"Color Revolution" Fails in Iran: The Grassroots Takeover Technique
By Thierry Meyssan
Originally published in Voltairenet.org
June 27, 2009
Images and captions added by Color Revolutions and Geopolitics
"Color revolutions" are to revolutions what Canada Dry is to beer. They look like the real thing, but they lack the flavor. They are regime changes which appear to be revolutions because they mobilize huge segments of the population but are more akin to takeovers, because they do not aim at changing social structures. Instead they aspire to replace an elite with another, in order to carry out pro-American economic and foreign policies. The "green revolution" in Tehran is the latest example of this trend.
Origin of the concept
|CIA Chief Stansfield Turner|
This concept appeared in the 90s, but its roots lie in the American public debate of the 70s-80s. After a string of revelations about CIA instigated coups around the world, as well as the dramatic disclosures of the Church and Rockefeller Senate Committees , admiral Stansfield Turner was given the task by President Carter to clean up the agency and to stop supporting "local dictatorships." Furious, the American Social Democrats (SD/USA) left the Democratic party and sided with Ronald Reagan. They were brilliant Trotskyist intellectuals , often linked to Commentary magazine. After Reagan was elected, he charged them with pursuing the American interference policy, this time using different methods. This is how the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was created in 1982  and the United States Institute for Peace (USIP) in 1984. Both of these institutions are organically intertwined: NED administrators sit on the USIP board of directors and vice versa.
|Westminster Speech, June 8, 1982: U.S. President Reagan speaks to the British Parliament and outlines his new policy proposal for supporting "democracy" around the world. The speech sets the stage for the creation of the National Endowment for Democracy, the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, the Solidarity Center and the Center for International Private Enterprise.|
|Gene Sharp: the Pentagon was impressed|
The first attempted "color revolution" failed in 1989. The goal was to overthrow Deng Xiaoping by using one of his close collaborators, the Chinese Communist Party secretary-general Zhao Ziyang, in order to open Chinese markets to American investors and to bring China into the US orbit. Young supporters of Zhao invaded Tiananmen square . They were presented in the Western media as unpoliticized students fighting for freedom against the party’s Conservative wing, when in fact this was infighting within the Deng entourage between pro-American and nationalist factions. After having ignored provocations for a long time Deng decided to use force. Depending on sources, the repression ended with 300 to 1000 dead. 20 years later, the Western version of this failed coup has not changed. Western media which recently covered the anniversary of that event presented it as a "popular uprising" and expressed surprise that people in Beijing do not remember the event. This is because there was nothing "popular" about this struggle for power within the Party. This was not a concern for people.
The first successful "color revolution" succeeded in 1990. As the Soviet Union was disintegrating, state secretary James Baker went to Bulgaria to participate in the electoral campaign of the pro-American party, heavily financed by the NED . However, despite pressure from the UK, the Bulgarians – afraid of the social consequences induced by the transformation from Soviet Union to market economy – made the unforgivable mistake to elect in Parliament a post-communist majority. While European community observers testified to the legality of the voting process, the pro-American opposition screamed that electoral fraud had occurred and took to the streets. They set up camp in the center of Sofia and threw the country into chaos for the following six months, until pro-American Zhelyu Zhelev was elected president by the parliament.
|June 1990: street demonstrations in Sofia, Bulgaria|
"Democracy": selling your country to foreign interests behind the people’s back
Since then, Washington has kept instigating regime changes everywhere in the world, using street unrest rather than military juntas. It is important here to understand what is at stake. Behind the soothing rhetoric of "the promotion of democracy," Washington’s actions aim to impose regimes that are opening their markets to the US without conditions and which are aligning themselves to their foreign policy. However, while these goals are known by the leaders of the "color revolutions," they are never discussed and accepted by the mobilized demonstrators. In the event when these takeovers succeed, citizens soon rebel against the new policies imposed on them, even if it is too late to turn back. Besides, how can opposition groups who sold their country to foreign interests behind their populations’ backs be considered "democratic"?
|Realpolitik in Central Asia: the 2001 opening of a U.S. military base in Manas, Kyrgyzstan has placed American military hardware on the doorstep of both Russia and China|
A blessing in disguise?
It is sometimes objected that for states which were subjected to repressive regimes, even if these "color revolutions" only bring the appearance of democracy, they nonetheless constitute an improvement for their populations. Experience shows however that this is far from certain. The new regimes can turn out to be far more repressive than the old ones.
|Looks like revolution to me|
The main mechanism of the "color revolutions" consists in focusing popular anger on the desired target. This is an aspect of the psychology of the masses which destroys everything in its path and against which no reasonable argument can be opposed. The scapegoat is accused of all the evils plaguing the country for at least one generation. The more he resists, the angrier the mob gets. After he gives in or slips away, the normal division between his opponents and his supporters reappears.
|Selling the "Cedar Revolution"|
In 2005, in the hours following the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri, a rumor spread in Lebanon according to which he was killed by "the Syrians." The Syrian army, which had been maintaining order since the end of the civil war according to the Taëf agreement, was now booed. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad was personally accused by the US authorities, which was as good as proof for the public opinion. To those who noted that Rafik Hariri, despite stormy episodes, had always been useful to Syria and that’s his death deprived Damas of a central collaborator, it was answered that the "Syrian regime" is so fundamentally evil that it cannot help but killing even its friends. The Lebanese people were calling for the G.I.s to come and get rid of the Syrians. But to everyone’s surprise, Bashar al-Assad, considering that the costly deployment of his army was not welcome in Lebanon any longer, decided to pull it back. Legislative elections were organized in which the "anti-Syrian" coalition triumphed. This was the "Cedar Revolution." After the situation calmed down everyone realized that even if Syrian generals had looted the country in the past, the departure of the Syrian army did not change anything to the country’s economic situation. Furthermore, the country was now in danger: it was not able to defend itself from the expansionism of the Israeli neighbor. The main "anti-Syrian" leader, general Michel Aoun, thought better of it and joined the opposition. Furious, Washington multiplied assassination plans to get rid of him. Michel Aoun formed an alliance with Hezbollah on a patriotic platform. It was about time: Israel attacked.
In every case, Washington prepared the "democratic" government in advance, which confirms that these are takeovers in disguise. The names composing the new team are kept secret for as long as possible. This is why the pointing out of the scapegoat is always done without suggesting a political alternative.
The deceiving appearance of nonviolence
The PR staff members of the State Department maintain the non-violent image of the "color revolutions." They all put forward the theories of Gene Sharp, who founded the Albert Einstein Institution. Yet nonviolence is a combat method used to persuade authorities to a political change. In order for a minority to seize power and to exercise it, it must always use violence at some point. All "color revolutions" did.
|Popovic, Sharp, Helvey|
|Belgrade, Serbia, October 5, 2000|
In 2002, Caracas’ upper-class took to the streets to protest the social policies of President Hugo Chavez . Using clever manipulation, private TV stations created the impression of a human tidal wave. There were 50,000 people according to observers and 1 million according to the press and the State Department. Then there was the Llaguno Bridge incident. TV stations clearly showed armed pro-Chavez supporters firing on the crowd. In a press conference, the National Guard general and vice minister of domestic security confirmed that the "Chavez militias" fired and killed 19 people. He resigned and called for the dictator to be overthrown. The president was quickly arrested by military rebels. However millions of people descended in the capital’s streets and constitutional order was restored.
A subsequent journalistic investigation went over the details of the massacre of the Llaguno Bridge. It brought to light a deceptive picture manipulation, where chronological order was modified as proved by the protagonists’ watch dials. In reality, the pro-Chavez supporters were under attack and after having fallen back, they were trying to escape by using their weapons. The inciting agents were local policemen trained by a US agency .
|Obama & Odinga|
|Kenya, 2007: a nation obviously consumed by a passion for democracy|
Mobilizing the international public opinion
During the last few years, Washington had the opportunity to instigate "color revolutions" with the understanding that they would fail to seize power but that they would help manipulate public opinion and international institutions.
In 2007, many Burmese were up in arms because of the domestic fuel price increase. Demonstrations spread as Buddhist monks took a leading role in the protest. This was the "Saffron Revolution" . Washington could not care less about the Rangoon regime; however they were interested in orchestrating the people of Burma in order to exercise pressure on China which holds strategic interests in Burma (pipelines and military bases for electronic intelligence gathering). It was therefore crucial to distort people’s perception of reality. Pictures and films shot on mobile phones started to appear on YouTube. They were anonymous, impossible to verify and without context. It was precisely their lack of reliability that gave them authority, and allowed the White House to fit them with their interpretation of the situation.
The Green Revolution
The operation conducted in 2009 in Iran belongs to the long list of pseudo revolutions. First, a 400 million dollar budget was voted in 2007 by Congress to orchestrate a "regime change" in Iran. This was in addition to the ad hoc budgets of the NED, the USAID, the CIA & Co. How this money is being used is unclear, but the three main recipients are the following: the Rafsanjani family, the Pahlavi family and the People’s Mujahedin of Iran.
The Bush Administration decided to instigate a "color revolution" in Iran after confirming a decision by the Joint Chiefs of Staff not to conduct a military attack of that country. This choice was then approved by the Obama Administration. The plans for a "color revolution" which had been drawn up by the American Enterprise Institute in 2002 with Israel were then reopened. I had published an article at that time regarding this plan . In it, one can identify the current protagonists: that plan has not changed much since then. A Lebanese chapter was added which predicted an uprising in Beirut in case of a victory of the patriotic coalition (Hezbollah, Aoun), but it was later cancelled.
The script included huge support for the candidate chosen by Ayatollah Rafsanjani, the disputing of the presidential election results, widespread bombings, the toppling of president Ahmadinejad and of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, setting up a transition government headed by Mousavi, restoring the Monarchy and creating a government headed by Sohrab Sobhani.
|Tehran, Iran, 2009: young demonstrator holds up a poster of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the pre-packaged "revolutionary" leader of Iran|
On April 27, Morris and Ledeen held a seminar on Iran with Senator Joseph Lieberman at the American Enterprise Institute, regarding the Iranian elections. On May 15, a new seminar was held. The public part of the event consisted of a round table discussion headed by Senator John Bolton about the "haggling" over Iran: would Moscow agree to end its support of Tehran in exchange for Washington renouncing its missile shield project in Central Europe? French expert Bernard Hourcade took part in the debates. At the same time, the Institute launched a website, intended for the press, about the coming crisis: IranTracker.org. The website includes a section on the Lebanese elections.
With no connection to Rafsanjani, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran have been used by Washington . This organization, protected by the Pentagon, is considered a terrorist organization by the State Department and has been considered as such by the European Union. Indeed, it is responsible for dreadful operations in the 80s, including a huge bombing which killed Ayatollah Beheshti, four department heads, six department head assistants and one fourth of the parliamentary group of the Islamic Republic party. The People’s Mujahedin of Iran is headed by Massoud Rajavi, who first married the daughter of former President Abol-hassan Banisadr and then the cruel Maryam. Its headquarters are located outside of Paris and its military bases in Iraq, first under the orders of Saddam Hussein, are now under the Defense Department. The People’s Mujahedin provided the logistics for the bombing attacks which took place during the electoral campaign . They were responsible for instigating clashes – which they probably did – between Pro Ahmadinejad supporters and their opponents.
Should chaos have followed, the Supreme Leader could have been overthrown. A transition government, headed by Mir-Hossein Mousavi, would have privatized the oil sector and brought back the Monarchy. The son of the former Shah, Reza Cyrus Pahlavi, would have ascended to the throne and would have nominated Sohrab Sobhani as prime minister. With this in mind, Reza Pahlavi published in February a number of interviews with French journalist Michel Taubmann, the director of Arte’s information office in Paris, and who presides the Cercle de l’Observatoire, the club for French neo conservatives. It is useful to remember that Washington had made similar plans for the restoration of the Monarchy in Afghanistan. Mohammed Zahir Shah was supposed to ascend to the throne again and Hamid Karzai would have become prime minister. Unfortunately, at age 88, the pretender had become senile. Karzai thus became president. Both Sobhani and Karzai hold United States citizenships. Both were involved in the Caspian sea’s oil sector.
As far as propaganda was concerned, the initial plan had been given to Benador Associates, a public relations firm. But it evolved with the influence of Goli Ameri, the United States Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. This American Iranian woman is John Bolton’s former colleague. As a new media specialist, she implemented infrastructure and Internet training programs for Rafsanjani’s friends. She also developed radio and television programs in Farsi for the State Department propaganda, in conjunction with the BBC.
Iran’s destabilization failed because the main drive behind the "color revolutions" was not appropriately initiated. Mir-Hossein Mousavi did not manage to make Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the focus of popular anger. The Iranian people did not fall into the trap; they did not hold the outgoing president responsible for the United States’ economic sanctions against the country. Therefore the protests were limited to the northern suburbs of Tehran. The authorities refrained from creating counter demonstrations, and let the plotters expose themselves.
Having given up war, and having failed at overthrowing the regime, what is Barack Obama’s remaining option?
 The numerous reports and documents published by these committees are available online on the following website: The Assassination Archives and Research Center.
 "New York Intellectuals and the invention of neo-conservatism", Denis Boneau, Voltaire Network, November 26 2004.
 "The NED, the networks of democratic interference", Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network, January 22 2004.
 "The Albert Einstein Institution: non-violence according to the CIA", Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network, January 4 2005.
 "Tiananmen, 20 ans après", professor Domenico Losurdo, Réseau Voltaire, June 9 2009.
 At the time, the NED was relying in Eastern Europe on the Free Congress Foundation (FCF), operated by Republicans. Later on, this organization disappeared and was replaced by the Soros Foundation, operated by Democrats, with the assistance of which the NED would plot new « regime changes ».
 Concerned with smoothing out relations between France and the US, French president Jacques Chirac tried to establish better relations with the Bush Administration on Georgia’s back, all the more because of French economic interests in Georgia. Salomé Zourabichvili, number 2 in the French secret services, was nominated as ambassador in Tbilisi. She then switched nationalities and became the Foreign Secretary for the « Rose Revolution ».
 "The Secrets of the Georgian Coup", Paul Labarique, Voltaire Network, January 7 2004.
 "Géorgie : Saakachvili jette son opposition en prison" (Georgia: Saakachvili jails the opposition) et "Manifestations à Tbilissi contre la dictature des roses" (Protests in Tbilisi against the dictatorship of the roses), Réseau Voltaire, September 12 2006 and September 30 2007.
 The Bush Administration was hoping that this conflict would act as a smoke screen. Israeli bombers were supposed to take off simultaneously to strike neighboring Iran. But even before attacking Georgian military installations, Russia bombed the airports that had been rented out to Israel, pinning its planes to the ground.
 "Opération manquée au Venezuela" (Failed operation in Venezuela), Thierry Meyssan, Réseau Voltaire, May 18 2002.
 Llaguno Bridge. Keys to a Massacre. Documentary by Angel Palacios, Panafilms 2005.
 "Birmanie : la sollicitude intéressée des États-Unis" (Burma: United States’ selfish concern), Thierry Meyssan, Réseau Voltaire, November 5 2007.
 "False reasons to intervene in Iran", Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network, February 12 2004.
 "The American Enterprise Institute in the White House", Voltaire Network, June 21 2004.
 "Les trucages de la Foundation for the Defense of Democracies" (The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies’ tricks), Réseau Voltaire, February 2 2005.
 "Les Moudjahidin perdus" (The lost Mujahedin), Paul Labarique, Réseau Voltaire, February 17 2004.
 "Le Jundallah revendique des actions armées aux côtés des Moudjahidines du Peuple" (The Jundallah claims responsibility for actions with the People’s Mujahedin), Réseau Voltaire, June 13 2009.