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Color Revolutions –The Hue of Coup d’Etat

In his article Western Leaders Slip into Their Childhood, Thierry Meyssan reviews the color revolutions, their genesis and their commonalities. He also reveals why Syria seems to be a harder nut to crack for such idealistic revolutionaries as Obama and Cameron: not enough young Syrians properly  inspired.

Assad must go

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“The slogan “Bashar must go!” was supposed to be chanted by crowds of protesters in Damascus and Aleppo. In the absence of such demonstrations, it has been taken over by Western leaders themselves even though it goes against all the conventional rules of diplomacy. Why?

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In 1985, a social scientist, Gene Sharp, published a study commissioned by NATO on Making Europe Unconquerable. He pointed out that ultimately a government only exists because people agree to obey it. The USSR could never control Western Europe if people refused to obey Communist governments.

A few years later, in 1989, Sharp was tasked by the CIA with conducting the practical application of his theoretical research in China. The United States wanted to topple Deng Xiaoping in favor of Zhao Ziyang. The intention was to stage a coup with a veneer of legitimacy by organizing street protests, in much the same way as the CIA had given a popular facade to the overthrow of Mohammed Mossadegh by hiring Tehran demonstrators (Operation Ajax, 1953). The difference here is that Gene Sharp had to rely on a mix of pro-Zhao and pro-US youth to make the coup look like a revolution. But Deng had Sharp arrested in Tiananmen Square and expelled from the country. The coup failed, but not before the CIA spurred the youth groups into a vain attack to discredit Deng through the crackdown that followed. The failure of the operation was attributed to the difficulties of mobilizing young activists in the desired direction.

Ever since the work of French sociologist Gustave Le Bon in the late nineteenth century, we know that adults behave like children when they are in the throes of collective emotion. They become susceptible, even if for just a critical fleeting moment, to the suggestions of a leader-of-men who for them embodies a father figure. In 1990, Sharp got close to Colonel Reuven Gal, then chief psychologist of the Israeli Army (he later became deputy national security adviser to Ariel Sharon and now runs operations designed to manipulate young Israeli non-Jews). Combining the discoveries of Le Bon and Sigmund Freud, Gal reached the conclusion that it was also possible to exploit the “Oedipus complex” in adolescents and steer a crowd of young people to oppose a head of state, as a symbolic father figure.

On this basis, Sharp and Gal set up training programs for young activists with the objective of organizing coups. After a few successes in Russia and the Baltics, it was in 1998 that Gene Sharp perfected the method of “color revolutions” with the overthrow of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.

After President Hugo Chavez foiled a coup in Venezuela on the basis of one of my investigations revealing the role and method of Gene Sharp, the latter suspended the activities of the Albert Einstein Institute which served as a cover and went on to create new structures (CANVAS in Belgrade, the Academy of Change in London, Vienna and Doha). We saw them at work the world over, especially in Lebanon (Cedar Revolution), Iran (Green Revolution), Tunisia (Jasmine Revolution) and Egypt (Lotus Revolution). The principle is simple: exacerbate all underlying frustrations, blame the political apparatus for all the problems, manipulate the youth according to the Freudian “patricidal” scenario, organize a coup, and then propagandize that the government was brought down by the “street.”

International public opinion easily swallowed these stage settings: first, because of a confusion between a crowd and the people. Thus, the “Lotus Revolution” actually boiled down to a show on Tahrir Square in Cairo, mobilizing a crowd of tens of thousands, while the near totality of the Egyptian people abstained from taking part in the event; and second, because there is a lack of clarity with regard to the word “revolution”. A genuine revolution entails an upheaval in social structures that takes place over several years, while a “color revolution” is a regime change that occurs within weeks. The other term for a forced change of leadership without social transformation is a “coup d’état”. In Egypt, for example, it is clearly not the people who pushed Hosni Mubarak to resign, but U.S. Ambassador Frank Wisner who gave him the order.

The slogan of the “color revolutions” harks back to an infantile perspective. What matters is to overthrow the head of state without consideration of the consequences—“Don’t worry about your future, Washington will take care of everything for you.” By the time people wake up, it’s too late; the government has been usurped by individuals not of their choosing. At the outset though, there are cries of “Down with Shevardnadze!” Or “Ben Ali, get out!” The latest version was launched at the third conference of “Friends” of Syria (Paris, July 6): “Bashar must go!

A strange anomaly can be detected with regard to Syria. The CIA did not locate groups of young Syrians willing to chant this slogan in the streets of Damascus and Aleppo. So it is Barack Obama, François Hollande, David Cameron and Angela Merkel themselves who repeat the slogan in chorus from their respective foreign offices. Washington and its allies are trying out the methods of Gene Sharp on the “international community”. It is a risky bet to imagine that foreign ministries can be as easy to manipulate as youth groups! At the moment, the result is simply ridiculous: the leaders of the colonial powers have been stomping their feet like angry, frustrated children over a desired object that the Russian and Chinese adults won’t let them have while ceaselessly wailing “Bashar must go!“.

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11 Responses to Color Revolutions –The Hue of Coup d’Etat

  1. who_me August 8, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

    interesting analysis, thanks.

  2. fool me once... August 8, 2012 at 11:53 pm #

    Yeah good one, makes ya think!

  3. etominusipi August 9, 2012 at 6:00 am #

    interesting!¬ i’d like to say “well done!”. but do you know what? i just have one teeny-weeny little reservation.

    i think Ariadna is far too cynical about the nomenclature of our colour revolutions!!!

    i should probably bear with my dissent in silence, but sometimes, on a matter of principle, one simply must speak out – regardless of consequences.

    this new terminology is no chromatic aberration, no mere flash in the creative pan provoked by nasal inhalation of powdered alkaloids on a dull afternoon.

    let’s admit it! history is dull in black and white!!!! deadly dull!!!!! and guess what!? kids aren’t interested in dull stuff! no wonder they play computer games instead of doing their homework. that is an entirely healthy response of youngsters eager for vivid experience.

    no, if we want the attention of those to whom one day we will hand on the torch of freedom, then we must embrace the colour revolutions with wide-open arms.

    more! we can do even better! we can build on our success!!!!

    so we should now move up a notch, and give pleasant, fanciful names to all manner of world events, past, present and future. wouldn’t we have had more visitors to the UK this year if we’d called it “the Black-and-Tan Olympics” instead of naming this superb display after boring old London? won’t the (wo)man on the Clapham omnibus make a host of irrelevant associations with the word ‘London’- e.g. the banking capital of the world? – and won’t this detract from the superb athletic achievements of TeamGB???

    research undertaken by Tesco’s marketing department suggest that a coloured pattern should be provided for every significant development in today’s busy world. and there’s more. each should have it’s musical appellation, a little jingle that people can hum as they joyfully head for work in the morning. imagine the splendid chorus on the 8.13 to Paddington as people read their newspapers!

    also for each event-theme a characteristic odour should be chosen.(this would not have been possible without recent nobel-prize-winning discoveries in the chemical synthesis of macro-molecular olfactory stimuli)

    i think i may safely stop there. deLiberation readers are more than intelligent enough to think of many creative applications of these ideas.

    so spread the good news! totalitarian monopoly thanato-capitalism is not dead!!! it is merely sleeping. and we know just how to wake it up!

    it needs a facelift. why not let’s treat history to a bit of pampering and TLC!!! and let’s admit (without bitterness, Ariadna) the colour revolutions have been a great start!!!

    in the immortal words (suggestion: green and pink, with wavy white zig-zags, to the tune of “Ain’t Misbehaving”, and with a mixed scent from the sweat glands of the panelists on the popular BBC radio show Gardener’s Question Time) with which one of the greatest Fat Cats of the 20th century once exhorted his tireless stakhanovites:

    let a thousand flowers bloom – Miao Tze-Dong

    .

    • Ariadna Theokopoulos August 9, 2012 at 7:46 am #

      Don’t hold back, eto. Why not hit me with the biggie: the color codes of terrorism danger. Is it still Orange on US airports?

      • etominusipi August 9, 2012 at 9:28 am #

        your timely question reminds me that there have been historical precedents for the creative use of hue-based metaphor in labelling sociopolitical upheavals and other varieties of impactful happenstance. i will mention just a handful of the better-known examples:

        agent Orange
        the Yellow Peril
        the Green zone in occupied Baghdad
        the Black Death
        the battle of the Reds and Whites in post-1917 Russia
        Picasso’s Blue Period (here there are subtle semantic interplays at work – for example the suggestion of aristocratic menstrual blood laced with a hint of ribaldry is a fitting verbal monument to the Iberian Titan of the paintbrush).

        not merely colour but also colourful language has its place in extending the range and increasing the precision of historical judgement, e.g.:

        the Boston Tea-Party
        the War of Jenkin’s Ear
        and, of course, from the Bill Clinton presidency salty chicken soup diplomacy

        (surely you don’t expect us to swallow that? ed.)

        • Ariadna Theokopoulos August 9, 2012 at 9:46 am #

          What you have unintentionally shown is that there has been NO PROGRESS in the use of colors.
          How long before we have a revolution described as:
          Sienna
          ochre
          vermillion
          magenta
          purple
          violet
          ivory
          bone
          off white
          cream
          charcoal
          chocolate
          cafe-au-lait
          espresso
          bleu Ciel
          bleu gendarme
          bleu marine
          pea green
          forrest green
          Loden green
          mustard

          I would rule out only beige.

          • etominusipi August 9, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

            yes, beige! i seem to recall that Engels referred to it as the most pure case of an ineluctably reactionary line in the political spectrum. i had similar, though not identical, misgivings concerning mauve – for my money at least, the very word seems an epitome of all that is worst in the effete gallicism of our cousins across La Manche, so that its attempted employment in serious discourse achieves, even in the most favourable cases (say in smart little bistros in Islington, with copious wine lists) merely the status of an insult to the vigour of anglo-saxon political theory, indeed to that entire universe of discourse which recent US neo-Marxist sociological theory neatly encapsulates in the term Judeaeo-Mormonic cultural values – values, i might say, which, long before this academically hosted terminological baptism, were recognised by such temperamentally antithetical theorists as Jean Bodin and Thomas Hobbes, as the vertebrae of the moral backbone of the British Empire.

          • Ariadna Theokopoulos August 9, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

            There is no greater insult in the French language than “mauve,” don’t you remember the cry on the barricades (all the barricades…):
            Don’t be mauve! Be fauve!

  4. Daniel Mabsout August 9, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    Good article , thank you Ariadna, the Cedar revolution that we have witnessed in Lebanon was also a color revolution . We did not know immediately that what we were witnessing in Tunis and Egypt was something similar and we thought – at the very beginning -that these two were somehow genuine revolutions unlike what has happened in Lebanon and in Iran. It is still a mystery how they managed- in Lebanon- to gather hundreds of thousands of Lebanese calling for change . Of course , they had studied well the different steps. They had Hariri killed and then used and channeled all the anger that originated from this to fuel these protests . What was required first was the ousting of the Syrians which was a popular slogan among Lebanese who rushed to celebrate it forgetting what was really meant by it. It meant simply not only that the Syrians were to evacuate Lebanon but that the Resistance was being targeted. In Lebanon , this revolution was not a success after ousting the Syrians , not much could be achieved besides creating havoc and instability but no other change materialized on the ground . These people who program such social unrests must have studied well the personality of each population and their culture. While the Green revolution in Iran was full of challenges and dangers , the Cedar revolution looked more like a big festival with songs and flags and laughing under the blue sky and bathing in the hot sun. Many undecided idling youths joined in . Not only there was no danger but there was fun . Lebanon is not a well protected society , it is too open to all kinds of influences and interferences, this could be true also of Egypt , but in Lebanon it reached a point where it turned against its own openness to start hosting and breeding something that could be labeled as totally opposite to it , it bred the invincible Lebanese Resistance in the quiet deep caverns of the south and the wide forgotten dry plains of the Bekaa. Such fake revolutions cannot achieve their goals in Lebanon nor in Iran because of the presence of a real revolution and a true Resistance , and Syria -as a whole- is a well protected society where there is unity , the unity brought about by the capacity to identify the common enemy to all and the common friend as well . This stand of Assad in supporting the Resistance against Israel and its allies brought the Syrian society together and strengthened the bonds of unity , the only way left for the west was to purchase such opposition to the Syrian regime , for this reason almost every Syrian (or non Syrian by the way) fighting against the regime- whether on internet or in the battle field- is on the payroll of some corrupt NGO or some corrupt Gulf prince , in other terms is being paid. Unfortunately, the Egyptian society because of the policies of recognition and normalization, was not protected against this ailment and will suffer deep unrest for this reason . The only cure is to have the real immunity of resistance and revolution that could unmask the fake ones .

    • Ariadna Theokopoulos August 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

      I only have two words to say about the cedars of Lebanon: March 14.

  5. Ariadna Theokopoulos August 12, 2012 at 10:56 am #

    UPDATE
    Color Revolutions Get Cute:

    A Swedish plane violated the Belarus airspace in July penetrating the air space over Minks and dropping — how cute can color revolutions get? — teddybears. The cuddly toys carried messages of “human rights” encouraging the people of Belarus to revolt and demand their rights.
    The action was ostensibly organized by Studio Total, a Swedish advertising agency animated by activism on behalf of, you guessed it, human rights.
    Now Belarus’ top security agency has summoned the Swedes involved to appear for questioning, a demand met with incredulous outrage by the MSM, the US and the European Union, all stalwart defenders of human rights.
    The AP description of the events below makes clear that only an authoritarian, nay a tyrant, like the president of Belarus can have an objection to the adorable teddybear action”

    STOCKHOLM (AP) — Belarus’ top security agency — the KGB — has summoned a Swedish advertising team for questioning after the group air-dropped hundreds of parachute-wearing teddy bears that carried pro-human rights messages onto the soil of the authoritarian ex-Soviet state. The agency threatens the Swedes with fines or even jail time if they don’t show up in 10 days.
    The July 4 teddy bear drop by Studio Total infuriated Belarus’ autocratic President Alexander Lukashenko, who fired two generals over it. It also may have added stress to already deteriorating diplomatic relations between Stockholm and Minsk. Earlier this month, Belarus effectively expelled Sweden’s ambassador and ordered the Nordic state to close its embassy.
    The summons, signed by an investigator named P. Tsernavsky and posted on the KGB’s website Saturday, says the agency is investigating the “criminal case” of the ad group’s “illegal crossing” into Belarusian airspace. The KGB said it wants the Swedes to participate in its “investigative actions” so it can clarify the role each person played and help it decide how to deal with two Belarusian men accused of aiding the Swedes.
    One of the Belarusian suspects, a journalism student, was arrested after he posted photos of the teddy bears on his personal website; the other is a real estate agent who is said to have offered the Swedes an apartment when they visited Belarus some time before the stunt.
    If the Swedes don’t show up within 10 days, the agency said they could face a fine or “correctional work for up to two years, or imprisonment for up to six months.”
    Studio Total co-founder Tomas Mazetti, who piloted the plane in the teddy bear drop, said he received the summons via email, and that it demands he and two colleagues, Hannah Frey and Per Cromwell, appear.
    It’s “a bit cute and tragic at the same time,” he said. “They just expect us to show up just because they say so.”
    Mazetti told The Associated Press that the group wants legal advice before deciding what to do, and that the team members would likely demand guarantees that they would not be detained if they showed up. “We have nothing against helping them in their investigation to clarify just how we did it,” he said.
    He added, however, that the legal proceedings against the two Belarusians were “really sad” and had “no logic.” He said political experts have warned that Lukashenko may be using the two Belarusians as pawns to force the Swedes to go to Minsk.
    “It’s pure blackmail,” Mazetti said.
    Studio Total has previously staged attention-grabbing campaigns by burning up stacks of cash and setting up a fake sex-school in Austria. Mazetti said it orchestrated the non-commercial air-drop of the 879 teddy bears to shine a light on Belarus’ poor record on human rights and freedom of speech and to embarrass its military, a pillar of Lukashenko’s power.
    “That’s why we did it,” Mazetti said. “There are people jailed there just because they’ve said something.”
    Lukashenko has ruled Belarus, a nation of 10 million, since 1994, repressing opposition groups and independent news media while preserving a quasi-Soviet economy with about 80 percent of industry in state hands. He has earned the nickname in the West of “Europe’s last dictator.”
    Swedish-Belarusian relations have soured even more in the weeks since the teddy bear drop.
    Earlier this month, Belarus said it would not allow the Nordic country’s ambassador to Minsk to return to his mission. The Swedes reciprocated by barring entry to the new Belarusian ambassador to Stockholm and asking two junior Belarusian diplomats to leave the country. Lukashenko’s regime then ordered the Swedish embassy in Minsk to close.
    The United States and the European Union have expressed strong support for Sweden in the dispute.
    Swedish authorities have said Belarus is angry over Stockholm’s promotion of human rights.
    Although the teddy bear drop was not officially cited as a reason for the embassy closure or the barring of Sweden’s envoy, Lukashenko was cited Thursday as accusing Swedish diplomats of involvement in the stunt. According to the Interfax news agency, the Belarusian leader said the Swedes should count themselves lucky to have made it home alive.
    “They should thank God that our calm people had pity for those pilots,” Interfax quoted Lukashenko as saying. “They should pray for our air defense forces, our border guards who spotted them right over the border and pitied them.”

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