No War but Class War! Documents leaked by WikiLeaks show acts as an organization that trains opposition around the world – from Egypt to Venezuela!

22 Feb

Don’t be fooled by the protests in Venezuela: This time it’s the opposition that’s anti-democratic!

In the upper corner of the document, a fist print the brand of the organization. In the body of the text reads: “There is a strong trend in presidential Venezuela. How can we change this? How can we work this? “. Below, the reader may find the following phrases: “Economics: oil is from Venezuela and not from government. It’s your money, it is your right … The message needs to be adapted for young people, not only for college students … and mothers, what they want? Control of the law, the police acting under local authorities. We will provide the resources needed for that. ”

The text is in Spanish or was written by a member of the Venezuelan opposition, written in English, was produced by a group of young people based across the world – in Serbia.

The document “Analysis of the situation in Venezuela, January 2010”, produced by Canvas organization, which is headquartered in Belgrade, is among the documents of the intelligence firm Stratfor leaked by WikiLeaks.

The latest leak from WikiLeaks – which the public had access – shows that the founder of this organization will always correspond with analysts Stratfor, a company that mixes journalism, political analysis and methods of espionage for selling “intelligence analysis” to customers that include corporations like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Coca-Cola and Dow Chemical – for those who monitored the activities of environmentalists who opposed them – besides the U.S. Navy.

The Canvas (abbreviation for “center for conflict and non-violent strategies”) was founded by two student leaders of Serbia, who participated in the successful revolt that overthrew dictator Slobodan Milosevic in 2000. For two years, students organized creative protests, marches and acts that ended up destabilizing the regime. Then joined the body of knowledge in hand and began to teach the opposition groups from different countries about how to organize to defeat the government. It was so arrived in Venezuela, where they began to train leaders of the opposition in 2005.  On his TV show , Hugo Chavez accused the group of coup and be of service to the United States. “It’s called soft coup,” he said.

The new documents examined by the Public show that Chavez was not entirely sure – but he was not entirely wrong.

Beginning in Serbia

“For ten years of student organization during the 90s,” says Ivan Marovic, one of the students who participated in the protests against Milosevic, but has no connection with the Canvas group. “In the end, the outside support finally came. I would be silly to deny it. They played an important role in the final step. Yes, the United States gave money, but everyone gave money: German, French, Spanish, Italian. All were collaborating because no one else supported Milosevic, “he said in an interview with Public.

“Depending on the country, they donated a certain way. Americans have an ‘arm’ formed by very active NGOs in supporting certain groups, other countries like Spain and have supported us through the foreign ministry. ” Among the NGOs cited by Marovic are the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), an organization funded by Congress organization, Freedom House and the International Republican Institute, linked to the Republican Party – both have hefty funding from USAID, the U.S. development agency who captained scammers movements in Latin America in the 60s, including Brazil.

All these NGOs are old friends of Latin American governments, including the latest.

IRI was, for example , who gave “political training courses’ to 600 Haitian opposition leaders in the Dominican Republic during the years 2002 and 2003. The coup against Jean-Baptiste Aristide, the democratically elected president, happened in 2004. Investigated by the U.S. Congress, the IRI was accused of being behind two organizations who conspired to overthrow Aristide. In Venezuela, the NED sent $ 877 billion to opposition groups in the previous failed coup in 2002 months, as revealed to the New York Times . In Bolivia,  according to documents  obtained by the American government journalist Jeremy Bigwood, Public partner, USAID maintained an “Office for Transition Initiatives”, which invested $ 97 million in projects of “decentralization” and “regional autonomy” since 2002, strengthening state governments that oppose Evo Morales.

Wanted by the Public, the leader of the Canvas, Srdja Popovic, said the organization receives no government funding of any country and its largest funder is Serbian businessman Slobodan Djinovic, who was also a student leader.

However, a PowerPoint presentation of the organization, leaked by WikiLeaks, shows how the Canvas partners IRI and Freedom House, which receive large sums of USAID.

For the researcher Mark Weisbrot, Center for Economic institute and Policy Research in Washington, organizations like IRI and Freedom House “are not promoting democracy.” “Most of the time, are promoting the exact opposite. Generally promote U.S. policies in other countries, and this means opposition to leftist governments, for example, or the governments of which the United States does not like. ”

Phase Two: Bolivia to Egypt 

Looking through the same PowerPoint presentation, the performance of Canvas impresses. Between 2002 and 2009, held 106 workshops, reaching 1800 participants from 59 countries. Not all Americans are disaffected – Canvas trained activists for example in Spain, Morocco and Azerbaijan – but the list includes many of them: Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Zimbabwe, Belarus, North Korea, Syria and Iran

According to the Canvas itself, its performance was important in all so-called “color revolutions” that have spread from former countries of the Soviet Union in the 2000s.

The document points out how “successful cases” knowledge transfer to Kmara movement in Georgia in 2003, the group that launched the Revolution overthrew President and Roses, a little help to the Orange Revolution in 2004, Ukraine; training groups made the Cedar Revolution in 2005 in Lebanon, several projects with NGOs in Zimbabwe and the opposition coalition to Robert Mugabe, training activists in Vietnam, Tibet and Burma, as well as projects in Syria and Iraq with “pro-democracy” . And in Bolivia, “preparation of the 2009 elections in groups of Santa Cruz” – known as the most outspoken group of opponents of Evo Morales.

By 2009, the group’s main manual “Nonviolent Struggle – 50 Crucial Points” had been translated into 5 languages,  including Arabic and Farsi .

One of the actions of Canvas that became visible was the training of the leadership of the April 6 movement, considered the embryo of the Egyptian spring. The movement began to be organized by Facebook to protest in solidarity with textile workers in Mahalla al Kubra city in the Nile Delta. It was the first time the social network has been used for this purpose in Egypt. In mid-2009, Mohammed Adel, a leader of the April 6 traveled to Belgrade to be coached by Popovic.

In emails to analysts Stratfor, Popovic brags to maintain relations with the leaders of that movement, especially with Adel Mohammed – who became one of the main sources of information about the uprising in Egypt in 2011. In the internal memo of Stratfor, it is mentioned under the codename RS501.

“We just talked to some of our friends in Egypt and found some things,” he informs on January 27, 2011. “Tomorrow the Muslim irmadade will take your strength to the streets, then it may be even more dramatic … We got better information about these groups and how they have organized in recent days, but we are still trying to map them.”

Stratfor documents

The documents leaked by WikiLeaks show that the Canvas acts so unless you want to appear independent. On at least two occasions, Srdja Popovic told by email to have participated in meetings in Securiy National Council, the Security Council of the American government.

The first meeting referred to took place on December 18, 2009 and the topic on the agenda was Russia and Georgia. At the time, was part of the NSC’s “great friend” of Popovic – in his own words – the senior Obama adviser to Russia, Michael McFaul, who is now U.S. ambassador to that country.

At the same meeting, according to Popovic reported later treated the funding of opposition in Iran by pro-democracy groups, a topic of special interest to him. “Politics is made ​​to Iran in NSC by Dennis Ross. There is a crescent function on Iran at the State Department under the Assistant Secretary John Limbert. Funding for pro-democracy programs in Iran increased from $ 1.5 million in 2004 to $ 60 million in 2008 (…) After June 12, 2009, the NSC decided to neutralize the effects of existing programs, which began with Bush. Apparently the logic was that the U.S. did not want to be seen trying to interfere in Iran’s internal politics The U.S. does not want to give the Iranian regime an excuse to reject the negotiations on the nuclear program, “complains the Serbian, for whom the Obama administration would be acting as “a bull in a crockery shop” with the new policy. “As a result, the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, Freedom House, IRI and IFES had rejected their requests for resources,” describes in an email in early January 2010.

A further meeting of the NSC Popovic had occurred at 17 pm on July 27, 2011, as reported Popovic analyst Reva Bhalla on.

“These guys are awesome,” he said, in an email enthusiastic, analyst at Stratfor to Eastern Europe, Marko Papic. “They use open shop in a country and try to overthrow the government. When properly used is a more powerful weapon than a battalion of combat air force. ”

Marko explains to his colleagues that the Stratfor Canvas – in his words, a type group “export-one-revolution” – “still depends on U.S. funding and basically runs the world trying to topple dictators and autocratic governments (those of whom the United States do not like). ” The first contact with the group leader, who would become his contumacious source, occurred in 2007. “Since then they have passed intelligence on Venezuela, Georgia, Serbia, etc”.

In all emails, Popovic has a great interest in exchanging information with Strtafor, whom he calls “CIA Austin.” For this, it is worth-your contacts between activists in different countries. In addition to maintaining a business relationship with the same idológico vein, establishes a fruitful exchange of information. For example, in May 2008 Marko tells him that knew that Chinese intelligence was considering attacking the organization for his work with Tibetan activists. “This was expected,” answered Srdja. On May 23, 2011, he requests information on regional autonomy for Kurds in Iraq.



One of the most frequent themes in conversation with analysts Stratfor is Venezuela; Srdja helps analysts understand what the opposition is thinking. All communication, writes Marko Papic, is taken by a secure and encrypted email. Moreover, in 2010, was the leader of the Canvas to the headquarters of Stratfor in Austin to give a  briefing  on the Venezuelan situation.

“This year we will definitely increase our activities in Venezuela,” said the Serbian in the email submission of your “analysis of the situation in Venezuela,” on January 12, 2010. For the elections of September of that year, reports that “we are in close contact with activists and people who are trying to help them,” contends that the analyst does not spread or publish this information. The document, sent by email, would be the “foundation of our analysis we plan to do in Venezuela.” The next day, he reiterates in another email : “To explain the plan of action that ship, is a guide on how to make a revolution, of course.”

The document to which the public had access, was written in early 2010 by “analytical department” of the organization and reports, in addition to the support pillars Chavez, listing the major institutions and organizations that serve as support to the government (among them, the military, police, judiciary, nationalized industries, teachers and the electoral council), key leaders with the potential to form an effective coalition and its “potential allies” (among them students, international and independent media, trade unions, the federation Venezuelan teachers, the Rotary Club and the Catholic Church).

The indication of the Canvas seems, in the end, and right. Among the main opposition leaders who have the capacity to unify it are Henrique Capriles Radonski, governor of Miranda and opposition candidate in the presidential elections in October by the Bureau of Democratic Unity coalition, plus the mayor of Metropolitan District of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma , and former mayor of Chacao, Leopoldo Lopez Mendoza. Two student leaders, Alexandra Belandria, Cambio Group and Yon Goicochea, the Movimiento Estudiantil Venezolano, are also listed.

The objective of the strategy, the document says, is “to provide the basis for more detailed planning potentially done by stakeholders and the Canvas”. This “more detailed” plan would be developed later with “stakeholders”.

In another email Popovic explains: “When someone asks for our help, as is the case in Venezuela, we normally ask ‘how do you do?’ (…) In this case we have three campaigns: unification of the opposition campaign for the September election (…). In normal circumstances, the activists come to us and work exactly this kind of format in a workshop. We just guided them, and so the plan ends up being as efficient as they are activists who create them, is totally theirs, ie is authentic. We just provide the tools. ”

But, with Venezuela, the thing was different, Popovic explains: “In the case of Venezuela, because of the complete disaster that place is because of suspicion among opposition groups and clutter, we had to make this initial analysis. If they will perform the next steps depend on them, or if they will understand that because of the lack of UNITY they may lose the race even before it begins. ”

Those who received the analysis (such as personnel Strartfor, for example) learned that the second logic Canvas key themes to be explored in a campaign of opposition in Venezuela are:

– Crime and insecurity: “The situation has deteriorated dramatically and tremendously since 2006. Reason for Change ”

– Education: “The government is taking over the educational system: teachers need to be fanned. They will have to lose their jobs or submit! They need to be encouraged and there will be a risk. We have to convince them that we have the ball as high society, they hold a responsibility that we value greatly. Teachers will motivate students. Who will influence them? As we will touch them? ”

– Young: “The message needs to be directed to young people in general, not just for college students.”

Economy: “The oil is from Venezuela, not the government, it’s your money, it is your right! Programs of social welfare “.

– Women: “What do mothers want? Control of the law, the police acting under local authorities. We will provide the resources needed for this. We do not want more brutes. ”

– Transportation: “Workers must be able to get to their jobs. It’s your money. We must demand that the government accountable, and the way it is unable to do so. ”

– Government: “Redistribution of wealth, everyone should have a chance.”

– “There is a strong trend in presidential Venezuela. How can we change this? How can we work it out? ”

At the end of the email, Popovic ends with a rude criticism of Venezuelans who seeks to articulate: “Incidentally, the safety culture does not exist in Venezuela. They are retarded and speak more than the butt itself. It is a complete joke. “

Wanted by the Public, the leader of Canvas denied that the organization produces analyzes and action plans revolutionary custom. And it was much less enthusiastic about his “guide” prepared to Venezuela.

“We teach people to analyze and understand non-violent conflict – and during the learning process to students and ask participants to use the tools presented in the course. And we also learn from them! Then we use the work they performed and combined with public information to create case studies, “he said. “And it’s turned into more extensive analysis by two interns. We use these analyzes in our research and share with students, activists, researchers, teachers, journalists and organizations with which we cooperate -. They are interested in understanding the phenomenon of popular power ”

Asked, Popovic also responded to criticism made by Hugo Chávez in his TV show: “It is a well known formula … For decades, authoritarian regimes around the world make accusations like ‘revolutions exported’ as the main cause of the uprisings in their countries. The pro-democracy movement in Serbia was, of course, accused of being a tool of the U.S. ‘on state television and Milosevic, before students topple his regime. This also happened in Zimbabwe, Belarus, Iran … ”

Former fellow student movement, Ivan Marovic – which still gives lectures on how it happened the revolt against Milosevic, but not part of the organization Canvas – agrees with him: “It is impossible to export a revolution. I always say in my lectures that the most important for a successful social change thing is to have the majority of the population on your side. If the President has the majority of the population next to it, nothing will happen. ”

Marovic contends, however, that there was a change in perception of the “NGO arm” of Western governments, particularly the United States, after the revolution in Serbia in 2000 and the “color revolutions” that followed in Eastern Europe. “A month after the overthrow Milosevic, the New York Times published an article saying that anyone who actually overthrew Milosevic was the American financial assistance. They are increasing their role. And now believe that the money the U.S. can overthrow a government. They tried the same thing in Belarus, gave a lot of money to NGOs, and did not work. ”

The researcher Mark Weisbrot agree on terms. It is clear that no foreign group, even a small group can cause a revolution in a country. For him, money is not the U.S. government – either through NGOs paid by the National Security Council, USAID or the State Department – that makes the difference. “The Venezuelan elite, for example, do not need this money. What these US-funded groups, anciently and today, add are two things: one is skill and knowledge necessary to subvert regimes. And the second thing is that this support has a unifying role. The opposition may be divided and they help to unify the opposition. ” For him, the American sponsorship often has a “pernicious influence” on legitimate movements. “We always have people fighting for democracy groups in these countries, with a variety of demands, land reform, social protections, jobs … And what happens is they capitaneiam whole movement with a lot of money, inspired by policies affecting the U.S.. Often, democratic groups receiving the money end up falling into disrepute. ”


Click here to see all the documents on the WikiLeaks website. 18:06:12 By Natalia Viana

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