“Soft” Coups Threaten Brazil, Venezuela and South Africa/ Who is Behind Regime Change? “Revolution Business” NGO Supported by Wall Street and US Intelligence-Exposed: Globally Renowned Activist Collaborated with Intelligence Firm Stratfor/ Washington Wants “Regime Change” in Ecuador: “What is the CIA Planning before Ecuador’s 2017 Elections?/ Overthrowing Other People’s Governments: The Master List of U.S. “Regime Changes”/ Regime Change in Brazil? Right Wing Protest Movement Funded by US Billionaire Foundations, Training in US- In Brazil, a Youth Movement Wants the Economy to Open Up/ Regime Change in Brazil? Right Wing Protest Movement Funded by US Billionaire Foundations, Training in US- In Brazil, a Youth Movement Wants the Economy to Open Up
[Editor’s note: Again I stress, the hidden hand behind these coups are not Capitalists with checks and balances against monopolies, they are a conglomerate of Corporate Fascists who advocate and promote their own monopolies.
Their coup de grace is the TPP and the TTIP which will bring to an end Nation State Democracy and replace it with Corporate feudalism, all Constitutions will be overridden and the Constitutional Courts, and they will be able to sue governments, ie tax payers, for loss of income due to health regulations, environmental protection, minimum wage laws and any and all companies, government or private who through competition threaten their profit margins. Taxes will not go to government-run health care, social security, transport, roads, and policing, but will be paid to these corporations eventually taken over by them completely. Toll roads are one example, GMO patented seeds and corporate farming is another.
In South Africa the pressure is on the ANC to privatize all previous government departments and sell them out to mainly US corporations. This is not capitalism, it has more in common with communism, except that everything is owned by a small conglomerate of corporations as opposed to communist governments and is a variation on the feudal system where all land was owned by the Nobility and the Church. In this case the handful of corporations.
In all targeted countries most opposition politicians have been bought and paid for by these corporations. When a ruling party is overthrown, and they replace them, they do not pass laws or work in the interests of the country or the voting public, but in the best interests of their paymasters. As the US is today, they are puppet governments and politicians. ]
The Empire of Chaos(The US) has won a major victory in Brazil destroying a democracy in order to bring Brazil back under control. Dilma Rousseff has been impeached on trumped up charges ignoring the wishes of the 54 Million Brazilians who voted for her and replacing her with the traitor Michel Temer.
Temer gives a whole new meaning to the idea of rule by the 1% because Temer has a 1% approval rating. Rousseff has been suspended from office for 180 days while the impeachment process continues. Brazil has joined the list of successful recent coups in Honduras, and Paraguay. Like the people of Argentina the people of Brazil are about to be reminded of what it means to be ruled by neo-liberal Hyenas.
For the people of Brazil the battle has only begun. The 1964 coup in Brazil installed a brutal military dictatorship and was only the first of many coups that would leave the entire region under the fascist rule of Operation Condors network of military juntas. The people of Brazil and of all of Latin America are in deadly danger. By this act the US has signaled that even minor reforms like those carried out by Brazil’s workers party are unacceptable. Nothing must be allowed to impede the looting and impoverishment of the planet at the hands of the multi-national corporations.
Yet the loss of Brazil has even worse consequences for the globe. It is a major strategic victory in the empire of Chaos attempt to reconquer Latin America. It is also a major victory in the effort to destroy the BRICS countries. It marks a major defeat in the effort to build a multi-polar world. Worse still Soft coups are also making gains in Venezuela and in South Africa. In Venezuela a recall referendum obtained the necessary signatures to remove Nicolas Maduro from office. In South Africa a court ruled that Jacob Zuma must again face hundreds of charges that were dismissed years ago. Both Venezuela and South Africa have been the victims of a covert war campaign. In Venezuela a wave of assassinations continues to murder those loyal to the Bolivarian Revolution. In South Africa a wave of arson attacks have been carried out that the government has blamed on the US embassy (ie the CIA). As if plunging large parts of the globe into unending warfare is not enough the empire of chaos is determined to destroy every independent country on the planet.
Flashback: The 1964 Coup
Before I discuss the latest coup in Brazil I will give a brief description of the 1964 coup in Brazil that would go on to have such disastrous consequences for all of Latin America. My account is based on William Blum’s Invaluable book “Killing Hope” Brazil is Chapter 27 out of 56 each recording coups or covert wars the US has carried out since 1945. Jose Goulart had become president after Janio da Silva Quadros had been forced to resign or face a military coup. Goulart the Vice President barely made it into office Right-Wing military officers tried to bar him but Loyalist military officers had interceded forcing the fascists to back down. Quadros had been quite conservative but had sought to ally Brazil with the nonaligned movement and to trade with the USSR. Goulart was also only a mild reformer but even before the moment he came into office the CIA, the Pentagon, the State department began plotting his downfall. CIA officer Vernon Walters (operating under cover as a military attache ) who would go on to play a vital role in setting up operation Condor was a major player in the coup. He helped organize the coup plotters in the Military. Goulart was first targeted with economic warfare, political destabilization and media war. Globo Media which played a major role in the current anti-Rousseff coup played the same role in the 1964 coup.
The CIA financed mass demonstrations, bribed political opposition and helped fund their campaigns. It created it’s own labor movement the AIFLD to destroy the left wing labor movement and to stage strikes and even armed attacks. The tactics of color revolution/Hybrid War are far older then the terms themselves obviously. As mentioned the US had begun plotting against him even before he ever assumed office and in fact had engineered him being fired as minister of Labor back in the 50′s. Once he became president his offenses in the eyes of the empire were refusing to fire ministers the US labeled “Communist. He sought to trade with the eastern block. He instituted mild economic reforms including a very limited land redistribution program. He passed a law limiting the amount of profits multinational corporations could take out of the country and he nationalized a subsidiary of ITT.
For this he was accused of seeking to install a “Totalitarian” Dictatorship by the State department. When they had stirred up enough chaos with their economic war and destabilization campaign when they had succeeded in vilifying Goulart in the media they launched the coup. The military who had been indoctrinated by the US in fanatical anti-communism and trained to see their own people as the enemy were given the go ahead for the coup. On March 31st the CIA backed fascist divisions moved to occupy the capital city Rio.
However the CIA had only gained control of a faction of the military other loyal divisions were willing to resist. The US sent in a huge Naval detachment including Aircraft carriers and destroyers to signal their backing for the coup. Goulart decided to flee rather then risk a civil war. By April 1st he had fled and the Fascist General Castelo Branco seized power arresting thousands of opponents and shooting protestors. And of course the dirty war came anyways tens of thousands would be tortured and killed over the next decades.
Although Latin America’s endless dirty war began long before the Brazil coup (Unending war and oppression began in1492) the 1964 coup would play a decisive role in helping to spread it throughout the continent. Brazil would play a vital role in the coups in Chile, Uruguay, Argentina and in training the death squads and torturers of the continent. Dilma Rousseff herself was among the hundreds of thousands tortured. Meanwhile members of the Condor Network are still powerful in many Latin American militaries and the CIA and Pentagon influence continues. For more on Operation Condor check out my October 2015 article “Operation Condor”. For the continuing dirty war in Latin America see my March 2016 “War on Latin America.” In light of this history it is clear why we must resist this latest coup which threatens to reignite Brazil’s dirty war.
The 2016 Soft Coup
Pepe Escobar has written the definitive account of the coup in Brazil. Thus for a detailed account track down the numerous articles he has written on the subject. Frankly I feel more like screaming or crying than writing about this tragic moment in Brazil’s history. The only real difference between the April 64 coup and the May 2016 coup is that the military were not called in to overthrow the government. Hence people are referring to it as a soft coup. However the manufactured opposition, the media war, the economic war and doubtless the CIA bribes flying left and right are all the same. In fact just like Castelo Branco Brazil’s new president Temer is a CIA asset.
Brazil’s coup has a lot in common with the recent coups in Honduras and Paraguay. Thus even though Brazil’s coup was accomplished with legalistic means does not mean that the tortures and disappearances may not soon re-appear in Brazil not that they ever really ended given Brazil’s unending “low intensity” drug war and privatized death squads that masquerade as security agencies.
These agencies of course were a major factor in the coup part of what Pepe Escobar calls Brazil’s “BBC.” “BBC” stands for in this case not the notorious British propaganda outfit but for the three main economic interests manipulating Brazil’s senate to vote for impeachment. BBC stands for the Bullet, The Bible, and the Cattle. The bullet is weapons and private security. The Bible is pastors and “Evangelical Fanatics.” While Cattle is the powerful Agribusiness lobby. Pepe also lists some illuminating statistics on the senate they are 80% White although Brazil is largely a brown and Black country. 60 percent of the Senate are from political dynasties 58% of them are under criminal investigation and 13% of them were not elected at all worming their way in as “alternates.” These are the oligarchs who had the final say in destroying Brazil’s democracy. They have ignored the wishes of the 54 Million Brazilians who voted for Dilma Rousseff and have replaced her with the traitor Michel Temer with his 1% approval rating.
The main front men for this CIA coup were first Judge Sergio Moro who with his completely one sided car wash investigation set the coup in motion. By ignoring the crimes of the right and focusing only on crimes by the left he turned a corruption investigation into a coup. Next there was then house speaker Eduardo Cunha notorious as one of the most corrupt politicians in Brazil with millions in swiss bank accounts. He lead the impeachment drive in Brazil’s lower house fast tracking the impeachment process. However he lost his job as speaker so that the coup would not be a complete laughing stock. After all Dilma Rousseff is not even charged with having been corrupt and is innocent yet her impeachment campaign was lead by the Cunha “the Shark” one of the most corrupt. Lastly there is Michel Temer or Brutus as Escobar calls him. He openly admitted that the impeachment lacked all legitimacy before switching sides in a twisted power grab. These criminals have earned by their actions the hatred not just of Brazil but of Latin America and indeed of everyone who opposes the empire. Of course they were merely the tools of the Brazil’s Oligarchs, the CIA, and Wall Street but by their treachery they have set Brazil back decades.
The loss of Brazil will help sabotage BRICS. It will be a major blow to attempts to resist the empire of Chaos throughout the continent in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and the other countries that have so far avoided soft coups. For the people of Brazil who had only slowly begun to climb out of poverty thanks to the reforms of Brazil’s workers party which despite it’s flaws did create a major rise in the standard of living the Coup means they will be Ruthlessly thrust back into poverty. Brazil’s massive oil wealth will go not to improving the lives of it’s citizens but to enriching the billionaires on Wall Street.
Far worse may await them as the new coup government will eventually begin to wage war on the angry majority of Brazil to insure that they remain in power. The people must begin to prepare themselves for resistance and in my opinion for revolution. Democracy has failed in Brazil mild reforms have failed in Brazil. The people of Brazil must begin to organize to seize back the power. And should they ever prove successful they must make radical changes to their society that will make impossible this sort of “Soft coup”.
How long will Latin America’s Oligarchs be allowed to wage their campaigns of mass murder before the people wise up and give them a taste of revolutionary justice? Goulart thought he could spare his country a war if he resigned and was proven tragically wrong.
Rousseff appears to have made the same mistake and we can only hope that her failure to destroy these dangerous traitors does not lead to a repeat of Brazil’s horrifying Dirty War.
Recent experience in Honduras or Ukraine do not give us much reason to believe that things will go differently for Brazil. However there are two factors that give reason for hope that this coup may be reversed. First Brazil has powerful social movements, the landless workers movement, the landless peasants, and many thousands of smaller groups. Second if Lula can survive the attempts to destroy him as part of the Car Wash Scandal he may run again in 2018 seizing Brazil back for the people. I hope his security is on full alert sadly his potential to run again and restore democracy in Brazil means his life is in great danger.
If only the idea of Lula being assassinated either violently or via cancer or heart attack were paranoid as some of you are doubtless thinking. But ask Fidel Castro who has survived dozens of assassination attempts. One can no longer ask the great Hugo Chavez but the details of his murder continue to emerge thanks to the work of journalist Eva Golinger. She has uncovered even more evidence of his assassination in particular in a recent interview she discussed some of the many attempts to kill him which failed. One included a Colombian death Squad camped out at a Venezuelan Oligarchs place thankfully they were arrested in time. Another involved a sniper caught staking out someplace Chavez was about to speak at.
Undoubtedly the most memorable involved the attempt to assassinate him with a radioactive chair at an “Prestigious” University in New York where Chavez was giving a speech. She also revealed the names of several traitors who defected to the united states shortly after his death. One of these traitors former Major General Herbert Garcia Plaza is now coordinating the destabilization of Venezuela from the safety of the US. I highly recommend you read the interview with her yourselves to learn even more shocking information.
Unfortunately I must turn my attention to the ongoing “soft coup” in Venezuela. There was some good news the opposition plot to privatize Venezuela’s public housing was struck down by Venezuela’s supreme court as unconstitutional since it interfered with Venezuela’s constitutional commitment to provide housing education healthcare and other social programs. Chavez’s radical reforms have born fruit and Venezuela’s Supreme Court is firmly committed to defending Bolivarian Socialism. However the opposition appropriately named MUD continues it’s campaign to destroy Venezuela on the orders of their CIA/NED controllers. They launched a recall petition and easily achieved the 1% of signatures needed.
Next they only need 20% of voters to agree to a recall referendum and then a Referendum forcing Maduro to resign can eventually be voted on. Maduro is determined to resist this scheme and hopes to fulfill his term which doesn’t end until 2018. Obviously this is a dangerous new development. In addition a wave of assassinations continue to murder loyal government officials and Bolivarian politicians. The CIA is waging a dirty war on Venezuela using drug dealing Colombian death squads and right wing Venezuelan terrorists to wage an operation condor style Phase III assassination campaign aimed at weakening the government by killing it’s most promising leaders. However even more destabilizing has been the economic war and Venezuela’s Oligarchs continue to sabotage the economy eroding public support for the Bolivarian Revolution. The Venezuelan Revolution a source of hope and an inspiration for the entire world remains under deadly threat.
In South Africa a soft coup threatens another BRICS member. South Africa is another victim of the economic war which has sent commodities prices plummeting. This has served to destabilize South Africa just as it has Venezuela, and Brazil. But of course the US isn’t content with destabilizing South Africa it wants to overthrow the ANC who have ruled South Africa since the fall or Apartheid. The ANC is far from perfect in a secret deal before coming to power they had to renounce their longstanding platform of nationalizing South Africa’s resources and building a socialist society. However given it was 1994 and the Soviet Union had just collapsed the constant criticism they have suffered since from the left while valid is slightly unfair. Andre Vltchek points out that the ANC has made far more progress then people have given them credit for.
They have also been plagued by corruption scandals but only a fool would believe that if the ANC are overthrown in a soft coup that corruption will suddenly disappear. Instead whoever replaces them would open the country to be looted by western corporations reversing whatever gains people have made since the fall of apartheid. You don’t fight corruption with coups because coups are by their nature corrupting they involve people accepting bribes from the CIA and other intelligence agencies to betray their country. Obviously those willing to sell out their country are unlikely to resist bribes for lesser crimes. Just ask the Ukrainians.
The destabilization campaign against Zuma began innocently enough with students demanding lower fees. However soon instead of chanting the “Fees must Fall” they were shouting “Zuma must Fall.” Now EFF head Julius Melema is calling for Zuma’s downfall even threatening to use force. And if that wasn’t bad enough the US embassy (CIA) have been caught organizing opposition movements and even hiring organized crime to burn down 19 schools in the Limpopo province. Worse now the supreme court has ruled that Zuma must face 783 charges against him that were dismissed back in 2007. They date from when Zuma was deputy president under Thabo Mbeki. Zuma was dismissed as deputy president but this lead to a power struggle within the ANC in which he emerged victorious. He was later elected president despite this scandal so it is ridiculous to try to overthrow him based on a 10 year old scandal. Zuma like Maduro, and Rousseff is facing a soft coup attempt. Whatever petty crimes Zuma may have committed whatever the flaws of the ANC we must oppose this soft coup attempt. The goal has nothing to do with reducing corruption in South Africa or reducing inequality as the EFF deceptively claim. Anyone who thinks a CIA coup will reduce inequality in South Africa needs to read Blum’s “Killing Hope” since every CIA coup has been undertaken to preserve or worsen inequality. Instead the goal is clearly to destroy the BRICS the main hope for a multipolar world. The goal is to break up the economic partnership between China and South Africa damaging China the economic engine of the multipolar world and further isolating Russia the military backbone of BRICS.
We must oppose the coups in Brazil, Venezuela and South Africa. We must support the people as they resist the return of fascism in South America. We must support South Africa as it struggles to maintain it’s independence. The Empire of Chaos thinks it can preserve itself by destroying all the alternatives. It is far to late for that Capitalism itself is in crisis and people are already dreaming of a better world. Remember the overthrow of Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954 inspired the revolutionary career of Che Guevara. In fact to carry out their economic war on the BRICS the Oligarchs are putting the whole stability of their global capitalist system at risk a dangerous gamble. Although 2016 has been a year of victory for the forces of counter-revolution beneath the surface all over the world people can sense revolution in the air. Thus even in the face of defeat and danger instead of despairing we must only redouble our efforts. The time of revolutions is approaching.
1. I highly recommend William Blum’s “Killing Hope: US military and CIA Interventions Since World War II” sadly more relevant then ever this year with coups and covert wars ravaging the globe. For more on Operation Condor read “Predatory States: Operation Condor Covert War in Latin America” By J.P. McSherry
2. Dilma Rousseff’s defiant speech in the face of the impeachment campaign against her
3. An Interview with Dilma Rousseff
4. Pepe Escobar on the Coup in Brazil
5. The Landless Workers Movement on the Crisis in Brazil
6. Mike Whitney Interviews Eva Golinger on the Assassination of Hugo Chavez
7. My Article on Operation Condor
8. My Article War on Latin America
9. Nil Nikandov on the coming showdown in Venezuela
10. Abayomi Azikwe on the destabilization of South Africa
11. Eric Draitser on the US coups in Latin America part of a great series of interviews by Don Debar of PRN that have covered the war on the BRICS week to week subscribe to his youtube channel
12. And Eric Draitser on South Africa part of his series of Articles on the War on The BRICS
This incisive article first published by Nation of Change and Global Research in February 2014 is of particular relevance in assessing Washington’s objective to topple reformist government in the Middle East and Latin America.
* * *
Serbia’s Srdja Popovic is known by many as a leading architect of regime changes in Eastern Europe and elsewhere since the late-1990s, and as one of the co-founders of Otpor!, the U.S.-funded Serbian activist group which overthrew Slobodan Milošević in 2000.
Lesser known, an exclusive Occupy.com investigation reveals that Popovic and the Otpor! offshoot CANVAS (Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies) have also maintained close ties with a Goldman Sachs executive and the private intelligence firm Stratfor (Strategic Forecasting, Inc.), as well as the U.S. government. Popovic’s wife also worked at Stratfor for a year.
These revelations come in the aftermath of thousands of new emails released by Wikileaks’ “Global Intelligence Files.” The emails reveal Popovic worked closely with Stratfor, an Austin, Texas-based private firm that gathers intelligence on geopolitical events and activists for clients ranging from the American Petroleum Institute and Archer Daniels Midland to Dow Chemical, Duke Energy, Northrop Grumman, Intel and Coca-Cola.
Referred to in emails under the moniker “SR501,” Popovic was first approached by Stratfor in 2007 to give a lecture in the firm’s office about events transpiring in Eastern Europe, according to a Stratfor source who asked to remain confidential for this story.
In one of the emails, Popovic forwarded information about activists harmed or killed by the U.S.-armed Bahraini government, obtained from the Bahrain Center for Human Rights during the regime’s crackdown on pro-democracy activists in fall 2011. Popovic also penned a blueprint for Stratfor on how to unseat the now-deceased Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez in September 2010.
Stratfor’s Global Activist Connector
Using his celebrated activist status, Popovic opened many doors for Stratfor to meet with activists globally. In turn, the information Stratfor intended to gain from Popovic’s contacts would serve as “actionable intelligence”—the firm billed itself as a “Shadow CIA”—for its corporate clients.
Popovic passed information to Stratfor about on-the-ground activist events in countries around the world, ranging from the Philippines, Libya, Tunisia, Vietnam, Iran, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Tibet, Zimbabwe, Poland and Belarus, Georgia, Bahrain, Venezuela and Malaysia. Often, the emails reveal, Popovic passed on the information to Stratfor without the consent of the activists and likely without the activists ever knowing that their emails were being shuttled to the private security firm.
In the U.S., this investigation’s co-author, Carl Gibson (representing US Uncut), and the Yes Men’s Andy Bichlbaum had a meeting with Popovic shortly after their two respective groups used a media hoax to play a prank on General Electric, ridiculing the company over itsnon-payment of U.S. taxes.
The pair gave Popovic information about both groups’ plans for the coming year and news later came out that Stratfor closely monitored the Yes Men’s activities. (The blow photograph taken by Bichlbaum in April 2011 shows Popovic (L) and US Uncut’s Carl Gibson.)
During the Arab Spring, in Egypt in January 2011, Popovic received an interview invitation for an appearance on CNN. The first people he turned to for talking points were Stratfor employees, who provided him with five talking points to lead with.
Stratfor said Popovic’s main use for the firm was his vast array of grassroots activist contacts around the world.
“A little reminder that the main utility in this contact is his ability to connect us to the troublemakers around the world that he is in touch with. His own ability to discern situation on the ground may be limited, he mainly has initial contact with an asset and then lets them do their own thing,” reads a May 2010 email written by former Stratfor Eurasia Analyst Marko Papic. “He does himself have information that may be useful from time to time. But, the idea is to gather a network of contacts through CANVAS, contacts that we can then contact independently.”
Popovic was so well-received by Stratfor that he even got his wife, Marijah, a job there. She worked for a year from March 2010 through March 2011 as the weekend open source intelligence analyst at Stratfor. The other candidate for the job, Jelena Tancic, also worked for CANVAS.
“The Canvas guy [Popovic] is a friend/source [for Stratfor], and recommended her to us,” Stratfor’s Vice President of Analysis Scott Stewart said in a March 2010 email, leaving out that the two were dating at the time.
Popovic and his wife grew so close to Stratfor, in fact, that Popovic invited numerous members of the Stratfor staff to their wedding in Belgrade, Serbia.
Helping Stratfor Manufacture Revolutions
Stratfor saw Popovic’s main value not only as a source for intelligence on global revolutionary and activist movements, but also as someone who, if needed, could help overthrow leaders of countries hostile to U.S. geopolitical and financial interests. So useful was Popovic to Stratfor that the firm gave him a free subscription, dubbed “legit sources we use all the time as a company” by Papic.
In a June 2011 email, Papic referred to Popovic as a “great friend” of his and described him as a “Serb activist who travels the world fomenting revolution.”
“They…basically go around the world trying to topple dictators and autocratic governments (ones that U.S. does not like ,” Papic says in one email. Replying to a follow up to that email, he states, “They just go and set up shop in a country and try to bring the government down. When used properly, more powerful than an aircraft carrier battle group.”
In response to the “aircraft battle group” email, Stratfor Vice President of Intelligence Fred Burton sardonically said that perhaps they could be sent into Iran. Emails also reveal Popovic served as an information source intermediary for on-the-ground activists in Iran, also informing Stratfor of the funding struggle for “democracy programs” there, as the U.S. government pushed a “soft power” agenda.
Another March 2010 email from Stewart to Burton said that CANVAS was “trying to get rid of Chavez,” referring to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. In 2007, CANVAS trained activists to overthrow Chavez.
“If I remember correctly, we use hushmail communication to contact him regarding Venezuela due to the sensitivity of using a revolutionary NGO as a source considering we have clients who operate in country,” Papic said in a January 2011 email of Popovic.
Stratfor grew so enamored of CANVAS’s ability to foment regime change abroad that it invited Popovic to its Austin headquarters in 2010 to give seminars on the subject, and paid for his trip there.
CANVAS’s Goldman Sachs Cash
One of CANVAS’s major funders is Muneer Satter, a former Goldman Sachs executive who stepped down from that position in June 2012and now owns Satter Investment Management LLC. Stratfor CEO Shea Morenz worked for ten years at Goldman Sachs as well, where he served as Managing Director in the Investment Management Division and Region Head for Private Wealth Management for the Southwest Region.
Satter is meanwhile a major funder of the Republican Party, giving over $300,000 to Karl Rove’s Super PAC Crossroads GPS before the 2012 election, and another $100,000 to the Republican Governors Association in the first half of 2013 prior to the 2014 mid-term elections.
Living in a massive, $9.5 million mansion in Chicago’s North Shore suburb of Lake Michigan, Muneer also gave $50,000 toward President Obama’s inaugural fund in 2009.
When it came time to connect Muneer with the global intelligence firm, Popovic served as the middle man introducing Satter to Stratfor Chairman George Friedman.
“Whenever I want to understand the details behind world events, I turn to Stratfor,” reads an endorsement from Satter on Stratfor’s website. “They have the most detailed and insightful analysis of world affairs and are miles ahead of mainstream media.”
Otpor!: A Counter-History
To understand how Popovic came to aide Stratfor in its intelligence-gathering efforts, it’s crucial to examine Otpor! and CANVAS critically. A close examination demonstrates that Popovic was a natural choice to be a Stratfor informant and close advisor.
Often valorized by grassroots activists and Western media, there was far more to the “Bulldozer Revolution” that led to the overthrow of Milošević and subsequent Eastern European regimes than meets the eye.
“In principle, [Serbia] was an overt operation, funded by congressional appropriations of around $10 million for fiscal 1999 and $31 million for 2000. 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,” explained a 2000 investigative piece appearing in The Washington Post.
“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).”
“In fact between 1997 and 2000 the National Endowment for Democracy and US government may have accomplished what NATO’s 37,000 bombing sorties had been unable to do: oust Milosevic, replace him with their favoured candidate Vojislav Kostunica and promote a neoliberal vision for Serbia,” independent scholar Michael Barker wrote for Z Magazine. “In much the same way as corporate front groups and astroturf groups recruit genuinely committed supporters, strategically useful social movements can potentially dominate civil society when provided with the right resources (massive financial and professional backing).”
Otpor! was so successful that it was ushered into Ukraine to help manufacture regime change there in 2004, using the template applied originally in Serbia with $65 million in cash from the U.S. government.
“We trained them in how to set up an organization, how to open local chapters, how to create a ‘brand,’ how to create a logo, symbols, and key messages,” an Otpor! activist told U.S.-funded media outlet Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty. “We trained them in how to identify the key weaknesses in society and what people’s most pressing problems were—what might be a motivating factor for people, and above all young people, to go to the ballot box and in this way shape their own destiny.”
The overthrow of Milošević was accompanied by U.S.-funding for the creation of a robust media apparatus in Serbia, and Popovic’s wife worked at one of the U.S.-funded radio and TV outlets as a journalist and anchor B92 from 2004-2009.
“By helping Radio B92 and linking it with a network of radio stations (ANEM), international assistance undermined the regime’s direct and indirect control over news and information,” a January 2004 policy paper released by USAID explained. “In Serbia, independent media supported by USAID and other international donors facilitated the regime change.”
Critics point out that what happened in Eastern Europe was regime change, not revolution in any real sense of the term.
“[They] were not revolutions at all; actually, they were little more than intra-elite power transfers,’” Portland State University Professor of Urban Studies and Planning, Gerald Sussman, explained in his book, “Branded Democracy: U.S. Regime Change in Post-Soviet Eastern Europe.”
“Modern tactics of electioneering were employed to cast regime change as populist, which took advantage of the unstable and vulnerable situations in those regions following the breakup of the Soviet Union,” he wrote.
Given Otpor!’s ties to powerful factions in the U.S. government, perhaps it’s unsurprising that Popovic felt comfortable giving a lecture to the Air Force Academy in May 2010, and attending a National Security Council meeting in December 2009.
A powerful individual who lobbied the U.S. government to give money to CANVAS early on was Michael McFaul, the current U.S. Ambassador to Russia for the State Department and someone who “worked closely with” Popovic while serving as a Senior Fellow at theright-wing Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Critics Chime In, Popovic Responds
Maryam Alkhawaja, director of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, said she had known Popovic for several years as an activist and had no knowledge of his outside relationships before the Wikileaks release of Stratfor emails.
“Srdja is someone I’ve met more than once. He was very supportive of the Bahrain revolution, supportive of the human rights fight,” Alkhawaja said in a phone interview. “When he gave me their information, that’s what surprised me the most.”
Alkhawaja said that at the time she wasn’t aware of what kind of firm Stratfor was, but she became immediately suspicious after reading Stratfor’s questions to her. She never corresponded with Stratfor due to what she felt was the suspicious nature of the emails coming from the firm.
“It was a series of really weird intelligence agency-like questions, given that they knew I was working in a human rights group. They were asking questions like, who’s funding the party coalition, how many members do they have, questions that even I didn’t know the answers to,” she said. “The fact that they asked questions like that, made me question the motive behind the email I received. That’s why I never responded.”
“Whenever we get emails like that or were contacted by people who seemed very interested in asking intelligence agency-like questions, we usually block them, because we know they probably work for the government,” Alkhawaja continued. “Journalists know the kind of work we do so they wouldn’t ask those questions in the first place. I just found the email very weird and thats why I actually never responded.”
In a Skype interview, one of Otpor!’s co-founders, who left the movement and asked to maintain his confidentiality, said his primary concern from the Wikileaks emails was that Popovic was giving out activists’ information to a third party without their prior consent.
An interview with Popovic sang a different tune about CANVAS. He stated, “We definitely wouldn’t jeopardize any of our activists’ safety, so we always follow their lead and never expose them to anybody without their consent.”
Popovic also said CANVAS would speak to anyone and everyone—without any discrimination—about nonviolent direct action.
“CANVAS will present anywhere — to those committed to activism and nonviolent struggle, but also to those who still live in the Cold War era and think that tanks and planes and nukes shape the world, not the common people leading popular movements,” he said.
“If we can persuade any decision maker in the world, in Washington, Kremlin, Tel Aviv or Damascus that it is nonviolent struggle that they should embrace and respect – not foreign military intervention, or oppression over own population – we would do that.”
Yet, given Popovic’s track-record—and specifically, who buttered his bread during the long professional career he pursued in activism—critics say Popovic fit like a glove at Stratfor.
“A group of Serbs cannot lead a protest movement anywhere outside Serbia, but his techniques are nonetheless instrumental in helping achieve certain political aims,” Professor Sussman said in an interview. “He also serves as an intelligence gatherer in the process—of use to private and state intelligence agencies. That’s what Stratfor saw as his use.”
In relation to recent developments in Brazil and Venezuela, it should be understood that Washington seeks regime change in all Latin American countries which do not conform to US demands. This article by Timothy Guzman originally published in September 2015 focusses on Washington’s resolve to implement regime change in Ecuador.
“The United States does not lack institutions that continue to conspire, and that’s why I am using this gathering to announce that we have decided to expel USAID from Bolivia” Bolivian President Evo Morales
Washington wants Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa removed from power. Washington says it is concerned about the freedom of the press in Ecuador because their non-government organization ‘Fundamedios’ funded and supported by United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Freedom House among others is in the process of being shut down by the Correa government. According to Telesur’s report on September 10th “Fundamedios engaged “partisan political activities” by sharing material on its social media accounts, publishing articles unrelated to its stated mission and inserting itself into political debates in the country”which according to the National Secretariat of Communication or ‘Secom’ is prohibited under Ecuadorian law. The White House released a press statement on the same day:
We are very concerned about the increasing restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of association in Ecuador, particularly the Ecuadorian government’s September 8 decision to initiate legal steps intended to dissolve Fundamedios, a non-governmental organization that monitors and defends press freedom.
An active civil society and tolerance of dissenting views are vital components of any democracy. We share international concern over the Ecuadorian government’s efforts to silence critical voices and deny its citizens access to a diversity of information and ideas. Freedom House, Human Rights Watch, the Committee to Protect Journalists, among others, have all spoken out in opposition to the government’s latest action against Fundamedios.
According to TeleSur ‘Fundamedios’ is funded by the NED and USAID:
The work of the organization mostly consists of issuing “alerts” regarding alleged attacks against journalists in Ecuador. The organization is funded in part through a US$84,000 grant from the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy. U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador Adam Namm told El Telegrafo that Fundamedios received US$300,000 in 2012 from USAID, which is receives its funds from the U.S. government
USAID and NED are in the business of “Democracy Promotion” which uses public money (from U.S. taxpayers) for secretive operations with the intention to support pro-U.S. governments with the help of political and social movements abroad. The goal is regime change.
Why Washington wants Correa Removed from Power
Since 2009, the world has seen what the Obama administration has done to sovereign nations in the name of democracy. Libya, Honduras and the Ukraine are some of the recent examples of U.S. foreign policy that has only proved to be disastrous on many levels. Ecuador would be added to Obama’s list of countries ripe for regime change.
First, Correa is a staunch ally of Latin America’s leftist governments of Bolivia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Argentina and Brazil who are critical of U.S. Foreign policy. What makes matters worse for Washington was the closure of the Manta Air Force Base in 2009, a promise made by Correa in a 2006 campaign.
Washington wants a new government in Ecuador to reopen the Manta Air Force Base for surveillance and the so-called “War on Drugs”. In 2008, the New York Times reported that President Correa fired high ranking military officials who were loyal subjects of Washington:
Mr. Correa — who this month dismissed his defense minister, army chief of intelligence and commanders of the army, air force and joint chiefs — said that Ecuador’s intelligence systems were “totally infiltrated and subjugated to the C.I.A.” He accused senior military officials of sharing intelligence with Colombia, the Bush administration’s top ally in Latin America
The New York Times admitted that Correa’s administration is a challenge for U.S. policy makers regarding the “War on Drugs” and its presence in Latin America:
The gambit also poses a clear challenge to the United States. For nearly a decade, the base here in Manta has been the most prominent American military outpost in South America and an important facet of the United States’ drug-fighting efforts. Some 100 antinarcotics flights leave here each month to survey the Pacific in an elaborate cat-and-mouse game with drug traffickers bound for the United States.
But many Ecuadoreans have chafed at the American presence and the perceived challenge to the country’s sovereignty, and Mr. Correa promised during his campaign in 2006 to close the outpost
Reuters’ also reported in 2007 what Correa had said about the possibility of renewing the lease to the U.S. military“We’ll renew the base on one condition: that they let us put a base in Miami — an Ecuadorean base,” Correa said in an interview during a trip to Italy. “If there’s no problem having foreign soldiers on a country’s soil, surely they’ll let us have an Ecuadorean base in the United States.” Correa did make a good point.
Another reason Correa is on Washington’s “hit list” involves Wikileaks. Its founder Julian Assange was granted political asylum in an Ecuadorian embassy in London because he feared that if he ended up in U.S. custody over the secret files he released from Chelsea Manning to the world, could have him face an unfair trial in a U.S. courtroom. Ecuador granted Assange political asylum status where he still remains to this day. Neoconservative and former Presidential contender Sarah Palin said that Assange is an “anti-American operative with blood on his hands…Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders?” Palin was saying that Julian Assange is in the same league as Al Qaeda so killing him is justified. Ecuador did take a stand to protect the life and liberty of Julian Assange, something Washington does not take lightly.
Ecuador’s Lawsuit against Big Oil
Litigation and various lawsuits against Chevron-Texaco has been going on for more than two decades which oil drilling operations which occurred between 1972 and 1990 in the Amazon as RT News reported in 2013:
Ecuador’s foreign ministry announced on Friday that the US has seemingly denied visas to a delegation that was set to travel to the UN General Assembly in New York to present their case regarding an ongoing dispute against Chevron-Texaco. According to the ministry’s official announcement, the visas for the five Ecuadorian nationals were returned by the US Embassy in Quito “without any explanation.”
That group was to present testimony during a special event at the UN regarding the ecological impact caused by Chevron-Texaco’s oil operations in the Amazon rainforest region of Ecuador – which contaminated two million hectares, according to the country’s government. At stake is a US$19 billion judgment awarded by an Ecuadorean court against Chevron for cleanup and ecological damage, which is currently being fought at The Hague.
Correa in Washington’s Crosshairs
From alliances with anti-Washington governments to the closure of the Manta Air Force Base, to protecting Julian Assange and a lawsuit against Chevron-Texaco for environmental damages to the Amazon, Correa is a target for regime change. Just remember back in history when the CIA orchestrated a coup against Ecuadorian President Carlos Julio Arosemena simply because he criticized the U.S. government and supported the Cuban revolution led by Fidel Castro. Correa has done a lot more to diminish U.S. power in Latin America than any other president in its current history.
Correa has accused the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) earlier this year of “being increasingly involved in the political opposition with the avowed aim of dragging the country into chaos” and weaken the Ecuadorian government by “a series of coordinated nationwide protests.” Something Correa should be familiar with, after all the CIA attempted a coup in 2010 under Obama’s watch. One of the key reasons of the attempted coup by the Ecuadorian police was the Public Service Organic Law signed in 2010. It was designed to place regulations on public service workers namely the police and military and create a standard base of compensation instead of receiving their bonuses from foreign sources (the U.S. government) under Ecuadorian law. The main problem before the law was passed was that the police of Ecuador was receiving bonuses from the US embassy to spy on Ecuadorian politicians and others who were considered opponents of Washington.
Interestingly, Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton was in Ecuador in June of that year to convince Correa to join the“Dark Side” but ultimately failed. U.S. Ambassador at the time was Heather Hodges who was assigned to disrupt and weaken the Correa government through USAID which contributed $40 million. The Ecuadorian police, military officials, USAID, NED, the CIA and a former president and a puppet of Washington during the Bush years, Lucio Gutiérrez who was ousted by the Ecuadorian people who demanded his resignation were all behind the coup plot.
Obama has 16 Months Left in Office
Will the Obama administration authorize another coup between now and 2016? It is Obama’s last 16 months in office since the first coup attempt. Correa knows he is on Washington’s “hit list” following his actions on Fundamedios who claim the freedom of speech is threatened as Washington threatens Julian Assange for exposing their crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq by killing of tens of thousands of civilians, which they tried to keep secret. Washington is consistent when it ignores the sovereignty of nations and bypasses international law on a regular basis.
Recently, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie) and various trade unions called for a nationwide strike against the government, but many indigenous organizations opposed it. Telesur reported that WikiLeaks published diplomatic cables from the U.S. embassy in Ecuador from 2005 and 2006 that suggest members of CONAIE were interested in talking to U. S. Representatives within their own ranks including Vice President Santiago de la Cruz and Congressman Jorge Guaman who according to one cable “expressed interest in open dialogue.”Members of CONAIE also “asked the U.S. government to intervene with the president to get Conaie representatives back in these government institutions.” De La Cruz is described as “very interested in the possibility of visiting the U.S. on an exchange program,” and that he “appeared eager to engage in dialogue” with the U.S. Wikileaks also released documents on Auki Tituana, a member of Pachakutik who also seemed interested.
Although representatives in both organizations have shown an interest in meeting with U.S. officials, other members are not so keen on the idea including Luis Macas, head of CONAIE. This is a positive sign that members within these indigenous organizations do not want to meet with U.S. diplomats. Macas “has advised his organization to avoid dialogue with the U.S. government.” According to the cables “There appears to be division within the ranks of Pachakutik and (Conaie) on the level of interaction they should have with the Embassy”.
In 2007, Correa was an anti-neoliberal advocate was voted into power and has brought Ecuador political and economic stability. One other issue Washington is concerned about is what Correa said about the “Dollarization” of the Ecuadorian economy; he said it was a “technical error” after pro-US president Jamil Mahuad adopted the U.S. dollar in 2000. Correa did acknowledge that it is a difficult process to move out of the U.S. dollar at this time, however, he does support a regional South American currency that would allow Ecuador to move out of the dollar which is something U.S. officials’ do not like to hear especially when the dollar is about to lose its reserve currency status.
What is the CIA planning before Ecuador’s elections in 2017?
It is important to note that if a presidential recall vote were to take place in Ecuador today at least 60% of the people would vote for Correa according to the main-stream media’s ‘CNN Spanish’ poll this past June. Correa proposed constitutional reforms including two bills that would increase inheritance and capital gains taxes on the ultra-wealthy. Anti-government protests followed, which later turned violent. That is something Washington wants to see more of right before Ecuador’s 2017 presidential elections.
GR Editor’s Note
This incisive list of countries by William Blum was first published in 2013, posted on Global Research in 2014.
In relation to recent developments in Latin America and the Middle East, it is worth recalling the history of US sponsored military coups and “soft coups” aka regime changes.
Overthrowing governments through military coups, acts of war, support of terrorist organizations, covert ops in support of regime change.
* * *
Instances of the United States overthrowing, or attempting to overthrow, a foreign government since the Second World War. (* indicates successful ouster of a government)
- China 1949 to early 1960s
- Albania 1949-53
- East Germany 1950s
- Iran 1953 *
- Guatemala 1954 *
- Costa Rica mid-1950s
- Syria 1956-7
- Egypt 1957
- Indonesia 1957-8
- British Guiana 1953-64 *
- Iraq 1963 *
- North Vietnam 1945-73
- Cambodia 1955-70 *
- Laos 1958 *, 1959 *, 1960 *
- Ecuador 1960-63 *
- Congo 1960 *
- France 1965
- Brazil 1962-64 *
- Dominican Republic 1963 *
- Cuba 1959 to present
- Bolivia 1964 *
- Indonesia 1965 *
- Ghana 1966 *
- Chile 1964-73 *
- Greece 1967 *
- Costa Rica 1970-71
- Bolivia 1971 *
- Australia 1973-75 *
- Angola 1975, 1980s
- Zaire 1975
- Portugal 1974-76 *
- Jamaica 1976-80 *
- Seychelles 1979-81
- Chad 1981-82 *
- Grenada 1983 *
- South Yemen 1982-84
- Suriname 1982-84
- Fiji 1987 *
- Libya 1980s
- Nicaragua 1981-90 *
- Panama 1989 *
- Bulgaria 1990 *
- Albania 1991 *
- Iraq 1991
- Afghanistan 1980s *
- Somalia 1993
- Yugoslavia 1999-2000 *
- Ecuador 2000 *
- Afghanistan 2001 *
- Venezuela 2002 *
- Iraq 2003 *
- Haiti 2004 *
- Somalia 2007 to present
- Libya 2011*
- Syria 2012
Q: Why will there never be a coup d’état in Washington?
A: Because there’s no American embassy there.
Global Research Editor’s note: To this list published in February 2013, we must add Ukraine, where Viktor Yanukovych was successfully ousted in February 2014.
This article was first published in March 2016.
At every turn of Brazil’s political crisis — today it’s ex-president Lula’s struggle to take a spot in President Dilma Rousseff’s cabinet — there is a group of protagonists looking familiar who are neither politicians nor anti-corruption investigators.
They are young, organized right-wing demonstrators, and they may be a scale-tipping force in the question of whether Brazil’s Congress votes to impeach the current president.
Engineering student Pedro Souto, 22, rode atop one of the soundcars with a Brazilian flag draped around his shoulders like a Superman cape during Rio’s Sunday protest. More than 200,000 people turned out. The soundcar had a banner announcing the Free Brazil Movement, or Movimento Brasil Livre, one of the main groups that organized nationwide protests on March 13 and that continues to call members to the streets with each new development in Brazil’s political drama (which now come daily).
- protesters Free Brazil Movement Rio de Janeiro, Credit:Catherine Osborn
The Free Brazil Movement was founded by members and alums of another group that’s been spreading fast in this country: Estudantes Pela Liberdade, “Students for Liberty.” By liberty, they mean libertarian: they favor cutting government spending, privatizing state companies and reducing regulation.
These policies are far from how Brazil is set up right now. Like many Latin American countries, Brazil is a social welfare state with universal healthcare and many companies that are partly government-owned.
But for the last few decades, pro-market, anti-regulation think tanks have been growing in the region. Economist Bernardo Santoro is part of that movement in Brazil. He recalls attending an event in Rio de Janeiro state in 2012 that was organized in part by a group called Atlas Network.
There, attendees talked about the future of libertarianism in Brazil, brainstorming “ideas for how the movement in Brazil would grow up, and bringing Estudantes Pela Liberdade — Students for Liberty — to Brazil was one of those ideas.”
Both Atlas and Students for Liberty are based in the US, and both have received tens of thousands of dollars in funding in the last five years from American sources like the John Templeton Foundation and the Charles Koch Foundation, the billionaire-backed group known for supporting far-right causes.
Students for Liberty’s Brazil chapter got its start with grants from American donors, but now the group is mostly funded from inside Brazil, according to director Juliano Torres. And it’s big, with more than a thousand members.
Now, roughly half of all Students for Liberty members worldwide — who get training materials on how to plan events, raise money, and speak in public — are Brazilians. A handful have traveled to the US for trainings, and many discuss economic policy using references such as the Cato Institute and US Senator Rand Paul.
- Protesters in Rio de Janeiro. Credit C. Osborn
Torres said the student libertarian movement grew so much in Brazil because “we took advantage of the unpopularity of the president and the Worker’s Party.” In 2014, the Brazilian economy slowed and began to contract dramatically, and headlines featured the Worker’s Party’s involvement in the Petrobras bribery scheme.
“Students for Liberty is not a political organization,” says Torres, “but we encourage that our members are politically active.” In 2014, members and alums of Students for Liberty founded the Free Brazil Movement and helped found the Vem Pra Rua movement in order to protest against Rousseff. Rousseff has not been charged in the Petrobras anti-corruption probe, but since last March, the Free Brazil Movement has tried to build pressure to get her impeached in favor of a more pro-business president.
In December, Brazil’s house speaker Eduardo Cunha of the PMDB party filed impeachment charges, alleging illegal use of money in her 2014 budget.
Students for Liberty proudly featured Brazil’s antigovernment protests in its fall 2015 quarterly report.
“What’s going on in Brazil right now, we want to learn from and we want to figure out how to take their best practices to implement in other places,” says DC-based Students for Liberty coordinator Sam Teixeira. Teixeira says in political situations where the government is unpopular, it is easier to advocate for opening markets as a solution.
“At the end of the day,” says Teixeira, “we want to see people doing well, people happy, people prosperous. Being able to live the life that they choose and have autonomy. Those are things that don’t exist in Brazil or most parts of the world. We really hope and believe that the libertarian philosophy can bring prosperity and happiness to the world.”
Political scientist Celso Barros, who is a columnist for Folha de São Paulo newspaper, says “the majority of Brazilians would never vote for libertarian policies. All you need to do is walk into the nearest favela to have someone explain to you that we’re a long way from meritocracy in Brazil.”
Barros says some economic reforms are necessary in order to make it easier to do business in Brazil. But he adds that the increasing likelihood that President Rousseff won’t finish her term — be it because of impeachment or a ruling about her 2014 campaign finances — means that in the short run, Brazilians are likely to see economic policies that are harsher than voters would accept through the normal election process.
The PMDB party would assume Brazil’s presidency in the case of impeachment, a party which Barros says “is not well-known for having efficient managers. It’s well-known for having corrupt politicians.”
The PMDB has quietly released an economic platform that is farther to the right than their historic party line. About concrete changes we’re likely to see, “the right would like to have less labor regulations,” says Barros. “They would love for unions to be less powerful.”
Bernardo Santoro says regardless of who next assumes the presidency, the Free Brazil Movement will continue to push for reducing the size of government.
For Barros, what’s most concerning is the precedent set for future stability in Brazil if Rousseff is impeached on what he describes as “weak charges.” He, too, sees an echo of American politics in young groups leading the impeachment charge: “These guys are clearly inspired by the Tea Party and the recent radicalization of the Republican Party.”
Barros says what’s ahead for Brazil is unknown.