Color Revolutions 101: The Making Of A Controlled Revolution

Ukraine, 2004 Image source

Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post

With the recent destabilization having taken place inside Ukraine and the ongoing destabilization of Venezuela currently playing out in South America, it is important to discuss, in a relatively detailed fashion, the manner in which the destinies of seemingly independent nations are controlled by a world oligarchy.

The precise techniques of regime change, balkanization, and the weakening of nation-states for political and/or geopolitical purposes are too lengthy to enter into a detailed expose’ in the course of this series of articles. However, it is important to understand the basics of these controlled social movements and how they work so that some guard may be erected against their continued occurrence and, at the very least, provide a mechanism for understanding a contrived revolution when it appears.

The destruction of the modern nation-state or the implementation of regime change can take a variety of forms.

The open war method, a favorite of the Neo-Con factions of the ruling elite, usually relies on the manipulation of death squads, dupes, fanatics, or mentally handicapped and criminally insane into committing or attempting to commit (acting as a patsy will suffice) a terrorist act of violence, thus justifying a response from the victim nation.

The Brzezinski method, a favorite of the more neo-liberal, leftist factions, may often involve the outright organization, arming, funding, and direction of death squads such as the method employed in Libya and Syria in order to stir up as much tension and stress as possible within the country, weaken the national government, and even allowing these death squads to directly seize power.

Lastly, there is the strategy of the “color revolution” which is largely nonviolent in terms of organized assaults but is massive in scale, politically motivated, and is often made up of largely genuine participants; although the movement itself is directed by the most disingenuous agents of powerful interests.

In dividing up the three methods of destabilization, it should not be assumed that these are the only three available methods of eviscerating the self-determination of a people or sovereign nations or that these methods are mutually exclusive. Indeed, these methods often bleed over into one another, blending aspects of two or even all three.

The agenda of destruction aimed at Afghanistan and Iraq used only the first method (direct military aggression) initially. Iraq subsequently required the invocation of the second method (death squads) in order to divide the Iraqi opposition to American occupation. The efforts against Tunisia and Egypt largely involved the third method (color revolution) with a sprinkling of the second (death squad).

Likewise, the failed destabilization of Iran involved both the color revolution and the death squad motive. Libya was attacked by the death squad method but eventually required direct military intervention. Being a special case where the national government is much stronger and the civilian population stalwart against foreign invasion, the Syrian situation called for a combination of both color revolution and death squads as well as, quite possibly, in the near future, direct military invasion.

While color revolutions have tended to be vastly more successful in the Baltic states and Eastern Europe than in the Middle East, what is important to understand, whether color revolution or death squad organization, is that the NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations), Foundations, and “Human Rights” organizations are always acting as on-the-ground trainers, manipulators, and propagandists of and for the “revolutionaries.”

As Eric Pottenger and Jeff Frieson of Color Revolutions and Geopolitics describe the color revolution process,

Color revolutions are, without a doubt, one of the main features of global political developments today. . . . . .

It’s a fact that Western governments (especially the US government) and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) spend millions of dollars to co-opt and “channel” local populations of targeted countries against their own political leadership.

Empty democracy slogans and flashy colors aside, we argue that color revolutions are good old-fashioned regime change operations: destabilization without the tanks.

Yet the color revolution is not merely some communique’ presented to a small group of people than organically gains a life of its own. There is an entire science behind the application of a movement of destabilization. As Pottenger and Frieson write,

Many are the professions that utilize this type of understanding, including (but not limited to) marketing, advertising, public relations, politics and law-making, radio, television, journalism and news, film, music, general business and salesmanship; each of them selling, branding, promoting, entertaining, sloganeering, framing, explaining, creating friends and enemies, arguing likes and dislikes, setting the boundaries of good and evil: in many cases using their talents to circumvent their audiences’ intellect, the real target being emotional, oftentimes even subconscious.

Looking beneath the facade of the color revolutionary movement we also find a desire-based behavioral structure, in particular one that has been built upon historical lessons offered by social movements and periods of political upheaval.

It then makes sense that the personnel of such operations include perception managers, PR firms, pollsters and opinion-makers in the social media. Through the operational infrastructure, these entities work in close coordination with intelligence agents, local and foreign activists, strategists and tacticians, tax-exempt foundations, governmental agencies, and a host of non- governmental organizations.

Collectively, their job is to make a palace coup (of their sponsorship) seem like a social revolution; to help fill the streets with fearless demonstrators advocating on behalf of a government of their choosing, which then legitimizes the sham governments with the authenticity of popular democracy and revolutionary fervor.

Because the operatives perform much of their craft in the open, their effectiveness is heavily predicated upon their ability to veil the influence backing them, and the long-term intentions guiding their work.

Their effectiveness is predicated on their ability to deceive, targeting both local populations and foreign audiences with highly-misleading interpretations of the underlying causes provoking these events.

With this explanation in mind, consider the description provided by Ian Traynor of the Guardian regarding the “revolutions” and “mass movements” which was taking place in Ukraine, Serbia, Belarus, and Georgia in 2004 and the time of the writing of his article. Traynor writes,

With their websites and stickers, their pranks and slogans aimed at banishing widespread fear of a corrupt regime, the democracy guerrillas of the Ukrainian Pora youth movement have already notched up a famous victory – whatever the outcome of the dangerous stand-off in Kiev.

Ukraine, traditionally passive in its politics, has been mobilised by the young democracy activists and will never be the same again.

But while the gains of the orange-bedecked “chestnut revolution” are Ukraine’s, the campaign is an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in western branding and mass marketing that, in four countries in four years, has been used to try to salvage rigged elections and topple unsavoury regimes.

Funded and organised by the US government, deploying US consultancies, pollsters, diplomats, the two big American parties and US non-government organisations, the campaign was first used in Europe in Belgrade in 2000 to beat Slobodan Milosevic at the ballot box.

Richard Miles, the US ambassador in Belgrade, played a key role. And by last year, as US ambassador in Tbilisi, he repeated the trick in Georgia, coaching Mikhail Saakashvili in how to bring down Eduard Shevardnadze.

Ten months after the success in Belgrade, the US ambassador in Minsk, Michael Kozak, a veteran of similar operations in central America, notably in Nicaragua, organised a near identical campaign to try to defeat the Belarus hardman, Alexander Lukashenko.

That one failed. “There will be no Kostunica in Belarus,” the Belarus president declared, referring to the victory in Belgrade.

But experience gained in Serbia, Georgia and Belarus has been invaluable in plotting to beat the regime of Leonid Kuchma in Kiev.

The operation – engineering democracy through the ballot box and civil disobedience – is now so slick that the methods have matured into a template for winning other people’s elections.

Traynor’s article represents a rare moment of candor allowed to seep through the iron curtain of the mainstream Western media regarding the nature of the Eastern European protests in 2004. Even so, Traynor’s depiction of the methodology used by the Foundations, NGOs, and government agencies stirring up dissent and popular revolt is equally illuminating. He writes,

In the centre of Belgrade, there is a dingy office staffed by computer-literate youngsters who call themselves the Centre for Non-violent Resistance. If you want to know how to beat a regime that controls the mass media, the judges, the courts, the security apparatus and the voting stations, the young Belgrade activists are for hire.

They emerged from the anti-Milosevic student movement, Otpor, meaning resistance. The catchy, single-word branding is important. In Georgia last year, the parallel student movement was Khmara. In Belarus, it was Zubr. In Ukraine, it is Pora, meaning high time. Otpor also had a potent, simple slogan that appeared everywhere in Serbia in 2000 – the two words “gotov je”, meaning “he’s finished”, a reference to Milosevic. A logo of a black-and-white clenched fist completed the masterful marketing.

In Ukraine, the equivalent is a ticking clock, also signalling that the Kuchma regime’s days are numbered.

Stickers, spray paint and websites are the young activists’ weapons. Irony and street comedy mocking the regime have been hugely successful in puncturing public fear and enraging the powerful.

These slogans and symbols are the product of mass marketers employed by State Departments and intelligence agencies for the sole purpose of destabilizing and/or overthrowing a democratically elected or unfavorable (to the oligarchy)government.

Still, Traynor sheds even more light on the mechanism and methodology used to create and implement a color revolution when he mentions the regional players such as the various agencies, Foundations, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that are involved in movements such as the ones mentioned above. Traynor continues,

The Democratic party’s National Democratic Institute, the Republican party’s International Republican Institute, the US state department and USAid are the main agencies involved in these grassroots campaig

US pollsters and professional consultants are hired to organise focus groups and use psephological data to plot strategy.

The usually fractious oppositions have to be united behind a single candidate if there is to be any chance of unseating the regime. That leader is selected on pragmatic and objective grounds, even if he or she is anti-American.

In Serbia, US pollsters Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates discovered that the assassinated pro-western opposition leader, Zoran Djindjic, was reviled at home and had no chance of beating Milosevic fairly in an election. He was persuaded to take a back seat to the anti-western Vojislav Kostunica, who is now Serbian prime minister.

In Belarus, US officials ordered opposition parties to unite behind the dour, elderly trade unionist, Vladimir Goncharik, because he appealed to much of the Lukashenko constituency.

Officially, the US government spent $41m (£21.7m) organising and funding the year-long operation to get rid of Milosevic from October 1999. In Ukraine, the figure is said to be around $14m.

Another essential ingredient for a successful color revolution is the dispatch of fake polling data rolled out to convince both the populations being targeted as well as the population of the nation initializing the destabilization that the target population has no confidence in the current regime, is steadfastly against the ruling government, and that the fall of the regime is inevitable. Although Traynor buttresses his statement with the caveat that vote rigging is a favorite trick of corrupt and authoritarian governments, he does draw attention to the process by which fake polling data is used to invoke a coup. Traynor writes,

Apart from the student movement and the united opposition, the other key element in the democracy template is what is known as the “parallel vote tabulation”, a counter to the election-rigging tricks beloved of disreputable regimes.

There are professional outside election monitors from bodies such as the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, but the Ukrainian poll, like its predecessors, also featured thousands of local election monitors trained and paid by western groups.

Freedom House and the Democratic party’s NDI helped fund and organise the “largest civil regional election monitoring effort” in Ukraine, involving more than 1,000 trained observers. They also organised exit polls. On Sunday night those polls gave Mr Yushchenko an 11-point lead and set the agenda for much of what has followed.

The exit polls are seen as critical because they seize the initiative in the propaganda battle with the regime, invariably appearing first, receiving wide media coverage and putting the onus on the authorities to respond.

The final stage in the US template concerns how to react when the incumbent tries to steal a lost election.

In Belarus, President Lukashenko won, so the response was minimal. In Belgrade, Tbilisi, and now Kiev, where the authorities initially tried to cling to power, the advice was to stay cool but determined and to organise mass displays of civil disobedience, which must remain peaceful but risk provoking the regime into violent suppression.

If the events in Kiev vindicate the US in its strategies for helping other people win elections and take power from anti-democratic regimes, it is certain to try to repeat the exercise elsewhere in the post-Soviet world.

One wonders whether or not Mr. Traynor sees his words in 2004 as prophetic in 2014 since, only ten years after his writing this article, Kiev is once again the center of a Western-backed coup.

In the end, it is important to remember that geopolitics is not a mere game played by only one actor. The Western world, particularly the United States, is courting war with the East which could potentially take the form of thermonuclear confrontation.

The American people must quickly learn the formula behind color revolutions, destabilizations, and the agendas of the world oligarchy before it becomes too late for us all.

Recently from Brandon Turbeville:

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 275 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com. 

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