The Most Revolutionary Act

Diverse Ramblings of an American Refugee

Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall

Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall
New Plymouth, New Zealand
December 02
Retired psychiatrist, activist and author of 2 young adult novels - Battle for Tomorrow and A Rebel Comes of Age - and a free ebook 21st Century Revolution. My 2010 memoir The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee describes the circumstances that led me to leave the US in 2002. More information about my books (and me) at

MARCH 18, 2012 8:14PM

The ICNC Role in the Arab Spring

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ICNC Founder Peter Ackerman

ICNC Founder Peter Ackerman

(This is the last of five posts about the American godfather of nonviolent resistance, Gene Sharp, and the role of CIA and Pentagon-funded foundations and think tanks in funding and promoting nonviolent resistance)

In the Arab Spring revolutions of 2011, Sharp and the Albert Einstein Institution (AEI) seem to have handed the baton to his disciple Peter Ackerman. According to Louis Proyect, the latter is a former AEI board member and founder (in 2002) of the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC). It was the ICNC that offered nonviolence training sessions in Cairo for Egyptian and Tunisian activists.

As Proyect makes clear Ackerman, like Sharp and Zunes, is no progressive. A Wall Street financier and hedge fund manager (formerly number two in Michael Milken’s junk bond empire), Ackerman is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR), as well as a former director of Freedom House, previously run by former CIA director James Woolsey. Ackerman also sits on the board of Spirit of America, a group that is “dedicated to spreading US influence worldwide, with a particular emphasis on covert cyber-intelligence measures.” Ackerman is also on the advisory board of the ultraconservative Cato Institute’s Project on Social Security Choice, which proposes to privatize Social Security and allow younger workers to invest their Social Security taxes in private retirement accounts.

“Arab Spring” Neither Spontaneous Nor Indigenous

As others have documented elsewhere, the 2011 uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa were neither spontaneous nor indigenous. Many of the individuals and groups who helped organize them had received training (at times in the US) sponsored by the State Department and CIA-linked foundations, such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The New York Times makes this clear in a April 2011 article U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings. It states specifically that  “a number of the groups and individuals directly involved in the revolts and reforms sweeping the region, including the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and grass-roots activists like Entsar Qadhi, a youth leader in Yemen, received training and financing from groups like the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, a nonprofit human rights organization based in Washington.”

Likewise, as Canadian writers and analysts Ahmed Bensaada, Michael Chossudovsky and Tony Cartalucci have documented, leaders of the NED-funded Serbian resistance group OTPOR (now renamed CANVAS – Center for Applied Nonviolent Strategies) assisted in many of these trainings, often using Gene Sharp’s materials (see

Follow the Money

French Canadian author Ahmed Bensaada also discusses these relationships at length in his 2011 book L’Abarabesque Americaine, emphasizing the strong links between the two lead organizers in Egypt’s April 6th movement (Bassam Samir and Adel Mohamed), the US State Department, the NED and other CIA-funded foundations that financed the “color revolutions” in Eastern Europe. Bensaada also enumerates the pro-democracy organizations in other Arab countries (Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebannon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, Yemen, and Syria) that received similar funding. In his appendix, he identifies specific pro-democracy groups by name and the exact amount each received (in 2009) from CIA-linked foundations.

Iran’s Failed Color Revolution

According to Cartalucci, the destabilization campaign that culminated in the failed 2009 Green Revolution in Iran was drawn up by the corporate-funded Brookings Institution, as articulated in their 2009 report Which Path to Persia?. As Cartalucci notes elsewhere,  the mechanics of organizing the Iranian opposition was subcontracted to organizations like the US-funded CANVAS. See also The Color Revolution Fails in Iran and the 2007 BBC report Iran Shows New Scholars’ Footage, linking George Soros to US efforts to destabilize Iran.

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Those who have told me that my "silly idea", that Wall Street might be a major force behind "Occupy", might want to have second thoughts about that now.

"The easiest way to control the opposition is to be it."
As Gil Scott-Heron states in his famous poem, "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised":

How easily we forget.
It would have been nice if they would have considered the effects of that instability on gas and oil prices!

Well done and worthy of an EP!
Are you done with your expose Dr? I have really enjoyed it but its nothing I didn’t know already. Show me a pacifist and I will show you a coward. Those who promote pacifism are either cowards who talk to much or agents of those who have the most to fear from revolution. And I am talking about real revolution not MSM nonsense. Mao, a real revolutionary, said a revolution is not a tea party! Don’t tell me about Gandhi he was a Pamper wearing shill for the British aristocracy. If it wasn’t for Gandhi India would never have aligned itself with the British Empire during WWI (notice he waited till after that one to initiate his “disobedience campaign”) or WWII. Gandhi would have been right at home eating his little vegetarian dinners at the Crawford Ranch and listening to your boy Gene Sharp pontificate about the joy of stealing money through hedge funds while promoting emasculated “change” to the victims of his crimes.

Oh and as for Skypixie you nailed it!
Curiouser and curiouser, I think you might be onto something here; exactly what, I don’t know but I suspect there is more to it than you indicate. I’m not sure I agree with it all but there is a good possibility that they want to be in a position to control the opposition and implement it when and only when it suits their purposes. By being inside it they can at times sabotage it when it \doesn’t suit their purposes and also a lot of their activity is down right insane and isn’t even in their own best interests!

If there is s\dissent within the CIA they may want to implement partial solutions that will address the more insane aspects that the extremists are trying to implement. If they go to far then it will turn into something more insane than Hitler’s and Stalin’s purges and eventually they both led to the downfall of those within the purges.

Regardless of how much of this is true it is a good idea to implement the best educational process that will enable the public to access the information they need to run their own government if they and when they can overcome the secrecy and the elites. Efforts to delete links to dissidents that don’t support the CIA agenda are of course contrary to this and other ways should be found around it.

Also even though some may not agree when ever possible non-violence is the better way to go as a tactic because it is easier to prevent things from going out of control and it gives the government less excuse to clamp down violently.

Also on a comparatively minor organization issue you might want to link up your multi-part series posts one way or another so they’re easy for people to read if they find them months after they’re first posted. One way to do it is to retroactively add links, another that might be easier could involve using a user tag and adding a link to it as you go. For example, you could add “Gene Sharp, and the role of CIA and Pentagon-funded foundations five part series” to each of the parts of the series and then you won’t have to update as you go along; instead you could just provide a link or indicate that the reader can follow it by checking the author tags. For those of us familiar with OS it won’t be hard to sort through it but others might have a harder time especially after it is no longer part of the five most recent blogs.
Thanks for the series Dr. Wayne Madsen wrote a good piece on the Arab Spring too:
Ah, but of course Russian and Chinese intelligence are busy little beavers too.
Jack, I think I might express some of the same thoughts a little more diplomatically. I'm not sure the problem is one of cowardice. I think it relates more to something we used to call "mind fucking." The corporate media has bastardized the language we use to the extent it's really hard for any of us (myself included) to think straight.

For example, the media would like us to believe that the insurgents resisting US occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan are either Al Qaeda or Taliban terrorists, right? That's because we never, ever hear them described as what they are - citizens of sovereign states engaged in violent resistance against an illegal military occupation.

Can you imagine the Afghan resistance fighting the world's greatest military power through nonviolent civil disobedience? It would sound pretty ludicrous, even to America's staunchest armchair liberals.
Zachery, I'm sure you're right - the stuff we can document is merely the tip of the iceberg. Fortunately the individuals that work in some of these agencies are starting to leak like sieves. Stratfor, the intelligence contractor listed above, has recently leaked a memo about US special ops forces training Syrian guerrillas (in Syria) since December. See

And thanks for the tip about using retroactive links.
Thanks for the Wayne Madsen link, Sean. He has an interesting slant on all this.
RW, you raise a really important question, which William I Robinson addresses in his book "Promoting Polyarchy" and which Australian analyst Michael Barker addresses in much detail on his website

Apparently the thinking is that popular resistance against these dictators is inevitable. The idea is to make advance preparations to ensure whatever resistance movement develops is co-opted, so as not to install regimes unfriendly to US interests (as has happened in most of South America).

This strategy (employing government funded "liberal" foundations) has been employed domestically for years to co-opt the American left. I write about my personal experiences in the single payer movement in