The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a Washington D.C-based quasi-governmental organization funded by the U.S. which boasts that it is "supporting freedom around the world."
Alan Weinstein, one of the founders of the NED, explained in 1991:
A lot of what we [NED] do was done 25 years ago covertly by the CIA 
Most of the NED, and its affiliated organizations, deals with influencing political processes abroad. The means employed range from influencing civil society, media, fostering business groups, lending support to preferred politicians/political parties, election monitoring, and fostering human rights groups.
It’s right there in the organizations own statements:
The National Endowment for Democracy was set up by President Ronald Regan in the 1980s, and it employed an assortment of organizations across the political spectrum including the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to help funnel US tax dollars to overseas groups working to develop democracy in their respective countries. In the 1980s, especially in Poland, the NED had proved an effective tool in loosening and weakening Soviet power by supporting Polish dissidents.
The NED was the chief pillar of a plan by then President Clinton to get rid of Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic. The plan, developed by the CIA, was intricate and comprehensive. Basically, it was to work through the NED’s two subordinate wings, the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) as well as the Center for International Private Enterprise, an offshoot of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The IRI would focus on dissident students while the NDI would work closely with different opposition parties. The State department and the U.S. Agency for International Development would play the leading role in channeling funds through commercial contracts and nonprofit groups. Under the authority AID, other money would be funneled to opposition groups and the mayor of opposition cities.
Because of their freedom of travel and their ability to move in closed off areas, the CIA recruited the staff of the NGOs, mainly relief agencies and human rights groups, which produced a great deal of useful intelligence. According to one former CIA official, such recruitment was done very selectively. "We didn’t want the organization discredited or people killed nor could they be seen as foreign vassals,” said a former official of the agency’s Directorate of Operations. Another agency official said, "There was a lot of reluctance in this area.”
The proposed coup against Milosevic had to be “very tightly controlled from the beginning, middle and end. You had to support one group against another group; you helped people who were going to help you,” one said.
So the Clinton plan was to use covert/overt, insider/outsider elements simultaneously, which meant employing NGOs in coordination with sophisticated espionage. Said one former senior agency official, who was closely involved, “We planned to do to Milosevic what he’d done to us. We went in to create trouble spots, support dissidents, circulate subversive literature, beam in anti-Milosevic broadcasts, and neutralize his army and security forces. Solidarity was the model.”
The agency plan had several general goals; first the program should be a region-wide effort, making use of a Central European network of banks, corporations, political, and social organizations to fund coup assets plus use the intelligence services of Austria, Germany, Albania, Italy, and even Greece, for recruitment and penetration. All of these nations had their own excellent collection networks inside Serbia. The plan was also to develop useful and valuable sources inside Milosevic’s circle.
A big part of the Clinton plan was to have the president appeal directly to Serbia’s people. Clinton saw them as an irreplaceable ally. He wanted to forge a direct bond with them by speaking past the Milosevic government. U.S. support could not win them their freedom; that was their task, and backing Slobodan was not in their best interest. This took place before huge public demonstrations. Since Milosevic controlled the media, the U.S. would counter with radio and TV broadcasts whose theme would be Slobodan’s decay. The broadcasts would also contain phrase of code to agents on the ground, much like the French resistance in WWII. The NGO’s would smuggle in tons of printed materials and organize “a get out the vote” campaign.
“You had to be very careful; you had to look at every facet, every aspect,” said a US intelligence officer who was involved.
Such operations in the Balkan were usually run out of the CIA’s European Division in Frankfurt, Germany, but this time it would the CIA’s Central Eurasian Division at Langley who would look to it. Key support points would be U.S. Embassies in Austria, Hungary, Kosovo, Croatia, Germany, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Romania. Support would also come from the major German political parties, all of which had “action arms” that would contribute resources. Vienna would be the major focus of intelligence collection efforts. In Vienna, intelligence poured in like “water through an open sluice,” a former participant said. Austrian military intelligence had given America details of Milosevic’s ”Operation Horseshoe,” a major Serb military plan, which would force 800,000 Kosovars into rootless exile. Austria and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe entirely wired. “Vienna’s information was amazing, and so was Germany's,” said a participant in the operation.
Another resource was the 30,000-40,000 Serbs living in Austria. Serbia had established the military draft, and the CIA had many walk-in Serbs who gave it detailed assessments of troops, list of security and police officials and other valuable information. Other Serb deserters went by ratlines to Germany where they were debriefed at Westport, a former US military base turned intelligence center. Many Serbs returned to Belgrade to continue to report.
Milosevic was constantly passing draconian new laws to root out dissidents and make war on his own students, and the CIA, having learned from the attempts by the Soviets who tried to decapitate Polish union, Solidarity, using mass arrests, the Serbian rebel students, whose outfit was called Otpor, set up a brilliant horizontal structure exactly the opposite of Milosevic’s central structure. Otpor was made up of small cells, and to escape capture, its members constantly shifted to a complicated network of safe houses. Operations were launched from these. A safe house used signals such as a raised blind or a closed window or a raised flag on a mailbox to indicate that all was well.
In addition, the CIA, through NGO’s, supplied the rebel Serbian students with thousands of cell phones, radio transmitters, and fax machines. Calls and e-mails went out through servers outside Serbia to escape Belgrade’s magpie scrutiny. Otpor was also supplied with printing equipment and supplies, and the publications and leaflets began to have an impact.
But the most urgent priority had been to establish a money conduit to fund Otpor and other Serbian defectors in place. Much of the money was cash gathered in Hungary and smuggled in suitcases over the border into Serbia., preferably U.S. dollars or German deutsche marks that were widely used in Serbia and had a higher value than the worthless Serb dinar. To avoid detection, the money trail moved constantly. Very early Otpor received money to a tune of $3 million from NED. The money was transferred to accounts outside of Serbia, mainly in Hungary and Austria. Since Milosevic had nationalized the Serb banks, a lot more money came over the Serb border in suitcases from Hungary. The NED would not know where the money was going, and would receive a receipt signed by a dissident as to how the funds were used. For example, money going to underground publications would be acknowledged by a secret code on one of the pages.
Using its covert monies, the students began to buy t-shirts, stickers, leaflets that bore its emblem of a clenched fist. Soon the clenched fist of Otpor appeared on walls, postal boxes, cars, the sides of trucks and statues. The students painted red footsteps on the ground to symbolize Milosevic’s bloody exit from parliament and passersby found thrust into their hands cardboard telescopes that described a falling star called “Slobotea.” They also used public relations techniques including polling leafleting and paid advertising. As days went on recruitment was expanded and new assets acquired and in cities like Banja Luka in northern Bosnia in Pristina in Kosovo, and in the provincial cities of Serbia, activity was mounting to a climax All the beatings of crowds, the disbanding of political parties, the fixing of the 1997 elections, the dismissal of honest Serb officials, the snubbing, the humiliating defeats, the arrogant indifference of Milosevic had been piling up, generating a pent-up violence that was going to be discharged in one shattering explosion of revolt.
The money trail expanded. Regarding the funding of certain persons or groups, the agency took pains to use false flag recruitments – acting through intermediaries to get new agents while the CIA pretended that its own agents came from other countries. Clinton did not want the opposition derided as U.S. lackeys. A participant said to me, "I don’t think a lot of our assets had a sense of working for the U.S. government. It’s a grey area letting them know where their monies are coming from.” In the end, they got over $70 million.
Communications gear came next. The dissidents had to be supplied advanced CIA equipment such as Inmarsat scrambler phones to organize a command, control and intelligence, (C3I) network so they could remain underground and stay a step ahead of capture. Training for specific opposition leaders and key individuals was given U.S. assets within Serbia whose purpose was to serve as the eyes and ears for key dissident as well as to provide funds and security.
By now Otpor had developed a crisis committee to coordinate resistance that enabled networks from different regions to keep in close touch. All branches of U.S. intelligence were going to provide an early warning system for the students. The NSA and the CIA Special Collections Elements in neighboring countries had hacked into Slobodan’s key security bureaucracies and were reading Ministry of Internal Affairs' orders for police raids against the demonstrators. This intelligence was passed to the dissidents who gave advance alerts to Otpor cells which allowed them to disperse and avoid arrest. By now the student group even had a committee to deal with administrative tasks such as lining up new safe houses, cars, fake IDs. As the campaign to dethrone Milosevic went on, the money and activities grew more and more quickly with more than $30 million from the U.S. alone.
There were now seventy thousand Otpor students in 130 groups with twelve regional offices, and the Otpor leaders had been schooled in non-violent techniques designed to undermine dictatorial authority. They were using a handbook, From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation,” written by Gene Sharp. Chapters were copied and handed from cell to cell throughout the country. He said in an interview that his non-violent method “is not ethical. It is not pacifism. It is based on an analysis of power in dictatorship and how to break it by withdrawing the obedience of its citizens and the key institutions of society.”
In the meantime, the United States and Britain and others were seeing to it that Serbia felt more and more encircled. Covert operations continued and gained momentum as meetings were held in Szeged in Hungary, in Croatia, in Ulm, Germany, and in Montenegro. In addition to Hungary, the U.S Embassies in Bulgaria and Romania were involved as well. The Clinton presidency was now involved in establishing a new, anti-Milosevic elite in Serbia.
In the end, of course, Milosevic fell from power in 2000. In Clinton’s view, the huge debts of blood Milosevic had run up during his campaigns of aggressive war, massacre, rape and plunder had to be paid in full. Milosevic had already been indicted as a war criminal before the Dayton talks, and after he returned to his fortified house in 2001, the new President George W. Bush carried out the Clinton plan to carry out a plan established by the CIA, the U.S. Army and U.S. Special Forces. In the end, Bush sent in SEAL Team Six, acting on a plan set up in the headquarters of EuroCom, the U.S. Army in Stuttgart, to capture Slobodan and send him to The Hague. That story should be told, but not here.
Milosevic was a truly evil, heartless, merciless man. His greed for power was unbounded and his reign was one of predatory massacres, institutional corruption, abuse, exploitation.
By the time of the Dayton talks, after nearly four years, there were 250,000 killed, two million refugees, and there had been atrocities that had appalled the word. In interview a UN woman who was the first US official to get new of the Srebrenica massacre when a man with a bullet graze, appeared to tell her his story, resulting in an urgent telegram to the State Department.
But talking recently to former CIA and other intelligence officials, they see nothing in the Ukraine that provides any reasonable pretext to whip up ignorant mobs there who talk democracy but who behave like thugs. A former deputy chief of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA, once a backer of NED, now sees it with distrust, its ambitions “too imperial,” manifesting the U.S. obsession with meddling with other countries internal affairs. Remember what Sharp said of his program, ““is not ethical. It is not pacifism. It is based on an analysis of power in dictatorship and how to break it by withdrawing the obedience of its citizens and the key institutions of society.”
Were such methods required in the case of the Ukraine? You tell me.
Reprinted with permission from Sic Semper Tyrannis.