Front organization

A front organization is any entity set up by and controlled by another organization, such as advocacy groups, or corporations. Front organizations can act for the parent group without the actions being attributed to the parent group.

Front organizations that appear to be independent shell corporations are used to shield the parent company from legal liability. In international relations, a puppet state is a state which acts as a front (or surrogate) for another state.


  • Intelligence agencies 1
  • Law enforcement 2
  • Organized crime 3
  • Religion 4
    • Scientology 4.1
    • World Unification Church 4.2
  • Politics 5
    • Apartheid government fronts 5.1
    • Communist fronts 5.2
      • United States 5.2.1
      • Russia 5.2.2
      • Other 5.2.3
  • Banned paramilitary organizations 6
  • Corporate front organizations 7
    • Astroturfing 7.1
  • See also 8
  • References 9
    • External links 9.1

Intelligence agencies

Intelligence agencies use front organizations to provide "cover", plausible occupations and means of income, for their covert agents. These may include legitimate organizations, such as charity, religious or journalism organizations; or "brass plate firms" which exist solely to provide a plausible background story, occupation, and means of income.

The airline

  • Information about corporate front organisations in Europe
  • Washington MonthlyChris Mooney on 'The Centre for Regulatory Effectiveness' -
  • Front groups at SourceWatch

External links

  1. ^ Leary, William M. "Supporting the "Secret War""CIA Air Operations in Laos, 1955-1974 .  From Studies in Intelligence (CIA), volume 43, number 1, winter 1999-2000.
  2. ^ Powers, Thomas, "The Man Who Kept the Secrets : Richard Helms & the CIA", Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1979, ISBN 0-394-50777-0
  3. ^ Joe Davidson, "I Am Not a CIA Agent". 2002-04-11. Retrieved 2007-12-13. 
  4. ^ "Press briefing by Mike McCurry". Clinton Presidential Materials Project. 1996-07-17. Retrieved 2007-12-13. 
  5. ^ "Exclusive: Peace Corps, Fulbright Scholar Asked to 'Spy' on Cubans, Venezuelans". ABC News. 2008-02-08. Retrieved 2008-02-15. 
  6. ^ a b c Alexander Kouzminov Biological Espionage: Special Operations of the Soviet and Russian Foreign Intelligence Services in the West, Greenhill Books, 2006, ISBN 1-85367-646-2
  7. ^ Viktor Suvorov Aquarium (Аквариум), 1985, Hamish Hamilton, ISBN 0-241-11545-0
  8. ^ a b c Alex Goldfarb, with Marina Litvinenko Death of a Dissident: The Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the Return of the KGB, The Free Press, 2007, ISBN 1-4165-5165-4
  9. ^ Gillium, Jack; Sullivan, Eileen; Tucker, Eric (2015-06-02). "FBI Confirms Wide-Scale Use Of Surveillance Flights Over U.S. Cities". The Huffington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved 2015-06-02. 
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^  
  13. ^ Knapp, Dan (1996-12-19). "Group that once criticized Scientologists now owned by one".  
  14. ^  
  15. ^ Russell, Ron (1999-09-09). "Scientology's Revenge - For years, the Cult Awareness Network was the Church of Scientology's biggest enemy. But the late L. Ron Hubbard's L.A.-based religion cured that -- by taking it over".  
  16. ^ Behar, Richard (1991-05-06). "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power". Time. Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  17. ^ Mallia, Joseph (1998-03-03). "INSIDE THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY; Scientology reaches into schools through Narconon". Boston Herald. 
  18. ^ "Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa Report, Volume 2,". 2003. pp. 525–527. 
  19. ^ Pretoria Leaders Face Published Allegations, Christian Science Monitor, July 23, 1991
  20. ^ They're Burning the Churches: The Final Dramatic Events that Scuttled Apartheid, Patrick Noonan, Jacana Media, 2003, page 133
  21. ^
  22. ^ Richard Felix Staar, Foreign policies of the Soviet Union, Hoover Press, 1991, ISBN 0-8179-9102-6, p.79, p.84
  23. ^ Richard Felix Staar, Foreign policies of the Soviet Union, Hoover Press, 1991, ISBN 0-8179-9102-6, p.84
  24. ^ Richard Felix Staar, Foreign policies of the Soviet Union, Hoover Press, 1991, ISBN 0-8179-9102-6, p.80-81
  25. ^ Richard Felix Staar, Foreign policies of the Soviet Union, Hoover Press, 1991, ISBN 0-8179-9102-6, p.82-83
  26. ^ Richard Felix Staar, Foreign policies of the Soviet Union, Hoover Press, 1991, ISBN 0-8179-9102-6, p.86
  27. ^ Richard Felix Staar, Foreign policies of the Soviet Union, Hoover Press, 1991, ISBN 0-8179-9102-6, p.85
  28. ^ Adrienne Weller, Millions in the streets! ...and here come the redbaiters, Freedom Socialist, Freedom Socialist Party, Vol. 24, No. 1, April–June 2003.
  29. ^ a b White, Stephen (2005). "The Political Parties". In White, Gitelman, Sakwa. Developments in Russian Politics 6. Duke University Press.  
  30. ^ a b Alexander Nikolaevich Yakovlev Time of darkness, Moscow, 2003, ISBN 5-85646-097-9, page 574 (Russian: Яковлев А. Сумерки. Москва: Материк 2003 г.)
  31. ^ Hale, Henry E. (2010). "Russia's political parties and their substitutes". In White, Stephen. Developments in Russian Politics 7. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.  
  32. ^ Karsten Kofoed, Lackeys of the occupation disguise as progressives, The Committee for a Free Iraq, Denmark, October 28, 2004
  33. ^ Megan Cornish, Iraqi Women Face Double Jeopardy, March 3, 2005
  34. ^ Waite, Robert G L. (1969). Vanguard of Nazism. W W Norton and Company. , page 217
  35. ^ The Tobacco Industry and Scientific Groups: ILSI A Case Study (WHO)
  36. ^ Corporate Front Groups and Corporate-Backed Groups, Multinational Monitor Links Page
  37. ^ Chris Mooney, Paralysis by Analysis, The Washington Monthly, May 2004
  38. ^ Astroturf in the liability wars, (sponsored by the Manhattan Institute and American Enterprise Institute), July 1, 2005


See also

Astroturfing, a wordplay based on "Victims and Families United to oppose tort reform.[38]


[37] Similarly the

A list of some alleged corporate front groups active in the US is maintained by the sociological or economical research rather than political lobbying.

Tobacco companies frequently use front organizations and doctors to advocate their arguments about tobacco use, although less openly and obviously than in the 1980s. The WHO has charged that the Tobacco Industry has funded seemingly unbiased scientific organizations to undermine tobacco control measures in the past, citing the International Life Sciences Institute in particular.[35]

It has been alleged that computer software giant Microsoft created and funded the Association for Competitive Technology to defend its interests against charges of antitrust violations.

Some pharmaceutical companies set up "patients' groups" as front organizations that pressure healthcare providers and legislators to adopt their products. For example, Biogen, set up a campaign called Action for Access, which also claimed it was an independent organization and the voice of MS sufferers. People who visited the website and signed up for the campaign did not realise that these were not genuinely independent patient groups.

Corporations from a wide variety of different industries set up front groups.

Corporate front organizations

[34] During the

Examples are the relationship between the IRA and Sinn Féin in 1980s Ireland or between the Basque groups ETA (paramilitary) and Batasuna (party) in Spain. Similarly, in the United States in periods where the Communist Party was highly stigmatized, it often operated largely through front groups. In addition, the Provisional IRA also operated a vigilante front group, called Direct Action Against Drugs.

Banned paramilitary organizations sometimes use front groups to achieve a public face with which to raise funds, negotiate with opposition parties, recruit, and spread propaganda. For example, banned political party that operates more openly (though often these parties, themselves, end up being banned). These parties may or may not be front organizations in the narrow sense (they have varying degrees of autonomy and the relationships are usually something of an open secret) but are widely considered to be so, especially by their political opponents.

Banned paramilitary organizations

Some anti-Islamist Worker-Communist Party of Iraq.[32][33]


In April 1991, CPSU leadership and the KGB created a puppet political party inside Russia, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), which became the second officially registered party in the country.[29] According to KGB General Philipp Bobkov, it was a "Zubatov's pseudo-party under KGB control that directs interests and sentiments of certain social groups".[30] The former CPSU Politburo member Alexander Nikolaevich Yakovlev described in his book how KGB director Vladimir Kryuchkov presented the project of the puppet party at a joint meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev and informed him about a selection of LDPR leaders, and the mechanism of funding from CPSU money.[30] The book includes an official copy of a document providing the initial LDPR funding (3 million rubles) from the CPSU money. The leader of the LDPR, Vladimir Zhirinovsky proved to be an effective media performer.[29] He gained 8% of votes during the 1991 Presidential elections.[31] He also supported the August 1991 coup attempt.


More recently, the Unite Against Fascism, the Anti-Nazi League, the Stop the War Coalition and Respect – The Unity Coalition are all criticised as being fronts for the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party (UK).

[27] Soviet intelligence

According to a list prepared in 1955 by the United States labor and peace movements were accused of being "Communist fronts". Sometimes, Communist fronts worked at an international level, as has been alleged with the World Peace Council.[22]

United States

united front (a coalition of working class or socialist parties) and the popular front. Both the united front and popular front usually disclose the groups that make up their coalitions.

Communist fronts

extra-judicial activities and the killing of anti-apartheid activists; these included[18] the following:

Apartheid government fronts

In politics, a group may be called a front organization if it is perceived to be disingenuous in its control or goals, or if it attempts to mask extremist views within a supposedly more moderate group. Some special interest groups engage in astroturfing, which is an attempt to mask lobbying as a grassroots movement.


World Unification Church

Time identified several other fronts for Scientology, including: the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), The Way to Happiness Foundation, Applied Scholastics, the Concerned Businessmen's Association of America, and HealthMed Clinic.[16] Seven years later the Boston Herald showed how Narconon and World Literacy Crusade are also fronting for Scientology.[17] Other Scientology groups include Downtown Medical, Criminon and the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE).

The Church of Scientology uses front groups either to promote its interests in politics or to make its group seem more legitimate. The FBI's July 7, 1977 raids on the Church's offices (following discovery of the Church's Operation Snow White) turned up, among other documents, an undated memo entitled "PR General Categories of Data Needing Coding". This memo listed what it called "Secret PR Front Groups," which included the group APRL, "Alliance for the Preservation of Religious Liberty" (later renamed "Americans Preserving Religious Liberty").[12] The Cult Awareness Network (CAN) is considered by many to now be a front group for the Church of Scientology, which took the group over financially after bankrupting it in a series of lawsuits.[13][14][15]



Where massage parlor" or "sauna", up to the point that "massage parlor" or "sauna" is thought as a synonym of brothel in these countries.[11]

Many launder their income from illegal activities. As well, the front companies provide plausible cover for illegal activities such as drug trafficking, smuggling, and prostitution. Tattoo parlors are often used as fronts for outlaw motorcycle clubs.[10]

Organized crime

  • FVX Research
  • KQM Aviation
  • NBR Aviation
  • NG Research
  • PXW Services.

The FBI has acknowledged using at least thirteen front companies to conceal their use of aircraft to observe criminal activity in the United States, including:[9]

Law enforcement

When businessman Nikolai Glushkov was appointed as a top manager of Aeroflot in 1996, he found that the airline company worked as a "cash cow to support international spying operations" according to Alex Goldfarb:[8] 3,000 people out of the total workforce of 14,000 in Aeroflot were FSB, SVR, or GRU officers. All proceeds from ticket sales were distributed to 352 foreign bank accounts that could not be controlled by the Aeroflot administration. Glushkov closed all these accounts and channeled the money to an accounting center called Andava in Switzerland.[8] He also sent a bill and wrote a letter to SVR director Yevgeni Primakov and FSB director Mikhail Barsukov asking them to pay salaries of their intelligence officers in Aeroflot in 1996.[8] Glushkov has been imprisoned since 2000 on charges of illegally channeling money through Andava. Since 2004 the company is controlled by Viktor Ivanov, a high-ranking FSB official who is a close associate of Vladimir Putin.

Another airline allegedly involved in intelligence operations was Russian Aeroflot that worked in a close coordination with KGB, SVR and GRU.[6] The company conducted forcible "evacuations" of Soviet citizens from foreign countries back to the USSR. People whose loyalty was questioned were drugged and delivered unconscious by Aeroflot planes, assisted by the company KGB personnel, according to former GRU officer Victor Suvorov.[7] In 1980s and 1990s, specimens of deadly bacteria and viruses stolen from Western laboratories were delivered by Aeroflot to support the Russian program of biological weapons. This delivery channel encoded VOLNA ("wave") meant "delivering the material via an international flight of the Aeroflot airline in the pilots' cabin, where one of the pilots was a KGB officer".[6] At least two SVR agents died, presumably from the transported pathogens.[6]

[5][4] members or US journalists for intelligence purposes.Peace Corps To prevent this, the CIA has had a 20-year policy (since 1976, per US Government sources) of not using [3]

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