Lessons for Sri Lanka: How West used Social Media for Arab Spring
Countries that indulge in regime change to remove nationalist/populist leaders & replace with pro-western puppet leaders have found a new tool – the social media. Social media means people’s voice, people’s sentiment but these Western countries have now created templates to manipulate people’s voice, pay to vocalize sentiments that align to their bigger agenda. This is complimented via foreign-funded NGOs that also pay locals to carry out various protests, strikes, forums, musical shows all of course nicely camouflaged as being non-violent, pro-democratic, pro-people as a means to fool the masses to follow them. If Sri Lankans wish to remain naïve & think that the same countries that rolled out these regime change programs using social media & NGOs will not do the same in Sri Lanka, they are more stupid than we thought. The tell-tale signs are right in front of us. Look at the unusual interference of the diplomatic corps. When have you ever seen them in the gallery of Parliament or inside the country’s court or paying regular visited to an ousted PM & issuing 24×7 statements that spell – return the country to the status quo they created in January 2015 or else! Let us understand the magnitude of the problem we face. It’s a question of saving our national sovereignty or becoming a vassal puppet state.
Dr. Jeanne Bramhall writing to GlobalResearch reviews a book by Ahmed Bensada titled Investigation into the US role in the Arab Uprisings”. The review is interesting in the context of Sri Lanka’s political scenario & offensive involvement of the Western diplomatic corps flouting all forms of diplomatic protocols & general decencies.
According to the review the book admits that people received CIA funding, some in Egypt & Syria have been charged with espionage.
What is interesting & relevant to Sri Lanka is that the author confirms that ‘Democracy is America’s biggest export’ – he underlines 4 features that are common – all features relevant to Sri Lanka.
- None of the events were spontaneous – these had been planned for minimum 5 years initially by the US State Dept, then through various CIA front foundations & local NGOs
- The focus of events was always to claim objective to remove a ‘dictator’
- None of the protests were anti-West
- All of the instigators were middle-class & well educated youth who had mysteriously vanished after the success of the spring.
In the book there is reference to a non-violent guru Gene Sharp – apparently this ‘guru’ has links to US intelligence, as director of the Albert Einstein Institution & assisted coloured revolutions in Eastern Europe & attempted 2002 coup against Hugo Chavez.
Sri Lankans have any of our NGOs being sent for similar training?
Bensada has taken pains to source wikileak cables & websites of CIA-linked foundations & lists State Dept conference & workshops that the Arab Spring ‘heroes’ had attended, the dollars spent to ‘promote democracy’ as well as the involvement of Google, Facebook, Twitter in this exercise. Something that Sri Lanka should also do.
Bensada takes readers to Egypt’s Tahrir Square where the US-funded agitators began ‘democracy promotion’.He cites Washington Post as estimating 10,000 Egyptians taking part in NED & USAID training in social media & non-violent organizing techniques including the involvement of a former Egyptian policemen in exile coordinating from his office in US. Wikileaks claims the NED paid policemen Omar Suleiman a yearly stipend of $200,000+ between 2008-2011.
We have plenty of journo’s in exile from Sri Lanka working to destabilize Sri Lanka too.
Are we not justified in wondering how much is being paid to the sudden ‘democracy’ protestors in Sri Lanka all in favor of the party that the West wants to return to power?
Bensada claims 11 key US assets engineered the overthrow of Gaddafi – they too had participated in State Dept trainings as Middle East opposition activists.
We would like to know who are the Sri Lankans who had been trained in non-violent protests & handling of Facebook & Twitter protests
According to Bensada between 2005 & 2010 the State dept had funneled $12m to opposition groups to topple Assad of Syria as well as financing Syrian exiles in UK helping start an anti-Syrian cable tv channel that would beam into Syria & brainwash people.
He mentions Ausama Monajed who featured in a 2011 film & had been working closely with US embassy & funded by the Middle East Partnership Initiative – a State Dept program operating in Libya & Syria as USAID was banned.
The plan was simple – in 2011 February these trained groups used Twitter & Facebook to call for a Day of Rage. It didn’t work. Not to worry they had Plan B. All it took was some calls to allies in Saudi, Turkey, Qatar & Jordan & hey presto came the Islamic mercenaries to declare war against Assad.
Bensada mentions Forum Fikra a forum for Arab activists which had been funded by Nathan & Esther K Wagner Family Foundation
The take away from this is that these colour revolutions were all CIA-instigated uprisings to replace leaders with ones friendly to US corporate interests.
Bulldozer Revolution in Serbia (2000),
Rose Revolution in Georgia (2002),
Orange Revolution in Ukraine (2004),
Tulip Revolution in Kyrgystan (2005) claimed to promote ‘democracy’ but they were only promoting capitalism.
Bensada cites the entities that funded the Arab Springs – our question is simple are these the same entities funding Sri Lankans?
USAID – a State Dept agency with a history of destabilizing countries
NED – supported by State Dept & CIA funded to promote ‘democracy’
IRI – International Republican Institute another democracy promoting agency funded by NED (linked to Republican Party)
NDI – National Democratic Institute for International Affairs – also funded by NED chaired by Madelaine Albright (linked to Democratic Party)
OSI – Open Society Institute funded by Soros in 1993 specifically for colored revolutions in Eastern Europe
Freedom House – supporting non-violent citizen initiatives, funded by USAID, NED, Soros
CANVAS – Centre for Applied Non Violent Action & Strategies – run by Serbian activists funded by Freedom House, IRI, OSI to overthrow Slobadan Milosevic, trained Arab Spring activists
Do we need to ask who are the activists that have been similarly trained in Sri Lanka?
According to F. William Engdahl of Princeton University, Srđa Popović & his organization CANVAS helped topple Serbian President Milosevic.
Popvic was also involved in Hungary to topple populist PM Victor Orban pretending to arrive in Hungry to promote his book but ended up giving aid to anti-Organ parties for the 2018 elections. Now we have to be skeptical about people launching books!
Engdahl says that Popović gained notice after he founded the organization Otpor in 1998 in Belgrade. He was trained in methods of US regime-change by Gene Sharp founder of Albert Einstein Institute in US & by State dept soft coup specialists Richard Miles (US Ambassador) as well as other US intelligence operatives. Miles was instrumental in the CIA coup in Azerbaijan that brought US-friendly Aliyev to power in 1993. Miles also orchestrated the CIA coup in Georgia to bring US asset Mikheil Saakashvili to power.
So we again ask who have undergone soft coup regime change training in Sri Lanka?
According to William Engdahl USAID a known CIA front had channeled Otpor MILLIONS of dollars through NGOs – NED, NDI, IRI, Soros’ Open Society Institute to topple Milosevic, reconfirming all that Bensada had written in his book.
NED was a project of Ronald Reagan. Allen Weinstein co-founder of NED admitted to Washington Post a lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA”. What it means is that the foreign government funded NGOs are carrying out what CIA once did.
According to Michael Dobbs, investigative reporter for Washington Post, IRI had trained Popovic & other Otpor leaders at the Hilton Hotel in Budapest in October 1999. The training covered – how to organize a strike, how to communicate with symbols (ex: clenched fist became their logo) After the training 70,000 copies on non-violent resistance was distributed. Gene Sharp is mentioned by Bensada too! The Albert Einstein Institute teaches techniques to US government to conceal coup d’etats under the guise of non-violence.
It all began with street uprisings – something Sri Lanka must watch out for. Were anyone in Sri Lanka trained by this institute?
What was shown to be a spontaneous public rising against Milosevic was actually not spontaneous at all – behind the scenes were Western advisors, pollsters, consultants training thousands of opposition activists & helping organize a parallel vote count.
Hmm this is very interesting & recalls the delay in preferential counting in Colombo District!
According to William Engdah, Popovic & Otpor had received over $41m for their ‘democracy-building’ campaign in Serbia.
5000 cans of spray paint were given to student activists to scrawl anti-Milosevic graffiti on walls (all UNKNOWINGLY paid by US tax payers)
After Otpor’s success in 2000 – Popvic created CANVAS again mentioned by Bensada – the supposedly non-governmental non-profit organization is to ‘educate pro-democracy activists around the world’. The Green Revolution in Iran in 2009 however was a failure.
CANVAS boasts of training pro-democracy activists in more than 50 countries including Ukraine, Georgia, Zimbabwe, Burma, Georgia, Eritrea, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Tunisia, Egpyt & Syria. Sri Lanka is also mentionedelsewhere.
How does Popovic, CANVAS connect to Sri Lanka you may wonder… here is how!!
The Harvard Kennedy School online leadership program on Leading Non Violent Movements for Social Progress under curriculum mentions Sri Lanka & guess who a co-instructor of this program is Srdja Popovic (of Otpor & CANVAS)
The successes—and failures—of mass campaigns for change will also be explored, including the Serbian democracy movement of the late 1990s and early 2000s, as well as movements in Egypt, Hong Kong, Ukraine, Burma, Sri Lanka, and elsewhere.”
Therefore, we need to find out who are the activists trained in Sri Lanka.
William Engdah’s article also covers US ‘intelligence consultancy’ Stratfor, claiming that to be a shadow CIA for corporate clients Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon & US Govt agencies including Dept of Homeland Security & Defense Intelligence Agency. Hacker Anonymous had released 5m emails from Stratfor in 2012 Popvic’s CANVAS working as spy for Stratfor and Wikileaks revealed from the same email hacking that Goldman Sachs, Wall Street Bank was mysteriously funding CANVAS.
That Popvic delivered as per requirement is shown by the awards dished out to him – 2011 Foreign Policy magazine puts him on ‘Top 100 Global Thinkers’ – what’s big about being paid create a false public demand to overthrow an anti-West government?
2012 – Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize – little said about this award
2014 – World Economic Forum lists him as a Young Global Leader”
2017 – Elected Rector of University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
Looks like people who help West over throw anti-West government can go places!
What we can conclude is that the US has been involved in a big way in regime change in Sri Lanka assisted by other Western states & even India & Japan. In June 2015 the US called for proposals from NGOs for projects on Democracy, Human Rights & Rule of Law. Reconciliation/Ethno-Religious projects were allocated $750,000, $1m was allocated for transparency, accountability & anti-corruption – who are the recipients of the funding because it is through their assistance & engaging their staff for various training that what Ahmed Bensada & William Engdahl describe will take shape in Sri Lanka if not happening already in miniature doses just to test the water & filter feedback to see what best option can be adopted to suit Sri Lankans & what is likely to work to deliver the desired results.
The only way that these strategies & tactics can be countered is to know all of the templates that have been adopted, to treat ALL NGOs & their programs & initiatives with caution & refuse to be part of protests that have NGOs & questionable characters linked to them. It is also good to watch out for sudden arrivals of Sri Lankans with a shopping list of ‘what I will do if I come to power’ or ‘complaints & charges against those that the West wish to oust’.
It would be good to note that the majority of people have no regard for any of the NGO heads these diplomatic corps are paying and that may be the reason that all tactics rolled out are not working so far.
We do not wish to be a pawn of any country. We want our nation to belong to us, we want to be able to elect the leaders we want on our terms, we don’t want to be told who we should or should not vote for & we certainly do not like the present interferences & involvements of the diplomatic corps in Sri Lanka.
We are a nation of highly literate people – let us not allow our beautiful nation to be turned into a theatre of conflict for regional powers who wish to use Sri Lanka as a watch tower for their greater geopolitical games.
Shenali D Waduge