The Centre for Applied Non Violent Actions and Strategies (CANVAS) is a non-profit, non-governmental, educational institution focused on the use of nonviolent conflict to promote human rights and democracy. It was founded in 2004 by Srdja Popovic and Slobodan Djinovic, former members of the Serbian youth resistance movement, Otpor!, which played a key role in the successful overthrow of Serbian dictator, Slobodan Milosevic in October 2000. Drawing upon the Serbian experience, CANVAS seeks to educate pro-democracy activists around the world in what it regards as the universal principles for success in nonviolent struggle.
Established in Belgrade, CANVAS has worked with pro-democracy activists from over 50 countries, including Iran, Zimbabwe, Burma, Venezuela, Belarus, Palestine, Western Sahara, West Papua, Eritrea, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Tonga and, recently, Tunisia and Egypt. It works only with groups with no history of violence and only in response to requests for assistance.
CANVAS’ training and methodology has reportedly been successfully applied by groups in Georgia (2003), Ukraine (2004), Lebanon (2005), The Maldives (2008) and Egypt (2011).
The core of CANVAS’s work is rather to spread the word of “people power” to the world than to achieve victories against one dictator or another. Our next big mission should obviously be to explain to the world what a powerful tool nonviolent struggle is when it comes to achieving freedom, democracy and human rights. Read more…
Otpor! (Serbian Cyrillic: Отпор!, English: Resistance!) was a civic youth movement that existed as such from 1998 until 2003 in Serbia, employing nonviolent struggle against the regime of Slobodan Milošević as their course of action. In the course of two-year nonviolent struggle against Milosevic, Otpor spread across Serbia and attracted more than 70,000 supporters. They were credited for their role in the successful overthrow of Slobodan Milošević on 5 October 2000.
Otpor boasted tremendous leverage in the months following Milosevic’s resignation, but failed to focus it into permanent political or social structure in the new transitional and more democratic reality of Serbia. An intensely heterogeneous movement of leftists and conservatives, monarchists and republicans, nationalists and cosmopolitans, after Milosevic’s departure, Otpor had lost the most important glue that bound it together. It was unclear whether the movement should continue as a watch-dog political party or just dissolve after its 2000 triumph. Acting against Milošević earned them wide praise, but when the time came to channel popular support into a clear ideological position, a definite disconnect occurred. In short, it was always clear what Otpor was against, but it was less clear what this movement represented in a new political era.
When three years later Otpor! eventually emerged as a political party, it failed to resonate with voters and received less than 2 percent of the national vote. This was not helped by wide media exposure of broad overt US support for the regime change in Serbia.
Revelation of U.S. involvement
Information started appearing about substantial outside assistance Otpor received leading up to the revolution. Otpor was a recipient of substantial funds from U.S. government-affiliated organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), International Republican Institute (IRI), and US Agency for International Development (USAID).
In a November 2000 article from the New York Times Magazine, Times journalist Roger Cohen talked to various officials from US based organizations about the extent of American assistance received by Otpor. Paul B. McCarthy from the Washington-based NED stated that Otpor received the majority of US$3 million spent by NED in Serbia from September 1998 until October 2000. At the same time, McCarthy himself held a series of meetings with Otpor’s leaders in Podgorica, as well as Szeged and Budapest. Read more…
Richard Miniter, OP/ED | 9/09/2011
George Soros is rich enough to buy his own foreign policy, but is it wise to let him have one?
Soros’ strange pattern of investments and gifts, especially in the former-Soviet states of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, amounts to a personal foreign policy.
While other rich men fund think tanks and charities abroad, the sheer scale of Soros’ spending sets him apart. Soros, through foundations and his Open Society Institutes, pours some $500 million per year into organizations in the former Soviet world, according to their own estimates. That, in many cash-starved countries, is enough capital to change who runs the capital.
And Soros gets results. Through strategic donations, Soros helped bring down the communist government in Poland, toppled Serbia’s bloodstained strongman Slobodan Milosevic, and fueled the “Rose Revolution” in Georgia. Soros has also funded opposition parties in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Croatia, Georgia, and Macedonia, helping them into either power or prominence. All of these countries were once Russian allies.
Of course, Soros doesn’t work alone. His investments often ride a populist wave of discontent or are made alongside American or European governments and non-profits. No amount of money can singlehandedly bring down a popular foreign leader. But a weak leader can be pushed from power—and Soros likes to give the humpty-dumpty shove to the world’s autocrats.
And that creates problems for the U.S. Since Soros’ most significant dictator-toppling efforts are concentrated in the post-Soviet world, Soros’ foreign policy creates friction between the U.S and Russia and generates hostility from a range of energy-rich Central Asian states, which provide key bases for the Afghan war. Some nations, including Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, have even banned Soros or his philanthropic front-groups.
The bigger problem: Russia and other nations tend to see Soros as a tool of U.S. policy. While Soros is not, his high-profile involvement in the domestic affairs of these faraway lands poses problems for Washington. Soros has made it harder for President Obama to “hit the reset button” with Russia and has complicated relations with a host of other nations. Getting Russia’s vote on the U.N. Security Council to halt Iran’s nuclear-weapons program or further isolate North Korea is made more difficult by Soros. Bases for U.S. special forces or Predator drones are harder to get in Central Asia. Worse still, Soros’ foreign policy draws America into a clutch of ethnic and land disputes in Central Asia that are more fraught and more violent than Israel-Palestine and, unlike Israel, do not involve a vital U.S. interest.
There are good reasons not to privatize the dictator-toppling business. Elected governments are supposed to balance competing national interests (hence the seeming incoherence of some aspects of America’s foreign policy) and officials can be held accountable for their actions, either by voters, courts, legislatures or other governments. And democracies forge their foreign policies in public debates.
Soros’ foreign policy is different. He pursues his own vision, undisturbed by his effect on other nations or the interests of his own. It is hard for foreign governments to hold him accountable and his goals and methods are usually kept secret.
While the risks of Soros’ foreign policy to the U.S. are clear, they are clearly ignored by Washington policy makers and the White House press corps. Why? Read more…
Thursday, 15 Sep 2011 04:47 PM
By Christopher Ruddy
I recently received a chain email with the subject line “George Soros — This Is an Evil Man.”
Once printed, the electronic epistle goes on for no less than nine pages, detailing the claim that the billionaire investor is one of the most sinister men on the planet who “controls President Obama’s every move” as well as the moves of the entire Democratic Party, not to mention the U.S. stock market and perhaps the global economy.
“He’s anti-God, anti-family, anti-American and anti-good,” the anonymous writer claims, rattling off a litany of claims against Soros, some true, some false, some bizarre.
I seriously doubt, for instance, that President Obama takes orders from Soros. Sometimes I wonder if the president listens to anyone these days.
For many conservatives, Soros is viewed as a major political opponent. But in dealing with such an opponent it’s necessary to fully grasp who this opponent is and what he is really about.
After observing Soros for some years now, I have concluded he’s neither evil nor completely liberal. He is, in my mind, a liberal partisan whose own political views don’t fit neatly into any box.
Rightfully, he has raised the ire of conservatives here in the U.S., not so much for his ideas but for his die-hard support of Democratic candidates and liberal causes.
Soros emerged as a star in the political firmament during the 2004 election when he spent an estimated $24 million in an effort to defeat President George W. Bush, saying removing him from office was the “central focus of my life” and a “matter of life and death.”
Soros was also an early supporter of Barack Obama, though he held back significant financial support for Obama’s presidential bid in 2008. In the 2010 congressional elections, Soros, wisely, largely sat out the race, saying the Republican “avalanche” couldn’t be stopped.
On the 13th of October, at 11:09 a.m., Reuters published an article titled “Who’s Behind the Wall Street Protests” that alleged that George Soros was the secret backer of the Occupy Wall Street protests. Immediately Reuters came under fire from various Left wing American news networks (New York Times, The Atlantic, The New York Observer, The Salon and of course Washington Post).
The backlash was so strong that after 6 hours only, at 5:45 p.m., Reuters totally withdrew it’s earlier accusations! In the re-edited version, Reuters changed the article completely! They even modified the title of the article to: Soros: not a funder of Wall Street protests, the new article starts with this very clear statement: “George Soros is NOT a financial backer of the Wall Street protests”!!!
Later on Reuters went on to explain that the original article was a result of: “technical glitch” and an editor’s mistake!!! Utterly shameful news reporting, even if the original report was wrong!
This goes to tell us of the amount of pressure that a man like Soros posses over the global media and news networks, even as big as Reuters itself! And of course goes to show the amount of Hypocrisy present in today’s media!
Well, Here we will publish the original Reuters report and leave it to your judgment to decide whether Soros is really connected to the Occupy Wall Street protests or not. Read more…
AFP, Saturday, 3 April 2010
A weekly magazine aiming to link Arab bloggers with politicians and the elderly was launched in Egypt on Thursday at the initiative of a women’s group backed by US billionaire George Soros.
The weekly Wasla – or “The Link” – is being touted as a first for the Arab world, with plans for articles by bloggers as a way of giving them a wider readership.
It is published by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information and financially supported by the Open Society Institute created by Soros, said ANHRI director Gamal Eid.
“We want to challenge our audience, and open its eyes to the changes society is experiencing, particularly through youths and blogs in which they appear,” he said.
“The goal is to show the older generation that certain things exist,” he said, adding as an example: “Whether we agree or not, gay communities are a reality in Egyptian and Arab societies.”
The 16-page weekly will include two pages in English and will have an initial print run of 1,000 copies for distribution to political, academic, and literary circles. An electronic version will also be available.
View the complete SOROS FILES
Billionaire’s biggest single grant to an American organisation will allow HRW to expand its reach into developing nations.
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 7 September 2010
The billionaire financier George Soros is giving $100 million (£65 million) to America’s leading human rights organisation in a move that will enable the group to massively expand its operations around the world.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) will increase its staff of 300 by about a third on the back of the five-year Soros grant, using the new firepower to increase its advocacy in key emerging regions in the developing world. The donation, the largest in HRW’s history and bigger than any previous single grant from Soros to a US organisation, aims to help the group fulfil its ambition to boast a truly global reach.
The New York-based organisation, formed in 1978 as Helsinki Watch, has built its reputation as a leading watchdog on governmental abuses around the world. But it has tended to focus its energies on western capitals, believing the best way to improve human rights was to persuade developed countries to use their muscle to effect change.
Increasingly, though, the group has become aware of the strength of developing nations such as Brazil, South Africa and India, who may now hold more sway in their regions than Washington, London or Berlin. The Soros grant will be used to beef up operations in those countries.
“Think of Zimbabwe,” Kenneth Roth, HRW’s director, said. “The US and European Union all have great policies on Zimbabwe, but it’s not enough: the key to changing Mugabe is South Africa.”
Roth also gave the example of Sri Lanka, where both the United States and the European Union have strong human rights policies but have failed to prevent president Mahinda Rajapaksa “thumbing his nose at the West”. A HRW focus on India and other Asian countries, including China, could have more impact.
Announcing the grant, Soros said he was drawn to the idea of helping the group extend its global influence as part of his philanthropic mission to use his huge wealth, obtained through interventions in the money markets, to forward the cause of open societies.
“Human rights underpin our greatest aspirations: they’re at the heart of open societies,” he said. “Human Rights Watch must be present in capitals around the globe, addressing local issues, allied with local rights groups and engaging with local government officials.”
The grant, Soros said, would inspire a sea-change in the organisation that would result in its largely New York-based management having up to half its board members outside the US.
So far this year Soros has handed out about $800m through his Open Society Foundations. Despite the economic downturn, which has caused a dip in philanthropic giving, Soros has been increasing his largesse recently, partly, he has said, out of recognition of his age – he turned 80 last month – and a desire to distribute much of his wealth during his lifetime.
Soros was born in Hungary. He is a consummate player of international currencies, and is famous for having made about $1 billion during the Black Wednesday crisis in the UK in 1992.
His donation comes at an opportune moment for HRW. The group has had a turbulent year, sustaining criticism for its reporting on Gaza war crimes, which it said amounted to a disinformation campaign by the Israeli government. Its own co-founder, Robert Bernstein, has accused the group of bias against Israel in its handling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
PressTV interviews Ralf Shoenman, author of the Hidden History of Zionism.
Mohamed el-Baradei, recognized by both the US and other foreign powers, who was absent from Egypt in the past 30 years, wants the top spot in the country.
But, do the Egyptian people want him and would he bring about change, which would go against the US agenda?
In this regard, Press TV interviews Ralph Shoenman, author of the Hidden History of Zionism and expert on Zionist impact on the Middle East.
Press TV: Referring to the statements made by US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, where she said it is important to support the transition process headed by new vice president Suleiman. In your opinion is the US finally showing their support for Suleiman by raising his profile?
Ralf Schoenman: Let’s be clear about this. What you are describing is a cruel deception and a complete hoax; a deception and a betrayal of the Egyptian people.
A map of Turkey was published in the New York Times as a model of what is intended for Egypt. You have to keep in mind that Egypt now under Mubarak and in the past 30 years has become a semi-colonial country – One hundred families own more than 90% of all property and wealth. And the map of Turkey that was published laid out what was intended in Egypt – an alliance between the senior military and the oligarchy to preserve the status quo, to deepen the privatization of the property and the wealth of the country and to intensify the exploitation of its workers. Read more…
Relation maps via Muckety.com
Read more on Mohamed El Baradie connection to George Soros
Open Society Institute
In 1993, Soros created the Open Society Institute, which supports the Soros foundations working to develop democratic institutions throughout Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The “open society” basically refers to a “test and evaluate” approach to social engineering. The Open Society Institute has active programs in more than 60 countries around the world with total expenditures currently averaging approximately $600 million a year.
Regime Collapse in Egypt
In April of 2010, a weekly magazine aiming to link Arab bloggers with politicians, the elderly and the elite was launched in Egypt. The weekly Wasla – or “The Link” – is being heralded as a first for the Arab world, with plans for articles by bloggers as a way of giving them a wider readership.
In the 1st edition of Wasla, the cover featured Mohamed ElBaradei. ElBaradei is Wasla’s chosen candidate and he is also supported by the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran. George Soros and ElBaradei both sit on the Board of Trustees for the International Crisis Group. Radio talk show host Michael Savage lays out in detail the ICG’s ties to the current Islamic uprising in Egypt. In a June 2008 report entitled, “Egypt’s Muslim Brothers Confrontation or Integration,” ICG urges the Egyptian regime to allow the Muslim Brotherhood to participate in political life.
More from WND:
- In September, Soros’ group was looking to expand its operations in Egypt by hiring a new project manager for its Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, which is run in partnership with the Open Society Justice Initiative. The group is seeking to develop a national network of legal empowerment actors for referral of public-interest law cases. Such organizations in the past have helped represent Muslim Brotherhood leaders seeking election or more authority in the country.
- He stated the U.S. has “much to gain by moving out in front and siding with the public demand for dignity and democracy” in Egypt.
- Soros did not mention his ties to ElBaradei.
- In attempting to explain how lobbyists get U.S. foreign aid for Egypt, journalist Pratap Chatterjee of the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress writes that Tony Podesta, “the brother of a former White House chief of staff,” joined with Toby Moffett, a former Democratic Congressman, and Bob Livingston, a former Republican Congressman, to create a lobbying organization, the PLM Group, to represent Egypt in Washington.
More from Gulag Bound:
- Politico reported that Tony and John Podesta started Podesta Associates in the late 1980s and that it was later renamed the Podesta Group. So John Podesta was in on this money-making scheme from the start. Soros subsequently asked John Podesta to run the Center for American Progress, whose foreign policy expert, Brian Katulis, has been arguing on MSNBC that the U.S. ought to pull the plug on the Hosni Mubarak government in Egypt and deal with the Muslim Brotherhood.
- In other words, the Podesta brothers are on both sides of this international crisis.
For more on the El Baradei – Soros Connection, Watch The Great Deception Addendum