William Engdahl, is he a slanderer not to be
trusted? Is Gene Sharp compromised?
G. S.  <george.salzman@umb.edu>
initial posting 13 Jan 2008 - last update 20 Jan 2008

URL: http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/S2/2008-01-13.htm
by G.S.  <george.salzman@umb.edu>  13 January 2008

      This sad tale of an experience in what ought to be “the movement” for a decent world tells of my disenchantment with each of three “activists”: 1. F. William Engdahl, who I believe slandered Gene Sharp and Sharp’s Albert Einstein Institution, 2. Sharp, who I believe compromised himself and his institution by training young Venezuelan “activists” in Boston in non-violent strategy for getting rid of the Hugo Chavez government, and 3. George Lakey, who rationalized training students seeking to “bring democracy” to their nations by unseating the government even when such efforts “happen” to support American foreign policy objectives.
De: George Salzman <george.salzman@umb.edu>
Enviado el: Domingo, 13 de Enero de 2008 11:53 p.m.
Para: John Repp <jmrepp@comcast.net>
CC: Gene Sharp <einstein@igc.org>; George Lakey <georgelakey@yahoo.com>; F. William Engdahl <info@engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net>; Patrick & Mary Denevan <denevan2001@yahoo.com>
Asunto: On non-violent struggle for social justice

Oaxaca, Sunday, 13 January 2008
Dear John Repp
      At Pat and Mary Denevan’s wonderful Christmas Eve dinner we had a bit of a chance to talk before the feast began. I told you of my experiences with George Lakey, Gene Sharp, and F. William Engdahl. I had come upon an article by Engdahl, “Myanmar’s “Saffron Revolution”: The Geopolitics behind the Protest Movement”, 15 October, which is at http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7072 . I was strongly impressed by what seemed to be the quality of Engdahl’s analysis, and prepared a posting for my website which I intended to announce to my e-mail distribution list. That posting is at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/S2/2008-01-13-1.doc. It will fill you in with the simmering dissatisfaction I felt about my previous contacts with George Lakey.
      Instead of posting that item, I wrote a note to Lakey, Sharp and Engdahl, which led to an exchange that is included in the item posted at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/S2/2008-01-13-2.doc. There was some subsequent correspondence between Lakey and me, and between Sharp and me. I wrote to Engdahl, who never responded. In my letter to the three of them on 31 October I wrote in part,
      “So far as I can tell right now, Engdahl’s reference to you [Gene] is partly true, but he may exaggerate what he considers your nefarious activities to have been. Your response has been essentially to claim you were/are totally uncompromised, which seems to me may also be an exaggeration. I have gone over and over what he wrote and what you wrote. I’m left uncertain, not about the honesty and sincere commitment each of us has for making a decent world and contributing what we can to the struggle, but about agreeing on questions related to the ethics of what we do and how we treat one another. Lakey introduced me to the subject of non-violent social struggle. I believed (and still do) that the concept is extremely important ...”
      And later in the same letter,
      “I intended to write you, William Engdahl,  asking for documentation on which your criticism of Sharp is based. He totally rejects what you wrote about him and his Institution, which is both brief and damning, i.e.

The tragedy of Burma . . . is that its population is being used as a human stage prop in a drama scripted in Washington by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the George Soros Open Society Institute, Freedom House and Gene Sharp’s Albert Einstein Institution, a US intelligence asset used to spark “non-violent” regime change around the world on behalf of the US strategic agenda
. . .
The concert-master of the tactics of Saffron monk-led non-violence regime change is Gene Sharp, founder of the deceptively-named Albert Einstein Institution in Cambridge Massachusetts, a group funded by an arm of the NED to foster US-friendly regime change in key spots around the world. Sharp’s institute has been active in Burma since 1989, just after the regime massacred some 3000 protestors to silence the opposition. CIA special operative and former US Military Attache in Rangoon, Col. Robert Helvey, an expert in clandestine operations, introduced Sharp to Burma in 1989 to train the opposition there in non-violent strategy. Interestingly, Sharp was also in China two weeks before the dramatic events at Tiananmen Square. (my emphases – G.S.)
I would appreciate knowing your sources of information for the above ... I am asking for references because your article is the only one I have seen that mentions him or the AEI.”

      On 10 November I wrote Engdahl, in part,
      “Until now I have had no response from you, not even an acknowledgement. Can you provide no grounds on which to base your accusations?”

      On 11 November I wrote Lakey and Sharp, in part,
      “As you know, I sent a direct inquiry to Engdahl last night that ended with, “Until now I have had no response from you, not even an acknowledgement. Can you provide no grounds on which to base your accusations?” If I hear nothing from him in a reasonably short time, I will draw the obvious inference, and publicize it.
      “This note is an equally direct inquiry to each of you, motivated by indications that another ‘regime change’ is being planned in Venezuela. I got an alert from Liz Burbank <lizburbank@speakeasy.net> this morning titled, “Breaking News: U.S. 2nd Coup d'Etat Attempt Underway in Venezuela” with an article on the Axis of Logic website at http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/article_25479.shtml ...

      “My question to each of you is whether you have been or are involved in any way, either directly or indirectly, with the efforts apparently underway to get rid of the Chavez regime? I do not have in mind abstract or scholarly research and writing, but contacts of any kind, direct or indirect, with people acting on behalf of U.S. government interests, whether they are Venezuelan nationals or not, contacts such as, I imagine, Robert Helvey might entertain.”

      It’s now a bit more than two months since I sent these direct inquiries to Engdahl, Lakey and Sharp. I have had no response from any of them to these last letters. It seems to me that my tentative view on 25 October was essentially correct.
1. It is likely that F. William Engdahl slandered Gene Sharp. I assume that if he had sources of information other than the website of the Albert Einstein Institution he would have been glad to cite them.
2. Gene Sharp did not respond to my direct inquiry most likely because he did not care to admit his involvement, which I subsequently read about in a comment that is at http://www.greenleft.org.au/2007/718/37304. That comment, nearly three months before Engdahl’s article, is by Jack Duvall, President of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC). Duvall writes, in part,
“There are three instances in which Venezuelans have come into contact with people we have supported ... In March 2005, we gave support to the Einstein Institute for a workshop it conducted on nonviolent action for Venezuelans, held in Boston ...” Duvall claims that ICNC receives no government money, which would imply that the workshop the Albert Einstein Institution held was at least partly funded by non-government sources.
      It appears that Gene Sharp’s Institution was, at least in early 2005, providing a service that supported the interests of the U.S. government in overthrowing the Hugo Chavez government. To me that is being compromised.
3. Whether or not George Lakey was similarly compromised I do not know, since he did not respond to my direct inquiry. If he were uninvolved, a simple assertion to that effect would have made it clear. As it is I am left in doubt.

      This has been a lengthy and unpleasant affair. I have lost confidence in the solidity of each of the three people. If Engdahl is ready to slander people, as I believe, then how reliable is his analysis of the intricacies of geopolitics, and how well-based is his ready acceptance of the hypothesis that petroleum is not derived from former living matter, and will therefore not “run out”? And as for Sharp, has his political perspective become amenable to the efforts of the U.S. to dominate on the pretext of “promoting democracy”? Lakey’s work seems more grassroots oriented than Sharp’s, but I was not impressed with some of the arguments he offered. All in all pretty disappointing. And why was I so impressed with Engdahl’s article to begin with? Probably because I’m too credulous, too naive.

With all best wishes,

      The documents with my correspondence with Engdahl, Sharp and Lakey are:

All comments and criticisms are welcome.  <george.salzman@umb.edu>

      If you know folks who want to ‘save the world’, starting with global open communication — no censorship, I’ll be glad to add them to my Notes of an anarchist physicist listserv [noaap]. To subscribe write me, including your first and last names, please, or send a blank e-mail to noaap-subscribe@lists.riseup.net.

*     *     *
Return to the latest postings page of website II,
      at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/s/01.htm
Return to the home page of website II,
      at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/s/00.htm

Initial posting of this page: 13 January 2008.
Last update: 20 January 2008