Posts Tagged ‘color revolutions’
by stuartbramhall in Things That Aren't What They Seem
(This is the last of five posts about the American godfather of nonviolent resistance, Gene Sharp, and the role of CIA and Pentagon-funded foundations and think tanks in funding and promoting nonviolent resistance)
In the Arab Spring revolutions of 2011, Sharp and the Albert Einstein Institution (AEI) seem to have handed the baton to his disciple Peter Ackerman. According to Louis Proyect, the latter is a former AEI board member and founder (in 2002) of the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC). It was the ICNC that offered nonviolence training sessions in Cairo for Egyptian and Tunisian activists.
As Proyect makes clear Ackerman, like Sharp and Zunes, is no progressive. A Wall Street financier and hedge fund manager (formerly number two in Michael Milken’s junk bond empire), Ackerman is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR), as well as a former director of Freedom House, previously run by former CIA director James Woolsey. Ackerman also sits on the board of Spirit of America, a group that is “dedicated to spreading US influence worldwide, with a particular emphasis on covert cyber-intelligence measures.” Ackerman is also on the advisory board of the ultraconservative Cato Institute’s Project on Social Security Choice, which proposes to privatize Social Security and allow younger workers to invest their Social Security taxes in private retirement accounts.
“Arab Spring” Neither Spontaneous Nor Indigenous
As others have documented elsewhere, the 2011 uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa were neither spontaneous nor indigenous. Many of the individuals and groups who helped organize them had received training (at times in the US) sponsored by the State Department and CIA-linked foundations, such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The New York Times makes this clear in a April 2011 article U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings. It states specifically that “a number of the groups and individuals directly involved in the revolts and reforms sweeping the region, including the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and grass-roots activists like Entsar Qadhi, a youth leader in Yemen, received training and financing from groups like the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, a nonprofit human rights organization based in Washington.”
Likewise, as Canadian writers and analysts Ahmed Bensaada, Michael Chossudovsky and Tony Cartalucci have documented, leaders of the NED-funded Serbian resistance group OTPOR (now renamed CANVAS – Center for Applied Nonviolent Strategies) assisted in many of these trainings, often using Gene Sharp’s materials (see http://landdestroyer.blogspot.co.nz/2011/11/soros-celebrates-fall-of-tunisia.html).
Follow the Money
French Canadian author Ahmed Bensaada also discusses these relationships at length in his 2011 book L’Abarabesque Americaine, emphasizing the strong links between the two lead organizers in Egypt’s April 6th movement (Bassam Samir and Adel Mohamed), the US State Department, the NED and other CIA-funded foundations that financed the “color revolutions” in Eastern Europe. Bensaada also enumerates the pro-democracy organizations in other Arab countries (Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebannon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, Yemen, and Syria) that received similar funding. In his appendix, he identifies specific pro-democracy groups by name and the exact amount each received (in 2009) from CIA-linked foundations.
Iran‘s Failed Color Revolution
According to Cartalucci, the destabilization campaign that culminated in the failed 2009 Green Revolution in Iran was drawn up by the corporate-funded Brookings Institution, as articulated in their 2009 report Which Path to Persia?. As Cartalucci notes elsewhere, the mechanics of organizing the Iranian opposition was subcontracted to organizations like the US-funded CANVAS. See also The Color Revolution Fails in Iran and the 2007 BBC report Iran Shows New Scholars’ Footage, linking George Soros to US efforts to destabilize Iran.
by stuartbramhall in Things That Aren't What They Seem
(This is the fourth of five posts about the American godfather of nonviolent resistance, Gene Sharp, and the role of CIA and Pentagon-funded foundations and think tanks in funding and promoting nonviolent resistance.)
There is no question that Thierry Meyssan’s 2005 article on Gene Sharp’s extensive links to the US military-intelligence complex is one of the most important exposes of the 21st century. Its only weakness is Meyssan’s failure to cite many of his references. What follows is the best publicly verifiable chronology of Sharp’s life I could come up with (most comes from Meyssan’s 2005 article with sources added):
- 1953 – conscientious objector during Korean War, imprisoned for nine months for refusing to report for alternative duty. Imprisoned for refusing to fight in Korean War (People and The Progressive
- 1973 – publishes The Politics of Nonviolent Action (1973) with an introduction by Thomas C. Shelling. Shelling was a well known economist and professor of foreign affairs, national security, nuclear strategy, and arms control. After working with US ambassador Averel Harriman in Paris in 1948 to implement the Marshall Plan, Shelling had a fifty year affiliation with the Rand Corporation (US military think tank) and is widely credited as the theoretician behind military escalation in Vietnam.
- 1985 – publishes a book entitled Making Europe Unconquerable: the Potential of Civilian-base Deterrence and Defense. The second edition includes a preface by George Kennan, historian and State Department senior diplomat whose writings influenced Truman in the creation of the Truman Doctrine. Kennan is viewed as the father of the US foreign policy of “containment” (by force) of Soviet expansion.
- 1983 – founds the Albert Einstein Institution (AEI) in Boston, with the assistance of Major General Edward B Atkeson, who was on the first AEI advisory board. The AEI website identifies Atkeson as Senior Fellow at the Institute of Land Warfare Association of the US Army. According to the CIA website, during the 1980s Atkeson was also a National Intelligence Officer for General Purpose Forces.
- 1986, 1988 and 1989 – travels to Israel/Palestine to bolster support for the Palestinian Center for the History of Non-Violence, founded in 1983 by one of Sharp’s disciple. It’s a matter of public record that Sharp met with Colonel Reuvan Gal, who directed the Israel Defense Force (IDF) Psychological Action Division. Meyssan claims the two conspired to create a split in the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) by creating a dissident “nonviolent” group. Gal and Sharp claim the purpose of their meetings were to devise ways to dissuade IDF commanders from using tanks and excessive military force against Palestinian settlers (see The Jeruselem Fund, Mubarak Awad, and Nonviolence).
- 1987 – receives funding from the US Institute of Peace to host seminars instructing US allies on defense based on civil disobedience. By law, the US Institute of Peace is an extension of US intelligence.
- 1989 – assists Colonel Robert Helvey in training anticommunist Burmese opposition groups concerned about the growing strength of the Burmese Communist Party. The AEI website refers to Helvey as a retired US military officer and ex-military attaché in Burma. He was actually a thirty year veteran of the Defense Intelligence Agency with extensive experience in overseeing clandestine and subversive operations in Southeast Asia (see Who is Col Bob Helvey and Peace Magazine Archive). Following his retirement from the DIA, he became chairman of the board of the Albert Einstein Institution.
- 1990 – with his AEI team (according to AEI website), assists Lithuanian opposition leaders in organizing popular resistance against the Red Army. According to the website, the AEI also did trainings with anticommunist opposition groups in Tibet, Estonia, and Belarus.
- 1998 – travels, with Helvey, to Eastern Europe to train Otpor, a group of Serbian youth opposed to Slobodan Milosevic and Europe’s last communist government. Milosevic was immensely popular with Serbian people for standing up to NATO and for his generous social policies. The trainings were funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). (See 2000 New York Times interview with NED officer Paul B. McCarthy).
- 2003 – assists, with AEI staff, in the launch of the “Rose Revolution” in Georgia (see The Secrets of the Georgian Coup).
- 2004 – Helvey and other AEI members meet with the Ukrainian resistance in Kiev (see Mowat’s The Coup Plotters).
- 2003-2004 – travels, with Helvey and other AEI team members to Venezuela to meet with wealthy Venezuelan opposition leaders, following the failed 2002 CIA-sponsored coup against Chavez. The AEI advises them in organizing a recall referendum against Chavez. They also train the leaders of Súmate during the August 2004 demonstrations and assist in the formulation of “Operation Guarimba,” a series of often-violent street blockades that result in several deaths. According to an analysis published by Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor), Venezuelan student leaders traveled to Belgrade in 2005 to meet with representatives of AEI-trained OTPOR/CANVAS, before traveling to Boston to consult directly with Sharp himself.
To be continued.
by stuartbramhall in Things That Aren't What They Seem
(This is the second of five posts about the American godfather of nonviolent resistance, Gene Sharp, and the role of CIA and Pentagon-funded foundations and think tanks in funding and promoting nonviolent resistance)
The current brouhaha over Gene Sharp was initially triggered by an article, The Albert Einstein Institution: Nonviolence According to the CIA, Thierry Meyssan published on Voltaire Net in October 2005. Meyssan, a French intellectual and political activist, first gained international prominence in 2002 by publishing a French best seller entitled L’effroyable imposteur (English title: The Big Lie). The book claimed that the 9-11 attacks were directed by right-wingers in the U.S. government and the military industrial complex seeking justification for military action in Afghanistan and Iraq. Meyssan’s 2005 article on the Albert Einstein Institutes enumerates a long list of instances in which the US government and CIA-funded foundations arranged for Sharp to meet with opposition groups receiving covert US support in their efforts to bring down Asian and Eastern European governments unfriendly to US interests.
Iran and Venezuela’s Denunciation of Sharp
The article was widely reposted on leftist and libertarian websites. In 2008, it resulted in a formal denunciation of Sharp by the Iranian government and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, both targets of AEI destabilization activities. In June 2008, Stephen Zunes, chair of the Academic Advisory Committee of the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict (founded and run by Wall Street financier Peter Ackerman) issued a rebuttal, Sharp Attack Unwarranted, in Foreign Policy in Focus. The latter is an on-line magazine of the Institute for Policy Studies, where Zunes serves as Middle East Editor. The article was simultaneously reprinted in the Huffington Post.
Stephen Zunes Defends Sharp’s Progressive Credentials
Like Sharp Zunes, who also teaches Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, is frequently lauded as a progressive thinker and writer without close examination of some of his affiliations or his open pro-Zionism. Zunes is a self-declared Zionist: “I will be Zionist as long as there is anti-Semitism.” He has frequently and publicly asserted that he supports Israel as a Jewish state (i.e. a religious state with a single official religion) and cites the establishment of Israel as “an example of global affirmative action.” (see Stephen Zunes biographical details). Moreover, as several analysts point out, Zunes routinely minimizes or dismisses as “conspiracy theory” the role CIA-funded democracy manipulating foundations have played in “regime change” in Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa (see Capital Driven Civil Society and Critique of Antiwar.com)
Zunes subsequently persuaded Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Code Pink and other high profile progressives to help launch an on-line petition defending Sharp’s progressive credentials. However, as numerous critics point out, he never addressed Meyssan’s most important concerns: the military/intelligence backgrounds of many of the Albert Einstein Institution’s (AEI’s) directors and advisory board members; their documented collaboration, together with Sharp, with opposition groups responsible for the “color” revolutions in Eastern Europe; and their work with Venezuelan opposition groups in an effort to topple president Hugo Chavez.
Sharp himself responded to Meyssan’s article in June 2007. Meyssan has posted Sharp’s letter with the original article. In it, Sharp denies ever receiving US government, CIA or NATO support or funding, except for a Department of Defense grant to support the 1972 publication of The Politics of Nonviolent Action. He acknowledges meeting with numerous opposition groups in Asia and Eastern Europe but insists that the AEI “never told them what to do.” (This contradicts reports on the AEI website that Sharp and other AEI staff trained them in nonviolent resistance techniques). Like Zunes, he fails to address the involvement of military/intelligence officials on AEI’s board of directors or AEI’s meetings with Venezuelan opposition groups.
AEI Links with the State Department and the Military-Intelligence Complex
Both Australian researcher of CIA-funded foundations, Michael Barker and Canadian activist Stephen Gowans wrote responses to Zunes’ Foreign Policy in Focus article. Barker’s rebuttal is entitled Sharp Reflection Warranted. In it, Barker points out that the problem of elite manipulation of ostensibly progressive groups isn’t a new problem and points readers to excellent links regarding collaboration between the CIA and the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and others. Barker goes on to elaborate on the right wing corporate and/or military-intelligence background of many of AEI’s board members. He also looks at the twenty or so countries where (according to the AEI website) Sharp worked with opposition groups simultaneously receiving major funding and support from the US State Department, NED and/or both.
To be continued, with a discussion of Gowans’ more lengthy and extensive rebuttal.
by stuartbramhall in Challenging the Corporate Media, Things That Aren't What They Seem
(This is the second of two posts exploring the OWS commitment to nonviolence)
The main advantage of nonviolent resistance is its effectiveness in reaching large numbers of potential supporters. History shows that civil disobedience, by itself, is relatively ineffective in producing genuine political change. The nonviolent “color” revolutions in Eastern Europe and Egypt have been very effective in producing cosmetic regime change without challenging fundamental power structures. In other words, they get rid of the unpopular dictator but leave a US-friendly elite in control of government (just as Wall Street remains firmly in control no matter who we elect as president).
The success of nonviolent resistance as a recruiting tool stems mainly from its knack for provoking state violence. This provides dramatic mainstream media coverage that forces apolitical members of society to re-examine fundamental beliefs about freedom, justice and the rule of law. Although nonviolent civil disobedience involves lawbreaking, it does so from a moral high ground. There is a strong tradition in Judeo-Christian religions that people of conscience have a duty to uphold international, religious and humanitarian law when it conflicts with unjust national and local laws. Because these views enjoy strong public support, the Internet and social media can be used to recruit participants and supporters for nonviolent actions in the thousands and potentially tens of thousands. In contrast, using the Internet to recruit activists for “violent” actions, even those limited to property destruction, is illegal and provokes an instantaneous response from the authorities.
The two biggest obstacles OWS will face in maintaining their commitment to nonviolence will be the attitude of low income and minority groups who deal with police violence on a daily basis and growing concerns about the possible role CIA-funded left gatekeeping foundations have played in engineering the Occupy movement’s exclusive commitment to nonviolence. This concern is heightened by the use of nonviolent guru Gene Sharp’s materials at several Occupy sites.
The CIA Role in Nonviolent Revolutions
Sharp’s longstanding ties with the CIA and the “democracy manipulating” foundations that instigated the “color” revolutions in Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa (including Egypt) receive little attention in the foundation-funded “alternative” media. However the issue has begun to seep into the blogosphere, thanks to good coverage in the French and Australian left-progressive media. One example is a well-referenced November 25th article by Tony Carlucci in Land Destroyer entitled “How to Start (a Wall Street backed) Revolution” (http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2011/11/how-to-start-wall-street-backed.html).I first came across the article December 1st on the Occupy Oakland website. It was taken down a week later, which I find quite ominous.
As Tierry Messan outlines in January 2005 on Votairenet (http://www.voltairenet.org/The-Albert-Einstein-Institution), Sharp, a fervent anticommunist, initially formulated his nonviolence theory to assist anticommunist movements. He wrote his 1993 From Dictatorship to Democracy while working for the Albert Einstein Institution (AEI), specifically for use in the Myanmar (Burma) “pro-democracy” movement. He subsequently participated in the establishment of Burma’s Democratic Alliance – a coalition of notable anticommunists that were quick to join the military government. He later worked with Taiwan’s Progressive Democratic Party, which favored the independence of the island from communist China, something the US officially opposed. His other work included unifying the Tibetan opposition under the Dalai Lama; trying to form a dissident group to split the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO); and secretly training the Psychological Action division of the Israeli armed forces.
The “Color” Revolutions in Eastern Europe and Asia
The CIA would subsequently utilize Sharp’s book, From Dictatorship to Democracy, throughout Eastern Europe and Asia, and in 2011, the US-engineered “Arab Spring.” Sharp himself, with funding from the AEI, the US government backed National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its subsidiary International Republican Institute (IRI), and George Soros’ Open Society Institute, is also on record as providing “humanitarian” advice and training to antigovernment activists in Serbia, Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iran, Belarus, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, and Malaysia.
The February 2011 Al Jazeera documentary Egypt: Seeds of Change http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrNz0dZgqN8 echoes many of Messan’s and Carlucci’s concerns regarding the influence of CIA-backed foundations in the Egyptian uprising.
Ahmed Bensaada goes even further in Arabesque American, published in May 2011. Bensaada describes the direct involvement of the CIA-backed Serbian group Otpor in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) “revolutions,” as well as a series pf joint conferences organized by the CIA-backed Center for Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS) and the State Department, in which Arab activists were brought to the US for training in “nonviolent” organizing techniques (http://stuartbramhall.aegauthorblogs.com/tag/arabesque-americaine/).
Why the CIA Promotes Nonviolence
So why is the CIA so keen on promoting nonviolent revolution? University of California –Santa Barbara sociology professor Peter Robinson outlines the new CIA strategy in his 1996 book Promoting Polyarchy. According to Robinson, as CIA-backed dictatorships around the world lose their grip, the CIA preemptively co-opts the natural (violent) insurgencies that arise to topple them. They themselves instigate popular unrest, using the ensuing chaos to install a puppet of their choosing.
The International Center for Nonviolent Conflict
The International Center for Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) is another important “democracy manipulating” foundation that promotes Sharp’s work. Australian researcher and journalist Michael Barker’s articles about ICNC (http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/38214) reveal it has strong intelligence links but is independently funded by Peter Ackerman, Michael Milken’s second in command in his junk bond empire. Barker and others also raise concerns about Stephen Zunes, ICNC’s chief academic adviser and one of Sharp’s strongest defenders in the mainstream and alternative media (http://xevolutie.blogspot.com/2011/03/124-peter-myers-over-gene-sharp-en-de.html).
In “The Junk Bond ‘Teflon Guy’ Behind Egypt’s Nonviolent Revolution,” Middle East investigative journalist Maidhc O Cathail examines Ackerman’s involvement (along with the Albert Einstein Institution) in the attempted coup against Hugo Chavez. He also asks the thought-provoking question: why Milken was sent to jail, while Ackerman made off with a fortune (http://maidhcocathail.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/the-junk-bond-%E2%80%9Cteflon-guy%E2%80%9D-behind-egypt%E2%80%99s-nonviolent-revolution)?
by stuartbramhall in The Wars in the Middle East, Things That Aren't What They Seem
by Ahmed Bensaada
(Michel Brule May 2011)
In tracking down sources for an upcoming presentation on the antiglobalization movement, I have come across a little gem called Arabesque Americaine by French Canadian author Ahmed Bensaada. The full title is Arabesque Americaine: Le role des Etats-Unis dans les revoltes de la rue arabe — translated American Arabesque: the Role of the US in the Revolts in the Arab Streets.
I have been increasingly skeptical of the authenticity of the “Arab Spring” revolutions — especially in Egypt (where the outcome is a military junta) and Libya (which, like Iraq , has been bombed back to the Middle Ages). Last February, a few blogs mentioned a 2009 meeting between Hillary Clinton and one of Egypt ‘s (presumably) US funded pro-democracy groups. Then the English alternative media and blogosphere went all quiet on the issue.
Arabesque Americaine leaves absolutely no doubt that the “Arab Spring” — like the earlier “color revolutions” in eastern Europe — were almost certainly destabilization/regime change operations, funded and orchestrated by the CIA, State Department, historic CIA-funded foundations — and last, but not least, Google.
Bensaada’s 120-page book provides a carefully researched and referenced account of each of the foundations that are “exporting democracy” to MENA (the Middle East and North Africa ), along with an exact accounting of the millions of dollars given to each country in 2009 and the specific groups the funds went to.
My favorite chapter was the one describing the role these foundations, the State Department, and Google have played in training young MENA activists in the use of social media (e.g. Facebook and Twitter). I was particularly interested in the free access and training they provide international youth activists on TOR, a special software designed to evade government surveillance (which, under the Patriot Act, is illegal in the US ).
Bensaada, who was born and received his early education in Algeria, devotes special attention to the Egypt revolution, emphasizing the role Google played via their star employee Wael Ghonem.
The following is a brief outline of the topics covered:
Chapter 1 — concerns the secret American funding and orchestration of the so-called “color revolutions” in Eastern Europe , with particular focus on Serbia (2000), Georgia (2003), Ukraine (2004) and Kirghizistan(2005). In each case, pro-Soviet governments were overthrown by mobilizing disaffected, pro-Western young people — financed by the CIA, State Department, and Pentagon linked “democracy manipulating” foundations. The latter include National Endowment for Democracy (NED), National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), Freedom House (FH), the Albert Einstein Institute, the Center for Non Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) — and George Soros’ Open Society Institute (OSI).
Chapter 2 — contains a detailed discussion of the above think tanks and foundations, which includes a description of the their government funding, as well as the subversive activities (espionage, election rigging, an popular destablization activities) they promote in countries like Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba and Iran that oppose America’s pro-corporate agenda.
Chapter 3 — discusses the promotion, by the State Department and these think tanks and foundations, of new technologies in these destabilization campaigns. I was fascinated by Bensaada’s description of Guide Star’s TOR Project, which permits anonymous navigation of the Internet. According to their own website, TOR is funded by Google, the US Naval Research Lab, and Human Rights Watch (HRW). In 2004 Paul Treanor documented that HRW is a joint project of Soros’ Open Society Institute and the State Department (http://web.inter.nl.net/users/Paul.Treanor/HRW.htm). US Wikileaks spokesperson Jacob Appelbaum, the main TOR spokesperson, travels all over the world training activists in the use of TOR (Wikileaks uses TOR on their servers).
Chapter 3 also discusses the role of Movements.org and the Alliance of Youth Movements in promoting the use of social media to international youth activists (once again, Bensaada points out that promoting protests via social media is illegal in the US — he cites the example of an activist arrested at the 2009 G20 Summit in Pittsburgh). Movements.org is run by Jared Cohen, the director of Google Ideas and a former adviser to both Condolizza Rice and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Jason Libman, another Google employee formerly employed by both the State Department and the Pentagon. AYM executive director David Nassar was formerly employed by NDI, USAID and IRI. The list of luminaries who participated in a 2008 Summit focused on teaching international activists how to use Facebook and Twitter is also extremely enlightening: Sherif Mansour from Freedom House, James Glassman from the State Department, Larry Diamond from NED, and national security advisor Shaarik Zafar.
Chapter 4 — focuses on the specific case of Egypt, with particular attention to the role played by Google employee Gael Ghonem, who was given paid leave from his job (Google’s chief of marketing for MENA) to participated in the Tahrir Square uprising. Ghonem was responsible for creating the Facebook page “We are all Mohamed Bouazizi” after the Tunisian fruit seller trigger the Tunisian revolution by setting himself on fire. Ghonem also created the “We are all Tal Al-Mallou” to pressure Syria to release the Syrian blogger after she was arrested for espionage activities in the Syrian Embassy in Cairo . Back in 2009, he also set up a Facebook page for Egyptian exile Mohammed El-Baradei, in advance of his February 2010 visit to Cairo to explore a bid for the Egyptian presidency. The visit, according to Wikileaks cables, was organized through the US embassy. Please note this was a full year before the Tahrir Square protests.
In this chapter, Bensaada also focuses on two lead organizers in the April 6th movement (Bassam Samir and Adel Mohamed) with strong links to Washington and the “color revolutions.”
Chapter 5 — focuses on the pro-democracy organizations in other Arab countries (Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebannon, Lybia, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, Yemen, and Syria) financed by the State Department and the “democracy manipulating” foundations. In his appendix, Bensaada identifies the specific pro-democracy groups by name and the exact amount of US funding each received in 2009.
Chapter 6 — a summation and analysis, which explores the ethical dilemma faced by many Egyptian activists on learning the non-violent materials they were using to organize demonstrations were the creation of CIA and State Department Funded think tanks and Foundations.
Arabesque Americaine is available in print for $16.95 from Amazon Canada (with links to discount distributors selling it for $11.08). It’s also available in Epub from two sites. According to one ebook distributor, Archambault, the Epub version is only available in Canada to “protect the rights” of the author. A second site, Livresquebecois.com allowed me to pay for and download the Epub version. However the file they provided is corrupted and had to be converted to PDF (via free downloadable software) in order to read it.
Bensaada’s writing is unusually clear and concise. Thus I highly recommend the book, even where readers have only limited knowledge of French. More than half the reference links are to English sites. That alone, in my opinion, is more than worth $11.08 for a print copy .
by stuartbramhall in Attacks on the Working Class, Things That Aren't What They Seem
The Role of Left Gatekeeping Foundations
To fully understand the role of International Center for Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) and its sister foundations in promoting a de facto taboo on violent protest in the North America, it’s helpful to understand the role they have played in galvanizing the “color” revolutions in the Philippines, Eastern Europe and elsewhere now the Middle East and North Africa. According to Australian journalist and research Michael Barker (http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/38214), this role (in the Philippines, Nicaragua, Chile and Haiti) was first identified in William I. Robinson’s groundbreaking 2006 book Promoting Polyarchy. “Polyarchy” is defined “low intensity democracy” – a form of government that replaces violent coercive control with the type of ideological control (i.e. brainwashing) that Noam Chomsky describes in Manufacturing Consent. As Ward Churchill (in Pacifism as Pathology) and Peter Gelderloos (in How Nonviolence Protects the State) clearly articulate, white middle class activists have very complex psychological reasons for their dogmatic attitude towards political violence. However I feel it’s also important to look at the role played by the US government and the corporate elite in covertly promoting these attitudes.
In Promoting Polyarchy, Robinson describes how the CIA, the FBI and other intelligence agencies were pressured to cut back on many of their more repressive covert activities (i.e. covert assassination) as a result of Church committee reforms enacted in the 1970s. This resulted, in 1984, in the creation of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which works closely with the CIA and the US Agency for International Development (the USAID is a well-documented conduit for CIA funding), as well as other “democracy manipulating” foundations, such as US Institute for Peace, the Albert Einstein Institute, the Arlington Institute, Freedom House and the International Republican Institute. Robinson specifically outlines how these US-based “democracy manipulating organizations” orchestrated “non-violent” revolutions in the Philippines and Chile to prevent genuinely democratic governments from coming to power, as well as sabotaging democratically elected governments in Nicaragua and Haiti (where they caused the ouster of the Sandinista government and the populist priest Jean Bastion Aristide).
Since then numerous studies have furnished further examples where these organizations have infiltrated and “channeled” (i.e. co-opted) the genuine mass movements that form naturally in countries dominated by repressive dictators. The goal is to make sure they don’t go too far in demanding economic rights (for example, labor rights or restrictions on foreign investment) that might be detrimental to the interests of multinational corporations. All the “color” revolutions in Eastern Europe, which also received substantial funding from George Soros’ Open society Institute, have been a major disappointment owing to their failure to bring about genuine change (see http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2006/09/29/the-color-revolutions-fade-to-black/).
The ICNC’s PBS Documentary
Barker’s work goes even further than Robinson’s, examining the effect of the ICNC in particular, on progressive organizing within the US. He points to the phenomenal influence of the 2000 book and PBS documentary (and now computer game) A Force More Powerful: A Century of Nonviolent Change.
The ICNC is understandably defensive about research by Barker and others linking them to the NED and other “democracy manipulating” foundations. In fact their website devotes an entire page “Setting the Record” straight http://www.nonviolent-conflict.org/index.php/about-icnc/setting-the-record-straight, in which they refute these studies. Their main argument is that they receive no NED or other foundation or government funding. This is totally factual, as they’re entirely funded by their co-founder Peter Ackerman, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and his wife Joanne Leedom-Ackerman. Ackerman earned his fortune as a specialist in leveraged buyouts, the second highest paid in Wall Street history (Michael Milken made more but wound up in jail.)
Why Is the ICNC Seeking to Oust Hugo Chavez?
Barker refers to the argument over the source of their funding as whitewashing, especially in view of the recent collaboration between the ICNC and the Albert Einstein Institute in training members of the Venezuelan resistance seeking to oust democratically elected Hugo Chavez.
As Barker points out, both Ackerman and his wife and ICNC co-founder Jack Duvall have a long history of working for and with the other “democracy promoting” foundations. In addition many of the vice presidents and other officers they hire to run the ICNC seem to connections to US or foreign military/intelligence operations or other “democracy promoting” foundations.
This is clear from the following three diagrams, which summarize the “democracy manipulating” and military intelligence links of the people who run the ICNC (see http://quotha.net/node/1606 and http://quotha.net/node/1609 for a detailed explanation of each of these links and an explanation of their role in “democracy manipulating”):
A detailed description of ICNC co-founder Jack Duvall’s “democracy manipulating” links can be found at http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Jack_DuVall
by stuartbramhall in Things That Aren't What They Seem
The two most prolific contemporary writers regarding foundation funded Cointelpro-style counterinsurgency tactics are historian and journalist Webster Tarpley (in Barack H Obama: the Unauthorized Autobiography) and Australian-born academic researcher Michael Barker. A list and link to all Barker’s publications (which include fascinating articles on Noam Chomsky’s anti-conspiracy views and the aggressive promotion of “non-violent protest” by CIA-funded foundations) can be found on his website and blog at http://michaeljamesbarker.wordpress.com/ My sense, related to direct personal experience with foundation-funded “astroturf” (see * below) and “counterinsurgency” activity in the single payer movement, is that the domestic variant of left gatekeeping tends to rely less on CIA or other government funding than on direct right wing corporate funding.
Barker’s articles devote particular attention to the role played by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the US Institute for Peace, the Albert Einstein Institute, the Arlington Institute, Freedom House, the NED-funded Human Rights Watch, the International Republican Institute and individual philanthropists (for example, Bill Gates and George Soros) in “democracy manipulating” activities overseas. (http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/38214).
However he also writes about the role three foundations (the Ford Foundation, the Benton Foundation and the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict) have played in “counterinsurgency” activities in the progressive movement within the US. His 2006 article “Corporate Fronts, Astroturf Groups and Co-opted Social Movements” (http://www.zcommunications.org/corporate-fronts-astroturf-groups-and-co-opted-social-movements-by-michael-barker) raises concerns about funding the World Social Forum, among other progressive groups, derives from CIA-linked foundations.
The Role of “Democracy Manipulating” Foundations Overseas
According to Barker the “democracy manipulating role” played by CIA-linked foundations was first identified in William I. Robinson’s groundbreaking 2006 book Promoting Polyarchy. “Polyarchy” is defined “low intensity democracy” – a form of government that replaces violent coercive control with the type of ideological control (i.e. brainwashing) that Noam Chomsky describes in Manufacturing Consent.
In Promoting Polyarchy, Robinson describes how the CIA, the FBI and other intelligence agencies were pressured to cut back on many of their more repressive covert activities (i.e. covert assassinations) as a result of Church committee reforms enacted in the 1970s. This resulted, in 1984, in the creation of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which works closely with the CIA and the US Agency for International Development (the USAID is a well-documented conduit for CIA funding), as well as the other “democracy manipulating” foundations listed above. Robinson specifically outlines how these US-based “democracy manipulating” foundations worked to bring about “non-violent” revolutions in the Philippines and Chile to prevent genuinely democratic governments from coming to power, as well as sabotaging democratically elected governments in Nicaragua (where they orchestrated the ouster of the Sandinista government) and Haiti (where they instigated a coup against the populist priest Jean Bastion Aristide).
Since then numerous studies (which Barker references on his website) have furnished further evidence where these foundations have infiltrated and “channeled” (i.e. co-opted) the genuine mass movements that form naturally in countries dominated by repressive dictators. The goal is too make sure they don’t go too far in demanding economic rights (for example, protections for organized labor or restrictions on foreign investment) that might be detrimental to the interests of multinational corporations. All the “color” revolutions in Eastern Europe, which also received substantial funding from George Soros’ Open Society Institute, have been a major disappointment to citizens that supported them, owing to their failure to bring about genuine change (see http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2006/09/29/the-color-revolutions-fade-to-black/).
* Senator Lloyd Bentson, himself a long-time Washington and Wall Street insider, is credited with coining the term “astroturf lobbying” to describe the synthetic grassroots movements that now can be manufactured, for a fee, by a dozen or so public relations companies. The Tea Party movement, largely created and funded by the infamous Koch brothers, is probably the most high profile example of astroturfing (see http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/oct/25/tea-party-koch-brothers)
To be continued.
by stuartbramhall in Challenging the Corporate Media, Things That Aren't What They Seem
Bob Feldman’s unraveling of the indirect CIA funding received by the Nation and Radio Nation is the most instructive in demonstrating how “pass-through” funding works (see http://www.questionsquestions.net/feldman/nation_ned_1.html). According to their tax returns, the Nation Institute receives major funding from the MacArthur Foundation and the J. M. Kaplan Family Foundation. Both, according to Frances Stoner Saunders (Who Paid the Piper?: the CIA and the Cultural Cold War), have a history of accepting CIA “pass-through” funding and collaborating with them on cold war projects. The Nation also also has an interesting relationship with a third left gatekeeping foundation the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute (FERI), in that publisher, editor and part owner Katrina van den Heuvel serves on the FERI governing board and her father, William vanden Heuvel, on the board of directors. FERI, like its namesake Eleanor Roosevelt has always pursued a clear mandate of supporting the development of anti-communist “parallel left” political groups.
Moreover William van den Heuvel himself has well-established intelligence credentials, as a protege and executive assistant to “Wild Bill” Donovan, the founder and director of OSS (Office of Strategic Services). The OSS, which oversaw intelligence operations during World War II, became the CIA in 1947. In 1953-54 van den Heuvel accompanied Donovan to Thailand, where he served as ambassador (and lead CIA agent) to Thailand. Later as executive assistant to Robert Kennedy, van den Heuvel was the architect of the Kennedy administration’s staunch anti-Castro policy.
Other Left Gatekeepers Funding Alternative Media
Here is a brief summary of “alternative” media outlets that Feldman has linked to foundations the Church Committee identified as receiving CIA pass-through funding (see http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/legacy/research/edu20/moments/1976church.html?cms_page=edu20/moments/1976church.html). It is also of note that they all systematically marginalize journalistic and academic research into 911 and CIA-linked political assassinations.
Feldman’s co-author Eric Salter has drawn up a more detailed flow sheet demonstrating these complex inter-relationships at http://www.questionsquestions.net/gatekeepers.html
- The Progressive
- Working Assets Radio
- The Progressive
- Working Assets Radio
J. M. Kaplan Family Foundation
Soros Family Foundation
- Pacifica Radio
- The Nation
Although Soros himself has no known CIA connections, he’s strongly linked to the military industrial complex as a major stockholder in Bush senior’s Carlyle Group and through his direct funding of “color” revolutions in Eastern Europe.
- Mother Jones
- Z Magazine
Run for many years by “progressive-lite” Bill Moyers, the Schuman Foundation (as evidenced by the projects it funds) has a rabidly pro-capitalist agenda. According to Feldman, Moyers himself, has engaged in some pretty anti-progressive behavior, such as orchestrating (as Lyndon Johnson’s press secretary) the wiretapping of Martin Luther King and leaking the transcripts to the media. And his heavy promotion of the rabid anti-Semite and Holocaust denier Joseph Campbell on PBS (see http://www.undueinfluence.com/schumann_foundation.htm, http://www.undueinfluence.com/bill_moyers.htm, http://constantineinstitute.blogspot.com/2009/06/profiles-of-americas-beloved-tv.html and http://mindbodypolitic.com/2010/06/17/barry-zwicker-noam-chomsky-and-the-left-gatekeepers/)
Feldman notes that the alternative magazine Counterpunch receives no direct left gatekeeper funding, although one of their editors is on the Nation payroll (which does).
To be continued.