|May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)|
|Contents||Bulletin||Scripting in shell and Perl||Network troubleshooting||History||Humor|
|News||Fifth column||Recommended Links||Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump by neocons and DemoRats||Coordinated set of leaks as a color revolution tool||MSM as attack dogs of color revolution|
|Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair||Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources||Hypocrisy and Pseudo-democracy||"Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries||Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism||The World as the Grand Chessboard of the American empire|
|Control of the MSM during color revolution is like air superiority in the war||Delegitimization of Ruling Party||Parasitism on Human rights: children of Lieutenant Schmidt||Human right activists or globalism fifth column||The art of manufacturing of prisoners of consciousness||Sect of fraudulent election witnesses|
|Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism||Neoconservatism||Media-Military-Industrial Complex||The Deep State||Compradors||NGOs as brain trust of color revolutions|
|Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair||NGOs as braintrust of color revolutions||Hong Cong Color Revolution of 2014||EuroMaidan||Russian Color Revolution of 2012||Ukrainian orange revolution|
|Frustrated underachievers||Russian neoliberal compradors||Net Hamsters as a part of fifth column||Exploiting Revolutionary Romantics as polit-technology||IntelliXencia: Corruption of Intelligentsia and it usage in fifth column in Russia||Gene Sharp Recipes and Russian Experience|
|Elite Theory And the Revolt of the Elite||The Iron Law of Oligarchy||Two Party System as polyarchy||Foreign Agents Registration Act||Attack of Think Tanks||Destruction by the USA of international law|
|Predator state||The Real War on Reality||Media as a weapon of mass deception||Anatol Leiven on American Messianism||Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich|
|American Exceptionalism||Non-Interventionism||Hypocrisy of British ruling elite||Politically Incorrect Humor||Russian Fifth column Humor||Etc|
|The hypocrite's crime is that he bears false witness against himself. What
makes it so plausible to assume that hypocrisy is the vice of vices is that integrity can indeed
exist under the cover of all other vices except this one. Only crime and the criminal, it is true,
confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the
~Hannah Arendt, On Revolution, 1963
You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone ~Al Capone
The US government always subscribed to Al Capone maxim "You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone. ". But now this allegiance took slightly more sophisticated form.
Color revolution is the technology of changing the government discovered after WWII and first applied in Iran, but later developed during cold war into the art form and became prevalent form of overthrowing government after the collapse of the USSR (which in its main features was also a color revolution). The key idea is similar to the idea of permanent revolution of Leo Trotsky, but instead of "liberation of proletariat" equally bogus notions of "export of democracy" or "fight with corruption" are used to justify interference into internal affairs of the particular country with the goal to overthrow the legitimate government. Such operations as mixture of open ("surface") actions and covert actions centered around the US embassy under the smoke screen cover of fighting for democracy, against corruption and other populist slogans.
In is important to understand that underneath "surface" actions of color revolution there is a well financed and strongly supported by State Department and the power of the USA three letter agencies covert military operation of "regime change". This operation involves local neoliberal fifth column, CIA, US embassy (and other Western embassies), set of pro-Western NGO, neoliberal press both inside the country and outside the country ("air support"), embassy cash for protestors delivered via diplomatic mail ("bombing country with dollars") and several similar technologies.
The technology of color revolutions was first developed by the USA in early 80th and first used in Phillipines (Colour revolution - Wikipedia). But events in Iran in 1953 also has distinct flavor of color revolution, so the technology is probably much older (The Coup 1953, The CIA, and The Roots of Modern U.S.-Iranian Relations )
One is struck with the healthy and vibrant Iranian democracy which existed before the coup. The nationalization of the oil industry was the result of a long democratic process -- not all Iranian politicians supported nationalization -- and was the result of legislative and congressional (in pre-coup Iran, called Mejlis) debates and discussions. One is struck with the futility and similarity -- then as in now -- of commercial and economic sanctions the Western powers imposed on the country short of actual intervention. One is also struck with the naked exercise of Western Imperialism by BP, the UK, and the US when all other non-invasive methods failed. To be clear nationalization was driven by the long history of officially- sanctioned business abuses and corrupt business practices of BP. Abrahamian goes into great, painstaking detail of these corrupt business practices and of how and in what manner BP systematically shortchanged the Iranian government of royalties due while the concessions were in effect while at the same time exploiting its natural resources.
It has nothing to do with peaceful change of power. In reality this is a new type of warfare, a covert operation with the active, cash-based financing ("bombing country with dollars ( delivered via diplomatic mail or other covert channels) " on neoliberal fifth column within the country (and such fifth column conveniently concentrates in the capital); bribing or intimidating politicians, government officials, key intellectuals , extensive PR-cover and direct participation of all staff of embassy (or several embassies like was the case with EuroMaidan), simultaneous highly coordinated work of three letter agencies, US embassy, set of NGOs, press, fifth column and squads of armed militants.
Great penetration up to dominance in local press is a very important, distinushing feature of color revolutions as a regime change operation. It is usually prepared in advance. It's role is very similar to air superiority in modern wars. It is presence of controlled media that allow to demoralize the government and neutralize power block (especially police and intelligence agencies) of the county.
Again, in its essence, color revolution represent a new military technology used by a powerful country (or a group of such countries). Typically the goal is to install a neoliberal regime. This is a new weapon of USA government and its development was a kind of new, neoliberal Manhattan project.
The concept was developer in early 80th and first successfully implemented in 80th People Power Revolution in Philippines and then in famous 1989 Velvet Revolution. They were also instrumental in the dissolution of the USSR (especially in separation of Baltic states and Ukraine from Russia)
The key idea of color revolution is far from new. It is essentially replicated and adapted to new conditions of neoliberal expansion the Trotskyites idea of permanent revolution. They just replaced the idea of "victory of communism" with the "victory of democracy" as the shining beacon that leads lemmings to the cliff. But generally there is one-to-one correspondence in strategy and tactic -- the same efforts for recruitment of students and unemployed of semi-employed youth (recently in EuroMaidan including especially football fanatics). The same idea of bribing part of intelligencia, expanded to part of government, military and politicians. Especially those who already have experience in clashes with police (in modern conditions the most important of such groups are far right nationalists and football ultras). In other words creating the canon fodder of color revolution.
It is "non-direct", highly disguised, but no less very effective form of aggression against sovereign states, which combine a huge injection of cash ("bombing country with dollars"), mass disinformation campaigns, cyber-measures, the use of special forces, sometimes disguised as local partisans, mobilization of local fifth column, intimidation of opponents through displays of strength and usage of ultra-right groups, pressure from Western government on legitimate government to avoid using direct means of suppressing the protest and other forms of intimidation including economic coercion. Sound familiar? Yes this is what Serbian revolution, Georgian revolution, Ukrainian Orange revolution and EuroMaidan were about to name just a few.
Among methods and technologies used in color revolutions the following should be noted and as you will see, reached a level certain perfection:
A very good summary of essential elements of color revolution was given in the post by Stephen Karganović Analogie mezi Jugoslávií a Ukrajinou (Russian translation is available at Сходство между Югославией и Украиной ИноСМИ - Все, что достойно перевода). Slightly edited Google translation follows:
The analogy between Yugoslavia and the Ukraine by Stephen Karganović
February 15, 2015 | Czech Free PressRussian experts analyzed in detail the similarities in the methods and strategies used by the western coalition in connection with the Ukrainian crisis that has spawned and has exacerbated into brutal civil war. The same actors used those strategies developed in the 90's create the fertile soil for a brutal civil war which resulted in the destruction of the former Yugoslavia, are The reasons for such in-depth research are legion. First of all, if your not very imaginative or too arrogant enemy repeatedly acts according to the same template, knowing it provides you with a significant strategic advantage. It allows you to some extent to predict his actions and propose effective countermeasures.
Although chutzpa of western strategists undoubtedly allow to counter their schemes more effectively, however, it is very important carefully analyze the key similarities and differences in two different situation so that you are not fighting the last war. Here are key elements of the color revolution template:
- The ethnic and religious fragmentation. The starting point of any color revolution is Identification of the usable social tensions and their systematic aggravation so that that at the end they can serve as a detonator of the planned crisis. This means mutual divide constitutive of the community, with an emphasis on what sets them apart, and at the same time reducing the weight of what they have in common.
In Yugoslavia this strategy began be carried out long before the visible signs of the crisis, forming of new ethnic identities (Muslim, Montenegrin and Macedonian) was financed and supported as well as separatist aspirations were systematically encouragement and refined in the context of the existing ones (especially among the Croats and Slovenians). The Ukrainian identity is also an artificial construction, which is defined not positively, but primarily in a hate of all Russians, as a militant negation of all Russian culture and language. In Ukraine, as before, in Yugoslavia, existing religious cleft between the Catholics and the Orthodox part of the country was also successfully used to increase, deepen and sharpen the existing animosity.
- Deceptive by promise higher standard of living and creation of various material temptations to support the politically desired behavior.
In the former Yugoslavia, where there was by the end of the 80. years of a decent standard of living, has been used in the prospects for an even better life, which would have followed the dissolution of the socialist state, as a bait to encourage separatist tendencies. Yugoslavia Catholic west was promised to increase the well-being to the level of Germany, when they decide to separate and commit to the "civilizational choice" (nearly identical phrase was used in the context of Ukraine) in favor of the integration with EU. Muslims in Bosnia and in Kosovo were promised great benefit from close connection to the rich Islamic countries. In Ukraine the EuroMaidan events were triggered by the illusion of rapid inclusion into the European union as associated ability to travel to the Western countries without visa and dramatic raise of standard of living.
The majority of the population in western and central Ukraine, who have responded positively to these fake prospects of improving their standard of living and totally failed to realize gravity of the real economic and social transition, and more importantly, didn't realize the existence of the strong "no new members" trend in the EU. As a result they were forced to act on the basis of completely unfounded assumptions.
- Control of MSM in the target countries for the purpose of influencing the perception and behavior of the masses.
The penetration of western influences in the media space in the former Yugoslavia, the pioneer of which was Soros, started immediately as soon as the political liberalization at the end of the 80th allow it. From the early 90's. years, when the conflict was the feeded mainly from abroad and did not yet became self sustained, a big part of the local media in all of the Yugoslav republics fall under the direct control of the western owners. A similar transfer of MSM into western hands occurred in Ukraine during the last two decades, where before EuroMaidan all the major MSM including TV channels were under the firm control of the controlled by the west oligarchs such as Poroshenko and kolomyski. all of them simultaneously Promoted the almost uniform and factually incorrect narrative about the benefits that would come from a political alliance EU and NATO and the EU, and total alienation from Russia.
- As in Ukraine, as in Yugoslavia, there was a certain core of the population, which proved to be resistant to brainwashing and continues to hold its own narrative. It was politically marginalized.
While those people Radically reject these false ideas, which were designed to guarantee the acceptance of the new political arrangement under the iron heel of the West. In Ukraine, it was the Russian speaking east, in Yugoslavia the Serbs.
The rejection of these groups to accept peacefully the loss of their own cultural identity and political autonomy has led in both cases to conflicts. A clear answer is required whether the armed conflict (although he was in principle predictable) also the preplanned and intended consequence of the processes that have been put into operation.
In the case of Ukraine we can be reasonably doubtful, because of the apparent intention of the new Kiev junta after regime change was to include the country to NATO and the EU under the guidance of a vassal government in Kiev and this goal does not include the political disintegration of the country. EU wanted to eat the whole peace, as a single country.
In the case of Yugoslavia, it can be argued that the conflict leading in the Serbian military defeat was clearly part of the plan. It is possible, however, that was originally expected that the campaign will be much faster and more successful. As it turned out, by the fact that the instigators of the Yugoslav crisis reviews are written by free rein to their Croatian and Muslim protecting, perhaps inadvertently, created a clear existential threat to the Serbs, who were scattered throughout the territory of the former Yugoslavia, which greatly cemented their resistance and prolong the conflict longer than originally expected.
In addition, it could lead to further unintentional result: a serious challenge to the Yeltsin's alliance with the West (although Russia played a role of Western vassal in this case). It has come to a critical stage in the time of the Kosovo war. The result was the rise of Putin and his political vision as a response to the war.
Whether it was the original intention of the Ukraine anything (was probably only about the direction of cultural fragmentation while maintaining the overall political integrity of the country, albeit with a much more reliable western component, which would put to the untrusted east of the country into submission), it seems that failed as soon as it was when Kiev junta used brute force. As pointed out by informed analysts, power compromise between Kiev and Russian speaking east, which was possible two or three months ago [the article was written in September 2014, nb], is no longer possible because of the suffering and destruction Kiev junta has caused. The situation is evolving rapidly, while the regions that are culturally focused mainly on Russia, more and more refuse to have anything to do with Kiev, irrespective of the details of the proposed arrangement, if any. In this sense, today in Ukraine are getting a strong analogy with the spirit of the resistance, which was typical for Bosnian and Croatian Serbs during the Yugoslav conflict.
One can imagine that if the West backed junta in both of the cases from the beginning took a more subtle and a more flexible attitude towards the Serbian and the Russian population, whose political role they want to diminish, it could proceed much more effectively, and might even prevent the radicalization of the opposition. And could it be truly successful, because in both cases, it was junta not the rebels, who, at least initially, intend to resort to violence.
- The west uses the most despicable social strata and dirty methods to achieve their goals. there are a number of documents that can shed light on the diabolic pact of the West with Iran (Iran-Contra) and other usage of more or less fundamentalist Islamic actors in order to strengthen the local Muslim forces in Bosnia, which was in line with the interests of NATO and the EU and the fight for control of the whole country.
The participation of certain elements of the European far right in the war on the side of the right-center regime in Croatia was encouraged. A similar pattern can be observed in the Middle east, where the radical Islamic faction become a means to undermine the secular regimes, which were regarded as hostile to the West.
In Ukraine there was a contract with the devil clearly included some of the most egregious of the local fascist forces, literally remnants and direct ascendants of forces that collaborated with Nazi during WW2. Their task was to provide a storm troopers for seizing power, and stage the coup d'état after which the West supported oligarchs and politicians in Kiev took power consolidate pro western neoliberal government. It seems that in both in Yugoslavian the Ukrainian case the key idea was :
"Now we are going to use them for the removal of our main opponent and them we will deal with neofascists later."
The probability that monsters which the West created at some point can refuse to obey their Western masters, was not taken into consideration. The post-war spread of radical Islam in Bosnia, where it previously never existed, and the consolidation of a strong fascist groundswell in Croatia is enough proof of this effect. In terms of the Nazi-inspired movements and armed formations in Ukraine, it seems that there is no clear plan as for how to bring them back to obedience once a conflict is over and they, presumably, outlived their usefullness for the west.
Those tools, which the West amorally used to achieve their objectives, sow the Dragon teeth of the long-term instability as there is a distinct tendency of such forces to get out of control of their creators and even turn against them as happened with radical Wahhabism Islam.
For Russia, the Ukraine is a serious problems, as those Dragon teeth, which was sown opportunistically by West as a tool for interference , will bear bitter fruits. Undoubtedly, they will prevent integration of Ukraine into the "Russian world", even if we limit to most basic cooperation as understood by the current Russian politicians. In other words Ukraine lost all Russian market.
- Covert support of Western puppets, while publicly proclaiming the policy of non-interference, which in practice is demanded only from other parties.
Another important similarity lies in the fact that in the case of both the crisis of the West has initiated an embargo on the importation of weapons and logistical support to the conflicting parties, but on a regular basis is skirted in favor of their local clients. Rich evidentiary material, which was accumulated after the end of the 90. years, leaves no doubt about the fact that the Bosnian Muslim and Croatian forces in Yugoslavia were supplied by the west with a huge amount of weapons and large amount of training.
Russia is the target of the process of demonization for not only the military, but even humanitarian aid to rebel regions in Ukraine. Western patrons insist on an almost unlimited right to support their clients, as in Belgrade in the 90's years, and Moscow now have similar privileges denied. Their insistence on a "level playing field" - the cliché which was often used at the time of the Bosnian conflict, turned out not to be what was in fact: it was the naked hypocrisy.
- A significant difference: Moscow has a clearly defined political objectives. You could say that one of the main reasons for the failure of the Serbian resistance in Croatia and only partial success in Bosnia was the lack of a clear political vision of both in their own ranks, and in Belgrade, which supported them.
The Russian analysis of this experience has played an important role in ensuring that Moscow and its allies try to avoid to get into the swamp of the civil war without a clear definition of their goals and means to achieve them. No doubt that president , Putin does not want to imitate Slobodan Milosevic, who delivered a brilliant television speech, which contained a crucial insight about the machinations of his western opponents, but his timing couldn't be worse - it was delivered a few days before his overthrow.
It seems that the Balkan events led to a more sobering view on the USE and a lot of self-reflection of Russian politicians, and that has double effect. First of all, the Kosovo war and the bombing of Yugoslavia at the end of the 90. years clearly give rise to substantial upheaval that has contributed to the change of Russian leadership. As a result Vladimir Putin became Russian president and his vision now if dominant. However, the negative consequences of the tortuous policy of encouraging their protégés in Bosnia and Croatia, followed by Milosevic, have been for the Russians another huge lesson. This lies in the fact that if someone does not have a wider strategic vision and the ability to put it place, it is better to avoid such a risky and complex entanglements.
Source: vineyardsaker.blogspot.cz, translation: Charles Hyka
Taken from the www.kosovoonline.cz
The origin of the concept is Trotskyite theory of the Permanent Revolution adapted by neoliberal establishment to serve the spread of neoliberalism under disguise of spread of "democracy" instead of communism. "Democracy" and "fight with corruption" are just smoke screens used to intelligence operation of regime change. Much like Bolsheviks attempts (not very successful) to stage socialist revolutions in Eastern Europe in 20th. Such an irony of history. Comrade Trotsky probably rolls in his grave ;-). Below is Trotsky quote:
The Bolsheviks were also implementing a new strategy – "Revolution from abroad" (Revolutsiya izvne, literally "revolution from the outside"); based around the assumption that revolutionary masses desire revolution but are unable to carry it out without help from more organized and advanced Bolsheviks.
Hence, as Leon Trotsky remarked, the revolution should be "brought on bayonets" (of the Red Army), as "through Kiev leads the straight route for uniting with Austro-Hungarian revolution, just as through Pskov and Vilnius goes the way for uniting with German revolution.
Offensive on all fronts! Offensive on the west front, offensive on the south front, offensive on the all revolutionary fronts!". The concept was developed in 1918, but officially published under such name first in 1920 (Wojennaja Mysl i Riewolucija, 3/1920, Mikhail Tukhachevsky.
While the second word in the term "color revolution" is "revolution", in fact this is a complex, multilayer intelligence operation, an externally organized and financed coup d'état.
The key features are:
The net result in case of success is friendly to the West neoliberal regime in which comprador elite that is allied with transactional corporation and exists to put their share of profits into Western banks put in power. Economic rape of the country goes in full swing with assets sold of pennies on a dollar ("disaster capitalism"). Look for example at Yeltsin and Gaidar, or, more recently, Yatsenyuk and Turchinov in Ukraine. Actually EuroMaidan can teach us a lot of valuable lessons about how color revolution is organized, financed and pushed toward victory by State Department and the US embassy.
As EuroMaidan had shown important part of this fifth column are University professors and deans of economics and several other University departments. This category of people has natural neoliberal leaning (especially in Economics departments) and as such they are easy and cheap to corrupt by grants, foreign trips, etc. In case of EuroMaidan it was they who, if not asked students to go to the street, at least encourages them by granted them "amnesty" from missing the classes. And they operated within the larger framework of staging color revolution, being just one element. The same was true in Hong Cong.
The start of color revolution means just a switch to active stage of of multifaceted intelligence operation using the US cash and assets in the country such as NGO, neoliberal journalists, corrupt officials within the government, law enforcement, etc. this is the part of the iceberg that is prepared for several years with street protest being just a tip of the iceberg, signifying switch to an active stage of coup d'état and start of active dispensing of cash to "protesters".
Those extras that show up on the streets just create a stage for public consumption. Real events of infiltration that make color revolutin possible happen on higher level and are hidden from the view. The goal is always to paralyze and neutralize both government and law enforcement by finding people who can be bought, coerced into supporting the coup d'état. And without "successes" in this direction the street protesters will never appear on the streets.
Their appearance probably always means that Nuland and her colleagues from Department of State made serious progress in creating the "color revolution infrastructure" and fifth column with the county elite. They probably are now keeping of short leash some corrupt officials both in law enforcement and government. Cash is now dispensed continuously as "the show must go on", independently of the level of enthusiasm of "protesters". In Kiev reported payments were $30 a night (200-300 hrivna). Of source some radical nationalist elements participated "for free" but a lot of extras were paid.
In other word the key precondition of color revolution is readiness of fifth column within the government to topple the current government. In case of Ukraine it was Lyovochkin and his people from Party of Regions, as well as elements within SBU and police (remnants from Yutchenko government) with strong nationalistic leanings. Also Nuland kept Yanukovich by the balls be threatening to confiscate his foreign assets.
So color revolution always has important "elite betrayal" component and that's why action of the government in suppressing protests are usually contradictory and inefficient.
While figures like Yatsenyuk and Turchinov are typical compradors, they still represent a pretty curious mixture of neoliberals (and that, by definition, means stooges of the USA) with ethnic nationalists. Such a perfect example of Doublethink (not to mix it with Doublespeak).
Doublethink is ... simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts. Doublethink is related to, but differs from, hypocrisy and neutrality. Somewhat related but almost the opposite is cognitive dissonance, where contradictory beliefs cause conflict in one's mind. Doublethink is notable due to a lack of cognitive dissonance — thus the person is completely unaware of any conflict or contradiction.
And such caricature figures of nationalists who somehow manage to be simultaneously the USA stooges and did not jump from the fifth or higher floor with the cry "Russians are coming" because of incompatibility of those notions, are pretty typical (Yatsenyuk who enhanced his university education by selling used cars full time is an interesting variation on Joe Biden theme and is completely unable to keep his tongue in the month; Turchinov is a unique mixture of former Komsomol boss responsible for Ideology, and, drums, Evangelical Pastor, and, drums, ethnic nationalist).
Nevertheless with strong US push they managed to unleash the forces of radical, far right Ukrainian nationalism and of bayonets of storm troupers of Western Ukrainian nationalistic military formations (Right Sector) to seize the power, deposing Yanukovich. Bribing of key figures in Yanukovich entourage ( especially important was Lyovochkin) which reminds bringing key figures of Iraq regime before capturing Baghdad, pressure and possibly threat of losing actives in Western banks for some oligarchs (Kolomoysky and Poroshenko) as well as corruption of Yanukovich who probably was equally afraid to lose stolen from Ukrainian people money in Western banks and to lose power also played a role.
That means that Ukrainian EuroMaidan has features of classic color revolution (support or Western MSM, role of NGO, finance flows, etc) and, simultaneously, a national-socialist revolution like Hitler coming to power in Germany (radical right as the core of the protest, xenophobia, anti-Semitism replaced by Russophobia, "Ukraine uber alles" mentality (aka Ukrainian exceptionalism ;-), etc). With those two elements co-existing and supporting each other. People who thought that (at least tactical, temporary) alliance of neoliberals and neofascists is impossible due to globalist character of neoliberalism should think again.
In a way dissolution of the USSR can be considered the first "modern" color revolution. As Anatol Lieven noted
"As I wrote in a previous book on the reasons for Russia's defeat in Chechnya between 1994 and 1996, there was a real attempt by America in the 1990s, with tremendous help from the Russian elites themselves, to turn Russia into a kind of comprador state, whose elites would be subservient to America in foreign policy and would exist to export raw materials to the West and transfer money to Western bank accounts."
The word "color" in the term is connected with one of the pretty superficial (but still historically consistent) feature of these revolutions -- the symbol of such a revolution often became a particular (probably assigned by NED ;-) color. For example, Ukrainian coup d'état of in 2004 that brought to power Victor Yushchenko is called the Orange Revolution. The "Russian color revolution" of 2011-2012 attempted before election of Putin the selected color is white, so it is often called "white revolution of 2011-2012".
Color revolutions are especially efficient instrument in "cleft countries". That includes former Western colonies were borders which were purposely made to comprise diverse ethnic and cultural groups to weaken the newly formed country (Iraq, Syria, Libya) as well as xUSSR countries with large Russian population (borders of which were created by Bolsheviks with the purpose to "dilute" part of the country that might represent a threat to their rule)
The theory of color revolutions borrows heavily from Marxist playbook, especially from writing of Trotsky. Essentially it is a plagiarism of Trotsky "permanent revolution" with neoliberalism instead of Marxism as an ideology and driving force. In this respect, in Marxist tradition, we can talk about several pre-conditions of "revolutionary situation" -- condition in the society in which color revolution became feasible, and which can be created both as result of internal development as well as external pressure or economic shock. There are several pre-conditions for success of a color revolution:
Critical level of anger often arise in those countries where there is high level of social inequality,
where there is a huge gap between rich and poor. Which neoliberalism promotes and nurture, creating
preconditions for color revolution in any neoliberal country in which regime is not too friendly
with Washington (Hungary, Hong-Cong,
to take two recent examples). Unemployment among young people which is as high as 50% in many countries
pushes many of them into the ranks of opposition as we saw in Egypt. Feeling of dead-end in their
life, that all good places are occupied by "existing regime" favorites, the desire to find another
path in life in another strong motivator for youth to join protests. This fact was well understood
by Bolsheviks who actively recruited young people and students for their party paying them a stipend
to became "professional revolutionaries". Now this is replicated by neoliberals. Who probably can
pay better ;-).
The USA possesses tremendous technological power as well as ideological advantage and due to this is critical force of promoting neoliberalism in the world. And it was and still is the dominant ideology within the USA since Reagan years by-and-large displacing Christianity as an official regulation.
Neoliberalism since 1980 defeated and displaced Marxism as dominant globalist ideology. In essence a color revolution is a scheme of using transnational actors within a given society as an active force to implement the US foreign policy objectives and install a new polyarchy regime ( the "regime change" component). It was first laid by Joseph Nye’s as the idea of "soft power" which called for harnessing the US's tremendous reserve of intangible resources such as culture, ideology and institutions for preserving world dominance as well as power of transnational corporations.
All in all color revolution demonstrate tremendous power and flexibility of the US foreign policy and its ability to adapt to new situation while vigorously pursuing the established goals. But the real question whether it corresponds to the US national interests. In essence the US destroyed the very concept of an open society but introduction corruption using foreign funds in the process.
They also put on the opposition label "made by CIA", which does not help. In is not accidental that that in Russia the recipients of foreign grants are now commonly called "grant eaters" and forces that support globalism (iether in the form of Euro centrism, or other) and the US foreign policy have a derogatory nickname Liberasts.
There is distinct need to have a strategy of counting such a color revolution , It is very difficult to respond to unconventional war. And first of all, you must understand that there is a war. It will not go anywhere and will not dissipate until regime change is achieved. And, as in any war, you can lose or win. In order to increase your chances of winning, it is necessary to understand the nature of the opposing problem and first of all incredible aggressiveness and ruthlessness of sponsors of such events. So the politics of appeasement which Yanukovich and Kaddafi tried, does not work.
The mechanic of staging of what is now called “Color revolutions” is a classic mechanics of destabilizing government and bringing to the power a minority elite groups with strong Western connections. In former USSR space those elite groups were sometimes (Baltic countries, Ukraine) former Nazi collaborationists. The key idea is the install a new polyarchy regime ( the "regime change" component )
After such a revolution a new, more pro-Western part of the elite comes to power and exercise often brutal monopoly power in the interests of the USA and transnational corporations. Typically privatization of the county is in the cards. Which regimes of Boris Yeltsin, Viktor Yushchenko and Mikheil Saakashvili demonstrated all too well. Also important that as 1965 CIA report about Philippines stresses that "The similarity of the parties, nevertheless encourages moderation, readiness to compromise, and lack of dogmatism in the political elite". Philippines were a key client regime in 1950th and 1960th with Clark Air Base and Subtic Naval Base to be the largest military facilities outside US mainland (Promoting polyarchy globalization ... - William I. Robinson (p. 120)). Here is one Amazon review of the book:
Brilliant exposition of US policy and the global order June 12, 2001
By Geoff Johnson
In this difficult but extremely provocative and scholarly work, William I. Robinson presents a new model for understanding US foreign policy and the emergent global society as a whole. The crux of his thesis is this: US foreign policy has changed in the last twenty years or so from open support of authoritian regimes in countries where the US has economic and/or strategic interests to a program of "democracy promotion" that strives to place minority elite groups who are responsive to the interests of the United States and transnational capital at the head of the political, economic, and civic structures of "third world" countries.
Contrary to popular opinion (and that of much of academia), the real goal of democracy promotion, or what Robinson refers to as "promoting polyarchy", is not the promotion of democracy at all, but rather the promotion of the interests of an increasingly transnational elite headed by the US who seek open markets for goods and an increase in the free flow of capital. This marks a conscious shift in foreign policy in which the US now favors "consensual domination" by democratically elected governments rather than authoritarian leaders and the type of "crony capitalism" made famous by the likes of Ferdinand Marcos and Anastacio Somoza.
The first sections of the book introduce numerous theoretical concepts (drawing heavily on the theories of the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, in particular his theory of hegemony) that are crucial to the understanding of the text. I personally found these sections extremely difficult but well worth the time it takes to read certain parts several times. Robinson then goes on to document four case studies-- the Phillipines, Chile, Nicaragua, and Haiti-- each of which fleshes out his conceptual framework in much more concrete terms. The result is a disturbing picture of US foreign policy and the current direction of "globalization." I would highly recommend this to anyone with a strong interest in foreign affairs and/or the future of humanity.
Implementation of color revolution follows "disaster capitalism" game plan, as it involves using some kind of crisis like close elections in the situation of economic difficulties or decline of standard of living of population (double whammy). In this situation the standard move from the playbook of color revolution is to declare that he/she won, and that elections were stolen and call for heavy propaganda bombardment by already entrenched in the political system of the country NGOs. And you can do a lot if you inject one billon dollars into a country election process via NGOs. It is essentially converting any election system into the US election system where candidate with the most money wins.
Such an approach of making already "warm" situation "hot" reminds Marxism as Marx considered a presence of a deep economic crisis as one of the most important preconditions for the revolution (Roche,2010)
After setting up this precondition, which he believes had been met by 1848, Marx turns to a lengthy discussion of commercial crises. According to Marx, “In these crises a great part not only of the existing products, but also of the previously created productive forces, are periodically destroyed. In these crises there breaks out…the epidemic of over-production.”12 Effectively, the bourgeois economy produces more than it is able to consume and thereby falls into chaos and disarray. Arguably, World War I could have been considered a commercial crisis and some Bolsheviks argued that it was the final crisis of capitalism.13 However, Western and Central Europe emerged from the crisis without falling into communism and began a recovery that even the Bolsheviks recognized.14
Those real difficulties are used as a fuse to incite people anger and direct it at the "corrupt" government (which is often really inapt and corrupt, but typically a saint in comparison with the next government installed by foreign power after the color revolution).
The idea is to enhance the flames of people protest to the level when it destroys the current government of the country. And then get serious economic and political dividends by installing a puppet government. Color revolutions are extremely profitable for the sponsoring foreign power. Much more so then a direct invasion. Actually with any government the country in such a situation has no negotiating power as the society is encompassed in economic chaos, or, worse, in a civil war.
There is one exception here -- a small state that is designated as a carrier of the US interests in the region. In this case the consequences can be less bleak. Georgia is one example here. Actually there was some economic progress in Georgia after installation of puppet regime of Mikheil Saakashvili
From this point of view it can be called a variation of "divide and conquer" policy. The latter is leitmotif of in The Grand Chessboard by Zbigniew Brzezinski. The book famous for predicting 9/11 events. Here is quote from Amazon review by R. D. Smith:
Three things in this book made my blood run ice cold. The first is the complete absence of any sense of morality in the whole discussion. I do not mean that this is an *im*moral book, it is not a moral book, it is *a*moral in that there is literally no discussion whatsoever whether what is being proposed is RIGHT or should be done. That the recommendations to grow the American Empire are valid is simply assumed, not proven or even argued. The second thing was the whole discussion on how the political center of mass was Central Eurasia (i.e. the region between Turkey and Pakistan and between Iran and Turkmenistan) and how unlikely it was that we were going to be able to have a substantial presence in the region (in the near term) unless we have SOME PERL HARBOR CLASS EVENT to accelerate the populations willingness to accept the costs. Also, This Was Bad because it would delay our needed expansion. Then, just on cue, we have the 9/11 attacks, and dang if we don't end up with a Whole Bunch of military presence all throughout the heart of Eurasia... Coincidence? Makes one wonder. As if that is not enough, the book closes with a clear and unambiguous reference to the steps needed to get us to the One World Government of the New World Order.
Typically the government that replaces the current "tyrannical" and "corrupt" government is even more tyrannical and corrupt, but at this stage all those "fighters for democracy" can't care less. Like Franklin D. Roosevelt aptly: Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch."
I would like to think about this episode in a wider context of the mechanic of staging of what can be called "Color revolutions." And if we think this way it is far from "Yawn". It is actually pretty sinister development. Color revolutions is neoliberals rehash of the playbook of communist revolutions ("Red revolutions"), but for completely different purposes. They manage to enrich the quote of Thomas Carlyle "All revolutions are conceived by idealists, implemented by fanatics, and its fruits are stolen by scoundrels." :-) . In this case it became symmetrically Machiavellian as in "...conceived by one set scoundrels, implemented by the other set of scoundrels, and its fruits are stolen by the third set of scoundrels"
The technology is now well polished and extremely powerful against any "not so pro-western" country. Especially effective in xUSSR space. As such Russia is not an exception. For it too color revolution represents a grave threat like for any other government in countries with "not enough pro-Western" policy. So I think it is unwise to underestimate its power. It already proved itself in half dozen countries. There are several films and books that document this new strategy such as
Amazon.com Bringing Down a Dictator Ivan Marovic, Srdja Popovic, Otpor!, Steve York Movies & TV
The Time of the Rebels- Youth Resistance Movements and 21st Century R…
The idea of using economic difficulties for destroying "inconvenient" regimes facing elections and overthrowing the government without overt external aggression is far from being new. Bolshevik's concept of a revolutionary situation <i>" when the lower strata does not want to live by old order and the upper strata can't maintain the old older"</i> is a century old. The new element is the method of artificially creating such a situation out of parliamentary or presidential elections. Even this is not new but can be seen as a variant of "divide and conquer" the strategy is as old as Roman Empire. Divide and rule - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In a way this is a modern, more sophisticated implementation of the old Roman "divide and conquer" imperial strategy:
The maxims divide et impera and divide ut regnes were utilised by the Roman ruler Caesar and the French emperor Napoleon. There is the example of Gabinius parting the Jewish nation into five conventions, reported by Flavius Josephus in Book I, 169-170 of The Wars of the Jews (De bello Judaico). Strabo also reports in Geography, 8.7.3 that the Achaean League was gradually dissolved under the Roman possession of the whole of Macedonia, owing to them not dealing with the several states in the same way, but wishing to preserve some and to destroy others.
In modern times, Traiano Boccalini cites "divide et impera" in La bilancia politica, 1,136 and 2,225 as a common principle in politics. The use of this technique is meant to empower the sovereign to control subjects, populations, or factions of different interests, who collectively might be able to oppose his rule. Machiavelli identifies a similar application to military strategy, advising in Book VI of The Art of War (Dell'arte della guerra), that a Captain should endeavor with every art to divide the forces of the enemy, either by making him suspicious of his men in whom he trusted, or by giving him cause that he has to separate his forces, and, because of this, become weaker.
Elements of this technique involve:
I see the following key ingredients of "color revolutions" in action in Russian elections:
I regularly screen Bringing Down a Dictator in my courses at Swarthmore College. This film does an excellent job of introducing students to the fundamentals of nonviolent power. Students come to understand that authoritarian regimes, while formidable, are often more fragile than we imagine. Milosevic's regime, like others, relied on a mixture of apathy, fear, and cynicism that the students of Otpor fought to dispel through humor, appeals to nationalism, and tireless public outreach. Like any large institution, Milosevic's regime depended on the loyalty of its functionaries (such as the police) and at least a veneer of public credibility. Otpor students carefully undermined both through its broad grassroots organizing, popular nonviolent resistance, and by awakening a multi-party political opposition.
Activists in each of these movements were funded and trained in tactics of political organization and nonviolent resistance by a coalition of Western pollsters and professional consultants funded by a range of Western government and non-government agencies. According to The Guardian, these include the U.S. State Department and US AID along with the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, NGO Freedom House and billionaire George Soros's Open Society Institute. The National Endowment for Democracy, a U.S. Government funded foundation, has supported non-governmental democracy-building efforts in Ukraine since 1988. Writings on nonviolent struggle by Gene Sharp formed the strategic basis of the student campaigns.
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
Substitute "State" for "color revolution". Press also serves for coordination and maintaining the direction and unity of the movement. Operation "Occupation of the press" is supported by heavy use of well-financed NGO as the brain trust and coordinating center for the movement:
Throughout the demonstrations, Ukraine's emerging Internet usage (facilitated by news sites which began to disseminate the Kuchma tapes) was an integral part of the orange revolutionary process. It has even been suggested that the Orange Revolution was the first example of an Internet-organized mass protest.  Analysts believe that the Internet and mobile phones allowed an alternative media to flourish that was not subject to self-censorship or overt control by President Kuchma and his allies and pro-democracy activists (such as Pora!) were able to use mobile phones and the Internet to coordinate election monitoring and mass protests.
So this is in a perverted way this is Trotsky idea of "permanent revolution" implemented on industrial scale.
The tragedy for the participants of color revolutions is that they with their hands and their sacrifice install the government that makes living conditions in the country worse for people and while providing the feast for the international corporations on the ruins of the old regime. Instead of resolving economic difficulties that were exploited to depose the current regime, economic conditions typically became worse and the prosperity of citizens suffers blow after blow. In other words the typical net result of color revolution for citizens of the particular country is quite opposite of expectation. Ukraine, Serbia and Georgia can serve of a litmus test of this statement.
It is actually pretty sinister politic trick that uses false flag of "democracy" for subduing the county in question to the international financial cartel. The main playbook was taken from Bolshevik manual, or more correctly form Trotskyites (some of prominent US Trotskyites join the US establishment before the WWII and brought "new ideas" with them).
As Marxism taught it is important to create a political party that will guide the masses in their struggle against oppressing regime. New element in this Marxist playbook used by color revolutions is that the core of such a party can consist of paid activists -- mercenaries of non-violent struggle
This huge infusion of cash (which at the end of the day is much cheaper then direct military invasion) is a new element of color revolution playbook.
Bombing the country with dollar proved to be very effective. Huge infusions of cash (often delivered illegally across the border to feed selected "dissidents") can really change the game. Again, the key idea here is to create a cadre of Mercenaries of non-violent struggle (Color Revolution Counterpunch « what's left) based on those hard currency inflows:
This enlisting of paid grassroots activists to bring down socialist or economically nationalist governments in order to privatize the country state-owned assets for the benefit of U.S. corporations and investors is a new element in comparison with Bolsheviks template. There are several classes of such activists:
“In Serbia dollars have accomplished what bombs could not. After U.S.-led international sanctions were lifted with Milosevic’s ouster in 2000, the United States emerged as the largest single source of foreign direct investment. According to the U.S. embassy in Belgrade, U.S. companies have made $1 billion worth of ‘committed investments’ represented in no small part by the $580 million privatization of Nis Tobacco Factory (Phillip Morris) and a $250 million buyout of the national steel producer by U.S. Steel. Coca-Cola bought a Serbian bottled water producer in 2005 for $21 million. The list goes on.” (12)
This mechanism of creating Fifth column includes using noble slogans invented in "think tanks" funded by Western governments, but their agendas are formulated to serve strategic Western interests.
Role of Fifth column is very important.
A fifth column is a group of people who clandestinely undermine a larger group such as a nation from within. A fifth column can be a group of secret sympathizers of an enemy that are involved in sabotage within military defense lines, or a country's borders. A key tactic of the fifth column is the secret introduction of supporters into the whole fabric of the entity under attack. This clandestine infiltration is especially effective with positions concerning national policy and defense. From influential positions like these, fifth-column tactics can be effectively utilized, from stoking fears through misinformation campaigns, to traditional techniques like espionage.
Self-preservation efforts suggest limitation or outright prohibition of flow of money and creation of "professional protestors" cohort. This is difficult undertaking as higher standard of living in Western countries attract a lot of people for whom protest activity is just a springboard to emigration of favorable terms. Also the balance of economic power matters. For example the USA managed to stop Russia from adopting some restrictions of NGOs in 2006. See The Backlash against Democracy Assistance for some constructive steps used by various states.
In practice, of course, legal constraints are supplemented and reinforced by extra-legal sanctions, ranging from surveillance and harassment to expulsion of democracy assistance NGOs and even the killing of local partners. We gauge and describe the impact of such measures principally with reference to the experience of NED’s core institutes. Indeed, the prevalence and the range of legal and extra-legal measures are indicated by the experience of the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center, the NED’s labor affiliate.
“There is no region or sub-region where the Solidarity Center and its trade union partners do not encounter obstacles to implementing or improving democratic principles,” it reports. The Solidarity Center cites impediments ranging
- “from the petty and subtle to the threatening and physical,” including: denial of visas, entry and other travel restrictions (Zimbabwe, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan);
- delays or denials in issuing resident permits (Nigeria);
- arbitrary investigations by intelligence service and special police forces (Bangladesh, Cambodia);
- surveillance and burglaries of union and Solidarity Center offices (Indonesia, Nigeria);
- assassinations, detention, and arrest of union members and elected leaders (Colombia, Cambodia);
- extra-legal actions to de-register democratic unions (Venezuela);
- denial of accreditation to trade union election monitoring teams (Zimbabwe);
- closure of Solidarity Center offices (Belarus, Russia);
- legislation to stop local NGOs from receiving outside funding (Zimbabwe);
- and new initiatives to punitively tax Solidarity Center and other NGO staffs (Thailand).
Nor are U.S.-based democracy assistance groups and their grantees or partners the only groups affected. The UK’s Westminster Foundation for Democracy reports that restrictive measures are resulting in “an inability of local partners to obtain licences to operate, censorship, interrogation, travel restrictions, office raids, dismissals, seizing of electronic office equipment and paper files, unreasonably rigorous bureaucratic and financial controls, and detention.”
In addition to legal constraints, many regimes seek to impede democracy assistance NGOs and related groups through unofficial means, from the creation and mobilization of pseudo-NGOs in an attempt to contest and confuse public and international opinion to the deployment of thugs or auxiliary forces—as in Cuba and Egypt—to assault, intimidate or harass activists. In Uzbekistan, for instance, a Freedom House training session was disrupted by 15 protesters who forced their way into the seminar and accused Freedom House of being Wahhabi Islamist extremists and enemies of the Uzbek state.
Egyptian NGOs are impeded by restrictive laws and the “extra-legal” actions of the Security Services, according to a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Civil society groups face severe restrictions under the law governing NGOs. The security services scrutinize and harass civil society activists even though the law does not accord them any such powers,” says the report. HRW cites instances of the security services rejecting NGO registrations, determining the composition of NGO boards, harassing activists, and interfering with funding.
For further details of ICNL’s distinctive and pioneering work on these issues, go to http://www.icnl.org/.
“Margins of Repression: State Limits on Nongovernmental Organization Activism,” Human Rights Watch, New York, 2005.
The issue of NGO harassment is assuming greater political salience, and not only within the world of democracy assistance organizations and civil society. The Russian government’s new measures against independent NGOs acquired diplomatic significance as senior figures from the State Department prevailed upon the Putin regime to refrain from more restrictive measures. The issue is unlikely to fade given Russia’s accession to the chair of the G8 grouping of advanced industrial democracies. Furthermore, as the Bush Administration continues to make democracy promotion a foreign policy priority, it is increasingly likely to confront resistance from autocrats and authoritarians.
At the November 2005 Forum for the Future in Bahrain, for instance, the question of NGO independence prompted Egypt to veto a final declaration and sabotage the launch of a Foundation for the Future designed to promote democratic change within the region. A draft declaration pledged delegates “to expand democratic practices, to enlarge participation in political and public life, (and) to foster the roles of civil society including NGOs.” But participants failed to agree to the draft after Cairo insisted that NGOs be “legally registered in accordance with the laws of the country.”
Egypt’s foreign minister complained that the U.S. and Europeans wanted “an open season for everybody,” a carte blanche for funding political NGOs through which “anybody can acquire anything from anybody at any time.”
The developments outlined above “are not isolated events,” observes the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, noting that “recently, over twenty countries have introduced restrictive legislation aimed at weakening civil society,” joining “scores of others with existing laws, policies, and practices that stifle the work of civil society organizations (NGOs).” The study, produced by ICNL specifically for this report, reveals that a number of countries have enacted or proposed laws that significantly restrict the activities of civil society (the appendix to this report details ICNL research covering the relevant countries, laws, and provisions). “We are witnessing a marked increase in the use of restrictions on NGO formation, operation, and financing by foreign governments,” ICNL contends. These restrictions pose serious obstacles to both foreign and domestic civil society groups’ ability to form, function effectively, and sustain themselves. Restrictive provisions are found in virtually every region of the world, but tend to be more prevalent in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the New Independent States (NIS) of the former Soviet Union.
As the ICNL notes, states with restrictive laws tend to exhibit one or more of the following characteristics:
- political dissent—either internal or within a neighboring country—is considered a threat to the current regime or incumbent party;
- concerns about religious fundamentalism or, more specifically, jihadist Islam;
- a contagion or copy-cat effect of similar legislation or practices introduced across neighboring regimes;
- a purported concern about foreign influence or interference.
The rationale for the proposal and enactment of repressive measures varies with context and circumstance. Governments often propose an “official” rationalization for a proposed law that does not match the reasons perceived by the international community and local civil society groups. The threat of terrorism is increasingly invoked to justify clampdowns and to deflect international criticism. For example, the Russian government has described its new NGO law as necessary to regulate the NGO sector, counter terrorism, and stop money laundering.
In Thailand, opposition, media, and civic groups are constrained by an emergency law promulgated in July 2005 by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra purportedly to curb Islamist violence in the Muslim south. The Emergency Powers Law allows the Thai government to impose curfews, detain people without charge, and ban public gatherings. Under the guise of a crackdown on money laundering, the Uzbekistan government effectively stopped the transfer of foreign funds to all Uzbek civil society groups. A resolution of the council of ministers requires NGOs to report activities to a “bank council” before releasing funds. The banking sector is so tightly controlled that it would be impossible to make these transfers. In short, NGOs and business associations are simply not able to function legally using foreign funds.
In some cases, restrictive legislation is projected as an attempt to improve NGO governance and regulation or to curb malpractices. However, in virtually all of the cases cited, the means deployed are more restrictive than necessary to fight NGO malpractice or poor governance, and are often contrary to obligations to protect the right to free association required by the country’s constitution or under international conventions. Restrictive laws are often a continuation of long-standing patterns of repressive government tactics (e.g., Belarus, Zimbabwe).
In some cases, the recent initiatives appear to be motivated by a desire to forestall political opposition. Indeed, ICNL research indicates that governments often enact restrictive NGO legislation before elections, recognizing the critical role that civil society can play in advancing democracy. Most democracy assistance groups have experienced the following legal and extra-legal constraints: restrictions on the right to associate and freedom to form NGOs; impediments to registration and denial of legal status; restrictions on foreign funding and domestic financing; ongoing threats through use of discretionary power; restrictions on political activities; arbitrary interference in NGO internal affairs; establishment of “parallel” organizations or ersatz NGOs; and the harassment, prosecution, and deportation of civil society activists. Some of these measures may appear at first glance to be relatively benign, neutral, or legitimate attempts to regulate civil society. Some authoritarian regimes claim that not only is it appropriate to limit foreign interference in domestic politics—as most advanced democracies do—but falsely claim that their newly restrictive measures are based on legislation already in effect in established democracies. Of course, governments may legitimately seek to regulate foreign funding of domestic political actors and/or to regulate NGOs prone to malpractice or poor governance. But this is where context and intent matter.
...In Vietnam, for instance, NGOs must obtain an operating license and the Vietnamese authorities routinely intervene in NGOs’ internal affairs and governance, often insisting on the prerogative to appoint (or otherwise veto) personnel.
...Many governments closely guard the process by which NGOs can register, i.e., become a legal entity with the associated legal rights and prerogatives. Governments insist that groups, even some as small or informal as a neighborhood association, must register, allowing authorities to monitor groups’ activities. Regimes make registration difficult, impeding the ability of civil society organizations, particularly advocacy groups, to function effectively or even to exist. Tactics include making registration prohibitively expensive and/or unduly burdensome in terms of the type and amount of information required; excessive delays in making registration decisions; and requiring frequent re-registration, giving authorities the right to revisit organizations’ licenses to operate.
In Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, and Algeria, as ICNL reports, regulations governing registration are kept deliberately vague, giving considerable discretion to officials. Consequently, NGOs have difficulty registering; some are denied registration while others experience long delays or repeated requests for further information. In Azerbaijan, the registration of local NGOs has, in effect, been suspended as a result of overly discretionary implementation of registration laws. In March 2005, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs instructed representatives of the International Republican Institute, National Democratic Institute, and IFES (formerly the International Foundation for Election Systems) to cease operations and leave Ethiopia within 48 hours. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed the view that they were operating illegally, even though all three groups had made a good faith effort to register both through the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C. and through the Ministry of Justice in Addis Ababa. Tajikistan has been holding international organizations in limbo by neither refusing nor granting registration. As a consequence, groups like NDI and Freedom House are operating with local staff and cannot get visas for international personnel. All NGOs in Tajikistan’s Ferghana Valley have been put through audits and re-registration following the Andijon massacre in Kyrgyzstan. In Belarus, the government exercises considerable discretion over the registration process through a National Commission on Registration of Public Associations that advises, through a notably opaque process, the Ministry of Justice on which organizations it should allow to register. The law requires authorities to respond within one month to registration requests, says ICNL, but NGOs have waited over a year only to be denied registration without explanation. Unregistered status renders activists and organizations vulnerable to capricious and punitive actions on the part of the security services. On March 3, 2006, the Belarusian KGB arrested four election observers from an unregistered NGO associated with the European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations (ENEMO) which is funded by the National Democratic Institute.
Russia’s NGO law, even as amended following protests, requires foreign and de facto domestic NGOs to re-register with a state agency which will examine their activities before determining whether they can continue operations. The measure allows the Federal Registration Service, an agency of the Justice Ministry, to invoke threats to the “constitutional order” to justify terminating funding of certain activities. Government officials enjoy an unprecedented degree of discretion for deeming programs or projects detrimental to Russia’s national interests. Registration officials can exercise prerogatives to close the offices of any foreign NGO undertaking programs that do not have the objective of “defending the constitutional system, morals, public health, rights and lawful interest of other people, [or] guaranteeing the defense capacity and security of the state.”
Restrictions on working with “unregistered” groups in Uzbekistan In December 2003, the Uzbekistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) instructed the International Republican Institute to cease working with “illegal organizations,” meaning all unregistered political parties. The country’s foreign minister personally accused the International Republican Institute (IRI) of promoting a coalition of “anti-government forces that wish to overthrow the constitutional order of Uzbekistan,” and advised IRI to take the Uzbek government’s views on this seriously and “act accordingly.” Consequently, IRI postponed a scheduled seminar on “Government Mechanisms for Registration” for political activists. Selected international organizations were instructed to reapply for accreditation through the Ministry of Justice (instead of the Foreign Ministry) and to turn in current MFA accreditation cards before March 1, 2004. Under these circumstances, the U.S. Embassy recommended that IRI take a break from activity in order to assess the situation and plan for 2004. In April 2004, IRI received its official registration certificate, accompanied by a letter from the Ministry of Justice listing IRI’s alleged violations and a warning that registration would be canceled if IRI continued training activities with non-registered groups. In May 2004, the justice minister warned IRI that it was breaking the law by working with the unregistered parties Erk and Birlik. In response to the justice minister’s statement, IRI suspended initiative group training for non-registered movements. In November 2004, the Ministry of Justice, verbally and in writing, warned IRI not to have contact with or extend any kind of assistance to unregistered political movements. This warning came after IRI had hosted, at its office, individual consultations between a Ukrainian consultant and Uzbek activists seeking to run as candidates in the December 2004 Oliy Majlis election.
Restrictions on foreign funding and domestic financing
Restrictions on foreign funding of domestic civil society groups are increasingly common and government attempts to legitimize and gain support for these constraints are frequently couched in faux patriotic or xenophobic terms. In this respect, authoritarian regimes gain a “two-fer.” They impose technical restrictions on civil society groups’ ability to function while undermining them politically by suggesting that they are agents of or otherwise represent alien interests.
Russia, Venezuela, Egypt and Zimbabwe provide perhaps the most blatant and pernicious instances of this trend. “We are against overseas funding for the political activities [of NGOs] in Russia,” President Vladimir V. Putin has stated. “For some of these organizations the main objective has become to receive funds from influential foreign and domestic foundations,” he claims, insisting that “for others the aim is to serve dubious groups and commercial interests.”
In Venezuela, CIPE has noted various types of NGO harassment. “While not much of this can be attributed to specific laws (though that may yet happen),” CIPE notes, intimidation takes various forms including “harassment or the threat of it in the form of financial and tax audits” of grantees. The regime of Hugo Chavez is prosecuting civil society activists from Súmate, a voter education NGO, on charges of “conspiracy” resulting from a NED grant to promote education on electoral rights prior to the 2004 recall referendum. The regime has openly insisted that receipt of foreign funds is in itself subversive. “It is one thing to be involved in politics, and quite another to solicit support from a foreign government to intervene in internal affairs of the country,” says Luisa Ortega, a state prosecutor with Venezuela’s National Council. “There is conclusive proof in the contract with the accused for financial support from NED that shows intent to conduct politics against the current government,” stated Ortega. Article 10 of the recent criminal code reform bill specified that anyone who supplies or receives funds from abroad to conspire against the integrity of the territory of the republic or government institutions, or to destabilize social peace, may be punished with sentences of 20 to 30 years in jail. Although that provision was ultimately withdrawn from the bill, legal experts suggest that its provisions can still be interpreted to the same effect. T
...More generally, ICNL research identifies a wide range of legislative measures used to restrict foreign funding, including requirements that: NGOs must receive prior government permission to receive foreign funding (sometimes on a donation- by-donation basis, imposing further administrative burdens on thinly-stretched organizational resources); NGOs must not only register but frequently re-register with the government, and a government-controlled commission decides whether the organization will be allowed to receive foreign funding; overseas funding must be channeled through government agencies or via designated bank accounts that are easily monitored or even frozen; foreign funds are subjected to punitively high taxation; and foreign funding is restricted to a limited percentage of an NGO’s total income.
In Belarus, an August 2005 presidential edict prohibits organizations and individuals from receiving and using foreign assistance for “preparing and conducting elections and referenda; recalling deputies and members of the Council of the Republic; staging gatherings, rallies, street marches, demonstrations, picketing, or strikes; producing and distributing campaign materials; and any other forms of mass politicking among the population.” Regulations adopted in 2004 imposed reporting and approval mechanisms that ensure government control over donor funds and projects. NGOs are required to pay up to 30 percent tax on foreign aid, a stipulation that has prompted some overseas donors to reconsider the viability of financial support to Belarusian civil society.
In 2004, Belarus enacted provisions allowing the regime to close an NGO for violating laws restricting the use of foreign funds or for demonstrating in violation of a law curtailing mass meetings. In 2003, government officials dissolved 51 leading civil society groups, and in 2004 a further 20 groups were terminated. In 2004, Minsk refused renewal of registration permits for Counterpart and IREX, two U.S.-based organizations implementing U.S. government-funded programs. A December 2005 measure introduces severe penalties for activities deemed conducive to fomenting “revolution” in Belarus, notes 23 the ICNL, specifically: training people to take part in “group activities that flagrantly violate the public peace” and for financing such training would carry a jail sentence of up to six months or a prison sentence of up to two years; training people to take part in “mass riots” or its financing would carry a jail sentence of up to six months or a prison sentence of up to three years; appeals to a foreign country, a foreign or international organization to act “to the detriment of” the country’s “security, sovereignty and territorial integrity,” as well as the distribution of material containing these appeals, would carry a jail sentence of six to 36 months or a prison sentence of two to five years; and distribution of similar appeals via the media would carry a prison sentence of two to five years. A new article to the Criminal Code, titled “Discrediting the Republic of Belarus,” establishes a jail sentence of up to six months or a prison sentence of up to two years for “providing a foreign country, a foreign or international organization with patently false information about the political, economic, social, military and international situation of the Republic of Belarus, the legal position of citizens in the Republic of Belarus, and its governmental agencies.”
Restrictions on political activities
NGOs are frequently required to refrain from activities broadly defined as political, a severe if not disabling obstacle to democracy assistance groups. Even non-partisan or largely technical activities are vulnerable to malicious or willful misinterpretation, rendering activists and organizations vulnerable to potentially severe penalties.
In Kazakhstan, ICNL reports, the law prohibits “foreigners, persons without citizenship, or foreign legal entities and international organizations” from engaging in “activities that support (or make possible) the nomination and election of candidates, political parties, nomination of parties to the party list or the achieving of a specific result during elections.” Penalties for violating the prohibition include fines (for individuals and organizations) and deportation of the individuals involved.
Arbitrary interference in NGO internal affairs.
Even when civil society groups are allowed to form and secure official registration, governments continue to restrict their activities through unchecked oversight authority and interference in NGOs’ internal affairs. Failure to comply with government demands may prompt sanctions and penalties. Civil society groups are frequently impeded and harassed by bureaucratic red tape, visits by the tax inspectorate, and other below-the-radar tactics. Despite amendments to draft proposals, made after international protests and diplomatic representations, Russia’s NGO law still allows officials to utilize less public means of intimidating political opponents. The registration authority enjoys discretionary power to audit the activities and finances of noncommercial organizations, request documents, and attend meetings, including internal strategy or policy discussions.
...China offers a clear and disturbing instance of enhanced state interference and harassment of NGOs, particularly by the Ministry of State Security. Beijing’s concern about the “colored revolutions” and the potential role of civil society groups in fostering political change is well-documented. NGOs have been visited by state security representatives asking about sources of funding, specifically mentioning certain American funders, including NED, IRI, and NDI. The Ministry of Civil Affairs (MoCA), the government body responsible for registering NGOs, recently stopped processing applications for NGO registration.
...In Belarus, a law signed by the president in December 2005 provides for prison sentences for individuals who train others to participate in street protests, engage them to act against Belarusian sovereignty, or tell lies about the country. Organizing activities on the part of a suspended or closed nongovernmental organization or a foundation, or taking part in such a group carries a jail sentence of up to six months or a prison sentence of up to two years. Even prior to the new legislation, NGOs faced acute problems. Some 78 civil society groups ceased operations in Belarus in 2003 following harassment by government officials, the ICNL reports. In 2004, the government inspected and issued warnings to 800 others. The national security agencies and the Office of Public Associations questioned and searched a number of civil society groups and, in some cases, confiscated publications and print materials. Such inspections make it nearly impossible for organizations to focus on their primary activities.
...Punitive legal actions are another form of harassment, notably in Singapore. In February 2006, opposition politician Chee Soon Juan, secretary general of the Singapore Democratic Party, was bankrupted and, as a consequence, barred from contesting political office, following a punitive defamation suit brought by former prime ministers Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong. Chee was barred from traveling to the World Movement for Democracy’s Istanbul assembly in May 2006 when immigration agents impounded his passport. As noted above, civil society activists who engaged in voter education prior to Venezuela’s presidential recall referendum are currently facing charges of conspiracy against the state for receiving U.S. funds. If convicted of treason, Alejandro Plaz and Maria Corina Machado face up to 16 years in jail. Civil society groups complain that the Venezuelan authorities are seeking to paint efforts to uphold the constitution as a conspiracy to undermine the government.
In Russia, NGOs associated with international democracy and human rights groups are frequently subject to harassment through inspections and criminal investigations. The field director of one democracy assistance group was detained on arrival at the airport for no apparent reason and would not have been able to re-enter Russia had the U.S. Ambassador not intervened. Later, she was effectively deported from the country after authorities refused to prolong her registration without explanation.
....Democracy assistance groups are consistent in stressing that the backlash against democracy assistance predates the color revolutions, particularly in Russia. It was in December 2002, for example, several months before Georgia’s Rose Revolution, that U.S. Peace Corps representatives were expelled from Moscow and the representative of the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center was refused re-entry into Russia, leading to the eventual closure of its office. While programs often continue in the face of repressive actions, partners and grantees nevertheless become more cautious, circumspect, and wary of adopting a high profile. In some countries, for example, NED grantees have asked program officers not to visit them for fear of drawing the attention of the authorities. In other instances, prospective program partners or grantees have suggested that while they need external assistance and are willing to work with or accept grants from democracy promotion groups, the risks are too great to do so. Yet these instances are relatively rare and practitioners.
...In the case of the closure of the Solidarity Center’s Moscow office, for example, or the expulsion of the Open Society Institute, Freedom House, and IREX from Uzbekistan, democracy promotion groups are forced to relocate to adjacent territories or adopt “semi-detached” forms of engagement with grantees or partners, including provision of assistance through third parties. These measures have less impact on initiatives like the NED’s discretionary grants program that relies on direct grant aid, focusing resources on local activists and groups, and which rarely requires a local presence in the field. Democracy assistance donors are nonetheless affected by new restrictions on funding and, to some extent, disadvantaged by distance. Unlike field-based groups, including NED’s institutes, they are not usually in a position to reassure or placate suspicious local authorities by establishing relationships or providing access to programs.
...The new repressive climate in certain states has highlighted the benefits of non-governmental and civil society-based approaches. Maintaining and highlighting independence from government, such initiatives demonstrate that democracy promotion is most effectively undertaken by non-governmental organizations, particularly in regions like the Middle East and Central Asia where official U.S. support is sometimes shunned. Unlike official government agencies, often constrained by diplomatic or security considerations, democracy promotion NGOs, operating openly but largely below the radar screen, are able to avoid compromising the integrity and efficacy of programs. Groups like NED are able to engage and fund unlicensed organizations that tend to undertake cutting edge programs but cannot ordinarily access official funds.
...NED in particular has extensive experience of channeling aid and assistance to dissidents, labor unions, intellectual and civic groups, and other agencies for democratic change. For example, cross-border programs that require ample coordination and expertise are run by NGOs based in Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Lithuania, which aid media and human rights groups in Belarus and farther afield in Central Asia. Similar work is undertaken by civil society groups in East and Southeast Asia.
Lenin defined a special term "revolutionary situation" (his well know saying is "A revolution is impossible without a revolutionary situation; furthermore, not every revolutionary situation leads to revolution.") to describe the preconditions in which coup d'état against existing government has greatest chances of success (Translation from Soviet encyclopedia):
Revolutionary Situation is a political situation preceding a revolution and characterized by mass revolutionary ferment and the involvement of broad strata of the oppressed classes in active struggle against the existing system. A revolutionary situation serves as an indicator of whether sociopolitical conditions are ripe for a revolution, for the attainment of power by the progressive class.
A revolutionary situation has three basic symptoms.
- A “crisis of the upper classes,” that is, the ruling classes find it impossible to maintain their domination in unchanged form. The crisis in the policies of the ruling class creates a fissure through which the discontent and indignation of the oppressed classes pour. For a revolution to take place, V. I. Lenin noted, “it is usually insufficient for ‘the lower classes not to want’ to live in the old way; it is also necessary that the ‘upper classes should be unable’ to live in the old way.”
- “When,” Lenin continues, “the suffering and want of the oppressed classes have grown more acute than usual” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 26, p. 218). The exacerbation may result from a deterioration of the economic position of broad strata of the population, from social inequality and the deprivation of the masses, from a sharp intensification of social antagonisms, and from other conditions stemming from the contradictions in a given system (for example, the threat of war, and the offensive of reactionary forces).
- A significant rise in the level of political activity among the masses (ibid.). Militant attitudes grow swiftly, and the masses are literally obsessed with politics.
... ... ...
A revolutionary situation is marked by a growing dynamism. As it develops, it passes through a series of stages, beginning with clear signs of mass ferment and ending with a nationwide crisis that develops into a revolution. The higher the stage of the revolutionary situation, the more important is the maturity of the subjective factor—that is, the capacity and readiness of revolutionary classes to carry out pressing reforms and to overthrow the power of the ruling class—in the further development of the situation. During the period of the nationwide crisis, the role of the subjective factor becomes decisive. Not every revolutionary situation reaches the highest stage and becomes a revolution. Examples include the revolutionary situation of 1859–61 in Russia and the revolutionary situation of 1923 in Germany. If for one reason or another the progressive classes are not prepared for aggressive, organized actions, the revolutionary situation declines, the mass revolutionary excitement dies out, and the ruling class finds means of retaining power.
And this strategy of exploiting pre-existing economic difficulties and created by them "revolutionary situation" for "regime change" proved to be quite efficient due to combining forces of internal domestic opposition with Western political and financial power.
This playbook represents a grave threat for any government in countries with “not enough pro-Western” policy.
While separate elements of this scheme were known long before and have a base on Bolshevik theory of revolutions (or more correctly in its Trotskyite variant of permanent revolution, as it was Trotskyites who turned into neocons brought to western government this set of ideas; see The Transitional Program (Part 1)) the "packaged kit" of the color-coded pseudo-revolutions that swept through the former Soviet bloc (and, later, targeted other states from Lebanon to Venezuela) within the last decade remains essentially the same.
Promoting "democratic revolution" has become the surrogate for direct armed invasion - though, as in Iraq and Libya, both can work well together. The strategies these ersatz movements pursue are no different from Communist Popular Front tactics in the same region after World War Two - in fact, the Ukraine's "Orange Revolution" resembles the Czechoslovak "Communist coup" of 1948. The only difference is that in the latter case a flowering of the democratic spirit was choreographed by the USA and the whole movement has a clear anti-Russian edge with the participation of Nazi "collaborationists" from Western region of Ukraine.
Of course there is real frustration and disappointment with the government in the targeted nations, and the revolutionaries of color can find fertile fields for sowing. But the end result does not serve the people whose anger has been manipulated, but invariably the economic and "security" interests of major Western powers, principally but not exclusively the United States.
While they are neoliberal rehash of the playbook of communist revolutions (“Red revolutions”), they manage to enrich the quote of Thomas Carlyle “All revolutions are conceived by idealists, implemented by fanatics, and its fruits are stolen by scoundrels.” . In this case it became symmetrically Machiavellian as in
“…conceived by one set scoundrels, implemented by the other set of scoundrels, and its fruits are stolen by the third set of scoundrels”
"…power does its work by stealth, and the powerful
can subsequently deny that their strength was ever used at all."
Salman Rushdie, Shalimar the Clown (2005)
The idea is set of NGO like set of think tanks is very similar to Bolsheviks idea of core of professional revolutionaries in Bolshevik Party. The only difference is that neoliberal NGO and set of think tanks is financed by oligarchy, primary by financial oligarchy and key governments of neoliberal world.
Before WWII the USA was concerned about influence of Nazi Germany sponsored organization on the US government and the stability of the USA political system. This is when Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) was adopted to suppress such an activities.
Later the USA became the major destabilizing force itself operating via network of NGO to sponsor color revolutions. For example, The NDI is a U.S. government financed organization. It is a "nonprofit organization" in the same sense that the U.S. Armed Forces are a "nonprofit organization", or, more correctly, CIA is a non-profit.The CIA used to handle all the subversive activities of the US Government abroad until the Church and Pike commissions opened up that can of worms. That forced Reagan regime to repackage the US Government's efforts at subversion of foreign governments and make the State Department and NGO the central actors in such efforts. Among organizations created for this purpose were:
These were apparently modeled on the CIA's set of organizations that was founded in Germany, during the USA administration of West Germany after WWII:
Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) was an important and innovative legislative efforts designed to protect the state from activities of the fifth column, and now to restrict activites of foreign NGOs. Protection from NGO activities is vital as they are brain centers and sponsors of color revolutions. Recently several countries reused the USA experience in this area and created law modeled of FARA that limits the degrees of freedom of such organization. Among them Israel, Russia, Malaysia and in 2014 (successfully, just before the coup) Ukraine.
It proved to be a potent tool of fighting Color revolutions, a regime change scheme which became one of the major tools of the foreign policy of some states. It make "bombing country with dollars for regime change substantially more difficult. It is especially effective when regime change efforts are wrapped in democracy promotion hypocrisy as commitment to democratic values of financed local NGO and humal rights activists is often directly proportional to the dollar flow in the country.
The act declared that an agent of a foreign principal is any individual or organization which acts at the order, request, or under the direction or control of a foreign principal, or whose activities are directed by a foreign principal who:
In the USA FARA registrations and disclosures are administered by the FARA Registration Unit of the Counterespionage Section in the National Security Division of the Justice Department.
Every government official in third world and "developing" country should read Gene Sharp and couple of other books and understand the mechanics used and NGO involved. The key NGO engages in staging color revolutions includes
It not an accident that most of those organization were shown the door in several countries where danger of color revolutions exists. There is a good article on the subject written by Sreeram Chaulia 19 January 2006, which we will reproduce in full (Democratisation, NGOs and colour revolutions):
Samuel Huntington, summarizing the mix of primary causes for the "third wave" of democratization that began in 1974, listed a new but not decisive factor that had been absent in the preceding two waves: "Changes in the policies of external actors…a major shift in US policies toward the promotion of human rights and democracy in other countries…". American international NGOs ("Ingos") were prominent mechanisms through which this causal link between superpower foreign policy interests and regime change worked out in many transitions from authoritarian rule in the twenty-one-year-long "third wave".
This essay attempts to extend the analysis on Ingo instrumentality and democratization to the geopolitical storms popularized as "colour" or "flower" revolutions that have been sweeping the post-communist world since 1999. It sets out to assess the strength of the impact of transnational actors on recent international political events of great consequence, and explore the parasitic relationship between Ingos and a hegemonic state.
The intention is to bring the state back into a field dominated by flawed renderings of transnational activism. The principal argument is that the main and direct causes of the colour revolutions were United States foreign-policy interests (strategic expansion, energy security and the war on terrorism) as they were serviced by Ingos. Without the intervention of these US-sponsored Ingos, the political landscapes in countries like Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan would not have been repainted in new coolers.
These three revolutions – the "rose revolution" in Georgia (November 2003-January 2004), the "orange revolution" in Ukraine (January 2005) and the "tulip revolution" in Kyrgyzstan (April 2005) – each followed a near-identical trajectory; all were spearheaded by the American democratization Ingos working at the behest of the US foreign policy establishment.
It will be argued that the comparable political convulsions of Uzbekistan (May 2005) and Azerbaijan (November 2005) did not experience "colour revolutions" due to a variation in the independent variable, US foreign-policy priorities.
The contexts of democratization
Most studies of democratization recognize the international context in which regime change occurs, but such studies never go to the extent of giving external causes prime place. The consensus is that exogenous factors "are difficult to apply in a sustained manner over the long term." In the case of the former communist bloc, some scholars regard international organizations, western economic aid and the Catholic church as "catalysts of democratization"; others claim that international human-rights norms triggered fundamental political changes leading to the demise of communism.
Transnational actors, comprising Ingos at the hub of advocacy networks, are viewed as capitalizing on opportunity structures offered by "internationalism", acting as "ideational vectors of influence", and maintaining constant criticism of vulnerable "target states" that are repressive in nature. Portrayals of advocacy networks as autonomous entities that skillfully maneuver states and international organizations for achieving their own principled ends suggest that democratization was "both a contributing cause and an effect of the expanding role of transnational civil society."
On the question of how transnational actors "penetrate" target states, which is of seminal interest for our colour-revolutions quest, constructivist theory harps on norm institutionalization in issue-areas like human rights that enable coalitions with powerful state actors who favor such norms. The manner in which American democratization Ingos penetrated Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, however, did not follow this route.
Another pathway for penetration is presented by the "boomerang pattern", wherein international contacts "amplify the demands of domestic groups, pry open space for new issues and then echo back these demands into the domestic arena. " Though campaign strategies and pressurizing tactics of Ingos do approximate to what happened before the colour revolutions in Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, the origin of American INGO involvement in these states was not as straightforward as an invitation from local civil society to global civil society.
Former communist countries are characterized by weak local civil societies and embryonic homebred intermediate organizations. Nor were the dynamics of INGO intervention in these states as simple as domestic grievances being resolved by coalitions with principled external networks "motivated by values rather than by material or professional norms. " For the most apposite theoretical framework that fits the story of Ingos and colour revolutions, we must leave constructivism and turn to the revolving applications of realism in world politics.
Ingos as vehicles of strategic penetration
Realism asserts that transnational actors can punch above their weight and have disproportionate impact on world affairs only if they lobby and change the preferences, practices and policies of powerful states. The Helsinki network in Europe followed this game plan to great effect by winning over the US government to its side in the struggle against communism.
Norm-driven theorists fail to concede that superpowers have minds and agency of their own and only give in to transnational "pressures" when the issue area serves larger geo-strategic purposes. Rarely has the US promoted human rights and democracy in a region when they did not suit its grander foreign-policy objectives.
Thomas Carothers, a leading authority on US democracy promotion, has decried the instrumentalisation of democratization by recent American administrations: "The United States has close, even intimate relations with many undemocratic regimes for the sake of American security and economic interests… and struggles very imperfectly to balance its ideals with the realist imperatives it faces."
The flip side of this reality is the fact that when undemocratic regimes prove to be thorns in the flesh, the US sees great merit in their overthrow by a range of diverse methods. In the cold-war era, selectivity in democracy promotion was best reflected by Jeane Kirkpatrick’s distinction between "totalitarian" and "authoritarian" regimes, the latter being states which can be supported in the scheme of bigger US interests.
As we delve into the case studies of colour revolutions, the same "good despot-bad despot" patchiness of superpower attitudes to democratization in the post-communist world will resurface in the new context of the "war on terrorism".
Geoffrey Pridham divides geo-strategic impact over regime changes into the two dimensions of space and time. The Mediterranean had turned into an area of intense superpower rivalry in the mid-1970s due to the enhanced Soviet naval presence and instability in the middle east. Regime transitions in that hotspot, therefore, sharpened US and western interests in the outcomes.
As a corollary, at sensitive world historical moments, American inclinations to intervene in regime politics of countries tend to be greater. Early cold-war economic instability in Italy and Greece in the 1970s was one juncture where the outcome stakes were felt to be so high in Washington that it took an active interventionist role. Thirty years on, the spatial and temporal importance of Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan in the geo-strategic sweepstakes was ripe for colour revolutions orchestrated from outside.
Laurence Whitehead has deepened understanding of democratization as a geopolitical strategy that redistributes global power and control with the metaphor of a vaccine, not of a contagion or virus. US military and other modes of destabilizing interventions in Central America were meant to inoculate polities from contamination by Castroism and this treatment was labeled "democracy". "Two-thirds of the democracies existing in 1990 owed their origins to deliberate acts of imposition or intervention from without…It is not contiguity but the policy of a third power that explains the spread of democracy from one country to the next." The colour revolutions under our bioscope were integral to this power-politics tradition motoring dominant states in international relations.
Realist views on transnational actors as instruments of powerful states date back to debates about multinational corporations (MNCs) and their entanglement with American hegemony. Robert Gilpin was the first to explain the rise of MNCs as a function of hegemonic stability, i.e. that the leadership of a powerful political state actor is essential for the creation and maintenance of a liberal world economy in which MNCs thrive.
Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye also warned in the 1970s that "transnational relations may redistribute control from one state to another and benefit those governments at the centre of transnational networks to the disadvantage of those in the periphery." Ingos had not burst onto the global notice board during these early reviews on transnationalism. However, the usage of Ingos as foreign-policy instruments was not unknown right from the start of the cold war.
Humanitarian Ingos like the International Rescue Committee (founded in 1933 to assist anti-Nazi opponents of Hitler) and democratization Ingos like Freedom House (founded in 1941; an important component of the Marshall Plan to prevent communist takeover of western Europe) are two high-profile cases that represented US governmental interests while maintaining INGO legal status.
Inducing defectors and refugees from behind the "iron curtain" to cross over, public diplomacy, propaganda and funding of electoral candidates in foreign countries by charities and Ingos existed long before the voluntary sector attained an overtly pivotal position in the annals of US foreign policy. More recently, humanitarian (not human-rights) Ingos heavily dependent on US finances have been found to be consciously or subconsciously extending US governmental interests. As Julie Mertus writes: "It's not the NGOs driving the government’s agenda; it's the US government driving the NGO agenda."
Doctrinal developments in foreign policy kept pace with the growing potential of Ingos as valuable assets for promoting US national interests. Andrew Scott’s (1965) "informal penetration" theory tied US foreign aid, technical assistance and international organizations together as a toolkit that can be used to increase the porosity and penetrability of rival states.
Permeability of national borders was both a precondition for the emergence of transnational entities like MNCs, Ingos and international organizations, as well as the end result of increasing transnationalism with the US as metropole. Richard Cottam theorised that the Zeitgeist of world politics had changed from the ultimate recourse of "shooting warfare" to political, economic and psychological warfare. The arenas at which critical international battles took place were increasingly the domestic politics of weaker target states that are vulnerable to foreign influence and interference.
Cottam was disappointed with the "ad hoc" nature of US foreign policy and its neglect of a long-term strategic plan based on "tactical interference". The contemporary blueprint for co-opting transnational actors as active wings of foreign policy was laid by Joseph Nye’s liberal "soft power" idea that called for harnessing the US's tremendous reserve of intangible resources such as culture, ideology and institutions for preserving world dominance.
"Soft power" at the end of the cold war would be less costly and more effective to Nye because of its subtlety and seductive quality. The prohibitive costs of direct military action in modern times ensure that "other instruments such as communications, organizational and institutional skills, and manipulation of interdependence have become important instruments of power. " To manage the challenges of "transnational interdependence", Nye urges greater US investment in international institutions and regimes on issue-areas that can perpetuate the American lead in global power.
His emphasis on private actors operating across international borders as a key category that has to be managed by the hegemonic state aims at the heart of our discussion on democratization Ingos as pawns. Among practitioners of US diplomacy too, soft power's utility in furthering strategic ends has been toasted after the end of the cold war. Warren Christopher, President Clinton’s first secretary of state, proposed a strategic approach based on "new realism" to promoting democracy: "By enlisting international and regional institutions in the work, the US can leverage our own limited resources and avoid the appearance of trying to dominate others."
The democratization Gongos
The watershed that brought Ingos to the forefront of global democracy-promotion was the Reagan administration’s decision to create the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in 1983 to roll back Soviet influence. With a stated raison d'être of "strengthening democratic institutions around the world through nongovernmental efforts", NED was conceived as a quasi-governmental foundation that funneled US government funding through Ingos like the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the International Republican Institute (IRI), International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), and Freedom House.
These Ingos in turn "targeted" authoritarian states through a plethora of programmatic activities. NED’s first president, Allen Weinstein, admitted openly that "a lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA. " The organization was a deus ex machina in the face of scandalous Congressional investigations into the CIA's "soft side" operations to destabilize and topple unfriendly regimes that embarrassed the government in the late 1970s.
As William Blum writes: "An NGO helps to maintain a certain credibility abroad that an official US government agency might not have. " 97% of NED's funding comes from the US state department (through USAID and before 1999, the Usia), the rest being allocations made by right-wing donors like the Bradley Foundation, the Whitehead Foundation and the Olin Foundation. Since its conception, and despite the bipartisan structure, "neoconservatives have held tight control over NED's agenda and institutional structure."
Senior figures in the George W Bush administration who are signatories to the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), which wears aggressive US foreign interventions on its sleeve, have officiated in NED. Notwithstanding its claims to "independence" and "nongovernmental status", the US state department and other executive agencies regularly appoint NED's programme personnel. As one 'Project Democracy' (codename for NED in the Iran-Contra scandal) advocate put it, "These 'private' agencies are really just fronts for the departments they serve; the agency may prepare a report or a research project that it then gives to the private firm to attach its letterhead to, as if it were really a private activity or initiative."
A survey of NED's partner Ingos reveals a similar pattern of public priorities forwarded by private agents. Freedom House, a neocon hub which succoured the colour revolutions, has a history of being headed and staffed by ex-CIA high-level planners and personnel.
NDI is dominated by "liberal hawks" or right-wing Democrats who find their way to prime foreign-policy slots when their party is in power. IRI comprises a herd of far-right Republican politicians and representatives of major financial, oil, and defense corporations. IFES top brass belong to conservative Republican ranks, the CIA or military intelligence. IREX, the training school for colour revolution elite protagonists, is peopled by political warfare, public diplomacy and propaganda specialists from the news media, US foreign service and the US military.
For our purpose, it is interesting to note that compared to humanitarian and development Ingos, which have often promoted US foreign-policy objectives, democratization and human-rights Ingos boast of a far greater preponderance of US government and intelligence operatives. This owes much to the fact that democratization is a sensitive political minefield with direct bearings on international relations. It is too important a foreign policy subject for the US government to hand over reins to the voluntary sector.
Armed with the luxury of a sea of democratization Gongos (governmental NGOs) and quangos (quasi-governmental NGOs), William DeMars: "The US government has a greater capacity than any other single actor in the world to keep track of them, channel them, thwart them, or ride them in a chosen direction."
Usaid's avowal that democracy can be promoted around the world without "being political" is totally fictional, because the onus of NED and its family is on altering the balance of political forces in the target country in the pretext of "civil society assistance."
Criticizing the brazen politicization of democratization Ingos, Elizabeth Cohn recommends: "Close consultation between the U.S. government and nongovernmental groups should stop. NGOs should set their own goals and not be servants of U.S. national interests, as NED is by congressional mandate."
That such relinquishment would appear foolhardy for the realists in US government goes without saying, for it is tantamount to killing the goose that lays golden eggs. To its supporters, the NED family has numerous successes to show off – interventions "to protect the integrity of elections in the Philippines, Pakistan, Taiwan, Chile, Nicaragua, Namibia, Eastern Europe and elsewhere."
Neutral assessments would rate these as electoral manipulations. Left out of the above count are victorious overthrows of democratically-elected governments in Bulgaria (1990), Albania (1992) and Haiti (late 1990s) and destabilization in Panama, Cuba and Venezuela. The next section will demonstrate that the latest feathers in NED's cap are the colour revolutions.
Ukraine’s operation orange
Ukraine epitomizes habitual American "instrumentalisation of value-based policies", thus "wrapping security goals in the language of democracy promotion and then confusing democracy promotion with the search for particular political outcomes that enhance those security goals."
Identified by the Clinton administration as a priority country for democratization and the lynchpin of US post-Soviet foreign policy, Ukraine’s importance for Nato's eastward expansion is second to none. Clinton’s special adviser on the former USSR, Richard Morningstar, confirmed during the 1997 Ukraine-Nato pact that "Ukraine’s security is a key element in the security policy of the United States. " For Zbigniew Brzezinski, the liberal hawk who influences the Democratic party’s foreign policy:"Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire ... if Moscow regains control over Ukraine, with its 52 million people and major resources, as well as access to the Black Sea, Russia automatically again regains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state."
With the accession of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to Nato by 1999, Ukraine remained the last frontier, the single largest buffer on the Russia-Nato "border". The orange revolution has to be viewed in the context of a defensive Russia attempting to hold on to its sphere of influence in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and an aggressive Euro-Atlantic eastward push by the European Union and Nato.
The line-up of foreign backing for the two presidential candidates on the eve of the revolution unambiguously unravels this background tug of war. Viktor Yanukovich, the candidate of outgoing president, Leonid Kuchma, received strong verbal and financial support from the Kremlin before, during and after the disputed 2004 election. In a personal meeting with Russian president, Vladimir Putin, just before the election, Yanukovich promised "that he would end Ukraine's policy of seeking membership in NATO." Viktor Yushchenko, the pro-market challenger who benefited from American diplomatic, intelligence and Ingo assistance for the orange revolution, put his eggs entirely in the EU and Nato basket.
Energy politics also figured in Washington's regime change calculus for Ukraine. In July 2004, much to the consternation of the Bush administration and Brussels, Kuchma's government reversed an earlier decision to extend the Odessa-Brody pipeline to Gdansk in Poland. Had the extension occurred, it would have carried enormous Caspian oil flows to the EU, independent of Russia, and weakened Ukraine's overwhelming dependence on Russia for its energy needs.
Jettisoning a project that would have cemented Kiev's westward trajectory, Kuchma decided to open an unused pipeline that would transport oil from the Russian Urals to Odessa. The fallout on US interests was not negligible, as W Engdahl reports: "Washington policy is aimed at direct control over the oil and gas flows from the Caspian, including Turkmenistan, and to counter Russian regional influence from Georgia to Ukraine to Azerbaijan and Iran. The background issue is Washington's unspoken recognition of the looming exhaustion of the world's major sources of cheap high-quality oil, the problem of global oil depletion."
The US ambassador to Ukraine, Carlos Pascual, repeatedly beseeched Kuchma to give up the reversal, arguing that the Polish plan would be more attractive for investors and more profitable for Ukraine in the long term, particularly by attenuating Russian monopoly control and diversifying Ukraine's energy inventory. It was no coincidence that Yushchenko's government, after the orange revolution, restored status quo ante on Odessa-Brody, announcing "positive talks with Chevron, the former company of US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, for the project."
The install-Yushchenko operation in Ukraine had several components. Important power-brokers like the Ukrainian army, the ministry of internal affairs, the security service and senior intelligence officials (silovki) worked against Kuchma's crackdown orders and passed critical inside information to Yushchenko's camp.
Though these Praetorians claimed to have disobeyed executive commands altruistically, there was a pro-US tilt in many vital state agencies. Their communication channel with Yushchenko's aide, Yevyen Marchuk, a Nato favourite and former defense minister who discussed the upcoming elections with US defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, in August 2004, suggests a well planned coup d'état. Yushchenko's wife, Kateryna Chumachenko, a former Reagan and George H Bush administration official and émigré Ukrainian heavyweight, is alleged to have played a key backdoor part.
None of the above machinations would have mattered without the disputed election result, the amassing of people power on the streets and the engineering of democracy through civil disobedience. It is here that NED and its family of Ingos were most needed.
Having penetrated Ukraine in 1990 at the behest of the George H Bush administration with the assent of the pro-American Leonid Kravchuk, the effective leader of the republic, these Ingos had the power to finance and create the local NGO sector from scratch, controlling its agenda and direction.
The neo-liberal Pora organization, for instance, was an offshoot of the groundwork done by the "Freedom of Choice Coalition" that was put together in 1999 by the US embassy, the World Bank, NED and the Soros Foundation. On the eve of the orange revolution, NED Gongos hired American pollsters and professional consultants to mine psephological data and unite the opposition under Yushchenko's electoral coalition, months before the poll; trained thousands of local and international election monitors partisan to Yushchenko; organised exit polls in collaboration with western embassies that predicted Yushchenko’s victory; and imported "consultants" who had experience in the Serbian overthrow of Milosevic and the Georgian rose revolution.
The mass mobilization in Kiev was handpicked from Yushchenko's western Ukraine bastions and did not reflect nationwide sentiments. "A few tens of thousands in central Kiev were proclaimed to be 'the people', notwithstanding the fact that many demonstrators nursed violent and anti-democratic viewpoints", writes John Laughland. The NGO monitors, teamed up with western media outlets, deliberately exaggerated electoral fraud involving Yanukovych's party, ignoring serious violations by Yushchenko's.
US government expenditure on the orange revolution has been put at $14 million, while the overall civil-society promotion budget set by Washington for Ukraine (2003-2004) was $57.8-$65 million. The Soros Foundation and Freedom House pumped in a steady flow of funds through Ingos and local NGOs for "elections-related projects."
Massing of pro-Yushchenko crowds in Kiev’s Independence Square was a meticulous operation of “careful, secret planning by Yushchenko's inner circle over a period of years” that oversaw distribution of thousands of cameras, backup teams of therapists and psychologists, transportation, heaters, sleeping bags, gas canisters, toilets, soup kitchens, tents, TV and radio coverage, all of which needed "large sums of cash, in this case, much of it American." (Daniel Wolf.)
Local oligarchs and US-based émigré Ukrainian businesspersons also chipped in with sizeable contributions to the neo-liberal Yuschchenko. The shadowy and fungible ties between the US government and democratization Gongos leave little doubt that the latter were purveyors of large amounts of money in Ukraine that will not appear in audits or annual reports. Public acknowledgements of spending are understatements akin to official casualty figures given by governments during counterinsurgencies.
According to Congressman Ron Paul, the US allocated $60 million for financing the orange revolution "through a series of cut-out NGOs – both American and Ukrainian – in support of Yushchenko." The figure happens to be "just the tip of the iceberg". Claims that "Russia gave Yanukovich far more money than the United States (gave to Yushchenko)" rest on the myth that US government financing through the NED family "is publicly accountable and transparent."
The NED family's role in first following the Bush administration’s lead and anointing Yushchenko's outfit as the only valid manifestation of "civil society" (at the expense of non-neoliberal, anti-authoritarian parties) and then consistently bolstering it with funds and regime-toppling expertise completely blurs lines between impartial democracy promotion and meddling in Ukraine’s political process.
It tinkers with Robert Dahl’s basic dimension of democratization – contestation, i.e. the playing-field of political competition and the relative strengths of contenders. Much that was done by the Ingos in the name of democratization in Ukraine was outright biased, including voter education that is supposed to neutrally inform citizens to make free choices rather than to campaign for a particular candidate: "Yushchenko got the western nod, and floods of money poured in to groups which support him, ranging from the youth organization, Pora, to various opposition websites." (Jonathan Steele.)
The sinuous route taken by western money can be illustrated with an example. The Poland-America-Ukraine Cooperation Initiative (Pauci), a prominent grantee of Usaid and Freedom House, funded NGOs active in the orange revolution like the International Centre for Policy Studies, which had Yushchenko on its supervisory board. In essence, American Ingos constricted the Ukrainian political space by plumping for the interests of the neo-liberal candidate before the 2004 elections, and partook in a multi-pronged regime-change operation orchestrated in Washington.
Kyrgyzstan’s tulip implantation
Central Asia has long been in the crosshairs of great-power competition games. After the fall of communism, the George H Bush and Clinton administrations defined a set of geo-strategic goals for this heavily meddled region: "To secure an alternative source for energy, help Central Asia gain autonomy from Russia’s hegemony, block Iran’s influence, and promote political and economic freedoms."
From 1993, goals of diversifying long-term energy reserves (finding alternatives to Persian Gulf sources) and pressures from the oil and gas private sectors "began to take centre stage" in Washington's policy toward Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. The Pentagon pressed for increasing US military presence in the region and succeeded in securing membership for four of the five central Asian states, including Kyrgyzstan, in Nato’s Partnership for Peace in 1994.
Frequent joint military exercises and "interoperability" training in the Clinton years were expected to yield American bases in the region from which to counter Russian and Chinese hegemonic ambitions. With limited oil and natural gas reserves, Kyrgyzstan’s weak economy was heavily dependent on Russia, a vulnerability that the Clinton administration sought to counteract by deepening the US defense interests and nudging the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank to lend voluminous amounts of development aid to Askar Akayev's relatively democratic government.
IMF technical assistance was critical to Kyrgyzstan becoming the first state in the region to leave the Russian ruble zone. Despite the 1999 extension of the CIS collective security treaty that boosted Russian military leverage in Kyrgyzstan, kidnappings and effortless incursions into Kyrgyz territory by the fundamentalist Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) exposed chinks in the security apparatus of Akayev's "Switzerland of central Asia". As Kyrgyzstan got dragged into central Asia's Islamist tangle by geography, the narcotics trade and border conflicts, the subterranean US-Russian race for military bases came into the open, paving the road to the tulip revolution.
After 11 September 2001, the Pentagon ventured on an epic journey: "The greatest shake-up in America's overseas military deployments since the end of the second World War to position U.S. forces along an 'arc of instability' that runs through the Caribbean, Africa, the middle east, the Caucasus, Central Asia and southern Asia."
The cash-strapped Akayev offered the largest American military base in the region at Manas, outside Bishkek, an installation that was not taken lightly in Moscow. China, which shares a border with Kyrgyzstan was equally alarmed and, together with Russia, steered the Shanghai Cooperation Organization toward opposing and ending US military bases in central Asia. The expectation that Manas base would "reduce Kyrgyz dependence on Russia", besides being a logistic hub for the war in Afghanistan, was belied when in 2003 President Putin negotiated with Akayev to open up a Russian airbase at Kant – thirty kilometres from the American "lily pad".
China was also reported to be engaged in secret parleys for its own base in Kyrgyzstan and for border adjustments; these kicked up a political storm against Akayev in March 2002. Russia's ministry of internal affairs, "Akayev’s new friends", helped defuse the demonstrations. Akayev’s moves to align Kyrgyzstan with China through "Silk Road diplomacy" and suppression of the Uighur guerrillas – explained mainly by his desperate need of finances to stem the tail-spinning domestic economy – upset Washington, which saw Beijing as a thorn in its strategic expansion agenda.
The American perspective on this dangerous development went as follows: "Given the 1,100-kilometer border between Kyrgyzstan and China – and Washington's already considerable foothold in nearby Uzbekistan and Tajikistan – the fall of the China-friendly government of disgraced president Askar Akayev would be no small victory for the 'containment policy'."
Prior to the Sino-Russian counteroffensive that found receptive ears in Bishkek, Akayev's progressively autocratic tendencies had not ruffled many feathers in Washington. His rigged presidential election in 2000 went largely unnoticed by the US government, even though NDI observers termed it unfair and laden with illegal subornment of the state machinery. In fact, Eric McGlinchey's study of the reasons for Akayev's slide into anti-democratic politics puts the blame squarely on US-inspired IMF doles that allowed him to "rein in political contestation and rebuild authoritarian rule."
Having cosseted Akayev for more than a decade, the volte-face done by the Bush administration before the tulip revolution was not an overnight realisation of how despotic he had become but a hard-nosed calculation that its vital interests were no longer being served. The visible consequences of Washington’s displeasure with "the news from Kant" (the opening of the Russian base) were recorded thus: "The IMF office in Bishkek has become tougher towards Kyrgyzstan. And the State Department has opened its own independent printing house – which means opposition newspapers will be back in full force." (P Escobar.)
Diplomatic sources are on record that as soon as the Kant deal fructified, Akayev was "on the American watch list" and "the U.S. began supporting all conceivable elements arrayed against him."
Democratisation of Kyrgyzstan, a footnote in American policy, suddenly acquired an aura and urgency. We should add that there was also a generic strategic rationale mooted in the Bush administration for democratization in central Asia after 11 September. Since anti-US popular feelings in the region are not as high as in other Muslim parts of the world, "the risk of democratization in the region is relatively small." Winning the hearts and minds of central Asian Muslims through democratization "will not only facilitate the process of liberalizing the economy, but also, as a by-product, increase support for the United States."
11 September opened a classic realist "window of opportunity through which an 'arc of stability' can be established in the strategically important area between the Caspian Sea and the northwestern border of China." Wildly inconsistent in application, the notion that democracy promotion can soften the Islamist challenge to pax Americana fitted well with rising discontent in Washington with Akayev's usefulness. Kyrgyzstan, with a population of barely 5 million (the fourth smallest in the region) received a sum total of $26.5 million for "democratic reform" from the state department in 2003-04, second only to the much more populous Uzbekistan. As with Ukraine, the official figures shroud a fortune.
From 2003, NED-family Ingos got into the act of securing regime change at the next parliamentary elections, turning against Akayev who had initially allowed them access to the country during the heyday of IMF and Usaid conditional lending. Even more than in Ukraine, American dominance of the local NGO sector is complete in Kyrgyzstan. P Escobar describes the monopolization of local civil society thus: "Practically everything that passes for civil society in Kyrgyzstan is financed by US foundations, or by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). At least 170 non-governmental organizations charged with development or promotion of democracy have been created or sponsored by the Americans."
The absolute control of Kyrgyz civil society by the NED family of Gongos is compounded by the donor-driven nature of "civil-society building" carried out in the region. Fiona Adamson's field research of democratization aid in Kyrgyzstan finds that: "Local NGOs receive almost 100 percent of their funds from international actors and can easily become almost 100 percent donor driven. International donors implicitly or explicitly expect local NGOs to administer programmes that do not necessarily match local needs."
Among the strategies adopted by the Ingos in the name of democratization was winning over local elites to western ideas and models, a time-tested cold-war tactic of psychological warfare. Irex organised conferences, seminars, "technical assistance" and exchange programmes with Kyrgyz elites, believing that domestic political change comes from exposure to western ideas.
That this tactic worked was evident by the trend among the Kyrgyz business and political elites to endorse a closer security and economic relationships with the US. Kurmanbek Bakiyev of the National Movement of Kyrgyzstan, the man who replaced Akayev as prime minister after the tulip revolution, was himself sent to the US on an exchange programme. Felix Kulov, the new head of security, and Omurbek Tekebayev, the new speaker of parliament after the tulip revolution, were also beneficiaries of state-department-sponsored visitors programmes.
Tekebayev disclosed what he learnt on the Washington jaunt candidly: "I found that the Americans know how to choose people, know how to make an accurate evaluation of what is happening and prognosticate the future development and political changes."
Top opposition leaders in the 2005 parliamentary elections like Roza Otunbayeva had reputations as "Washington’s favourite", though not as across-the-board as in Ukraine. They were quick to see potential in the NED's arsenal for regime change and utilised Ingo-funded projects for publishing anti-government newspapers, training youth "infected" with the democracy virus through US-financed trips to Kiev for a glimpse of the orange revolution, and mobilizing fairly large crowds in Bishkek that stormed Akayev's presidential palace and in the southern towns of Osh and Jalalabad.
Usaid "invested at least $2 million prior to the elections" for local activists to monitor government-sponsored malpractices but did not do anything to prohibit these "independent observers" from actually working for opposition candidates. The Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society (CDCS) and Civil Society Against Corruption (CSAC), key local NGO partners of the NED, worked in tandem with the anti-Akayev parties without any pretence of impartiality.
The US embassy in Bishkek, continuing the murky tradition of interventionist behaviour in crises, worked closely with Gongos like Freedom House and the Soros Foundation – supplying generators, printing presses and money to keep the protests boiling until Akayev fled. Information about where protesters should gather and what they should bring spread through state-department-funded radio and TV stations, especially in the southern region of Osh.
CDCS head, Edil Baisolov, admitted that the uprising would have been "absolutely impossible" without this coordinated American effort. On the utility of the NED Gongos to the entire exercise of the tulip revolution, Philip Shishkin noted: "To avoid provoking Russia and violating diplomatic norms, the US can't directly back opposition political parties. But it underwrites a web of influential NGOs."
It is important to note that the clan structure of Kyrgyz society, ethnic tensions with Uzbeks, and incipient Islamism in the Ferghana valley intervened on the ground to alter the revolutionary script charted in Washington. Russia too had learnt its lessons from Ukraine and cultivated some key opposition figures, making it impossible for the US to monopolize the opposition as was the case in the previous two colour revolutions.
The element of surprise, the slick media packaged proclamation of democracy’s relentless march, the legitimization by western capitals in lightning speed – all had become predictable by the time the democratization caravan reached Bishkek. The ambivalent attitude of the new order in Kyrgyzstan – in sharp contrast to the euphoric pro-western policies in Georgia and Ukraine – owes much to this variation between these two case studies.
"Good" vs "bad" authoritarians
Before drawing final lessons from this analysis, it is worth knowing why questionable elections by semi-dictatorial rulers in other post-communist states did not end up in colour revolutions. The main reason why Ilham Aliev, the heir to Heydar Aliev's autocracy in Azerbaijan, could fix the November 2005 parliamentary elections and not have to run the gauntlet from Washington's public-relations machinery and NED Gongos was his regime's loyalty to immense American (and British) energy interests in the Baku-Tiblisi-Ceyhan pipeline.
This was the second time Ilham Aliev grossly manipulated an election and got away without repercussions. His succession façade in the notorious October 2003 presidential election was not only condoned in Washington but met with congratulatory messages from the Pentagon.
Uzbekistan's Stalinist strongman, Islam Karimov, brutally clamped down on a mass demonstration in Andijan against corruption and arbitrary detentions in May 2005, killing 500 and wounding 2,000, but Washington echoed the Uzbek government's claim that it was the handiwork of "Islamic terrorists".
Karimov, at the time of the tulip-revolution-inspired stirrings, had been the US's staunchest ally in the war on terrorism in central Asia, an insurance policy against democratization pressures. His pre-emptive moves before the December 2004 parliamentary elections and after the tulip revolution to expel and constrict the activities of NED-family Ingos did not meet with any criticism from the US government. Comparing Uzbekistan to the other colour revolutions, the perceptive P Escobar wrote: "The former strongmen of colour-coded 'revolutionary' Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan were monsters who had to be removed for 'freedom and democracy' to prevail. So is the dictator of Belarus. Not Karimov. He's ‘our’ dictator."
The necessary causation of regime change
These case studies have upheld the realist paradigm by showing that American-democratization Gongos are necessary, but not sufficient, causes for the colour revolutions. Unless US foreign-policymakers decide to field the full panoply of their intelligence, economic and military resources alongside the Gongos, the spectacle of yet another orchestrated colour revolution is unimaginable. Lacking strong US condemnation and proactive directions, the NED Gongos cannot manage to stage regime changes on their own in conjunction with local activists. It is the push factor from Washington that galvanises the Gongos into a war footing for regime toppling.
The orange and tulip revolutions are cases of "regime change", not "regime-type change", for they did not democratize Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. By their very nature, these episodes were replacements of anti-western elites with pro-western ones, not far-reaching changes that remodeled polities. Even a minimalist definition of democracy – free and fair elections – was not unambiguously achieved in the two cases.
So narrow was the base of these regime changes that it is a travesty to call them "revolutions", a term propagated by the US government and western media. The replacements of Kuchma by Yushchenko and of Akayev by Bakiyev are no more "revolutionary" than the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, which has been christened by the Bush administration as a "purple revolution". The difference in methods – Gongos and backroom intrigue in post-communist states and direct military occupation in Iraq – does not nullify the similarity of the independent variable: US strategic ambitions.
Predictions for future regime changes on the lines of the colour revolutions will need to carefully track how this independent variable evolves vis-à-vis undemocratic states in the post-Soviet space and how it shapes the concatenation of hard and soft power instruments. American strategy would also depend on domestic political peculiarities in individual states, factors that could not be fully covered in this essay due to the methodological problem of degrees of freedom.
American Gongos are highly effective in certain domestic milieus and moments and less so in others. Sabotage can suffice in some countries while full-scale military offensives may be needed in others. As Peter Gourevitch points out, purely international causation for domestic causes is "not totally convincing" except in the case of complete military occupation by a foreign power. A full range of necessary causation for regime change would have to include internal political and socio-economic variables, besides the NED brand of interposing.
Some additional information can be found at
A complex web of phony Ukrainian NGOs
UNITER stands for 'Ukraine National Initiatives to Enhance Reforms' and is also known as USAID/Ukraine's Strengthening Civil Society in Ukraine (SCSU). It is administered by Pact Inc. Pact Inc. is a nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C. that is directly funded by USAID:USAID/Ukraine awarded Pact a 5-year cooperative agreement to implement the project, effective October 1, 2008. The agreement was extended in September 2013 for an additional year. Including modifications and the 1-year extension, the total amount awarded comes to $14.3 million. As of September 30, 2013, $13.7 million had been obligated and $12.7 million had been spent.1UNITER also funds the Center UA, which was set up in 2009 by Pierre Omidyar as "a coalition of more than 50 civil society organizations that mobilizes civic participation in Ukraine and serves as the country's primary forum for government transparency and accountability." Omidyar is a French-born Iranian American entrepreneur and philanthropist, and the founder and chairman of the eBay auction site.
Oleh Rybachuk is named as the founder and chairman of Centre UA. In 2004, Rybachuk headed the staff and political campaign of the US-backed presidential candidate Victor Yushchenko in the 'Orange Revolution'. Speaking at a 2006 NATO forum, he said:"The task of political forces [in Ukraine] is to compromise on when Ukraine will sign a NATO Membership Plan [...] Ukraine's leaders must now join their efforts to launch an information campaign promoting the country's Euro-Atlantic integration, so that Ukrainians freely and consciously choose their future."Rybachuk went on to serve under Yushchenko and Tymoshenko as deputy prime minister in charge of integrating Ukraine into NATO and the European Union. With the creation of Centre UA in 2009, Rybachuk transformed himself into a "civil society activist" and began working covertly for the US government to prepare the ground for the overthrow of the established order in Ukraine through "civil unrest", which eventually included the violent overthrow of President Yanukovych.
After the election of President Yanukovych in February 2010, UNITER described how Centre UA was used to put pressure on the Yanukovych government:The New Citizen Platform was a key player in ensuring the success of the legislation. Pact, through the USAID-funded Ukraine National Initiatives to Enhance Reforms (UNITER) project assists the NGO Center UA [New Citizen] since 2009. It was UNITER's contribution to create the network of prominent local and national level Ukrainian NGOs, to bring together leaders of public opinion and civil society activist.On investigating these 'NGO networks' in Ukraine it quickly becomes clear that when Victoria Nuland said that Washington has spent $5 billion on "democracy promotion" in Ukraine over the past 20 years, she wasn't lying, at least not on the numbers. But that $5billion of US taxpayers' money has not gone towards "democracy promotion" but towards the infiltration and co-opting of Ukraine's political and social life for the purpose of thwarting Russia's natural influence on, and co-operation with, its neighbor. Between 2009 and 2014, through its complex web of fake NGOs, the US government engaged in a concerted effort to radically and definitively change the course of Ukraine's political and social life for the sole purpose of attacking Russia. In hindsight, a violent coup d'etat and the imposition of US-government-selected political leaders was a part of that plan.The farce that was and is USAID funding phony 'NGOs' to work for "access to public information for journalistic work" was fully exposed recently when the Kiev government banned more than 100 Russian media outlets from Ukraine.
Henceforth, Pact helped Center UA to emerge as the main convener of the need for access to public information for journalist work. This gave important boost to the success of the New Citizen platform. It included the facilitation and creation in summer 2010 of the Stop Censorship movement that unites media professionals in defending their rights for freedom of speech and access to information. The intensive collaboration New Citizen platform and Stop Censorship movement resulted in the reinforced media attention to the legislative struggle.2
Here is one interesting take on EuroMaidan "snipergate" ( Euromaidan Anatomy of a Washington-backed coup d'etat)
US Snipers on EuroMaidan?
When he took up the post of US Ambassador to Ukraine on July 30th, 2013, Geoffrey Pyatt inherited this complex and well-established network of US-financed social activists and agitators. One of Pyatt's first tasks was to oversee the funding (about $50,000 in total) of a new television station in Ukraine, Hromadske TV. Unsurprisingly, Hromadske's first broadcast was on Nov. 22nd, 2013, the very first day of the Maidan protests. Indeed, the rallying cry for those protests was given by Mustafa Nayem, a Ukrainian journalist who founded Hromadske TV (with US taxpayers' money). Hromadske provided blanket coverage of the Maidan protest and since then has continued to receive generous funding from the US State Department and EU governments. To get an idea of the editorial line of
the US State Dept.Hromadske, last year they hosted a journalist who called for the genocide of 1.5 million residents in the Donbass.
From the beginning of the protests until Yanukovych was forced to flee the country, the Euromaidan was the place to be if you wanted to press the flesh with US politicians. Pyatt and Nuland regularly handed out cookies and 'attaboys' to the protestors and police alike, while the US government's revolutionary envoy John McCain rallied the protestors in December 2013, telling them that "America stands with you" and "Ukraine will make Europe better". As the protests became increasingly violent through January 2014, the Ukrainian Prime Minister resigned on January 28th in a failed attempt to appease the protestors. By February 18th, President Yanukovych was in negotiations to draft a 'peace deal' with three members of the opposition - Yatzenyuk, the fascist Tyahnybok, and Klitschko, along with French, German and Polish foreign ministers. These were the same three people mentioned by Nuland and Pyatt in their infamous leaked phone call where they discussed the future make-up of the post-Yanukovych government.The agreement called for a drastic reduction in Yanukovych's presidential powers, a return to the 2004 constitution, the release of Tymoshenko from prison, early elections for later in 2014, the appointment of Yatzenyuk as prime minister and Klitschko as deputy prime minister, and the dismissal of the current government.
These measures amounted to a radical change in the power structure in Ukraine and should have meant an end to the protests, since they fulfilled all of the opposition demands. After all, the leaders of the opposition who had signed the agreement were the representatives of the protestors on the streets of Kiev, right? However, as the negotiations were ongoing, someone began a shooting spree in the streets around Kiev square over the three days of February 18th-20th. At least 15 policemen and 80 protestors and civilian bystanders were shot dead by what appears to have been a team of snipers firing from the tops and windows of buildings. The agreement was signed on the 21st, but the large death toll appears to have contributed to the almost immediate scrapping of the agreement, and the announcement by what was left of the Ukrainian parliament that Yanukovych would be impeached.
The image below shows the Maidan square in the top left corner.
The yellow line shows the extent of the progress of the protestors on February 20th along Institutskaya Street as they tried to reach the central bank and the Ukrainian parliament (in red). All of the buildings surrounding Maidan square (off screen, top left), including the Ukraine hotel (in green), were occupied by protestors. The lobby of the Ukraine hotel had been turned into a makeshift triage center for the injured. The point being, everything behind and to the left and right of the protestors should have been safe territory. Ukrainian officials and protestors to this day claim that the police were responsible for the deaths. Yet the video segment below, taken from this video, shows a protestor (and the tree behind which he is hiding) being struck by a bullet from behind or from the side, most likely from the upper floors of the Ukraine hotel, as pointed out by this German news report (with English subtitles).
Throughout the day, dozens of other protestors were shot from behind, from buildings occupied by protestors, as outlined in this detailed report by Professor Ivan Katchanovski of the University of Ottawa.
The question of who was responsible for the large death toll among both protestors and policemen was brought into sharp focus by an intercepted telephone call, released on March 4th, 2014, between EU Foreign Affairs Chief Catherine Ashton and Estonian Foreign Affairs Minister Urmas Paet, who had just returned from Kiev. In the call, Paet tells Ashton:There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition. [...] all the evidence shows that the people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and then people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides ... and it's really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don't want to investigate what exactly happened.If you're wondering why you haven't heard much, or anything, about this phone call in the Western media, the reason is that it has been ignored. And as Paet says, apparently the new US/EU-installed 'interim' government in Ukraine is not too keen on investigating the allegations.
Along with the video evidence and eyewitness testimony, Paet's statement strongly suggests that within the 'Maidan' protestors, perhaps specifically the US-funded and Chechen Jihadi-linked 'Right Sector', there were individuals who were fighting on both sides of the barricades; their aim being to kill as many police and protestors as possible in an effort to turn the 'people's revolution' into a revolution of Ukrainian ultra-nationalists bent on kick-starting a 'civil war' to cleanse Ukraine of Russian influence. That agenda dovetails nicely with the broad, decades-long goal of the Anglo-American empire to neutralize Russia as a potential global power broker able to stand against US global hegemony through destabilization and proxy wars.
The expansion of NATO up to Russia's borders that was begun by the Clinton administration in 1992 was advised against by many because it would obviously provoke conflict with Russia, yet the plan went ahead anyway. Why? There are two interwoven benefits from the US point of view. The first is that expanding NATO eastwards served to physically and economically expand the US empire. The second is that provoking conflict with Russia was predicted to scare European states, especially the expanded-upon new NATO Baltic states, into believing that Russia was a threat.
NATO was designed to increase security in Europe, but it has achieved precisely the opposite today. What 'increase security in Europe' really means in Washington is 'increase of US control in Europe'. The US government has long-since understood that the best way to increase control is to increase fear, and to increase fear you need an enemy. In the case of Europe, Russia could be provoked into appearing as an enemy to Europe by threatening it through expansion of NATO, which was justified by the need to increase security in Europe. Basically, expansion of NATO to Russia's borders was designed to threaten Russia and, as a result, threaten Europe and push it further into the arms of the Empire.
Ukraine today is not just a 'failed state'. A 'failed state' is usually still in the hands of a national government. Ukraine today is fully in the hands of the US government and the IMF. That might not be such a bad thing (relatively) if it weren't for the fact that the only reason those two institutions have any interest in Ukraine is to use it as leverage in their futile attempt to thwart the inexorable strengthening of the Russian Federation.
Just take Natalie Jaresko as an example. A Chicago-born investment banker who received her Ukrainian citizenship in December 2014, she now controls Ukrainian financial policy. In the late '80s and early '90s, she just so happened to hold several positions at the US State Department before taking the position of Chief of the Economic Section of the US Embassy in Ukraine. She also managed the USAID-financed Western NIS Enterprise Fund, which kindly provided funds for 'pro-democracy' movements in Belarus, Moldova and, predictably, Ukraine.
One year ago today, there was an option to end the Maidan protests peacefully while also meeting the protestors' demands and reforming Ukrainian politics and society in a way that would have benefited the Ukrainian people. Instead, the US empire and their proxy agents chose to unleash bloody mayhem on Ukraine. In the process, Ukraine (and therefore NATO) lost Crimea and is so to lose the rich lands of Donetsk and Lugansk. Does the US government care? Of course not. The real goal of demonizing Russia as a threat to global stability has been achieved.
All other considerations, including the slaughter of tens of thousands of ragged Ukrainian troops and at least 5,000 eastern Ukrainian citizens, are a price the psychopaths in Washington were only too willing to pay.
It is now known that the USA agencies spend around one billion in cash to facilitate the dissolution of the USSR. Here is how Prince Shcherbatov, who was active participant of the events, recollected this CIA operation:
...the Americans, the CIA spent money through its Ambassador in Russia, Robert Strauss, using his connections to bribe military: Taman and Dzershinsk airborne division, which had moved to the side of Yeltsin.
Big sums were received by the son of the Marshal Shaposhnikov, Minister of defense Grachev. Shaposhnikov now have an estate in the South of France, and a house in Switzerland.
I heard from George Bailey, my old friend, who for many years worked for the CIA that cash allocated to the USSR amounted to more than one billion dollars.
Not many people knew that in 1991 special aircraft delivered cash under the disguise of diplomatic mail to the Sheremetyevo airport. Those money were distributed in packages of ten-, twenty- an fifty dollars bills to selected government officials and military leaders.
The first meeting of the representatives of the two countries, held in Jurmala showed Americans that some of "the Soviet people" can easily “agree” to bribes. The second meeting which was attended by both military and intelligence representatives of both countries was a trial balloon for the future events.
Former participants in Chachagua conference were active participants in the coup: General Chervov helped to distribute the money among the military, one of the Directors of "Banks Trust", John Crystal helped to channel CIA money via his bank.
It turned out that if you give Soviet officials a good bribe, it is not that difficult to destroy the Soviet Union.
Everything was calculated correctly. In this case, thanks to the joint conferences, mass media, the efforts of American and Soviet representatives of different levels public opinion was shaped in the necessary direction, psychological "brainwashing" of the Soviet people was quickly accomplished and the ideas about the necessity of the introduction of democracy in the country firmly took root.
Bombing country with dollar proved to be also very efficient during Iraq and Afghanistan campaign. It allowed to buy some key figured in the government, making resistance inefficient. Cash in suitcases was used during the dissolution of the USSR very effectively to buy key "intelligencia" and government officials. The technique was polished to perfection during Serbian color revolution (The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity)
Regime Change Blueprint The NED At Work
Mar 08, 2014 | The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity
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: 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: 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.”
The same tactic in less overt form is used during Russian "white revolution" of 2012 and EuroMaidan 2014. Average pay for "protester" in xUSSR space is $30 a day. If we add equipment and food necessary for sustained Maidan style protest it is probably closer to $100 a day. Assuming 3000 paid professional protester (which will attract some volunteers, lumpens and simply spectators probably doubling the total doubling the amount in day hours ) that means that one day of protest costs as little as $300K a day which is nothing in comparison with the cost of direct military intervention. 30 days often is enough to topple the government so for less then 30 million you can achieve a spectacular result and "open the can" for multinationals. Here is some consideration on this account from establishment rag Foreign Policy.
The article Dollars, Not Bombs Can we bribe our way to peace in Syria? (FP, Sept 4, 2013) suggests:
How much is peace worth in Syria? If the United States attacks, cruise missiles worth tens of millions of dollars will wing their way toward the war-torn country, adding to the millions already spent on mobilization. There's no guarantee this costly exercise would quicken the end of the conflict. What's more, there's a potentially cheaper way to promote peace in Syria and anywhere else: Buy it.
The United States already spends money on foreign aid and peacekeeping that are supposed to stem conflict and encourage economic growth around the world. But we tend to avoid sending money to countries bogged down by war, since we're afraid it might be wasted. This is a big gap in our foreign policy, and to fill it, we need be more direct. We need to pay for peace explicitly.
There's a market for peace. The seller's price is how much you have to pay for it, and the buyer's price is how much you should be willing to pay. We need to know both of these numbers and ultimately try to balance them.
Why should Americans be buying? It's pretty simple. Peaceful countries are moneymakers for the United States. Most peaceful countries in the world import American goods and services, helping our economy create jobs and putting tax revenue in Washington's coffers. And the more these countries grow, the more they buy.
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Other countries could sweeten the deal. Major economies in Europe would probably benefit from peace in Syria, too. Right now, none of them are among Syria's top trading partners, despite the European Union's policy of economic engagement in the Mediterranean region. If Europe participated, the annual peace bounty could rise to a billion dollars or more. And if the Syrian people knew that so much money awaited a peaceful and legitimate government, all sides might try harder to find a negotiated settlement.
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The Syrian people might feel as though they were being robbed again by what has by many accounts been a thoroughly corrupt regime. But negotiating about money is much better than continuing the violence, and surely the Assads would want to haggle for their share. Ending the killing on both sides could be a condition for talks that might be worth tens of millions to them every year.
If peace bounties showed promise, there'd be no need to stop with Syria. From prison states like North Korea to countries hamstrung by civil conflict like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, peace bounties could help to tip the scales away from violence. The best part is that since the bounties would depend partly on population size, bigger bounties would free more people from war and oppression. (To be sure, they would also depend on people's incomes, which is a less attractive attribute.)
One catch here is that the World Trade Organization might see a bounty as an illegal subsidy to a country's imports. To get around the rules, the payments might have to be fixed as lump sums rather than varying annually according to import volumes. Alternatively, if all the WTO's members got together to pay the bounties, there would be no issue. In either case, such technicalities needn't stand in the way of the overall concept.
Back in the 1990s, the peace dividend created by the end of the Cold War brought the United States within a whisker of paying off its entire national debt. Today, thanks to tax cuts and ironically to a couple of new wars, that peace dividend has evaporated. But there's another one ripe for the taking -- as long as we're brave enough to put emotion on hold while we talk about cold, hard cash.
As the article by Sreeram Chaulia reproduced above had shown this technology proved to be especially effective in xUSSR space as governments in those state still remember communist dictatorship methods and are vary to resort to brutal methods of suppression of protestors common is the USA, GB as other Western countries.
It's pretty funny that Trotsky idea of permanent revolution returns to the xUSSR space in new packaging and will be directed even against neoliberal government which came to power after dissolution of the USSR when they are consider by the West no enough neo-liberal and hesitate to the wholesale the country to western banks. Or worse are resource nationalist as in Russia and Byelorussia. Expansion to this space has distinct neofascist small and essentially reminds and attempt to reestablish the Third Reich in a new neoliberal form with Western European population as a new Arian nation.
Track record of successful color revolutions in xUSSR space includes Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Kyrgyzstan. Non successful was only White revolution in Russia in 2012.
Ukrainian Orange Revolution is a classic color revolution, stages on the accusations of election fraud.
Recent unsuccessful (but pretty destabilizing) attempt to stage a color revolution was "white revolution" in Russia in 2011-2012. It produced many new and useful materials for understanding the mechanics of undermining the state using the Fifth column of Compradors & lumpenelite.
Euro Maidan of 2013 is another interesting and educational example. Here the pretext of staging color revolution of non-signing of the association EU treaty by Yanukovich government, the treaty which in present form serves well EU but does not serve Ukrainian economic interests.
I think it is unwise to underestimate the tremendous power of this new menace to the independent governments even if they are neoliberal government (as governments of Ukraine and Russia were at the time). One step in wrong direction and West might try to depose it with more agreeable sock puppets. With the dominance of neoliberalism the term compradors bourgeoisie has reentered the lexicon to denote new fifth column of globalization, trading groups and social strata in the subordinate but mutually advantageous relationships with metropolitan capital, which are ready to betray national interest for a scraps from the table of multinationals.
So any non-suicidal government should restrict the activity of Western NGO, penetration of western intelligence services into their own security services and dominance of oligarchs or western financial played in mass media (NGO actually spend large amount of money training "independent" journalist who under the disguise of critique of corruption of the current government and "freedom of the press" serve as a important part of fifth column and help to subdue the country to transnational corporations.
Export of democracy is a stated goal of color revolutions. Kind of universal positive value and simultaneously serves as a door opener to the market, natural resources and acquisitions of key industries by western multinationals in a particular country . Much like liberation of proletariat was in Trotskyite Permanent Revolution concept. Like other goals of color revolution it is fake. In reality any color revolution is directed toward bringing to power the fifth column of neoliberalization in a particular country and is mainly a pretext for converting state into vassal of Washington. In other word this is neocolonial policy. This theme is covered in more details in the following pages:
As William Blum noted in his book Americas Deadliest Export Democracy - The Truth about US Foreign Policy and Everything Else we can state that in fact the deadliest export of the USA is export of democracy:
In activist-author-publisher William Blum's new book, America's Deadliest Export: Democracy, he tells the story of how he got his 15 minutes of fame back in 2006. Osama bin Laden had released an audiotape, declaring:
"If you [Americans] are sincere in your desire for peace and security... and if Bush decides to carry on with his lies and oppression, then it would be useful for you to read the book Rogue State."
Bin Laden then quoted from the Foreword of Blum's 2000 book, Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower, in which he had mused:
"If I were... president, I could stop terrorist attacks [on us] in a few days. Permanently. I would first apologize... to all the widows and the orphans, the impoverished and the tortured, and all the many millions of other victims of American imperialism. I would then announce that America's global interventions... have come to an end. And I would inform Israel that it is no longer the 51st state of the union but... a foreign country. I would then reduce the military budget by at least 90% and use the savings to pay reparations to the victims. ... That's what I'd do on my first three days in the White House. On the fourth day, I'd be assassinated."
... fortunately, for those who have read his books or follow his "Anti-Empire Reports" on the Web, he was not assassinated! And now he has collected his reports and essays of the last dozen years or so into a 352-page volume that will not only stand the test of time, but will help to define this disillusioned, morose, violent and unraveling Age.
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Reading this scrupulously documented book, I lost count of the times I uttered, "unbelievable!" concerning some nefarious act committed by the US Empire in the name of freedom, democracy and fighting communism or terrorism. Reading Blum's book with an open mind, weighing the evidence, will bleach out any pride in the flag we have planted in so many corpses around the world. The book is a diuretic and emetic!
Blum's style is common sense raised to its highest level. The wonder of America's Deadliest ... is that it covers so much of the sodden, bloody ground of America's march across our post-Second-World-War world, yet tells the story with such deftness and grace-under-fire that the reader is enticed--not moralized, not disquisitionally badgered--, but enticed to consider our globe from a promontory of higher understanding.
Some of the themes Blum covers (and often eviscerates) include:
- Why they hate us;
- America means well;
- We cannot permit a successful alternative to the capitalist model to develop anywhere in the world;
- We will use whatever means necessary -- including, lies, deception, sabotage, bribery, torture and war--to achieve the above idea.
...A note "About the Author" tells us that, "He left the State Department in 1967, abandoning his aspiration of becoming a Foreign Service Officer because of his opposition to what the US was doing in Vietnam. He then became a founder and editor of the Washington Free Press, the first "alternative" newspaper in the capital."
In his chapter on "Patriotism," Blum relates how, after a talk, he was asked: "Do you love America?" He responded with what we may take for his credo: "I don't love any country. I'm a citizen of the world. I love certain principles, like human rights, civil liberties, meaningful democracy, an economy which puts people before profits."
America's Deadliest... is a book of wisdom and wit that ponders "how this world became so unbearably cruel, corrupt, unjust, and stupid?" In a pointillistic approach, sowing aphoristic seeds for thought, Blum enumerates instances of that cruelty, often with wry, pained commentary. "War can be seen as America's religion," he tells us. Reflecting on Obama's octupling Bush's number of drones used to assassinate, collaterally kill and terrorize, he affirms:
"Obama is one of the worst things that has ever happened to the American left." And, he avers, "Capitalism is the theory that the worst people, acting from their worst motives, will somehow produce the most good." And then turns around and reminds us--lest we forget--how the mass media have invaded our lives, with memes about patriotism, democracy, God, the "good life": "Can it be imagined that an American president would openly implore America's young people to fight a foreign war to defend `capitalism'?" he wonders.
"The word itself has largely gone out of fashion. The approved references now are to the market economy, free market, free enterprise, or private enterprise."
Cynthia McKinney writes that the book is "corruscating, eye-opening, and essential." Oliver Stone calls it a "fireball of terse information."
Like Howard Zinn, Ralph Nader, Paul Craig Roberts, Cindy Sheehan and Bradley Manning, Blum is committed to setting the historical record straight. His book is dangerous. Steadfast, immutable "truths" one has taken for granted--often since childhood--are exposed as hollow baubles to entertain the un/mis/and dis-informed. One such Blumism recollects Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez's account of a videotape with a very undiplomatic Secretary of State, Colin Powell, and cowboy George Bush: "`We've got to smash somebody's ass quickly,'" Powell said. "`We must have a brute demonstration of power.'
Then Bush spoke: `Kick ass! If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them! ... Stay strong! ... Kill them! ... We are going to wipe them out!'"
It is well-known that Saddam Hussein gassed thousands of Iraqis, but usually left unmentioned is that those victims were in armed revolt against his regime. What would any U.S. President do if American citizens took up armed revolt against the U.S. Government? We have a clue in what took place in Waco, Texas a few years ago. There was no armed revolt, just some citizens with unregistered firearms. The U.S. government considered those armed citizens to be such a risk that the government sent in tanks and military personnel, ultimately using military personnel to set a conflagration which burned scores of women and children alive. Imagine if those people had actually been involved in revolt against the government!
The U.S. stresses "freedom and democracy" as a goal for a reconstituted Iraq. Of course some of the nations providing military support in the "coalition of the willing" are already democracies, and while their citizenry is voicing 90% disapproval of the preemptive war of aggression and conquest, the democratically-elected leadership of Britain, Australia, and Turkey adopt policies directly contrary to the loudly expressed will of their populations. So much for democracy, but proof the coercion and bribery of leadership for corporate interests is what Western-style "democracy" is usually all about.
The U.S. wants to spread democracy and freedom, but their latest attempt at nation building in Afghanistan has resulted in a puppet president Karzai (a former Chevron official) who is afraid to leave his own offices, while brutal warlords remain in control of the county. No democracy yet, while the U.S. military pussy-foots around the warlords and tries not to get in their way.
So, America bravely presses forward towards "liberating" Iraq. But don't mention it to the Kurds up north, who are dreading the recent arrival of a thousand and a half Turkish troops (with more likely to come) for the purpose of preventing the establishment of a Kurdish independent republic, or to prevent an unacceptable refugee burden. A Kurdish Democratic Republic would be too unsettling to the region for the Bush administration (or any American administration) to ever allow or promote THAT much democracy!
What really counts in Iraq is military firepower and corporate economic power. Dick Cheney, American Vice-President has been more or less totally absent from the American public's view, but only because he has basically reverted to his pre-election corporate role of lining up contracts for his old company and others to come in and mop up Iraq with billions of dollars' worth of reconstruction and infrastructure and oilfield repair contracts. Forget democracy, and bring on the corporate bureaucracy and lets get that Iraqi oil flowing to pay the American debts for liberating her! Maybe American corporations will be democratically elected or appointed to do a little "nation building" which seemed very distasteful to Bush when Clinton was President, but seems like a fine idea now.
Was it all necessary? Or was any of it necessary? Well, the U.N. was making great strides in disarming Iraq and would have done so in reasonable time frames without warfare. But Bush needed war like like a cruise missile needs propellant. His presidency didn't even take off and begin flying until 9/11 pushed his military/industrial complex ambitions onto the front burner. No wonder Bush wouldn't allow the U.S. military to shoot down any of the four hijacked planes on 9/11, even after one World Trade Center tower was struck and even though the Pentagon lies under the most heavily defended airspace in the world. The hits had to occur to get the ball rolling for the Bush agenda, and so the military was stood down that day and thousands of Americans, including Pentagon personnel had to die so the Bush agenda could come to life.
From a Bush perspective, which is limited in scope, narrowly focused and myopic as a house mouse's eyesight, the situation looks very good and very promising. Baghdad is burning. Saddam is squirming. Congressional support is firming.
But the rest of the world, and many, many Americans see the hypocrisy of pseudo-democracy. Some of us see a regime change ahead in Washington at the time of the next election. And we see war crimes trials as Perle and Rumsfeld fail to bring down the U.N. and Rumsfeld and maybe even Bush and Powell get charged with crimes against humanity.
At least, there is room for hope.
Corruption is probably the most common, the most universal and most convenient pretext for color revolutions. It's value is first of all in its universality: there is no neoliberal state, which would not be vulnerable to corruption. For example if somebody wants to organize "regime change" in the USA corruption charge would work perfectly well as there many instances of corruption of various state structures. In a way lobbyism used in the USA is nothing but institutalized corruption. The only thing needed in this case is dominance in MSM so that you can "carpet bomb" the society with those charges and rose indignation of population to the level when people will become ready for the "regime change",
Corruption is a consequence of dominance of neoliberal regime with its cult of greed. It is connected with the the decline of the moral level of population, and fiorst of the the elite to an all-time low. Young rebels in many countries are reacting to a instilled by the USA neoliberal regimes not understanding that as a result they will get the same kleptocratic regime, only more cruel and experience drastic drop of standard of living. The reason of improvising is conversion of many countries into West debt slaves can't be resolved by street protests. The extreme concentration of wealth in a few hands thanks to neoliberal policies of deregulation and union busting is a feature not an exception due to some over-corrupt overload, that should be deposed. It is an immanent feature on neoliberal regimes everywhere. But young people, with gracious financial help from some embassies and NGOs can take over the streets, parks, plazas and squares to protest against the resulting corruption, the way politicians can be bought and sold, and the impunity of the current "bad" regime. Resulting regime change will make many of them more sober, it it will be too late. The train already left the station.
It goes without saying the neoliberalism creates fertile ground for widespread corruption. And when we talk about corruption, we need to understand the cause of it is systemic. It not connected with particular criminals -- replace them and new criminals will take power and continue the same policies. I repeat, it is sharp drop of the moral level of general population and the elite under neoliberalism. And corruption in third world countries and the xUSSR area is supported by the West which serves as receiving party for all the stolen from people money. London is now full of Russian oligarch who escaped from criminal prosecution and who are now protected by GB government out of geopolitical interest of weakening of Russia as well as nice opportunity to get some stolen money in London banks. Of course Russia is in hearlines of neoliberals now, but out of opportunity to get those money is irresistible too. It is one of the way of capital accumulation for GB elite.
In a way corruption as a three-headed dragon, with one head being the USA, the second head EU (especially GB) and the third head -- corruption on other countries. Cur one head and it will re-grow soon as other heads are intact. And this situation continues for many years and serves as a powerful pipe of redistribution of wealth to the top -- the key idea of neoliberalism.
Corruption also helps demobilization of the society which is another goal of neoliberal transformation of society, as power under neoliberalism belongs to tiny "top 0.01%". Corruption and state repression have their roots in the policy regime of "neoliberalisation" and corporate plunder.yalensis, June 3, 2015 at 2:35 am
CNN has the usual agenda. “Corruption” is one of the key issues in the Gene Sharpe colour-revolution handbook. Of all the possible things that can be wrong with a given society, the Americans decided that “corruption” should be the main issue in all of these revolutions. At their Yale course in revolution, which Navalny studied, they teach how to use corruption as a battle-cry to overthrow the government.
Saakashvili is considered the very model of a pro-American colour revolutionary who comes to power spouting anti-corruption slogans. (Once in power, he did get rid of some rival mob bosses and then concentrated all the corruption in his own greedy hands!)
In conclusion, when pointing out corruption in Russian aerospace industry, CNN is probably trying, not so much to be a helpful friend to Russia (in pointing out some problems), but more likely providing fuel to the colour revolutionaries, who still have not given up hope of overthrowing Putin.
The network of corruption usually includes "the pork barrel" corruption that involves government officials. This is especially typical for xUSSR area and third world countries and is a source of significant discontent which can be played for destabilizing the government. The funny thing that color revolution leads to more corruption, not less, because again corruption (aka redistribution of wealth to the top) is the essence of neoliberalism. For example level of corruption of Yeltsin regime was simply legendary.
In Ukraine Yanukovich regime was notorious for its "pork barrel" corruption. This is exactly how initial stage of EuroMaydan was launched. And the result is more corruption, not less, which naive participants which were used start to realize only now when current dropped 50% and Ukraine was plunged into another Great Depression with tremendous drop of standard of living form 99% of population.
It's almost exhilarating, when Western MSM talk about the "pervasive corruption of the government in Ukraine:" Western versions that are pre-electoral, post-electoral, straightforward theft, and "pork-barrel" politics are just more sophisticated and simultaneously are more widespread.
Neoliberals chanted the mantra that everyone would benefit if the public sector were privatized, businesses deregulated and market mechanisms allowed to distribute wealth. But as economist David Harvey argues, from the beginning it was a doctrine that primarily benefited the wealthy, its adoption allowing the top one per cent in any neoliberal society to capture a disproportionate share of whatever wealth was generated.
Bu the model is pretty much universal (How corruption became a global problem in an age of neoliberalism )
Economist Prabhat Patnaik, speaking recently at York, said neoliberalism (corporate global rights, privatization, deregulation) leads to corruption because governments give away their national wealth "for a song," then impose an informal tax on the giveaways so they can maintain power, which sounds like what happened here: the strangest element of gasplantgate is why they paid out so much for the cancellations. But maybe the flowback would have stopped otherwise. Corruption was part of the tale in India's electoral upheaval as it was in Quebec's surprise Liberal victory. Voters despair. You can't turn them out of office fast enough to avoid returning them almost instantly.
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You wouldn't have those CEO pig-outs absent neo-liberalism's moral model: get rich not just quick but hugely. As Kevin O'Leary loves saying, and CBC plasters on its promos: God put us here to get rich. Note it's a public broadcaster where he barks that and no one contests it. (I consider Amanda Lang's ripostes pro forma.)
Since there's no counter model (excluding, maybe, the pope) it becomes almost embarrassing not to grab for all you can get, legality be damned. The mentality seeps into areas like pro sports and the World Cup, with PED corruption, game fixing -- and trickles down to kids. There's also a sort of pre-emptive political corruption, where leaders like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have their eye on the vast returns available after they leave office, through their own foundations, etc., as long as they don't offend the corporate titans who are the donors. But none of it would thrive without the grotesque, tantalizing wealth inequalities that equate with neoliberalism.
Why anyone thought privatizing huge chunks of public wealth and letting the profit motive slither all over them would mean less corruption evades me, along with thinking Ontario's Liberals are the beginning and end of the problem. Corruption may always be with us but it comes in different forms. We're currently driving the globalization-privatization model right off a cliff.
The government in oligarchic republics like Russia or Ukraine always has a high degree of distrust from people as it is well known that it is corrupted like any government serving oligarchy. So as soon it try to move to "resource nationalism" that threatens multinationals. or try to use "balancing between two camps" path (Ukraine) it became a pretty easy target, as the discontent is present and need only to be enhanced by NGO, bombing country with dollars and other tried and true methods.
That why classic in “color revolutions” moment for challenging “power that be” is when the election results in the election of the incumbent president annoced, especially when the winning margin for the ruling party majority is slim. A very plausible claim that “old guard does not want to turn over the power voluntarily” and resorts to election fraud to maintain status quo is used. Actual fraud in not necessary, just a rumor is sufficient.
While the "revolutionaries" themselves can use any dirty tricks to win. We saw similar tactic by Bush camp in the USA in 2000 when they violate each and every rule of conduct in Florida to get Bush win by 537 votes, and still manage to enforce their illegitimate win. "Election violations" is a favorite tactic developed by Karl Rove is other Mayberry Machiavellians and now reused in color revolutions.
This method of wiping up discontent into active phase in which some square is occupied by protesters (let's call it Maidan phase) proved to be very efficient in xUSSR space.
Allegations of authorities misconduct do not need to be true. They can be completely bogus, but plausible "manufactured news". The idea is that when truth will be discovered it will be too late. They can be false flag operation by moles within the current government (the supposed role of Lyovochkin during EuroMaydan). In other words any dirty trick is permissible, as in "the end justified the means" Jesuit motto.
False flag of manufactured news operation can destabilize situation to the extent that new possibilities are opened for the initiators of this process. Also supporters of the “old regime” among local oligarchy might jump the ship, especially if promised a pack of $100 bills in return for this courtesy (remember that in most cases they are also players in country privatization schemes, owning directly or indirectly assets; and their family accounts and often families are often already living at the West) or at least bet of both horses.
Economic difficulties in addition to elections make a perfect combination.
Even legitimate, legal decisions, played hostile to Washington interests, can be skillfully played that way. In this respect Putin’s decision to be the candidate for the next president of Russia probably did served as a fuel in this particular episode. Because this does smell with the CPSU "permanent First Secretary" staff.
In this respect dual party system is much more advanced and much more suitable for the oligarchic republic (and architects can rely on rich, century old USA experience of fooling the population about the level of their participation in election and decision-making).
All this led to a paradoxical situation: Washington hegemony de legitimized any popular protest in countries where the USA is interested in "regime change". this was probably the case in Hong Cong "Umbrellas" Color Revolution of 2014
In any case using color revolutions for regime change by the USA discredited ingenious protests movements in countries like China and Russia, to the extent that now the first natural reaction is crying "color revolution, watch out the USA machinations!" even at movements that are chiefly based on real grievances.
Any modern "pro-democracy movement" now is embedded in a complex matrix of money, subterfuge, foreign influence, oligarchic clans war, propaganda, and manipulation by foreign actors. It can be easily hijacked and misused by color revolution strategists at NED and similar organizations (who are actually very good at their craft).
Here are a couple of pretty telling comments:Guest77 | Oct 5, 2014 6:52:31 PM | 84
I don't see what any personal sympathies with the protestors even matters. Sure, we all want people to be able to fight for their rights and have the government they want, but right now there is a larger priority, and that is making sure that the world maintains a multipolar political structure. The importance of a multipolar world outweighs even our desire to see vocal minorities to take to the streets, I think. (And these are vocal minorites, no doubt).
I think, as "westerners" we have to support the group that will insure the independence of the state in question. We cannot support any group that looks to the US as a model or a hope, because we here know better than anyone that this is a sham. And any group that panders to the US and it's citizens via social media has to immediately be suspect.
Sloppy always comes to crow about how much b hates America. I don't think b "hates" the USA, but he is certainly right to make the USAs aggressive moves toward hegemony the key focus of all of his posts, and right to make a stand against this issue over all others because it is truly the gravest threat the world faces today.
- if the emergence of liberal freedom in every corner of the world means it's sure evaporation from all parts very soon after (which will surely occur if the USA achieves total global domination) we cannot support this. We will only see real opportunities for peace, political expression, and true democracy only after the US is prevented from perverting these good things into instruments of its domination. But until then, the independence of foreign governments is far more important for world peace, stability, and prosperity than the rights of a few minorities to threaten their governments in Russia, China, or Iran.
guest77 | Oct 5, 2014 7:23:42 PM | 86
@84 And of course for inside "the west" the exact opposite holds true. We should support any protests, any movement that attempts to degrade the aggressive capabilities of the US Empire, because this will allow real democracy and prosperity to flourish in more places around the world.
No one can claim that countries like Russia, China, Brazil, India and Iran - where standards of living are rising and the governments have the broad support of the people - are "dictatorships".
Just like no one of any honesty should call the banker dominated oligarchy like the United States, where cash determines every election down to the lowest rungs on the political ladder - a "democracy".
Demian | Oct 6, 2014 3:14:41 AM | 100@brian #95:
Gee, you seem to follow Project pretty closely. I have no such inclination.
As I said before, all one needs to do is watch the Maidan girl video and then the Occupy central video, both of which you directed us to, to see that what is going on in Hong Kong is just another attempted color revolution.
Another link, obtained from the link guest77 gave at #89:
US State Dept Funding and Occupy Central, the Ties that Bind
This is the most through demonstration of how Occupy Central is just the US State Department being up to its usual tricks that I have seen so far. The post the Saker put up today, in which a Hong Konger explains why he does not support Occupy Central, is also worth reading.
Analogy of Hong cong event with Ukrainian EuroMaidan events run so deep that sometimes it looks like the same blueprint was used in Hong Cong as in Kiev.
I see the following key ingredients of “color revolutions” in action in Orange, Revolution, Russian White Revolution and Euro Maidan of 2013.
The society should be split with some part of nation, typical comprador olitachs and several other segments of society closely connected to multinationals, already taking anti-government positions
This was and extremely easy part in Ukraine, which along with compradors in Kiev, has Western part of the country with different religion and history, so called Catholic part of the country. This part of the country proved to be a national ally of comprador oligarchy in staging neoliberal revolution, despite the fact that they will suffer from it in equal degree as Eastern, Orthodox part of the country.
Moreover enforcing equality of homosexual marriages with traditional marriages is directly against Catholic doctrine. But gastarbeiters orientation of this region with majority of adult population working in near-by countries (Poland, Russia, Germany) as well as the fact that the region which does not have any significant industrial base helps to raise relatively cheap ($30 a day or less) and reliable "cannon fodder" for the color revolution. People were transported to Kiev by buses paid with cash supplied by oligarchs or "embassy cash". Sift work on Maydan was source of revenue for some villagers in Western Ukraine for more then six months.
Muslim fundamentalists (Muslim brotherhood in Egypt) were successfully used in Arab spring revolutions. As my understanding of those countries is very limited I can't provide any details.
The whole process is often staged around election fraud (the best conditions are if two opposing candidate get around 50% of votes, but can be used with different percentages as well). In case of election fraud it works in two main phases:
I regularly screen Bringing Down a Dictator in my courses at Swarthmore College. This film does an excellent job of introducing students to the fundamentals of nonviolent power. Students come to understand that authoritarian regimes, while formidable, are often more fragile than we imagine. Milosevic’s regime, like others, relied on a mixture of apathy, fear, and cynicism that the students of Otpor fought to dispel through humor, appeals to nationalism, and tireless public outreach. Like any large institution, Milosevic’s regime depended on the loyalty of its functionaries (such as the police) and at least a veneer of public credibility. Otpor students carefully undermined both through its broad grassroots organizing, popular nonviolent resistance, and by awakening a multi-party political opposition.
In cases other then election fraud even serve as a starting point of protest active phase requires "police brutality" provocation. For example recent Euro Maidan started as an action against non signing of treaty of association with EU (note no EU membership) without mass support. But it became real protest event when carefully planned police brutality provocation materialized. In this particular case there were fifth column even within the government. So the assumption that the government is monolithic is incorrect. It often contains elements that are ready to betray. Or such elements can be bought.
Attempt to provoke police brutality so that “public demonstrations” help to turn demonstrations no matter how they started into definitely anti-government and anti status quo. The goal is to undermining police loyalty through carefully stage campaign about police brutality. Older methods of “befriending policemen” to neutralize them no longer work. But media campaign against police brutality is very demoralizing and still words very effectively as Euro Maidan 2013 had shown. The goal is to allow “free hands” in undermining the current government. See NONVIOLENT STRUGGLE - Community Labor News
Authoritarian government has much more breezing space of dealing with the situation that democratic government, so the more democratic is the target government is, the easier for a color revolution to institute a "regime change".
As long as democracy is considered to be a “sacred cow” for the government under attack, it is essentially doomed. If Western democracy is the only legitimate form/model to which you need to progress from the current “wild”, unlawful, criminal and authoritarian state of total darkness, the Western powers are by definition the arbiters of this progress. There is no defense from this claim in you have foreign observers on the ground. This way the current government itself betray its own legitimacy by delegating it to foreign powers, who can abuse their role at will for benign or not so benign motives: without leaving hotel, the western elections observers will state about mass violation during elections, playing the role of Trojan horse of the “color revolution”. The government is caught is zugzwang as foreign observers are by definition the arbiters of the legitimacy of elections. Any move makes the situation worse.
Former colonial powers such as USA, GB, France, Germany, Holland, and Denmark are master of hypocrisy in the direction to people they want to colonize via neoliberal revolution.
The organizing force of color revolution are NGOs which are often nothing more that legalized parts of Western intelligence community. That why several countries, such as Russia, Israel, etc limited the activity of foreign NGOs. In country where this was not done, the ruling elite might soon regret this criminal negligence.
They are engaged in systematic, long term attempts to build and maintain student/youth based and heavily financed (60% in case of Ukraine) fifth column of “professional protesters”, the move that actually mirrors Bolshevik’s reliance on “professional revolutionaries”.
Students are the most suitable target as they are more easily brainwashed, are excitable, often dream about emigration to Western countries, always need money. Perfect “canon fodder” of the “color revolutions”. Creation of set of martyrs “for the course”, especially among young journalists who were arrested during protests and, even better, mistreated, is a part of this tactic. As emigration is considered as desirable future by considerable percent of young people, we have a pool from which it is easy to recruit fighters for the “democratic future” of the nation with the hope that after reaching critical mass the process become self-sustainable. And often it is. Also after being arrested and/or expelled from the university those people have nowhere to go but to became “professional color revolutionaries”. Some of then are pretty talented and can do a lot of damage. This was pre-emptive creation of a well-organized “anti-fraud front” tremendously helps to create legitimacy problem for the government as initiative is instantly lost to government opponents. The government is too bureaucratized, unprepared and is taken by surprise the strength of the response. They try to convince that election process was completely legitimate people who does not want to be convinced and just laugh at their efforts. As in any revolution loss of initiative is half of the defeat: the “democratizers” have plan, have hard currency, have hopes about their future in the West and the will to achieve their goals. In Ukraine the “anti-fraud” front has worked under the succinct slogan Pora— “It’s Time”.
Activists in each of these movements were funded and trained in tactics of political organization and nonviolent resistance by a coalition of Western pollsters and professional consultants funded by a range of Western government and non-government agencies. According to The Guardian, these include the U.S. State Department and US AID along with the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, NGO Freedom House and billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Institute. The National Endowment for Democracy, a U.S. Government funded foundation, has supported non-governmental democracy-building efforts in Ukraine since 1988. Writings on nonviolent struggle by Gene Sharp formed the strategic basis of the student campaigns.
Creation of "fifth column press" under the protection of "freedom of press" slogan and full scale "take not prisoners" approach to use of press influence as the most vulnerable forth branch of government to undermine the other three. If this part works for color revolution, and press turns against the government, the government is doomed. Under the cover of “freedom of the press” systematic use of all controllable media, Internet, web sites, social media, mobile communications for spreading the “truth” about mass falsifications. As Goebbels used to say
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
Substitute “State” for “color revolution”. Press also serves for coordination and maintaining the direction and unity of the movement. Heavy use of well-financed NGO as a brain trust for the movement:
Throughout the demonstrations, Ukraine’s emerging Internet usage (facilitated by news sites which began to disseminate the Kuchma tapes) was an integral part of the orange revolutionary process. It has even been suggested that the Orange Revolution was the first example of an Internet-organized mass protest.  Analysts believe that the Internet and mobile phones allowed an alternative media to flourish that was not subject to self-censorship or overt control by President Kuchma and his allies and pro-democracy activists (such as Pora!) were able to use mobile phones and the Internet to coordinate election monitoring and mass protests.
Promiscuity in building coalition and seeking allies. Nationalist and gay rights mixture is perfectly OK ;-). Any neofascist party is a best friend of Western democratizers. Muslim fundamentalists are also a valuable ally.
Anybody opposed to “brutal and dishonest current regime” is welcomed to join “anti-fraud front”. No "inconvenient questions" about agenda of particular group and they relationship to the "democracy" smokescreen are asked
Are ultra-nationalists now best friends of democracy? There was never such a good friends. Are communist now best friends of democracy? No question about it.
Oligarchs are important part of fifth column first of all because as any comprador bourgeoisie they are not an independent players. They are pretty much puppets of the West and an important force of staging color revolutions.
Their capitals, often their family and property are in the West. So they are easy target of blackmail, even if color revolution is not in their interests and they can suffer from considerable financial losses as a result (due to destruction of local industries, which is the national effect of neoliberal revolution).
Another important thing about oligarchs is that they control considerable (is some countries like Ukraine dominant) part of media space. This provides easy and bloodless media coup d'état when country MSM go against government and government simply can't make its voice heard. This was the situation during Euro Maidan 2013 in Ukraine. Actually acting Ukrainian Prime Minister directly complained about this situation in December 2013.
Here is an interesting quote from http://los-oxuenos.livejournal.com/636710.html (slightly edited Google translation):
Why Putin tyrannized officials with the necessity to close foreign accounts
Journalist Yuri Butusov on his Facebook page says that Tsenzor.Net source close to diplomatic circles,:tails of the negotiations between Newland and Akhmetov held in Kiev.
Nuland informed that in case of police enforced clearing of EuroMaidan, U.S. and EU leaders agreed on a common position - immediate sanctions against leading politicians and oligarchs close to President Yanukovich. And the list will be continually updated so as to cut off all contacts with the EU and the United States not only for those figures authorities who participated in the police initiated dispersal of protesters, but also for those who did not defend peaceful continuation of protests scenario. This is a very important addition that will not allow anyone to shirk responsibility in the leadership of the Party of Regions and its sponsors.
Akhmetov: the meeting that on Monday he was trying to keep President Yanukovych from using force against EuroMaidan, but Yanukovych refused to accept it. Nuland demanded organize a round table with the opposition and civil society from the leadership of the PR directly - even in defiance of Yanukovych. Forced dispersal of EuroMaidan should out of possible options.
Nuland promised not only sanctions - she also has clarified this threat, presenting the list of people who get together with their families will be target of the sanctions in the first place .
- Rinat Akhmetov .
- Vadim Novinsky .
- Andrei and Sergei Klyuyev.
Why them? Because Akhmetov controls 55 PR MPs and Klyuyev has a mandate from the "young team" to manage the rest of the faction.
U.S. expects that the Party of Regions faction will support all four of the opposition's demands , after which can be initiated peace talks :
- Announcement of early presidential elections.
- Early parliamentary elections.
- Tymoshenko liberation and complete recovery of her civil rights.
- Criminal cases against all members of the MUP and "Berkut" , who took part in the crackdown on "peaceful demonstrations".
Nuland categorically stated that the failure to meet those conditions will put a big question every company's operating performance and DTEK "Metinvest " which Akhmetov owns abroad. Nuland clearly noted : these companies have placed assets in Europe , the U.S. and Europe are for them the major markets, the top brass of those companies have a property abroad and Akhmetov's family are tax residents of the UK. Metinvest and DTEK has major liabilities to international investors in the form of foreign currency bonds .
Thus, not just the first time the U.S. announced an ultimatum oligarchs surrounded by Yanukovych , but this time they are described in detail, in what form and at what level these sanctions will be applied.
There are several films and books that document this new strategy. Among them I would highlight works by MacKinnon, Sharp and CANSAS ( Serbia's Centre for Applied Non Violent Action and Strategies):
America's Coup Machine Destroying Democracy Since 1953 Alternet
The New Cold War Revolutions, Rigged Elections, and Pipeline Politics in the Former Soviet Union by Mark A. MacKinnon
Gene Sharp books
- Power and Struggle (Politics of Nonviolent Action, Part 1)
- Politics of Nonviolent Action, Part Two- The Methods of Nonviolent Action
- Waging Nonviolent Struggle- 20th Century Practice And 21st Century Potential
- Sharp's Dictionary of Power and Struggle- Language of Civil Resistance in Conflicts
- Gandhi As a Political Strategist- With Essays on Ethics and Politics (Extending horizons books)
- Social Power and Political Freedom (Extending horizons books)
- Civilian-Based Defense- A Post-Military Weapons System
- Making Europe Unconquerable- A Civilian-Based Deterrence and Defense System
- National Security Through Civilian-Based Defense
Serbian color revolution
- Bringing Down a Dictator(DVD) by Ivan Marovic, Srdja Popovic, Otpor!, Steve York Movies & TV The Time of the Rebels- Youth Resistance Movements and 21st Century R…
Books about Orange revolution in Ukraine
- Ukraine's Orange Revolution (9780300112900) Dr. Andrew Wilson Books
- Aspects of the Orange Revolution II: Information and Manipulation Strategies in the 2004 Ukrainian Presidential Elections (Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society 64) [Paperback]
Role of Western bankers in Bolsheviks revolution in Russia
( Jul 10, 2017 , www.msn.com )
|"The great masquerade of evil has played havoc with all our ethical concepts.
For evil to appear disguised as light, as charity, as historical necessity, or social justice
is quite bewildering to anyone raised on traditional ethical concepts. But for the Christian who
builds his life on the word of God, it merely confirms the fundamental perversity of evil."
-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Feb 18, 2018 | consortiumnews.com
LaNinyaJoe Tedesky , February 17, 2018 at 1:13 pm
no evidence is added to cohesively tie the establishment Russia narrative together
It's all been gossip and innuendo.
If there HAD been any evidence of "collusion", "treason", or an "attack" by foreign state actors, the intelligence and law-enforcement agencies would not have been playing games leaking to the press, but pressing forward with serious measures to harden the country's security system and neutralize the threat(s). Had there been any genuine evidence of malfeasance by the Trump campaign (outside of widely practiced and generally accepted instances of corruption), Donald Trump would have been pulled from the roster of presidential candidates by October 2016 at the latest.
Any country that would allow a traitor (or even a suspected traitor) to compete for the highest office in the land is not a country that is serious about "sovereignty" or "democracy" and should quite rightly be considered a failed state.
As for the red-baiting and blatantly obvious attempts by the FVEYs to get Russia to throw a first punch -- so we can then jump in with all we've got and pin down the victory we thought we had back in 1998 (the big one that got away) -- I think we should all re-read that open letter signed by Dmitry Orlov, the Saker, and others which was posted in May of 2016 (yeah: right around the time this whole Russia narrative was being cooked up):
Let's all just hope the warmongers end up exposing themselves as being the belligerent, immature a**holes that they are so everyone else can laugh and point and get back to building the peaceful, prosperous world that we want to live in.LaNinya , February 17, 2018 at 1:48 pm
Good letter, please read this one.
https://slavyangrad.org/2014/09/24/the-russia-they-lost/Joe Tedesky , February 17, 2018 at 1:55 pm
Wow. Good one, Joe. Beautifully written. Thanks for the link. The comments were interesting, too.
Your welcome, and you are right about the comments. Let's read the very first one, as I'm also leaving off the commenters name which may be seen on the original comment board.
"As an American who has spent a lifetime studying his nation, I can tell you for a fact that America was never cool. At the end of WWI, American soldiers came home to lynch African-Americans in record numbers because they had gotten "uppity" in the soldiers' absence. After WWII, America protected Nazi war criminals and immediately attacked the real saviour of mankind (the Soviet Union), actually attacking Soviet citizens and starving the Soviet state of reconstruction monies. In the 1950s, America took over the British and French empires and became a National Security State with the growth of the CIA. Sixty-five years later, it is estimated by scholarly demographic studies that The United States is directly responsible for 40 million deaths. Even Nazi Germany, had it been victorious in WWII, could have not outstripped that record of carnage. Think about that! The world was saved from the Nazi conquest only to suffer the US conquest. And the latter was worse -- simply because the US was larger and richer and therefore more powerful and violent. You and your friends should never have been entranced. The Soviet Union provided its citizens with employment, housing, education, health-care, recreation, great art, science. The United States provided its citizens with job insecurity, homelessness, brainwashing, obesity, stress leading to mass killings, crap art, and laughable pseudo-science. I rather wonder what it might have been like for myself if I had been born on the USSR rather than the USA. I'd feel less rage and guilt, forty million fewer iota of rage and guilt; that is for certain. That would have been cooler."
What a great comment, and made with such historical accuracy. Joe
Feb 18, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
Then Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, would be president of the United States, but the Senate, probably, and the House of Representatives, certainly, would have remained under Republican control.
In other words, had Hillary won, we would now have pretty much what we had when Barack Obama was president – but with the executive branch less competently led and more packed with Clintonite (neoliberal, liberal imperialist, shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later) officials, and with a Congress run by obstinate Republican troglodytes running roughshod over feckless, slightly less retrograde Democrats.
Radical impulses would, of course, continue to stir throughout the general population but notwithstanding widespread and deep popular support, to even less avail than before.
A Clinton presidency wouldn't make the blood of high-minded people boil, the way the Trump presidency has done, though, for anyone with the courage to face reality squarely, it would be nearly as painful to endure.
That pain would be much less constructive than the pain that is now so widely felt. Instead of sparking anodyne "resistance," it would be drowned out in a sea of acquiescence.
In a word, Clinton's first term would be what a third Obama term would have been – ratcheted down a few notches in the squelched "hope" and "change" departments.
By being African American, Obama stirred up plenty of hope and change illusions, especially at first, in many, maybe most, sectors of the population. In other sectors, Obama's race brought barely suppressed prejudices and resentments out into the open.
Because it soon became clear – not to everybody, but to everybody not willfully blind – that, under Obama, little, if any, good would come, Obamaphilia eventually faded away; the racism and nativism Obama's election boosted proved more durable.
Hillary, on the other hand, was anything but a beacon of hope – except perhaps to those of her supporters whose highest priority was electing a woman president. Hardly anyone else ever expected much good to come from her calling the shots.
In comparison with Obama, she wasn't even good at what she did. Despite a constant barrage of public relations babble about how experienced and competent she is, this was widely understood, even if seldom conceded.
She hadn't been much of a First Lady or Senator; among other things, she helped set the cause of health insurance reform back a generation, and she supported the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.
Then, as Secretary of State, she was at least partly responsible for devastating levels of disorder and mayhem throughout North Africa (Libya especially), the Greater Middle East (not just Syria), and elsewhere (Honduras, for example). But for her tenure at Foggy Bottom, there would be many fewer refugees in the world today.
It is therefore a good bet that were she president now, Obama would be sorely missed – notwithstanding his fondness for terrorizing civilians with weaponized drones, and for deporting Hispanics and others with a zeal exceeding George Bush's.
Inasmuch as he did break a color line that seemed infrangible, it was impossible for persons of good will not to root for the man. That would be like not rooting for Jackie Robinson. But the fact remains: except in comparison to his rivals and to Trump, he was no prize.
Because it was clear to nearly everybody outside the Clinton propaganda circuit that, by 2016, there really was no "glass ceiling" holding women back, Hillary had nothing like that going for her.
There were and are plenty of people of all ages and genders who would have liked to see a woman elected president; the time for that is long past due. But, by the time Clinton became the Democratic standard bearer, hardly anyone could truly believe that patriarchal attitudes or rampant misogyny were significant factors standing in her way.
To be sure, the lingering effects of attitudes in place years ago have diminished the pool of plausible female candidates. But then so too did the idea that Clinton was somehow entitled to the office. Because that attitude was so deeply entrenched, few women wanted to cross her.
Nevertheless, there are women who, running on the Democratic line, could surely have defeated Trump. An obvious example is Elizabeth Warren.
I am not alone in thinking that had the Democratic National Committee not rigged the nomination process in Clinton's favor, Bernie Sanders would have become the party's nominee and then gone on to defeat Trump. Warren's chances of winning the election were better still – precisely because, she is a woman.
Clinton's problem was not her gender; it was her politics.
Even so, we would be a lot better off now had she won in 2016 -- not just because the evil we know (too well!) is easier to deal with than the blooming buzzing confusion we ended up with instead, but also because, despite her Russophobia and fondness for "military solutions," the likelihood that the United States would blunder into a nuclear Armageddon would now be significantly less.
Too bad therefore that she flubbed even more egregiously than those of us who saw through the public relations myths about her accomplishments and competence thought possible.
Needless to say, in the alternative universe that Democrats and their media flacks have concocted, they explain the election outcome differently. In their view, Hillary lost because "the Russians" subverted our democratic institutions.
Or was it because James Comey, then the Director of the FBI, tipped that election to Trump by refocusing attention on Clinton's emails as Election Day approached?
One would think that it would faze Democratic confabulators that, shortly after the election was over, Comey rose to the top of Donald Trump's shit list – and was unceremoniously fired. They really should get their story straight.
While they are sorting that out, they might also make an effort to be a tad less besotted with the FBI. It is, to say the least, unseemly, even for faux-progressives, to cozy up to the perennial scourge of every progressive tendency in the American body politic.
And it isn't just the FBI – Democrats nowadays are smitten with the entire national security state apparatus, including the CIA and the NSA.
Democrats have always been that way to some extent, but, in the pre-Trump era, Republicans were generally the more gung ho of our two semi-established parties.
For decades, Cold War anti-Communist paranoia endeared the FBI and the others to wide swathes of the general public and to Republicans and Democrats alike. When a dearth of real world Communists made that story line impossible to maintain, "Islamic terrorists" were on hand to take their place.
These obsessions pair well with the right's passion for law and order – in other words, for keeping the poor generally, and persons of color especially, down.
And so, being the more rightwing of the duopoly parties, Republicans, before Trump, were especially besotted with the forces of order – from local police (for whom, black lives don't really matter) on up (or is it down?).
Democrats have never had any real quarrel with any of this, but, being the "nicer" and more reasonable of the duopoly parties, they were less inclined to go overboard.
It grieves me to say anything good about Donald Trump, but, to his credit, he did force Republicans onto a less unreasonable track – not in general, but towards Russia, a country with a nuclear arsenal so formidable that only maniacs would want to mess with it unnecessarily.
In all likelihood, Trump's reasons are venal or otherwise nefarious, and have little if anything to do with common sense. But anything that holds back the Doomsday Clock is welcome.
It is likely, though, that, before long, Republicans will revert back to their old ways.
Indeed, this is already happening: witness Trump's new "defense strategy" – aimed at the old Cold War bugaboos, Russia and China.
The scare quotes are in order because there is no strategy there, and what Trump is proposing has nothing to do with defense. It has everything to do, however, with giving free rein to the Pentagon to squander monies that could be otherwise spent in socially useful ways, and with stuffing the pockets of death merchants ("defense contractors") and those who feed off the taxpayer money our political class throws their way.
Despite even this, Democrats remain the less odious duopoly party. On nearly all "issues," just about any Republican is worse than any Democrat; and the attitudes and instincts Republicans evince are more execrable by far.
It should be born in mind, however, that the Democratic Party is, if anything, even more responsible for Trump than the Republicans are.
Insofar as he has set political views and attitudes, they were forged in New York City, under the aegis of Democratic Party politicians. And the Clintonite (neoliberal) turn in the larger political culture created the conditions for the possibility of Trump, or someone like him, rising to national prominence.
Democrats pulled this off by malignly neglecting the working class – and therefore less well-off white voters, among others – and by euthanizing nascent left oppositions that showed promise of challenging the economic supremacy and political power of the so-called "donor class" and of capitalists generally.
Neoliberalism shifts power and resources from the state sector to private capital, it encourages the globalization of trade, and it facilitates the free flow of capital around the world.
Its nostrums are integral to a form of class struggle aimed at weakening working class opposition – largely, but not exclusively, by attacks on the labor movement.
The classical fascism of the interwar years took aim at workers' economic and political organizations too – more directly, through violent frontal assaults. Neoliberalism works more gently, through protracted wars of attrition. The consequences, however, are much the same.
The Clintons and Tony Blair and their counterparts in other countries make a show of their progressivism – limiting their efforts, however, to cultural issues that do not materially harm capitalists' interests.
Around election times, they even make nice with union leaders -- because they need the resources and manpower they can still provide. But it is all a ruse, as workers and others know well.
Real fascists set out to intimidate workers' organizations; they liked bloodying noses. Neoliberals take aim at workers' power in such subtle but far-reaching ways that they often don't even realize that they have been had.
In the early days of the Regan era, Bertram Gross famously introduced the notion of "friendly fascism." The GOP used to be the friendly fascist's natural home. These days, however, Republicans are a lot nastier than they were in Reagan's time.
In recent years, the Tea Party and then Trump and the miscreants he has empowered have accentuated the GOP's racist, nativist, and authoritarian side. It is not a fascist party in the traditional sense, but the resemblances are more than a little worrisome.
And so, Reagan-style friendly fascism has largely disappeared from the Republican fold. But for what has taken its place, this would be a reason to celebrate.
Meanwhile, the spirit of the "Reagan revolution" lives on in the other duopoly party –where, thanks to the Clintons and others like them, efforts to keep "the donor class up" and everyone else down continue in a seemingly more benign way.
The electoral consequences are predictable. The kinds of working class people whom Trump derides – basically, everyone who is not white, male and straight – are, of course, more likely to vote for Democrats than Republicans. But they are more likely still not to vote at all.
Why would they when they have nothing to vote for ?
And, in large (mainly rural) swathes of the country, white working class men and the women who stand by them will vote for anyone, even an obviously incompetent billionaire buffoon whose policies will do nothing for them materially, provided only that he channels their resentments at Clintonite policies and people.
However, malign neglect of an important segment of the working class is only partly responsible for Trump. The absence of a genuine left is of far greater importance.
The reasons for its absence are many, and go far beyond the Democratic Party. Even so, Democrats have a lot to answer for.
As it became increasingly clear that the Bush-Cheney wars launched after 9/11 were responsible for enormous harm to people and to geopolitical stability, a peace movement took shape that, by 2006, had become a force to be reckoned with.
At the same time, in anticipation of the 2008 election, the leadership of the Democratic Party did its best to keep dissent in bounds. Their aim was to get Hillary Clinton elected president, and they feared that political turbulence would upset their plans.
At the very least, with the House back under Democratic control in 2006, Democrats could have initiated impeachment proceedings against George Bush; they had more than ample grounds. Whether or not he would then have been removed from office, he and his subordinates would have been impeded to some extent from doing at least some of the harm they went on to do.
But Nancy Pelosi and her co-thinkers in Congress put the kibosh on that idea. Their efforts did not stifle the growing peace movement entirely, but it did take some of the wind out its sails.
When it turned out that Obama was a stronger candidate than Clinton, and that the nomination would go his way, leading Democrats adapted. Hillary was their favorite, but Obama had been thoroughly vetted for corporate-friendliness and passed all the tests with flying colors. That was good enough for them.
And so it fell to the Nobel laureate to put the peace movement definitively down, even as he continued – temporarily even escalating -- the Bush-Cheney wars.
For too long and against too much contrary evidence, liberals took it for granted that Obama was on the side of the angels. They therefore let pass the murder and mayhem he was responsible for.
After eight years of that, what little semblance of a genuine left there had been within the Democratic Party's ambit found itself narcotized into oblivion.
An appetite for real opposition, even rebellion, existed within the general public; under the pressure of events it was growing all the time. But, with our debilitating duopoly party system in place, there was no political way out of the status quo.
Had Hillary won, that sad state of affairs would have continued, while the underlying maladies that Trump exploited for the benefit of himself and his class would have continued to fester.
And we would now likely be on the brink of even more appalling electoral outcomes than we suffered through in 2010 and 2014, and in 2016, when the Trump phenomenon defied all expectations.
Paradoxically, though, with Trump's victory, the prospects for a better mainstream politics actually improved. Trump is so manifestly unfit for the job he holds that his hold over the White House and the Republican Party actually harms the right more than it helps it.
His ever expanding docket of impeachable offenses and his crude misogyny are doing the work an organized left opposition would be doing, if only one existed -- creating space for popular movements to develop.
It started with the Women's March, immediately after Inauguration Day, and has been growing ever since; with women – black, brown, and white – leading the surge.
With midterm elections looming, the danger of cooptation is great -- Democrats, their media in tow, are working overtime to make that happen. But thanks to Trump, things have gone too far by now to be squelched entirely.
What Obama's victory did to the peace movement after 2008, a Hillary victory in 2016 would have done ten times over to the several (mainly woman-led) insurgencies that were beginning to take shape during the campaign.
With Trump in the White House, progressive women remain in the forefront of struggles to change the world for the better. With Clinton there instead, their best efforts would be swamped by anodyne campaigns led by well-meaning liberals of the kind that understandably rile up the Trump base.
All things considered, it would have been better (less catastrophically awful) had Hillary won. Even so, there is some reason to be grateful that she did not. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Andrew Levine
ANDREW LEVINE is the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What's Wrong With the Opium of the People . He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).
Feb 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
In a motion filed in New York federal court, the CIA claimed that limited disclosures to reporters do not waive national security exemptions to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests . Intelligence and law enforcement agencies frequently deny records requests on the basis of protecting sensitive national security information, one of nine exemptions written into the federal FOIA law.
The case stems from lawsuit against the CIA by New York-based independent journalist Adam Johnson, who had used FOIA to obtain emails between the agency's public information office and selected reporters from the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and The New York Times. The emails the CIA provided to Johnson were redacted, leading him to question why he was not allowed to see the same information that had been given to uncleared reporters.
Johnson challenged the redaction in court, arguing that the CIA, once it has selectively disclosed information to uncleared reporters, cannot claim the same information is protected by a FOIA exemption.
The judge in the case appeared to find Johnson' argument compelling. In a court order last month, Chief Judge Colleen McMahon of the Southern District of New York said FOIA laws do not authorize limited disclosure, to favored journalists or otherwise.
" In this case, CIA voluntarily disclosed to outsiders information that it had a perfect right to keep private, " she wrote .
"There is absolutely no statutory provision that authorizes limited disclosure of otherwise classified information to anyone, including 'trusted reporters,' for any purpose, including the protection of CIA sources and methods that might otherwise be outed. "
McMahon also said it didn't matter if the journalists in question published the information they received, only if the CIA waived its right to deny the information.
" The fact that the reporters might not have printed what was disclosed to them has no logical or legal impact on the waiver analysis, because the only fact relevant to waiver analysis is: Did the CIA do something that worked a waiver of a right it otherwise had? " she wrote, asking CIA lawyers to come up with a stronger defense for non-disclosure.
The CIA's response on Wednesday centered on the contention that the information disclosed to favored reporters had not actually entered the public domain. As such, the limited disclosure did not constitute a waiver of the FOIA exemption, government lawyers said.
"The Court's supposition that a limited disclosure of information to three journalists necessarily equates to a disclosure to the public at large is legally and factually mistaken," the CIA motion stated. "The record demonstrates beyond dispute that the classified and statutorily protected information withheld from the emails has not entered the public domain."
Selective disclosure of classified information to uncleared reporters is a fairly common practice recognized by Congress, which requires briefings by the CIA on such disclosures , according to Steven Aftergood, the director of the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy. Johnson's case, if decided in favor of the CIA, could end up ratifying the practice via the courts, Aftergood says.
Johnson has until March 1 to reply to the government's motion, which asks for a summary judgement in favor of the CIA.
Another 'win' for The Deep State looms...
Giant Meteor -> peopledontwanttruth Sat, 02/17/2018 - 19:51 Permalinkverumcuibono -> Giant Meteor Sat, 02/17/2018 - 19:55 Permalink
It's a big club, and we're all in it ..Stan522 -> verumcuibono Sat, 02/17/2018 - 19:56 Permalink
FOIA folly. DS cut that shit down back in the 80s.
CIA has infiltrated MSM for DECADES. Bernstein (also on CIA payroll despite All The President's Men narrative) wrote a great Rolling Stone piece suggesting 400+ on payroll @ WaPo and that was in '77.
In Congressional hearings former CIA Dir. Colby admitted to broad media infiltration - CBS, NYT, Newsweek, Time, AP, MANY others.
Operation Mockingbird strong as ever.JimmyJones -> Stan522 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 20:06 Permalink
The Deep State still runs things....
More work to do.............stizazz -> JimmyJones Sat, 02/17/2018 - 20:23 Permalink
It would be nice to see all money spent on domestic propaganda since Obama legalized it a few years ago. And to find out if officially Operation Mockingbird is on going to this day, I believe it is.FoggyWorld -> Stan522 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 20:11 Permalink
Everything that helps them MAINTAIN POWER is still going on.Betrayed -> FoggyWorld Sat, 02/17/2018 - 20:33 Permalink
Not sure any work has been even started. Trump hasn't shown any interest at all in pursuing the well known felons involved.LetThemEatRand -> verumcuibono Sat, 02/17/2018 - 19:57 Permalink
Well let's not forget that Litte Jeffie gets woke and all riled up when Grannie takes a toke for her aching joints.
There's that.BarnacleBill -> LetThemEatRand Sat, 02/17/2018 - 20:21 Permalink
Operation Mockingbird really does explain everything where MSM is concerned. And yet 95% of the US population thinks it is tin foil hat territory even to suggest that the media is in bed with the Deep State, which is why we're doomed.nmewn -> peopledontwanttruth Sat, 02/17/2018 - 20:08 Permalink
I think 95% is a bit heavy! Surely the figure is less than 50%, these days. As for the CIA, does it have *any* credibility left, any more?Giant Meteor -> nmewn Sat, 02/17/2018 - 20:14 Permalink
"The case stems from lawsuit against the CIA by New York-based independent journalist Adam Johnson, who had used FOIA to obtain emails between the agency's public information office and selected reporters from the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and The New York Times."
Now wait for it...
"The emails the CIA provided to Johnson were redacted , leading him to question why he was not allowed to see the same information that had been given to uncleared reporters."
Got that? Unredacted emails to WSJ, WaPo & the "Gray Lady" were redacted before given to another journalist who had to avail himself of FOIA to even get that.
Now, it would behoove us to all understand that this is not the same as a federal prosecutor like say, an Andrew Weissmann intentionally withholding exculpatory evidence from defense counsel in order to get his conviction.
This is moar along the lines of say, the CIA using a fawning Alinsky press corps reporters at the WSJ, WaPo & NYT's to intentionally mislead the public and...not wanting to show the public what they were misled on ;-)junction -> LetThemEatRand Sat, 02/17/2018 - 19:56 Permalink
What is most interesting ..
Increasingly the spooks seem to be "outing themselves", which begs the question, if these things they are now copping too , laid on the table, how bad is what is being withheld, and what new agenda in so doing, is being served ..LetThemEatRand -> junction Sat, 02/17/2018 - 20:02 Permalink
Our Masters have spoken. The CIA leaks to to main stream reporters who were always on their payroll. Their CIA day job is pretending to be reporters. CIA mouthpiece The Washing Post is correct in its slogan: "Democracy dies in darkness." Only now, all we have left is the rotting corpse of Democracy in the USA.putaipan -> LetThemEatRand Sat, 02/17/2018 - 20:28 Permalink
It is the gas-lighting of statements like "Democracy dies in darkness" that is so hard to swallow. I imagine in NK the people are told daily they are traitors if they don't believe that Kim is a living God. But the American version is far more effective because it has all of the trappings of legitimacy, complete with "competing" ideologies among the likes of say Fox vs. MSNBC. I hand it to TPTB for creating such an effective matrix.VWAndy Sat, 02/17/2018 - 19:47 Permalink
i dare anyone to watch tomorrow's sunday morning weeklys and not crack up. every channel now has its own paid retired cia talking spookhead. plus mockingbird was before propoganda was legalized- this is some new revolving door level shit ... and you wouldn't want these "journalists" revealing their sources now, would you?peopledontwanttruth -> VWAndy Sat, 02/17/2018 - 19:49 Permalink
That they make up the rules as they go kinda says it all.VWAndy -> peopledontwanttruth Sat, 02/17/2018 - 19:53 Permalink
It's hard to lose when you can move the uprightsserotonindumptruck Sat, 02/17/2018 - 19:47 Permalink
There is one simple trick that works pretty well on people that like to set the bar out of everyones reach. Make them go first.Merica101 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 19:48 Permalink
If a CIA spook tells a lie to another liar, who then tells the truth to another CIA spook, then who is the liar?RightLineBacker -> Merica101 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 20:01 Permalink
Newsflash - people have lost confidence in the institutions they once respected. MSM, Alphabet agencies, what have you - time for a do-over.topspinslicer Sat, 02/17/2018 - 19:48 Permalink
Time for Trump to close down the FBI, DoJ, NSA, CIA and the other 17 or so spy operations and rebuild a few of them from scratch with appointed rotating Citizen oversight.
The current traitors can not ever again be trusted.Giant Meteor -> topspinslicer Sat, 02/17/2018 - 20:09 Permalink
What about an informed public to have a functioning democracy? I know damn well we aren't a limited republicBidnessMan Sat, 02/17/2018 - 19:48 Permalink
A mis-informed public is much easier to control, manipulate.booboo Sat, 02/17/2018 - 19:50 Permalink
We truly are in Alice in Wonderland territory. All Common Sense has disappeared.wardaddy Sat, 02/17/2018 - 19:50 Permalink
This should be an easy victory for the plaintiff but the judge will get "spooked" and side with the Criminal Intelligence Agency.VWAndy -> wardaddy Sat, 02/17/2018 - 19:56 Permalink
And we used to think our CIA were staffed by patriot Americans...BeepBeepRichie -> wardaddy Sat, 02/17/2018 - 19:57 Permalink
Or that there were some boy scouts in the mix. Sadly no.Dilluminati Sat, 02/17/2018 - 19:51 Permalink
Nope, I never thought thathooligan2009 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 19:58 Permalink
- Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
- Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
- No animal shall wear clothes.
- No animal shall sleep in a bed.
- No animal shall drink alcohol.
- No animal shall kill any other animal.
- All animals are equal.Pandelis -> hooligan2009 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 20:03 Permalink
reporters are member of the public, they are not arbiters of fact and do not have any special rights above and beyond those of any other member of the public.
the fact that the WSJ, NYT and WaPo have proven to be liars, instigators of wars and guity of "spinning" news to suit their own political agendas need not be used as evidence - though it is damning.
disclosure to reporters is disclosure to the public.
the case made by the CIA is false - on its face.
it is beyond belief that the legal profession would defend this hypocrisy. what is wrong with them? we already know that the CIA thinks americans are not smart enough to handle the shaded truth or lies it spins.Pandelis Sat, 02/17/2018 - 19:59 Permalink
"reporters are member of the public"
i suppose assuming this you are wrong. if anything the last year experience with CNN or FOX you pick your side should have made it clear there is no free press. No they are not member of the public, they are part of the machine and play a role either on team A or team B.... you are supposed to rot for one of them ... or i guess both if one completely trust it.red1chief Sat, 02/17/2018 - 20:00 Permalink
i suppose the idea is that reporters know how much to tell the public and how to spin it. plus they got internal control before publishing anything. it implies there is no free press, basically the press is the same as the institution which let them see the information.
on the other hand giving it directly to the masses is different. i suppose some sophisticated people would do the hard work to translate it for the "unwashed masses" or the regular Joes as the sayings go.StephenHopkins Sat, 02/17/2018 - 20:07 Permalink
As George Carlin stated, "power does what it wants". This is certainly further proof.bh2 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 20:08 Permalink
Splinter the CIA into a BILLION fragments. Do to the CIA what they did to the Twin Towers, and BULILDING 7!
bush/clinton/bush/obama was One AdministrationMs No Sat, 02/17/2018 - 20:08 Permalink
Reporters have no more right to information than ordinary citizens. Officials who release information to reports who are not officially cleared to see it are violating the law. And should be prosecuted without delay.Cloud9.5 -> Ms No Sat, 02/17/2018 - 20:18 Permalink
The Secret Police will be dismantled, it's just a matter of time. They will do themselves in with hubris and arrogance. The arrogance is really pissing people off right about now. They shouldn't even be involved in issues within US borders. Of course they shouldn't be trafficking drugs, human beings or destroying nation states all over the world either.ToSoft4Truth Sat, 02/17/2018 - 20:21 Permalink
People laugh but the Stasi was omnipotent and omnipresent in its domain and then like a wisp of smoke it was gone. The pretense of legitimacy is gone. These agencies are rogue and enemies of the body politic. We really are very close to the collapse.Zorba's idea Sat, 02/17/2018 - 20:24 Permalink
That CIA floor gleams.
God Bless the U.S.A. by Lee Greenwood
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q65KZIqay4Eshovelhead Sat, 02/17/2018 - 20:29 Permalink
HAfuckinHA! The CI fuckingA didn't leak (((classified))) information to their reporters...They distributed classified information to their respective agents within the MSM.
So it remains classified for "unreliable" reporters who may write unflattering stories about said information.
That sounds legit.
Feb 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Expat Sat, 02/17/2018 - 18:28 PermalinkSon of Captain Nemo Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:59 Permalink
How is this "news"? The US has been meddling in foreign elections for hundreds of years. When we can't change the results, we change the leader. We have assassinated foreign leaders. We have organized revolutions. We have carried out false flag "terrorist" attacks to destabilize countries.
Russia has paid for a few Facebook trolls. Boo hoo. Better that than the typical US method of kidnapping and torturing opposition leaders we don't like. Fuck America and it's brutish hypocrisy.
Woolsey is one of many profiles in the "machine" that turns out the worst socio/psychopaths called Langley!... Much like the Department of Defense they train them to believe they are the most highly intelligent and capable in espionage even when they "lose" and lose "badly"!
They look at themselves as superior beings in every way that deserve and expect no restraint. And are repeatedly rewarded with pay and responsibility even when failure on missions includes the worst "blowback"!
If there ever was a government agency alongside the DOD that deserves the honorary title of total betrayal to their motto " And You Shall Know The Truth And It Shall Set You Free "... that has economically and politically SINGLE HANDEDLY done the opposite of EVERYTHING DEMOCRACY STANDS FOR in it's TOTAL DESTRUCTION -- this agency is the personification without equal and "without question"!
Feb 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Former CIA chief James Woolsey appeared on Fox News to push the narrative of how dastardly 'dem Russkies' are in their meddling with the sacred soul of America's democracy.
Woolsey did his patriotic deep-state-duty and proclaimed the evils of "expansionist Russia" and dropped 'facts' like "Russia has a larger cyber-army than its standing army," before he moved on to China and its existential threats.
But then, beginning at around 4:30 , the real debacle of the conversation begins as Ingraham asks Woolsey,
"Have we ever tried to meddle in other countries' elections?"
Hes responds, surprisingly frankly...
"Oh probably... but it was for the good of the system..."
To which Ingraham follows up...
"We don't do that now though? We don't mess around in other people's elections?"
Prompting this extraordinary sentence from a former CIA chief...
"Well...hhhmmm, numm numm numm numm... only for a very good cause...in the interests of democracy"
So just to clarify - yes, the CIA chief admitted that Democracy-spreading 'Murica meddled in the Democratic elections of other nations "in the interests of democracy."
In case you wondered which ones he was referring to, here's a brief selection since 1948...
2016: UK (verbal intervention against Brexit)
2014: Afghanistan (effectively re-writing Afghan constitution)
2014: UK (verbal intervention against Scottish independence)
2011: Libya (providing support to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi)
2009: Honduras (ousting President Zelaya)
2006: Palestine (providing support to oust Prime Minister Haniyeh)
2005: Syria (providing support against President al-Assad)
2003: Iran (providing support against President Khatami)-
2003: Iraq (ousting of President Hussein)
2002: Venezuela (providing support to attempt an overthrow of President Chavez)
1999: Yugoslavia (removing Yugoslav forces from Kosovo)
1994: Iraq (attempted overthrow of President Hussein)
1991: Haiti (ousting President Aristide)
1991: Kuwait (removing Iraqi forces from Kuwait)
1989: Panama (ousting General Noriega)
1983: Grenada (ousting General Austin's Marxist forces)
1982: Nicaragua (providing support
1971: Chile (ousting President Allende)
1967: Indonesia (ousting President Sukarno)
1964: Brazil (ousting President Goulart)
1964: Chile (providing support against Salvador Allende)
1961: Congo (assassination of leader Lumumba)
1958: Lebanon (providing support to Christian political parties)
1954: Guatemala (ousting President Arbenz)
1953: Iran (ousting Prime Minister Mossadegh)
1953: Philippines (providing support to the President Magsaysay campaign)
1948: Italy (providing support to the Christian Democrats campaign)
gellero Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:18 PermalinkStan522 -> gellero Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:23 Permalink
What?? No Ukrania ???skbull44 -> Stan522 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:25 Permalink
obama sent in operatives into Israel to mess with Bibi....... They missed that one too....TBT or not TBT -> skbull44 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:29 Permalink
It's always for the children...
https://olduvai.caLooney -> TBT or not TBT Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:32 Permalink
Yeah, a little bit for the children, but primarily it's for the stockholders and upper management, with some serious trickle down to their children.Mango327 -> manofthenorth Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:01 Permalink
How about Brazil, Argentina, and South Africa? Fuck Allen Dulles, Mike Pompeo, and everybody in-between!
LooneySoilMyselfRotten -> skbull44 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:47 Permalink
This Russia bullshit has gotta stop. For the love of God, it's been like two and a a half years now. If Vladimir Putin was as twice as evil as we're told, he still wouldn't be half as evil as the Clintons are on any given Thursday.
MUELLER IS A JOKE, ABOLISH the F.B.I.
https://youtu.be/wC_Ro80LlhEmarysimmons -> SoilMyselfRotten Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:16 Permalink
Democracy? Annnnnnnd it's gone! No wonder the rest of the world thinks we've collectively lost our minds. BTW, Victoria Noodles will be very disappointed Ukraine didn't make the list after all of her hard work.veritas semper -> marysimmons Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:40 Permalink
Victoria "F*ck the EU" Nuland and the CIA were all over the Ukrainian "coup", but of course no mention of that on "Fair and Balanced". Laura Ingram is a typical Fox News Zio-Nazi bitch, hiding behind a cross, who apparently believes her own BS, and along others like Hannity have blood on their hands.
The whole purpose of the Mueller indictment was to give the mainstream outlets something to report so idiot Americans will believe the crap put out about Russia since the Winter Olympics in Sochi and set the tone to justify a military conflict with Russia that won't end well for anyone, IMONew_Meat -> marysimmons Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:46 Permalink
And Victoria Nuland Kagan is now Senior Adviser in the Donald's Department of Defense. See, kids, how the swamp is drained?TheSilentMajority -> Looney Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:47 Permalink
mary, just a touch catty tonight, don't cha' think?
Zio-Nazi? How dat work?
Whole purpose of the Mueller indictments is to give the folks a show to prove that their money hasn't been wasted on a Trump collusion charge for collusion that started in 2014 when Trump was prolly out schlongin' some playmate or other..Deep Snorkeler -> skbull44 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:38 Permalink
They didu sumtin.Dumpster Elite -> Stan522 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:28 Permalink
America plays political-economic pranks on the rest of the world for the good of the system. It's worked out well.Justin Case -> Stan522 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:36 Permalink
I kinda wondered why they missed that one, too. I've seen that list on here before. I guess messing with Israel's elections doesn't fit the ZH narrative?Vilfredo Pareto -> Stan522 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:00 Permalink
That anchor sounds like she would be a good candidate for a gender change, meat stick and tea bag.Bastiat -> Vilfredo Pareto Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:18 Permalink
They missed post war Greece too, Albania, and a ton of others.TheSilentMajority -> gellero Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:51 Permalink
. . . and Australia: watch The Falcon and the Snowman, if you haven't.keep the basta -> gellero Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:53 Permalink
Rothschilds at it again?dirty fingernails Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:20 Permalink
No Australia? Whitlam dismissal 11/11/1975 even wiki lists itTBT or not TBT -> dirty fingernails Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:31 Permalink
The US is working hard to make banana republics look respectableJustin Case -> dirty fingernails Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:45 Permalink
We're The Most Interesting Banana Republic In The World.Bay Area Guy Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:20 Permalink
to make banana republics look respectable
Not like a shit hole?chunga -> Bay Area Guy Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:33 Permalink
I generally can't stand Laura, but that was a spot on question. America is the quintessential "do as I say and not as I do" government.rwe2late Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:29 Permalink
Among the many things sorely lacking in uncle sam is simple humility.Ms No -> rwe2late Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:55 Permalink
Woolsey is an evil man. I doubt if he really believes. that the murders and tortures he presided over were for "their own good".New_Meat -> rwe2late Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:51 Permalink
No way he believes it. One thing about people who lack human empathy is that they would NEVER fall for the same tricks that the empathy having population does. They will always see the angle. It's what their brain is devoted to. All the capacity that we use to be reflective, emotional or caring all goes to angling for advantage with them. He knows exactly why people are tortured and couldn't give a shit less. You are either shark or mutilated gold fish as far as he is concerned.dizzyfingers Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:29 Permalink
Woolsey is an evil man, for a certainty. But, au contraire, I bet he does believe it is for their own good. Whoever "they" are that he's doin' shit to. Like the Jesuits in Andalusia, purging the non-believers.
- Nedserotonindumptruck Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:31 Permalink
This repeats our own terrible history: Tom Landess on "The Dark Side of Abraham Lincoln," and the week in review at the Abbeville Institute.Dumpster Elite Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:32 Permalink
You can always spot a psychopathic liar by their predisposition to smile or laugh at questions that are not humorous. Laura Ingraham is a neocon mouth-peice for the establishment.Ms No Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:50 Permalink
It really would be a new dawn for this country if the entire Deep State were outed, and publicly executed. I know that sounds like tinfoil hat talk, but hey, I'm sure the NSA is all over me right about now. Too bad they can't seem to find serial killers that say they're going to shoot up a school online. Too busy trying to shut up those that don't like the Deep State.Paracelsus Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:52 Permalink
They have always done this and every single other accusation that they have levied against other "tyrants". The crazy train continues to pick up speed.
OT: Wales may have had a fracking quake. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fM4Wcqe6s_s
This is pretty funny. "Footage" of quake. Fracking quakes usually are not that big but it did drop masonry off of buildings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEI4cSd4B38
Ummm, Fidel Castro, Cuba, 1962 ? Leading up to Dallas? Which led to LBJ and ramp up of Indochina. If you look closely you will see that there was a huge little war going on in Laos, lots of bombing of the Ho Chi Minh trail from fighter bombers based in Thailand.
Also, Australia. The 1972 Whitlam dismissal was a bloodless coup d'état. Whitlam recognized North Vietnam which pissed off a bunch of people in Langley. The pilots were on strike and they couldn't fly parts and crew into Alice Springs (Pine Gap Satellite facility). The Aussies have long memories and it will be a cold day in hell before they trust the Yanks like before. This is a country with a strong sense of injustice. The Aussies still talk about the "bodyline" cricket scandal with the Brits, and that happened in the 1930's....
Feb 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
So just to clarify - yes, the CIA chief admitted that Democracy-spreading 'Murica meddled in the Democratic elections of other nations "in the interests of democracy."
In case you wondered which ones he was referring to, here's a brief selection since 1948...
2016: UK (verbal intervention against Brexit)
2014: Afghanistan (effectively re-writing Afghan constitution)
2014: UK (verbal intervention against Scottish independence)
2011: Libya (providing support to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi)
2009: Honduras (ousting President Zelaya)
2006: Palestine (providing support to oust Prime Minister Haniyeh)
2005: Syria (providing support against President al-Assad)
2003: Iran (providing support against President Khatami)-
2003: Iraq (ousting of President Hussein)
2002: Venezuela (providing support to attempt an overthrow of President Chavez)
1999: Yugoslavia (removing Yugoslav forces from Kosovo)
1994: Iraq (attempted overthrow of President Hussein)
1991: Haiti (ousting President Aristide)
1991: Kuwait (removing Iraqi forces from Kuwait)
1989: Panama (ousting General Noriega)
1983: Grenada (ousting General Austin's Marxist forces)
1982: Nicaragua (providing support
1971: Chile (ousting President Allende)
1967: Indonesia (ousting President Sukarno)
1964: Brazil (ousting President Goulart)
1964: Chile (providing support against Salvador Allende)
1961: Congo (assassination of leader Lumumba)
1958: Lebanon (providing support to Christian political parties)
1954: Guatemala (ousting President Arbenz)
1953: Iran (ousting Prime Minister Mossadegh)
1953: Philippines (providing support to the President Magsaysay campaign)
1948: Italy (providing support to the Christian Democrats campaign)
gellero Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:18 Permalink
SoilMyselfRotten -> skbull44 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:47 Permalink
Democracy? Annnnnnnd it's gone! No wonder the rest of the world thinks we've collectively lost our minds. BTW, Victoria Noodles will be very disappointed Ukraine didn't make the list after all of her hard work.
marysimmons -> SoilMyselfRotten Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:16 Permalink
Victoria "F*ck the EU" Nuland and the CIA were all over the Ukrainian "coup", but of course no mention of that on "Fair and Balanced". Laura Ingram is a typical Fox News Zio-Nazi bitch, hiding behind a cross, who apparently believes her own BS, and along others like Hannity have blood on their hands.
The whole purpose of the Mueller indictment was to give the mainstream outlets something to report so idiot Americans will believe the crap put out about Russia since the Winter Olympics in Sochi and set the tone to justify a military conflict with Russia that won't end well for anyone, IMO
veritas semper -> marysimmons Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:40 Permalink
And Victoria Nuland Kagan is now Senior Adviser in the Donald's Department of Defense.
See, kids, how the swamp is drained?
Feb 16, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The hawks and internationalists who set our house on fire don't now deserve the contract to rebuild it.
While it may have significant popular support, much of the anti-Trump "Resistance" suffers from a severe weakness of message. Part of the problem is with who the Resistance's leading messengers are: discredited neoconservative poltroons like former president George W. Bush, unwatchable alleged celebrities like Chelsea Handler, and establishment Republicans who routinely slash and burn the middle class like Senator Jeff Flake. Furthermore, what exactly is the Resistance's overriding message? Invariably their sermonizing revolves around vague bromides about "tolerance," diversity, unrestricted free trade, and multilateralism. They routinely push a supposed former status quo that was in fact anything but a status quo. The leaders of the Resistance have in their arsenal nothing but buzzwords and a desire to feel self-satisfied and turn back to imagined pre-Trump normality. A president like Donald Trump is only possible in a country with opposition voices of such subterranean caliber.
Remember when Trump steamrolled a crowded field of Republicans in one of the greatest electoral upsets in American history? Surely many of us also recall the troupes of smug celebrities and Bushes and Obamas who lined up to take potshots at Trump over his unacceptably cruel utterances that upset their noble moral sensibilities? How did that work out for them? They lost. The more that opposition to Trump in office takes the same form as opposition to him on the campaign trail, the more hypocritical and counterproductive it becomes. Further, the resistance to Trump's policies is coming just at the moment when principled opposition most needs to up its game and help turn back the hands of the Doomsday Clock. It's social conservatives who are also opposed to war and exploitation of the working class who have the best moral bona fides to effectively oppose Trump, which is why morally phrased attacks on Trump from the corporate and socially liberal wings of the left, as well as the free market and interventionist conservative establishment, have failed and will continue to fail. Any real alternative is going to have to come from regular folks with hearts and morals who aren't stained by decades of failure and hypocrisy.
A majority of Democrats now have favorable views of George W. Bush, and that's no coincidence. Like the supposedly reasonable anti-Trump voices on their side, Bush pops up like a dutiful marionette to condemn white supremacy and "nativism," and to reminisce about the good old days when he was in charge. Bush also lectures about how Russia is ruining everything by meddling in elections and destabilizing the world. But how convincing is it really to hear about multilateralism and respect for human rights from Bush, who launched an unnecessary war on Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and left thousands of American servicemen and women dead and wounded? How convincing is it when former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, who famously remarked that an estimated half a million Iraqis dead from our 1990s sanctions was "worth it," haughtily claims that she's "offended" by Trump's travel ban ? "Offended" -- is that so, Madame Secretary? I have a feeling millions of Muslims in the Middle East may have also been "offended" when people like you helped inflame their region and turned it into an endless back-and-forth firestorm of conflict between U.S.-backed dictators and brutal jihadists, with everyone else caught in between.
Maybe instead of being offended that not everyone can come to America, people like Albright, Kerry, and Bush shouldn't have contributed to the conditions that wrecked those people's homes in the first place? Maybe the U.S. government should think more closely about providing military aid to 73 percent of the world's dictatorships? Sorry, do excuse the crazy talk. Clearly all the ruthless maneuvering by the U.S. and NATO is just being done out of a selfless desire to spread democratic values by raining down LGBT-friendly munitions on beleaguered populations worldwide. Another congressman just gave a speech about brave democratic principles so we can all relax.
Generally, U.S. leaders like to team up with dictators before turning on them when they become inconvenient or start to upset full-spectrum dominance. Nobody have should been surprised to see John Kerry fraternizing in a friendly manner with Syrian butcher Bashar al-Assad and then moralistically threatening him with war several years later, or Donald Rumsfeld grinning with Saddam Hussein as they cooperated militarily before Rumsfeld did an about-face on the naïve dictator based on false premises after 9/11. Here's former president Barack Obama shaking Moammar Gaddafi's hand in 2009 . I wonder what became of Mr. Gaddafi?
It's beyond parody to hear someone like Bush sternly opine that there's "pretty clear evidence" Russia meddled in the 2016 election. Even if that were deeply significant in the way some argue, Bush should be the last person anyone is hearing from about it. It's all good, though: remember when Bush laughed about how there hadn't been weapons of mass destruction in Iraq at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2004? It's all just a joke; don't you get it? (Maybe Saddam Hussein had already used all the chemical weapons the U.S. helped him get during the 1980s on Iran in the Iran-Iraq War, which killed over one million people by the time the coalition of the willing came knocking in 2003). That's the kind of thing people like Bush like to indirectly joke about in the company of self-satisfied press ghouls at celebratory dinners. However, when the mean man Mr. Trump pals around with Russian baddie Vladimir Putin, mistreats women, or spews out unkind rhetoric about "shitholes," it's far from a joke: it's time to get out your two-eared pink hat and hit the streets chanting in righteous outrage.
To be fair, Trump is worthy of opposition. An ignorant, reactive egotist who needs to have his unfounded suppositions and inaccuracies constantly validated by a sycophantic staff of people who'd be rejected even for a reality show version of the White House, he really is an unstable excuse for a leader and an inveterate misogynist and all the other things. Trump isn't exactly Bible Belt material despite his stamp of approval from Jerry Falwell Jr. and crew; in fact he hasn't even succeeded in getting rid of the Johnson Amendment and allowing churches to get more involved in politics, one of his few concrete promises to Christian conservatives. He's also a big red button of a disaster in almost every other area as commander-in-chief.
Trump's first military action as president reportedly killed numerous innocent women and children (some unnamed U.S. officials claim some of the women were militants) as well as a Navy SEAL. Helicopter gunships strafed a Yemeni village for over an hour in what Trump called a "highly successful" operation against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). A senior military official felt differently, saying that "almost everything went wrong." The raid even killed eight-year-old American girl Nawar al-Awlaki, daughter of previously killed extremist leader Anwar al-Awlaki, whose other innocent child, 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, was also droned while eating outdoors at a restaurant in 2010 (with several friends and his 17-year-old cousin). The Obama administration dismissed Abdulrahman's death at the time as no big deal .
The list goes on with the Trump administration, a hollow outfit of Goldman Sachs operatives and detached industry and financier billionaires helping out their hedge fund friends and throwing a small table scrap to the peasants every now and then. As deformed babies are born in Flint, Michigan , Ivanka grandstands about paid parental leave . Meanwhile, Trump and Co. work to expand the war in Afghanistan and Syria. It's a sad state of affairs.
So who are the right voices to oppose the mango man-child and his cadre of doddering dullards? Not degenerate celebrities, dirty politicians of the past, or special interest groups that try to fit everyone into a narrow electoral box so mainline Democrats can pass their own version of corporate welfare and run wars with more sensitive rhetoric and politically correct messaging. Instead, the effective dissidents of the future will be people of various beliefs, but especially the pro-family and faith-driven, who are just as opposed to what came before Trump as they are to him. The future of a meaningful political alternative to the underlying liberalism, materialism, and me-first individualism on the left and right will revolve around traditionalists and pro-family conservative individuals who define their own destinies instead of letting themselves be engineered into destinies manufactured by multinational corporations and boardroom gremlins with diversity outreach strategies. It's possible, for example, to be socially conservative, pro-worker, pro-environment, and anti-war. In fact, that is the norm in most countries that exist outside the false political paradigm pushed in America.
If enough suburbanite centrists who take a break from Dancing With The Stars are convinced that Trump is bad because George W. Bush and Madeleine Albright say so, it shows that these people have learned absolutely nothing from Trump or the process that led to him. These kind of resistors are the people nodding their heads emphatically as they read Eliot Cohen talk about why he and his friends can't stomach the evil stench of Trump or Robert Kagan whine about fascism in The Washington Post. Here's a warning to good people who may not have been following politics closely prior to Trump: don't get taken in by these charlatans. Don't listen to those who burned your town down as they pitch you the contract to rebuild it. You can oppose both the leaders of the "Resistance" and Trump. In fact, it is your moral duty to do so. This is the End of the End of History As We Know It, but there isn't going to be an REM song or Will Smith punching an alien in the face to help everyone through it.
Here's a thought for those finding themselves enthusiastic about the Resistance and horrified by Trump: maybe, just maybe , the water was already starting to boil before you cried out in pain and alarm.
Paul Brian is a freelance journalist. He has reported for BBC, Reuters, and Foreign Policy, and contributed to the Week, The Federalist, and others. He covered the fledgling U.S. alt-right at a 2014 conference in Hungary as well as the 2015 New Hampshire primary, and also made a documentary about his time living in the Republic of Georgia in 2012. You can follow him on Twitter @paulrbrian or visit his website www.paulrbrian.com .
Fran Macadam February 16, 2018 at 1:14 pmTrump is definitely a castor oil antidote. But if not him, then them.Frank , says: February 16, 2018 at 1:19 pmNow this is TAC material!Kent , says: February 16, 2018 at 1:48 pm"The future of a meaningful political alternative to the underlying liberalism, materialism, and me-first individualism on the left and right will revolve around traditionalists and pro-family conservative individuals who define their own destinies instead of letting themselves be engineered into destinies manufactured by multinational corporations and boardroom gremlins with diversity outreach strategies."Aaron Paolozzi , says: February 16, 2018 at 2:56 pm
They will have to lose their faith in "Free Market God" first. I don't believe that will happen.I enjoyed the heat. The comments made are on point, and this is pretty much what my standard response to reactionary trump dissidents are. Trump is terrible, but so is what came before him, he is just easier to dislike.One Guy , says: February 16, 2018 at 3:16 pm
Keep it coming.Even with inadequate opposition, Trump has managed to be the most unpopular president after one year, ever. I'm guessing this speaks to his unique talent of messing things up.RVA , says: February 16, 2018 at 4:11 pmWow! Paul! Babylon burning. Preach it, brother! Takes me back to my teenage years, Ramparts 1968, as another corrupt infrastructure caught fire and burned down. TAC is amazing, the only place to find this in true form.Donald , says: February 16, 2018 at 5:50 pm
Either we are history remembering fossils soon gone, or the next financial crash – now inevitable with passage of tax reform (redo of 2001- the rich got their money out, now full speed off the cliff), will bring down this whole mass of absolute corruption. What do you think will happen when Trump is faced with a true crisis? They're selling off the floorboards. What can remain standing?
And elsewhere in the world, who, in their right mind, would help us? Good riddance to truly dangerous pathology. The world would truly become safer with the USA decommissioned, and then restored, through honest travail, to humility, and humanity.
You are right. Be with small town, front porch, family and neighborhood goodness, and dodge the crashing embers.
The Flying Burrito Brothers: 'On the thirty-first floor a gold plated door
Won't keep out the Lord's burning rain '
God Bless.I agree with Frank. This was great.
The depressing thing to me is how hard it is to get people to see this. You have people who still think Trump is doing a great job and on the other side people who admire the warmongering Resistance and think Hillary's vast experience in foreign policy was one of her strengths, rather than one of the main reasons to be disgusted by her. Between the two categories I think you have the majority of American voters.
Feb 15, 2018 | russia-insider.com
Bruno Bardorosso , February 2, 2018 2:09 PM
The US is interfering in Russia's elections. On behalf of Putin.
Feb 15, 2018 | off-guardian.org
This appeared in the Guardian today (thanks to Peter in the comments for alerting us):
We won't bother doing an analysis of its lies, stupidities and racism. Simon Tisdall, author of the piece, could easily find out the reason Putin is virtually certain to return as president isn't because the election is rigged but because people in Russia overwhelmingly support him. Even Gallup admit that much. Even the more level-headed western outlets acknowledge it . It's a fact beyond dispute. Putin doesn't need to rig anything on order to win an election.
But Tisdall's brutish conviction is proof against facts. Any facts, even Western-backed facts. Instead of doing even basic research he prefers to riff for umpteen paragraphs on something that is a total, demonstrable lie .
Fact-based reality is not the one Tisdall and his peers live in any more. They don't see it. And when it's presented to them they think it's Kremlin propaganda. In the matter of Russia they have become over the last few years blind and deaf to reason and fact. They are the most dangerous of deceivers -- those who believe their own lies. Even the best of them now truly thinks anyone who questions their Russia=Evil narrative is a paid Kremlin agent. These well-paid supposedly well-educated people are on Twitter literally asking anyone who challenges them what the weather is like in St. Petersburg.
The sheer wanton deception, the outright, blunt and brutal propagandising is getting worse. It's attaining new heights of spittle-flying hate. And in concert the war drums are beating again in Syria and Ukraine.
And we can be sure this is going to continue up until and for some while after the Russian election is done.
Supposing any of us live that long.
Because, without unnecessary alarmism, we have to be aware xenophobia of this magnitude comes with a risk. In the past it has always been a prelude to war. And if this current case isn't an exception, humanity is not going to survive. Not even those Guardian journos snug in their cosy hubris. Hubris isn't bomb-proof sadly.
The Guardian allowed comments on this article for six whole hours. Long enough to make it clear the suicidal, fact-blind, cultist insanity ATL is not shared by most who read it. Yes there are predictable cries of "putinbots" and predictable agenda-setting claims such as that Corbyn needs to be tougher on Putin (look forward to this becoming a major facet of the next UK general election), but for all that it's the rational observations that get the most upvotes. And that's even after the mods have scoured and censored as is their wont.
Here are a couple of the best.Comments
Being Russian, residing in Moscow and having never before voted for V. Putin because he
was once chosen and promoted by B. Yeltsin and the oligarchs (so praised by Western
"liberals"), this time I am not so sure about my vote, and there is a chance I may vote for
V. Putin for the first time. There are some 2-3 reasons for me to vote for V. Putin (and
some - against him), and one of the strongest among pro-Putin stimuli - the writings of
Western "progressivists" like this article.
I do not like lies and fakes, and S. Tisdall presents many of such stuff.
1. How can V. Putin "steal" the victory if anyone knows he leads in opinion polls by a huge
margin? There are several services, doing monitoring of public opinion, including the
"Levada centre", officially designated as a "foreign agent" in Russia and generally well
accepted by Western colleagues.
2. To call Alexei Navalny the "most credible challenger" is to tell lies: it was always a
communist, coming second after Putin at all the previous presidential elections with
some 15% - 20% (30% in 2000) of votes, and this time P. Grudinin is taking the 2nd
position in the polls (and most likely in elections too).
3. To say that Putin's "political opponents are virtually invisible" is to spread obvious fake
news - see, for example, the results of monitoring TV-programmes by communists on
February 6, 2018: https://msk.kprf.ru/2018/02/08/37248/ (in Russian; in short, V. Putin
got 14 only positive mentions; P. Grudinin -13 mentions, with 69% negative ones; M.
Suraikin, hard-line communist and opponent of P. Grudinin -11 mentions with no negative
ones; V. Zhirinovsky -10 mentions with no negative ones, etc.).
The more anti-Putin writings of this kind appear in Western mass-media (and are covered
in Russia), the larger portion of Russians would vote for V. Putin because: first, people
remember well how they lived under Yeltsin's rule in the 1990's who was so generously
backed up by the West, and second - everyone can see what has happened with standards
of living (and with prospects of just staying alive) after Western-backed
"democratization" of the Ukraine, Libya, etc.
Pemulis 8h ago
"There are no presidential debates, no unsanctioned opinion polls."
Credible external polls indicate consistently high approval for Putin. Obviously this is
influenced by his stranglehold on information, but even Navalny's internal polling shows
a high level of approval for Putin.
thinlkandleap1234 6h ago
I am unable to take this nonsense about Putin and democracy seriously any longer, and
especially so when we have to endure it from outlets such as the Guardian and the BBC.
In July 2013, the Egyptian military staged a coup d'etat which overthrew a democratically
elected Government: Obama did nothing, other than to insult the intelligence of ordinary
Americans by disregarding the Federal Laws that required him to cut off military and
other forms of aid to democracy-suppressing regimes; the BBC did nothing, other than to
have the now disgraced former Prime Minister Blair on the Radio 4 Today programme
justifying the actions of al-Sisi and the Generals (and he followed this up with an article in
this very newspaper where he did the same thing); and the UN did nothing, other than to
arrange to have Ms Yousafzai mouth some empty platitudes about girls' education in
some children's forum at the headquarters of this tawdry and discredited institution. The
BBC and the EU and the other usual suspects whipped up dissent in the Ukraine in order
to bring about the overthrow of the lawful - and elected - government, and thereby
plunge that unhappy country into internal conflict akin to a civil war. As for the United
States, Hillary Clinton and her henchpersons in the DNC did a lot of chicanery to ensure
that Senator Sanders was denied the opportunity to go up against Donald Trump in the
November 2016 presidential election. We in the UK are even being sold the lie that Putin
swung the vote for Brexit in June 2016, although quite how he is supposed to have done
this is something that no one bothers to explain. All in all, the hypocrisy is appalling: so
perhaps we should just shut about it, and attend, here in the UK, to the problems
attaching to the failed and failing state that is our own country.
avenir 8h ago
So the guardian's Mi6 assets still want regime change. Im sure they'll supply you with a
rifle a one-way ticket to Finland and cooperation of a US multi billionaire nutcase to help.
Oops that's the plot of billion dollar brain.
Oh Simon! such hyperbole. There are many (and regular) independent polls conducted by
western polling firms and not one of them gets less than 80% support at home for Putin.
This kind of silly sabre rattling just diminishes the impact of anything the Guardian has to
say on Russia. Navalny is a no hoper and polling over the whole of Russia will be lucky to
get 5%, he'll fare better in Moscow but nowhere near enough. He's just another western
backed stooge, a stalking horse for the wests babe in arms Khordokovsky, sat patiently
waiting in Berlin. How about an in depth report on why Putin has ratings western leaders
would die for and how he manages to maintain them over such a long period? Something
interesting and meaningful not just the ill informed, alarmist pap that comes out of the
foreign office, the armed forces and govt backed 'institutes' like RUSI.
Jim Scott says February 12, 2018The outstanding feature of the MSM and particularly the modern Guardian is that it will not under any circumstance allow an alternative view to be put by the pro Syrian side of the argument. They would not dare allow Eva Bartlett or Vanessa Beeley to use their own voices to reply to the fact free claims of Guardian journalists who happily promote the views of the terrorists through the perspective of the White Helmets and the UK based Muslim Brotherhood man who calls himself the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.Alan says February 10, 2018
Can anyone recall the Guardian talking to the majority Syrian citizens who want Assad as President and who are not in terrorist controlled areas. There are many Syrians who have become refugees due to the illegal invasion but who never get interviewed, only the Al Qaeda terrorists get a voice.
This is today's Guardian a mish mash of propaganda, populism! and salacious click bait, while heavily restricting discussion on important issues. Shame on these cowardly traitors of truth.Does Mr Tisdall claim to be a journalist as I see no evidence of this, unless being employed by a state organ qualifies one for such?MichaelK says February 9, 2018I have real Russians in my large and extended family, and they all admire and pretty much adore Putin, especially after the shameful years typified by Yeltsin.George Cornell says February 9, 2018
One of the amusing things about Russia, is that the leadership have discovered and understood that they don't need to produce 'propaganda' about the West, like the old Soviets did, all they need to do is tell the truth about the West and use openly available western sources; which is somewhat ironic.
As an aside, sorry; I've just watched the movie 'Kill the Messenger' about the journalist Gary Webb who wrote a series of articles linking the CIA with gun-running and drug-running on a massive scale in the 1970's. Webb's
story, unfortunately, was to big to tell and the rest of the quality press turned on him and basically destroyed him and his career. What struck me about the movie was how closely Webb's story, what happened to him, the reaction of the rest of the press to his staggering revelations about massive criminality at the heart of government, echoes the way Assange has been savaged by the Guardian and the rest of them. Webb, like Assange became the story, diverting attention away from the information they gathered and released. There are so many parallels between what happened to Webb and the way Assange's reputation has been undermined and how both of them were taken 'out of circulation.'
In the movie Webb says that he was never fired by an editor and never told what to write because nothing he'd written really mattered or threatened any vested interests or powerful people or the state.Simple Simon.vexarb says February 9, 2018Shock Poll: Most Countries Prefer Putin Over Trump – Forbesvexarb says February 9, 2018
https://www.forbes.com › 2017/08/16 › s
[I wanted t, present a similar global poll for PM May but could not find one]80% of Ukrainians would prefer Vovo to any of their current leaders.mohandeer says February 9, 2018
Anyone done a poll in Britain?Tisdale pukes lies and disinformation and Guardian readers choose not to swallow it – no wonder CiF was closed.mohandeer says February 9, 2018Reblogged this on Worldtruth and commented:MichaelK says February 9, 2018
ExcellentOne of the things that irritates me about the 'liberal' Guardian is how they simply love to preach and moralize about well, almost everything everywhere, as if they and the West represent so kind of 'moral civilization' superior to everyone a 'progressive vanguard' with a mandate from providence to lead the world in the right direction in all things. They truly believe that they are both 'right' and 'good' and have a duty to help and save other countries and peoples from their backwardness, ignorance and darkness. The Guardian's writers are innocent, to a degree that's staggering as well as being incredibly dangerous, because, fundamentally they are self-delusional and soaked in a form of 'liberal imperialist' dogmatism and faith that's been the mainstay of western thinking and beliefs for centuries, and allowed us to justify crimes we've committed on a vast global scale, wiping entire countries and civilizations off the map, holocaust after holocaust after holocaust. And now, since the fall of Soviet Russia we've been on a roll smashing state after state and leaving a great swathe of mass-destruction and mass-slaughter behind our military juggernaut, which the fools at the Guardian honestly believe isn't a giant killing machine covered in body parts and gore, red and monsterous to behold; but a gleaming, white ambulance covered in peace signs and slogans about 'peace' 'love' and 'human rights'.shaksvshav says February 9, 2018It is difficult to believe that crude and crazy Western propaganda convinces anyone in Russia: https://thesaker.is/re-visiting-russian-counter-propaganda-methods/jdseanjd says February 9, 2018
People here must by now be finding it increasingly tiresome and predictable." Control the Media"MichaelK says February 9, 2018
" Ruin the youth with sex & drugs"
These are 2 of the 25 points in a strategy for world domination drawn up by Adam Weishaupt, ex Jesuit professor of canon law, in 1773 for the Rothschilds Banksters.
This is dealt with in William Guy Carr's 1955 book: Pawns in the Game.
I first saw this book referenced in a 1 hr 4 mins youtube video by Ted L. Gunderson. Worth the hour.
Put in youtube search box: Ex Head of FBI Tells All.
John Doran.I think it's a sign of terminal decline when the leading members of a ruling elite begin, seemingly and in public, to act like they actually believe in their own propaganda, regardless of how far it is from reality and truth.Jen says February 8, 2018
They keep sermonizing like religious fanatics and they're increasingly dogmatic and aggressive in their utterances, clinging to their beliefs no matter what.
That there's more actual evidence that there was far more 'stealing' and 'rigging' in the last US presidential elections, especially inside the Democratic Party, doesn't bother them at all. That the US has a system that structurally allows electoral 'stealing' on a vast scale, where the will and votes of the people can be overturned and the candidate with the most votes 'loses', doesn't register with them. And what about the UK? Here magically a party with only 42% of the votes cast in an election, can be transformed into a powerful government with a huge majority over all the other parties combined! And this happens over and over again. 42% becomes a 'landslide' and a 'mandate' from the electorate, and this is called 'democracy' and gives us the right to lecture everyone else and the Russians?!' "For years," the [US Senate minority report] said, "Vladimir Putin's government has engaged in a relentless assault to undermine democracy and the rule of law in Europe and the US. Mr Putin's Kremlin employs an asymmetric arsenal that includes military invasions, cyber-attacks, disinformation, support for fringe political groups, and the weaponisation of energy resources, organised crime, and corruption" 'jdseanjd says February 9, 2018
Dear Mr Tisdall, are you sure the people who researched and compiled that report weren't hired hacks from Hollywood who normally write scripts for science fiction movies?
Has anyone else noticed that the arsenal Moscow supposedly employs to undermine democracy and the rule of law in Europe and the US is the very same arsenal (plus more, such as using other countries' impeachment laws to get rid of Presidents the US doesn't like, as in Brazil in 2016) that the US uses to erode and weaken democracy and stability across the world including Europe?Pots & Kettles Projection?Mikalina says February 8, 2018
You have to wonder what they've got on him to make him put out such insane drivel?
John Doran."obviously rigged poll" – er, Honduras?Mikalina says February 8, 2018
"screams of outrage from the West" – er, whimpers of 'where's that?' AND – isn't that where we sent an awful lot of electronic surveillance equipment to help that nice man we got into government last time?
You know, the one that let's us use the country for a military base – sopoooo strategically useful. Was a little worried there that closing down the computers when the opposition was obviously winning was a tad blatant, but, no.
That nice man has been endorsed by US and UN. Oh, you are worried about the UN delegation investigating the election fraud, er, sorry, result? One's from Guatemala, one's from El Salvador and one's from, yes, of course, the US. No problems there. I don't think anyone's reporting the riots in the streets, the protest marches and the 30 dead. Result.Boris Johnson or Sergei Lavrov? End of .rtj1211 says February 8, 2018The easiest way to dismember this nonsense is to talk to ten real Russians. Real Russians were seriously alarmed by the 'nuke Russia' Hillarybilly psycho nonsense in 2016, not because they seriously believed it, but they worried that in a mad world, could they easily disregard it? Amazingly enough, real Russian people who hope to have babies do not want depleted uranium in their neighbourhoods.MichaelK says February 8, 2018
These ordinary Russians have no interest in invading eastern Europe, bombing America and really have no desire for war with Ukraine. They are interested in things like going out with friends, having a nice holiday, meeting interesting people, finding a partner to marry and raise a family with. They are, in other words, exceedingly normal people.
They do not take kindly being told that the man they desire as President does not represent them. I can say with certainty that President Putin represents Russians considerably more diligently than the Washington patsies found in Western European offices of state. If I were a Russian citizen, I would vote for him, despite him not being either Jesus Christ MkII nor a drunken puppet of Western bankers.
As a UK citizen, I do not expect President Putin to agree to win-lose deals with the UK, his job as Russian President is to ensure that dodgy UK charlatans do not screw his country something chronic. I would consider him amenable to deals which benefits both parties. Watch Washington try and trash anything like that .
Mercifully, Russians take little notice of UK media. Hopefully they realise that fewer and fewer Brits do eitherWhat I find grotesque, bizarre and frightening is the attitude of the journalists in relation to grooming the public to support war, as if they won't end up frying too like everyone else! They reallys seem immune to rational thought and the dangers of demonizing Russia and the seemingly inexorable momentum towards WW3. Do they believe they'll escape the nuclear holocaust 'cause they write for the Guardian? The way they appear to think is truly frightening and underneath the brittle liberal gloss their extraordinarily reactionary too. They are all, basically, neoconservatives with a dreadful, sanctimonious tone that's insufferably smug. They love putting their virtue on display and preen themselves like peacocks.Don DeBar says February 9, 2018I honestly think they are so ignorant of history, politics and human behavior generally that they cannot make the connection of cause to effect. They aren't afraid of being fried because it hasn't occurred to them that such a thing is even possible. It's pretty slow-going in the minds of the folks who live in imperially privileged fantasy-land.Harry Stotle says February 8, 2018Not just Gallup, The Pew Research Centre found high levels of confidence (amongst Russian citizens) in Putins leadership.The Cad says February 8, 2018
But as we all know, the Guardian long ago abandoned fact based journalism – its one of the reasons so many articles are evicerated BTL.
By the way, which leader is Tisdall referring to?
Does he seriously expect the laughing stock of Europe, or at least her own party, Theresa May, to make weighty pronouncements about a sovereign leader who enjoys the kind of national goodwill she can only dream about?
In contrast I can hardly wait for Zoe Williams next bout of tabloid style sycophancy for the horrific HRC.Odd that his diatribe against Russian elections is a description of British ones.MichaelK says February 8, 2018The Guardian is actually getting worse and worse when covering foreign policy and especially the West's official enemies, who are slammed in the dock, with the charges shouted at them, but rarely, if ever allowed to come with a word in their defence or even the opportunity to deny the charges or protest their innocence.Don DeBar says February 9, 2018
Let's face it, the western media is grooming the public for the next war WW3, yet the hacks at the Guardian seem strangely and frighteningly sanguine about the prospect. I often wonder, just how stupid does one have to be to write for the Guardian these days?Q. – "how stupid does one have to be to write for the Guardian these days?"Paul says February 8, 2018
A. – Very.The Guardian joins the BBC in attacks of all sorts on Russia, China and Syria. The BBC has been giving almost daily reports of child deaths in Gouta while never mentioning the mortar bombs that go the other way, unguided, into resedential areas of Damascus. No mention either of mass child deaths in Yemen which is being treated like a WW2 ghetto. The same goes for Idlip. Alongside such slanted coverage we also have the "analysts" who assure us "Yes! The Russians really are after our guts for garters. Believe me Old Boy!" The "experts" have never been more obviously run by the MoD, some are right out of the bunker. The recent intensity of this avalanche of propaganda suggests things are being geared up in preparation for War. Maybe there is something they haven't told us, like the date?Captain Kemlo says February 8, 2018
The Guardian has swung hard Right and can never recover it's reputation. Thank Goodness for sites like this!!Tried to read the original article but foundered after a few paragraphs. It wasn't so much the (de haut en bas) tone but the evidence free content. Tisdall is almost unreadable anyway.argonut says February 8, 2018You were fortunate not to reach the comments. Albion has become an albatrossAdmin says February 8, 2018There were lot of the usual – and possibly to some extent astroturf – Russophobic comments, but many intelligent ones as well. And, as Catte says, the latter tended to get more up-votes. And that is allowing for the moderator censorship.argonut says February 9, 2018I don't know. Apart from very few, I found the bulk of the comments initially infuriating but ultimately depressing. A disgraceful article, whose putrescence certainly drew the zombies – the guardian readership these days. I've abandoned it, and visit only on occasion, eg when highlighted by 'you'. The sooner its demise the better. Regards, an ex-pat who subscribed to the guardian for 15 yrs (20 yrs ago)Francis Lee says February 10, 2018The only Journos in the Graun that were ever worth reading were Jonathan Steele and Seamus Milne. Since their departure we are now left with cossetted, fanatical hacks from the Ministry of Truth telling us what to think. There is not a smidgen of compromise, diplomacy, or God forbid, 'peace' as an option from this chorus of jihadist neo-cons seemingly spoiling for a war.
Perhaps the only exception comes in the shape of Peter Hitchens who writes for the Mail on Sunday who adopts a high-Tory realist persective: namely, that war, particularly nuclear war, is bad and should be avoided at all costs, and it is not a good or even legal policy to interfere in the internal affairs of other sovereign states.
Oh, how utterly passe, intone the soi-disant enlightened ones. Now doubt we should – they have – adopted the position in International Relations as outlined by Mr Francis 'end of history' Fukuyama.
"Dictators and human rights abusers like Serbia's Milosevic could not hide behind the principle of sovereignty to protect themselves as they committed crimes against humanity, particularly in the multi-ethnic states like Yugoslavia where the borders of the sovereign state in question were themselves contested, under these circumstances outside powers, acting in the name of human rights and democratic legitimacy, had not just the right but the OBLIGATION to intervene." Yep, 'White Man's Burden' circa 1995.
I don't suppose it was of any import than Milosevic was acquitted of these 'crimes' by the International Court after his death in prison from a heart attack. But simply consider the sanctimonious bluster above and remember the old axiom, 'The road to hell is paved with good intentions ' though truth to tell I am not convinced about the goodness or otherwise of the intentions.
There is a particular passage in Orwell's 1984 where Winston Smith and two of his co-workers are having their lunch when they overhear a defender of the faith describing the party's role in the elimination of the enemies of Oceania. From a nearby table a party member – like our Guardian journos – holds forth "what was horrible was that from the stream of sound that poured out of his mouth, it was almost impossible to distinguish one word. Just once Winston caught a phrase -complete and final elimination of Goldsteinsim – jerked out very rapidly , and as it seemed, all in one piece all like a line of type cast solid. For the rest it was just a noise, a quack-quack-quacking "
Winston's intellectual colleague sitting at the same table was wont to comment.
"There is a word in Newspeak' said Syme 'I don't know whether you know it: it is duckspeak, to quack like a duck. Applied to an opponent it is abusive, applied to someone you agree with it is praise"
Unquestionably Syme would be vaporised. (1984 p.62.63)
Prescient or what?
Duckspeak, the lingua franca of 'liberal journalists' – a group of propagandists not far from clinical schizophrenia
[ edited by Admin for typo ]
Feb 15, 2018 | nationalinterest.org
...Donald Trump went to war against the entire political class: all factions of both parties, the bureaucracy, the national media, the lobbyists, Hollywood and Wall Street. He said the whole system was rotten and had failed the nation: hopeless wars that accomplished nothing except the wastage of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars, the extension of Iranian influence and an immense humanitarian crisis, a flatlined economy, a shrinking workforce, increasing poverty and crime, oceans of debt, large trade deficits from trade agreements that exported unemployment to the United States and the unmonitored influx of millions of illiterate peasants from Latin America.
... ... ...
For the first nine months of the new administration, there was the constant confected threat of impeachment. The phantasmagorical imbecility that Trump had somehow colluded and connived with the Russian government to rig the election was the excuse of the hapless Clinton and her Trump-hating echo chamber in the national media for the election result.The deep state was almost the whole state, and it pitched in to sabotage the administration. For nearly that long, the Republican leaders sat on their hands waiting to see if he would be impeached or not. His nominees were a long time in being confirmed. There were leaks of White House conversations, including with foreign leaders -- outright acts of insubordination causing Trump, a decisive executive, to fire some fairly high officials, including the malign director of the FBI, who then informed Congress that he had leaked a self-addressed memo (probably illegally, as it was technically government property), in order to have a special prosecutor named to torment the president over the fatuous Russian allegations, although Comey testified that Trump himself was not a target or suspect and the Russians had not influenced the outcome of the election. (This was a sober position compared to the wholesale fabrications of the Democratic vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, that a thousand Russian agents had swarmed the key battleground states and had delivered Wisconsin to Trump.)
The president has strengthened the White House staff. The FBI and Justice Department have been ripped apart in their partisanship and misuse of the dossier on which the collusion argument and the surveillance of the Trump campaign were based. And the dossier, a pastiche of falsehoods from gossips in the Kremlin, has been exposed as a smear job paid for by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee, and the whole impeachment movement has collapsed. The hunters are the prey and Trump will prosecute, sack, or intimidate the deep state. But it is there, can arise quickly and can be very dangerous. Forewarned is forearmed.
Conrad Black is a writer and former newspaper publisher whose most recent book is Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full (PublicAffairs, 2007).
Feb 15, 2018 | russia-insider.com
Two things are noteworthy: first, this list completely ignores one of the most important realities of Russian politics: that the real, dangerous, opposition to Putin is not from the people (who support him at anywhere between 60% to 80%+) or from the Russian media (which, while often critical, does not represent a real threat to him) or even the Duma (whose opposition parties are critical of the Kremlin, but who are very careful about criticizing Putin himself lest they lose support from the people) . For years now I have been explaining that the real opposition to Putin is a) inside the ruling elites, including the Presidential Administration and the Government and b) big money: banks, oligarchs, etc.
I call this (informal) opposition the " Atlantic Integrationists " because what these pro-western globalists want is for the AngloZionist Empire to accept Russia as an equal partner and to have Russia fully integrate the US-controlled international financial and security structures: WTO, NATO, EU, G7/8, etc. Very roughly speaking you could them of them as the "Medvedev people" (but you could also say that the Ministers in charge of the Russian economy all fall into this category, as do almost all the heads of Russian banks).Eurasian Sovereignists ". These are the folks who see the future of Russia in the South, East and even North, who want to pull Russia out of the AngloZionist international financial and security structures and who want a truly sovereign Russia to contribute to a new truly multi-polar world in collaboration with countries like China or the other BRICS countries. Very roughly you could call these people the "Putin people" (but you could also say that figures such as Ivanov, Rogozin, Shoigu and a few others are key personalities).
This is important because the this list of (potentially sanctioned) people makes absolutely no distinctions between these two groups. Check out this article on RT entitled " Major Russian bank will no longer service defense industry over US sanctions fears ". It quotes the Alfa Bank CEO Mikhail Fridman whose net worth is estimated at $16.2 billion by Forbes, as saying that the magazine that Alfa-Bank was cutting ties with the Russia's defense industry, adding, " What can we do? ". Now look at the list, Appendix II, entry #23. Do you see who is there? Yup, the very same Mikhail Fridman!
Now let me add this: in the current political climate in Russia, to have bank accounts in the West is considered shameful and unpatriotic and that is something which even most dishonest and hypocritical Eurasian Sovereignists can hardly afford for political reasons (that does not mean that some don't try, they do, but at a great political risk). In contrast, among Atlantic Integrationists, whose power and influence does not depend on public opinion, having assets abroad is much less dangerous and, therefore, much more common.
Now that the the US Treasury has released this "list of marked individuals" (and their families, relatives or associated corporate entities) for potential, unspecified, future sanction, who do you think will freak out most, the Eurasian Sovereignists or the Atlantic Integrationists? Then look a step further and forget about the US for a second: Russia is trying hard to work with the Europeans in many join projects. What do you think the creation of such a list will have on joint ventures between EU and Russian businessmen? I predict two things:
- It will place a great deal of pressure on EU corporations not to do business when the Russians and, therefore, it will further place the EU and the US on a collision course.
- It will hurt the Atlantic Integrationists were it hurts them the most: in their financial interests.
Frankly, if I was paid to think long and hard about how to come up with the dumbest and most self-defeating foreign policy decision for the USA I could never do better than what the Trump Administration and Congress have just done. This is, by the way, something which all Russian analysts agree with. What they don't agree with are the reasons for that seemingly completely and terminally stupid move. Here are the various schools of thought in Russia on that account:Group One: "the slap in the face of Russia":
They believe that the sole intention was to insult and humiliate Russia by basically declaring that all the top Russian people are gangsters. According to them, there ain't much the US can do to Russia other than to continue a petty war of insults and harassment (like the expulsion of Russian diplomats and the seizure of Russian consular buildings in the USA).
Group Two: "it's all internal US politics":
That groups says that this has nothing to do with Russia at all. According to them, the US economy is doing well under Trump, the Democrats have nothing to use against him so all they do is continue to hammer the "Russian threat" fairytale to which Trump responds with deliberately ineffective and totally symbolic actions which make it look like he is anti-Russian when in reality he is quietly sabotaging the Democrats' attempts at truly worsening relations with Russia and preventing the Democrats from playing the "Russian threat" card against Trump.
Group Three: "Трамп Наш" (Тrump is ours):
Some even go as far as saying that this list is most damaging to the people opposed to Putin and that it gives him a pretext to fire them all after the Presidential elections in Russia. Far from considering Trump a bumbling idiot, this group sees him as a consummate politician who is actually creating the circumstances to really hurt his (real) enemies and help his (real) friends.
Group Four: "Наших бьют!" (Our people are under attack!):
This is the group which doesn't care at all why the US is doing this or that, no matter how clumsy. All they care about is that this is yet another attack on "our people" (meaning Russian individuals or corporate entities) and that means that Russians should "circle the wagons" and come to the rescue of those thus attacked. This group most vociferously demands retaliatory steps from the Kremlin. They are a vocal minority.
Group Five: "Филькина Грамота" (Botched document produced by clueless idiots [ very approximate translation !]) This is the group which basically says that it is all much more simple and no complex explanations are needed: the Trump Administration and Congress is composed of clueless idiots who have no idea what the hell they are doing and who just like to produce some policy decisions just to look like they still matter in world where they really don't. Putin himself seems to be in this last group as he officially called this latest US document " complete stupidity ".
Frankly, in my experience the decision making process in the USA is almost never the result of a efforts of single actor. In fact, US political decisions are the "sum vector" of the effect of many different vectors acting together to produce a sum vector which sometimes looks nonsensical but which is still the logical result from the joint effect of all the vectors which determined it. In other words, all the explanations above could be right, albeit to various degrees. This being said, I strongly favor the last one as, like Putin, I have come to the conclusion that the Empire is run by stupid, ignorant ideologues who live in a world totally detached from reality.
What is absolutely certain is that this latest move by the USA is, again, a dream come true for Putin and his supporters, especially right before the elections.
First and foremost, this is clearly an attack on "our guy" and even on "all of us" and this triggers a very strong reaction of support from the people. Furthermore, it separates all Russians into basically two camps: first, Putin supporters and, second, those who are so totally sold out to the USA (like Ksenia Sobchak) that they would even hand back Crimea just in order to be friends with the West. The first group must roughly include, oh, let's say 95%-98% of the population, the 2nd one about 2%-5%.
Second, it is now clear that every Russian oligarch (along with his family members and colleagues) has a big bullseye painted on his back and that he now should hurry to place his assets in the only location were the Empire cannot seize them: inside Russia.
To sum it all up: the latest move is a true blessing for Putin and Russia in both economic and political terms and the only ones really hurt by all this are the Atlantic Sovereignists (who are really going through some very bad times anyway).
The paradox: US sanctions – a blessing in disguise?
Let's think about what the USA has been doing over the past couple of years. Officially, the USA has been trying to "isolate" Russia. But isolate from exactly what? From Peru? Or maybe from cultural exchanges with Morocco? Hardly. When the USA says that it wants to isolate Russia it means cut Russia off the western markets (trade), the western financial system (credit) and the western political elites (fora).
These sanctions were supposed to hurt Russia precisely because Russia was, at least in part, dependent on trade with the EU, credits from western financial institution and her participation in G8 (now G7) type of events.
Putin predicted that it would take 2 years for Russia to recover from these sanctions (and the concomitant drop in energy prices) and he was right: Russia not only created new trade ties, but also finally began investing in her internal market, she found credits elsewhere (China) and in terms of fora, it really turned out that the G7 without Russia was more or less like the Council of Europe or, for that matter, the UN Security Council: useless. Instead, world leaders began booking flight and visiting Moscow.
Now the latest US sanctions are putting an immense amount of pressure on Russian oligarchs to bring their money back home. It sure looks to me that US sanctions made it possible for Putin to do something he might never have been able to do without them: to seriously begin reforming Russia (which badly needed such reforms). Remember, Eurasian Sovereignists are just that – sovereignists; whereas Atlantic Integrationists are just that – integrationists. By "cutting off Russia from the West" – whose agenda did the USA really hurt, the integrationists or the sovereignists? Could it be that Putin owes his immense popularity, and Russia her success, at least in part to US sanctions?
The fundamental theory of deterrence hold that "deterrence is in the eye of the beholder". In other words, I cannot assume that what would deter me would also deter you. In order to deter you I need to understand what your goals and values are. I submit that when the US elites decided to sanction Russia (putatively to deter her from further resisting the Empire) they made a fundamentally wrong assumption: that Russia was ruled by Atlantic Integrationist types who would be horrified and deterred.
Instead, these sanctions ended being a blessing for the Eurasian Sovereignists who used these sanctions to paralyze the Atlantic Sovereignists, to push through much needed reforms and basically eliminate the pro-Western opposition. In so many ways Russia is still a mess and a struggling country, but thanks to US sanctions none of that will have any impact at all on the next Presidential elections in Russia and the Eurasian Sovereignists are more powerful than ever before. Thank you, Uncle Shmuel!
Possible Russian reactions:
Whatever the reasons for all this nonsense, this does beg some kind of reaction from Russia and I think that judging by all the similar situation in the recent past, the Russian reaction is fairly easy to predict.
First, there will be no grandiose gesture or loud hyperbolic statements out of the Kremlin. Putin jokingly deplored that his own name was no on the list, Peskov said that this was a hostile act, a few Russian Duma members canceled planned trip to the USA and Russian commentators expressed various degrees of dismay and disgust. But, all in all, this is very, very little.
As usual, this will be completely misunderstood in the West where the culture is roughly " if your enemy slaps you in your face, you have to immediately slap him back lest you look weak ". In most of Asia (and the Middle-East, by the way), the norm is totally different: " if your enemy slaps you in the face you step back and plan how to bring him down in the long run because what matters is not the short-lived posturing, which can be even dangerous and counter-productive, but playing the long run and winning ".
You could say that in the West the attention span and long-term planning is counted in days or weeks, while in Asia and the Middle-East it is counted in years and decades. So while there might not be anything particularly photogenic or quote-worthy coming out of the Kremlin, a few Russians did drop hints of what the Russian policy will be: " good luck to the Americans trying get anything major done on the planet without our support ".
And just to make that point clear to those who can connect the dots, the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov, speaking on the Russian TV channel Rossiya One, declared that the Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Sergei Naryshkin, recently traveled to the USA and met with some high level US personalities (including, according to US sources , CIA Director Mike Pompeo).
As Newsweek wrote , Naryshkin would be " the Russian spy chief behind 2016 election hacking campaign " which various nutcases even called an act of war. He is on the very top of all these sanctions list, but there he is, traveling inside the USA and meeting with top US officials.
Why did Antonov leak this? Simply to show that for all the huffing and puffing and hyperbolic grandstanding from the USA, the reality is that the USA and Russia are still very much working together because they really cannot afford not doing so (as I write these words I got a link to a WaPo article now saying that Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and even Colonel-General Korobov, the head of the Main Directorate of the General Stuff (GU GSh), the military intelligence service (ex-GRU) also took part in this trip to the USA.)
So that is the real Russian message to the USA: you need us a heck of a lot more than we need you because you need to work with us or else you won't get anything done, we are still willing to work with you, but if you go crazy then your global interests will suffer much more than our ours; for all your hot air, you have been working with us all along and if you go overboard with the nonsense we will first reveal the extend of our collaboration and, if that is not enough to cool you down, we will terminate it .
There is no doubt in my mind that for most inhabitants of the AngloZionist Empire the notion of the almighty USA needing the struggling (and economically comparatively small) Russia more than Russia needs the USA is laughable. These folks would say something like that: " what is the Russian share of the gross world product, how many aircraft carriers does Russia have and what is the Russian weight in international financial institutions? And how is your vodka-soaked Ruble doing anyway, buddy?! "
The Russians wouldn't reply much of anything, most would just smile in contempt and think something along the lines of " when is the last time you got anything successfully done, you dumb pompous ass ". That's fundamentally fine since this message is really not destined to ideological drones but to those in power in the USA who are aware of the real scorecard of Uncle Sam and who realize that right now it is the Empire, not Russia, which is almost completely paralyzed, and isolated (oh irony!) on all levels.
Conclusion one: the Empire's main export is hot air
Many of my friends and readers send me various articles with all sorts of quotes by US officials and I have a really hard time explaining to them that they should stop listening to this endless bombastic verbiage. Not only because the vast majority of officials making these statements are both stupid and ignorant, but because the main export of the AngloZionist Empire nowadays is hot air.
We saw that recently with the grand statements about Kurdistan or, for that matter, the plans "A", "B", "C" and "D" about Syria: all delivered with the same final gravitas. This is counter-intuitive, I will admit that.
After all, when the President of the nuclear superpower, a three star general or any other senior official takes the floor to make an official statement, we automatically tend to assume that what they say matters, especially if they are surrounded by flags and many exited reporters. But it really doesn't. Especially not when the "other guy" (the Russians and the Chinese) come from a culture which frowns upon loudmouthed histrionics: "make my day, punk" is just not an (Eur-)Asian way of delivering threats.
I don't mean to suggest that we should ignore the Empire, most definitely not, but we should look at what the Empire actually does and more or less ignore it's constantly running narcissistic commentary. When the Empire promises to do something right, it usually lies. When it promises to do something wrong, these are usually empty threats. So what's the point of paying so much attention to these promises?
Conclusion two: learning optimism and caution from history
If we look at world history we can always see the same phenomenon taking place: when things to well, the elites are united, but as soon as things go south, the elites turn on each other. The reason for this is quite simple: elites are never as united as they pretend to be.
In reality Empires, and any big country, really, are run by a coalition of elites who all benefit from the established order. They can hate each other, sometimes even kill each other (SA vs SS, Trotskyists vs Stalinists, etc.), but they will work together just like crime families do in the mob. But when a real, profound, crisis becomes undeniably apparent, these ruling elites typically turn on each other and when that happens, nobody is really in charge until, eventually, the entire system comes tumbling down or a new main ruler/group emerges.
Right now the AngloZionists elites are locked into a huge struggle which is likely to last for the foreseeable future. However, we need to be aware that such a situation can also be used be a previously less visible party to make a move and seize power. That is exactly how Putin came to power, pushed by the Russian security services even while Eltsin was still the nominal head of state.
This also fully applies to the Ukraine which is also run by a group of people whose main current contribution to the world scene is hot air. But that could change very, very fast. This is why while I recommend more or less ignoring the hot air coming out of the top US (or Ukie) officials, I would keep an attentive eye on the level right below them, especially the US (or Ukie) military.
Finally, we should never confuse the inability to get anything done with the inability to make things worse: the