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  1. 1. Regarding the CANVAS document about fomenting a color revolution in Venezuela,
  2.  
  3. who were you working with on the ground to make that happen? Who were some of
  4.  
  5. CANVAS' primary funders for the Venezuela operation? George Friedman at Stratfor
  6.  
  7. mentioned that whoever did the media spin on Chavez in 2010 and engineered the
  8.  
  9. Exxon suit against the Venezuelan gov't was very good and well-connected, was that
  10.  
  11. CANVAS' work?
  12.  
  13.  
  14. Regarding that document “CANVAS analysis on Venezuela," there is nothing really
  15.  
  16. secret or hidden from the public. The CANVAS analysis on Venezuela mentioned in
  17.  
  18. the Stratfor emails was made for public consumption. It was published on our website
  19.  
  20. for years (where you can see or download it).We publish an analysis of one country
  21.  
  22. in conflict every year, so you will find it with analyses of several other countries, like
  23.  
  24. Brazil, Burma or Syria. They are located at http://canvasopedia.org/library for years
  25.  
  26. now. Producing and publishing this kind of analysis is a regular part of CANVAS' work
  27.  
  28. (analyzing conflict areas and discussing it from point of view of nonviolent struggle is
  29.  
  30. what brought CANVAS to Foreign Policy's 100 top global thinkers, NYU or TED). People
  31.  
  32. who we work with, including activists, know from the beginning that the analysis will be
  33.  
  34. made for public purpose, and that it will be widely accessible to Stratfor or occupy.com,
  35.  
  36. whoever wants to read it. It has been shared and downloaded from many people, even
  37.  
  38. served as a reason for VZ government related media to attack CANVAS in years behind
  39.  
  40. us.
  41.  
  42. Stratfor and Friendman were wrong in understanding how CANVAS works, and you
  43.  
  44. can often find claims in the emails that we “just establish the shop and bring down
  45.  
  46. the government”. But CANVAS, which they never understood, is not an organization
  47.  
  48. which brings down governments. We are just in the business of sharing nonviolent
  49.  
  50. skills with activists. We don’t have any “shops” or “country operation” and we never
  51.  
  52. have in almost a decade of its existence so whatever Friedman or his staff claimed
  53.  
  54. in mails– there was nothing like “shop” or “operation Venezuela” from CANVAS and
  55.  
  56. therefore nothing specific about his country to be funded by Exxon, or anybody else.
  57.  
  58. As for Friedman`s note on Exxon – I don’t know what this mail reflects. What I know
  59.  
  60. for sure is that CANVAS has never received any “specific funding” for Venezuela– this
  61.  
  62. is just not the way we operate. we never got or would accept any direct government
  63.  
  64. or corporate money as an organization, for Venezuela or any other purpose – we have
  65.  
  66. strict organizational policies about this and we stick to those. so whatever Friedman or
  67.  
  68. stratfor people may falsely assumed in their mails, CANVAS never received funding from
  69.  
  70. NSC`s, NED`s GS`s Exxon`s or other government agencies or corporations.
  71.  
  72.  
  73.  
  74. 2. What was the topic of the National Security Council meeting you attended in Washington
  75.  
  76. several years ago? And what are your current connections to the NSC? Other than his
  77.  
  78. funding of CANVAS, what is your relationship with Goldman Sachs' Satter Muneer?
  79.  
  80.  
  81. This is yet another example of Stratfor's over-exaggeration and misunderstanding of
  82.  
  83. our work. Since Stratfor fell into “revolution export” narrative, they probably assumed
  84.  
  85. CANVAS has serious connection with NSC and other government agencies. And that
  86.  
  87. it is somehow run or funded by government or corporate resources. It is an old and
  88.  
  89. completely worn narrative, which was recently fueled by attempts to discredit Gezi park
  90.  
  91. protest by Erdogan-affiliated media (http://www.avrupagazete.com/konuk-yazarlar/
  92.  
  93. 13503-taksim-gezi-parki-otpor-canvas-ve-bati-istihbarati.html), and also by Saudis trying
  94.  
  95. to discredit their female rights movement. That narrative, which unfortunately Stratfor
  96.  
  97. adopted, claims that all you need for nonviolent revolution is a few Serbs, a bunch of
  98.  
  99. money and an airplane ticket. It shows a basic misunderstanding of our topic. In order
  100.  
  101. for nonviolent struggle to be efficient it must be home grown, not exported or imported.
  102.  
  103. If you follow the email exchange you will see lot of over-exaggeration from Stratfor staff
  104.  
  105. towards CANVAS, some of which sound like sci-fi. Once again to quote one of my idols
  106.  
  107. Andy Bichlbaum when commenting stratfor activities on Yes Men: "if it was spying, it was
  108.  
  109. bad spying.”
  110.  
  111. ‘That is an impressive group. They go, set up an ‘action’ in a country and are trying to
  112.  
  113. oust its regime. When used appropriately, they are stronger than c combat group of
  114.  
  115. plane carrier”
  116.  
  117. Some misunderstanding our educational mission, and operational principles also
  118.  
  119. visible in emails, like the one I previously mentioned on Venezuela, just read them loud
  120.  
  121. and you may want to laugh:
  122.  
  123. “They simply set a shop in a country and start educating people how to bring down the
  124.  
  125. government”
  126.  
  127. Now-this is funny, specially when you run a Serbian nonprofit of 5 employess in tiny
  128.  
  129. office which CANVAS really is, no “shops in countries” aircraft carriers or anything like
  130.  
  131. that, just 5 people, computers and 70 square metre office in Belgrade. Stratfor staff
  132.  
  133. speculations may fantastic, but it is simply NOT true.
  134.  
  135. So, you need to separate the “assumptions” of overenthusiastic Stratfor staff and
  136.  
  137. reality. For example, in the same exchange of emails, published recently by Serbian
  138.  
  139. newspaper (http://1389blog.com/2013/11/20/wikileaks-soros-us-government-funding-
  140. for-otporcanvas-activists-who-overthrew-slobodan-milosevic/) those enthusiastic staff
  141.  
  142. assume that because we as founders of CANVAS and are coming from the OTPOR
  143.  
  144. movement that “we have open funds in NED, IRI, OSi.” The truth is different. Whatever
  145.  
  146. Stratfor assumed, we don’t get any funding from NED, OSI, George Soros or National
  147.  
  148. Security Council, Goldman Sachs, Exxon or any similar organizations, and we never
  149.  
  150. would.
  151.  
  152. To clear a confusion, I do know a person who served in the NSC, Michael McFaul,
  153.  
  154. whom I met through Stanford University almost ten years ago, and we have kept talking
  155.  
  156. on several conferences sonce, as he is one of world's leading academic authorities
  157.  
  158. in democratization. I have met with him twice while he was serving in NSC, before he
  159.  
  160. went off to lead the US embassy in Moscow. But whatever Stratfor may enthusiastically
  161.  
  162. assume, I have never participated in a meeting or done a presentation in NSC, and
  163.  
  164. outside privately knowing professor McFaul neither me or anybody from my organization
  165.  
  166. doesnt know anybody else who ever served at NSC and have no connections there.
  167.  
  168. This is yet another example of dramatization by a Stratfor analyst. But if somebody
  169.  
  170. would invite CANVAS to give such a presentation, at a place like NSC, or any serious
  171.  
  172. decision making place on this planet north or south, east or west, that could do anything
  173.  
  174. for our cause — let’s say persuade people there or any other organization against
  175.  
  176. military intervention in Syria — I would do it first thing in the morning. Wouldn`t you?
  177.  
  178.  
  179. 3. Are the activists you're in contact with aware of what Stratfor does? And how many
  180.  
  181. of the activists whose emails you forwarded to Stratfor are aware that you gave their
  182.  
  183. information to a third party?
  184.  
  185.  
  186. Activists are always consulted and aware before we put them in touch with any third
  187.  
  188. party, whether it's a journalist, activist or international organization, and they chose
  189.  
  190. whether they will talk to that third parties or not — and we are always clear about that.
  191.  
  192. It also worth attention how head of stratfor, George Friedman in his email evaluates
  193.  
  194. CANVAS or our activists
  195.  
  196.  Mail: George Friedman: “Guys. Please hear me. I’m not interested in jared cohen [co-
  197. founder of Movements.org] or canvas or any of these guys. I know who they are, I know
  198.  
  199. who pays them and they won’t give you an honest answer on their Egyptian contacts no
  200.  
  201. matter what. “
  202.  
  203. But your question is great because it opens a broader question, which is why we talk
  204.  
  205. to guys like Stratfor in first place. Let me be clear here, we have presented to groups,
  206.  
  207. institutions and universities for a decade now, in an effort to educate them on the
  208.  
  209. power of nonviolent struggle, and its potential to change world for the better. For that
  210.  
  211. cause CANVAS will present anywhere — to those committed to activism and nonviolent
  212.  
  213. struggle, but also to those who still live in the Cold War era and think that tanks and
  214.  
  215. planes and nukes shape the world, not the common people leading popular movements.
  216.  
  217. If we can persuade any decision maker in the world, in Washington, Kremlin, Tel Aviv
  218.  
  219. or Damascus that it is nonviolent struggle that they should embrace and respect – not
  220.  
  221. foreign military intervention, or oppression over own population – we would do that. I
  222.  
  223. would present this idea to anybody, and I wish somebody had presented it to NATO
  224.  
  225. before they bombed my country, and almost killed my own mom in the NATO bombing
  226.  
  227. of Serbian National TV building in the spring of 1999. Would I speak to NATO or Assad,
  228.  
  229. if I thought that it will change their violent point of view? Yes I would. Wouldn’t you?
  230.  
  231. Activists we work with support this approach, and respect our commitment to exposing
  232.  
  233. the truth about their struggles to the world.
  234.  
  235. Typical example on how this may be misinterpreted are in another tweet – linking to
  236.  
  237. email where we are “accused” for putting stratfor on Bahrain center of human rights list.
  238.  
  239. https://twitter.com/GlobalRevLive/status/401575360707715072
  240.  
  241. Now, if you are an activist and aware of miserable repression over peaceful pro-
  242. democracy protesters in Bahrain, would you do anything to put anybody, stratfor or
  243.  
  244. occupy included, on the mailing list that reports about their epic struggle, as we all know
  245.  
  246. western media turns a blind eye on, because of their own interests. If you could do
  247.  
  248. anything you would. Even only to re-post their reports from Bahraini Centre Of Human
  249.  
  250. rights, I invite every reader to do that, as this may help people in Bahrain have their
  251.  
  252. words heard. Wouldn’t you?
  253.  
  254. During the heroic struggle of the Egyptian youth, we put in touch many people from the
  255.  
  256. media and activist world with Egyptian activists in charge of challenging Hosni Mubarak,
  257.  
  258. one of most brutal dictators. (Some of journalists, like those from Al Jazeera made an
  259.  
  260. award-winning documentary movie about it: http://www.youtube.com/v/QrNz0dZgqN8)
  261.  
  262. We probably put 10 top journalists and a few human rights lawyers in touch with those
  263.  
  264. activists, with their consent, of course, before we introduced them to Stratfor. We wanted
  265.  
  266. their voices to be heard, which was the reason we connected them to as many people
  267.  
  268. as possible.(This example also contradicts Stratfor's inaccurate assumption that we are
  269.  
  270. somehow working “only” in the countries ruled by US enemies. Wasn’t Mubarak an US
  271.  
  272. ally?)
  273.  
  274.  
  275. 8. What's your relationship with Marko Papic? Are you still in touch with him, even
  276.  
  277. though he's left Stratfor? 4. In regards to your relationship with Stratfor, who contacted
  278.  
  279. who first? Was it you who approached them, or them who approached you?
  280.  
  281.  
  282.  
  283. Marko is a fellow Serb, a great fan of OTPOR, who contacted us first. But regarding
  284.  
  285. the leaked emails, he really often misunderstands, glorifies or over-congratulates
  286.  
  287. OTPOR and CANVAS. His superiors never took his point of view seriously, so relying on
  288.  
  289. his emails is not indicative of the view of the entire firm.
  290.  
  291. Now, you guys know Occupy movement well…Can you imagine a few foreigners
  292.  
  293. coming in, “setting a Serbian shop” at zuccoti park and telling people what to do and
  294.  
  295. start effectively to lead the protests?. There were theories like this before, sometimes
  296.  
  297. from autocratic regimes, sometimes by conspiracy theorists like David Icke (http://
  298.  
  299. www.davidicke.com/headlines/54498-the-human-race-is-getting-off-its-knees/) and you
  300.  
  301. can find all kind of fantastic stories, whether those from conspiracy theorists like Icke,
  302.  
  303. or government controlled media in several coutnries, crediting, or accusing CANVAS
  304.  
  305. for starting any uprising, at Gezi or Zuccoti Park. And it sells news, of course. But, this
  306.  
  307. is not serious thinking. Revolutions like the one done by Lech Valensa , MLK or Harvey
  308.  
  309. Milk don’t come from elites but common people whom I like to imagine as “hobbits” like
  310.  
  311. you or me or Andy. Common sense and history also teaches us that both democratic
  312.  
  313. or social revolution must be launched and run by local groups, not foreigners, and are
  314.  
  315. won or lost by indigenous local creativity, commitment and strategy, of people who care,
  316.  
  317. not “imported” by any foreign group, CANVAS included. Can you imagine the world
  318.  
  319. where all you need for democratic-or social revolution is few Serbs, bag on money and
  320.  
  321. airplane tickets? But people power is a team sport, and requires thousands of people
  322.  
  323. committed to change their own future, and that’s how it always has been, from Gandhi
  324.  
  325. to Harvey Milk to the Occupy movement.
  326.  
  327.  
  328. 7. I saw that you sent Stratfor an invoice for travel expenses. How were you paid, and
  329.  
  330. what was your retainer for your job as a consultant/informant? 8. Are you informing your
  331.  
  332. activist contacts ahead of time of your connections to Stratfor, Goldman Sachs and the
  333.  
  334. NSC?
  335.  
  336.  
  337.  Outside of educating activists in how to perform nonviolent struggle, CANVAS does
  338.  
  339. institutional and academic presentations and the invoice you mention relates to the
  340.  
  341. first and only time I has presented to Stratfor in May 2010. So correspondence you
  342.  
  343. mention are just typical presentation arrangements where we have charged for the
  344.  
  345. travel expenses. We have presented to at least 50 different institutions, conferrences,
  346.  
  347. think tanks, and universities in last several years. We present the basics of nonviolent
  348.  
  349. struggle and this presentation is available online in many recorded speeches, from the
  350.  
  351. University of Syracuse to the Yes Lab at NYU. I assume that by now what we present,
  352.  
  353. has been seen by hundreds of thousands of people online.
  354.  
  355. I don’t understand the insinuations about “my job as consultant-informant” because
  356.  
  357. they make no sense. So lets make things very clear: I was never a consultant or
  358.  
  359. informer and was never paid something like a retainer. Whoever invites us to present
  360.  
  361. a theory of nonviolent struggle is welcome, as we see educating people about this as
  362.  
  363. our mission. We normally charge travel costs and small daily fee, or course different,
  364.  
  365. according to academic rules, lecturer fees for academic institutions like Colorado, NYU
  366.  
  367. or Harvard at the very same pattern we did with stratfor – so nothing really strange
  368.  
  369. in this presentation, parts of which you can see at TED http://www.ted.com/talks/
  370.  
  371. srdja_popovic_how_to_topple_a_dictator.html or google zeitgeist, we also charged
  372.  
  373. our travel costs at those presentation, there was not any difference. We could in the
  374.  
  375. same spirit and rules offer the same presentation to media outlets like occupy.com or
  376.  
  377. activists groups free of charge, and we have done it many times in past. As for second
  378.  
  379. question –whether we are “hiding something from activists, you can ask direct question
  380.  
  381. on whether we are open and honest to our fellow activists to one of my favorite creative
  382.  
  383. activists in the world, that we deeply admire -the Yes Men. who invited us for same type
  384.  
  385. of presentation to their Yes Lab at NYU on September 29, 2011, in midst of the Occupy
  386.  
  387. movement http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAxf_i9ALm8) — whether or not would
  388.  
  389. I answer any of the issues from this email with students present there, or over a beer
  390.  
  391. with the activists like Andy Bilchbaum we speak with. People we work with know who we
  392.  
  393. are. You can talk to the Yes Men and see how they feel about these emails. I assume
  394.  
  395. you will get an answer and understand that CANVAS is always honest with activists we
  396.  
  397. admire.
  398.  
  399. As on speculating “On Informants” quote…
  400.  
  401. As an activist since beginning of nineties and living under the nasty regime of Slobodan
  402.  
  403. Milosevic with its notorious secret police, I have a long history of being spied upon.
  404.  
  405. Once we defeated the Serbian butcher Milosevic we got to see our secret police files
  406.  
  407. and I have proudly discovered that my phone was being tapped since I was 23 and that
  408.  
  409. Serbian secret police had a nice 178-page file on me as a “state enemy” for leading the
  410.  
  411. nonviolent movement. Activists we work with are often spied on by their governments,
  412.  
  413. so we take their safety as very important. Don’t know if Stratfor or anybody was spying
  414.  
  415. upon us, but we definitely wouldn’t jeopardize any of our activist’s safety, so we
  416.  
  417. always follow their lead and never expose them to anybody without their consent.
  418.  
  419. Are you or CANVAS still currently connected with Stratfor, and does your wife still have
  420.  
  421. her part-time job there?
  422.  
  423. None of my colegues and family members are not in touch with anybody from stratfor
  424.  
  425. any more.
  426.  
  427.  
  428. What are some of CANVAS' current projects, as far as your goals of regime change in
  429.  
  430. countries with oppressive governments?
  431.  
  432.  
  433. As I have mentioned CANVAS is educational institution, not political organization
  434.  
  435. which has any goals regarding “regime change” and our mission is to make nonviolent
  436.  
  437. struggle as public, accessible and user friendly to as many nonviolent activists in the
  438.  
  439. world, regardless of country, race, religion or sexual orientation. We are in the middle
  440.  
  441. of three big projects which will hopefully help activists in many countries to wage their
  442.  
  443. struggles. First one is small booklet, a kind of “how to manual” called “Making Opression
  444.  
  445. Backfire”(see more at https://www.facebook.com/MakingOppressionBackfire), which
  446.  
  447. collects tehniques and case studies on how activists from more than 20 countries around
  448.  
  449. the world prepared for oppression, dismantled fear and apathy and put a “prize tag” to
  450.  
  451. the opressor when faced with various level of oppression (anything from pepper spray
  452.  
  453. to live rounds, principles of fighting oppression are the same, though level of oppression
  454.  
  455. may wary-its always about winning over fear and finding right tactics to deal with
  456.  
  457. situation). Next step would be to translate this cool booklet and make it available for free
  458.  
  459. for as many language versions and countries that we can, I hope language versions it
  460.  
  461. would be shared through activists networks and independent media outlets in at least 20
  462.  
  463. countries, fromVenezuela to Bahrain in form of small PDF, easy to download and print
  464.  
  465. even in countries with weak internet acess.
  466.  
  467.  Second important thing will be phone application, designed for activists faced with
  468.  
  469. oppression, which will help them gain knowledge, and download for free tools to react to
  470.  
  471. any oppressive situation in the world.
  472.  
  473. Third and biggest project is what we call “CANVAS distance learning program”, which
  474.  
  475. will put together all of our workshops and presentations into open learning online course
  476.  
  477. which will enable thousands of people- regardless of whether they fight ilegitimate
  478.  
  479. political or corporate power will have access to complete CANVAS content online,
  480.  
  481. and many great case studies coming from activists practicing nonviolent struggle
  482.  
  483. everywhere-from Arab street to Wall street, together with academic readings and videos
  484.  
  485. of sucesfull nonviolent actions, and to do it openly and free of charge. Whether activists
  486.  
  487. or students will use this knowledge to challenge Asads or Kim Jong Uns of this world in
  488.  
  489. nonviolent way, or to protest against building new coal plants or greedy oil companies
  490.  
  491. while struggling for important treat of climate changes – its CANVAS mission to make
  492.  
  493. this knowledge available and free and we hope we will achieve it in next year.
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