The Revolution Business, 2011 – Consultants are helping people countries like Ukraine and Egypt build a foundation of knowledge in order to start revolutions.
Democratic change has been demanded across the Middle East. But was what seems like a spontaneous revolution actually a strategically planned event, fabricated by ‘revolution consultants’ long in advance?
Revolution consultants are the worst nightmare of every regime. Srdja Popovic was a founder of the organisation ‘Otpor’, a revolution training school. It was instrumental in the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic in the 1990s and has now inspired a new generation of activists.
Political commentators like William Engdahl are convinced Otpor is being financed by the USA.
« The people from Otpor gave us a book in which they described all their strategies », says Ezzedine Zaatour of the Tunisian uprising. That book was written by an American, Gene Sharp, and is now considered the « revolution guide book », being used by opposition movements worldwide.
As Optor release their latest gadget, a resistance training computer game sponsored by American organisations, world leaders are voicing their concerns. « This is called a gentle coup! », insists Hugo Chavez.
Script: Revolution 00:01
Democracy awakens In the Middle East. But what seems like a spontaneous revolution was actually a strategically planned event, fabricated by professional consultants long in advance.
00:11 IV William Engdahl (Sound bite English)
These revolution consultants are the worst nightmare of every regime.
00:21 IV Hugo Chavez
Here you can see the symbol of the resistance!
These revolution consultants are funded and supported by American organisations.
00:28 IV Srdja Popovic (Sound bite English)
These revolution consultants mainly operate in countries in which the western world has a clear interest. Hardly a coincidence it seems.
00:42 IV Gene Sharp (sound bite English)
Cairo in early February: The sudden appearance of the wild horseman at this demonstration shocked the world over. These aggressors on their horses stormed into the crowd and split the peaceful demonstration apart. What seemed like a brutal attack by representative of the old Mubarak regime was actually a staged affair. It was intended for the national and international Media. The Message: Egypt is in a state of Chaos.
Provoked by these false attacks, demonstrators reacted with violence and so the situation escalated. Always at the forefront: the members of The Movement of the 6th of April. These men have been carefully trained for tenuous situations like this.
Right from the start the revolution consultants follow a specific strategy. A strategy developed by the Serbian Otpor organisation. The Organisation responsible for the downfall of Serbian leader, Slobodan Milosevic. This strategy, successful in Serbia in the 90s, became a blueprint. It proved successful once again when used for the revolution in Egypt.
IV OT Mohamed Adel, Activist, the movement of the 6th of April
Otpor organised workshops in the outskirts of Cairo. In these workshops we were trained in the art of peaceful resistance. We had to learn that the police are not our enemy and that we must try to get them on our side. We had to impress people with the idea of non-violent resistance.
Opposition movements from all over the world come to the Serbian Capital of Belgrade to be educated in the art of overthrowing a dictatorship. The Serbs succeeded with their own revolution 12 years ago. They now use their experience for their revolution training school the centre of strategy for non violent resistance or for short Canvas.
Chief instructor Srdja Popovic is one of the few Canvas members who would show his face publicly in front of the camera. It was in his office where the Egyptian revolution was planned.
03:14 IV Srdja Popovic , Revolution Trainer (Soubite English)
It wasnt just Egyptians that trained here. Revolution training is high in demand these days.
03:31 IV Srdja Popovic (English sound bite)
In the 90s, Srdja Popovic organised street demonstrations against Milosevic. He started Otpor as a youth movement with some of his fellow students.
From these beginnings, he was able to mobilise millions of people with his impressive enterprises. The financial support is coming from the USA.
Film: Bringing down a Dictator
Add: I had already tried everything to get rid of him. Now I found something that does the trick.
Here, in front of the Belgrade parliament was the trial run for Otpor with many other Revolutions to follow.
04:49 question Reporter (in English)
04:52 IV, Srdja Popovic Democracy Activist (sound bite English)
After Milosevics downfall, Otpor became an international phenomenon. The symbol of the fist reappears all over the world as the signature of the revolution makers.
Established in Serbia, the fist re-emerged in Kumara, Georgia, followed by Oborona in Russia, then in Venezuela and Iran, and at last it was used by the opposition groups in Egypt.
The American author and Princeton University Lecturer, William Engdahl, has written for over 30 years about Washingtons secret geo-politics. He has established a widespread information network that extends deep into Americas secret service. He is convinced – Otpor is not acting alone.
05:59 IV William Engdahl, Author (Soundbite English)
In New York we are meeting again with Srdja Popovic. We want to find out if the Otpor organisation is actually following a secret agenda of the United States.
But to our disappointment Popovic is reluctant to talk about his arrangements with American organisations.
The Otpor movement was indeed financed by American tax money during the Serbian revolution. A fact that only became public knowledge after Milosevics downfall. This chapter however is one that Otpor is keen to close.
07:13 IV Srdja Popovic, revolution trainer (soundbite English)
Columbia University invited Popovic as a guest lecturer.
08;15 Srdja Popovic (Sound bite English)
The guest from Serbia enlightens the students on the truth behind the changes in the Middle East. Who was actually behind it all? Popovic himself knew for years, but only now can he talk about it publicly.
08:39 IV Srdja Popovic (Soundbite English)
The old city of Tunis. The Tunisians were the first in the Arab world to overthrown their government. Yet the euphoria about their dictators downfall was hardly noticeable. The uncertainty of the political future leaves the Tunisian population anxious.
For decades the people of Tunisia were oppressed by Ben Alis totalitarian ruling. These days the capital seems to be dominated by a loud and harsh atmosphere. Its people agitated yet overwhelmed by their freedom. The centre of the town appears like a Roman forum: everywhere heated discussions about politics.
The new generation wants change. Most of the young people are well educated; they see themselves as westerners.
Until recently scenes like this were thought impossible. Suddenly the fear is gone at least during the moment of revolt. The people are standing up; finally the world recognises the desperate political situation of their State.
Amine Ghali has been an activist from the start. He shows us the photographs of a meeting in Morocco which was the beginning of a long hoped for change in Tunisian history.
10`16 IV Amine Ghali, Freedom House, Kawakibi Democracy Transition Center, Tunis (Soundbite English)
The time was ripe for a revolution test run. Discontentment with the political situation had been growing amongst the population for years. Life in the slums had become desperate. Lack of food and medical care left the people without any perspective for a better future. With living conditions going from bad to worse, the Tunisians could hide their anger no more The activists saw their opportunity, they used this anger to achieve their goal: the overthrowing of Ben Alis regime.
OT Ezzedine Zaatour, U.G.E.T. Student Union, Tunis
In a way we have done the same that they did In Belgrade in the 90s. Non-violent resistance, the ridicule of the regime. There was no violence on the street even when the police intervened, we did not fight. The people from Otpor gave us a book in which they described all their strategies, how you have to proceed when you want to overthrow a regime.
That book, which is used by opposition movements worldwide, was actually written in Boston USA. Here is one of the intellectual centres of democracy activists.
The book From Dictatorship to Democracy is considered the Bible of the non-violent resistance.
The author of this revolution guide book lives in one of the working class neighbourhoods in the outskirts of Boston.
83 year old Gene Sharp wrote this masterpiece. It contains 198 methods of non-violent action.
12:26 IV Gene Sharp, Author (Soundbite English)
Gene Sharp taught many years at Harvard University. His work describes various strategies from Hunger Strike to the unmasking of intelligence officials.
His assistant, Jamila Rqip, has the main duty to distribute Sharpe’s work. His Book From Dictatorship to Democracy has been translated into 34 languages.
13:13 IV Jamila Raqip, Albert Einstein -Institute. (Soundbite English)
Sharpes guide to Revolution is feared by Dictators around the world. Venezuelas president Chavez called Sharp a rabble rouser in the service of the CIA. In Russia the possession of the Book is considered a hostile act against the government.
13:52 IV Gene Sharp, Albert Einstein-Institute (Soundbite English)
14:27 With Internet anybody has access to Sharps revolution strategies.
14:34 IV William Engdahl, Author (Soundbite English)
Are all these revolutions actually initiated by the Americans?
We can look back at what happened during the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine for evidence. One has to acknowledge that the events that took place in Kiev in 2005 appear to endorse this assumption. Traditionally Ukraine was part of Russia, but by the end of 2004 the tide turned. The United Stated pumped millions of dollars into the countries opposition movements in the favour of regime change.
We are meeting with the two former leaders of the Ukraine revolution. Just by being a member of the opposition movement PORA they received significant sums of money, together with training in civil disobedience. Finally they were given a book.
IV Mychailo Swystowitsch, former ukraine activist
Oh yes, the book by Gene Sharp. We all used it. And it connected us with everybody, with Otpor in Serbia, the opposition movement in Belarus and Kmara in Georgia.
It was in November 2004 when hundreds of thousands of people flooded Independence Square in Kiev and demanding Viktor Yushchenko for their president. 16:10 At the end of the Revolution the crowd got what they demanded. Yushchenko become president due to the massive support he received from the western world.
16:19 Soundbite Dmytro Poteschin, political consultant (Soundbite English)
The Revolution as a happening, a celebration, this is the spirit of Gene Sharp. Every movement becomes a brand with its own symbolism: oranges in Ukraine, the Rose Revolution in Georgia, the Tulip revolution Kyrgyzstan in, the Denim Revolution in Belarus, all different symbols but the same concept and the same sponsor: The United States of America.
16:51 IV Dmytro Potechin, Political Consultant (soundbite English)
16;58 Question reporter (English)
16:59 IV Dmytro Potechin , (Soundbite English)
After the Revolution in Ukraine, Dmytro Potechin made a career from being a former activist; he works now as well as a revolution trainer. From his flat he instructs the opposition movements in Iran, Russian, Belarus, and Egypt. Via Skype he is able to stay in touch with all his clients.
17:44 IV Dmytro Potechin , trainer for nonviolent resistance (Soundbite English)
An Activist of the opposition movement in Belarus is online. Dmytro is planning a work shop over there, which is not without difficulties as he is labelled Persona non grata by the Belarus government
18:11 IV Dmytro Potechin , trainer for nonviolent resistance (Soundbite English)
Back in Belgrade, Otpor Trainer Ivan Marvic proudly presents his new gadget for the resistance training. Its a computer game that simulates the fight against the power of state. Ivan is sure with that game will make his training much more effective.
Sponsorship for the development of the game came from American organisations.
19:04 Soundbite Ivan Marovic, Co-founder of Otpor (Soundbite English)
Marovic declares, the new generation doesnt want to read books, they would prefer to play video games, and its far more effective.
19:58 Soundbite Ivan Marovic, (Soundbite English)
20:03 Soundbite Ivan Marovic, (Soundbite English)
20:08 Soundbite Ivan Marovic, (Soundbite English)
20:14 Soundbite Ivan Marovic, Otpor trainer (Soundbite English)
Despite the Internet the Revolution trainers spend most of their time travelling to countries in need of a well organised resistance. Just In the past year Srdja Popovic alone flew over 100.000 miles. His inside knowledge and experience is his capital.
20:49 Soundbite Srdja Popovic, Otpor-founder Soundbite English
The Egyptians followed Srdja’s rules exactly and succeeded.
The whole world was watching as the people celebrated on Tahrir Square. The regime was powerless; if it had reacted with violence it would have lost its face in front of the whole international media.
21:52 Soundbite William Egdahl, Author (Soundbite English)
22:23 George W. Bush former US – President 20th January 2004 (Soundbite English)
22:28 Hillary Clinton US foreign Minister 13th April 2011 (Soundbite English)
22:32 George W. Bush former US President 19th September 2006 (Soundbite English)
22:36 William Hague, foreign secretary 8th February 2011 (Soundbite English)
22:47 George W. Bush former US President (Soundbite English)
Guido Westerwelle, German foreign Minister 6th February 2011
You must not get the impression that what happens in the Streets of Cairo at the moment is initiated by the Western world or other foreign states.
23:07 The Iranian government produced this propaganda video.
The video is apparently unmasking a US conspiracy group. Part of this secret gathering is Gene Sharp; author of the guide book From Dictatorship to Democracy. The video shows Iran is acutely aware of just how much of a threat Gene Sharp and his strategies are to their rule.
23:33 Venezuelas President Hugo Chavez also voices his concerns.
Soundbite Hugo Chavez
Mr Cameraman come close, here the Symbol from Serbia and here the same in Venezuela in 2007.
23:50 This is called a gentle coup!
Cairo after the Revolution. The City seems quiet, apart from some religious upheaval. Remarkably few police or military forces are present. But everyday life is hard for the Egyptians. The constant fear of a counter-revolution is always at the forefront of their minds. Anyone and everyone is a suspect – a potential counter-revolutionary, who wants to bring back the old regime.
The old city is as vibrant as ever, only the tourist are missing. The people thoughts revolve around their immediate future the upcoming elections. What will democracy bring for them? The established political parties? The military? Or the Islamic brotherhood? And then, what will be left from the spirit of the revolution the hopes and dreams of the people of Egypt?
The people that suggest that there was a big master plan behind this revolution; they dont know what was going on in the streets of Egypt. We have witnessed what our country had become. We wanted the changes, and we wanted them to come from our midst. We want to be the creators of our own destinies, to fight for our rights. I cannot believe that the Americans can influence millions of people.
The people of Tunisian still enjoy the new freedom. For the first time they are able discuss publicly what has troubled them for decades their former leaders lies, the corruption, the unfair distribution of wealth. They are unsettled however, by the recent arrests of civilians and the curfews. Also the economy is a major concern for them. Tourism is slow and foreign investors see Tunisia as a risky endeavour.
26:08 Soundbite Ghali (Soundbite English)
We are scared, especially if we are looking at the example of Romania. There was a revolt against their regime, but then the old potentates came back into power. We fear that something similar could happen over here. There have been talks about a counter revolution. We therefore request that everybody from the old regime who had been involved in criminal activities must now be brought to justice.
The revolutionary road to democracy is one filled with many obstacles. Once the overthrowing of a government is accomplished the hard work starts for these revolution activists. Civil liberties must be established and defended. For the revolution consultants this has become a very lucrative business.
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