Originally published in 2005
Posted on Color Revolutions and Geopolitics, April 20, 2011
|Orange Revolution, conceived by ex-air force officer Jack Duvall and producer/director Steve York, received mixed reviews ….the revolution itself was disgorged by the population, and so was the film they made. “I found that most impassioned youth were asleep by the second reel,” complained one insider. These bureaucrats, known as coup “shaman” to their prodigy, have little artistic “street cred” …”HO Hum,” yawned one observer. “They sucked all the fun out of it, I mean hell, I met my girlfriend on the big day…my friends and I got drunk and had a real happy ending ….this film obviously sucks by comparison.”|
By Jonathan Mowat
Published in Online Journal
“Gene Sharp started out the seminar by saying ‘Strategic nonviolent struggle is all about political power.’ And I thought, ‘Boy is this guy speaking my language,’ that is what armed struggle is about.”—Col. Robert Helvey
“We have to confront those forces that are committed to reproduce a Georgian or Ukrainian scenario,” Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev stated on December 26, the day of the coup, “we’ll not allow the import of Rose [Georgian] and Orange [Ukrainian] revolutions in our country.” One day later, the Kazakh government launched a criminal case against the Soros Foundation for tax evasion, one of the coups’ financiers. And last spring, Uzbek President Islam Karimov accused Soros of overseeing the revolution in Georgia, and condemning his efforts to “fool and brainwash” young intelligentsia in his own country, banned the group. The same networks are also increasingly active in South America, Africa, and Asia. Top targets include Venezuela, Mozambique, and Iran, among others.
The method employed is usefully described by The Guardian’s Ian Traynor in a November 26, 2004, article entitled “US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev,” during the first phase of the coup.
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.
[T]he 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 unsavory regimes.
Funded and organized by the US government, deploying US consultancies, pollsters, diplomats, the two big American parties and US non-government organizations, the campaign was first used in Europe in Belgrade in 2000 to beat Slobodan Milosevic at the ballot box.
Richard Miles [pictured left], 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, organized a near identical campaign to try to defeat the Belarus hardman, Alexander Lukashenko.
|Tiananmen Square, Beijing, 1989|
Much of the coup apparatus is the same that was used in the overthrow of President Fernando Marcos of the Philippines in 1986, the Tiananmen Square destabilization in 1989, and Vaclav Havel’s “Velvet revolution” in Czechoslovakia in 1989. As in these early operations, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and its primary arms, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI), played a central role. The NED was established by the Reagan Administration in 1983, to do overtly what the CIA had done covertly, in the words of one its legislative drafters, Allen Weinstein. The Cold War propaganda and operations center, Freedom House, now chaired by former CIA director James Woolsey, has also been involved, as were billionaire George Soros’ foundations, whose donations always dovetail those of the NED.
|Iconic photo documenting Czechoslovakia’s “Velvet Revolution” in 1989|
What is new about the template bears on the use of the Internet (in particular chat rooms, instant messaging, and blogs) and cell phones (including text-messaging), to rapidly steer angry and suggestible “Generation X” youth into and out of mass demonstrations and the like—a capability that only emerged in the mid-1990s. “With the crushing ubiquity of cell phones, satellite phones, PCs, modems and the Internet,” Laura Rosen emphasized in Salon Magazine on February 3, 2001,”the information age is shifting the advantage from authoritarian leaders to civic groups.” She might have mentioned the video games that helped create the deranged mindset of these “civic groups.” The repeatedly emphasized role played by so-called “Discoshaman” and his girlfriend “Tulipgirl,” in assisting the “Orange Revolution” through their aptly named blog, “Le Sabot Post-Modern,” is indicative of the technical and sociological components involved.
A Civilian Revolution in Military Affairs
The emphasis on the use of new communication technologies to rapidly deploy small groups, suggests what we are seeing is civilian application of Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s “Revolution in Military Affairs” doctrine, which depends on highly mobile small group deployments “enabled” by “real time” intelligence and communications. Squads of soldiers taking over city blocks with the aid of “intelligence helmet” video screens that give them an instantaneous overview of their environment, constitute the military side. Bands of youth converging on targeted intersections in constant dialogue on cell phones constitute the doctrine’s civilian application.
This parallel should not be surprising since the US military and National Security Agency subsidized the development of the Internet, cellular phones, and software platforms. From their inception, these technologies were studied and experimented with in order to find the optimal use in a new kind of warfare. The “revolution” in warfare that such new instruments permit has been pushed to the extreme by several specialists in psychological warfare. Although these military utopians have been working in high places (for example the RAND Corporation) for a very long time, to a large extent they only took over some of the most important command structures of the US military apparatus with the victory of the neoconservatives in the Pentagon of Donald Rumsfeld. Continue reading