I think that the US should follow a policy of support for the free peoples that are resisting attacks by armed minority groups or foreign pressure. I think that we should assist those free peoples in deciding their own fate.
March 12, 1947
It is right to say that US government officials have developed a true art for concocting opposition movements and interfering in the election processes of foreign countries under the pretext of democracy. They are experts at disguising events in euphemisms and high-flown word; their actions and methods would shock the people of those countries were the truth clearly explained to them.
The following are some of the general principles and the variants that they usually employ to destabilize and/or overthrow —in a “democratic” manner— governments which they consider hostile.
1. Labeling a Given Country "Totalitarian" or an "Enemy of Democracy"
If you, Mr. President or Prime Minister, get news that the spokespeople for the US State Department are saying that your country is the “advance guard of tyranny” or that it represents a threat for the stability of neighboring nations and the US itself, stay alert. Although your country may be thousands of kilometers from the US, when that kind of statements is made the entire US intelligence community is already carrying out plans to undermine internal order in the target country.
The alert is justified because these kinds of statements are a warning that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) are already financing all sorts of civilian organizations opposed to any government considered “unpleasant” or “uncomfortable” for the US and its allies.
USAID itself stated in a 2003 report that “it is possible to provide aid for the reformers [NGO’s and parties akin to them] that will help identify the major winners and losers, develop the formation of coalitions and mobilization strategies, and plan public relations campaigns […]. This type of aid could represent an investment for the future, when political change grants true power to the reformers.”
The document also stated that “friendly” regimes would be rewarded with financial aid to fund development programs, while hostile countries would be the targets of reform programs that would be implemented by non-government organizations. It is worth making it clear that by saying that; USAID only put on paper the same actions it had been carrying out since President John F. Kennedy founded it in 1961.
Perhaps the money to finance those coalitions and public relations campaigns will flow through one of its many non-profit foundations, institutes, or organizations that exist around the world. NED itself has publicly admitted to being currently financing and running more than 6,000 political and social organizations worldwide.
Both USAID and NED have been behind the striking media coverage and economic power that some seemingly popular organizations have enjoyed. Such have been the cases of Solidarity Workers Union in Poland; the Chart of the 77 in Czechoslovakia in the late 1980’s; the National Opposition Union (UNO) in Nicaragua in 1990; the Varela Project in Cuba in 2000 and Otpor in Serbia that same year; Kmara (Enough!) in Georgia and Pora (It’s high time) in the Ukraine in 2003. Now there is one called Zoubr (The Trident) in Byelorussia.
The examples also go back to Operation Ayax, in 1952, when 6,000 people were recruited to take part in a march on the Royal Palace in Teheran and overthrow Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh. Not to mention the extensively documented CIA assistance to the opposition organization Sumate and its predecessor the Coordinadora Democratica during the recall referendum against Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez.
2. Plan A: Arranging Elections
If, during or shortly after your country’s elections, anyone in the White House or the most unknown of US ambassadors —showing a face of concern— says that “there’s not an atmosphere of transparency and freedom for opposition,” you can be sure that whole US propaganda machinery will be set into motion to support candidates that the US and its European allies like.
One of the most recent, talked-about cases in this respect was the election in Haiti. There, all kinds of measures were taken so the Rene Preval was not elected president; to such an extent that the press found thousands of ballots for him in a trash container.
In El Salvador, in 2004, when Antonio Saca was competing for the nation’s presidency, his campaign warned the citizenry that if the leftwing Farabundo Marti Front for National Liberation won, Salvadorans who lived in the US would not be allowed to send remittances to their relatives.
The message was reinforced by similar statements made by Otto Reich, a former US State Department Official with strong connections with President Bush.
Three days after the election, when Saca had already been announced president-elect, the US ambassador to El Salvador, Douglas H. Barclay, stated that his government had nothing to do with the remittances. He also said that it was the responsibility of the US Congress, and not the White House, to make any decision about the migratory situation of Salvadorans.
Right now, according to Herbert Mujica Rojas, the transnational alliances of democratic-Christian rightwing parties, whose visible representation is the Inter-American Dialog Organization, are trying head over heels to strengthen the possibility that candidate Lourdes Flores will win the upcoming elections in Peru.
3. Plan B: If the Outcome Is Adverse, the Next Step Will Be to Discredit the Election by Calling It "Fraud-Ridden" or "Non-Transparent"
If the election results do not meet Washington’s expectations, then Plan B is initiated. This comes in the form statements announcing that the chosen country has not complied with international standards for democratic elections, or alluding that there has been massive fraud or extensive manipulation of the vote count.
Then, there may be other statements by the phlegmatic spokespeople in Brussels or Washington, who may say, for instance, that “the US does validate the results of the election. News agencies may probably report that “observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have called into question the legitimacy of the election.”
The strategy is completed with the fabrication of results which indicate supposedly popular support for the losing candidate. For that purpose, they may use allegedly impartial organizations, which are said to be specialized in electoral analyses.
Among those organizations are the Fair Elections Society, the National Democratic Institute, the Global Strategy Group and the International Foundation for Election Systems. The first of them is financed by the British Council, USAID, and NED.
4. Definite Solutions
With feelings running high, the next stage reminds one of the best Hollywood movies. All the creativity of communication strategists and producers is unleashed to orchestrate countless revolutions, which can be velvet, orange, rose or any other color.
Pressure can be more or less noisy depending on the concrete situation. Those who think the victims are only Third World Countries are totally wrong.
In 1975, Edgar Gough Whitlam, who had been legitimately elected Prime Minister in Australia, was dismissed from office by Governor General Sir John Ker. His removal came after strong pressures from the US government, and especially from the CIA, which even stated that it would break all its ties with Australian intelligence because Whitlam had insisted on interfering in its operations in Australia.
According to Rayr Aitchinson in his book Looking at the Liberals the CIA had provided the Liberal Party, which was the opponent of Whitlam’s Labor Party, with funds to prevent the latter party from winning the elections. Furthermore, at that time the Sydney Sun newspaper cited former CIA agent Victor Marchetti saying that the CIA continued to finance anti-government parties after the elections.
A decade before, Georges Papandreou had been removed from power by Greece’s King Constantino.
John Maury, a CIA official stationed in Athens, later admitted that he had contributed to paying off members from the Center Union Party to hasten Papandreu’s fall.
In 2004, worldwide television networks showed thousands of tents and blankets destined for demonstrators that were camping in Kiev’s Independence Square demanding the official acknowledgement of the electoral victory of candidate Viktor Yuschenko.
Fourteen years earlier, a similar incident had taken place in Sofia, Bulgaria; but on that occasion the media referred to the demonstration as “Freedom City.” It that was made up of 60 tents occupied by people who demanded the removal from office of officials labeled as Communists. Curiously, neither the demonstrators in Kiev nor the ones in Sofia lacked food or money.
There does not seem to be any limit for these types of shows. They can go as far as organizing hunger strikes, nationwide work stoppages, the takeover of government buildings, or stage provocative marches which can end up in revolts and even death.
It is worth recalling the events that took place in the spring of 1989 in Tiananmen Square in Beijing; the incidents in Racak and Timisoara in Romania that same year; the events in Havana on August 5, 1994; the anti-Chavez march on April 11, 2002 in Caracas; and the clashes in Andizan, Uzbekistan in May, 2005.
This article has only taken into account peaceful means (if the can be called such) employed by the intelligence community and western power circles.
Of course, this manual can be enlarged with the countless shades of the “peaceful” strategies used to destabilize nations by the transnational agencies of reaction according to the particular situation in each country.
In the same way that they have learned from the errors of progressive movements, the latter can prepare themselves and unmask the servants of imperialism in each country. Success is possible, history has proven it.