Archives

NED | National Endowment for Democracy

WikiLeaks’ Quito Cables Show How US Worked Against Correa

Green Left Weekly

September 8, 2014
By Linda Pearson
President Rafael Correa in Otavalo in northern Ecuador in 2011. Cables show the US embassy ‘warned our political, economic, and media contacts of the threat Correa represents to Ecuador’s future’ ahead of the 2006 elections. Photo by Miguel Romero via Wikipedia.

In the months leading up to Ecuador’s October 2006 presidential election, the US Embassy in Quito claimed to be impartial.

Rather than supporting one particular candidate, then-US ambassador Linda Jewell said the embassy only wanted to help facilitate “a fair and transparent electoral process”.

However, diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks show that behind the rhetoric of “democracy promotion”, the embassy sought to stop the election of “dark horse populist, anti-American candidate Rafael Correa”.

Correa’s support for a Citizens’ Revolution did not accord with the US’s vision for Ecuador. The US Embassy in Quito had worked to undermine Correa during his brief term as finance minister in 2005.

In an August 2006 cable entitled “Ecuador Election: What’s at Stake”, Jewell wrote: “While none of the candidates will return the bilateral relationship to the halcyon days when then-president-elect Lucio Gutierrez declared himself our ‘strongest ally in Latin America’, none of the top contenders would affect USG interests as thoroughly as Rafael Correa.”

Gutierrez may have been loved by the US government, but opposition to his neoliberal policies led to his overthrow in a popular uprising in 2005.

Opposing Correa

In regard to Correa, the embassy was specifically concerned about his promise to “cut off his hand before signing a renewal” of the US lease on the forward operating military base at Manta.

The embassy also judged that Correa was the “candidate most likely to get run out of office”, as he had promised to confront Ecuador’s unpopular Congress and powerful political parties.

However, the ambassador wrote, Correa “has staked out his harshest positions on economic issues, and his election would derail any hope for more harmonious commercial relations with the United States”.

Correa had promised to break with the neoliberal policies of his predecessors. Instead, he called for a more regulated economy and government control over the exploitation of Ecuador’s oil resources.

Moreover, he had said he would relegate the idea of a free trade agreement with the US “to the trashcan of history”.

The ambassador wrote: “We would expect Correa to eagerly seek to join the Chavez-Morales-Kirchner group of nationalist-populist South American leaders.”

A cable from November 2005 entitled “Ecuador Elections, One Year Out”, laid out the Embassy’s strategy to influence the presidential elections.

The cable cautioned that because of “political sensitivities” to US interference, “it would be neither politically wise nor programmatically effective to invest significant USAID resources in public presidential debates or other high-profile activities”.

Covert interference

An “election working group” had been formed by staff from the Embassy and USAID to come up with a more suitable strategy.

The embassy planned to “Monitor presidential campaigns for effects on USG interests, and build relationships with major presidential candidates and staffs”. Over the next year, embassy officials met frequently with Ecuadorian political parties, business leaders and academics to share views on the election and the prospects of a Correa victory.

Cables from this period variously described Correa as a “brash leftist ‘outsider’”, “a stalking-horse for Chavez” and a “disaster for Ecuador’s development prospects”.

To “encourage sound economic policies”, the November cable suggested “sponsoring forums for candidates to participate in to discuss economic issues/policies”.

The cable also suggested that “Focusing USG efforts on promoting voter education and public awareness about congressional candidates could help encourage Ecuadorians to elect more effective and responsible representatives”.

Several cables emphasised the importance of trying to influence Ecuador’s “lower classes”. Poorer Ecuadorians, according to the ambassador, “by virtue of their numbers, will select Ecuador’s next government at the polls in October”.

She suggested that “effective Embassy outreach to the lowest classes could conceivably help blunt the appeal of anti-American candidates”.

In August 2006, the ambassador wrote, “there are few signs that Ecuadorians or their candidates understand the dangers of supporting ‘populist politicians who promise magic solutions that haven’t worked anywhere.’

“We will be alert to signs that Ecuador’s poorest voters break toward Correa in the final weeks of the campaign.”

Another cable written by the ambassador said the US planned to spend a total of US$884,000 on the presidential elections. This included $384,000 to “fund civil society civic education and debates and monitor campaign spending”.

A further $300,000 was allocated to fund “domestic observation and quick counts”, and $200,000 to Ecuador’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal.

According to its website, the US Congress-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) spent more than $1 million in Ecuador in 2006.

The largest portion of this, $350,000, was allocated to the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. It was to provide “technical assistance” to Ecuador’s “largest and most representative political parties”, which opposed Correa.

The NED was founded during the Cold War in 1983 to give the veneer of legitimacy to “political operations” previously carried out secretly by the CIA.

While claiming to be “dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world”, the group is better known for destabilising democratically elected government that threaten US interests.

Recent examples include the Ukraine, where NED projects helped foment opposition to ousted President Viktor Yanukovych.

Backing Noboa

Concern over avoiding a backlash against open interference in Ecuador’s presidential election did not stop the US Embassy trying to work against Correa behind the scenes.

In August 2006, the ambassador wrote: “Beyond supporting a clean electoral process … we have few levers to influence Ecuadorian voters. Ecuador’s media elite is hyper-sensitive to perceived internal meddling, so overt attempts to influence voter decisions is fraught with risk.

“Privately, however, we have warned our political, economic, and media contacts of the threat Correa represents to Ecuador’s future, and have actively discouraged potential alliances which could balance Correa’s perceived radicalism.”

In October 2006, banana billionaire Alvaro Noboa won the first round of voting with 27% of the vote. Correa came second with 23%, followed by Gutierrez’s brother, Gilmar Gutierrez.

US diplomats tried to persuade the Gutierrez brothers and their Patriotic Society Party to back “right-of-center alternative” Noboa in the second round run-off, in order to defeat Correa.

In contrast to Correa, Noboa promised that if elected he would sign a free trade agreement with the United States and would not seek enhanced relations with Venezuela or Cuba.

Noboa also said he would negotiate a settlement with US oil company Occidental Petroleum, whose contract had been terminated and assets repossessed by the outgoing Palacio administration in May 2006.

The US ambassador met with the Gutierrez brothers on October 30 to “gauge potential Patriotic Society Party (PSP) support for Alvaro Noboa’s candidacy”.

According to a cable about the meeting, the ambassador warned the Gutierrez brothers that “a Noboa victory, while possible, was by no means a certainty” and a “Correa victory would threaten progress made under the Gutierrez government to put Ecuador’s economy on a solid footing”.

The cable reported that the ambassador had told Lucio Gutierrez that he could “protect this legacy by helping Noboa consolidate his lead in the polls, and break the cycle of political instability Gutierrez fell prey to by working together in the new Congress”.

The embassy’s deputy chief of mission added that the Gutierrez brothers “could make an enormous contribution by helping to counter Correa rhetoric and educate voters about the benefits of market-based economic principles and the FTA with the U.S.; PSP interests were clearly more aligned with Noboa”.

However, US overtures were to no avail. The Gutierrez brothers, according to the embassy, were too “consumed with their revenge agenda”.

Lucio Gutierrez was demanding legal action be taken against those who deposed his government in exchange for his party’s support in the second round of voting. According to the cables Noboa publicly agreed to this but refused to include Palacio among those to be prosecuted. This left the Gutierrez brothers feeling “miffed”, and they ultimately declined to endorse either Noboa or Correa.

 

 

[This article is the third of an ongoing series exploring diplomatic cables from the US Embassy in Ecuador published by WikiLeaks. The articles are based on about 1000 cables that have mostly not been reported on in English before.]

 

Undermining Democracy Abroad

Public Good Project

May 23, 2014

by Jay Taber

propaganda

Mass consciousness regarding the abuse of power by the U.S. Government, now in the news thanks to Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, has mostly focused on agencies that spy on innocent people using warrantless wiretaps and email intercepts. While these abuses by the National Security Agency and the Department of Justice are sometimes used against US citizens who challenge U.S. policy on such topics as imperial wars and corruption of governance by Wall Street, they are also used against elected U.S. officials, foreign diplomats, and United Nations personnel. As electronic data collection by commercial data brokers and identity theft criminals increasingly becomes a nuisance and menace, communications monitoring by the U.S. Government threatens free speech, peaceful assembly and the ability of civil society to hold government accountable.

Since the 1960s, the abuse of power by U.S. agencies like the FBI and CIA has become common knowledge. Their involvement in undermining the Civil Rights Movement at home and the human rights movement abroad is well-documented. Less well-known is the involvement of the U.S. State Department in the undermining of democracy abroad, through such programs like the National Endowment for Democracy, US Aid for International Development, and the United States Institute of Peace.

Personifying these fraudulent programs operating out of U.S. embassies in places like Bolivia, Libya and the Ukraine, is former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Armitage — who served at the State and Defense departments under George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush — is perhaps best known for leaking the identity of CIA secret agent Valerie Plame as retribution for her husband U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s contribution to the exposure of the fraudulent weapons of mass destruction rationale for the invasion of Iraq. While the yellowcake scandal was overshadowed by the Plame affair, it pointed to the systematic deception used by the State Department to justify overthrowing foreign governments.

The Dirty Hand of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in Venezuela

Postcards from the Revolution

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

By Eva Golinger

USAID NED

Anti-government protests in Venezuela that seek regime change have been led by several individuals and organizations with close ties to the US government. Leopoldo Lopez and Maria Corina Machado- two of the public leaders behind the violent protests that started in February – have long histories as collaborators, grantees and agents of Washington. The National Endowment for Democracy “NED” and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) have channeled multi-million dollar funding to Lopez’s political parties Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular, and Machado’s NGO Sumate and her electoral campaigns.

These Washington agencies have also filtered more than $14 million to opposition groups in Venezuela between 2013 and 2014, including funding for their political campaigns in 2013 and for the current anti-government protests in 2014. This continues the pattern of financing from the US government to anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela since 2001, when millions of dollars were given to organizations from so-called “civil society” to execute a coup d’etat against President Chavez in April 2002. After their failure days later, USAID opened an Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) in Caracas to, together with the NED, inject more than $100 million in efforts to undermine the Chavez government and reinforce the opposition during the following 8 years.

At the beginning of 2011, after being publically exposed for its grave violations of Venezuelan law and sovereignty, the OTI closed its doors inVenezuela and USAID operations were transferred to its offices in the US. The flow of money to anti-government groups didn’t stop, despite the enactment by Venezuela’s National Assembly of the Law of Political Sovereignty and NationalSelf-Determination at the end of 2010, which outright prohibits foreign funding of political groups in the country. US agencies and the Venezuelan groups that receive their money continue to violate the law with impunity. In the Obama Administration’s Foreign Operations Budgets, between $5-6 million have been included to fund opposition groups in Venezuela through USAID since 2012.

Matthew McClearn of the Canadian Business Magazine Attacks Eritrea – White Washes Slavery

In Depth Africa, Zimbabwe

April 30, 2014

By Sophia Tesfamariam,

Who is this Matthew McClearn and what is it that he presumes to know about Eritrea, the people and leadership? Labeling their hard work and sacrifice as “slavery”, a term used only by those who want to white wash slavery and all that it entails, says more about him than it does about Eritrea or her people.

http://www.tesfanews.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/the-slaves-of-eritrea.jpg

The gallant Eritrean young men and women are not slaves and should never be labeled as such-by anyone, least of all by those responsible for the decades long pain and suffering of the Eritrean people.

WHEN an acquaintance at the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry sent me an advance copy of the article, “The Slaves of Eritrea”, written by Matthew McClearn for the Canadian Business Magazine (understand he also sent a copy to the Canadian Embassy in Ethiopia), I did not find anything new… at least not something worth sharing. My acquaintance labeled the journalist as another “dedeb ferenji” – dumb foreigner – taken for a ride by the Woyane regime. I disagree with that label. I believe Matthew McClearn knew what he was writing and should be held to account by “every tax-paying Canadian citizen”.

The article’s intentions are transparent and McClearn is certainly not doing this because he gives a hoot about Eritrea’s youth, rather, he seems to be doing the bidding on behalf of the minority regime in Ethiopia and others who are intent on vilifying the government of Eritrea and its people for ulterior political agendas.

It should be recalled that a recent document leaked by from the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry calls for an increase in anti-Eritrea propaganda and activities to strengthen the illegal sanctions against Eritrea. Eritrea’s mining sector has been targeted by the regime in Ethiopia and its handlers who have left no stones unturned to stop its development. McClearn attempts to use unsuspecting “tax paying Canadian citizens” to do its bidding by claiming they are profiting from “slavery in a far off land”.

Philippines: The NED, the NGOs and the CIA

Manila Standard Today

April 12 (Part 1) , April 26 (Part 2)

By Rod Kapunan

 

ned

 

Part One

William Blum, the author of the book, “Rogue State,”  said that while the object of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in the post Cold War era has  been relegated to history, many  are not inclined to believe that subversion has lost its relevance.  Rather, it has only been redirected at overthrowing governments that refuse to tow the line gleaned from the  NED’s slogan of “Supporting Freedom Around the World.”

Here in the Philippines, the so-called restoration  of freedom saw the popping out like mushrooms of local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with the newly-created CIA front called “NED” leading in guiding the government it  installed to power.   The CIA too had to shed off some of its  covert activities by making itself “transparent.”   Through the NED, local NGOs openly collaborated with the government it held by the noose, with each having a specialized task to “motivate” people in the various sectors of civil society.

As Blum observed:  “In a multitude of ways, NED meddles in the internal affairs of foreign countries by supplying funds, technical know-how, training, educational materials, computers, fax machines, copiers, automobiles and so on, to selected political groups, civic organizations, labor unions, dissident movements, student groups, book publishers, newspapers, other media, etc. NED programs generally impart the basic philosophy that working people and other citizens are best served under a system of free enterprise, class cooperation, collective bargaining, minimal government intervention in the economy and opposition to socialism in any shape or form. A free market economy is equated with democracy, reform and growth, and the merits of foreign investment are emphasized.”

Raíces Desestabilizadoras de FF AA de EE UU en Ecuador [1]

Descubriendo Verdades
Descubriendo Verdades

Descubriendo Verdades

Descubriendo Verdades

viernes, 25 de abril de 2014

by Percy Francisco Alvarado Godoy

Percy Francisco Alvarado Godoy

http://fotos.lahora.com.ec/cache/0/06/06b/06b8/tramite--todos-deben-hacerse-personalmente-en-la-embajada---20110923055435-06b89c429942c103937294df7836a719.jpg

BBC ha divulgado que el gobierno ecuatoriano solicitó formalmente a la embajada de Estados Unidos en Quito, el retiro de los integrantes de la Oficina de Cooperación de Seguridad de dicha sede diplomática.

Casi de inmediato, el vocero de la sede diplomática, Jeffrey Weinshenker, esclareció que el plazo concedido es hasta fines de abril, justificando que, aunque respeta la decisión del gobierno de Correa, la cooperación brindada ha servido para avanzar “en la lucha contra el tráfico de drogas, el tráfico de seres humanos, el terrorismo y otros delitos transnacionales”.

Correa siempre ha visto con recelo la presencia en estos momentos de hasta 50 militares USA en su país, lo que manifestó desde enero pasado. Aunque la embajada quiere disminuir la presencia de este numeroso grupo de agentes desestabilizadores, lo cierto es que existen fuertes antecedentes de injerencia norteamericana dentro del Ecuador y la vinculación de la embajada USA en complots para derrocar al gobierno.

Pierre Omidyar Co-funded Ukraine Revolution Groups With US Government, Documents Show

Pando

February 28, 2014

By Mark Ames

Just hours after last weekend’s ouster of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, one of Pierre Omidyar’s newest hires at national security blog “The Intercept,” was already digging for the truth.

Marcy Wheeler, who is the new site’s “senior policy analyst,” speculated that the Ukraine revolution was likely a “coup” engineered by “deep” forces on behalf of “Pax Americana”:

“There’s quite a bit of evidence of coup-ness. Q is how many levels deep interference from both sides is.”

These are serious claims. So serious that I decided to investigate them. And what I found was shocking.

Wheeler is partly correct. Pando has confirmed that the American government – in the form of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) – played a major role in funding opposition groups prior to the revolution. Moreover, a large percentage of the rest of the funding to those same groups came from a US billionaire who has previously worked closely with US government agencies to further his own business interests. This was by no means a US-backed “coup,” but clear evidence shows that US investment was a force multiplier for many of the groups involved in overthrowing Yanukovych.

But that’s not the shocking part.

What’s shocking is the name of the billionaire who co-invested with the US government (or as Wheeler put it: the “dark deep force” acting on behalf of “Pax Americana”).

Step out of the shadows…. Wheeler’s boss, Pierre Omidyar.

Yes, in the annals of independent media, this might be the strangest twist ever: According to financial disclosures and reports seen by Pando, the founder and publisher of Glenn Greenwald’s government-bashing blog,“The Intercept,” co-invested with the US government to help fund regime change in Ukraine.

WATCH: ‘Democracy Projects’ Are Not Democratic: The Case of Ukraine & Russia

LPAC TV

Video published on Feb 20, 2014

The recent gaffe of Victoria Nuland being caught using her post in the U.S. State Department to push a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi into the presidency of Ukraine reveals a far more contemptible role being played by leading transatlantic forces, desperate to bring Eurasia under its control for its own political/economic survival.

Greenbacks for Blue Buckets: USAID Support for Instability in Russia

Strategic Culture Foundation

January 13, 2014

By Wayne Madsen

One «themed revolution», for which the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and its allied operatives of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the George Soros Open Society Institute have become so infamous, went virtually unnoticed in the English language Western media.

In 2010, anti-Russian government provocateurs, financed by Western non-governmental organizations (NGOs), staged a number of protests featuring plastic blue buckets. The buckets were meant to symbolize the portable flashing blue lights, known in Russian as migalki, used atop many vehicles for Russian VIPs, including government officials and private businessmen.

The themed blue bucket protests were directly linked to the «pro-democracy» activities of USAID in Russia. American-backed provocateurs began placing blue buckets on top of their cars to mock the use of blue lights by officials. In response, three parties represented in the State Duma, United Russia, A Just Russia, and the Liberal Democratic Party, proposed a bill to crack down on the use of the blue buckets by protesters who were intent on causing traffic problems, sometimes resulting in vehicle accidents.

U.S. NGO support for the «blue bucket» revolution preceded by a year the nomination by President Barack Obama of anti-Russian activist Michael McFaul as the U.S. ambassador to Russia. McFaul began his tenure in Moscow by opening up the U.S. embassy to all sorts of anti-Russian political activists, provocateurs, and troublemakers.

Emasculation of the African with Awards, Grants and Prizes

From where I sit

October 25, 2013

by Sophia Tesfamariam

Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image above: “This past weekend, Hillary Clinton hailed Banda for taking charge in introducing economic reform. Banda passed an austerity budget permitting, Kwacha (Malawi’s currency), to devalue by about 49 percent in order for the IMF to loan it $156.2 million to help the country meet its payments. Clinton also promised to spend over $46 million in the coming three years in the agricultural sector.” “Malawi’s Activists Turned Politicians”, August 7, 2012

 

Iam always amazed at how much time and energy is spent by those of European decent discussing “Africa’s development”. Birgit Brock-Utne, an astute European educator of Norwegian origin, wrote the following in her book[1] about those who insist on preaching to Africa about development:

“… when Europeans came to Africa toward the turn of the fifteenth century, they found a prosperous civilization and enormous wealth. Agriculture and cattle rearing, iron-work, pottery, fishery, salt-mining, gold refining and ornament making, weaving, hunting, and long-distance trading were well advanced at a time and Europe was still relatively backward…From the fifteenth century on, however, the fate of the two continents reversed….Africa stagnated for over three centuries as a direct result of slavery and colonial conquests. This part of global history, for the sake of maintaining a correct historical perspective on Africa and Europe, must always be kept in mind when looking at the contemporary African situation…The bulk of the African people fought heroically against the imposition of slavery and colonialism, though there were some Africans who collaborated with the white slave-hunters and colonialists as well…”

History of post-colonial Africa is replete with shameful stories of African collaborators who worked to undermine the progress and development of their own peoples. The west’s “divide and rule” tactics resulted in intractable conflicts, destruction and devastation of Africa, leaving its people at the mercy of the neo-cons and their political and economic systems that have sustained poverty through poverty perpetuating programs. The Structural Adjustment Programs of the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) are an example.

Protesta Popular Triunfa contra Presión de EEUU en Paraguay y Destituyen a Gloria Rubin

Blogueros y Corresponsales de la Revolución

publicado por Luis Agüero Wagner

el agosto 12, 2013

Una fuerte protesta popular y de toda la sociedad paraguaya finalmente se impuso a las presiones de la embajada norteamericana, y el presidente electo Horacio Cartes decidió destituir a la polémica Ministra de la Mujer Gloria Rubin.

REFLECTION: APRIL 11, 2002 | Venezuela: Coup and Countercoup, Revolution

Above: 11 avril 2002: le coup d’Etat a commencé, les rues de Caracas s’embrasent.

PRESIDENT CHAVEZ RETURNS TO THE PRESIDENTIAL PALACE IN CARACAS.

Above: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (C) salutes on arrival at the Miraflores palace April 14, 2002.

“Hugo Chávez Frías has been the recognizable face of the global anti-imperialist movement, inspiring revolution when the elites said history had ended. Venezuela and Comandante Chávez instead made new history, in the face of neoliberal exploiters and interventionists, showing the rest of us outside Venezuela how much more we can and should do, besides resigning ourselves to occasional protests. Chávez’s anti-imperialism was consistent, coherent, and a powerful body of thought and practice that resisted intimidation and appropriation. Where the left has been vanquished, tamed, or misdirected in so many parts of the global North, Chávez was a reminder that we can draw fresh ideas from the answers provided by the South. I will always love Hugo Chávez, I will always miss him, he will never be forgotten. Thank you beloved Venezuela for your great gift to the world!” – El regalo revolucionario de Venezuela para todo el Mundo, Maximilian Forte, March 17, 2013 [Sources: Encircling Empire | Mensaje a Chávez]

Let us take a moment to reflect.

Postcards from the Revolution

April 11, 2010

by Eva Golinger

Venezuela commemorated the eighth year anniversary of the coup d’etat backed by Washington that changed the bolivarian revolution forever

In just 47 hours, a coup d’etat ousted President Chavez and a countercoup returned him to power, in an extraordinary showing of the will and determination of a dignified people on a revolutionary path with no return. The mass media played a major role in advancing the coup and spreading false information internationally in order to justify the coup plotters’ actions. CIA documents revealed US government involvement and support to the coup organizers.

When Hugo Chavez was elected President in 1998, the Clinton administration maintained a « wait and see » policy. Venezuela had been a faithful servant to US interests throughout the twentieth century, and despite the rhetoric of revolution spoken by President Chavez, few in Washington believed changed was imminent.

But after Chavez followed through on his first and principal campaign promise, to initiate a Constitutional Assembly and redraft the nation’s magna carta, everything began to change.

The new Constitution was written and ratified by the people of Venezuela, in an extraordinary demonstration of participatory democracy. Throughout the nation in early 1999, all Venezuelans were invited to aid in the creation of what would become one of the most advanced constitutions in the world in the area of human rights. The draft text of 350 articles, which included a chapter dedicated to indigenous peoples’ rights, along with the rights to housing, healthcare, education, nutrition, work, fair wages, equality, recreation, culture, and a redistribution of the oil industry production and profit, was ratified by national referendum towards the end of 1999 by more than 70% of voters.

Elections were immediately convened under the new constitutional structure, and Chavez won again with an even larger majority, around 56%. Once in office in 2000, laws were implemented to guarantee the new rights accorded in the Constitution, and interests were affected. Venezuela assumed the presidency of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), with oil at approximately $7 USD a barrel. Quickly, under Venezuela’s leadership, which sought to benefit oil producing nations and not those supplied, oil rose to more than $25 USD a barrel. Washington was uneasy with these changes, but still was « waiting to see » how far the changes would go.

Changes Washington Disapproved

In 2001, the Bolivarian Revolution proposed by President Chavez began to take form. The oil industry was in the process of being restructured, hydrocarbons laws were passed that would allow for a redistribution of oil profits and Chavez was recuperating an industry – nationalized in 1976 – that was on the path to privatization. An opposition began to grow internally in Venezuela, primarily composed of the economic and political elite that ruled the country throughout the prior 40 years, now unhappy with the real changes taking effect. Aligned with those interests were the owners of Venezuela’s media outlets – television, radio and print, which belonged to the old oligarchy in the country.

In early 2001, President Chavez attended the Summit of the Americas meeting in Quebec, Canada. By now, Washington had undergone its own changes and George W. Bush had moved into the White House. President Bush also was present at the meeting in Quebec, and there announced the US plan to expand free trade throughout the Americas – the Free Trade of the Americas Act (FTAA). Hugo Chavez was the only head of state at the summit to oppose Washington’s plan. It was the first showing of his « insubordination » to US agenda.

Later that year, after the devastating and tragic attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, Washington began a bombing campaign in Afghanistan. President Chavez publicly declared the bombing of Afghanistan and the killing of innocent women and children as an act of terror. « This is fighting terror with more terror » he declared on national television in October 2001. The declaration produced Washington’s first official response.

US Ambassador to Caracas at the time, Donna Hrinak, paid a visit to Chavez in the presidential palace shortly after. During her encounter with the Venezuelan President, she proceeded to read a letter from Washington, demanding Chavez publicly retract his statement about Afghanistan. The Venezuelan head of state declined the request and informed the US Ambassador that Venezuela was now a sovereign state, no longer subordinate to US power.

Hrinak was recalled to Washington and a new ambassador was sent to Venezuela, an expert in coup d’etats.

Washington Organizes the Coup

As Washington’s concern grew over the changes taken place in Venezuela, and the insubordination of the Venezuelan President, business groups and powerful interests inside Venezuela began to contemplate Chavez’s removal. Those running the state-owned oil company, PDVSA, were adamant to defend their positions and control over the company, as well as their mass profits, which instead of being invested in the country were being coveted in the oil executives’ pockets.

A US entity, created by US Congress in 1983 and overseen by the State Department, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), began to channel hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups inside Venezuela to help consolidate the opposition movement and make plans for the coup. School of the Americas-trained Venezuelan military officers began to coordinate with their US counterparts to organize Chavez’s ouster. And the US Embassy in Caracas, with the recently arrived Ambassador Charles Shapiro, was helping to put the final touches on the coup d’etat.

« The right man for the right time » in Venezuela, said an Embassy cable sent to Washington in December 2001, referring to Pedro Carmona, the head of Venezuela’s Chamber of Commerce, Fedecamaras. Carmona was signaled out as the « president-to-be » after the coup succeeded. That December 2001, oil industry executives led a strike, and called for Chavez’s resignation. Their furor began to grow in early 2002 and by March, the strikes and protests against President Chavez were almost a daily occurrence.

The NED quadrupled its funding to Venezuelan groups, such as Fedecamaras and the CTV labor federation, along with a series of NGOs plotting Chavez’s ouster. A State Department cable from the first week of March 2002 claimed « Another piece falls in to place » and applauded the opposition’s efforts to finally create a plan for a transitional government : « With much fanfare, the Venezuelan great and good assembled on March 5 in Caracas’ Esmeralda Auditorium to hear representatives of the Confederation of Venezuelan Workers (CTV), the Federation of Business Chambers (Fedecamaras) and the Catholic Church present their ‘Bases for a Democratic Accord’, ten principles on which to guide a transitional government ».

Soon after, a March 11, 2002 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) top secret brief, partially declassified by Jeremy Bigwood and Eva Golinger through investigations using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), revealed a coup plot underway in Venezuela. « The opposition has yet to organize itself into a united front. If the situation further deteriorates and demonstrations become even more violent…the military may move to overthrow him ».

Yet another CIA top secret brief from April 6, 2002, just five days before the coup, outlined the detailed plans of how the events would unravel, « Conditions Ripening for Coup Attempt…Dissident military factions, including some disgruntled senior officers and a group of radical junior officers, are stepping up efforts to organize a coup against President Chavez, possibly as early as this month…The level of detail in the reported plans…targets Chavez and 10 other senior officials for arrest…To provoke military action, the plotters may try to exploit unrest stemming from opposition demonstrations slated for later this month… ».

A Corporate-Media-Military Affair

National papers in Venezuela headlined on April 10-11, 2002 that the « Final battle will be in Miraflores », the Venezuelan presidential palace, hinting that the media knew the coup was underway. That April 11, a rally began at the PDVSA headquarters in Eastern Caracas. The rally turned into a march of several hundred thousand people protesting against President Chavez and calling violently for his ouster. Those leading the rally, the presidents of the CTV, Fedecamaras and several high level military officers who had already declared rebellion just a day before, directed the marchers towards the presidential palace, despite not having authorization for the route.

Meanwhile, outside the presidential palace, Chavez supporters had gathered to support their President and protect the area from the violent opposition marchers on the way. But before the opposition march even reached the palace or the area near the pro-Chavez rally, shots were fired and blood began to spill in both the pro- and anti-Chavez demonstrations. Snipers had been placed strategically on the buildings in downtown Caracas and had open fired on the people below.

Pro-Chavez supporters on the bridge right next to the palace, Puente Llaguno, fired back at the snipers, and the metropolitan police forces, who were firing at them. A Venevision camera crew, positioned near the pro-Chavez rally, took images of the firefight and quickly returned to the studio to edit the material and produce a breaking news story showing the pro-Chavez supporters firing guns with a voice-over stating they were firing on « peaceful opposition protestors ». The images were rapidly reproduced and repeated over and over again on Venezuelan national television to justify calls for Chavez’s removal. The manipulated images were later shown around the world and used to blame President Chavez for the dozens of deaths that occurred that April 11, 2002. The truth didn’t come out until after the dust had settled and the coup was defeated. The television crew had been told to take the footage and manipulate it, under direct orders from Gustavo Cisneros, owner of Venevision and a variety of other media conglomerates and companies, and also the wealthiest man in Venezuela.

The high military command turned on President Chavez and took him into custody. He was taken to a military base on an island off Venezuela’s coast, where he was either to be assassinated or sent to Cuba. Meanwhile, the « right man for the right time » in Venezuela, Pedro Carmona – designated by Washington, swore himself in as President on April 12, 2002, and proceeded to read a decree dissolving all of Venezuela’s democratic institutions.

Counter-Coup and Revolution

As the Venezuelan people awoke to television networks claiming « Good morning Venezuela, we have a new president » and applauding the violent coup that had occurred a day earlier, resistance began to grow. Once the « Carmona Decree » was issued, Venezuelans saw their worst fears coming true – a return to the repressive governments of the past that excluded and mistreated the majority of people in the country. And Chavez was absent, no one knew where he was.

Between April 12-13, Venezuelans began pouring into the streets of Caracas, demanding a return of President Chavez and an ouster of the coup leaders. Meanwhile, the Bush administration had already issued a statement recognizing the coup government and calling on other nations to do the same.

But the coup resistance grew to millions of people, flooding the areas surrounding the presidential palace, and the presidential guard, still loyal to Chavez, moved to retake the palace. Word of the resistance reached military barracks throughout the country, and one in Maracay, outside of Caracas, acted quickly to locate and rescue Chavez and return him to the presidential palace.

By the early morning hours of April 14, Chavez had returned, brought back by the will and power of the Venezuelan people and the loyal armed forces.

These events changed Venezuela forever and awoke the consciousness of many who had underestimated the importance and vulnerability of their Revolution.

[Eva Golinger, winner of the International Award for Journalism in Mexico (2009), named “La Novia de Venezuela” by President Hugo Chávez, is an Attorney and Writer from New York, living in Caracas, Venezuela since 2005 and author of the best-selling books, “The Chávez Code: Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela” (2006 Olive Branch Press), “Bush vs. Chávez: Washington’s War on Venezuela” (2007, Monthly Review Press), “The Empire’s Web: Encyclopedia of Interventionism and Subversion”, “La Mirada del Imperio sobre el 4F: Los Documentos Desclasificados de Washington sobre la rebelión militar del 4 de febrero de 1992” and “La Agresión Permanente: USAID, NED y CIA”. Since 2003, Eva, a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and CUNY Law School in New York, has been investigating, analyzing and writing about US intervention in Venezuela using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain information about US Government efforts to undermine progressive movements in Latin America. ]

Essential Viewing: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – Chavez: Inside the Coup

 “We do not need to look for the bronze or marble, because Chavez, the statesman and military figure who roars, laughs, sings and smiles, is sculpted in living flesh into the skins of all colors, in the hair of all textures, and in the bones of all the Venezuelans that he liberated”–Roy Chaderton, Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the OAS

Capital-driven Civil Society

john-d-rockefeller

Originally published on State of Nature, May 19, 2008.

Republished by Michael Barker with additional links.

by Michael Barker

“It is the more subtle support that democracy manipulators provide to progressive activist organizations that are the most important yet least understood part of their activities.”

According to, the once progressive, now neo-conservative commentator, David Horowitz, Professor Stephen Zunes is a member of a select group of leftist activists that he refers to as The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America (2006). Horowitz is infamous for co-founding the Center for the Study of Popular Culture – which has been ominously renamed as the David Horowitz Freedom Center. More recently though, in 2005, this Center launched DiscoverTheNetworks, an online project that has been accurately referred to as “Horowitz’s Smear Portal”. The relevance of this background is found in the fact that I have also assessed Zunes’ connections to the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict (where he chairs the board of academic advisors). While both I and Horowitz have criticised Zunes’ background and affiliations, needless to say Horowitz’s “Smear Portal” attacks Zunes for very different reasons than my own. [1] Nonetheless, it is interesting to note that DiscoverTheNetworks approach to investigating Zunes is very similar to my own, as it identifies the “individuals and organizations that make up the left and also the institutions that fund and sustain it”. The crucial difference, between these two parallel analyses, however, is that I criticise the Left in an attempt to strengthen it by causing it to reflect on the elite manipulation and co-option of civil society, while DiscoverTheNetworks simply aims to undermine the Left. [2]

Capitalising On Nonviolence

OtporMarch32013

Above image: March 3, 2013: Otpor/Canvas (fist symbol) rears its ugly head in Venezuela. Today’s youth are the oligarchy’s sacrificial lambs.

Massive displays of nonviolent resistance have always been an essential component to challenging oppression successfully. One can only hope that Western citizens will learn from contemporary history and rise up to overthrow the ultra-violent warmongers who manage their countries too, mindful of the fact that nonviolent liberal institutions are routinely complicit in the brutality of the systems they ostensibly criticize. – Michael Barker

Swans Commentary

June 20, 2011

By Michael Barker

Berel Rodal is the founding vice chair of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) — a center that was formed in 2006, ostensibly “as a catalyst to stimulate interest in nonviolent conflict…” Like many peace reformers, members of the ICNC’s cadre of intellectuals are happy to work with a wide variety of institutions, organizations, and groups. This includes peace groups, resistance movements, and — strangely — war academies and intelligence agencies. While their engagement with the latter groups may seem contradictory, teaching peace to leading members of the military-industrial complex is critical to peace advocacy efforts at the ICNC. This is because they aim to change the views of people they disagree with, not just confirm the ideas of those who are already close to their views. Therefore, in this respect, it is fitting that at the peak of his former career Berel Rodal served as the director general of the policy secretariat for Canada’s Department of National Defence and continues to maintain close connections to leading hawks in the US foreign policymaking circles, like, for example, long-time cold warrior Richard Perle (see later). This should not be taken as a demonstration of a massive conspiracy, but is simply evidence that imperial elites are interested in co-opting critical voices.

FLASHBACK 2007 | Hijacking Human Rights | Human Rights Watch

human rights watch logo

August 03, 2007

ZCommunications

by Michael Barker

In our increasingly public relations-driven world, it is of little surprise that cynical political elites regularly use the rhetoric of democracy, peace, and human rights to disguise their overtly anti-humanist policies. Why should we expect less of our leaders in a world where the corporate media wages a relentless war to manufacture our consent for ruling demagogues? Thus it seems a logical assumption that budding mind managers will attempt to pervert the very concepts that their voters/targets hold most dearly. That this doublespeak is rendered invisible in the mainstream media is a given, but the lack of debate about this process in the alternative media is more worrisome.

FLASHBACK | The Velvet Slipper And The Military-Peace Nonprofit Complex

The following excerpts are from the article The Velvet Slipper And The Military-Peace Nonprofit Complex written by Michael Barker. The article in its entirety can be read at Swans Commentary where it was published February 18, 2011.

The political clout of the military-peace nonprofit complex is growing apace, and too many people at home and abroad are in danger of being lulled and then crushed by an oligarchy capable of wearing both the velvet slipper and the iron heel. Such anti-democratic developments hold no surprises to opponents of the oligarchy, but apologists for the velvet slipper who seek to teach anti-democratic intelligence agencies about the power of nonviolent activism must be identified and excluded from further involvement with progressive social movements. A good example that springs to mind is Lester Kurtz, who — in addition to residing on the advisory board of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict — recently responded to an article that challenged the fact that he had given a lecture to the CIA, by “arguing”: “I spoke as an independent academic and in no way as a representative of the ICNC when my government asked me to dialogue with members of its intelligence community. I feel that it is my duty as a citizen to educate others…” and “was glad to give my modest input…” (17)

In his timeless novel The Iron Heel (1907), Jack London was all too aware of John D. Rockefeller and his plutocratic ilk’s desire to crush humanity “under the iron heel of a despotism as relentless and terrible as any despotism that has blackened the pages of the history of man.” Yet London recognized the other dangers that capital posed to an increasingly powerful revolutionary movement, as he warned how the oligarchy complemented their violence against organized labor by providing selective subsidies to conservative unions much as the Rockefeller Foundation went on to do in the wake of the Ludlow Massacre of 1914. (1) But in 1907, when London first published his book, the art of capitalist philanthropy was not fine-tuned, and so if he were writing today, London might well have authored a second book titled The Velvet Slipper.

Editorial: Partners in Crime


Intercontinental Cry

Jan 24, 2013

By Jay Taber

 

With the scandalous abuses of power by US, EU and UN humanitarian agencies over the last dozen years, little attention has been paid to the creation, co-optation and corruption of human rights NGOs that help lay the groundwork for humanitarian intervention using the militaries of NATO to subdue states resistant to US control. Yet, as an increasingly vital element of justifying military aggression for allegedly humanitarian purposes, NGOs like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have become what the Centre for the Study of Interventionism terms partners of the UN Human Rights Council that are in reality, “para-governmental organisations whose goal is to introduce the concept of interventionism in those regions where NATO and its allies want to intervene to pursue their geo-strategic interests.”

Human Rights, Geopolitics and the Union for the Mediterranean

Centre for the Study of Interventionism

Date of publication: 21/05/2012

The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies is a key NGO within the Network and it is also a member of the International Federation of Human Rights.  It was founded in 1993 by Bahey El Din Hassan who was elected member of the Executive Committee of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network at its second meeting in 1997.  In December 2011, he participated in a meeting of the Atlantic Council co-organised by the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East dealing with Egypt which is his country or origin. (7)  That meeting discussed the arrest of members of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the National Endowment for Democracy who were accused of interference in Egyptian internal affairs.

The US Department of Defense’s Unified Command Plan, 2011

 

The Union for the Mediterranean:  An Instrument of Soft Power for the Globalisation of NATO

US foreign policy displays a clear will to preserve control over the armies of conquered territories.  The geographical division of the world into zones of responsibility – American responsibility – is an obvious proof of this.  In this regard, NATO is in fact the result of a conquest – that of the European nations who were occupied at the end of the Second World War.  In the pursuit of its interest in globalising its power and rendering nations subservient, NATO has progressively revealed its true goals by pursuing enlargement in spite of the collapse of the USSR which it was supposed to contain.

Human Rights Watch on a Dogged Mission of Defamation Against Eritrea

 

 

“Eritreans are nationalistic and cohesive to a fault…. They don’t want to be slaves to any foreign donor country. They want economic self-sufficiency and they want to do it their way and with their own blood and sweat.” (The Globe and Mail, 26 April 1997)

 

January 23, 2013

Eritrea is a stunningly beautiful and fiercely independent country in Africa, bordering U.S. financed Ethiopia.  Eritrea is a state that seeks absolute self sufficiency, shunning hundreds of millions of dollars in aid. Their model of self-reliance is a very real threat to hegemonic rule.

The beauty of Eritrea

Photo of Eritrean children by James Baigrie

Eritrea, once deemed remarkable by the international press is now a prime target of demonization and destabilization by the US, Human Rights Watch and corporate media.

Eritrea is no one’s puppet. In the January 21, 2013 press release [Press_Release_HRW_21_Jan_2013] titled  ‘Human Rights Watch on a Dogged Mission of Defamation Against Eritrea’ from the state of Eritrea, Ministry of Foreign Affair, Eritrea defends itself against human rights violations put forward by an agency which serves to advance foreign policy for the greatest human rights violator in the world – that of the US.

In December 2011, Bahey El Din Hassan, member of the Executive Committee of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (and founder of  the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, a member of the International Federation of Human Rights) participated in a meeting of the Atlantic Council co-organised by the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.  That meeting discussed the arrest of members of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the National Endowment for Democracy who were accused of interference in Egyptian internal affairs. [Source: Human Rights, geopolitics and the Union for the Mediterranean by Julien Teil]

Desperate for Destabilization in Venezuela, US Funded OTPOR Rears It’s Ugly Head

“We had a lot of financial help from Western nongovernmental organizations. And also some Western governmental organizations.” Slobodan Homen, Otpor, 2000

 

Otpor logo

 

“Just how much money backed this objective is not clear. The United States Agency for International Development says that $25 million was appropriated just this year. Several hundred thousand dollars were given directly to Otpor for “demonstration-support material, like T-shirts and stickers,” says Donald L. Pressley, the assistant administrator. Otpor leaders intimate they also received a lot of covert aid — a subject on which there is no comment in Washington.” Who Really Brought Down Milosevic? New York Times, Nov 26, 2000

 

Otpor, as reported by the New York Times, was a well-oiled movement backed by several million dollars from the United States via the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Otpor (now calling itself CANVAS) has since been most instrumental in the recruiting and training behind the imperialist destabilization campaigns crushing sovereign states, and the far from spontaneous “Arab Springs”.

“The tranquility prevailing in Tachira, Venezuela, was interrupted a few days ago by violent right wing youth groups that are sponsored by foreign NGOs. The so-called “white hands” that do not recognize the government and the vice president, Nicolas Maduro, as well as the decision by the Supreme Court of Justice allowing President Chavez to take oath before this judicial institution. COPEI Party, the Popular Will Party and the first justice party are encouraging sabotage and terrorism in the state of Tachira. They are wishing for a person to die or be injured, but we will not allow it. … [Source: TelesSUR]

In the following video published January 14, 2013, at exactly 1:07 in, the Otpor symbol on the t-shirt of the “protestor” is clearly identifiable.

Democracy Promotion: America’s New Regime Change Formula


 

“On a trip to South Africa to train Zimbabweans in 2003, Djinovic and Popovic decided to establish CANVAS.  … Djinovic had founded Serbia’s first wireless Internet service provider in 2000 and was well on his way to becoming a mogul. Today he is head of Serbia’s largest private internet and phone company and funds about half of CANVAS’s operating expenses and the costs for half the training workshops out of his own pocket. (CANVAS has four and a half staff employees. The trainers are veterans of successful democracy movements in five countries and are paid as contractors. CANVAS participates in some workshops financed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the United Nations Development Program, an international NGO called Humanity in Action, and Freedom House, an American group which gets its money from the U.S. government. But CANVAS prefers to give Washington a wide berth, in part due to Otpor’s experience. Like the entire opposition to Milosevic, Otpor took money from the U.S. government, and lied about it. When the real story came out after Milosevic fell, many Otpor members quit, feeling betrayed.” – REVOLUTION U – FOREIGN POLICY FEATURE, FEB 16, 2011, BY TINA ROSENBERG

 

Otpor has also surfaced in North America’s Occupy Wall Street and 350.org

Image on far left: In 1998 the Otpor logo appears in Belgrade. Image on left: Otpor logo as found on the New York Occupy Wall Street Official website (2012),  featured above an Avaaz destabilization campaign against Syria. (screenshot below). Read more about Avaaz here.

 

350.org presents Otpor

350.org | Sept 22 and Sept 29 2011, Creative Activism Thursdays Srdja Popovic and Slobo Djinovic Lecture

“Due to the widespread interest in the Creative Activism Lecture Series this fall, and in order to better accommodate all guests, RSVP is required; please show up early. If you don’t RSVP, you can still show up and we’ll let you in 5 minutes before the lecture starts if there’s room. Note: immediately after the lecture, the audience will head down to #occupywallstreet!”

We do apologize for the mess, we are currently undergoing some necessary maintenance. Our articles and information will still be available though not as you would normally expect it to look. Thank you for your patience and have a wonderful day.