Nonviolence in the Service of Imperialism

Peter Myers, March 6, 2011.

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I assembled this material in early December 2010, and intended to put it out soon after, but was delayed by a building project, the need to save my farmlet from becoming a jungle after months of rain, and the death of my mother (aged 92).

Stephen Zunes is a close associate of Noam Chomsky.

State Department, NED, Soros & CIA links to "regime change" dissidents in Belarus, MidEast: nonviolence-State-link.html.

Discussion of this topic has been lacking in "alternative" circles, so that "mainstream" media like the NYT were able to break the story first.

(1) CIA & Gene Sharp behind Soft and Undercover Coups d'État - Thierry Meyssan
(2) Zunes, Chomsky & Howard Zinn defend Gene Sharp; say Meyssan wrong about CIA link
(3) Gene Sharp, the dictator slayer - from Caracas to Beijing
(4) Zunes, Chomsky & Howard Zinn sign Open Letter defending Gene Sharp
(5) Gene Sharp's handbooks eg From Dictatorship to Democracy were used to organize campaigns in many countries
(6) Milosevic brought down with 5,000 copies of Gene Sharp's book, supplied by Freedom House
(7) Soros, Sharp and the Colour Revolutions
(8) Fall of Milosevic: U.S.-funded consultants played a crucial role. Dissidents mute on Western financial support
(9) War by other means. Gene Sharp says "I was also in Tiananmen Square"
(10) Gene Sharp "was in Tiananmen Square". Interview with The Progressive
(11) Burma's "Saffron Revolution": Gene Sharp's institute's CIA link (Col. Helvey) & NED funds - Engdahl
(12) Green Left Weekly debate on Sharp-NED-Soros link, & whether to accept Tainted funds
(13) Zunes is ICNC's chief academic advisor; yet ICNC leaders were trained in military-industrial complex
(14) Nonviolence in the Service of Imperialism - Michael Barker
(15) Iran & Libya regimes cannot be defended; Soros' International Crisis Group doing no harm - Jeffrey Blankfort

(1) CIA & Gene Sharp behind Soft and Undercover Coups d'État - Thierry Meyssan

Soft and Undercover Coups d'État The Albert Einstein Institution: non-violence according to the CIA

by Thierry Meyssan*

Non violence as a political action technique can be used for anything. During the 1980s, NATO drew its attention on its possible use to organize the Resistance in Europe after the invasion of the Red Army. It's been 15 years since CIA began using it to overthrow inflexible governments without provoking international outrage, and its ideological façade is philosopher Gene Sharp's Albert Einstein Institution. Voltaire Network reveals its amazing activity, from Lithuania to Serbia, Venezuela and Ukraine.

4 JANUARY 2005

Unknown to the public, Gene Sharp formulated a theory on non violence as a political weapon. Also he first helped NATO and then CIA train the leaders of the soft coups of the last 15 years. Since the 50s, Gene Sharp studied Henry D. Thoreau and Mohandas K. Gandhi's theory of civil disobedience. For these authors, obedience and disobedience were religious and moral matters, not political ones. However, to preach had political consequences; what could be considered an aim could be perceived as a mean. Civil disobedience can be considered then as a political, even military, action technique.

In 1983, Sharp designed the Non Violent Sanctions Program in the Center for International Affairs of Harvard University where he did some social sciences studies on the possible use of civil disobedience by Western Europe population in case of a military invasion carried out by the troops of the Warsaw Pact. At the same time, he founded in Boston the Albert Einstein Institution with the double purpose of financing his own researches and applying his own models to specific situations. In 1985, he published a book titled "Making Europe Unconquerable " [1] whose second edition included a preface by George Kennan, the Father of the Cold War. In 1987, the association was funded by the U.S. Institute for Peace and hosted seminars to instruct its allies on defense based on civil disobedience. General Fricaud-Chagnaud, on his part, introduced his "civil deterrence" concept at the Foundation of National Defense Studies. [2]

General Edward B. Atkeson, well-known by CIA director, [3] incorporated the Institute to the American interference stay-behind network in allied States. To focus on the moral issues of an action helped to avoid all doubts on the legitimacy of an action. Therefore, non violence, recognized as good-natured and assimilated to democracy, offered a suitable aspect to antidemocratic secret actions.

Gene Sharp

In 1989, when the Albert Institution became well known, Gene Sharp began to advice anticommunist movements. He participated in the establishment of Burma's Democratic Alliance - a coalition of notable anticommunists that quickly joined the military government - and Taiwan's Progressive Democratic Party - which favored the independence of the island from communist China, something U.S. officially opposed. He also unified the Tibetan opposition under Dalai Lama and tried to form a dissident group within PLO so that Palestinian nationalists would stop terrorism [4] (he made the necessary arrangements with Colonel Reuven Gal, [5] director of the Psychological Action division of the Israeli armed forces, to train them secretly in the American Embassy in Tel Aviv).

When CIA realized how useful could the Albert Einstein Institution be, it brought Colonel Robert Helvey into play. An expert in clandestine actions and former dean of the Embassies's Military Attachés Training School, "Bob" took Gene Sharp to Burma to educate the opposition on the non violent strategy for criticizing the cruelest military junta of the world without questioning the system. By doing this, Helvey could identify the "good" and the "bad" opponents in a critical moment for Washington: the true opposition, led by Mrs. Suu Kyi, was labeled as a threat to the pro-American regimen.

«Bob's» job was easily done. Since he was military attaché in Rangoon from 1983 to 1985 and helped to structure the dictatorship, he knew everybody. By playing a double game, Colonel Helvey simultaneously directed a classical action of military support to Karen resistance: by providing weapons and controlling a limited guerrilla, Washington wished, indeed, to maintain the military junta under pressure.

Since that moment, Sharp has always been present everywhere American interests are put at risk. In June 1989, he and his assistant, Bruce Jenkins, went to Beijing, two weeks before Tiananmen events. They were both expelled by Chinese authorities. In February 1990, the Albert Einstein Institution hosted a Conference on Non Violent Sanctions that brought together 185 experts of 16 countries under Colonels Robert Helvey and Reuven Gal. This marked the beginning of an international anticommunist crusade to involve peoples in non violent action.

Professor Thomas Schelling, [6] well known economist and CIA consultant, joined the Administrative Council of the Institution whose official budget was still stable though it was also funded by the International Republican Institute (IRI), one of the four branches of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED/CIA). [7]

At the same time, Baltic countries proclaimed their independence but, after a test of endurance with Mijail Gorbatchov, they postponed their decision for 2 or 3 years to negotiate their terms. In October 1990, Gene Sharp and his team traveled to Sweden and trained several Lithuanian politicians in the organization of a popular resistance against the Red Army. Months later, in May 1991, when the crisis broke out and Gorbatchov deployed his special forces; Gene Sharp was the adviser of Sajudis separatist party (Perestroika Initiative Group) and remained close to Vytautas Landsbergis. In June 1992, independent Lithuania Minister of Defense, Audrius Butkevicius, hosted a symposium to thank Albert Einstein Institution's key role during the independence process of the Baltic countries.

When the U.S began its rearmament in 1998, [8] the Albert Einstein Institution became part of an expansionist strategy. It provided ideology and technique to Otpor («Resistance»), a group of Slobodan Milosevic's young opponents. Simultaneously, it intervened in Kosovo province to train Ibrahim Rugova's LDK, but it turned useless for Washington during the Kosovo war. Then, Otpor quickly became a choice to overthrow Milosevic who was very popular for resisting NATO. Colonel Helvey trained Otpor's leaders through seminars hosted at Hilton Hotel in Budapest. Money was not a problem to overthrow Europe's last communist government. The person in charge of commanding the operation was agent Paul B. McCarthy, discreetly settled at Moskva hotel in Belgrade until Milosevic's resignation in October 2000.

In September 2002, Gene Sharp went to The Hague to train the members of the Iraqi National Council who were preparing themselves to return to Iraq, along with the American army.

In September 2003, it was also the Albert Einstein Institution who advised the opposition to question the electoral results and go on demonstrations to force Eduard Shevardnadze's resignation [9] during the «revolution» of the roses in Georgia.

When the CIA-organized-coup against Venezuela failed in April 2002, the State Department counted again on the Albert Einstein Institution which advised the owners of enterprises during the organization of the revocatory referendum against President Hugo Chávez. Gene Sharp and his team led the leaders of Súmate during the demonstrations of August 2004. As done before, the only thing they had to do was questioning the electoral results and demanding the resignation of the president. They managed to get the bourgeoisie out in the street but Chavez's popular government was to strong. All in all, international observers had no other choice but to recognize Hugo Chávez's victory.

Gene Sharp failed in Belarus and Zimbabwe for he could not recruit and train in the proper time the necessary amount of demonstrators. During the orange «revolution» in November 2004, [10] we met again with Colonel Robert Helvey in Kiev. Finally, we must point out that the Albert Einstein Institution has begun to train Iranian agitators

But, why Albert Einstein? It is an unsuspicious name. Gene Sharp's first book on Gandhi's methods began with a preface signed by Albert Einstein, though the book was written in 1960, five years after the genius's death. Therefore, Albert Einstein did not write anything for Sharp's work. All that Sharp did was reproducing an article on non violence written by the scientist.

[1] Making Europe Unconquerable: The Potential of Civilian-based Deterrence and Defense. Taylor & Francis Publishing House, London, 1985. Its second edition included a preface by George F. Kennan, Ballinger Publishing House, Massachusetts, 1986.

[2] General Georges Fricaud Chagnaud had been military attaché at the Embassy of France in Washington, and some time later he was appointed Chief of NATO's French military mission.

[3] General Edward B. Atkeson is currently a CSIS expert and manager of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO).

[4] Mubarak Awad, one of the agents formed by Sharp, is currently (January 2005) in charge of the American aid sent to Indonesia after the tsunami.

[5] Nowadays, Colonel Reuven Gal is deputy head of the National Security Council of Israel in charge of molding Palestine society.

[6] In March 2004, Thomas Schelling was one of the drafters of the Copenhagen Consensus. Sponsored by The Economist, this document questioned the UN Millenium Program and the Kyoto Protocol. Mr. Schelling formulated a theoretical model which suggested that economic growth is the best way to combat global warming for, in the future, it should guarantee the development of the necessary techniques to solve the problem.

[7] Thierry Meyssan : «The Networks of "Democratic" Interference», Voltaire (text in French), November 21, 2004.

[8] In 1998 and despite the lack of enemy, the Congres forced President Clinton to implement a rearmament policy.

[9] See Paul Labarique : «Les dessous du coup d'État en Géorgie», text in French, Voltaire, January 7, 2004.

[10] See Emilia Nazarenko: «Moscow and Washington confronting each other in Ukraine», Voltaire (Text in French), November 1st, 2004. This article was published by Red Voltaire before the first part of the presidential elections and described the organization of the pretended spontaneous movement of the following weeks.

(2) Zunes, Chomsky & Howard Zinn defend Gene Sharp; say Meyssan wrong about CIA link

Sharp Attack Unwarranted By Stephen Zunes. Edited by John Feffer

Foreign Policy In Focus

June 27, 2008

also published in the Huffington Post as
Attacks on Gene Sharp and Albert Einstein Institution Unwarranted
Stephen Zunes
June 27, 2008 02:26 PM

Gene Sharp, an 80-year-old scholar of strategic nonviolent action and veteran of radical pacifist causes, is under attack by a number of foreign governments that claim that he and his small research institute are key players in a Bush administration plot against them.

Though there is no truth to these charges, several leftist web sites and publications have been repeating such claims as fact. This raises disturbing questions regarding the ability of progressives challenging Bush foreign policy to distinguish between the very real manifestations of U.S. imperialism and conspiratorial fantasies. ...

For example, in February Iranian government television informed viewers that Gene Sharp was "one of the CIA agents in charge of America's infiltration into other countries." It included a computer-animated sequence of him and John McCain in a White House conference room plotting the overthrow of the Iranian regime. In reality, Sharp has never worked with the CIA, has never met Senator McCain, and has never even been to the White House. Government spokespeople and supporters of autocratic regimes in Burma, Zimbabwe, and Belarus have also blamed Sharp for being behind dissident movements in their countries as well.

Ironically, some on the left have picked up and expanded on these charges. For example, in an article about the Bush administration promoting "soft coups" against foreign governments it doesn't like, Jonathan Mowat claims that "The main handler of these coups on the 'street side' has been the Albert Einstein Institution," which he says is funded by Hungarian-American financier George Soros. Venezuelan-American attorney Eva Golinger, meanwhile, claimed that "Peter Ackerman, a multimillionaire banker had sponsored 'regime changes' in Serbia, Ukraine, and Georgia through the Albert Einstein Institute." Tony Logan insists that AEI "is a U.S. government run operation designed to link Gandhian methods of nonviolent protest to Pentagon and U,S, State Department efforts to overthrow foreign governments." In a similar vein, Counterpunch readers were recently informed that the Albert Einstein Institution plays "a central role in a new generation of warfare, one which has incorporated the heroic examples of past nonviolent resistance into a strategy of obfuscation and misdirection that does the work of empire."

Absolutely none of these claims is true. Yet such articles have been widely circulated on progressive websites and list serves. Such false allegations have even ended up as part of entries on the Albert Einstein Institution in SourceWatch, Wikipedia, and other reference web sites.

The international press has occasionally echoed some of these bogus claims as well. For example, a commentary published in the Asia Times {by Engdahl} last fall accused Sharp of being the "concert-master" for the Saffron Revolution in Burma, claiming that the Albert Einstein Institution is funded by an arm of the U.S. government "to foster U.S.-friendly regime change in key spots around the world" and that its staff includes "known CIA operatives." Though these charges were utterly false, the article was then widely circulated on a number of progressive list serves, including such academic networks as the Peace and Justice Studies Association.

... (The Asia Times article also tried to connect Sharp to the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in China and another article from the Straits Times in Singapore even places Sharp and AEI behind the recent uprising in Tibet.)

{But see items 9 & 10. The Progressive Mag interview with Gene Sharp says that HE WAS at Tianenmen Square . Sharp himself says he was there in this interview with the Boston Globe: also at}

This racist attitude that the peoples of non-Western societies are incapable of deciding on their own to resist illegitimate authority without some Western scholar telling them to do so has been most dramatically highlighted by French Marxist Thierry Meyssan. ...

The Real Story

The office of the Albert Einstein Institution ­ which supposedly plays such a "central role" in American imperialism ­is actually a tiny, cluttered space in the downstairs of Gene Sharp's home, located in a small row house in a working class neighborhood in East Boston. The staff consists of just two employees, Sharp and a young administrator.

Rather than receiving lucrative financial support from the U.S. government or wealthy financiers, the Albert Einstein Institution is almost exclusively funded by individual small donors and foundation grants. It operates on a budget of less than $160,000 annually.

Also contrary to the slew of recent charges posted on the Internet, the Albert Einstein Institution has never funded activist groups to subvert foreign governments, nor would it have had the financial means to do so. Furthermore, AEI does not initiate contact with any individual or organizations; those interested in the group's educational materials come to them first.

Nor have these critics ever presented any evidence that Sharp or the Albert Einstein Institution has ever been requested, encouraged, advised, or received suggestions by any branch of the US government to do or not do any research, analysis, policy studies, or educational activity, much less engage in active subversion of foreign governments. And, given the lack of respect the U.S. government has traditionally had for nonviolence or for the power of popular movements to create change, it is not surprising that these critics haven't found any.

The longstanding policy of the Albert Einstein Institution, given its limited funding and the reality of living in an imperfect world, is to be open to accepting funds from organizations that have received some funding from government sources "as long as there is no dictation or control of the purpose of our work, individual projects, or of the dissemination of the gained knowledge." Well prior to the Bush administration coming to office, AEI received a couple of small grants from the congressionally funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) to translate some of Gene Sharp's theoretical writings. Nearly forty years ago (and fifteen years prior to AEI's founding), Sharp received partial research funding for his doctoral dissertation from Harvard Professor Thomas Schelling, who had received support from the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the US Department of Defense to fund doctoral students.

Though these constitute the only financial support Gene Sharp or the Albert Einstein Institution has ever received, even indirectly, from government sources, critics have jumped on these tenuous links to allege that AEI is "funded by the U.S. government."

Progressive Connections

A look at the five members of the Albert Einstein Institution's board shows that none of them is a supporter or apologist for U.S. imperialism. In addition to Sharp himself, the board consists of: human rights lawyer Elizabeth Defeis; disability rights and environmental activist Cornelia Sargent; senior deputy executive director of Amnesty International USA Curt Goering; and, veteran civil rights and anti-war activist Mary King, author of a recent highly acclaimed book that gives a sympathetic portrayal of the first ­ and largely nonviolent ­ Palestinian Intifada.

During the 1980s, Gene Sharp's staff included radical sociologist Bob Irwin and Greg Bates, who went on to become the co-founder and publisher of the progressive Common Courage Press.

Some years ago, when the institute had a larger budget, one of their principal activities was to support research projects in strategic nonviolent action. Recipients included such left-leaning scholars and activists as Palestinian feminist Souad Dajani, Rutgers sociologist Kurt Schock, Israeli human rights activist Edy Kaufman, Kent State Peace Studies professor Patrick Coy, Nigerian human rights activist Uche Ewelukwa, and Peace Studies professor Paul Routledge of the University of Glasgow, all of whom have been outspoken critics of U.S. foreign policy.

For decades, the work of Gene Sharp has influenced such radical U.S. groups as Movement for a New Society, the Clamshell Alliance, the Abalone Alliance, Training for Change and other activist organizations that have promoted nonviolent direct action as a key component of their activism.

Sharp and AEI have also worked closely in recent years with pro-democracy activists battling U.S.-backed dictatorships in such countries as Egypt and Equatorial Guinea as well as with Palestinians resisting the U.S.-backed Israeli occupation, hardly "the work of empire" designed "to foster US-friendly regime change" as critics claim. ...

Nevertheless, in her book Bush vs. Chavez: Washington's War on Venezuela, author Eva Golinger falsely claims that the Albert Einstein Institution has developed a plan to overthrow that country's democratically elected government through training right-wing paramilitaries to use "widespread civil disobedience and violence throughout the nation" in order to "provoke repressive reactions by the state that would then justify crises of human right violations and lack of constitutional order." Similarly, in a recent article, Golinger has gone so far as to claim that Gene Sharp has written "a big destabilization plan aiming to overthrow Chavez government and to pave the way for an international intervention" including sabotage and street violence. Neither Golinger nor anyone else has been able to produce a copy of this supposed plan, instead simply citing Sharp's book The Politics of Nonviolent Action, written over 35 years ago, in which he outlines close to 200 exclusively nonviolent tactics that have been used historically, but includes no destabilization plan aimed at Venezuela or any other country.

In addition, Meyssan, in an article posted in Venezuela Analysis, insisted that "Gene Sharp and his team led the leaders of [the opposition group] Súmate during the demonstrations of August 2004." In reality, neither Sharp nor anybody else affiliated with the Albert Einstein Institution even took part in ­ much less led ­ those demonstrations. Nor were any of them anywhere near Venezuela during that period. Nor were any of them in contact with the leaders of that demonstration.

In another article, recently posted on the Counterpunch web site, George Cicariello-Miller falsely accuses Sharp of having links with right-wing assassins and terrorists and offering training "toward the formulation of what was called 'Operation Guarimba,' a series of often-violent street blockades that resulted in several deaths." Cicariello-Miller's only evidence of Sharp's alleged role in masterminding this operation was that a right-wing Venezuelan opposition leader had once met with Sharp in Boston and that a photo of a stylized clinched fist found in some AEI literature (taken from a student-led protest movement in Serbia eight years ago) matched those on some signs carried by anti-Chavez protesters in Venezuela.

It appears that no one who has written any of these articles or who has made such claims has ever actually attended any of the lectures, workshops, or informal meetings by Gene Sharp or others affiliated with the Albert Einstein Institution or has even bothered to interview anyone who has. If they had done so, they would quickly find that these presentations tend to be rather dry lectures which focus on the nature of power, the dynamics of nonviolent struggle, and examples of tactics used in nonviolent resistance campaigns historically. They do not instruct anybody or give specific advice about what to do in their particular situation other than to encourage activists to avoid all forms of violence.

Finally, even if one were to assume that the Albert Einstein Institution's underfunded two-person outfit was indeed closely involved in training the Venezuelan opposition in tactics of nonviolent resistance, Chavez would have little to worry about. No government that had the support of the majority of its people has ever been overthrown through a nonviolent civil resistance movement. Every government deposed through a primarily nonviolent struggle ­ such as in the Philippines, Chile, Bolivia, Madagascar, Nepal, Czechoslovakia, Indonesia, Serbia, Mali, Ukraine, and elsewhere ­ had already lost popular support. This is not the case with Venezuela. While Chavez' progressive economic policies have angered the old elites, he still maintains the support of the majority of the population, particularly when compared to the alternative of returning to the old elite-dominated political system.

Unfortunately, Chavez himself was apparently convinced by these conspiracy theorists that Gene Sharp and the Albert Einstein Institution really were part of a CIA-backed conspiracy against him, claiming last June that "they are the ideologues of the soft coup and it seems like they're here [in Venezuela.] They are laying out the slow fuse ... they'll continue laying it out [with] marches, events, trying to create an explosion." In reality, no one affiliated with AEI was in Venezuela nor were they organizing marches, events, or any other activity, much less trying to create an "explosion."

In response, Sharp wrote a letter to President Chavez explaining the inaccuracy of the Venezuelan leader's charges against him and expressing his concern that "for those persons who are familiar with my life and work and that of the Albert Einstein Institution, these inaccuracies, unless corrected, will cast doubts on your credibility." He also offered Chavez a copy of his book The Anti-Coup, which includes concrete steps on how a threatened government can mobilize the population to prevent a successful coup d'etat, hardly the kind of offer made by someone conspiring with the CIA to overthrow him. ...

The attempts to discredit Gene Sharp and the Albert Einstein Institution ­ as well as similar charges against the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) and the Center for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS) ­ appear to be part of an effort by both the right and the far left to delegitimize the power of individuals to make change and to portray the United States ­ for good or for ill ­ as the only power that can make a difference in the world. (For a detailed analysis of the relationship between U.S. foreign policy and popular democratic movements, see my article on the United States, nonviolent action and pro-democracy struggles.)

It is therefore troubling that so many progressive sources of information have transmitted such falsehoods so widely and that so many people have come to believe them, particularly given the transparent lack of any solid evidence to back their accusations. The minority of these articles that actually have citations, for example, simply quote long-discredited sources such as Meyssan and Golinger. In a mirror-image of the right-wing's blind acceptance of false stories about Barack Obama's embrace of militant Islam, Michelle Obama's anti-white rhetoric, and Nancy Pelosi's punitive tax plan against retirees, some on the left all too easily believe what they read on the Internet. The widespread acceptance of these false charges against Gene Sharp and others raises concerns as to how many other fabricated pseudo-conspiracies are out there that distract progressive activists from challenging all-too-real abuses by the U.S. government and giant corporations.

One consequence of these attacks has been that a number of progressive grass roots organizations in foreign countries have now become hesitant to take advantage of the educational resources on strategic nonviolent action provided by the Albert Einstein Institution and related groups. As a result of fears that they may be linked to the CIA and other U.S. government agencies, important campaigns for human rights, the environment, and economic justice have been denied access to tools that could have strengthened their impact. Furthermore, these disinformation campaigns have damaged the reputation of a number of prominent anti-imperialist activists and scholars who have worked with such groups by wrongly linking them to U.S. interventionism.

Fortunately, there is now an effort underway to fight back. Activists from groups ranging from the Fellowship of Reconciliation to Code Pink to the Brown Berets ­ as well as such radical scholars as Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and Paul Ortiz ­ are signing onto an open letter in support of Gene Sharp and the Albert Einstein Institution.

(3) Gene Sharp, the dictator slayer - from Caracas to Beijing

The dictator slayer

East Boston's Gene Sharp is soft-spoken, but he makes bad guys from Caracas to Beijing cringe


Boston Phoenix

December 5, 2007

According to some people Ñ including at least one sitting head of state Ñ East Boston's Gene Sharp is a dangerous dude, a political demolition man capable of destroying rulers and regimes. When Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez faced street protests earlier this year, he accused the Albert Einstein Institution (AEI), which Sharp founded in 1983, of leading an "imperialist conspiracy" to overthrow him. To make his case, Chávez cited a 2005 article by French journalist and anti-imperialism crusader Thierry Meyssan that cast Sharp as a shill for NATO and the CIA. And when mass demonstrations destabilized the military junta that rules Myanmar (Burma) a few weeks ago, a piece in the Asia Times Online described Sharp as the "concert-master of the tactics of Saffron monk-led nonviolence." It wasn't a compliment: the Saffron Revolution, the author charged, was really a crafty US attempt to control the Strait of Malacca.

It's difficult, though, to square these claims of nefarious influence with the material facts of Sharp's existence. If Sharp really was an imperialist mastermind, for example, you'd expect the AEI to have nicer digs: a gleaming space downtown, maybe, or a tweedy little office in Cambridge. But after starting out in Harvard Square, and then moving to what Sharp calls the "slummy end of Newbury Street," the AEI now operates out of two cluttered rooms in Sharp's row house near gritty Maverick Square. You'd also expect Sharp to be surrounded by a bevy of bustling junior imperialists; instead, he shares his space with one co-worker and an enormous Great Dane. In addition, Sharp himself just doesn't look or act the part of a covert American empire-builder: at 79 years old, he seems too old, too frail, too soft-spoken.

This, then, is the conundrum of Gene Sharp: if he's as powerful as he's supposed to be, why is he whiling away in relative obscurity? And if he isn't, why are so many people so afraid of him?

Pens and swords

Let's start with question number two. The answer is actually pretty simple: run down the list of recent revolutions in the world, successful or otherwise, and Sharp's name will probably pop up. In Serbia, members of the opposition group Otpor circulated translations of Sharp's best-known work Ñ From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation Ñ shortly before overthrowing Slobodan Milo?evi? in 2000. After Ukraine's 2004 Orange Revolution, a leader of the student opposition said that that same book had served as a "bible." Sharp personally consulted with the leaders of the Baltic republics of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia as those countries moved to secede from the Soviet Union. He also left China's Tiananmen Square just before the government's crackdown on protesters in 1989, made a surreptitious visit to the Myanmar (Burma) border in 1996 to consult with opponents of the regime, and held a meeting in Boston for Venezuelan critics of Chávez in 2004.

The AEI, meanwhile, is determined to find the biggest possible audience for Sharp's theories of nonviolent struggle. A bookshelf in his home office is packed with translations of his own work; the AEI's Web site features downloadable translations of Sharp's oeuvre in (among other languages) Arabic, Farsi, Khmer, Russian, Tibetan, and Vietnamese.

What exactly is in these books? To a lay reader Ñ especially an American who takes regular, peaceful political change for granted Ñ the contents might seem utterly unobjectionable, and maybe even a tad dry. Here's a sample passage from Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice and 21st Century Potential:

The act of protest may be intended primarily to influence the opponents Ñ by arousing attention and publicity for an issue, with a hope to convince them to accept a proposed change. Or, the protest may be intended to warn the opponents of the depth or extent of feeling on an issue, which may lead to more severe action if a change the protesters want is not made. Or, the action may be intended primarily to influence the grievance group Ñ the persons directly affected by the issue Ñ to induce them to take action themselves, such as participating in a strike or an economic boycott.

Zesty it ain't. But Sharp isn't a prose stylist Ñ he's a social scientist who's anatomizing his chosen subject in meticulous detail. What's more, he's not writing for a general readership. His audience is anyone who seriously wants to bring down a government. His writings, in essence, are strategy manuals that explain how to achieve this goal. And those who know his work say his influence is enormous.

"He's a giant in the field," says David Cortright, the president of the Fourth Freedom Forum and a research fellow at Notre Dame's Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. "He's the world's leading scholar on nonviolent action as a means of political change. And his reputation is so commanding, and his work is so established, that you can't even begin to work in this field without acknowledging and working from his foundation."

Stephen Zunes, a professor of political science at the University of San Francisco and principal editor of the anthology Nonviolent Social Movements, puts it this way: "He's really the person who laid out the framework for understanding strategic nonviolence and how it works. A lot of activists have used that knowledge base that he's put together to organize and mobilize their movements. All of us who study in this field owe him a huge debt."

Intellectual propriety

According to Ivan Marovi? Ñ a former leader of Otpor, the group that brought down Milo?evi? after passing around copies of From Dictatorship to Democracy Ñ Sharp is a great synthesizer rather than a groundbreaking thinker. "If you read [French political philosopher] Etienne de la Boetie, it's 16th-century discourse; if you read David Hume, you have to find his thoughts on nonviolence among many other themes," says Marovi?. "But Gene Sharp is focused only on this. He wasn't inspirational, because we'd already been using nonviolent resistance for some time. But to find what we were doing written in a book, with everything put in one place, was very valuable."

Sharp's self-assessment is similarly modest. When he talks about his ideas and their impact, he makes no claim of intellectual ownership. Rather than presenting himself as an original thinker, Sharp casts himself as the guardian of an obscure but potent body of knowledge.

"This kind of struggle has happened in so many countries, although it's largely unknown," he says. "People think of Gandhi and Martin Luther King and that's it. 'Isn't that great.' But on all the inhabited continents Ñ and even places that aren't continents, islands Ñ there's been interest in this kind of thing."

When it comes to the efficacy of the methods in question, though, Sharp's confidence is almost overweening. His background may be academic Ñ doctorate from Oxford, fellowship at Harvard's Center for International Affairs (now dubbed the Weatherhead Center), emeritus professor at UMass Dartmouth Ñ but when he's discussing nonviolent struggle, he has the utter certitude of the true believer.

For example: at one point, Sharp mentions that agents from the FSB (heir to the KGB) recently disrupted efforts to print translations of From Dictatorship to Democracy in Moscow. One of the agents described the book as "a bomb," he adds. I ask why. "It's dangerous to dictatorships!" Sharp responds, baffled (and possibly irritated) by my obtuseness.

But why, exactly? "Dictatorships have weaknesses," Sharp explains more patiently. "They're not as powerful as they tell you they are. And one of their great weaknesses is that they, like all governments, depend on power. If you can identify the sources of power, that's great. Then, how do they get those sources of power? The cooperation of what people and institutions and organizations is necessary to supply them?"

Next up: figure out how to cut off the power in question, brace for the violent reprisal that's likely to ensue, and take the necessary action. In practice, all this is more complicated than it sounds; The Methods of Nonviolent Action, which Sharp published in 1973, delineates 198 separate types of protest and persuasion. But the underlying principle is easy to grasp.

"If there's a table" Ñ Sharp sketches one in the air with his hands Ñ "and termites eat the legs, or someone comes in and saws off one of the legs, the table falls down. The same principle applies politically."

Covert operator

When I mention allegations that he's an imperialist in sheep's clothing, Sharp suggests the charges come from repressive regimes looking to stay in power. "Some governments," he says, "really don't like the populations to know they don't have to submit to dictatorships." A few minutes later, when the subject comes up again, he's less facile (in fact, he sounds downright weary). "They're spreading all these total lies," he says. "Total lies. They're just off the wall."

In two open letters on the AEI's Web site Ñ one to Chávez, one to Meyssan, the French journalist Ñ Sharp offers a more detailed rebuttal. Some key points: he claims that neither he nor the AEI have ever received CIA funding; that the AEI has never received any government funding, period; that he traveled to Beijing in 1989 to do research, not to advise Chinese dissidents; and that the AEI didn't advise the opposition during Ukraine's Orange Revolution.

Furthermore, the portrayal of Sharp as a crypto-imperialist just doesn't jibe with his own biography. After getting bachelor's and master's degrees from Ohio State, for example, he refused to serve in the Korean War, and did a prison stint in Connecticut as a result. After getting out, he spent a year and a half as an assistant to A.J. Muste, the pacifist labor and anti-war activist. And, notes USF's Zunes, a number of former Sharp protégés have become vocal critics of America's conduct abroad. "If it weren't for the fact that some people actually believe it," says Zunes of the notion that Sharp is a surrogate for the US government, "it'd be laughable."

All these protestations probably won't convince Sharp's critics, for whom American wickedness is something of an article of faith. (Meyssan, for example, is the author of 9/11: The Big Lie, which argues that the 9/11 attacks were perpetrated by the US military-industrial complex.)

What's more, even if Sharp's detractors accepted all the aforementioned points, they could still seize on his connection with Robert Helvey, a former Army colonel who served as military attaché in Rangoon (now Yangon) during the 1980s. As Sharp tells it, Helvey had something of an epiphany when he first encountered Sharp's work on nonviolent struggle at Harvard in the mid 1980s. "He came to one of the seminars I gave," says Sharp. "Then he came to my office; he wanted to do reading on this. He came back and took books; he came back and took more. I guess I got him very confused, and he hasn't been the same since." Helvey subsequently worked to disseminate Sharp's insights Ñ and his own, captured in a book titled On Strategic Nonviolent Conflict: Thinking About the Fundamentals Ñ to opposition groups from around the globe; from 2003 to 2005, he served as the AEI's president. (Helvey didn't respond to a request for comment for this article; according to Sharp, Helvey's departure from the AEI was amicable.)

Here's where things get tricky. To reiterate: Sharp makes a point of noting that the AEI has never received US government funding. But when Helvey conducted a workshop for opponents of the Serbian regime in Budapest in 2000 Ñ at which he discussed Sharp's research Ñ his funding came from the International Republican Institute (IRI), a pro-democracy, pro-free-markets organization that was founded in the Reagan era to oppose Communism. The IRI, in turn, is bankrolled by the US government; its board of directors is currently chaired by Republican presidential hopeful John McCain. Helvey also participated in discussions of nonviolent regime change prior to the second Iraq War that were funded by, among others, Freedom House Ñ an organization that receives federal funding and that has been criticized by Noam Chomsky and others on the left.

This brings us to the heart of the matter. If you're on the far left Ñ or, for that matter, on the isolationist far right Ñ you'd find cause for great concern in the shared financial ties and political goals on the part of Helvey and the AEI on the one hand, and the US government and its surrogates on the other. The Clinton administration wanted to oust Milo?evi?, and Sharp's ideas helped this happen; the Bush administration wanted to oust Saddam Hussein, and Helvey worked toward the same goal, albeit unsuccessfully. So the whole bunch must be in cahoots.

If your politics fall somewhere between these extremes, though, this convergence of goals isn't nearly as troubling. Milo?evi? was a bad guy; Hussein was worse. Serbia is better off now than it was 10 years ago. And Iraq might have been, if Hussein had been overthrown nonviolently and by Iraqis. From this vantage point, the trouble isn't that the government and various organizations in the foreign-policy firmament have started to heed Sharp's wisdom. It's that they still don't heed it enough.

When I mention Helvey's Budapest trip to Sharp, he says it was an independent affair, not an AEI project. He also mentions that, "years ago," the AEI received small grants from the IRI and the National Endowment for Democracy, another government-funded group founded in the Reagan era. (Sharp didn't note this in his open letters to Chávez and Meyssan.)

But Sharp isn't apologizing. "We received no instructions Ñ there were no restrictions put on our use of that money," he says. "It was not used for any purpose contrary to our principles. And how else would [critics] prefer that money be spent? Would they prefer it be spent on something like the Iraq or Afghanistan wars? Those are the choices."

Marovi?, the former Otpor leader, has a slightly different take on the subject of funding and influence. "I'm not going to say that no democracy promotion is compatible with US interests, or that democracy promotion isn't a mask to cover US imperialism," he says. "I don't care. As long as we have a strong grassroots movement at home, it really doesn't matter. Because we're going to be the ones setting the agenda."

After the fall

Sharp's ties to Helvey raise one more important point. Perhaps, if the major proponent of Sharp's work had been an impeccably credentialed lefty rather than a former military man, Sharp's harshest critics wouldn't find him quite so spooky. But his collaboration with Helvey bolsters Sharp's own contention that nonviolent struggle isn't just a feel-good hobby for idealists and pacifists (he's not one himself). It is, instead, an intensely practical way to affect massive political change. "You don't have to be a saint; you don't have to be a mahatma," he tells me. "Ordinary people have done these things."

Finally, there's the awkward matter of Sharp's humble current circumstances. Working from home has its advantages, of course. But Sharp says he's moved from Harvard Square to Newbury Street to Maverick Square for one simple reason: money, or the lack thereof. Finding funders for the AEI isn't easy, he tells me mournfully.

Chalk it up to bad timing. During the 1970s and 1980s, Sharp's most professionally fertile period, his own work wasn't really in step with the academic or foreign-policy Zeitgeist. Things are different now. Peace studies is now considered a legitimate academic discipline. And the (largely nonviolent) fall of the Soviet Union launched countless nonprofits dedicated to democracy building, with George Soros's Open Society Institute the best-known of the bunch.

Sharp, however, is winding down. He's about to turn 80, for one thing. And the very individuals who've been inspired by Sharp's work, in both the academic and practical realms, are now rendering it antiquated, at least to a degree. Where Sharp spent his career looking for universally applicable rules, his successors pay more attention to cultural and historical particularities; he wrote books, but his intellectual heirs make documentaries and design video games.

To do groundbreaking work, attract legions of followers, and eventually watch them leave you behind ... it can't be easy, or particularly pleasant. The consolation, of course, is that if you have this particular problem, you've attained a level of influence that most people can only dream of. Which is why, in the end, we should envy Gene Sharp rather than pity him. To be hailed in your lifetime as a seminal figure is reward enough. Pissing off Hugo Chávez is just gravy.

(4) Zunes, Chomsky & Howard Zinn sign Open Letter defending Gene Sharp

In June 2008, at the initiative of Professor Stephen Zunes of the University of San Francisco, the letter below was circulated among U.S. and internationally based scholars and activists as a response to critiques circulating about the work of Gene Sharp and the Albert Einstein Institution. The letter first appeared on Professor Zunes's website ( and is now available for viewing on the website of the Albert Einstein Institution (

Open Letter in Support of Gene Sharp and Strategic Nonviolent Action

As scholars and activists in longstanding opposition to efforts by the U.S. government ­ either directly or indirectly ­ to overthrow, undermine, subvert, or otherwise intervene in the internal affairs of other nations, we wish to go on record in defense of Dr. Gene Sharp and the Albert Einstein Institution.

Dr. Sharp is widely recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on strategic nonviolent action. He serves as the founder and senior scholar of the Albert Einstein Institution, a small nonprofit organization advancing the study and utilization of nonviolent conflict in defense of freedom, justice and democracy.

During the past year and a half, Dr. Sharp and the Albert Einstein Institution have been subjected to a series of false accusations by a number of foreign governments of receiving guidance and financial support from the Bush administration, working with the CIA, and engaging in activities designed to promote U.S. imperialism. These and other groundless charges have also appeared in a series of articles which have been posted in recent months on a number of progressive web sites and elsewhere as if they were true. We, however, reject such claims categorically.

We are aware of, and are adamantly opposed to, efforts by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the International Republican Institute (IRI) and other U.S. government-funded efforts to advance U.S. strategic and economic objectives under the guise of "democracy promotion." We recognize, however, that Dr. Sharp and the Albert Einstein Institution are not part of such an agenda.

Rather than being a tool of imperialism, Dr. Sharp's research and writings have inspired generations of progressive peace, labor, feminist, human rights, environmental, and social justice activists in the United States and around the world.

There have also been a small number of individuals who have taken advantage of resources offered by Dr. Sharp and the Albert Einstein Institution whose commitment to justice and equality are questionable. The nature of the Institution's work, however, is transpartisan, cutting across political boundaries and conceptions, making its resources available to virtually anyone who is interested in learning about strategic nonviolent action. Providing educational materials and consultation on strategic nonviolent action to particular individuals, therefore, should not be misinterpreted as endorsing their ideological agenda or as evidence of collaboration with any government. As with similar false charges which have recently appeared regarding the work of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), the Center for Applied Nonviolent Actions and Strategies (CANVAS), and similar groups, critics confuse the Albert Einstein Institution's willingness to provide generic information on the history and dynamics of strategic nonviolent action with nefarious efforts by the U.S. government to undermine foreign governments critical of U.S. hegemonic goals and neo- liberal economic policies.

Except for receiving a couple of small one-time grants from the NED and IRI (well prior to the Bush administration coming to office) in order to translate some of Dr. Sharp's theoretical writings, the Albert Einstein Institution has never received any money from any government or government-funded entity. Nor does Dr. Sharp or the Albert Einstein Institution collaborate with the CIA, the NED, or any U.S. government or government-funded agencies; nor has Dr. Sharp or the Albert Einstein Institution ever provided financial or logistical support to any opposition groups in any country; nor has Dr. Sharp or the Albert Einstein Institution ever taken sides in political conflicts or engaged in strategic planning with any group.

The Albert Einstein Institution operates with a very minimal budget out of Dr. Sharp's home with a staff consisting of two people ­ Dr. Sharp and a young administrator ­ and is quite incapable of carrying out the foreign intrigues of which it has been falsely accused.

Unlike some U.S.-funded "democracy-promotion" projects which assist pro-Western elites in top-down institution-building efforts and sophisticated political campaigns with the goal of seizing power, the Albert Einstein Institution, ICNC, CANVAS and related groups work primarily with grassroots activists who seek to empower civil society through nonviolent direct action regardless of their particular government's relations with the United States.

More fundamentally, these recent attacks against Dr. Sharp, the Albert Einstein Institution and similar groups represent a gross misunderstanding of the nature of strategic nonviolent action in the struggle for political freedom.

Indeed, those who attempt to dismiss recent popular nonviolent struggles against autocratic regimes as somehow being instigated and controlled by Western powers invalidate the ability of the millions of people who have placed their bodies on the line for freedom and justice to think for themselves or play a decisive role in determining their own nations' future. The United States is no more responsible for the recent nonviolent liberal democratic revolutions in Eastern Europe than the Soviet Union was responsible for earlier armed leftist revolutions in Central America. Every successful popular nonviolent insurrection has been rooted in the belief by the majority of people that their rulers were illegitimate and the current political system was incapable of redressing injustice, thereby no longer deserving their obedience or cooperation. Unlike a military coup or other U.S.-backed efforts at "regime change," it is virtually impossible for any nonviolent insurrection to succeed when the movement's leadership and agenda does not have the backing of the majority of the population.

The popular nonviolent uprisings which led to the overthrow of corrupt and undemocratic regimes in Serbia, Georgia and Ukraine earlier this decade ­ like similar movements which ousted U.S.-backed dictatorships in the Philippines, Chile, Mali, Bolivia, and other countries in previous decades ­ were a result of independent actions by the people of those nations struggling for their rights. As a result, neither Gene Sharp nor any other foreign individual, organization or government deserves the credit or the blame for their victories.

Nonviolent struggle has historically been the weapon of the poor and disenfranchised through which they can gain an advantage over powerful and wealthy elites whose capacity to use violence against them is usually far superior. It is therefore ironic that some of those who view themselves as champions of oppressed peoples mischaracterize these popular nonviolent movements simply as tools of U.S. imperialism and global capital.

We therefore call upon people of conscience to reject the false allegations leveled against Gene Sharp, the Albert Einstein Institute and other groups promoting strategic nonviolent action; to continue to struggle against U.S. imperialism in all of its manifestations; and, to support popular democratic movements engaging in nonviolent action in the cause of human rights and social justice in the United States and throughout the world.

3 Signatories - organizations for identification purposes only

1. Howard Zinn Author, historian 2. Noam Chomsky Massachusetts Institute of Technology 3. George Lakey Swarthmore College 4. Paul Ortiz University of California - Santa Cruz 5. Mary Bull Greenwood Earth Alliance 6. Richard Deats Fellowship of Reconciliation 7. Mubarak Awad Nonviolence International 8. Scott Kennedy Resource Center for Nonviolence 9. Patrick Coy Kent State University 10. David Hartsough Peaceworkers 11. Stephen Zunes University of San Francisco ...

(5) Gene Sharp's handbooks eg From Dictatorship to Democracy were used to organize campaigns in many countries

Sharp received a B.A. and an M.A. from Ohio State University and a PhD. in political theory from Oxford University. He is Professor Emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. He held a research appointment at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs for almost 30 years. In 1983 he founded the Albert Einstein Institution, a non-profit organization devoted to studies and promotion of the use of nonviolent action in conflicts worldwide.[2] ...

Sharp's scholarship has influenced resistance organizations around the world. Most recently and notably, his work has affected youth movements in the Eastern European color revolutions. Sharp's handbook From Dictatorship to Democracy served as a basis for the campaigns of Serbia's Otpor (who were also directly trained by the Albert Einstein Institute), Georgia's Kmara, Ukraine's Pora, Kyrgyzstan's KelKel and Belarus' Zubr.

Pora's Oleh Kyriyenko said in a 2004 interview with Radio Netherlands,

"The bible of Pora has been the book of Gene Sharp, also used by Otpor, it's called: From Dictatorship to Democracy. Pora activists have translated it by themselves. We have written to Mr Sharp and to the Albert Einstein Institute in the United States, and he became very sympathetic towards our initiative, and the Institution provided funding to print over 12,000 copies of this book for free."[3]

Sharp's writings on "Civilian-Based Defense"[4] were used by the Lithuanian, Latvian, and Estonian governments during their separation from the Soviet Union in 1991.

The Albert Einstein Institution's web site contains many works by Gene Sharp, in English and in over sixty translations .

The Iranian government charged protesters against alleged fraud in the 2009 elections with following Gene Sharp's tactics. The Tehran Times reported: "According to the indictment, a number of the accused confessed that the post-election unrest was preplanned and the plan was following the timetable of the velvet revolution to the extent that over 100 stages of the 198 steps of Gene Sharp were implemented in the foiled velvet revolution." [5]

Sharp's contributions to the theory of nonviolent resistance

Gene Sharp described the sources of his ideas as in-depth studies of Mohandas K. Gandhi, Henry David Thoreau to a minor degree, and other sources footnoted in his 1973 book "The Politics of Nonviolent Action", which was based on his 1968 PhD thesis.[6] In the book, he provides a pragmatic political analysis of nonviolent action as a method for applying power in a conflict.

Sharp's key theme is that power is not monolithic; that is, it does not derive from some intrinsic quality of those who are in power. For Sharp, political power, the power of any state - regardless of its particular structural organization - is derived from the subjects of the state. His fundamental belief is that any power structure is based on the subjects' obedience to the orders of the ruler(s). Therefore, if subjects do not obey, leaders have no power. ...

Sharp published Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice and 21st Century Potential in 2005. It builds on his earlier written works by documenting case studies where non violent action has been applied, and the lessons learned from those applications, and contains information on planning nonviolent struggle to make it more effective. ...

Seven Downloadable Online Books by Gene Sharp (University of Pennsylvania) <>

This page was last modified on 12 October 2010 at 18:22.

(6) Milosevic brought down with 5,000 copies of Gene Sharp's book, supplied by Freedom House

The Politics of Nonviolent Action Part 1: Power and Struggle

by Gene Sharp

Customer Review: The power of this book, May 28, 2005

By T. bailey (REAL NAME)

In the video "Bringing Down A Dictator," Miljenko Derata, the director of a Belgrade group called Civic Initiatives, explains how he received funding from the US human rights organization, Freedom House, to print and distribute 5,000 copies of Gene Sharp's book, From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation. OTPOR also got hold of Sharp's main three-volume work, ''The Politics of Nonviolent Action.'' They translated this into a Serbian language notebook, which was called the ''OTPOR User Manual.' ==

Sharp's website

(7) Soros, Sharp and the Colour Revolutions

Colour revolution

Colour revolutions is a term used to describe related movements that developed in several societies in the CIS (former USSR) and Balkan states during the early 2000s. ...

Colour revolutions


The 'Bulldozer revolution' in 2000, which led to the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic. These demonstrations are usually considered to be the first example of the peaceful revolutions which followed. However, the Serbians adopted an approach that had already been used in parliamentary elections in Bulgaria (1997), Slovakia (1998) and Croatia (2000), characterised by civic mobilisation through get-out-the-vote campaigns and unification of the political opposition. The nationwide protesters did not adopt a colour or a specific symbol; however, the slogan "Gotov je" did become an aftermath symbol celebrating the completion of the task. Despite the commonalities, many others refer to Georgia as the most definite beginning of the series of "colour revolutions". The demonstrations were supported by the youth movement Otpor, some of whose members were involved in the later revolutions in other countries.

Former USSR states

The Rose Revolution in Georgia, following the disputed 2003 election, led to the overthrow of Eduard Shevardnadze and replacing him with Mikhail Saakashvili after new elections were held in March 2004. The Rose Revolution was supported by the Kmara civic resistance movement.

The Orange Revolution in Ukraine followed the disputed second round of the Ukrainian presidential election, 2004, leading to the annulment of the result and the repeat of the round Ñ Leader of the Opposition Viktor Yushchenko was declared President, defeating Viktor Yanukovych. The Orange Revolution was supported by Pora.

The Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan (also sometimes called the "Pink Revolution") was more violent than its predecessors and followed the disputed Kyrgyz parliamentary election, 2005. At the same time, it was more fragmented than previous "colour" revolutions. The protesters in different areas adopted the colours pink and yellow for their protests. This revolution was supported by youth resistance movement KelKel.

Related usages in the Middle East

... The Cedar Revolution in Lebanon between February and April 2005 followed not a disputed election, but rather the assassination of opposition leader Rafik Hariri in 2005. ...

Blue Revolution was a term used by some Kuwaitis[1] to refer to demonstrations in Kuwait in support of women's suffrage beginning in March 2005 ...

"Purple Revolution" was a name first used by some hopeful commentators and later picked up by United States President George W. Bush to describe the coming of democracy to Iraq ...

Green Revolution is a term widely used to describe the ongoing Iranian election protests. ...

Student movements

The first of these was Otpor ("Resistance") in Serbia ... Otpor launched its "Gotov je" (He's finished) campaign that galvanised Serbian discontent with Milosevic' and resulted in his defeat.

Members of Otpor have inspired and trained members of related student movements including Kmara in Georgia, Pora in Ukraine, Zubr in Belarus and MJAFT! in Albania. These groups have been explicit and scrupulous in their practice of non-violent resistance as advocated and explained in Gene Sharp's writings.[3] The massive protests that they have organised, which were essential to the successes in Serbia, Georgia and Ukraine, have been notable for their colourfulness and use of ridiculing humor in opposing authoritarian leaders.

Soros foundation and U.S. influence

Opponents of the colour revolutions often accuse the Soros Foundation and/or the United States government of supporting and even planning the revolutions in order to serve western interests. It is noteworthy that after the Orange Revolution several Central Asian nations took action against the Open Society Institute of George Soros with various means -- Uzbekistan, for example, forced the shutting down of the OSI regional offices, while Tajik state-controlled media have accused OSI-Tajikistan of corruption and nepotism.[4]

Evidence suggesting U.S. government involvement includes the USAID (and UNDP) supported Internet structures called Freenet, which are known to comprise a major part of the Internet structure in at least one of the countries - Kyrgyzstan - in which one of the colour revolutions occurred.

The Guardian[5] claimed that USAID, National Endowment for Democracy, the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, and Freedom House are directly involved; the Washington Post and the New York Times also reported substantial Western involvement in some of these events.[6][7]

Activists from Otpor in Serbia and Pora in Ukraine have said that publications and training they received from the US based Albert Einstein Institution staff have been instrumental in the formation of their strategies.[8][9]

... Belarus

In Belarus, there have been a number of protests against President Alexander Lukashenko, with participation from student group Zubr. ...

Lukashenko has said in the past: "In our country, there will be no pink or orange, or even banana revolution." More recently he's said "They [the West] think that Belarus is ready for some 'orange' or, what is a rather frightening option, 'blue' or 'cornflower blue' revolution. Such 'blue' revolutions are the last thing we need". [7] On 19 April 2005, he further commented: "All these coloured revolutions are pure and simple banditry."[8]


The 2007 Burmese anti-government protests were referred to in the press as the Saffron Revolution[16][17] after Buddhist monks took the vanguard of the protests. A previous, student-led revolution, the 8888 Uprising on 8 August 1988, had similarities to the colour revolutions, but was violently repressed.


The 2008 Tibetan unrest is sometimes referred to as an attempted "Maroon Revolution".[18] ...

When groups of young people protested the closure of Venezuela's RCTV television station in June 2007, president Hugo Chavez said that he believed the protests were organised by the West in an attempt to promote a "soft coup" like the revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia.[29]

In July 2007, Iranian state television released footage of two Iranian-American prisoners, both of whom work for western NGOs, as part of a documentary called "In the Name of Democracy." The documentary purportedly discusses the colour revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia and accuses the United States of attempting to foment a similar ouster in Iran.[30] ...

[edit]References 1.^ [1] 2.^ "Leaders hail Kuwait women's votes" . BBC News. 17 May 2005. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 3.^ [2] 4.^ [3] 5.^ Traynor, Ian (26 November 2004). "US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev" . The Guardian (London). Retrieved 30 April 2010. 6.^ Dobbs, Michael. "U.S. Advice Guided Milosevic Opposition." 11 December 2000. 7.^ Cohen, Roger. "Who Really Brought Down Milosevic?" New York Times. 26 November 2000. 8.^ Strijbosch, Margreet. "Ukraine: The Resistance Will Not Stop." Radio Netherlands. [4] 9.^ Dobbs, Michael. "U.S. Advice Guided Milosevic Opposition." Washington Post. 11 December 2000. [5] ...15.^ Fraud claims follow Lukashenko win in Belarus election ABC Online 16.^ Military junta threatens monks in Burma 17.^ 100,000 Protestors Flood Streets of Rangoon in "Saffron Revolution" 18.^ Tendor Reads Excerpts from "The Line Between Sky and Earth" by Shogdung YouTube video. ...29.^ Nacional y Política - ...

External links The Centre for Democracy in Lebanon Central Asian Backlash Against US Franchised Revolutions Written by K. Gajendra Singh, India's former ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan from 1992-1996. "Sowing seeds of democracy in post-soviet granite" - the future of democracy in post-Soviet states Written by Lauren Brodsky, a PhD candidate at the Fletcher School in Medford, Mass., focusing on US public diplomacy and the regions of Southwest and Central Asia. United 4 Belarus Campaign British campaign website drawing attention to the political situation in Belarus ahead of 2006 presidential elections. Michael Barker, Regulating revolutions in Eastern Europe: Polyarchy and the National Endowment for Democracy , 1 November 2006. How Orange Networks Work

This page was last modified on 14 October 2010 at 05:02. ==

(8) Fall of Milosevic: U.S.-funded consultants played a crucial role. Dissidents mute on Western financial support

CORRECTION TO THIS ARTICLE A photo caption with an article Dec. 11 on U.S. assistance to opposition groups in Serbia incorrectly described and credited the photograph. The photo, provided by the National Democratic Institute, shows an Alliance for Change youth training session in Budapest in February 2000, conducted by NDI.

U.S. Advice Guided Milosevic Opposition

Political Consultants Helped Yugoslav Opposition Topple Authoritarian Leader

By Michael Dobbs

Washington Post Foreign Service

Monday, December 11, 2000; Page A01

BELGRADE ­­ In a softly lit conference room, American pollster Doug Schoen flashed the results of an in-depth opinion poll of 840 Serbian voters onto an overhead projection screen, sketching a strategy for toppling Europe's last remaining communist-era ruler.

His message, delivered to leaders of Serbia's traditionally fractious opposition, was simple and powerful. Slobodan Milosevic--survivor of four lost wars, two major street uprisings, 78 days of NATO bombing and a decade of international sanctions--was "completely vulnerable" to a well-organized electoral challenge. The key, the poll results showed, was opposition unity.

Two dozen leaders of Otpor, a student resistance movement, attend a seminar in nonviolent resistance at the Hilton Hotel in Budapest. (Courtesy of International Republican Institute)

Held in a luxury hotel in Budapest, the Hungarian capital, in October 1999, the closed-door briefing by Schoen, a Democrat, turned out to be a seminal event, pointing the way to the electoral revolution that brought down Milosevic a year later. It also marked the start of an extraordinary U.S. effort to unseat a foreign head of state, not through covert action of the kind the CIA once employed in such places as Iran and Guatemala, but by modern election campaign techniques.

While the broad outlines of the $41 million U.S. democracy-building campaign in Serbia are public knowledge, interviews with dozens of key players, both here and in the United States, suggest it was much more extensive and sophisticated than previously reported.

In the 12 months following the strategy session, 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.

Regarded by many as Eastern Europe's last great democratic upheaval, Milosevic's overthrow may also go down in history as the first poll-driven, focus group-tested revolution. Behind the seeming spontaneity of the street uprising that forced Milosevic to respect the results of a hotly contested presidential election on Sept. 24 was a carefully researched strategy put together by Serbian democracy activists with the active assistance of Western advisers and pollsters.

In the long run, many people here say, Milosevic's overthrow was inevitable, if only because of the economic and military disasters that befell Serbia during his 13 years in power, first as head of Serbia, Yugoslavia's dominant republic, and then as head of Yugoslavia itself. But there was nothing inevitable about the timing or the manner of his departure.

"Without American support, it would have been much more difficult," said Slobodan Homen, a student leader who traveled to Budapest and other European capitals dozens of times to meet with U.S. officials and private democracy consultants. "There would have been a revolution anyway, but the assistance helped us avoid bloodshed."

"The foreign support was critical," agreed Milan Stevanovic, who oversaw the marketing and message development campaign for the opposition coalition, the Democratic Opposition of Serbia. "In the past, we did what we intuitively thought we should do. This was the first campaign where our strategy was based on real scientific research."

Had Yugoslavia been a totalitarian state like Iraq or North Korea, the strategy would have stood little chance. But while Milosevic ran a repressive police state, he was never a dictator in the style of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. His authority depended on a veil of popular legitimacy. It was this constitutional facade that gave Serbian opposition leaders, and their Western backers, an all-important opening.

A Unified Opposition

The fall of 1999 was a difficult time for the Serbian opposition. Although Milosevic had long been unpopular, he appeared to have had some success in tapping into the upsurge of patriotic feeling caused by the Kosovo war a few months before. The 59-year-old Yugoslav president was seeking to depict himself as the rebuilder of the country following NATO bombing raids. Attempts by some opposition parties to topple Milosevic through street protests were getting nowhere.

Milosevic's strongest political card was the disarray and ineffectiveness of his opponents. The opposition consisted of nearly two dozen political parties, some of whose leaders were barely on speaking terms with one another. While the opposition politicians recognized the need for unity in theory, in practice they were deeply divided, both on the tactics to use against Milosevic and the question of who should succeed him.

It was against this background that 20 opposition leaders accepted an invitation from the Washington-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) in October 1999 to a seminar at the Marriott Hotel in Budapest, overlooking the Danube River. The key item on the agenda: an opinion poll commissioned by the U.S. polling firm Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates. ...

Visa restrictions imposed by the Milosevic government made it impossible for the U.S. consultants to travel to Serbia, so they organized a series of "train the trainers" sessions in Hungary and Montenegro. The trainers then went back to Serbia to spread the word. ...

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.

"What was most amazing to us was to discover that what we were trying to do spontaneously in Serbia was supported by a whole nonviolent system that we knew nothing about," said Srdja Popovic, a former biology student. "This was the first time we thought about this in a systematic, scientific way. We said to ourselves, 'We will go back and apply this.' "

Helvey, who served two tours in Vietnam, introduced the Otpor activists to the ideas of American theoretician Gene Sharpe, whom he describes as "the Clausewitz of the nonviolence movement," referring to the renowned Prussian military strategist. Six months later, Popovic can recite Helvey's lectures almost word for word, beginning with the dictum, "Removing the authority of the ruler is the most important element in nonviolent struggle."

"Those Serbs really impressed me," Helvey said in an interview from his West Virginia home. "They were very bright, very committed."

Back in Serbia, Otpor activists set about undermining Milosevic's authority by all means available. Rather than simply daubing slogans on walls, they used a wide range of sophisticated public relations techniques, including polling, leafleting and paid advertising. "The poll results were very important," recalled Ivo Andric, a marketing student at Belgrade University. "At every moment, we knew what to say to the people."

The poll results pointed to a paradox that went to the heart of Milosevic's grip on power. On one hand, the Yugoslav president was detested by 70 percent of the electorate. On the other, a majority of Serbs believed he would continue to remain in power, even after an election. To topple Milosevic, opposition leaders first had to convince their fellow Serbs that he could be overthrown.

At a brainstorming session last July, Otpor activist Srdjan Milivojevic murmured the words "Gotov je," or "He's finished."

"We realized immediately that it summed up our entire campaign," said Dejan Randjic, who ran the Otpor marketing operation. "It was very simple, very powerful. It focused on Milosevic, but did not even mention him by name." ...

"Without the monitors, Milosevic's people would have stolen the elections again," said Alexander Trkulja, the coalition campaign manager in Backa Palanka. "They are masters in stealing elections."

An iron rule for both the coalition and Otpor was never to talk about Western financial or logistical support. To have done so would have played straight into the hands of the Milosevic propaganda machine, which routinely depicted opposition leaders as "traitors" or "NATO lackeys."

"It was dangerous to be connected publicly with the American authorities," said Randjic, the Otpor activist, recalling a 12-hour police interrogation in which he was grilled about his "Washington controllers."

Even today, nearly two months after Milosevic's fall, the topic is sensitive. Although the U.S. effort was clearly aimed at Milosevic, the Clinton administration prefers to depict it as a neutral democracy-building operation. "Our job was to level the playing field," said Paul Rowland, head of the Democratic institute's Serbia program. "We worked with parties that wanted to make Serbia a genuine democracy."

Serbian opposition leaders, meanwhile, view the U.S. support as atonement for past mistakes. They note that for many years U.S. officials treated the Yugoslav president as the linchpin of America's Balkan diplomacy, an indispensable interlocutor for Bosnia peace negotiator Richard C. Holbrooke and other high-level emissaries. Far from undermining Milosevic's grip on power, U.S. policy had actually served to strengthen it, they contend.

"In the past, we had the impression that the West was supporting Milosevic," said Homen, a 28-year-old lawyer who served as Otpor's intermediary with Western diplomats and aid organizations. "This was the first time that we felt that Western governments were actually trying to get rid of Milosevic."

(9) War by other means. Gene Sharp says "I was also in Tiananmen Square"

War by other means

Boston's Gene Sharp learned how to turn nonviolence into a weapon - and helped quite literally change the world.

By Laura Secor

The Boston Globe

May 29, 2005

A CURIOUS THING started happening in the formerly Communist world in the year 2000. One after another, hated, repressive governments gave way to mass movements of nonviolent refusal. First there was Serbia, then Georgia, then Ukraine, and now Kyrgyzstan. It was as if a virus were spreading - one that led long abused populaces to wake up to their own power, which they could withhold from authorities to stunning effect.

But it wasn't a virus. Among other things, it was an 88-page booklet by a Boston scholar named Gene Sharp, which has circulated in local translation at the site of every one of these nonviolent democratic revolutions.

Called ''From Dictatorship to Democracy," Sharp's booklet lays out a theory of power that explains the mechanisms of dictatorship and their weaknesses. It also details the nuts and bolts of nonviolent resistance: which tools to use in order to undermine a regime's sources of power, how to sustain discipline in the face of violent response, and the crucial importance of entering such struggle as one would a military campaign, with a strategic plan. Tactics include demonstrations and posters, strikes and sit-ins, boycotts and campaigns of non-cooperation. Some of these techniques work to paralyze the society and thus convince rulers that they cannot govern without budging on the issues at stake - or that they cannot govern at all.

Sharp, now in his late 70s, has a gentle manner and an air of humility before a vast and complex world in which his ideas have attained powerful purchase. Since he began his work more than 50 years ago, he has essentially invented the study of nonviolent struggle. In 1983, he founded both a program on the subject at Harvard and the Albert Einstein Institution, which focuses, as he puts it, ''not on pacifism, not on any mahatma nonsense, but on pragmatic nonviolent struggle." His books - he has written some 13 of them, including the just-published ''Waging Nonviolent Struggle" - are written almost like textbooks. They betray no literary pretension; the language is clear but abstract, and they are designed to be read across cultures.

Even as Sharp's work reaches the height of its influence, the Albert Einstein Institution, which publishes educational materials, hosts workshops abroad at the request of foreign activists, and painstakingly manages and vets the translations of ''From Dictatorship to Democracy," has run out of funding and may be forced to close its doors in September. The staff has already been reduced from four to two employees, including Sharp.

I caught up with Sharp by telephone to his office last week.

IDEAS: How did you come to this subject?

SHARP: I grew into this topic in the very late 40s and early 50s. The Second World War was just over, and the Holocaust was new information. Stalin was still in Russia. There was European colonialism, racial discrimination in the United States, and the threat of war with nuclear weapons. And there had to be some better way. And so I began learning about nonviolent resistance. The literature was terrible, but the more I read the more I realized there was lots of substance here - and that we really didn't know much about it. And so bit by bit, I moved into the field, starting with a heavy study of Gandhi, not as a mahatma but as a political strategist. I grew increasingly interested in figuring out what made this kind of technique succeed or fail, and how it could be made more effective.

Later on I lived in Norway, where I met people who had taken part in the resistance during the Nazi occupation. One of the big insights I gleaned was that the pacifist position, which holds that you can just renounce violence, doesn't work. But if you don't have a realistic alternative, people will either capitulate in passive submission or they'll turn to the only kind of struggle they think is available, which is war and violence.

IDEAS: Which ideas did you modify as you witnessed history?

SHARP: At one stage I shared the view that it's necessary to have both the religious and the moral belief and the knowledge of the technique. And later on I realized that was not necessary at all. You could take only a political approach, only a pragmatic approach. And in many of the historical cases, that was indeed what happened.

IDEAS: Where have you seen your theories in action?

SHARP: We did some of them ourselves in very simple ways as undergraduates, at lunch counter sit-ins in Columbus, Ohio. I was in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania when their independence-minded governments were trying to exit the Soviet Union. I met with government leaders in all three countries, and they drew heavily on a book of mine that we then had the English page proofs of, called "Civilian-Based Defense." I was also in Tiananmen Square with a friend of mine.

IDEAS: What do you think went wrong at Tiananmen?

SHARP: They had no plan, no strategy. It was more or less an accidental movement that then attracted great support. People kept flooding into the scene, and once they got there the people who had been leading it were sort of flooded out. Even after there'd been a decision to evacuate the square, new people decided to stay on because they hadn't had a chance to demonstrate yet. But they didn't have a plan.

People also really didn't understand the essential importance of withdrawing support from the system. We heard stories when we were there of civil servants within the government buildings throwing money out the windows for the resisters. But they didn't go on strike. And there were reports that some [soldiers] refused to shoot [demonstraters]. If that had happened on a large scale, it would've done it.

I was there that night. We'd just been to dinner and were walking back to the hotel across Tiananmen Square as the troops and the armored personnel carriers came in. We were inclined to sort of hide around the corner to look and see what was going on, but the local Chinese people scurried us out of there, and I guess that's why we're alive today. There was a lot of killing. It was really terrible.

IDEAS: How did ''From Dictator to Democracy" come into being?

SHARP: That booklet was originally written in 1983, at the request of a Burmese democratic exile who was living in Bangkok and editing an exile newsletter. It drew on previous work I had done, including on weaknesses of dictatorships and the nature of power.

The booklet was only written for the Burmese, but though I had been illegally in Burma two or three times in the area held by some of the resistance groups and ethnic minorities, I didn't really know Burma. You have to be very careful in writing about applying these theories to a country you don't really know. You can really mess people up.

IDEAS: The manual has been translated into Russian, Farsi, Chinese, Arabic, and other languages. Have you arranged these translations?

SHARP: They come as requests from activists within the countries. I didn't know at the beginning, but translations are dangerous. People may not really understand the phenomenon. They may not really know the equivalent terms in their own language, because the terms maybe don't exist.

IDEAS: I'm curious what you think about the potential use of training in this technique as a foreign policy tool by the US government.

SHARP: That's dangerous. What the government can do is provide money. And it doesn't. ...

IDEAS: In your book there is a chapter on something you call political jujitsu, in which a regime uses violence against nonviolent resistance, and this backfires, creating deeper and more widespread defiance.

SHARP: When I was starting out this study the belief was, oh, this is fine for the Indians, they're all Hindus, they all believe in reincarnation so it doesn't make any difference if they get killed. Literally! But if you look at the Russian 1905 revolution, it's the same thing.

Political jujitsu will not work if the people get scared, if they don't know what to do, or if they don't understand that it's necessary to hold their ground and risk some danger. Guerilla warfare has huge civilian casualty rates. Huge. And yet Che Guevara didn't abandon guerilla warfare because people were getting killed. The same is true in conventional war, of course. But then they say if you get killed in nonviolent struggle, then nonviolent struggle has failed. Some people don't understand what they're doing and they say oh, we have to go over to violence.

IDEAS: Of course, nonviolent movements don't necessarily produce democracies. The Iranian revolution of 1979 was by and large nonviolent.

SHARP: Yes, but they didn't plan for the transition, and so various people who had their own ideas of what the new regime should be took over. Now we have this other booklet on the anti-coup, or how to block seizures of power and executive usurpations. That time after a successful nonviolent struggle is very dangerous.

Our work has had major influence in Iran, except that it hasn't got a movement quite succeeding yet. ''From Dictatorship to Democracy" is in Farsi on our website. The translation was all done inside Iran. That's dangerous, and people were gutsy enough to do it. But the booklet has been declared illegal to circulate in Iran. Still, the knowledge is there, and it fits into Persian history, like in the Constitutional Revolution of 1906 and then more recently in the struggle against the shah.

IDEAS: Is there any new insight that has jumped out at you from this recent spate of nonviolent dissolutions of governments?

SHARP: I think what is new is the recognition that this technique can be learned, and that knowledge about it can be shared to make the attempt to use it more frequent and more successful. And I think that's one reason this particular booklet keeps spreading.

Laura Secor is a writer living in New York.

(10) Gene Sharp "was in Tiananmen Square". Interview with The Progressive

Gene Sharp Interview By Amitabh Pal

The Progressive

March 2007 Issue

Gene Sharp is perhaps the most influential proponent of nonviolent action alive. His work has served as a how-to manual for activists in a swath of countries across Eastern Europe and Asia.

Gene Sharp is perhaps the most influential proponent of nonviolent action alive. His work has served as a how-to manual for activists in a swath of countries across Eastern Europe and Asia. For instance, his From Dictatorship to Democracy and The Politics of Nonviolent Action helped inspire the Serbian student movement that toppled Slobodan Milosevic in 2000.

ÒNonviolent action is possible, and is capable of wielding great power even against ruthless rulers and military regimes, because it attacks the most vulnerable characteristic of all hierarchical institutions and governments: dependence on the governed,Ó writes Sharp.

Sharp drafted From Dictatorship to Democracy at the invitation of a Burmese activist. He was smuggled into Burma to assist in courses on nonviolent struggle for those resisting the military regime. He was in Tiananmen Square shortly before the tanks started rolling in. He has traveled to Israel and Palestine a number of times to disseminate his ideas. He was also invited into Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, this time by the governments themselves. He consulted with ministers on the nature and requirements of the campaign that they were using to peacefully secede from the Soviet Union. The three governments also used as a guide his book Civilian-Based Defense. The three countries became sovereign with almost no loss of life.

His work has been translated into twenty-seven languages, ranging from Nepali and Chinese to Spanish and Arabic.

From Dictatorship to Democracy, Sharp's most widely used tract, is a booklet that summarizes his ideas. The Politics of Nonviolent Action is a three-volume primer in which he lays out 198 specific methods, such as skywriting and holding mock funerals. He is also the author of Gandhi as a Political Strategist (with an introduction by Coretta Scott King), Social Power and Political Freedom (with an introduction by former Senator Mark Hatfield) and, most recently, Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice and 21st Century Potential, an analysis of several historical cases of nonviolent protest. Another book of his, The Power and Practice of Nonviolent Struggle, has been published in Tibetan, with a foreword by the Dalai Lama.

Sharp has practiced what he preaches. As a young man, he was sentenced to two years in prison for civil disobedience during the Korean War. He was paroled after nine months.

He then worked for a short while with pacifist A. J. Muste. Sharp, who holds a doctorate in political theory from Oxford University, was a researcher for nearly thirty years at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs, and was also affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

In 1983, he founded the Albert Einstein Institution to help propagate his work. Due to financial difficulties, the organization now operates out of two rooms in Sharp's three-story brick home in an East Boston residential neighborhood.

I interviewed Sharp on a late October morning. I was greeted by Jamila Raqib, the institution's executive director. Sharp, dressed completely in black, received me inside. The two rooms were filled with newspapers, boxes, and books, the first room with works on Nazism and communism, and the second with books on Gandhi and Sharp's own writing. One of the rooms had a frayed portrait of Gandhi that was given to Sharp by an Indian graduate student more than fifty years ago. The other room had a banner gifted to Sharp by the Serbian Otpor student movement.

Q: What sparked your initial interest in the field of nonviolence?

Gene Sharp: The world was quite a mess. The Second World War had just recently finished. Atomic weapons were new. The U.S. was starting to build a hydrogen bomb. There was racial segregation in the United States, including discrimination in Columbus, Ohio [Sharp's hometown]. European colonialism was still alive. I was always trying to figure out how this alternative mode could be applied in the real world. How much more could we do? I discovered actions of nonviolence dating from a long time back; Gandhi did not invent nonviolence.

Q: You mentioned racial segregation. Were you actively involved in the civil rights movement?

Sharp: A little. Somewhere around 1949-1950, in Columbus, we did lunch counter sit-ins. This was long before the lunch counter sit-ins in the South. I worked with the Congress for Racial Equality, or CORE, as it was called, with George Houser and others. But I spent ten years in England and Norway. So I missed most of the civil rights movement period.

Q: Did you come into contact with any of the civil rights leaders?

Sharp: I knew Bayard Rustin for a time. And after I moved back to the United States, Coretta Scott King invited me to Atlanta. They used to have a summer school on nonviolence, and she had me down there at least three times. But I wasn't at Selma and Montgomery. I was in London or Oslo.

Q: I've read that you met with people in Norway who were involved in the resistance against Hitler. This raises the ultimate dilemma for people inclined toward pacifism: How do you deal with someone like Adolf Hitler?

Sharp: It doesn't have to be made as a hypothetical situation. What did the Norwegians do during the Nazi occupation? How did they successfully resist the Norwegian fascist regime of Vidkun Quisling during the Nazi occupation? I interviewed several people on that subject, and I wrote that up and it became a booklet. [The booklet details how Norwegian teachers braved intimidation and incarceration to band together and resist Quisling's indoctrination program for the schools.] I also interviewed several people on what was done to save the Jews of Norway. And there were other successful anti-Nazi movements, such as German women married to Jewish men, who demonstrated at Rosenstrasse. The Albert Einstein Institution actually financed the research for the book by Nathan Stoltzfus. I saw the film [Rosenstrasse] on television quite by accident just a few months ago. The film didn't convey the whole power. My information was that there were about 6,000 women participating. The film only showed a few hundred.

Q: Which cases would you cite over the past few decades as the most successful examples of nonviolent resistance?

Sharp: There are a number of them. The whole of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. They had terrible occupations, both by the Nazis and by the Soviet Union. They had to endure imported Russian populations and the KGB. And they got out of the Soviet Union using nonviolence. The largest number of dead was in Lithuania, about twelve. In Latvia, it was about seven. In Estonia, no one was killed. They had done guerrilla warfare against the occupation with terrible casualties and had not succeeded. And so they tried to use other ways, and they won, with great danger, relatively quickly. Poland, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Serbia from Milosevic, and the Ukraine all used the same pattern of resistance.

Q: Do you see any tension between nonviolence as a pragmatic tool and as an ideal?

Sharp: Some believers in ethical or religious nonviolence do not endorse or use nonviolent action. They think it's conflict and say, ÒOh, no, no, we can't do that.Ó On the other hand, many of the people using nonviolent struggle have not believed in nonviolence as an ideal. People who believe in the ethical or religious approach to nonviolent means could assist, if they're not too arrogant, the development of pragmatic nonviolence to be used by the masses of people.

Even in India, most of the people participating in the independence struggle did not believe, as Gandhi himself did, in the religious principle. And that's grounds for hope because it says that people can use nonviolent means even though they don't believe in the ethics of nonviolence. They can believe that violence is good and violence is moral and still do nothing violent.

I get that from Gandhi. That's the way he operated. His extreme asceticism and his extreme belief in ahimsa was not what he presented to the Indian National Congress. That was pure pragmatism. At the end of his life, he defends himself. He was accused of holding on to nonviolent means because of his religious belief. He says no. He says, I presented this as a political means of action, and that's what I'm saying today. And it's a misrepresentation to say that I presented this as a purely religious approach. He was very upset about that.

Q: You've said that you prefer people to think of Gandhi as a pragmatic tactician, rather than as a Mahatma.

Sharp: Not tactician, strategist. That's bigger and more important. Yes, people say, ÒOh, Mahatma, Oh Mahatma! I'm not a saint. There's nothing I can do.Ó That belittles him.

Q: How did you write From Dictatorship to Democracy?

Sharp: A Burmese exile asked me to write it. I had been let illegally into Burma. I didn't know much about Burmese society, and to plan a struggle, you need to plan a strategy, you need a grand superplan. You need not only an understanding of nonviolent struggle, which we almost never have, and you also need an understanding of that society and that particular situation, which only they had. I couldn't write that. So I had to write a generic booklet on the basis of a study of dictatorships and the experience of the past few decades, and an understanding of nonviolence. I had to put all of those together.

Q: I read somewhere that you were denounced by the Burmese regime.

Sharp: We conducted two workshops in Burma. From Dictatorship to Democracy was published in Bangkok, both in Burmese and in English. The SLORC military dictatorship was extremely upset and issued denunciations in newspapers and radio and television. We also managed to get From Dictatorship to Democracy translated into four so-called ethnic languages. They were horrified. They denounced us as harshly as they could and they gave out our home addresses. I've been told that the denunciations didn't stop in '95. They continued. Recently, four people were sentenced to seven years in prisonÑfor only having a copy of From Dictatorship to Democracy, not for doing anything.

Q: To what do you attribute the fact that your work has gotten so much more play abroad?

Sharp: I'm not sure. The kind of issues that people found most urgent, situations of desperation, like in the Baltic countries, like in Burma, haven't existed here. And among many Americans, there is a great belief in violence as being omnipotent.

Q: Have you reflected on the applicability of your work in protesting the Iraq War or other Bush Administration policies?

Sharp: I don't think you get rid of violence by protesting against it. This is how I differ from the multitude of people who don't like violence. I think you get rid of violence only if people see that you have a different way of acting, a different way of struggle. Gandhi didn't organize demonstrations against the Indian National Army; he offered another way, and most of the people could follow that. The civil rights movement didn't get strength by campaigning against those people who were favoring violence. It offered another way to do the struggle. And I think this is the way. Part of my analysis is that if you don't like violence, you have to develop a substitute. Then people have a choice. If they don't see a choice, then violence is all that they really have.

Q: You haven't been disappointed by a lack of efficacy of the anti-war protests?

Sharp: The thing that has been most shocking is that the Bush Administration acted on the basis of the beliefÑdogma, ÒreligionÓÑin the omnipotence of violence, which ignores the history of how the dictatorships under communist regimes and certain other regimes had been removed. It's by people power. That's all ignored. The assumption is an invading country can come in, remove its official leader, arrest some of the other people, and well, then, the dictatorship is gone.

Q: So do you see a nonviolent approach working in the other countries that the Bush Administration is targeting, such as Iran?

Sharp: Our work is available in Iran and has been since 2004. People from different political positions are saying that that's the way we need to go. And that kind of struggle broadly has important precedence in Iranian/Persian history, both in the 1906 democratic revolution and in the 1979 struggle against the ShahÑall predominantly nonviolent forms of struggle. If somebody doesn't decide to use military means, then it is very likely that there will be a peaceful national struggle there.

Q: What about Israel/Palestine? You've done some work there, too, and worked with Mubarak Awad, who has been the most ardent Palestinian proponent of nonviolence.

Sharp: Mubarak did his first little booklet on nonviolence during the first Intifada in the early '80s. I was there in the mid-'80s on at least three trips, and met with people in the West Bank and Jerusalem. I also met with Israelis. I spoke at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and even spoke at the Israeli Institute of Military Studies. Most of the methodsÑ90 percent of the methodsÑused in the first Intifada were that of nonviolent struggle. But Fatah leaders had this faith in the religion of violence. It was absolutely the worst thing they could have done.

Q: What was it like to be in Tiananmen Square?

Sharp: It was very dramatic, very moving. We were there three or four days before the crackdown. It was quite startling. Those people were very, very brave. As we walked across the square from our restaurant to get back to our hotel, the troops were coming in. We thought, let's go to the site and stand and watch and see what happens. There were armored personnel carriers coming in. Some Chinese said, ÒGet out of here! Get out of here!Ó They were more savvy about what might happen than we were. And so we left.

Q: How have you been received in Russia?

Sharp: I've had five translations done of my work there. When the fifth translation went to a printing press in Moscow, the successor to the KGB, the FSB, raided the presses, ordered the presses to stop, took the text away. It finally had to be printed outside of Moscow. Two of the bookstores that were selling it in Moscow then burned down within two weeks. Of course, accidentally.

Q: When did this happen?

Sharp: About a year ago. Dictators don't like us.

Amitabh Pal is the managing editor of The Progressive.

(11) Burma's "Saffron Revolution": Gene Sharp's institute's CIA link (Col. Helvey) & NED funds - Engdahl

Myanmar's "Saffron Revolution": The Geopolitics behind the Protest Movement

by F. William Engdahl

Global Research, October 15, 2007

Burma's "Saffron Revolution," like the Ukraine "Orange Revolution" or the Georgia "Rose Revolution" and the various Color Revolutions instigated in recent years against strategic states surrounding Russia, is a well-orchestrated exercise in Washington-run regime change, down to the details of "hit-and-run" protests with "swarming" mobs of Buddhists in saffron, internet blogs, mobile SMS links between protest groups, well-organized protest cells which disperse and reform. CNN made the blunder during a September broadcast of mentioning the active presence of the NED behind the protests in Myanmar. ...

The tragedy of Burma, whose land area is about the size of George W. Bush's Texas, is that its population is being used as a human stage prop in a drama scripted in Washington by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the George Soros Open Society Institute, Freedom House and Gene Sharp's Albert Einstein Institution, a US intelligence asset used to spark "non-violent" regime change around the world on behalf of the US strategic agenda.

Burma's "Saffron Revolution," like the Ukraine "Orange Revolution" or the Georgia "Rose Revolution" and the various Color Revolutions instigated in recent years against strategic states surrounding Russia, is a well-orchestrated exercise in Washington-run regime change, down to the details of "hit-and-run" protests with "swarming" mobs of Buddhists in saffron, internet blogs, mobile SMS links between protest groups, well-organized protest cells which disperse and reform. CNN made the blunder during a September broadcast of mentioning the active presence of the NED behind the protests in Myanmar.

In fact the US State Department admits to supporting the activities of the NED in Myanmar. The NED is a US Government-funded "private" entity whose activities are designed to support US foreign policy objectives, doing today what the CIA did during the Cold War. As well the NED funds Soros' Open Society Institute in fostering regime change in Myanmar. In an October 30 2003 Press Release the State Department admitted, "The United States also supports organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy, the Open Society Institute and Internews, working inside and outside the region on a broad range of democracy promotion activities." It all sounds very self-effacing and noble of the State Department. Is it though?

In reality the US State Department has recruited and trained key opposition leaders from numerous anti-government organizations. It has poured the relatively huge sum (for Myanmar) of more than $2.5 million annually into NED activities in promoting regime change in Myanmar since at least 2003. The US regime change, its Saffron Revolution, is being largely run according to informed reports, out of the US Consulate General in bordering Chaing Mai, Thailand. There activists are recruited and trained, in some cases directly in the USA, before being sent back to organize inside Myanmar. The USA's NED admits to funding key opposition media including the New Era Journal, Irrawaddy and the Democratic Voice of Burma radio.

The concert-master of the tactics of Saffron monk-led non-violence regime change is Gene Sharp, founder of the deceptively-named Albert Einstein Institution in Cambridge Massachusetts, a group funded by an arm of the NED to foster US-friendly regime change in key spots around the world. Sharp's institute has been active in Burma since 1989, just after the regime massacred some 3000 protestors to silence the opposition. CIA special operative and former US Military Attache in Rangoon, Col. Robert Helvey, an expert in clandestine operations, introduced Sharp to Burma in 1989 to train the opposition there in non-violent strategy. Interestingly, Sharp was also in China two weeks before the dramatic events at Tiananmen Square. ...

The Strait of Malacca, linking the Indian and Pacific Oceans, is the shortest sea route between the Persian Gulf and China. It is the key chokepoint in Asia. More than 80% of all China's oil imports are shipped by tankers passing the Malacca Strait. The narrowest point is the Phillips Channel in the Singapore Strait, only 1.5 miles wide at its narrowest. Daily more than 12 million barrels in oil supertankers pass through this narrow passage, most en route to the world's fastest-growing energy market, China or to Japan.

If the strait were closed, nearly half of the world's tanker fleet would be required to sail further. Closure would immediately raise freight rates worldwide. More than 50,000 vessels per year transit the Strait of Malacca. The region from Maynmar to Banda Aceh in Indonesia is fast becoming one of the world's most strategic chokepoints. Who controls those waters controls China's energy supplies.

That strategic importance of Myanmar has not been lost on Beijing.

Since it became clear to China that the US was hell-bent on a unilateral militarization of the Middle East oil fields in 2003, Beijing has stepped up its engagement in Myanmar. Chinese energy and military security, not human rights concerns drive their policy.

In recent years Beijing has poured billions of dollars in military assistance into Myanmar, including fighter, ground-attack and transport aircraft; tanks and armored personnel carriers; naval vessels and surface-to-air missiles. China has built up Myanmar railroads and roads and won permission to station its troops in Myanmar. China, according to Indian defense sources, has also built a large electronic surveillance facility on Myanmar's Coco Islands and is building naval bases for access to the Indian Ocean.

In fact Myanmar is an integral part of what China terms its "string of pearls," its strategic design of establishing military bases in Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia in order to counter US control over the Strait of Malacca chokepoint. There is also energy on and offshore of Myanmar, and lots of it.

The gas fields of Myanmar

Oil and gas have been produced in Myanmar since the British set up the Rangoon Oil Company in 1871, later renamed Burmah Oil Co. The country has produced natural gas since the 1970's, and in the 1990's it granted gas concessions to the foreign companies ElfTotal of France and Premier Oil of the UK in the Gulf of Martaban. Later Texaco and Unocal (now Chevron) won concessions at Yadana and Yetagun as well. Alone Yadana has an estimated gas reserve of more than 5 trillion cubic feet with an expected life of at least 30 years. Yetagun is estimated to have about a third the gas of the Yadana field.

In 2004 a large new gas field, Shwe field, off the coast of Arakan was discovered.

By 2002 both Texaco and Premier Oil withdrew from the Yetagun project following UK government and NGO pressure. Malaysia's Petronas bought Premier's 27% stake. By 2004 Myanmar was exporting Yadana gas via pipeline to Thailand worth annually $1 billion to the Myanmar regime.

In 2005 China, Thailand and South Korea invested in expanding the Myanmar oil and gas sector, with export of gas to Thailand rising 50%. Gas export today is Myanmar's most important source of income. Yadana was developed jointly by ElfTotal, Unocal, PTT-EP of Thailand and Myanmar's state MOGE, operated by the French ElfTotal. Yadana supplies some 20% of Thai natural gas needs.

Today the Yetagun field is operated by Malaysia's Petronas along with MOGE and Japan's Nippon Oil and PTT-EP. The gas is piped onshore where it links to the Yadana pipeline. Gas from the Shwe field is to come online beginning 2009. China and India have been in strong contention over the Shwe gas field reserves.

India loses, China wins

This past summer Myanmar signed a Memorandum of Understanding with PetroChina to supply large volumes of natural gas from reserves of the Shwe gasfield in the Bay of Bengal. The contract runs for 30 years. India was the main loser. Myanmar had earlier given India a major stake in two offshore blocks to develop gas to have been transmitted via pipeline through Bangladesh to India's energy-hungry economy. Political bickering between India and Bangladesh brought the Indian plans to a standstill.

China took advantage of the stalemate. China simply trumped India with an offer to invest billions in building a strategic China-Myanmar oil and gas pipeline across Myanmar from Myanmar's deepwater port at Sittwe in the Bay of Bengal to Kunming in China's Yunnan Province, a stretch of more than 2,300 kilometers. China plans an oil refinery in Kumming as well.

What the Myanmar-China pipelines will allow is routing of oil and gas from Africa (Sudan among other sources) and the Middle East (Iran, Saudi Arabia) independent of dependence on the vulnerable chokepoint of the Malacca Strait. Myanmar becomes China's "bridge" linking Bangladesh and countries westward to the China mainland independent of any possible future moves by Washington to control the strait.

India's dangerous alliance shift

It's no wonder that China is taking such precautions. Ever since the Bush Administration decided in 2005 to recruit India to the Pentagon's 'New Framework for US-India Defense Relations,'India has been pushed into a strategic alliance with Washington in order to counter China in Asia.

In an October 2002 Pentagon report, 'The Indo-US Military Relationship,' the Office of Net Assessments stated the reason for the India-USA defense alliance would be to have a 'capable partner' who can take on 'more responsibility for low-end operations' in Asia, provide new training opportunities and 'ultimately provide basing and access for US power projection.' Washington is also quietly negotiating a base on Indian territory, a severe violation of India's traditional non-aligned status.

Power projection against whom? China, perhaps?

As well, the Bush Administration has offered India to lift its 30 year nuclear sanctions and to sell advanced US nuclear technology, legitimizing India's open violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, at the same time Washington accuses Iran of violating same, an exercise in political hypocrisy to say the least.

Notably, just as the Saffron-robed monks of Myanmar took to the streets, the Pentagon opened joint US-Indian joint naval exercises, Malabar 07, along with armed forces from Australia, Japan and Singapore. The US showed the awesome muscle of its 7th Fleet, deploying the aircraft carriers USS Nimitz and USS Kitty Hawk; guided missile cruisers USS Cowpens and USS Princeton and no less than five guided missile destroyers.

US-backed regime change in Myanmar together with Washington's growing military power projection via India and other allies in the region is clearly a factor in Beijing's policy vis-à-vis Myanmar's present military junta. As is often the case these days, from Darfur to Caracas to Rangoon, the rallying call of Washington for democracy ought to be tasted with at least a grain of good salt.

F. William Engdahl is the author of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order, Pluto Press Ltd.. To contact by e-mail: Further articles can be found at his website,

F. William Engdahl is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

His most recent book, forthcoming with Global Research, is Seeds of Destruction, The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation.

(12) Green Left Weekly debate on Sharp-NED-Soros link, & whether to accept Tainted funds

Without prior knowledge of Duvall's institutional affiliations, it is easy to believe that he and the ICNC are supporting progressive activists all over the world. But unfortunately his work (and that of his close colleagues) is intimately linked to the NED and much of the US-based "democracy promoting" establishment.

For readers unfamiliar with the NED and its anti-democratic "democracy" cohorts, a brief introduction to the work of Professor William I. Robinson is in order. Simply put, Robinson hypothesised that as a result of the public backlash against the US government's repressive and covert foreign policies in the 1970s, foreign-policy-making elites elected to put a greater emphasis on overt means of overthrowing "problematic" governments through the strategic manipulation of civil society.

In 1984, this "new" thinking was institutionalised with the creation of the quasi-nongovernmental organisation the NED, which acts as the coordinating body for better-funded "democracy promoting" organisations like USAID and the CIA. Working closely together, these "democratic" organisations use a combination of both covert and overt strategies to intervene "in mass movements for democracy and endogenous democratization processes ... through a multiplicity of political, economic, military, diplomatic, and ideological channels". ...

[A longer footnoted version of this article was published in March 2007 in the online Journal State of Nature at]

A Force More Powerful: Promoting 'Democracy' through Civil Disobedience

By Michael Barker

State of Nature

Winter 2007

... For most activists, it is a given that the relentless propaganda machine known as the mainstream media is a clear and highly visible barrier to progressive social change. So it is more important than ever that the progressive community works in solidarity to both reform the mainstream media, and to strengthen the alternative media upon which activists rely for informative, empowering and entertaining stories. [1]

Support for the alternative media usually comes in the form of money, or voluntary aid: yet to my mind, it is equally, if not more important that readers, viewers and listeners, invigorate and fortify the alternative media's intellectual standards by subjecting it to thoughtful (relentless) criticism.

... the Right's most effective weapon has been their (cynical) championing of peace, human rights and democracy, or what might be referred to as the 'good' or 'democratic' prong. A recent example of the success of this 'democratic' strategy recently revealed itself in the Fall 2006 issue of one of America's most progressive magazines, Social Policy. The article in question was titled 'Playing the Field: A Conversation with Ivan Marovic, Hardy Merriman, and Steve York', and was based on the three interviewees' involvement in the production of a progressive activist-orientated computer game (which was released in February 2006). ...

The name of this new seemingly progressive game is A Force More Powerful: The Game of Nonviolent Strategy, which was based on the book A Force More Powerful: A Century of Nonviolent Conflict (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000). The book was also preceded by the production of a two part documentary series, which was released in 1999, going by the same name, and aired on PBS the following year. Now assuming that the book, film, and game were historically accurate and were useful to progressive activists, does it then matter that the people involved in producing these resources are closely linked to the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and much of the US-based 'democracy promoting' establishment? I would suggest that the answer to this question is yes, and that these links do matter a great deal.

For readers unfamiliar with the NED and its antidemocratic cohorts, then a brief introduction to the work of Professor William I. Robinson is in order. Simply put, he hypothesized that as a result of the public backlash against the US government's repressive and covert foreign policies in the 1970s, foreign policy making elites elected to put a greater emphasis on overt means of overthrowing 'problematic' governments through the strategic manipulation of civil society. In 1984, this 'new' thinking was institutionalised with the creation of the quasi-nongovernmental organisation, the National Endowment for Democracy, which acts as the coordinating body for better funded 'democracy promoting' organisations like USAID and the CIA. Working closely together these 'democratic' organisations use a combination of both covert and overt strategies to intervene "in mass movements for democracy and endogenous democratization processesÉ through a multiplicity of political, economic, military, diplomatic, and ideological channels". [4] Robinson notes the primary goal of such 'democracy promoting' groups is the promotion of polyarchy or low-intensity democracy over more substantive forms of democratic governance, enabling "the replacement of coercive means of social control with consensual ones." [5] His pioneering book on this subject, Promoting Polyarchy (1996), provided a detailed examination of the role of US-based 'democracy promoting' groups in sabotaging democracy in Nicaragua, the Philippines, Chile and Haiti. Since then, many studies have supported his findings, furnishing further examples of unwanted 'democratic' interventions all over the world. [6]

So returning to the computer game, it is my contention that it does matter that the people involved in the various reincarnations of A Force More Powerful are intimately associated with the NED crowd. ...

The two authors of A Force More Powerful are Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall. Linking both writers to the 'democracy promoting' community is fairly straightforward as the overt nature of most 'democracy promoters'' work means that the authors feel free to openly publicise their 'democratic' affiliations on the internet. Dr Ackerman is the founding chair of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), chairman of Freedom House, and a member of the U.S. Advisory Council of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). [8] His coauthor, Jack DuVall, is the president and founding Director of the ICNC, and is also a founding member of the Arlington Institute. [9]

The ICNC, of which both Ackerman and DuVall are founding directors, describes itself as "an independent, non-profit, educational foundation that develops and encourages the study and use of civilian-based, nonmilitary strategies to establish and defend human rights, democracy and justice worldwide." [10] Yet as will become clearer later, the name of their organisation belies its actual unstated objective, which is to help promote revolutions in geostrategically useful countries. Bearing this in mind, it is not surprising that most of ICNC's principals of nonviolence were trained within the heart of the military-industrial complex: ICNC Vice-chair Berel Rodal, was formerly Director-General of the Policy Secretariat in the Department of National Defence; ICNC Manager of Educational Initiatives, Dr. Maria J. Stephan, has worked "at the U.S. Department of Defense and with the international staff at NATO Headquarters in Brussels"; and Shaazka Beyerle (former vice-president turned Senior Advisor of ICNC), is a founding Vice President of the European Institute.

The European Institute's most interesting affliates include: board member Dr R. Michael Gadbaw, who is a director of the NED/USIP funded Partners for Democratic Change; Director Emeriti, Robert B. Zoellick, who was a signatory of the January 26, 1998 Project for the New American Century letter sent to President Clinton; and Advisory Board member, Ambassador Robert E. Hunter, who is also Chairman of the Council for a Community of Democracies and acts as a Senior International Consultant to the largest arms manufacturer in the world, Lockheed Martin. [11]

Social Policy interviewee Hardy Merriman recently became the Director of Programs and Research at ICNC, coming fresh from a three year stint at the Albert Einstein Institution (AEI), a group at which Dr Ackerman was a former director. [12] Merriman's former employer, the AEI, openly acknowledges the financial support they have received from the NED, USIP, and the International Republican Institute, and works closely with the ICNC providing the theoretical underpinnings for the 'democracy promoting' establishment's work, helping them provide training courses all over the world for activists seeking to overthrow their governments. [13] Finally, Merriman's predecessor at ICNC, Kim Hedge, has now joined Freedom House ­ the grandfather of neoconservative 'democracy promoting' organizations ­ as their Program Coordinator for the Civil Mobilization Program.

Writing in January 2007, Diana Barahona described Freedom House's board of trustees ­ which Dr Ackerman also chairs ­ as a "Who's Who of neoconservatives from government, business, academia, labor, and the press." [14] Yet despite the overwhelmingly partisan nature of their trustees, the self-professed house of freedom still suggests that it has a "diverse Board of Trustees, which includes Democrats, Republicans and Independents." Freedom House's board of trustees is certainly 'diverse'; yes they all hold different jobs, including "business and labor leaders, former senior government officials, scholars, writers, and journalists", but in reality their diversity is limited to their job titles as they are all committed to a neoconservative agenda that, to quote their website, sees no irony in viewing "American leadership in international affairs [to be] essential to the cause of human rights and freedom." [15] Clearly Freedom House, as far as self descriptors are concerned, are incapable of abiding by popularly-understood premises of truth and accuracy, which in itself provides a useful measure by which to judge the honesty of their advocacy of democracy and freedom.

The final 'democracy promoting' group to which Ackerman is directly linked, is the USIP, which like Freedom House is an integral member of the US 'democracy promoting' apparatus. In 1990, prempting (and perhaps inspiring) Diana Barahona's article on Freedom House, Richard Hatch and Sara Diamond described the USIP as a "stomping ground for professional war-makers" with a board of directors that "looked like a who's who of right-wing idealogues from academia and the Pentagon." [16] They went on to note that:

Just as the National Endowment for Democracy has become a central tool for the promotion of political parties, labor unions, and media voices deemed acceptable by bipartisan foreign policymakers, the USIP, using the same rhetoric of 'peace' and 'democracy' and many of the same recycled defense intellectuals, seeks to control debate and decision-making on conflict resolution.

Today the USIP is still busy promoting its militarily-sanctioned form of 'peace', yet unlike the NED they have received next to no criticism from the progressive media. ...

In addition to both authors of A Force More Powerful being directly involved with a host of 'democracy promoting' organizations, Dr Ackerman also benefits from his wife's vigourous 'democratic' connections. Joanne Leedom-Ackerman is a writer and journalist who has worked as an adviser on the documentary version of her husband's book. She is currently a director of the International Center for Journalists (which receives funding from the NED, the Center for International Private Enterprise, Boeing and Coca-Cola, amongst many others), and has served on the board of the Albert Einstein Institution. [20] Joanne is also a director of a 'nongovernmental' organization called the International Crisis Group, which describes its primary role as "working through field-based analysis and high-level advocacy to prevent and resolve deadly conflict." [21] Unlike the NED this group is a truly multilateral 'democracy' venture as evidenced by the wide variety of governments, foundations and corporations that fund their work. [22] At the International Crisis Group, Joanne rubs boardroom shoulders with 'democratic' notables like: Ayo Obe, Chair of the Steering Committee of the NED-founded World Movement for Democracy; Kenneth Adelman, fellow board member at Freedom House; NED director Morton Abramowitz; former NED directors, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Wesley Kanne Clark; George Soros of Open Society Institute fame; Douglas Schoen, founding partner of Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates (a firm that works closely with the NED); and former president of the Philippines Fidel V. Ramos, who himself was a beneficiary of a NED hijacked revolution in the late 1980s. [23]

Despite Ackerman and DuVall's clear acquaintance with the history of nonviolence and associations with the NED crowd, they evince a highly selective memory of their 'democratic' associates when it comes to their work ­ only mentioning the NED and USIP in passing in their book. The lonesome paragraph they devote to these groups is especially interesting, as they introduce four of the most prominent American 'democracy promoters' without indicating the integral role they play in implementing the US government's foreign policy. The single paragraph in question also begins with a disingenuous statement concerning US support for Serbian dissidents, by noting that in 2000 "support, largely denied to the Serbian opposition before, now began to flow." [24] Indeed, although direct support to groups like Otpor may have been strongest in 2000 (just prior to the revolution), support from the US and wider international 'democracy promoting' community had been flooding into Serbia throughout the 1990s. Ackerman and DuVall also provide the supporting evidence themselves within the same book, as they observe that in 1998 the US State Department "gave $15 million to independent media in Serbia" and by the time of the 2000 elections "[w]ith foreign support, some 30,000 poll-watchers were trained, mobilized, and fanned out to cover 10,000 polling places, to prevent Milosevic from stealing the September 24 election." [25]

Many political commentators and media scholars have observed that it was clear that the independent media in Serbia "facilitated the regime change and paved the way for democracy." [26] Therefore, international assistance for the creation of the Asocijacija Nezavisnih Elektronskih Medija (Association of Independent Electronic Media) which was formed in 1993, was crucial for the survival of the Serbian independent electronic media after 1998, as it helped protect many broadcasters from state repression. [27] In fact, during the early 1990s the international community provided between US$7-10 million to the former Yugoslavia for this goal, while after 1995 the US gave a further US$23 million and the European Union augmented this with another 17 million Euros. [28] ...

The award-winning PBS production of Ackerman and DuVall's book A Force More Powerful was directed and produced by Steve York (one of the interviewees in the Social Policy article) of York Zimmerman, Inc. with a generous $3 million plus budget. [32] Steve York and his wife Miriam Zimmerman ­ both highly acclaimed documentary makers ­ head up York Zimmerman, which is a Washington based media company that "produce[s] documentaries about people and ideas which change the world ­ stories of war, faith, justice, revolution." [33] York Zimmerman's two most recent documentaries are A Force More Powerful (aired on PBS in September 2000) and Bringing Down a Dictator (shown on PBS in March 2002). As already mentioned, the first documentary, A Force More Powerful, received financial support from the USIP, but Ackerman and DuVall also acknowledge that the film was made possible by the "enlightened support of Susan and Perry Lerner, the Albert Einstein Institution, Elizabeth and John H. van Merkensteijn III, Abby and Alan Levy, and the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations." [34] ...

York Zimmerman's most recent revolutionary film, Bringing Down a Dictator, described on their website as a film documenting the "defeat of Slobodan Milosevic in October, 2000É by an ingenious nonviolent strategy of honest elections and massive civil disobedience." [42] Intriguingly, the filmmakers acknowledge (on their website) that the revolutionary movements were "partially financed by the US and Western Europe" ­ a point that is also made within the film. This partial honestly, however, only serves to obscure how external support effectively guaranteed the success of the revolution, and ignores the effects of war on the revolution's success. The significance of the NED and other allied 'democracy promoting' organisations in aiding the ouster of Milosevic has been well documented by this author elsewhere and will not be re-examined here, suffice to say that the revolution succeeded in large part because Milosevic was not a US friendly dictator.

Likewise, the so-called 'colored revolutions' which followed the Serbian template, also received significant support from the American and international 'democracy promoters.' Indeed in 2003 during the 'Rose revolution' in Georgia the film Bringing Down a Dictator:

Ébecame a prime vehicle for indoctrinating the growing crowds in the principles of nonviolent struggle. Every Saturday for months, the independent TV network Rustavi 2 broadcast Bringing Down a Dictator, followed by a segment in which Georgians would discuss the film's implications for their own movement. In the ten frenetic days leading up to Shevardnadze's collapse, the network increased the frequency of broadcasts. And, when Shevardnadze surrendered power without a bullet fired, the Georgians weren't selfish in acknowledging credit. One leader told The Washington Post, "Most important was the film. All the demonstrators knew the tactics of the revolution in Belgrade by heart because they showed [the film].... Everyone knew what to do." [43]


1. For more on the necessity for media reform, see Michael Barker, 'Conform or Reform? Social Movements and the Mass Media', Fifth-Estate-Online - International Journal of Radical Mass Media Criticism, February 2007.

2. Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (New York: Pantheon Books, 1988); See:; For resources relating to the propaganda model see:

3. For more on this subject see, Joan Roelofs, Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2003). A forthcoming paper on the links between liberal foundations and the media is provided by Michael Barker, 'The Liberal Foundations of Media Reform? Creating Sustainable Funding Opportunities for Radical Media Reform'.

4. William I. Robinson, Promoting Polyarchy: Globalization, US Intervention, and Hegemony (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 9.

5. Robinson, Promoting Polyarchy, 16. For more on alternative interpretations of democracy, see Paul Street, 'What is a Democracy? The Empire and Inequality Report, no. 9', Znet, February 03, 2007.

6. See Michael Barker, 'Taking the Risk Out of Civil Society: Harnessing Social movements and Regulating Revolutions', Refereed paper presented to the Australasian Political Studies Association Conference, University of Newcastle 25-27 September 2006.,%20Michael.pdf

7. George Lakey, 'Nonviolent Action as the Sword that Heals', Training for Change, March 2001, End Note 11. In addition, in March 2005, William Domhoff also referenced Ackerman's and Lakey's work together, he wrote: "For good accounts of strategic nonviolence, see Peter Ackerman and Christopher Kruegler, Strategic nonviolent conflict: The dynamics of people power in the twentieth century. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1994; Ronald M. McCarthy and Gene Sharp, Nonviolent action: A research guide, New York: Garland Publishing, 1997; and George Lakey, Powerful peacemaking: A strategy for a living revolution, Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1987." 'Social Movements and Strategic Nonviolence'.

8. Dr Ackerman is also Managing Director of Crown Capital Groups, a private investment firm, Chairman of the Board of Overseers of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, board member of CARE, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. See 'Board of Trustees'.

9. DuVall has been Vice President for Program Resources Washington Educational Television Association; "Director of Corporate Relations of the University of Chicago; Director of Industry Compliance, Cost of Living Council, Executive Office of the President; and an officer in the U.S. Air Force." See 'Speaker Biography'.

10. See:

11. See:

12. For two detailed examinations of the AEI's 'democratic' activities, see Jonathan Mowat, 'Coup d'État in Disguise: Washington's New World Order "Democratization" Template', Centre for Research on Globalisation, February 9, 2005; And Thierry Meyssan, 'Albert Einstein Institution: non-violence according to the CIA', Voltaire, January 4, 2005; Dr Ackerman has also been a director of the AEI, and in 1994 Ackerman coathored a book Strategic Nonviolent Conflict: The Dynamics of People Power in the Twentieth Century, with the then president of the AEI, Christopher Kruegler. See Albert Einstein Institute, 'Biennial Report 1990-1992'.

13. Albert Einstein Institution, 'Report on Activities 1993-1999'.

14. Diana Barahona, 'The Freedom House Files', Monthly Review, January 3, 2007.

15. See:;

16. Richard Hatch and Sara Diamond, 'Operation Peace Institute', Zmag, July/Aug 1990; Also see Right Web, 'Group Watch: United States Institute of Peace', Last updated September 1990.

17. According to his biography: "Mr. Petersen's government and political experience includes stints at the National War College, the Institute for National Security Studies, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the National Security Council Staff at the White House. He was a naval flight officer and is a decorated veteran of both the Viet Nam and Persian Gulf wars." See 'Board of Directors'.

18. See:

19. See:

20. See:

21. See:

22. See:

23. See: Michael Barker, 'Fidel Ramos and the Australian Centre for Democratic Institutions', Znet, April 16, 2006.

24. Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall, A Force More Powerful (New York: St Martins Press, 2000), 486.

25. Ackerman and DuVall, A Force More Powerful, 484, 488.

26. For example, see Krishna Kumar, 'USAID's media assistance: Policy and programmatic lessons', Evaluation working paper 16, U.S. Agency for International Development, Bureau for Policy and Program Coordination, 2004, xiii.

27. Spasa Bosnjak, 'Fight the power: the role of the Serbian independent electronic media in the democratization of Serbia', Unpublished MA thesis, Simon Fraser University, 2005, 71.

28. Ellen Hume, Media missionaries: American support for journalism excellence and press freedom around the globe (Knight Foundation, 2004), accessed September, 2006, 37.,

29. Ackerman and DuVall, A Force More Powerful, 486.

30. Ackerman and DuVall, A Force More Powerful, 485.

31. Ackerman and DuVall, A Force More Powerful, xv; 'Jack Duvall's Biography'.

32. 'Pipeline 2000: Series in preparation for future public TV seasons, as of fall 1999'.

33. See:

34. Ackerman and DuVall, A Force More Powerful, xv.

35. See:

36. The I-Behavior Co-operative database is "A Co-operative, transactional history database containing the buying behavior of over 96MM U.S. households, contributed by nearly 800 Member companies. The Co-op links on-line and off-line direct channel purchase history and is adding new Member companies and their customers every week."; See: For a comprehensive treatment of the manipulation of democracy through database management, see Gerald Sussman, Global Electioneering: Campaign Consulting, Communications, and Corporate Financing (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2005); For an examination of the problems of online surveillance for activists, see Michael Barker, 'Online privacy? Surveillance of social movements on the Internet'.

37. Franklin Foer, 'Regime Change, Inc.: Peter Ackerman's quest to topple tyranny', The New Republic, April 25, 2005. For more details on Robert Helvey see Jonathan Mowat, 'Who is Col. Bob Helvey?'.

38. ; Eugene Bird, 'Reza Pahlavi: A new/old approach to Iran', (Diplomatic Doings), Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, April 1, 2002.

39. It is also important to note that the Iran Institute for Democracy undertook what they described as "the first ever public opinion survey of Iranians throughout the Capital city of Tehran." In 2004, the Foundation for the Promotion of Democracy also "hosted and sponsored a five day political activism training program, in Washington, attended by young Iranian political activists brought in from out of state and Europe." See:

40. Michael Barker, 'Catalyst for Iranian Resistance: US "democracy promoters" and regime change in Iran', Znet, December 18, 2006. Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, 'Hegemony and Appeasement: Setting Up the Next U.S.-Israeli Target (Iran) For Another "Supreme International Crime"', Kafka Era Studies Number 4, January 27, 2007.

41. For an excellent critique of Dr. Nafisi's work, which most famously includes Reading Lolita in Tehran, see Hamid Dabashi, 'Native informers and the making of the American empire', Al-Ahram Weekly Online, 1-7 June 2006.

42. See:

43. Franklin Foer, 'Regime Change, Inc.'. ...

(13) Zunes is ICNC's chief academic advisor; yet ICNC leaders were trained in military-industrial complex

An accurate and fair critique of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict

Saturday, September 22, 2007 - 10:00

By Michael Barker

Having previously written a critique of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict which examined it's "democratic" associations (GLW #722), I was amazed to discover that Professor Stephen Zunes presently serves as the chair of their board of academic advisors. Amazed because this information was news to me as the ICNC's academic advisors are not available on its website, and also that a progressive academic like Zunes would become associated with the ICNC.

However, I was most shocked by the tone of his opening comment in his rebuttal to my article that suggested that merely because he has progressive credentials, this alone "should raise serious questions regarding" my own analysis (GLW #723, Ñ implying that progressive voices should not be critiqued from the left, something I think is very necessary to strengthen the power of progressive thinking. This article is my response to Zunes' misreading of my work.

"First of all", Zunes asks, "why would [the ICNC] have someone like me in such an influential position? And why would I agree to take such a post [in 2006] for an organisation if it really supported an imperialistic agenda?" Answering the first question is easy for anyone not associated with the ICNC, as Zunes' association with them serves to legitimise its work, helping insulate its activities from critical commentary. The answer to his second question is not so obvious: maybe Zunes was unaware of the ICNC's ties to "democratic" elites, or perhaps he knew of these connections but still thought that they were no cause for concern. As I will demonstrate in this article, I believe that the latter situation applies to Zunes. However, initially I will respond to some of his criticism of my article.

Strangely, Zunes denies that ICNC works closely with the Albert Einstein Institution, a blatantly false assertion given that the ICNC's founding chair, Peter Ackerman (who is also chair of the neoconservative Freedom House) was until recently a director of the Albert Einstein Institution. Despite this clear Ackerman link, Zunes writes that the ICNC "has never had a single operational meeting with anyone representing" the Albert Einstein Institution. His point may well be technically true, but his statement is a little disingenuous to say the least. Likewise, he notes that "the Albert Einstein Institution has never received any government funding" Ñ again although this may be technically true, the institute openly acknowledges the support it has received from the International Republican Institute and from two Congressionally funded quasi-NGOs, the National Endowment for Democracy and the US Institute for Peace.

... {visit the above link to read the rest}

The debate contined at

'False accusations and major leaps of logic' Monday, December 10, 2007 - 11:00 By Michael Barker

... In response to my critique of the ICNC, Zunes goes on to note that I was incorrect in noting that Ackerman was not a director of the Albert Einstein Institute "until recently". He correctly points out that Ackerman relinquished this board position five years ago. I accept this point. Perhaps it would have been more accurate for me to have written that Ackerman was associated with the Albert Einstein Institute "until [fairly] recently". Zunes adds that I did not explain why he [Zunes] was disingenuous for claiming that no operational ties existed between the ICNC and the Albert Einstein Institute. Yet, as he must realise, I simply stated that ­ given the obvious Ackerman link ­ he was being a little disingenuous (even if technically he was telling the truth) when he wrote that the ICNC "has never had a single operational meeting with anyone representing" the Albert Einstein Institute. Indeed, as I previously documented, in March 2005 the ICNC, "in collaboration with the Albert Einstein Institute" hosted a workshop for Venezuelans on non-violent conflict; furthermore, the ICNC's current director of programs and research, Hardy Merriman, came to this position after working for three years at the Albert Einstein Institute with the institute's founder Gene Sharp. Here it is interesting to briefly examine the sources of funds for the Albert Einstein Institute's work.

Although a complete documentary record of the Albert Einstein Institute's funding relationships is presently unavailable (online at least), a summary of its work between 1993 and 1999 provides a list of its supporters over this time period. The most "democratic" of these financial contributors included the US Institute for Peace (USIP), the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the International Republican Institute (one of the NED's four core grantees), and the German-based Friedrich Naumann Stiftung. The Albert Einstein Institute also received aid from two other key democracy-manipulating liberal philanthropists, the Ford Foundation and George Soros' Open Society Institute. (For further information on the problems associated with liberal philanthropy see Joan Roelofs' excellent 2003 book Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism.) ...

Other important, but little mentioned, books that clearly document how the larger liberal foundations work hand-in-hand with the US foreign policy elites include Edward H. Berman's 1983 The Ideology of Philanthropy: The Influence of the Carnegie, Ford, and Rockefeller Foundations, and Frances Stonor Saunders' more recent (1999) title, Who Paid the Piper?: CIA and the Cultural Cold War. Another essay that has done much to raise awareness of such issues in the activist community is James Petras' 1999 seminal article NGOs: In the Service of Imperialism. ...

Further, Zunes rejects my well-substantiated evidence of "links between the ICNC and US foreign policy elites", noting such links have never involved "anything more than occasional passing conversations at receptions and luncheons with State Department". Why ICNC staff should be dining at the State Department is none of my business, but if this really is the true extent of their ties, why did the ICNC co-sponsor a conference earlier this year with a number of groups, most notable of which were the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, and the USIP? (This International Conference on Civil Resistance and Power Politics was held at Oxford University in the UK from the 15 to 18 March 2007.) ...

Given Zunes failure to respond to many of the points in my previous articles, and that I addressed all of his comments in my last response, it is strange that he notes that I "failed to respond" to his "most important point" which challenged my (apparently false) contention that the ICNC's "actual unstated objectiveÉ is to help promote revolutions in geo-strategically useful countries". ...

[For background to this debate between Michael Barker and Steven Zunes, see: Interview with Eva Golinger: US Continues Destabilisation Push in Venezuela (GLW # 716, June 28, 2007)

Jack DuVall (President, ICNC), Gollinger Interview (Letter to the Editor, GLW # 718, July 22, 2007)

Michael Barker, Promoting 'Democracy' Through Civil Disobedience (GLW # 722, August 25, 2007)

Stephen Zunes, Inaccurate and Unfair Attacks on the ICNC (GLW # 723, August 31, 2007)

Michael Barker, An Accurate and Fair Critique of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (GLW # 725, 22 September 2007)

(14) Nonviolence in the Service of Imperialism - Michael Barker

Swans Commentary »

June 30, 2008

Sharp Reflection Warranted

Nonviolence in the Service of Imperialism

by Michael Barker

"In the control of scholarship by wealth, it is neither necessary nor desirable that professors hold a certain orientation because they receive a grant. The important thing is that they receive the grant because they hold the orientation." (David Horowitz, 1969)

(Swans - June 30, 2008) On June 27, 2008, Professor Stephen Zunes penned a commentary piece for Foreign Policy In Focus, a US-based group that describes itself as a "Think Tank Without Walls" which seeks to "make the United States a more responsible global partner." The title of Zunes's article was "Sharp Attack Unwarranted," and within this article he outlined why he considered recent criticisms of Gene Sharp's Albert Einstein Institution (emanating from progressive media outlets) to be baseless. Having personally debated Zunes about his uncritical support of the related activities of the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict -- within the online pages of the Australian-based Green Left Weekly -- I was not surprised by his most recent defense of the Albert Einstein Institution.

To summarize Zunes's basic argument: he suggests that progressives challenging US foreign policy -- which he falsely equates to President Bush's foreign policy, not imperialism more generally -- have failed to "distinguish between the very real manifestations of US imperialism and conspiratorial fantasies." These apparent fantasies are, however, based in reality, and in my mind have in large part been fueled by the Albert Einstein Institutions long history of obtaining funding from key parts of the US power elite. This is something that Zunes alludes to within his article, as he notes how (many years ago) the Albert Einstein Institution "received a couple of small grants from the congressionally funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) to translate some of Gene Sharp's theoretical writings." This information is no secret (for example, see their online annual reports), but nevertheless in December 2007, the Albert Einstein Institution's executive director, Jamila Raqib, wrote that: "The allegation of funding and support for the Albert Einstein Institution from... any... government body, is categorically false." Something is clearly amiss here.

... {visit the link to see the rest}

(15) Iran & Libya regimes cannot be defended; Soros' International Crisis Group doing no harm - Jeffrey Blankfort

From: Jeffrey Blankfort <> Date: 21.02.2011 10:42 AM Subject: Re: Arab/Iran revolts orchestrated by Washington? partly Yes, partly No

That Soros and Clinton are applauding the protesting Iranians has no impact on those protests, believe me, and the harsh crackdown by the regime cannot be defended. They are very different people. Iran clearly does not tolerate political dissent and needs to be criticized if we are not to ourselves to be criticized for having double standards.The situation in Libya is even worse where Kadafi, whose anti-Zionism has been mostly lip service, has imported Sub-Saharan mercenaries to kill his people. He deserves to be toppled. He has served American interests in his own way since coming to power, providing a needed bogeyman for Washington while doing nothing serious to oppose its policies. In fact, the London Observer carried a long two part series in 1973, describing how the US had prevented a coup against the colonel. Then, you may remember, he hired a former US army sergeant Ed Wilson to train his palace guard and got approval for it from the CIA. Sy Hersh wrote about it in the NYT. During a critical moment in the US campaign against the Contras when Washington had sent 8000 US national guardsmen to Honduras, the first such action on the part of the US, Kadafi conveniently diverted attention from that story by shooting down two US planes over the Gulf of Sidra and the national guard story disappeared from the headlines.

I don't have the same problems with Soros as does almost everyone else. The Zionists and the neocons really hate him because he is not a Zionist and gives none of his bucks to Zionist causes. The closest he came was the several hundred thousand he gave to J Street believing it was going to be a genuine counter to AIPAC. I have seen no evidence of the International Crisis Group doing anything negative in any of the areas where it is active. An old friend who was and remains a solid supporter of the Palestinian cause was working its Iraq desk and every time I saw him quoted and heard him interviewed--and I did so myself for my radio program--he was on point.

Soros seems to me to be a very wealthy man who has made billions as a finance capitalist (as opposed to a corporate variety that exploits workers) and is seriously trying to create a system which might be described as democratic transparent capitalism. I was long one of those who was suspicious of him but mots recently I have had to ask mayself why?


Comment on Tiananmen Square 1989 - Peter Myers, March 6, 2011

I spent three weeks in Yunnan Province in January 1987, during which I went to the "English Corner" in Kunming one evening.

Every city had an "English Corner", where young Chinese gathered to practise their English.

In Kunming, it was on the footpath outside the Greenlake Hotel, 2 nights a week (at 7.30, I recall). The third secretary of the Chinese Embassy in Port Moresby had told me about it.

Kunming was one of seven cities in China where demonstrations had been held (about 2 years before Tiananmen 1989). As a result, the security forces were touchy, and monitored contact with foreigners.

About 40 Chinese in their 20s & 30s were there, and soon I had about 10 around me.

I was amazed that a number of the young Chinese had American accents, even though they had never been outside China. "It's from listening to Voice of America", they explained.

That is the real source of the Tiananmen uprising. Those young people were courageous, but misled.

I sympathise with the students. But, although they were courageous, they were unaware of the New World Order & Trotskyist forces in the West, which would have destroyed China as they destroyed Russia after 1991, if the government had fallen.


State Department, NED, Soros & CIA links to "regime change" dissidents in Belarus, MidEast: nonviolence-State-link.html.

Write to me at contact.html.