Saturday, December 7, 2013

Opposition for sale

Relevant to my last post about rightwing destabilization efforts in Venezuela is a recent investigation of the activities of Serbian activist leader Srdja Popovic, which
reveals that Popovic and the Otpor! offshoot CANVAS (Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies) have also maintained close ties with a Goldman Sachs executive and the private intelligence firm Stratfor (Strategic Forecasting, Inc.), as well as the U.S. government. Popovic’s wife also worked at Stratfor for a year.

These revelations come in the aftermath of thousands of new emails released by Wikileaks’ ‘Global Intelligence Files’. The emails reveal Popovic worked closely with Stratfor, an Austin, Texas-based private firm that gathers intelligence on geopolitical events and activists for clients ranging from the American Petroleum Institute and Archer Daniels Midland to Dow Chemical, Duke Energy, Northrop Grumman, Intel and Coca-Cola. [links removed]
Stratfor saw Popovic’s main value not only as a source for intelligence on global revolutionary and activist movements, but also as someone who, if needed, could help overthrow leaders of countries hostile to U.S. geopolitical and financial interests.
These of course include Venezuela, and CANVAS apparently trained people in how to oust the country’s democratically elected president Hugo Chávez in 2007.

In response to critics, Popovic attempted to defend his actions:
Popovic…said CANVAS would speak to anyone and everyone—without any discrimination—about nonviolent direct action.

‘CANVAS will present anywhere — to those committed to activism and nonviolent struggle, but also to those who still live in the Cold War era and think that tanks and planes and nukes shape the world, not the common people leading popular movements’, he said.

‘If we can persuade any decision maker in the world, in Washington, Kremlin, Tel Aviv or Damascus that it is nonviolent struggle that they should embrace and respect – not foreign military intervention, or oppression over own population – we would do that’.
If this isn’t ridiculously naïve, and I don’t believe for a second that it is, it’s an admission that he lacks a political conscience. An activist mercenary, he’ll sell his tactics and, just as important, popular-movement whitewashing to anyone willing to pay, and for the past several years corporations and the US government have been his best customers. They’re expecting that people will continue to be misled by the rhetoric of nonviolence, democracy, and grassroots activism and fail to recognize what’s happening and who’s behind it.

No comments:

Post a Comment