The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a Washington D.C-based quasi-governmental organization funded by the U.S. which boasts that it is "supporting freedom around the world."
Alan Weinstein, one of the founders of the NED, explained in 1991:
A lot of what we [NED] do was done 25 years ago covertly by the CIA 
Most of the NED, and its affiliated organizations, deals with influencing political processes abroad. The means employed range from influencing civil society, media, fostering business groups, lending support to preferred politicians/political parties, election monitoring, and fostering human rights groups.
It’s right there in the organizations own statements:
The National Endowment for Democracy was set up by President Ronald Regan in the 1980s, and it employed an assortment of organizations across the political spectrum including the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to help funnel US tax dollars to overseas groups working to develop democracy in their respective countries. In the 1980s, especially in Poland, the NED had proved an effective tool in loosening and weakening Soviet power by supporting Polish dissidents.
The NED was the chief pillar of a plan by then President Clinton to get rid of Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic. The plan, developed by the CIA, was intricate and comprehensive. Basically, it was to work through the NED’s two subordinate wings, the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) as well as the Center for International Private Enterprise, an offshoot of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The IRI would focus on dissident students while the NDI would work closely with different opposition parties. The State department and the U.S. Agency for International Development would play the leading role in channeling funds through commercial contracts and nonprofit groups. Under the authority AID, other money would be funneled to opposition groups and the mayor of opposition cities.
Because of their freedom of travel and their ability to move in closed off areas, the CIA recruited the staff of the NGOs, mainly relief agencies and human rights groups, which produced a great deal of useful intelligence. According to former CIA official, such recruitment was done very selectively. We didn’t want the organization discredited or people killed nor could they be seen as foreign vassals,” said a former official of the agency’s Directorate of Operations. Another agency official said, "There was a lot of reluctance in this area.”
The proposed coup against Milosevic had to be “very tightly controlled from the beginning, middle and end. You had to support one group against another group; you helped people who were going to help you,” one said.
So the Clinton plan was to use covert/overt, insider/outsider elements simultaneously, which meant employing NGOs in coordination with sophisticated espionage. Said one former senior agency official, who was closely involved, “We planned to do to Milosevic what he’d done to us. We went in to create trouble spots, support dissidents, circulate subversive literature, beam in anti-Milosevic broadcasts, and neutralize his army and security forces. Solidarity was the model.”
The agency plan had several general goals; first the program should be a region-wide effort, making use of a Central European network of banks, corporations, political, and social organizations to fund coup assets plus use the intelligence services of Austria, Germany, Albania, Italy, and even Greece, for recruitment and penetration. All of these nations had their own excellent collection networks inside Serbia. The plan was also to develop useful and valuable sources inside Milosevic’s circle.
A big part of the Clinton plan was to have the president appeal directly to Serbia’s people. Clinton saw them as an irreplaceable ally. He wanted to forge a direct bond with them by speaking past the Milosevic government. U.S. support could not win them their freedom; that was their task, and backing Slobodan was not in their best interest. This took place before huge public demonstrations. Since Milosevic controlled the media, the U.S. would counter with radio and TV broadcasts whose theme would be Slobodan’s decay. The broadcasts would also contain phrase of code to agents on the ground, much like the French resistance in WWII. The NGO’s would smuggle in tons of printed materials and organize “a get out the vote” campaign.
“You had to be very careful; you had to look at every facet, every aspect,” said a US intelligence officer who was involved.
Such operations in the Balkan were usually run out of the CIA’s European Division in Frankfort, Germany, but this time it would the CIA’s Central Eurasian Division at Langley who would look to it. Key support points would be U.S. Embassies in Austria, Hungary, Kosovo, Croatia, Germany, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Romania. Support would also come from the major German political parties, all of which had “action arms” that would contribute resources. Vienna would be the major focus of intelligence collection efforts. In Vienna, intelligence poured in like “water through an open sluice,” a former participant said. Austrian military intelligence had given America details of Milosevic’s ”Operation Horseshoe,” a major Serb military plan, which would force 800,000 Kosovars into rootless exile. Austria and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe entirely wired. “Vienna’s information was amazing, and so was Germany's,” said a participant in the operation.
Another resource was the 30,000-40,000 Serbs living in Austria. Serbia had established the military draft, and the CIA had many walk-in Serbs who gave it detailed assessments of troops, list of security and police officials and other valuable information. Other Serb deserters went by ratlines to Germany where they were debriefed at Westport, a former US military base turned intelligence center. Many Serbs returned to Belgrade to continue to report.
Milosevic was constantly passing draconian new laws to root out dissidents and make war on his own students, and the CIA, having learned from the attempts by the Soviets who tried to decapitate Polish union, Solidarity, using mass arrests, the Serbian rebel students, whose outfit was called Otpor, set up a brilliant horizontal structure exactly the opposite of Milosevic’s central structure. Otpor was made up of small cells, and to escape capture, its members constantly shifted to a complicated network of safe houses. Operations were launched from these. A safe house used signals such as a raised blind or a closed window or a raised flag on a mailbox to indicate that all was well.
In addition, the CIA, through NGO’s, supplied the rebel Serbian students with thousands of cell phones, radio transmitters, and fax machines. Calls and e-mails went out through servers outside Serbia to escape Belgrade’s magpie scrutiny. Otpor was also supplied with printing equipment and supplies, and the publications and leaflets began to have an impact.
But the most urgent priority had been to establish a money conduit to fund Otpor and other Serbian defectors in place. Much of the money was cash gathered in Hungary and smuggled in suitcases over the border into Serbia., preferably U.S. dollars or German deutsche marks that were widely used in Serbia and had a higher value than the worthless Serb dinar. To avoid detection, the money trail moved constantly. Very early Otpor received money to a tune of $3 million from NED. The money was transferred to accounts outside of Serbia, mainly in Hungary and Austria. Since Milosevic had nationalized the Serb banks, a lot of more money came over the Serb border in suitcases from Hungary. The NED would not know where the money was going, and would receive a receipt signed by a dissident as to how the funds were used. For example, money going to underground publications would be acknowledged by a secret code on one of the pages.
Using its covert monies, the students began to buy t-shirts, stickers, leaflets that bore its emblem of a clenched fist. Soon the clenched fist of Otpor appeared on walls, postal boxes, cars, the sides of trucks and statues. The students painted red footsteps on the ground to symbolize Milosevic’s bloody exit from parliament and passersby found thrust into their hands cardboard telescopes that described a falling star called “Slobotea.” They also used public relations techniques including polling leafleting and paid advertising. As days went on recruitment was expanded and new assets acquired and in cities like Banja Luka in northern Bosnia in Pristina in Kosovo, and in the provincial cities of Serbia, activity was mounting to a climax All the beatings of crowds, the disbanding of political parties, the fixing of the 1997 elections, the dismissal of honest Serb officials, the snubbing, the humiliating defeats, the arrogant indifference of Milosevic had been piling up, generating a pent-up violence that was going to be discharged in one shattering explosion of revolt.
The money trail expanded. Regarding the funding of certain persons or groups, the agency took pains to use false flag recruitments – acting through intermediaries to get new agents while the CIA pretended that its own agents came from other countries. Clinton did not want the opposition derided as U.S. lackeys. A participant said to me, "I don’t think a lot of our assets had a sense of working for the U.S. government. It’s a grey area letting them know where their monies are coming from.” In the end, they got over $70 million.
Communications gear came next. The dissidents had to be supplied advanced CIA equipment such as Inmarsat scrambler phones to organize a command, control and intelligence, (C3I) network so they could remain underground and stay a step ahead of capture. Training for specific opposition leaders and key individuals was given U.S. assets within Serbia whose purpose was to serve as the eyes and ears for key dissident as well as to provide funds and security.
By now Otpor had developed a crisis committee to coordinate resistance that enabled networks from different regions to keep in close touch. All branches of U.S. intelligence was going to provide an early warning system for the students. The NSA and the CIA Special Collections Elements in neighboring countries had hacked into Slobodan’s key security bureaucracies and were reading Ministry of Internal Affairs' orders for police raids against the demonstrators. This intelligence was passed to the dissidents who gave advance alerts to Otpor cells which allowed them to disperse and avoid arrest. By now the student group even had a committee to deal with administrative tasks such as lining up new safe houses, cars, fake IDs. As the campaign to dethrone Milosevic went on, the money and activities grew more and more quickly with more than $30 million from the U.S. alone.
There were now seventy thousand Otpor students in 130 groups with twelve regional offices, and the Otpor leaders had been schooled in non-violent techniques designed to undermine dictatorial authority. They were using a handbook, From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation,” written by a retired U.S. Army Colonel, Robert Helvey. Chapters were copied and handed from cell to cell throughout the country. He said in an interview that his non-violent method “is not ethical. It is not pacifism. It is based on an analysis of power in dictatorship and how to break it by withdrawing the obedience of its citizens and the key institutions of society.”
In the meantime, the United States and Britain and others were seeing to it that Serbia felt more and more encircled. Covert operations continued and gained momentum as meetings were held in Szeged in Hungary, in Croatia, in Ulm, Germany, and in Montenegro. In addition to Hungary, the U.S Embassies in Bulgaria and Romania were involved as well. The Clinton presidency was now involved in establishing a new, anti-Milosevic elite in Serbia.
In the end, of course, Milosevic fell from power in 2000. In Clinton’s view, the huge debts of blood Milosevic had run up during his campaigns of aggressive war, massacre, rape and plunder had to be paid in full. Milosevic had already been indicted as a war criminal before the Dayton talks, and after he returned to his fortified house in 2001, the new President George W. Bush carried out the Clinton plan to carry out a plan established by the CIA, the U.S. Army and U.S. Special Forces. In the end, Bush sent in SEAL Team Six, acting on a plan set up in the headquarters of EuroCom, the U.S. Army in Stuttgart, to capture Slobodan and send him to The Hague. That story should be told, but not here.
Milosevic was a truly evil, heartless, merciless man. His greed for power was unbounded and his reign was one of predatory massacres, institutional corruption, abuse, exploitation.
By the time of the Dayton talks, after nearly four years, there were 250,000 killed, two million refugees, and there had been atrocities that had appalled the word. In interview a UN woman who was the first US official to get new of the Srebrenica massacre when a man with a bullet graze, appeared to tell her his story, resulting in an urgent telegram to the State Department.
But talking recently to former CIA and other intelligence officials, they see nothing in the Ukraine that provides any reasonable pretext to whip up ignorant mobs there who talk democracy but who behave like thugs. A former deputy chief of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA, once a backer of NED, now sees it with distrust, its ambitions “too imperial,” manifesting the U.S. obsession with meddling with other countries internal affairs. Remember what Helvey said of his program, ““is not ethical. It is not pacifism. It is based on an analysis of power in dictatorship and how to break it by withdrawing the obedience of its citizens and the key institutions of society.”
Were such methods required in the case of the Ukraine? You tell me.
This organization reminds me awful lot of the Comintern, even more now than before. I’m not sure if I like this sort of business…
The NED’s website lists a multitude of programs which are meant to influence Ukrainian elections by spreading propaganda, training social activists, monitoring the 2012 elections and various other programs for the purpose of spreading dissension, er, I mean democracy.
Someone on the news said Putin was delusional because he said the US was behind the various color revolutions and was trying to do the same in Russia. Putin isn’t delusional; the American people are ignorant of the activities of their government’s international revolutionary institutions. Some of the NED’s activities in Russia:
“Were such methods required in the case of the Ukraine?”
There is a strong suspicion that they were. The Russians certainly believe that they were used. Hence their quick and strong response. In Ukraine the role played by Otpor in Yugoslavia appears to have been played by the extreme right-wing groups and their thugs.
The fact that both Milosevic and Yanukovich were corrupt and unsavoury characters does not justify such clandestine methods being used to effect regime change.
There was a time when I was all for this kind of stuff… a real cold warrior ready to take on the Red Menace. My family was thrilled when I was assigned to 10th Special Forces. They figured we were one step closer to the liberation of Lithuania. I thought I would die in an explosive laden flaming T-64 as I crashed it into Lenin’s Tomb as the last act in the last war.
Well, I’ve grown a lot wiser since then, even if a little jaded. Now I agree with KHC. It reminds me of the Comintern as well. By all accounts, Nuland and company are of the same ilk. None of them have grown any wiser over the years. Maybe, at some level, they believe they are helping the Ukrainians. It’s more likely they see the Ukrainians as expendable pawns to be sacrificed in service to their sordid little game. We really need to get out of this business.
So it’s all about credibility… and credulity.
The people who took the chances and people in the future who will be taking the chances have to believe the promises of the United States.
When Russia, without firing a shot, snatched Crimea away from the protesters and when Eastern Ukraine started to look shaky and when it started being whispered that 15 billion dollars were needed but weren’t there and when the videos of Right Sector started appearing on the Internet, the US pulled out all the stops to preserve credibility.
And we, as a result, have seen what all the stops are. And, wow, are they impressive. I do declare.
Two examples. If the protesters are reading the New York Times or the Guardian, they must be very impressed. These nominally impartial and left-leaning outlets are making John McCain look like a timid college professor.
And then there’s Kerry. That is a Secretary of State? That’s a used car dealer. That’s Rex Ryan after a psychotic break.
The American people. No role. Not part of the equation.
“There is appearance and then there is reality.” pl
What was so bad about Yanukovich that they couldn’t wait till the next election?
He probably wasn’t any worse than his competitors. The Jeanne d’Arc of Ukraine, Timoshenko, took, just like Yanukovich, what Jelzin’s neoliberal reforms left for grabs. They are all thieves basically and differ only in political orientation.
I think that the instigators felt they had to do it now to stick it to Putin as punishment for ‘meddling’ and preventing somebody’s favourite wars.
Probably angering Russia and making them less willing to aid with Iran and Syria diplomacy, thus taking the momentum out of Syria and Iran negotiations, was a part as well, just like tying down Obama’s energies by getting him sidetracked over Ukraine.
For the people in Obama’s administration who are for war and regime change in Syria and Iran, AIPAC and the neocons there is a great degree of overlapping interest here.
If one looks at whom they needed to mobilise to make things work that tells you something too. That’s not Otpor material. Yanukovich was still elected twice, the last time with iirc 49% of the vote. That means he had popular support. In face of the people that were active on the street, they can probably be forgiven to have been intimidated.
The neocons and neoliberals talk freedom, but do severe institutional harm to democracy by setting precedents that mobs, need only seek foreign backing and can overthrow their elected governments.
This has nothing to do with Freedom. I am with TTG that likely the Ukrainians are just pawns to the people who concocted this.
One of Americas key problems IMO is the perpetuation of cold war structures and ideology. The neocons and neoliberals, just like the NED people, have sought and found new imperial missions, but retained their claim to ‘moral clarity’ and liberation.
IMO neoliberal economic theory is as much a cold war product as neoconservatism.
It was conceived as a polar opposite to socialism, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised when the initial premise was that the commies are all wrong, let’s do the exactly opposite. That to me explains it’s popularity in the cold war context: There was a strong political interest to discredit socialism as an economic model, and neoliberalism as a polar opposite seems almost tailored to do the job.
If a cold warrior sought a commie eating economist they had Milton Friedman and his acolytes. Then came 1989 and they claimed victory and declared their ideas orthodox truth.
If one reads the story of their workings in Argentina one can only weep at their social engineering on a grand scale. Naomi Klein has provided a concise account of that in her book ‘Shock Doctrine’.
America needs to rid itself of these fighting ideologies, and understand that they were fighting ideologies, and as such didn’t necessarily reflect reality but the desire to make a point.
But maybe it never was about that in the first place. To outflank a guy as ruthless as Kissinger you probably had to go hard right, that probably was the only way to make a career in DC politics.
When everybody wants to eat commie for breakfast, you probably needed to want to eat least want to eat radioactive commie to be a real fire breather and get somewhere.
Communism is gone, but they still there. And they think they’ve won simply by merit of being the last one standing.
“The John Birch Society emulates Communist cells and quasi-secret operation through ‘front’ groups, and preaches a ruthless prosecution of the ideological war along lines very similar to those it finds in the Communist enemy.”
“I would suggest that we analyze and copy the strategy of the enemy; theirs has worked and ours has not.”
In order to counter commie subversion, Western countries built a mirror apparatus during the cold war and became like what they fought against?
So the the situation seem to fit the definition of “blowback”, and to make sense of it, we are explained that Putin “lives in another world”.
From Putin’s press conference:
“VLADIMIR PUTIN: My dear colleague, look how well trained the people who operated in Kiev were. As we all know they were trained at special bases in neighbouring states: in Lithuania, Poland and in Ukraine itself too. They were trained by instructors for extended periods. They were divided into dozens and hundreds, their actions were coordinated, they had good communication systems. It was all like clockwork. Did you see them in action? They looked very professional, like special forces. Why do you think those in Crimea should be any worse?”
Milo was a bastard and didn’t get half of what he deserved.
My office was involved in the prequel to this, when Westport wasn’t interested and there was little interest in Washington, London or elsewhere. Larry Eagleburger was running the show regarding former Yugoslavia, so enough said.
We just kept churning out IIRs on atrocities/war crimes, including memory sketches of mass grave sites . . . eventually collecting an impressive mass of reliable information which by a stroke of fate ended up with UN envoy Mazowiecki . . . all part of a very long story, some of which you relate here.
The comparison with Ukraine is more of contrasts imo. What you describe was well thought out, applied and targeted, the very opposite of what has been going on in Kiev by most accounts.
Somewhere there is an “Arthashastra” PowerPoint
Book XII, “Concerning a Powerful Enemy” says do this sort of thing….
“Spies, gaining access to all these [groups] and finding out jealousy, hatred and other causes of quarrel among them, should sow the seeds of a well-planned dissension among them, …[details methods] …. In all these disputes, the conqueror should help the inferior party with men and money and set them against the superior party.”
Putin said something yesterday about the US “experimenting” on people as though they are “lab rats.” What do you say about that? What do you think should be the limits of the kind of action that you say you participated in? pl
Saker has put up a VERY interesting phone intercept –
between Ashton and Paet (Estonian foreign minister) reporting on his impression on a recent visit to Kiev and discussion with some opposition members. This is useful as it provides a feel for how the Europeans are seeing the situation (I won’t summarize, one really needs to listen) and towards the end Paet indicates that he was told by a credible opposition figure that then same snipers fired on both the police and protesters and that they were working for the opposition.
One wonders who was bankrolling this and pulling the strings. One also wonders whether this will ever surface in the Western media??
What purports to be a conversation between Baroness Ashton, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the Estonian Foreign Minister, Urmas Paet, has been posted by ‘the Saker’:
Having explained that those shot on both sides appear to have been the the victims of the same snipers, Paet goes on to say:
“it is really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened so that there is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind snipers it was not Yanukovich but it was somebody from the new coalition.”
(See http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/intercepted-phone-call-between-estonian.html )
There is also now an RT report, under the title ‘Kiev snipers hired by Maidan leaders – leaked EU’s Ashton phone tape.’
The whole conversation is well worth listening to, but the crucial section starts at around 8.20.
Interviewed for the PBS ‘Return of the Czar’ programme which appeared back in 2000, E. Wayne Merry, who was Chief Political Analyst at the U.S. Moscow Embassy beween 1990 and 1994, described his and his colleagues unsuccessful attempts to rein in the Jacobin fanatics of the Treasury Department.
In conclusion, Merry commented:
‘I remember, in the early ’90s, I think the most poignant slogan that you saw in Russia during the demonstrations was, “no more experiments.” The people were terribly tired of being treated like laboratory rats. This effort to build the new socialist man, scientific socialism had left people feeling completely alienated from their authorities. And the one thing the Russian people wanted was, not to be treated like experimental material.
‘And unfortunately, what they got in the 1990s was, another series of experiments, where many of the scientists conducting the experiments were not even Russians, but were people sitting in offices in Washington, in the U. S. Treasury and the IMF. And I think much of the disillusion with the West, much of the hostility that Russians now feel, particularly towards the United States, is reaction to what they feel was another series of failed experiments.’
(See http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/yeltsin/interviews/merry.html )
Here is Julia Ioffes’ summary of Putin’s press conference, entitled, ‘Putin’s Press Conference Proved Merkel Right: He’s Lost His Mind’:
“Slouching in a fancy chair in front of a dozen reporters, Putin squirmed and rambled. And rambled and rambled. He was a rainbow of emotion: Serious! angry! bemused! flustered! confused! So confused. Victor Yanukovich is still the acting president of Ukraine, but he can’t talk to Ukraine because Ukraine has no president. Ukraine needs elections, but you can’t have elections because there is already a president. And no elections will be valid given that there is terrorism in the streets of Ukraine. And how are you going to let just anyone run for president? What if some nationalist punk just pops out like a jack-in-the-box? An anti-Semite? Look at how peaceful the Crimea is, probably thanks to those guys with guns holding it down. Who are they, by the way? Speaking of instability, did you know that the mayor of Dniepropetrovsk is a thief? He cheated “our oligarch, [Chelsea owner Roman] Abramovich” of millions. Just pocketed them! Yanukovich has no political future, I’ve told him that. He didn’t fulfill his obligations as leader of the country. I’ve told him that. Mr. Putin, what mistakes did Yanukovich make as president? You know, I can’t answer that. Not because I don’t know the answer, but because it just wouldn’t be right of me to say. Did you know they burned someone alive in Kiev? Just like that? Is that what you call a manifestation of democracy? Mr. Putin, what about the snipers in Kiev who were firing on civilians? Who gave them orders to shoot? Those were provocateurs. Didn’t you read the reports? They were open source reports. So I don’t know what happened there. It’s unclear. But did you see the bullets piercing the shields of the Berkut [special police]. That was obvious. As for who gave the order to shoot, I don’t know. Yanukovich didn’t give that order. He told me. I only know what Yanukovich told me. And I told him, don’t do it. You’ll bring chaos to your city. And he did it, and they toppled him. Look at that bacchanalia. The American political technologists they did their work well. And this isn’t the first time they’ve done this in Ukraine, no. Sometimes, I get the feeling that these people…these people in America. They are sitting there, in their laboratory, and doing experiments, like on rats. You’re not listening to me. I’ve already said, that yesterday, I met with three colleagues. Colleagues, you’re not listening. It’s not that Yanukovich said he’s not going to sign the agreement with Europe. What he said was that, based on the content of the agreement, having examined it, he did not like it. We have problems. We have a lot of problems in Russia. But they’re not as bad as in Ukraine. The Secretary of State. Well. The Secretary of State is not the ultimate authority, is he?”
ALL! Looking for arguments against this comments conclusions!
I think the US should adopt a very different policy view towards Russia, the Ukraine, and the EU, and NATO.
First conclusion! The US has NO leadership anywhere that has an outstanding sense of long or short term geo-strategy including military, economic or political factors [PL and those commenting on this blog excepted of course]!
Second. Instead of viewing Russia and its leadership as Empire Building Cold Warriors IMO this is a totally mistaken point of view. After the fall of the wall, Larry Summers and other IVY leading lights ]most of who benefited personally financially] fully incorporated Russia into a western world dominated by corrupt governments and oligarchs. This was done through privatization of Soviet state assets.
Third,enfeebled democracies are not what the west is now defending! It is their corrupt elites.
So what to be done because the West is under a vast threat from the demographics of the Islamic World and its largely failed effort [if they did try to do so] to control its radical elements. And the West is challenged by a largely corrupt government and oligarchs in China that is using salami tactics against the West and its allies. Salami tactics = a slice at a time.
So admit Russia to NATO and USA leave it. And build up Russia and EU and NATO to forestall Asian and Islamic incursions on the West.
AND BTW IMO ISLAM IS A WESTERN NOT ASIAN RELIGION!
Does anyone know if operatives with or formerly with NED now doing the same in the US – such as with the Tea Party, Occupy movement or any other group?
Do you know any details of Germany’s role in all of this?
Can you shed any light on the motivations of the German Government?
I have a question for you:
What is “West”?
This “experimentation” has a long pedigree in Russia – started from the time of Ivan the Terrible, continued during the reigns of Peter the Great and Katherine the Great, and reached its climax under the Red Tsar.
On the other hand, one could argue that without the Red Tsar’s experimental programme, the Third Reich would be with us today.
I wonder the extent to which the “Green Movement” in Iran was a creature of NATO.
The use of “provocateurs” to agitate demonstrations is not a new thing. In the early ’70’s when I received riot control training the officer in charge of the formation kept a sniper at his side to take out the armed provocateurs. Over the years I have seen provocateurs used effectively, most recently in Bosnia, Syria & now the Ukraine. The press & public seem to fall for the tactic time after time. I’ll be suprised if there is any press coverage of the supposed phone discussion of the Estonian Foreign Minister with the EU minister informing her of snipers among the “Good Guys” in Maidan shooting both demonstrators & riot police. Most of the Maidan demonstrators that I saw with weapons had either pistols or hunting weapons; however, I did see one demonstrator with a sniper rifle in one press video. It’s interesting how we now call a demonstation with Molatov Cocktails & small arms a peaceful demostration.
The Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet has confirmed the authenticity of the conversation with Baroness Ashton in which following a visit to Kiev he stated that there was ‘now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition’.
His remarks were apparently made last week, so it would seem likely that the information has been in the hands of people in Washington, as well as London, for some days. Even if they did not get it from him, the same sources he found credible must have been talking to other Westerners.
(See http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_03_05/Estonia-confirms-authenticity-of-Paet-Ashton-conversation-on-Kiev-snipers-0339/ )
It is probably purely coincidental that the transcript of Putin’s press conference in the Washington Post ends just at the point where he responds to a question about the snipers.
(For their abbreviated transcript, see http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/transcript-putin-defends-russian-intervention-in-ukraine/2014/03/04/9cadcd1a-a3a9-11e3-a5fa-55f0c77bf39c_story.html )
If one follows the link the WP gives to the complete transcript on Putin’s website, one finds the following exchange:
‘QUESTION: You say that Yanukovych did not give the order to shoot people. But somebody shot at the protestors. And clearly, these were snipers, trained snipers.
‘VLADIMIR PUTIN: You know, some people, including those who were recently among the protestors, have expressed the opinion that these were provocateurs from one of the opposition parties. Have you heard this?
‘REPLY: No, I have not heard this.
‘VLADIMIR PUTIN: Look at these materials – they are freely available. That is why it is very difficult to get to the bottom of the situation. But you and I saw for ourselves when the Berkut fighters stood there with their shields and were shot at – and those were not air weapons that were used against them but assault weapons that pierced their shields. That is something we saw for certain. As for who gave the orders – that I do not know. I only know what Mr Yanukovych told me. And he told me that he did not give any orders, and moreover, he gave instructions – after signing a corresponding agreement – to even withdraw all militia units from the capital.’
Apparently a key source for the Estonian Foreign Minister was a doctor, Olga Bogomolets, who one of the Maidan protestors, and treated people from both sides. It was her evidence which suggested that the people on both sides were killed by the same snipers.
Immediately before Paet’s bombshell, Baroness Ashton has explained that he has she has told the Party of the Regions people ‘that you have to go to lay flowers where the people died, you have to show that you understand what has happened here.’
Her response to Paet’s attempt to suggest that she may not understand ‘what has happened here’, is ‘I think they do want to investigate. I mean, I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh.’ (Not ‘I do think we want to investigate’, as the ‘Voice of Russia transcript has it.)
One does not need simply to take for grant that Paet is justified in his claims. If Olga Bogomolets is right, then this has to be a ‘false flag’ operation by someone. By contrast to the Ghouta atrocity, which was supposed to provide a ‘casus belli’ for a U.S. attack on the Syrian government, it should be reasonably easy to determine by whom.
The new authorities in Kiev, and their champions in Washington, Brussels, Warsaw, Vilnius, London, etc etc, are in a position to ensure that a fully independent investigation into who was responsible for the sniper attacks is undertaken.
If, as Paet suggests, the new authorities do not want to see such an investigation undertaken, that is very strong evidence that the ‘false flag’ operation was perpetrated by them – just as Putin suggested might be the case.
And indeed, it is striking to find his claim that people who had been among the Maidan protestors were sceptical about the notion that Yanukovich was responsible for the escalation involved in the use of snipers apparently being born out in a rather dramatic fashion.
Like Julia Ioffe, the ‘Washington Post’ treats Putin’s press conference with lofty contempt – commenting on it in an article entitled ‘A brief rundown of Vladimir Putin’s strange, rambling press conference.’ This ends with a tweet from Anne Applebaum, who opines that ‘Putin’s press conference reveals that we may have reached the weird moment when the dictator believes his own propaganda.’
(For the WP article, see http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/03/04/a-brief-rundown-of-vladimir-putins-strange-rambling-press-conference/?hpid=z2 )
What is of course not mentioned is that Applebaum’s husband is the Polish Foreign Minister – and sometime ‘Bullingdon Boy’ – Radoslaw Sikorski: apparently a driving force behind Western policy on Ukraine. If it turns out that the Estonian Foreign Minister is right, I am afraid that the accusation that Putin ‘believes his own propaganda’ may boomerang. Having fallen for a ‘false flag’ operation in Syria, it would then seem, the elites of the West seem determined to do the same in the Ukraine.
For my own part, I am, to put it mildly, extremely sceptical of Putin’s repudiation of the suggestion that Russian ‘spetsnaz’ were not involved in Crimea, and that ‘self-defence’ forces in the peninsula could not conceivably have been trained by Russians. Indeed, I do not think that he seriously expected it to be believed.
An interesting question is whether he is right in the assertion that the Maidan protests had at their centre groups given a very thorough training in Lithuania and Poland. I would be interested in TTG’s view on the question of whether this claim is ‘propaganda’, and whether, if it is, Putin believes it.
I cannot state how accurate this comment rings to me!
Germany is the country of choice for relocation by Russians and Ukrainians. After all many of them lived or grew up in East Germany!
Babak — I actually don’t think the Greens in Iran were agitators bankrolled by foreign governments. It doesn’t prove anything but I remember the neocons and their ilk weren’t all on the same page regarding the protestors in Iran. Some touted them as an excuse to meddle, others clearly saw them as an inconvenient break in their “Iranians are evil”-narrative; they were not strong enough to effect the regime change the neos wanted, nor silent enough for their existence to be denied.
Somehow, I would not be surprised if that is the case. But the truth is that a lot of mobilization techniques that NED types use are actually old tricks that have been used by savvy machine politicians for generations, both in US and elsewhere. If similar techniques are being used by mobilizers of the Tea Party or Occupy movements, it would not necessarily be because they were trained/influenced by NED…
In a way, this sort of explains why Thaksin’s party in Thailand has not been as vulnerable to protests as others have been: Thaksin is himself a savvy machine politician and his party operates in a manner very much like NED-organized protesters…
Every bit of land on the Eurasian Continent west of the Ural Mountains!
Did you notice how Ashton’s voice thins out when she replies to his statement then she does what seems to be a side step.
I know what it means when I do that. Wonder what it means that she did that.
During the Occupy movement here in Mpls the
police raided some of the leaders houses.
Found “evidence” they were going to try some
overt violent methods. Turns out the person
who influenced this group was a police plant
according to those arrested. He may have been
trained by…. As usual the MSM dropped this
off the radar like all such stories.
The ‘Telegraph’ has picked up the report of the conversation between the Estonian Foreign Minister and Baroness Ashton. Apparently, the doctor he quoted has claimed that she did not tell him what he said she did:
‘Olga Bogomolets said she had not told Mr Paet that policemen and protesters had been killed in the same manner.
‘“Myself I saw only protesters. I do not know the type of wounds suffered by military people,” she told The Telegraph. “I have no access to those people.”
‘But she said she had asked for a full forensic criminal investigation into the deaths that occurred in the Maidan. “No one who just sees the wounds when treating the victims can make a determination about the type of weapons. I hope international experts and Ukrainian investigators will make a determination of what type of weapons, who was involved in the killings and how it was done. I have no data to prove anything.
‘“I was a doctor helping to save people on the square. There were 15 people killed on the first day by snipers. They were shot directly to the heart, brain and arteries. There were more than 40 the next day, 12 of them died in my arms.
‘“Our nation has to ask the question who were the killers, who asked them to come to Ukraine. We need good answers on the basis of expertise.”
‘Mr Paet’s assertion that an opposition figure was behind the Maidan massacre was not one she could share.
‘“I think you can only say something like this on the basis of fact,” she said. “Its not correct and its not good to do this. It should be based on fact.”
‘She said the new government in Kiev had assured her a criminal investigation had begun but that she had not direct contact with it so far.
‘“They told me they have begun a criminal process and if they say that I believe them. The police have not given me any information on it.”’
(See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/10677370/Ukraine-Russia-crisis-live.html )
The situation now seems completely clear. If they have confidence in the claims they have made, Obama, Kerry, the ‘Bullingdon Boy’, Anne Applebaum, the ‘Telegraph’, and indeed ‘Uncle Tom Cobbleigh and All’, will now energetically campaign for a full and impartial investigation into the evidence about the sniper killings.
If they do, we will await the results. If they do not, we will be entitled to draw the conclusion that they are fools, knaves, or most probably both.
The Estonian ministry of foreign affairs on its website says that the recording of the conversation is authentic between Urmas Paet and the EU “High” representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Catherine Ashton, which revealed that some people from the “new coalition” got snipers to murder people on both sides of the political dispute to inflame it, and that it was not Yanukovich who did so.
Mr. Paet is to hold a press conference today about it. Is CNN going to cover it live? (Sarcasm alert.)
In the conversation itself, after Mr. Paet makes the shocking statement, Catherine Ashton is blase about the whole thing–
“Ms. Ashton: I think we do want to investigate, I mean I didn’t pick that up. That’s interesting. Gosh.”
Of course, she is not going to do any investigation, nor is Britain, Israel, the U.S., the “European Union”, Bob Woodward, the 60 Minutes TV program, etc.
My Gosh, do you think that NSA Director Keith Alexander took time off from compiling an “on the fly” dossier of all U.S. persons and turned his attention to intercepting the communications of the “new coalition” who were plotting to get and use the snipers for these murders and the communications of the snipers themselves?
And CIA director John Brennan … what did he know and when did he know it?
In a Youtube piece posted on 20 February, Oleg Bogomolets was captioned as ‘Medical Coordinator for Opposition Movement’, and appeared to suggest that she treated Berkut people.
(See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5eiZERkECI )
So a Carpathian Eastern Orthodox farmer earnestly celebrating Easter and the gay-pride participant in San Franciscan are part of the same Civilization and Culture?
Put differently, Yekaterinburg is congruent with St. Louis in culture and custom?
Well if you believe that, I have a bridge in Dasht-e Lute that I am trying to sell.
maybe he was referring to the Tuskeege incident and to the cancer inoculations to people in jails?
Have you looked at the Financial Times editorial page today and the comments?
“I thought I would die in an explosive laden flaming T-64 as I crashed it into Lenin’s Tomb as the last act in the last war.”
You do in RED DAWN 300, coming to a theater near you Summer 2015.
Sir, my experience had to do with US overt Humint collection. Our collection provided the spur to the US government to get involved in the former Yugoslavia, a case I would argue of strategic intelligence collection actually causing strategic effect (adequately) which doesn’t happen very often. In other words the reporting promoted the political will to action while those actual activities which followed were something different, so what we did was simply the “prequel”.
Paet by his indiscretion has in effect thrown Bogomolets under the bus.
This is up on the NYTimes site:
This is the first opinion I have read looking at this from “the other side.” That said, I have not been spending hours a day on this issue. This is the source of the opinion: http://www.cast.ru
Does anyone here know more about this than is on their website?
NED is affiliated with the Democratic Party. The National Republican Institute is affiliated with the Republican Party. The Chamber of Commerce has a similar organization as does the AFL-CIO.
Regime change is a non-partisan effort, funded by Congress.
Undoubtedly, what they learn from their foreign adventures gets applied domestically.
One thought came to mind reading this article: Pussy Riot and the super-sized publicity awarded by the NYT and MSM around the world fit NED’s earlier goals to “support dissidents, circulate subversive literature”. Looks to me that Pussy Riot and its past members were simply useful for opinion formation in generation X/hipsters from San Francisco to Brooklyn. Shallow and nihilistic “musicians” oppressed by a reactionary government, same story, over and over. Just sayin’
David, to be clear, I should have appended a note saying I thought the piece was propaganda. I read the Ioffe piece yesterday, and then went to the video, only to see a calm, polite Putin. I had to appreciate his audacity saying anyone can buy the uniforms seen in the Crimea.
It’s all especially annoying that Merkel’s clarification of what she actually said appeared in Die Welt the day before the Ioffe article.
Thanks for the links.
More on Ukraine
You asked if I thought Putin was right to assert that “the Maidan protests had at their centre groups given a very thorough training in Lithuania and Poland.” I think there might be some truth in that, but is more political hyperbole than fact. The groups of Pravy Sektor and Svoboda are fully capable of producing their own indigenous cadres of street fighters and probably have no shortage of compounds and camps in western Ukraine to conduct such training. Sure there were probably some “leadership seminars” and coordination meetings in Lithuania and Poland, but I think the biggest import from these countries was money to fund their activities, money mostly from Nuland’s war chest. Earlier released emails from Klitschko to a Lithuanian government official were quite telling.
“Special thanks to all Lithuanian friends for financial assistance.” (27 Nov 2013)
“Your colleague has arrived and started working with my team. He’s a real pro and I think his services may be required even after the country is destabilized. I’ve also met your people from the Embassy. The information about Yanukovych’s plans they handed me is very important for our common cause.” (14 Dec 2013)
“I think we’ve paved the way for more radical escalation of the situation. Isn’t it time to proceed with more decisive actions? I also want you to consider the possibility of increasing funding to pay for the services of our supporters.” (9 Jan 2014)
Yes, many mobilization tricks are tried and true. I refer, however, to the “unethical” Mr. Sale refers to above in the quotes from Robert Helvey.” …. He said in an interview that his non-violent method “is not ethical. It is not pacifism. It is based on an analysis of power in dictatorship and how to break it by withdrawing the obedience of its citizens and the key institutions of society.”
What is the difference between breaking power within a dictatorship and within a democracy? Are these jacobins breaking the power of the citizens of the US by these actions?
Joe, in Germany the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung online (faz.net) has a front page article about that conversation with Ashton. Other german media (incl. TV) are silent.
Agree that, “IMO neoliberal economic theory is as much a cold war product as neoconservatism.” Although I have the highest regard for Col Lang’s view that this situation is not simply about economics, the neoliberal economic philosophy that led to post-Soviet looting surely plays into the dynamics.
Neoliberal economics underlies the ‘logic’ of tax havens and offshore. Hence, it is worth noting that
The Tax Justice Network has a recent post about how the psychology of offshoring is now affecting the situation in the Ukraine, including Putin’s assessment of the West: i.e., we’ve become sycophants for Russian fortunes.
As evidence: I don’t know whether you spotted it, but the Guardian has a story about Cameron’s administration seeking to protect The City of London (i.e., home base of tax havens, offshoring, and finance) against hostilities in the Ukraine. Putin and the Russians ought to be having a hearty chuckle over that one — Cameron’s acting to protect the rights of London Finance to continue servicing Russian oligarchs and their fortunes.
An excellent history of the ‘mathification’ that lent influence to neoliberal economics can be found in Beinhocker’s “The Origin of Wealth”, if you are interested. Intriguingly – but no big surprise – that history includes people with autistic tendencies.
Neoliberalism’s offshoring has large implications: would Russian deposits in US-related banks in the Caymans, British Virgin Islands, Jerseys, etc, etc, be affected if Putin decides that a response to US sanctions would be to stop paying on Russian loans? Quite possibly.
With respect to Argentina, it is worth noting that Pope Francis – former Archbishop of Buenos Aires -saw that economic nightmare Up Close and Personal. It is no accident that he is an articulate voice pushing back against neoliberal economics; and he is only one of many voices articulating global disgust with neoliberal economics. Without that economic system, it is hard to envision how neoconservatism can remain intact and dominant.
Concerning your reporting about Serbian atrocities/war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, were your sources all Bosnian and Croatian refugees? On the clan side, they all were. We were directed to make a concerted effort to gather intel. Unfortunately our leads and sources were all taken from refugees… low hanging fruit. Our most prolific source proved to be a paper mill. The handling C/O discovered this himself with some persistent detective work. We only talked to one side and we got one sided reports. Vladko and his henchmen were bastards, but we never got a clear picture of the entire situation. We missed half the bastards.
Here’s another sad story. We had several Yugoslavian sources prior to the troubles in the Balkans, but were directed to drop them not long after the WTO collapsed. “We’ll never be interested in that region again,” we were told. Turned out to be pretty damned shortsighted.
TTG and Sedlitz89
“Our most prolific source proved to be a paper mill.” well, that’s the problem is it not? If you interview refugees about the persecutors lot of them are going to lie to you. pl
In some sense, that is the direction politics has been moving in United States, too, although, as far as I can tell, without direct linkage to NED–but then, these are basically same people who are operating on both domestic electoral front and the int’l “democratization” front.
Within both parties, political activists have identified the loci of power within the parties and are using various peculiar features of American elections (e.g. primaries) to exercise undue influence within both parties. Tea Partiers, liberal activists, R2P types, neocons, neoliberals, etc.: all these people are relatively small (and often very small) minorities among the American public, even if they were all put together, but they have been successful in mobilizing key demographics of the public at the crucial points along the political process and have been able to exercise undue amount of influence. In other words, they have been able to threaten many elected politicians (even those who are not their fellow travelers) by threatening to “withdraw important subsets of the citizenry and the key institutions of society.” It is basically the same cynical game they play, both at home and abroad.
Within the Washington Beltway really only one party!
The one party is the incumbents.
See William Greider’s 1994 book “Who Will Tell the People?”!
Then it all comes down to properly assessing the reliability of a source, that analysts are given the time necessary for that and that reality is being taken into account.
I think the inherent problem of such situations as we saw in Jugoslavia, Iraq, with Syria policy and now in Ukraine, is that there is a strong political impetus that wants a particular policy that heavily favours friendly news.
We have a 24h news cycle now, and that means that the political side tries to put out stories in support of political objectives as soon as they bcome available and still have news value to shape the narrative. This is propaganda pure and simple. It has nothing to do with reality.
The idea may be summed up as move fast, pick the stories you want, be first, and no more questions please.
In essence, policy moves faster than the understanding of the situation, and the decision makers are so cocksure of themselves that they don’t bother operating in the fog.
Brandon O’Neill has called these people ahistorical and I concur. They don’t know history, and they don’t care.
What I marvel at is the degree of decentralised harmonisation that one can see at play in western and in partuicular in US media in such circumstances. Either they play along willingly and tacitly, or they are out of their depth and simply overwhelmed with events they have no time (or inclination or knowledge) to think through. Or is it just an elite consensus of an old boys and gals crowd, some sort of DC insisder intellectual incest?
I can’t otherwise explain the piss poor performance we see with the hair-dos on tv and in the severely skewed reporting one can read in the newspapers.
The problem inherent in that is that not just the public but in particular the political sides is never fully or orperly informed, and thus prone fall prey to believing their own propaganda.
And these people are necessarily mislading their publics as much as their enemies. Regime change ops like this require secrecy and, more importantly, it inevitably requires domestic propaganda (something putatively prohibited in the US).
It’s a small step from staying on message to believe all that crap yourself. It probably is one way to calm the inevitable dissonance arising from knowing better and selling something else in full knowledge it is wrong. Believing that wrong is right must be tempting then, even kore so among true believers who want to be good, want to do good.
It is small comfort that, of all things, they would find their redemtrion in self delusion.
And of course, all of it flies on the face of parliementary oversight (and in the US, the odds are the overseers are fully on board wih any of this) and government transparency.
The intel people then must be the perpetual skunks at the picknick, whose views endanger the policy – dangerous people who must be reigned in and watched with suspicion. It is worse, however, when the Intel people want to be team players and drink the proverbial kool aid. A thankless job.
In a sense, the intelligence apparatus was rid of a conflict of interest when it was to drop the subversive mission and when Reagan outsourced it to bodies like NED. The underlying propblem however wasn’t not one of the intelligence services but one of the US government wanting policies regardles of facts on the ground. That problem persists regardles of reorganisation. It is as curent now as it was in 2003 or during Iran-Contra.
See my comment on the POST reflecting this comment. Totally agree!
One would wish that were still the case.
Historically, incumbents were successful electorally because they were able to spend time building rapport with their constituencies and because their parties and other Washington insiders stayed out of their districts.
Now, the story is opposite. Nobody has had personal contacts with their congressperson any more. The biggest asset that incumbents have is their partisanship, followed by talking points on various “major” issues. In compensation, parties have helped create heavily partisan districts where a yellow dog or a pink cat can be elected as long as they belong to the right party and say the right things. People talk about campaign spending going up, but in fact, large sums of money are being spent ONLY in the areas where partisan balance is still competitive: since politicians have no “personal” character to bring to the table, they make it up for it by spending money. No politician is being elected because of who and what they are as individual any more. Every politician has only to toe the party line (defined in different senses) and that will be good enough.
If anything, we need incumbency to matter more, not less, to fight this madness.
The National Democratic Institute is the Democratic Party homologue of the Republican-affiliated International Republican Institute, both of which are under the umbrella of the National Endowment for Democracy.
Sources were all Bosnian and victims of the Bosnian Serbs. We reported based on the sources we had access to. What really stood out was the reaction. After months of hardly any notice, all the sudden our reporting, particularly regarding a specific camp, was of high value and interest. If I remember correctly this was around the time that a couple of high level State Department officials resigned. Members of our unit received Exceptional Human Intelligence Collector awards signed by James W. himself . . . There’s a bit more I could add, but you’ll have to buy the beer . . .
Sir, regarding Putin, I have the greatest respect for him as a strategist, from a Clausewitzian perspective. I think he is very much the part and for that reason somewhat predictable in that he shares a certain outlook which I am sure you see as well. I’ve posted on this subject and have used Clausewitz and Svechin to describe in some limited way what is going one, provide a conceptual yardstick . . .
At the same time, I don’t see the US reacting in any way effectively to this, divided as we are due to base interest. I fear we as a country have little concept of what strategy actually is, this attempt to use various sources of power as means . . . at the level of grand strategy, of where we as a people will our political community to develop in interaction with other political communities . . . a difficult task indeed!
Was it all simply a mad Enlightenment dream?
Here’s a pretty good report on the Maidan protests done by RT and published on 19 February. Sure RT has a point of view, but just look at the video images. Can you imagine what we would do if the Occupy Wallstreet crowd looked and acted like the Maidan protesters?
Someone commenting on the Vineyard Saker found these YouTube videos supporting the claim that the protesters were the ones doing the sniping.
that is a very interesting documentary from RT. I guess Ms. Wahl definitely had to quit her job at RT before this came out.
I was struck by the father (Orthodox?) being interviewed saying Berkut units were using rubber bullets. (I believe the Berkut is a special police unit?) A few minutes later the interchange where this line was said: “Did you ever see a Russian diplomat handing out cookies to Berkut units” Got to admit it was funny. One of the Berkut members said the hard core (violent) protesters were present every day and that if they were given the order they could have pushed them out (his words) easily as there were only 2-300 of them? That seems like a pretty small group to force such a change, but of course the real power struggle wasn’t in plain sight, was it?
Yes, I can imagine what would have been done to the “occupy WallStreet” movement had they dressed like any of the Ukrainian protesters. As is they were effectively crushed by court order and/or police action in every city but Detroit. There the city not only didn’t have the money but everyone with power knew they would be completely ineffective, including both the Democratic members of Congress from the area and all the Republicans in the state.
Meanwhile, South of the Border, the US is apparently choosing sides in the Mexican political process:
US Embassy and Godaddy conspire to censor dissenting Mexican political site