new technologies for activists; training sessions were held for 5,000 activists around the world, including Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon. Poser added, “They went back [home], and there’s a ripple effect,” in the Arab Spring.