What’s really going on in the Ukraine?

2004-11-30

Richard Moore

Friends,

Given the widespread and long-standing U.S. policy of
imperialism via destabilization, I have been reluctant to get
get enthusiastic about the "people's uprising" in the Ukraine.
Images of the fabricated "popular revolt" against Chavez
are too recent in my memory. And of course the American media
and the White House are showing total hypocrisy, as regards
voting fraud, pointing to a mote in the others eye, and
ignoring the stick in their own. With no trust in the matrix
presentation, I had to assume I knew nothing about the
Ukraine.

Below is a wonderful contribution from Jan Slakov, who we have
not heard from much on these lists for some time. She shares a
very personal and inspiring eyewitness report by a participant
in the events in the Ukraine, from someone she knows and
trusts. It is a very credible report, and I feel I now have
some insight into what's happening 'on the street'. There does
seem reason to believe that the opposition represents sincere
and right-minded grassroots energy.

At the same time, as Tom Atlee's appended posting reminds us,
Washington has in fact covertly done what it could to stir up
the confrontation, for its own geopolitical reasons.

Let me share one pre-glimpse with you, from the eyewitness /
participant report. Viktor writes:

      Yuschenko is not an ideal man, a philosopher or charismatic
      leader. Possibly, he even has no long-term scenario.  But he
      is immeasurably more honest and intellectual  than his rival

Sounds like a 'nice, bright guy'. The danger to watch out for
here is that the popular movement might be inadvertently
betrayed by our nice guy, if he ends up negotiating a solution
with devious foxes from Washington, Berlin, or Brussels. We
might be reminded of Woodrow Wilson vis. a vis. Clemenceou at
Versailles, or General Collins vis. a vis. Whitehall re/ the
British-Irish Peace Treaty (resulting in civil war and North-
South antagonism).

interesting times,
rkm


--------------------------------------------------------
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2004 22:38:15 -0800
Subject: re: Ukraine, words from Shirin Ebadi too
From: Jan Slakov 

3 items below:

1) quote from a speech by Shirin Ebadi
2) "Awakening of the nation" message from Viktor Postnikov
2) posting from Tom Atlee, of the Co-intelligence Institute, with 
[an article] about what is happening in the Ukraine.

In the midst of conflicting reports about what is happening in
the Ukraine, I am lucky to have a trusted and much-respected
friend there. I never met Viktor Postnikov, but thanks to
e-mail and mail exchanges, I feel we know each other quite
well. We met through a left biocentrist e-mail discussion
group; I know he loves and cares deeply about our home, the
earth. He has worked in Electrodynamics (has a PhD) and is now
a translator of poetry. (I think you will sense his gift for
communicating his caring and commitment in the text below.)

The words from Shirin Ebadi I want to quote come from a speech
she gave at a convoction ceremony at the University of
Toronto. I feel they fit in well here, underlining the
importance of seeking always to find each person's "piece of
the truth", even when what is being said contradicts our
parti-pris, underlining the importance of a deep commitment to
peace:

      "Doubt everything, including what you are given as news.
      Especially do not accept news that comes from only one
      political perspective. Seek different means of interpreting
      what you read and see.
      
      Leaving your intellect at the mercy of any one group,
      religion, party or ideology is to invite brainwashing.
      Inevitably logic and your intellect will be manipulated.
      
      Regardless of your own religious beliefs, study other
      religions. Examine received notions and choose your own path.
      If you belong to a particular party, do not attend only that
      party's meetings. Listen carefully to what is said. Do not let
      prejudice rule. Be mindful of inflexibility and its danger
      signs. Always be prepared to accept they who might have made
      mistakes....
      
      We must distinguish between humanity's own mistakes and the
      religions and cultures to which we belong. Cultures are not in
      conflict with each other but have much in common. Let us speak
      about shared values, not differences. Let us not justify war.
      No one will emerge victorious from such horrors."

**********************************************
from: "Viktor Postnikov" <•••@••.•••>

Dear Jan,

thank you for your emotions on the part of Ukrainian
revolution. (We all are very much anxious for the last six
days).

Two articles [see posting below Viktor's message] which blame
the opposition and present the events like an American plot,
are, to put it mildly, false, if not blatantly provocative. (I
have a feeling that they have been written on demand). You
should have lived here for the last 15 years to see everything
with your own eyes. The indignation with the  corrupt regime
has finally been blurted onto the streets as soon as the facts
of election frauds were reported.   The students are at the
front of rebellion. I've never seen so many free people at one
place in all of my life, the Independence Square was literally
flooded with people.

This is really a people's revolt, an awakening of the nation.
I never imagined that this could happen! As I said, the
students at the front, in the very revolutionary mood.  These
are the children who never suffered repressions, and therefore
they act fearlessly. They have a special revolutionary
brigades "Pora", or "High time", I think that Che's spirit is
flying over them. All western and central parts of Ukraine
have raised against the criminal regime. Kievites voted 80%
for the oppossition candidate.

During the last five days and nights about a million people or
more stay on a vigil and would not leave the Independence
Square dispite bitter cold weather. The opposition has
maintained the order, and managed to organise a self-sustained
life on the square, with a student camp. I've never seen so
many happy and dignified faces in all my life.  Their faces
are illuminated, they have come from all corners of Ukraine
(although the authorities have in many ways  blocked their
routes), and other countries.  A lot of flags in the air,   
everyone has something orange on, a striek, a scarf, a hat, or
a flower. -- a color of revolution.

All Ukraine is raising from its knees, and it reminds me the
1968 Prague spring, or Polish solidarity movement.

Until recently, we had only one opposition tv channel (Channel
5). Fortunately, all the attempts to switch it off were
futile, as the journalists went on a hunger strike. They won,
and the channel still running.  But it is being switched off
in eastern parts of the country.  All pro-government channels
are nauseous. (Some honest journalists, though, refuse to
collaborate with them).

The people's candidate Yuschenko has been de facto proclaimed
by opposition as  President. Many progressive leaders of other
parties have joined him (Socialists, for example).  He is
circled with alive, honest and patriotic people who speak for
themselves. (I mean they are not puppets) .

This is a rare phenomenon in our history. I've seen on the
square many respected world leaders, independent trade-unions,
etc. One of the first note came from Vaclav Havel. European
Parlaiment warned the Ukraine of sanctions if the government 
would accept the forged elections.

However, despite the seige of the presidential administration,
the former President Kuchma, the illegally elect new President
Yanoukovich are plotting to blackmail the country and
introduce an emergency situation.   The south- eastern regions
(governed by criminals)  are supporting Yanoukovich and are
threatening to break away and join Russia.  In this they are
backed by Moscow.

Yuschenko is not an ideal man, a philosopher or charismatic
leader. Possibly, he even has no long-term scenario.  But he
is immeasurably more honest and intellectual  than his rival
(the latter had been convicted (twice) for criminal cases). 
I, for once, would not want to live in a country with such a
president-convict.

I'm ethnically Russian, but with all my heart I'm at the side
of a nation that is rising from its knees.  The Russian,
however are under the pressure of their biased mass media, and
do not understand the underpinnings of this revolution.

What is interesting,  for these several days we don't see
drunk people on the streets, no curse, -- just very loving,
gentle relations.  (as if people have been totally changed in
a moment).

Today I was in a church and prayed that these orange light
were not suppressed by brutal  force, and that the corrupt
power would finally give in.

No passaran!

Love from us,
Victor
**************************************
----------
From: Tom Atlee <•••@••.•••>
Date: Sat, 27 Nov 2004 22:13:46 -0800
To: •••@••.••• (hi list)
Subject: CII HI - Nonviolent Movements wielded by Power

From: "Rick Ingrasci M.D." <•••@••.•••>
Date: Sat, 27 Nov 2004 17:41:51 -0800
Subject: [Invit] U.S. Campaign Behind the Turmoil in Kiev

U.S. Campaign Behind the Turmoil in Kiev

By Ian Traynor
The Guardian U.K.
Friday 26 November 2004

    With their websites and stickers, their
pranks and slogans aimed at banishing widespread
fear of a corrupt regime, the democracy
guerrillas of the Ukrainian Pora youth movement
have already notched up a famous victory -
whatever the outcome of the dangerous stand-off
in Kiev.

    Ukraine, traditionally passive in its
politics, has been mobilized by the young
democracy activists and will never be the same
again.

    But while the gains of the orange-bedecked
"chestnut revolution" are Ukraine's, the campaign
is an American creation, a sophisticated and
brilliantly conceived exercise in western
branding and mass marketing that, in four
countries in four years, has been used to try to
salvage rigged elections and topple unsavory
regimes.

    Funded and organized by the US government,
deploying US consultancies, pollsters, diplomats,
the two big American parties and US
non-government organizations, the campaign was
first used in Europe in Belgrade in 2000 to beat
Slobodan Milosevic at the ballot box.

    Richard Miles, the US ambassador in Belgrade,
played a key role. And by last year, as US
ambassador in Tbilisi, he repeated the trick in
Georgia, coaching Mikhail Saakashvili in how to
bring down Eduard Shevardnadze.

    Ten months after the success in Belgrade, the
US ambassador in Minsk, Michael Kozak, a veteran
of similar operations in central America, notably
in Nicaragua, organized a near identical campaign
to try to defeat the Belarus hardman, Alexander
Lukashenko.

    That one failed. "There will be no Kostunica
in Belarus," the Belarus president declared,
referring to the victory in Belgrade.

    But experience gained in Serbia, Georgia and
Belarus has been invaluable in plotting to beat
the regime of Leonid Kuchma in Kiev.

    The operation - engineering democracy through
the ballot box and civil disobedience - is now so
slick that the methods have matured into a
template for winning other people's elections.

    In the center of Belgrade, there is a dingy
office staffed by computer-literate youngsters
who call themselves the Centre for Non-violent
Resistance. If you want to know how to beat a
regime that controls the mass media, the judges,
the courts, the security apparatus and the voting
stations, the young Belgrade activists are for
hire.

    They emerged from the anti-Milosevic student
movement, Otpor, meaning resistance. The catchy,
single-word branding is important. In Georgia
last year, the parallel student movement was
Khmara. In Belarus, it was Zubr. In Ukraine, it
is Pora, meaning high time. Otpor also had a
potent, simple slogan that appeared everywhere in
Serbia in 2000 - the two words "gotov je",
meaning "he's finished", a reference to
Milosevic. A logo of a black-and-white clenched
fist completed the masterful marketing.

    In Ukraine, the equivalent is a ticking
clock, also signaling that the Kuchma regime's
days are numbered.

    Stickers, spray paint and websites are the
young activists' weapons. Irony and street comedy
mocking the regime have been hugely successful in
puncturing public fear and enraging the powerful.

    Last year, before becoming president in
Georgia, the US-educated Mr. Saakashvili traveled
from Tbilisi to Belgrade to be coached in the
techniques of mass defiance. In Belarus, the US
embassy organized the dispatch of young
opposition leaders to the Baltic, where they met
up with Serbs traveling from Belgrade. In
Serbia's case, given the hostile environment in
Belgrade, the Americans organized the overthrow
from neighboring Hungary - Budapest and Szeged.

    In recent weeks, several Serbs traveled to
the Ukraine. Indeed, one of the leaders from
Belgrade, Aleksandar Maric, was turned away at
the border.

    The Democratic party's National Democratic
Institute, the Republican party's International
Republican Institute, the US state department and
USAid are the main agencies involved in these
grassroots campaigns as well as the Freedom House
NGO and billionaire George Soros's open society
institute.

    US pollsters and professional consultants are
hired to organize focus groups and use
psephological data to plot strategy.

    The usually fractious oppositions have to be
united behind a single candidate if there is to
be any chance of unseating the regime. That
leader is selected on pragmatic and objective
grounds, even if he or she is anti-American.

    In Serbia, US pollsters Penn, Schoen and
Berland Associates discovered that the
assassinated pro-western opposition leader, Zoran
Djindjic, was reviled at home and had no chance
of beating Milosevic fairly in an election. He
was persuaded to take a back seat to the
anti-western Vojislav Kostunica, who is now
Serbian prime minister.

    In Belarus, US officials ordered opposition
parties to unite behind the dour, elderly trade
unionist, Vladimir Goncharik, because he appealed
to much of the Lukashenko constituency.

    Officially, the US government spent $41m
(£21.7m) organizing and funding the year-long
operation to get rid of Milosevic from October
1999. In Ukraine, the figure is said to be around
$14m.

    Apart from the student movement and the
united opposition, the other key element in the
democracy template is what is known as the
"parallel vote tabulation", a counter to the
election-rigging tricks beloved of disreputable
regimes.

    There are professional outside election
monitors from bodies such as the Organisation for
Security and Cooperation in Europe, but the
Ukrainian poll, like its predecessors, also
featured thousands of local election monitors
trained and paid by western groups.

    Freedom House and the Democratic party's NDI
helped fund and organize the "largest civil
regional election monitoring effort" in Ukraine,
involving more than 1,000 trained observers. They
also organized exit polls. On Sunday night those
polls gave Mr. Yushchenko an 11-point lead and
set the agenda for much of what has followed.

    The exit polls are seen as critical because
they seize the initiative in the propaganda
battle with the regime, invariably appearing
first, receiving wide media coverage and putting
the onus on the authorities to respond.

    The final stage in the US template concerns
how to react when the incumbent tries to steal a
lost election.

    In Belarus, President Lukashenko won, so the
response was minimal. In Belgrade, Tbilisi, and
now Kiev, where the authorities initially tried
to cling to power, the advice was to stay cool
but determined and to organize mass displays of
civil disobedience, which must remain peaceful
but risk provoking the regime into violent
suppression.

    If the events in Kiev vindicate the US in its
strategies for helping other people win elections
and take power from anti-democratic regimes, it
is certain to try to repeat the exercise
elsewhere in the post-Soviet world.

    The places to watch are Moldova and the
authoritarian countries of central Asia.


 ===========================
_______________________________

Tom Atlee * The Co-Intelligence Institute * PO Box 493 * Eugene, OR 97440
http://www.co-intelligence.org *  http://www.democracyinnovations.org
Read THE TAO OF DEMOCRACY *  http://www.taoofdemocracy.com
Please support our work.  *  Your donations are fully tax-deductible.

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