Daniel McAdams, LewRockwell.com
April 8, 2009
It makes for a great story-line – the kind the international media embrace with relish: thrusting young Moldovans grab their iPhones, rush to the town square, and Twitter their way to a revolution against a Communist Party that had just stolen an election. The story-line has been written with orange and with roses and tulips and almost with denim, the press reducing the phenomena in each case to a few slogans repeated until they become accepted as reality with little further analysis.
Such is the case with recent events in Moldova, where even a casual reading of the vast contradictions between objective reality and the developing story-line – the “Twitter Revolution” – is glaringly obvious.
The protests, which intensified Tuesday, were sparked by claims that the Communist Party of President Vladimir Voronin rigged parliamentary elections last Sunday – a vote they were widely expected to win – to gain enough of a margin to amend the constitution and extend Voronin’s rule beyond that which is currently permitted. While the press lauds the “spontaneous” mass organization to overthrow Voronin, one does not have to dust the scene of the crime too carefully to see US foreign policy fingerprints all over the place.
Let us begin with the Twitterers. According to a New York Times article, one of the leaders of the Twitter Revolution claimed she was able to get 15,000 people into the streets with “six people, 10 minutes for brainstorming and decision-making, several hours of disseminating information through networks, Facebook, blogs, SMSs and e-mails.” That is impressive.
In the same article we are told, correctly, that Moldova is among the poorest countries in Europe. The average monthly salary is approximately 2532 lei, which equals about US$230. Contrasted with the average US salary of approximately US$4,000 per month, this demonstrates the real poverty of Moldova.
Yet according to the website of one of the leading mobile networks operators in Moldova, that Twitter-friendly iPhone would set back a young Moldovan 6,599 lei, or the equivalent of about two and a half times his monthly salary. For an American that would be the equivalent of a US$10,000 iPhone. Not many kids would have one. Even basic high-speed internet access on a lesser instrument would set a young Moldovan back nearly 500 lei per month, or the equivalent of US$800 for an average American. How does this impoverished nation afford such luxuries?
Just as many of us cast a skeptical eye on the sudden emergence of massive plasma-screen televisions in also-poor Ukraine during the “Orange Revolution,” the idea that thousands of young Moldovans are spending such sums on their Twittering seems equally implausible.
So what is fueling this revolution? A brief glance at the website of one of the Moldovan NGOs leading the effort to overthrow the elected Moldovan government, that of the “Hyde Park Organization,” reveals an interesting benefactor: at the bottom of the page, next to a seal of the United States, one can read that “This website is hosted free of charge through the Internet Access Training Program (IATP). IATP is a program of the Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs (ECA), US Department of State, funded under the Freedom Support Act (FSA).”
Digging a bit further, one can see on the website of the US Agency for International Development that the United States government, through cut-out organizations like the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute, is funneling large sums of money to Moldova for programs with such fascinating titles as “Strengthening Democratic Political Activism in Moldova (SPA).” USAID boasts that this program is “cultivating new political activists who can formulate and pursue concrete political objectives…” No doubt.
Another program, titled the “Internet Access and Training Program” may hold a clue as to where all these Twitterers came from. According to the US government, this program “provides local communities with free access to the Internet and to extensive training in all aspects of information technology.” Does the training come with iPhones?
The media, with story-line already inked out, mock the Moldovan president’s claims that the protests were “well designed, well thought out, coordinated, planned and paid for,” but isn’t that what the USAID website has already claimed? After all, to what end does the US train and fund NGOs in projects such as the “Moldova Citizen Participation Program,” whose goal is to “build… the capacity of citizens to create tangible and positive change in their own communities through civic activity and democratic practices…by providing training, mentoring, and funding for citizen-initiated projects and strengthening the capacity of NGOs and citizen groups to mobilize their community, advocate for change, and hold government accountable”? In the previous color revolutions we have seen the perversion of “democracy” to mean getting enough people getting to the street to overthrow an elected government.
Why bother with all this? The same reason the US funded the other color revolutions. The same reason the US announced missile defense facilities in Poland and Czech Republic. The same reason the US has propped up and provided massive military aid to a creepily unstable Mikheil Saakashvili in Georgia. Encircle Russia. Maintain the empire. In 2003 Voronin was our “democrat” when he stuck it to Russia over the breakaway region of Transnistria, refusing to sign on to the Russian settlement plan. When Voronin later mended fences with Russia the long knives came out for him. In the words of one observer of the region, this current revolt is against the communists (Voronin) who were yesterday the democrats against the communists in Transnistria. Dizzying.
Demand obedience from foreign rulers or make them face the consequences. It is a project that is not only destined to fail, but is in fact in the process of failing already. And did anyone notice that we have a new president and administration in the US?