The History and Science of Color Revolutions Part 3

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Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post

In my last article regarding the history and science of color revolutions, I attempted to demonstrate how the science of using mass movements of “swarming adolescents” to destabilize national governments and implement regime change is actually a well-established instrument of imperialist desires. In addition, the previous article also demonstrated the methodology of this type of attack in terms of the means of deployment and necessary components of the color revolution.

Yet, if one were to desire a case study in the art of color revolution and destabilization, then the case of Milosevic’s Serbia could easily be provided.

Indeed, Michael Dobbs of the Washington Post wrote an article in 2000 entitled, “U.S. Advice Guided Milosevic Opposition: Political Consultants Helped Yugoslav Opposition Topple Authoritarian Leader,” where he peripherally outlined the tactics used by the United States and NGOs in order to accomplish the desired regime change and the weakening of yet another target nation. This successful destabilization resulted in what Mowat deems in his excellent article “A New Gladio In Action,” “The Serbian Virus,” a domino effect of color revolutions in the Eastern European and Slavic countries.[1] Dobbs wrote,

U.S.-funded consultants played a crucial role behind the scenes in virtually every facet of the anti-Milosevic drive, running tracking polls, training thousands of opposition activists and helping to organize a vitally important parallel vote count. U.S. taxpayers paid for 5,000 cans of spray paint used by student activists to scrawl anti-Milosevic graffiti on walls across Serbia, and 2.5 million stickers with the slogan “He’s Finished,” which became the revolution’s catchphrase.

Some Americans involved in the anti-Milosevic effort said they were aware of CIA activity at the fringes of the campaign, but had trouble finding out what the agency was up to. Whatever it was, they concluded it was not particularly effective. The lead role was taken by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, the government’s foreign assistance agency, which channeled the funds through commercial contractors and nonprofit groups such as NDI and its Republican counterpart, the International Republican Institute (IRI).


While NDI worked closely with Serbian opposition parties, IRI focused its attention on Otpor, which served as the revolution’s ideological and organizational backbone. In March, IRI paid for two dozen Otpor leaders to attend a seminar on nonviolent resistance at the Hilton Hotel in Budapest a few hundreds yards along the Danube from the NDI-favored Marriott.

During the seminar, the Serbian students received training in such matters as how to organize a strike, how to communicate with symbols, how to overcome fear and how to undermine the authority of a dictatorial regime. The principal lecturer was retired U.S. Army Col. Robert Helvey, who has made a study of nonviolent resistance methods around the world, including those used in modern-day Burma and the civil rights struggle in the American South.[2]

Those readers familiar with the methods used to deploy a successful color revolution will immediately recognize three aspects of Dobbs’ statement. First, the fact that U.S. organizations funded many of the activists directly and/or paid for supplies needed for guerrilla and overt activism on the ground. Second, that there was the clear existence of a parallel vote counting and reporting apparatus and, third, the involvement of individuals like Col. Robert Helvey.

Jonathan Mowat picks up the topic, particularly that of Helvey’s involvement and summarily documents the rest of the Serbian story in his own article by writing,

Helvey, who served two tours in Vietnam, introduced the Otpor activists to the ideas of American theoretician Gene Sharp, whom he describes as “the Clausewitz of the nonviolence movement,” referring to the renowned Prussian military strategist.

Peter Ackerman, the above-mentioned [in his own article] coup expert, analyzed and popularized the methods involved in a 2001 PBS documentary-series and book, “A Force More Powerful: A Century of Nonviolent Conflict,” together with retired US Airforce officer Jack DuVall. Focusing on youth organizing, they report:

After the NATO bombing, which had helped the regime suppress opposition, Otpor’s organizing took hold with a quiet vengeance. It was built in some places around clubhouses where young people could go and hang out, exercise, and party on the weekends, or more often it was run out of dining rooms and bedrooms in activists’ homes. These were “boys and girls 18 and 19 years old” who had lived “in absolute poverty compared to other teenagers around the world,” according to Stanko Lazendic, an Otpor activist in Novi Sad. “Otpor offered these kids a place to gather, a place where they could express their creative ideas.” In a word, it showed them how to empower themselves.

In addition, Otpor offered food, shelter, and entertainment to a portion of the population that was suffering from a tragic lack of those things. Otpor, as a heavily-funded organization, was thus able to gain the trust and allegiance – conditional as it may have been – of a substantial number of young Serbians.

Jonathan Mowat continues by writing,

Otpor’s leaders knew that they “couldn’t use force on someone who . . . had three times more force and weapons than we did,” in the words of Lazendic. “We knew what had happened in. Tiananmen, where the army plowed over students with tanks.” So violence wouldn’t work—and besides, it was the trademark of Milosevic, and Otpor had to stand for something different. Serbia “was a country in which violence was used too many times in daily politics,” noted Srdja Popovic, a 27 year-old who called himself Otpor’s “ideological commissar.” The young activists had to use nonviolent methods “to show how superior, how advanced, how civilized” they were.

This relatively sophisticated knowledge of how to develop nonviolent power was not intuitive. Miljenko Dereta, the director of a private group in Belgrade called Civic Initiatives, got funding from Freedom House in the U.S. to print and distribute 5,000 copies of Gene Sharp’s book, “From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation.” Otpor got hold of Sharp’s main three-volume work, “The Politics of Nonviolent Action,” freely adapting sections of it into a Serbian-language notebook they dubbed the “Otpor User Manual.” Consciously using this “ideology of nonviolent, individual resistance,” in Popovic’s words, activists also received direct training from Col. Robert Helvey, a colleague of Sharp, at the Budapest Hilton in March 2000.

Helvey emphasized how to break the people’s habits of subservience to authority, and also how to subvert: the regime’s “pillars of support,” including the police and armed forces. Crucially, he warned them against “contaminants to a nonviolent struggle,” especially violent action, which would deter ordinary people from joining the movement: and alienate the international community, from which material and financial assistance could be drawn. As Popovic put it: “Stay nonviolent and you will get the support of the third party.”

That support, largely denied to the Serbian opposition before, now began to flow. Otpor and other dissident groups received funding from the National Endowment for Democracy, affiliated with the U.S. government, and Otpor leaders sat down with Daniel Server, the program director for the Balkans at the U.S. Institute for Peace, whose story of having been tear-gassed during an anti-Vietnam War demonstration gave him special credibility in their eyes. The International Republican Institute, also financed by the U.S. government, channeled funding to the opposition and met with Otpor leaders several times. The U.S. Agency for International Development, the wellspring for most of this financing, was also the source of money that went for materials like t-shirts and stickers.

Yet the color revolution did not end with Serbia. With the small nation now under control and a successful destabilization having taken place, a large portion of the Slavic world and Eastern European bloc was now in the crosshairs of the Anglo-Americans.[3] This spread of the color revolution, organized and directed by the West from the word “go,” was the reason behind Mowat’s designation of the chain of events as the “Serbian Virus.” Very soon after Serbia was successfully overthrown, the color revolution motive move on to at least three more countries in Eastern Europe.

Mowat describes this situation as follows:

In the aftermath of the Serbian revolution, the National Endowment for Democracy, Albert Einstein Institution, and related outfits helped establish several Otpor-modeled youth groups in Eastern Europe, notably Zubr in Belarus in January 2001; Kmara in Georgia, in April 2003; and Pora in Ukraine in June 2004. Efforts to overthrow Belarus President Alexsander Luschenko failed in 2001, while the US overthrow of Georgian President Eduard Schevardnadze was successfully accomplished in 2003, using Kmara as part of its operation.

Commenting on that expansion, Albert Einstein staffer Chris Miller, in his report on a 2001 trip to Serbia found on the group’s website, reports:

Since the ousting of Milosevic, several members of Otpor have met with members of the Belarusian group Zubr (Bison). In following developments in Belarus since early this year, It is clear that Zubr was developed or at least conceptualized, using Otpor as a model. Also, [Albert Einstein’s report] From Dictatorship to Democracy is available in English on the Zubr website at www.zubr-belarus.com. Of course, success will not be achieved in Belarus or anywhere else, simply by mimicking the actions taken in Serbia. However the successful Serbian nonviolent struggle was highly influenced and aided by the availability of knowledge and information on strategic nonviolent struggle and both successful and unsuccessful past cases, which is transferable. 

Otpor focused on building their human resources, especially among youth. An Otpor training manual to “train future trainers” was developed, which contained excerpts from The Politics of Nonviolent Action, provided to Otpor by Robert Helvey during his workshop in Budapest for Serbs in early 2000. It may be applicable for other countries. 

And with funding provided by Freedom House and the US government, Otpor established the Center for Nonviolent Resistance, in Budapest, to train these groups.

This harkens back to an article written in 2004 for The Guardian by Ian Traynor, entitled “US Campaign Behind The Turmoil In Kiev,” also cited by Mowat. Indeed, Traynor discussed this very movement in his article when he wrote,

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 Kmara. In Belarus, it was Zubr. In Ukraine, it is Pora, meaning high time.

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.

Going back to “A New Gladio In Action,” Mowat adds to the description of how color revolutions are orchestrated on the ground inside the target nation as well as across national borders. Indeed, the color revolution in Georgia was just such an operation, involving the coordination of organizations and training sessions that spanned from Georgia itself into Serbia. In Serbia’s own color revolution, the people power putsch was organized from Hungary. Similarly, we saw the shipping in of high numbers of death squad fighters who posed as “protesters” early on during the destabilization of Syria (although their true nature became clear very soon after) through a complex network of countries such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Libya, and Jordan.

Jonathan Mowat describes the cross border operations as follows:

Last year, before becoming president in Georgia, the US-educated Mr Saakashvili traveled from Tbilisi to Belgrade to be coached in the techniques of mass defiance. In Belarus, the US embassy organized the dispatch of young opposition leaders to the Baltic, where they met up with Serbs traveling from Belgrade. In Serbia’s case, given the hostile environment in Belgrade, the Americans organized the overthrow from neighboring Hungary—Budapest and Szeged.

[Quoting Traynor] In recent weeks, several Serbs traveled to the Ukraine. Indeed, one of the leaders from Belgrade, Aleksandar Maric, was turned away at the border.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 campaigns as well as the Freedom House NGO and billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Institute.

Mowat also quotes an article published in the Associated Press by Dusan Stojanovic, on November 2, 2004, entitled “Serbia’s export: Peaceful Revolution.” The article elaborates on the “for hire” nature of the revolutionary organizations created with the help of Western intelligence and the U.S. State Department. The article states,

“We knew there would be work for us after Milosevic,” said Danijela Nenadic, a program coordinator of the Belgrade-based Center for Nonviolent Resistance. The nongovernmental group emerged from Otpor, the pro-democracy movement that helped sweep Milosevic from power by organizing massive and colorful protests that drew crowds who never previously had the courage to oppose the former Yugoslav president. In Ukraine and Belarus, tens of thousands of people have been staging daily protests—carbon copies of the anti-Milosevic rallies—with “training” provided by the Serbian group.

The group says it has “well-trained” followers in Ukraine and Belarus. In Georgia, Ukraine and Belarus, anti-government activists “saw what we did in Serbia and they contacted us for professional training,” group member Sinisa Sikman said. Last year, Otpor’s clenched fist was flying high on white flags again—this time in Georgia , when protesters stormed the parliament in an action that led to the toppling of Shevardnadze.

Last month, Ukrainian border authorities denied entry to Alexandar Maric, a member of Otpor and an adviser with the U.S.-based democracy watchdog Freedom House. A Ukrainian student group called Pora was following the strategies of Otpor.

Mowat also adds that

James Woolsey’s Freedom House “expressed concern” over Maric’s deportation, in an October 14, 2004, press release which reported that he was traveling to Ukraine as part of “an initiative run by Freedom House, the National Democratic Institute, and the International Republican Institute to promote civic participation and oversight during the 2004 presidential and 2006 parliamentary elections in Ukraine.” In a related statement, it added that it hoped the deportation was not a sign of the Ukrainian government’s “unwillingness to allow the free flow of information and learning across borders that is an integral and accepted part of programs to encourage democratic progress in diverse societies around the world.”[4]

In the doublespeak world of destabilization organizations such as USAID, NDI, IRI, and Freedom House, “free flow of information and learning” amounts to nothing more than the free flow of agents of unrest and the learning of propaganda well-funded and specifically designed to bring about the change in domestic national society that is desired by the world Oligarchy.

Notes:

[1] See also,
Tarpley, Webster G. Obama: The Postmodern Coup. Mowat, Jonathan. “A New Gladio In Action: ‘Swarming Adolescents.’” Progressive Press. 2008. Pp. 243-270.
[2] Dobbs, Michael. “U.S. Advice Guided Milosevic Opposition; Political Consultants Helped Yugoslav Opposition Topple Authoritarian Leader.” The Washington Post. December 11, 2000. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-565855.html Accessed on July 4, 2013.
[3] See also,
Tarpley, Webster G. Obama: The Postmodern Coup. Mowat, Jonathan. “A New Gladio In Action: ‘Swarming Adolescents.’” Progressive Press. 2008. Pp. 243-270.
[4] See also,
Tarpley, Webster G. Obama: The Postmodern Coup. Mowat, Jonathan. “A New Gladio In Action: ‘Swarming Adolescents.’” Progressive Press. 2008. Pp. 254-256.

Recently by 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 300 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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