U.S. looks to step up regime change efforts in Georgia

12:56 22.01.2024 •

A man waves the Georgian national flag in front of a burning barricade near the Georgian Parliament building in Tbilisi, Georgia, March 9, 2023.
Photo: usnews.com

On December 1, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) hosted a forum by female lawmakers in Georgia who favored its integration into the European Union (EU) and embrace of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) membership, and who were fiercely hostile to Russia, writes ‘Covertaction Magazine’.

One of the panelists, Khatia Dekanoidze, was the former chief of the national police of Ukraine and an adviser to the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) of the U.S. Department of Justice, which trained Ukraine’s police force with the purpose of trying to stabilize the government that came to power in a 2014 U.S.-backed coup d’état.

Two other panelists at the NED forum participated in protests against the attempt by the Georgian government to enact a law modeled after one in Russia requiring NGOs to register as foreign agents if they received more than 20% of their revenue from foreign sources.

The NED is a CIA offshoot founded in the 1980s to promote pro-U.S. propaganda, including by publicizing human rights abuses — both real and imagined — of governments that the U.S. targets for regime change.

In 2021, the NED, invested $2,3 million in Georgia, including in civil society groups that were involved in the NGO law protests.

Georgia is a key focal point for the NED as a front-line state in the new Cold War. The failings of the spring-summer counteroffensive in Ukraine and Russian success in reclaiming parts of eastern Ukraine have led to a more aggressive approach toward countries like Belarus and Georgia that remain in the Russian orbit.

With the end of the Cold War, U.S. political elites saw a great opportunity to gain control over Eastern Europe and Central Asia and to decapitate Russia once and for all, preventing the possibility that it could ever again challenge U.S. global hegemony.

The government in Georgia, however, run by the Georgia Dream Party, has sought to retain good relations with Russia while balancing East and West.

Kit Klarenberg wrote in The Grayzone that, “for the neoconservative establishment, [Georgia Dream’s] true sin is being insufficiently supportive of the Ukraine proxy war. Thus Ukrainian elements are set to be involved in a possible color revolution [within Georgia]. If such an operation succeeds, it would open a second front in that war on Russia’s Western flank.”

Klarenberg’s article in The Grayzone was entitled “A Maidan 2.0 color revolution looms in Georgia.” It detailed the detention by Georgia’s security services of three staffers with the Serbian-based Center for Applied Nonviolent Actions and Strategies (CANVAS), a U.S. government-funded organization with close CIA ties, for allegedly assisting opposition elements to prepare a regime-change operation.

In September, Georgian security officials warned about “a coup à la Euromaidan [2014 Ukraine coup]” allegedly being prepared in Georgia, led by ethnic Georgians working for the Ukrainian government: Giorgi Lortkipanidze, Kyiv’s deputy military intelligence chief; Mikheil Baturin, the bodyguard of former President Mikheil Saakashvili; and Mamuka Mamulashvili.

Mamulashvili has been implicated in a false-flag massacre pivotal to the February 2014 Maidan coup, which brought shooters equipped with sniper rifles to Maidan Square to “sow some chaos” by opening fire on crowds with the intent of blaming pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych’s security forces.

Klarenberg points out that CANVAS evolved out of Otpor!, a rebellious youth movement in Yugoslavia that staged protests which helped oust socialist Slobodan Milošević in the late 1990s following the U.S. bombing of Serbia.

Otpor! received financial support from the NED, which financed trade unions and media networks that were against Milošević and groups that organized conferences bringing anti- Milošević activists together and that promoted the teachings of regime-change gurus, Robert Helvey and Gene Sharp

Once Milošević was removed in October 2000, Otpor! leaders founded CANVAS, and began exporting their revolutionary model elsewhere, including Georgia in 2003. There, they created Kmara, an Otpor! clone that received sizable NED funding.

Leaked emails exposed how Otpor! leader and CANVAS founder Srdja Popovic worked closely in secret with Stratfor, a private security firm known as “The Shadow CIA,” and had produced a guide on how to unseat Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.

One Stratfor analyst tellingly said that CANVAS’s mission was “basically [going] around the world trying to topple dictators and autocratic governments [ones that the U.S. does not like]. They just go and set up shop in a country and try to bring the government down. When used properly, [they are] more powerful than an aircraft carrier battle group.”


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