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Catalonia leader Artur Mas summoned to answer charges of civil disobedience

ikkevold (Nonviolence) -

  • Catalan regional president Artur Mas appeared in court today in Barcelona after calling an independence vote
  • Mas, 59,  wants the region to sever ties with Madrid and form its own independent state as soon as 2017
  • The politician accused the Spanish judiciary of acting in a ‘political fashion’ with their ‘civil disobedience’ charge




Thousands of people took to the streets to support the Catalan regional president as he was summoned to appear before Spanish judges to face civil disobedience charges over his decision to call an independence referendum. 

Artur Mas appeared in court today to contest court charges against him for staging a ballot on independence from Spain, in the latest skirmish of his secessionist battle with Madrid.

The Catalan independence movement has raised political tensions in Spain as it recovers from several years of recession and prepares for a general election on December 20.

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Catalan regional president Artur Mas, pictured centre, held a massive rally in Barcelona after he appeared in court earlier today


Mas, pictured leaving court, is accused of ‘civil disobedience’ in his decision to call an independence referendum in November 2014


More than 3,000 people lined the streets, as supporters, many of them waving Catalan flags as Mas claimed the court case was ‘political’

Thousands of cheering supporters rallied outside the courthouse in Barcelona as Mas went before a judge for questioning over charges of civil disobedience and misuse of public funds in organising the vote on November 9, 2014.

Speaking outside the court, the 59-year-old told supporters: ‘I hold myself responsible for all of this. I am not avoiding any of my responsibilities.’

Defending the unity of Spain, the central government says holding an independence vote is against the constitution since all Spaniards have the right to decide on matters of sovereignty.

Mas’s allies have branded the case politically motivated and accuse Spanish authorities of going after him to disrupt his drive for the rich northeastern region to secede.


Catalonia leader Artur Mas summoned to answer charges of civil disobedience | Daily Mail Online.

Fears for Angolan rapper on hunger strike as health deteriorates

The Guardian | Protest -

In an interview before his arrest, Luaty Beirão railed against President Dos Santos and called for urgent change ahead of the 40th anniversary of independence

Luaty Beirão is an Angolan rapper known for his political activism. But since June, the 33-year-old has become a hero in the country, held up as a symbol by those who oppose President José Eduardo dos Santos’s government, now in power for 36 years.

Related: Reading the revolution: the book club that terrified the Angolan regime

Related: Watch out Angola – repression only generates more dissent

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Mohawks stand up against Montreal’s plan to dump sewage in St. Lawrence River

Waging Nonviolence -

by Ashoka Jegroo

The Mohawk warrior flag. (Red Power Media)

A group of Mohawks lit a bonfire next to a busy train line early on October 15 in opposition to the city of Montreal’s plan to dump billions of liters of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River.

“On October 7, the women sent a notice of objection to the city of Montreal. We have not received a response,” the group said in a statement read during the action. “This notice is our warning to the city of Montreal to stop dumping waste that is toxic to our lands, life and waterways. The temporary obstruction on Thursday, October 15 is to emphasize our objection to this environmentally destructive action.”

At around 9 a.m. on Thursday morning, the group of Mohawks from the Kahnawake reserve, including members of the Mohawk Warrior Society, gathered near Adirondack Junction and put together a bonfire a few feet away from the train tracks. They held indigenous flags as the flames engulfed two large logs they placed on top of the fire and then read their statement.

“The release of the equivalent of 2,600 Olympic-sized swimming pools will result in unknown contamination and multi-generational devastation of the entire ecosystem,” the group’s statement read. “We come to you with the gentleness of a feather which we hope will be accepted. Should you not respond reasonably, you leave us no alternative but to take necessary action to convince you. There has been no commitment to not dump. We would like the mayor to take responsibility to preserve our waterways.”

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, with the approval of Quebec’s environmental department, has been pushing to dump eight billion liters of untreated sewage into the St. Lawrence River between October 18 and October 25. Coderre insists that, in order to make necessary repairs and move a large snow collector pipe located underneath the Bonaventure Expressway, a nearby sewage treatment facility needs to be temporarily shut down. Therefore, according to the mayor, they have no choice but to throw all this sewage into the river since there is nowhere else to put it. Some Canadian wastewater treatment experts also agree with the mayor’s decision. The mayor had hoped that the infrastructural repairs would be finished by November 15 before any major snowfalls.

With the federal election only days away, Coderre, a liberal, has received pushback from environmentalists as well as his political opponents over the planned dumping. An online petition opposing the plan titled “The St. Lawrence Is Not A Garbage Can” has collected over 90,000 signatures. Conservatives in the federal government, like Minister of Infrastructure Denis Lebel and Minister of the Environment Leona Aglukkaq, expressed their opposition to the mayor’s plan and call on him to suspend it.

Earlier this month, Aglukkaq claimed that she had only recently found out about the planned dumping and that the plan needed further consideration.

“Last week my office learned of Montreal’s plan to dump billions of litres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence,” she tweeted on October 7. “This plan is concerning and we have done the responsible thing by exploring options to prevent it while we get more information.”

However, an investigation by the Canadian Press showed that she had, in fact, known about the plan since late 2014.

Coderre accused conservative politicians of “playing politics to score cheap political points” and referred to previous occasions when sewage was dumped into the river with little political pushback.

“In 2003, we did the same. In 2007, we did the same, and Environment Canada said yes to that,” Coderre told the Montreal Gazette. “What’s going on? It’s [the] exact same thing.”

Nonetheless, on October 14, just days before it was scheduled to begin, the Canadian federal government ordered a halt to Montreal’s planned dumping. Aglukkaq released a statement and Lebel made the announcement that the dumping would be put on hold pending further scientific analysis.

“Based on limited data, Environment Canada cannot conclude whether or not the untreated wastewater to be released will be acutely toxic,” Lebel told the Canadian Press.

Though the federal government put a temporary halt to the plan, the Mohawk group stated the the protest actions would go on regardless.

“In our law, we’re supposed to protect the Earth, and we’re carrying out our responsibilities,” Akohserake Deer, a spokesperson for the group, told the Montreal Gazette. “Whether the project is on or off doesn’t matter, it’s just another stalling tactic by the [federal] government.”

The group had also originally announced that they would blockade a busy train line but didn’t specify when they would do so. When asked about possible future actions, the group’s spokespeople preferred not to say, only stating that they would take action to protect their lands and resources if the planned dumping gets put back into motion.

“We’re informing Mayor Coderre that this is unacceptable,” a spokeswoman for the Mohawk group said during the bonfire demo. “We want him to take an alternative route to the dumping. They can do it. They have the funds to do it. The problem is money. And to us, we’re protecting our river and money is not our concern. Our future generations are our concern. Our life is on that river.”

New Study Finds Fracking Harmful to Human Reproduction

Revolution News -

Prenatal exposure to a cocktail of chemicals commonly used in the various phases of oil and natural gas production, including fracking, could carry long-term reproductive health consequences, according to a new study published on Wednesday. Research that appears Thursday in the journal Endocrinology shows that “23 commonly used oil and natural gas operation chemicals can Read More

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Baltimore protesters disrupt police chief meeting with overnight city hall sit-in

The Guardian | Protest -

As many as 50 protesters, some of them teenagers, disrupted a meeting where officials were recommending the interim police chief be permanently hired

The overnight sit-in at Baltimore City Hall by young, mainly black activists exposed the deep divide between the government in this troubled city and a population that has been feeling increasingly marginalized and under siege.

As many as 50 protesters, some of them teenagers, disrupted a meeting on Wednesday night where city officials were recommending the interim police chief be permanently hired. The activists said they were upset at their lack of input into the appointment, six months after the death of Freddie Gray, a black man who sustained mortal injuries while being transported in the back of a police van.

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5 principles for a responsible internationalist policy on Syria

ikkevold (Nonviolence) -

Our response to events in Syria must be built on an understanding of the lessons of history.

Azaz, Syrian, Voice of America News: Scott Bob report from Azaz, Syria. Public Domain photo:

Finally, after half of Syria’s population has been displaced and a quarter of a million people have been killed – and probably several years too late – civilian protection has become a focus for the British parliament.

A debate brought on Monday by new Labour MP and former Oxfam policy chief Jo Cox, focussed attention on the urgent need to find a solution to the Syrian crisis. A serious debate over whether the UK should deepen its engagement in Syria is beginning to take place and while more detail is needed before any of the proposals can be properly assessed, here are five core principles that any policy should abide by.

1. Though it sounds simple, the responsibility to protect civilians must be the guiding force of any foreign engagement strategy in Syria. Government policy so far has preferred options that contain the crisis, rather than proactively seeking to protect communities at risk. Thus while the UK has been a leading donor to refugee camps in the Middle East, the same government axed its support for the Mediterranean rescue missions and, until late this summer, continued to frame the Syrian exodus to Europe as economic migration. In 2005, the UK together with all other member states of the United Nations committed to protect civilians at risk of mass atrocity crimes – crimes against humanity, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and genocide. This commitment, made in response to the failures of Rwanda and Bosnia, has not yet been met in Syria.

2. Legitimacy is key. While the UN Security Council may be in deadlock, with Russia and China using their veto power to stymie international action against the Assad regime, any international engagement in Syria must have the support from the UN General Assembly and from the affected region. The failure of the international community has exposed the limits of the Security Council but until its limits can be addressed, it is crucial that problem solving remains an international process. A Security Council resolution should be sought against against ISIL and if one cannot be found for the protection of civilians from Assad’s forces, legitimacy must come from the people of Syria and the wider international community. The Iraq invasion of 2003, and to an extent the military action in Libya in 2010, have made plain that a broad coalition of military actors are always needed and that unilateral western military decision-making alone cannot be legitimate.

3. Dialogue. Increased rhetoric from Philip Hammond and Tony Blair about countering Russian aggression through western alliances undermines the fact that any meaningful peace deal in Syria will involve Russia. Dialogue with all stakeholders in the Syrian crisis is essential if any agreement is to be found. Whatever military decision is taken, diplomatic and political efforts must continue and an open dialogue must be pursued.

4. Reconciliation. Communities in Syria have become deeply divided according to pro-regime or rebel identities, even if the citizens themselves do not participate in the violence. More broadly, the deep crises in Syria and Iraq have become, if they were not always, part of a wider Shiite/ Sunni divide that threatens to split the entire region. The fanning of identity-based divisions has exacerbated cleavages in community relations, creating patterns of prejudice and fear. Planning for a post-conflict development strategy should begin now, and include massive investment in community-building and inter-faith reconciliation.

5. The final principle must be accountability. Plans must be must be made to ensure that all those suspected of breaching international humanitarian law in the region face justice, either through the referral of Syria to the International Criminal Court or local prosecution. International decision makers and international structures such as the UN Security Council must also be accountable for their actions: In the UK, policy making must be transparent and votes carried out free from party politics and whips. Furthermore, the limitations of the UN Security Council to protect the people of Syria must be assessed, addressed, and rectified if the United Nations is to continue to be a relevant instrument of peace and security.


5 principles for a responsible internationalist policy on Syria | openDemocracy.

Paint remover: Mexico activists attempt to drone out beleaguered president | Sam Jones

The Guardian | Protest -

The Rexiste collective, a Mexican anti-government movement, is using a graffiti-spraying drone to challenge the state over the disappearance of 43 students

Although opponents of Enrique Peña Nieto are lacking in neither number nor novel protest strategies, his latest critic has her own special way of expressing disdain for Mexico’s embattled president.

Rather than taking to the streets, she hovers over them; rather than bellowing her grievances, she levels a canister of spray-paint at a portrait of Peña Nieto and disgorges its contents until his head is lost in a blood-red blur.

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China: Four Days of Violent Resistance to Waste Incinerator in Guangdong

Revolution News -

Guangdong China – Four days of violent resistance to a proposed Waste Incinerator project have left dozens arrested and several injured, both police and villagers. The pollution in the area is so bad that residents fear they and their children will not survive another major source of pollution nearby as the new privately owned waste Read More

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London: Noise demo in solidarity with the Sweets Way prisoners this Saturday

House Occupation News -

Let’s make some noise for our friends and defenders of the Sweets Way Estate!

During the evictions on the Sweets Way Estate 19 people were arrested. 16 of those were in defence of Mostafa, the last remaining tenant. Despite being a passive resistance, they were arrested for obstructing the high court enforcers. We all believe these arrests were unjust, and 2 of the arrestees have asserted their right to remain anonymous. As a result, the state has incarcerated them, holding them on remand while the police take their time investigating their identities.

To remain anonymous is a bold move, and we need to show our support for our friends. So we call for a salute to them and other political prisoners inside HMP Wormwood Scrubs at 1pm next Saturday.

Bring pots, pans, anything you can think of to make noise and let them know that we are doing this for them! Banners as well for those who will get to see us outside.

We will be attempting to organise some transport there, hopefully we will have a couple of vans going. Please contact us if you would like to come and need a lift, or if you have a van/can drive.

Greysweatshirt and Blackhood (their assumed names for court registers) will be back in court on Thursday the 15th at 10am. Should they be granted bail we will use this event (Saturday 1pm) to hold a celebration action at one of our protest sites, so please keep the time free and we will update people as the time draws nearer

Please spread this far and wide, let’s really show these guys the same support that they showed Sweets Way!

Details: 1pm, Saturday 17th October, Wormwood Scrubs, Du Cane Road, W12 0AE

[Callout via Rabble Ldn from Sweets Way Resists]

Stop the Stigma, Break the Silence – United To Face Addiction in Wash DC

Revolution News -

‘Stop the Stigma, Break the Silence’ was one of many messages families brought to Washington DC. People from all across the Nation united at The National Mall in DC on Oct. 4th to remember loved ones lost and to raise awareness of the new opiate epidemic that is facing America and many other parts of Read More

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Collecting the art of protest at Brooklyn's Interference Archive

The Guardian | Protest -

Prompted by the Occupy movement, a gallery in Brooklyn gathers art produced by revolutionary movements around the world to inspire activists of the future

Locating a spirit of resistance and revolution in established art and cultural institutions can often be a dispiriting undertaking. But not so at Interference Archive, a cooperative, volunteer-supported institution in the Gowanus neighbourhood of Brooklyn which, in a season of political and religious challenge to mainstream institutional thinking, has a finger on the pulse.

The two-room space is the brainchild of graphic artist Josh MacPhee and his late partner, activist Dara Greenwald. Recent exhibitions include If a Song Could be Freedom … Organised Sounds of Resistance, a survey of the sounds and images of music that accompanies social struggle. It is currently showing Armed by Design, a comprehensive survey of the graphic art produced for Tricontinental magazine by the Havana-based Organisation of Solidarity of the Peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America (Organización de Solidaridad con los Pueblos de Asia, África y América Latina, abbrieviated as Ospaal) in support of the global south liberation movements of the 60s and 70s.

Related: Is there anything more patriotic than the left’s tradition of protest? | Owen Jones

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Fantastic News: Nestlé To Be Sued For California Drought Crimes!

Revolution News -

Their permit to extract water expired 27 YEARS AGO, but the corporation just kept on going. Finally, activists hope justice will be served… TrueActivist – Campaign group The Story Of Stuff Project have just announced they will be pursuing legal action against Nestlé for illegally extracting groundwater in California for its Arrowhead brand, which has been Read More

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Washington police forcefully restrain black teen, prompting protest – video

The Guardian | Protest -

Mobile phone video shows Washington DC police aggressively restraining an 18-year-old scholarship student and musician on Monday evening. Jason Goolsby, who is African American, was apprehended by city officers who were responding to a call alleging suspicious activity outside a bank. Lt Sean Conboy said the call claimed that ‘three subjects may be trying to rob people at the ATM’.

Read the full story here

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Protests in Kosovo over Detainment of Opposition Party Leader

Revolution News -

Kosovo – Dozens of protesters were on the streets of Pristina, Kosovo, on Thursday night, throwing stones and smashing windows after Albin Kurti, a leading opposition MP was taken in for questioning. Police fired tear gas after protesters started throwing stones and several police cars were set ablaze during the clashes. Protesters also attacked the headquarter Read More

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Howard Univ. Students Racially Profiled and Violently Detained Sparks Outrage

Revolution News -

Washington DC – A video was posted to social media yesterday showing police violently detaining 18yr-old Jason Goolsby a Howard University student who was using the ATM at the bank just moments before he was racially profiled. The two Howard University students were arrested at an ATM because as they describe “We were approached because a Read More

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Dashcam Shows Officer Taser Man for Parking Ticket & Falsify Report

Revolution News -

Kansas City, MO — After getting arrested and tased over a possible parking ticket, a store clerk has filed a lawsuit against the officer who used excessive force against him. Although the officer claimed that the clerk stood in a threatening position before he was forced to deploy his Taser, recently released dashcam video reveals Read More

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Turkish Unions Protest the Government over Ankara Massacre

Revolution News -

Anti-government protests continue after the bomb attacks in the Ankara peace rally on Saturday, which left at least 128 killed and hundreds wounded. Labor unions and trade chambers declared a two-day nationwide strike to protest the AKP government, whom they find guilty of the massacre. KESK (Confederation of Public Laborers’ Unions) organized a march and Read More

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Debunking Russia’s fake popular struggle in Ukraine

Waging Nonviolence -

by Anastasia Vladimirova

A pro-Russian demonstrator replaces the Ukrainian flag with a Russian flag atop the Kharkiv city council building. (Instagram / Vonoru)

A large animated crowd of pro-Russian demonstrators gathered outside the Kharkiv city council building in eastern Ukraine, watching and cheering as a young man in his mid-20’s, wearing a green military-style jacket, took down the Ukrainian flag at the top of the building and replaced it with a Russian flag. The startling action took place on March 1, 2014, just months after massive protests against President Victor Yanukovych’s decision to abandon an agreement on closer ties with the European Union — in favor of greater cooperation with Russia — had filled Independence Square in Kiev.

Yet, when news about the citizen of Kharkiv raising the Russian flag over the city council building appeared on the Internet later that day, ordinary Ukrainians had many reasons to doubt the demonstration was real. After all, the Kremlin had been waging a hybrid war against Ukraine to discredit the wave of pro-Europe protests, known as Euromaidan, since they began in November 2013.

A week later,, a website run by Ukrainian journalists aiming to refute distorted information about the events in Ukraine, discovered that Kharkiv’s pro-Russian demonstration was likely staged. The Ukrainian activist holding the Russian flag on top of the city council building turned out to be a young Russian man from Saint Petersburg named Michael Ronkainen. StopFake reported that the Russian activist outed himself in a picture he posted to his Vkontakte page (a Russian analogue of Facebook).

According to Tetiana Matychak, the editor-in-chief of StopFake, it was readers who brought the story to the journalists’ attention — specifically those from Eastern Ukraine, who were aware of Russia’s efforts at deception. “We were surprised, but we checked the information very carefully and concluded that our readers were right,” Matychak said.

After the “Kharkiv activist” was exposed, more readers began sending tips to StopFake, including one about a Russian flag being raised in Donetsk at a pro-Russian rally, where participants seized the regional council building. StopFake, with help from its readers, soon discovered that the activist holding the flag, Rostislav Zhuravlev, came from the Russian city of Ekaterinburg and was a friend of the self-proclaimed governor of the Donetsk region.

Zhuravlev’s social media was also filled with anti-Ukrainian propaganda, with many of his posts calling on readers to liberate Novorossiya, the Eastern Ukraine region that fell into the hands of pro-Russian rebels and separatists shortly after the Euromaidan protests. These rebels seek to recruit young men to voluntarily join the fight in Eastern Ukraine. Ronkainen, for instance, posted a photo on Instagram with a police officer he met at Los Angeles International Airport, accompanied by the comment: “I met a cool guy [named] John. After his shift is over, John promised to go to Donetsk to fight for Novorossiya.”

The stories of these two Russian activists are just a few of the fakes among a broader range of false information and propaganda about the situation in Ukraine produced mostly by the Russian mainstream media. For more than a year now, journalists and activists from StopFake have tried to debunk distorted information and identify made-up reports and commentary through careful verification and fact checking.

“If we find 100 percent proof that the news is a fake, we write an article about it,” Matychak explained. “We discuss all the topics together, but I make the final decision if this news is worth debunking or not, and if the story is worth being published.”

When Matychak and her colleagues started StopFake, they only intended to run the website for two or three months, but the propaganda quickly increased and spread out of control, such that they could not let it go unanswered.

“We see the statistics,” she said. “A lot of fakes come from Russian media seeking to create propaganda about the enemies of the Russian Federation – Ukraine, Georgia, NATO, the United States. These countries and organizations are not the real enemies of Russia, but the Kremlin propaganda calls them ‘enemies’ in order to persuade the Russian people. I can say for sure that Ukraine was not going to attack Russia and Ukraine only fights back now.”

Matychak is convinced that the Kremlin-sponsored propaganda inspires pro-Russian activists to take part in staged protests pretending to be Ukrainian citizens. “Many people who came from Russia, came to Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk,” Matychak said. “That is the difference between Kiev protests and Eastern Ukraine protests. In Eastern Ukraine there were a lot of Russian protesters. Those people watched Russian TV channels and heard stories about Ukrainians and Junta.”

The ‘mirror image’ of Maidan

According to Nataliya Gumenyuk, a Ukrainian journalist and co-founder of online news station Hromadske TV, pro-Russian activists have used a number of nonviolent tactics, including occupations and barricades, to create the perception that they are engaged in popular struggle similar to that of the protesters in Maidan, the central square in Kiev. Even though pro-Russian activists were occasionally able to make their protests appear peaceful and resemble the nonviolent atmosphere of Maidan, some of the most important aspects of nonviolent struggle were missing — namely spontaneity and authenticity, as Gumenyuk explained.

View image |

In a 2014 webinar about the Maidan Revolution produced by the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, Gumenyuk elaborated on several other ways pro-Russian activists have mirrored the actions of their Maidan counterparts. “There have been reports of protesters who came from the villages and stayed in the tent city in Luhansk — for publicity purposes — only to return home in the evening after the cameras were gone,” she said. Meanwhile, the barricades in Donetsk are “poorly constructed and serve no practical purpose, especially considering they are guarded by armed men.” This is in contrast to the ones at Maidan, which were created to stop the crackdown on protesters by police.

In one particularly ridiculous incident, according to Gumenyuk, some people in Donetsk donated warm winter clothes to the so-called protesters — just as Maidan supporters had done for people protesting in Kiev during the winter months. The difference, however, was that the pro-Russian donations “took place in April, when the weather was much warmer and winter clothes were not needed.”

Such actions led to the creation of what Gumenyuk referred to as  “the ‘mirror image’ of Maidan, an attempt to give legitimacy to the pro-Russian resistance movement. Unlike the staged protests in Eastern Ukraine, however, Maidan was an authentic grassroots movement. According to Gumenyuk, people followed the genuine spirit of the protest present at Maidan, which the staged pro-Russian protests always lacked.

Nevertheless, the Russian propaganda machine is learning lessons from its public outing. “After publishing those and other stories,” Matychak explained, “Russian activists in Ukraine became more careful and wise. Many of them stopped publishing selfies in social networks, for example.”

Misappropriation of nonviolent tactics

According to Jamila Raqib, executive director of the Albert Einstein Institution, a Boston-based non-profit devoted to advancing the study of nonviolent action, “Governments and others have, historically, tried to undermine nonviolent movements by accusing them of being created and funded by foreign governments.” Kremlin-sponsored media outlets, in particular, have played a leading role in such efforts, routinely crediting Western powers with the string of popular uprisings that took place in the early 2000s in Serbia, Georgia and Ukraine. Some outlets have focused on Albert Einstein Institution founder Gene Sharp, often considered the leading theorist on nonviolent conflict.

In a 2012 segment on the Kremlin-sponsored cable news network Russia Today, Polish political activist Mateusz Piskorski called Sharp “an ideologue,” and “the man who invented the whole technology of the contemporary color revolutions,” adding, “Of course, the United States is the leading power when it comes to these technologies.”

In another 2012 interview, this time with Sharp himself, the Russian tabloid newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, asked the 87-year-old Nobel Peace Price nominee to discuss how his work was “used to disintegrate the Soviet Union.” Sharp responded by saying, “If the problem of the Soviet society was that an old man could suppress it, then it means this society had very big problems.”

In a report published earlier this year, civil resistance scholar Maciej Bartkowki explained that the Kremlin’s preoccupation with the color revolutions stems from its fear of “a similar outburst of popular discontent in Russia.” Yet, despite its efforts to delegitimize nonviolent struggle, the Kremlin recognized, as Bartkowski noted in paper published earlier this year, that “a resemblance of popular grassroots support will be important for the ultimate success of the subversive operations that Russia planned in Ukraine.”

As a result, the Kremlin has relied on the political mobilization of a loyal and vocal minority in the targeted territories of Eastern Ukraine, including Donetsk and Luhansk. Bartkowski’s analysis suggests that such actions “provided an effective nonviolent cover for rebels and Russian special forces, bestowing on them and their actions a façade of grassroots legitimacy.”

Keeping the Russian population in the dark

During the recent conflict in Ukraine, Putin relied heavily on the information warfare conducted in social and mainstream media. According to Barkowski, his objective was to “deceive adversaries, blur the line between reality and fantasy, drive a wedge between Western allies, and keep the Russian population itself in the dark.” To that end, Putin’s strategy has been extremely effective. Russia’s information warfare has deceived large audiences. At the beginning of last fall, Putin’s approval rating was at 88 percent. Thereafter, the financial crisis notwithstanding, 70 percent of the Russian citizens expressed support for Putin’s policies in Ukraine.

In April 2014, David M. Herzenhorn, a Moscow based New York Times correspondent, described the Kremlin’s information warfare as “an extraordinary propaganda campaign that political analysts say reflects a new brazenness on the part of Russian officials. And in recent days, it has largely succeeded — at least for Russia’s domestic audience — in painting a picture of chaos and danger in Eastern Ukraine, although it was pro-Russian forces themselves who created it by seizing public buildings and setting up roadblocks.”

Raqib also thinks the protests organized by pro-Russian activists in Eastern Ukraine were effective and — perhaps more alarmingly — can be seen as part of a larger global trend. “Governments are studying this,” she explained. “They recognize that they need to use some elements of nonviolent struggle against nonviolent movements.” This is something Raqib feels the nonviolence community needs to better understand, if it’s going to find effective ways of counteracting a growing trend toward hybrid warfare.

While scholars and journalists like Gumenyuk and Bartkowski are making strides in that area, crowd-sourced media watchdog groups like StopFake are creating a noticeable impact on the frontline of the struggle. “We are fighting propaganda no matter where it comes from,” Matychak said. “Our main hope is to attract the attention of foreign media organizations and encourage them to not only verify all the information no matter the source, but to also learn from our experience and protect their countries from any sort of propaganda.”

Matychak believes that victory will come for the nonviolent movement in Ukraine because truth is on its side. “Ukrainians don’t attack. They only defend themselves, and they try to do it using truth because liars only win in the short-term. People who use truth always win in the long-term.”

Police Tasing a Bloody, Restrained Matthew Ajibade in the Testicles Before his Death

Revolution News -

by Shaun King – Daily Kos It is now abundantly clear that Matthew Ajibade was murdered by police in Savannah, Georgia. For over 10 months, police and prosecutors have concealed the video evidence of his murder not only from the public, but from Ajibade’s closest friends and family members. His death in police custody was Read More

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