Belgrade interiour ministry fire 1999
© Reuters
En barndmand og en læge ser på branden i udenrigsministeriets bygning i Beograds centrum den 3. april, 1999
Mens Washington laver evidensfrie påstand om russisk indblanding i USA's politik er det værd at huske epidemien af "farverevolutioner" rundt om i verden der åben er sponsoreret af USA, og som begyndte i Serbien for 17 år siden.

5. oktober 2000 synes som for en menneskealder siden. Det er værd at søge så længe tilbage til mindet om den første "farverevolution," en teknik udviklet for at vælte regeringer Washington ikke kunne lide og erstatte dem med mere gunstige og medgørlige..

Ifølge den officielle fortælling skrevet af de vestlige medier og deres franchises i Serbien, gjorde de retsskafne mennesker oprør mod Slobodan Milosovic's korrupte og diktatoriske regime, de gik på gaderne i Beograd, stormede den offentlige TV station og parlamentet og etablerede frihed og demokrati uden blodsudgydelser.

Her er der blot et problem, intet af det er sandt.

USA havde længe prøvet at erstatte Milosevic med én, der var mere villig til ubetinget at adlyde og omdanne det, som stadig var Yugoslavien til endnu et andet østeuropæisk land, som, blev "transitioneret" fra kommunisme og plyndret undervejs i processen. Tidligere forsøg på at gøre det, fra interventionen i Bosnien i 1995 til NATO angrebet i 1999 og besættelsen af Kosovo havde slået fejl.

Efter at Milosevic modstod alliance i 78 dage og tilsidst gik ind på en våbenhvilesaftale, optrappede agenter fra National Endowement for Democracy (NED), George Soros' Open Society Fund, USAID og andre quasi-NGO'ere, der følger Washington, deres planer for regimeskifte med brug af andre midler.

US Ambassador Richard Miles "midwifed" the creation of the 'Democratic Opposition of Serbia' (DOS), a hodgepodge of small parties centered on the Democrats. The party's leader, Zoran Dindic, was kept in the shadows since he polled in single digits. Instead, the coalition's public face was Vojislav Kostunica, a mild-mannered law professor with no political baggage, picked as the best candidate against Milosevic in the September 24 presidential election.

Meanwhile, a student movement called 'Otpor' (Resistance) was quickly taken over by US-trained activists, like Srda Popovic. Training sessions in Hungary, run by NED contractors instructed Otpor activists, taught participants how to ridicule, disrupt and attack the government through civil disobedience. "Suitcases of cash" smuggled across the border paid for posters, placards, t-shirts, street art and other branding, all featuring the iconic fist logo. Another key NGO funded from the West was the Center for Free Elections and Democracy (CESID), a self-appointed vote watchdog whose claims directly contradicted the official electoral commission.

After the government announced that neither candidate got 50 percent of the vote and a runoff would be required, DOS and Otpor called for a general strike and mass street protests on October 5. Protesters stormed the Yugoslav Parliament and torched the ballot boxes stored there, conveniently obliterating any evidence of who might have actually won the election.

After meeting with Kostunica, Milosevic agreed to step down peacefully, robbing the rebels of some of their momentum. As a result, Đindic was unable to implement the full revolutionary agenda, with Kostunica objecting to his trampling of the laws in the name of "reformist" expediency.

Ever since then, however, who ruled Serbia was never really decided at the ballot box but at the US embassy, with either pre- or post-electoral alliances or cynical schemes to manipulate the parliamentary majority. Most recently, in 2012, leaders of the Radical Party re-branded themselves as the Progressives to get the US blessing to take over - and went on to deliver most of Washington's demands when it came to giving up the occupied province of Kosovo, among other things.

Exporting 'democracy'

None of this really mattered to the revolution's backers; they only wanted a vassal regime in Belgrade, the actual rule of law, democracy or human rights in Serbia be damned. They also decided the October 5 formula was too good to be used just once and set out to deploy it elsewhere.

Ambassador Miles oversaw the 2003 'Rose Revolution' in Georgia, installing in power the US-educated Mikhail Saakashvili. This, too, proved detrimental to the country's actual inhabitants: Saakashvili started the August 2008 war with Russia, lost the war, and the 2012 election, and fled the country before he could be arrested for corruption. He later joined the US-backed government in Ukraine, but that's another story.

In 2004, the US sponsored the 'Orange Revolution' in Kiev, backing a DOS-like coalition led by Viktor Yushchenko. By that point, Washington wasn't even pretending to be uninvolved.

"US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev," ran a Guardian headline from November 26, 2004, talking about the role of Miles in Georgia and his colleague Michael Kozak in Belarus.

"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," wrote the Guardian's Ian Traynor, noting that "the campaign was first used in Europe in Belgrade in 2000."

A decade later, 'color revolution' techniques would once again be used in Ukraine, culminating in the February 2014 coup against President Viktor Yanukovich and the subsequent crisis in Crimea and the Donbass.


The manual for this kind of coup was written by US scholar Gene Sharp. But it was the former Otpor activists who spread it across the world. In 2004, Popovic founded CANVAS (Center for Applied NonViolent Action and Strategies) and began traveling the world peddling his revolutionary methods to whoever was Uncle Sam's next target.

A 2011 documentary about the revolution business followed Otpor/CANVAS activity to North Africa during that year's 'Arab Spring' uprisings.

Wherever they go, these agents of chaos infect the target country's politics, manipulating genuine local activists into becoming the agents of their people's demise. While they preach democracy, their dirty tricks are effectively destroying its credibility in the long term. That's fine with them, however; the objective is not democracy but obedience. Besides, they won't stick around to see the consequences - there is always the next revolution to plan and execute.

And they always mobilize the young, known for their excess of emotion and shortage of wisdom. They sing the seductive song of "bringing down a dictator" (there's even a documentary! With a celebrity narrator!) to people who think that will solve all of their problems.

Before the dust from the 'revolution' clears, however, the CANVAS consultants have moved off to the next target, leaving their duped students to watch in horror as their countries descend into strife or chaos. If they are extremely lucky, they end up replacing one corrupt regime with another, only this time beholden to foreign masters.

While the 'color revolutions' are not always successful, even the failed ones cause severe damage to the target country's politics. Also, once infected, a country is always in danger of relapse.

Popovic was most recently sighted in Hungary, at the beginning of September, amid growing protests against that country's stubbornly independent government that eerily resemble the blueprint established in Serbia, 17 years ago.