November 25, 2006


Coup d'État In Venezuela: Made In The USA (Chris Carlson, 25 November, 2006,

In 1999, when the U.S.-led bombing campaign in Serbia didn't get rid of Slobodan Milosovic, Washington changed its strategy. U.S. intelligence organized a $77 million effort to oust Milosovic through the ballot box. They sent in CIA front organizations funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Instead of guns and bombs, these U.S. forces were armed with fax machines, computers, and perhaps most importantly, sophisticated surveys done by the Washington-based polling firm Penn, Schoen & Berland.(1) Their mission: to take down Milosovic by strengthening opposition groups.

Milosovic is now long gone, as the U.S. effort to mobilize the opposition and produce mass protests was successful in unseating him in the 2000 elections. This victory was a landmark for U.S. intelligence agencies. They had developed a new way to overthrow unfriendly regimes, and it was much easier than a violent overthrow, or a messy invasion. Penn, Schoen & Berland had played an important role; so important that the U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright commended them, saying "This may be one of the first instances where polling has played such an important role in setting and securing foreign policy objectives."(2) They did, indeed, secure their foreign policy objectives. Milosovic was out, and the U.S.-backed opposition took power.

Since 2000, this smooth new strategy to influence elections and topple regimes has been implemented in many other countries. Dubbed as the "post-modern coup" by Jonathan Mowat, the same brilliant techniques were used in Belarus in 2001, in Georgia in 2003, and in the Ukraine in 2004, to name a few. Although it ultimately failed in Belarus, in Georgia the U.S. effort produced the "Rose Revolution" which overthrew President Eduard Shevardnadze. In the Ukraine it was the "Orange Revolution" that installed Victor Yushchenko in 2004.(3) Each time, groups financed by the NED, and USAID worked inside the country to build popular support for the opposition candidate. Each time they constructed an appealing campaign image using the modern marketing tactics that they have perfected along the way. And each time, they used Penn, Schoen & Berland election "polls" to shape the public's perception. [...]

These days the U.S. has a new arch nemesis; Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Surely Washington would be delighted to get rid of him in the same fashion as all the rest. But there is one small problem; Hugo Chavez is no Slobodan Milosovic. He is immensely popular among the masses in Venezuela and throughout Latin America. Pro-Chavez parties have continued to win democratic elections over the last 8 years, and will most certainly win again in the December 3rd presidential contest. This time U.S. forces have their work cut out for them. They know that it is basically impossible to beat Chavez at the ballot box; he's too popular. It looks like they will have to go to plan B: a coup d'etat.

The U.S. has already set up camp in Venezuela, and all the original cast members are here. We've got NED, USAID, and yes, once again, Penn, Schoen & Berland. Just like in Serbia, or Ukraine, the objective of the U.S. forces is to remove Chavez from power. Therefore they have teamed up with major opposition groups to map out and implement their strategy. The strategy in Venezuela takes from many of the important lessons that they first learned in Serbia, and have since been carried to many other nations. The goal is to create a situation like in Ukraine in 2004: huge protests against the elections and against the government in order to cause chaos and instability.

In particular, the midterm won't even slow the Bush Doctrine.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 25, 2006 9:55 AM

If only it were true. But I fear the author is just another far-left paranoid maniac. The man is afraid of fax machines! Sure, why else would Ukrainians vote for independence and freedom?

Posted by: wf at November 25, 2006 3:14 PM

Has Penn, Schoen & Berland done to the Republicans in the mid-term election what they have done to unfriendly foreign regimes? There were a lot of pro-Dem, at least anti-Rep polls months before the midterm to prep public opinions. Thus the Reps lost an election in an economic bloom. Now we know why.

Posted by: ic at November 25, 2006 4:08 PM