Ackerman, 65, who made more than $300 million working alongside Michael Milken at Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc.’s Beverly Hills, California, offices in the 1980s, is Americans Elect’s chairman and top donor. He wants to circumvent U.S. politics-as-usual by letting voters choose a presidential candidate via the Internet who, with a running mate from a different political party, will appear on every state ballot for the 2012 election ….
Ackerman focused more on non-business pursuits than his companies, says former Emak CEO Jim Holbrooke.
“He is training dissidents to overthrow dictatorships, and I’m doing cheese-spread advertising for Kraft,’’ he says, referring to food company Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT)
Peter Ackerman’s Quest to Do What the CIA Used to Do
, and Make It Seem Progressive
This article creates the false impression that the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) may be “training dissidents to overthrow dictatorships,” in the words of a businessman it quotes who has had no contact with the Center. In fact, ICNC does not now “train dissidents” and has not supported workshops abroad for nonviolent activists since 2009.
The article also claims that ICNC’s founding chair, Peter Ackerman, “has funded workshops for dissidents from Central Asia, Iran, Iraq and North Korea,” and leaves the impression that ICNC may have supported “civil resistance training” for “members of Egypt’s April 6 movement” through the Center for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS) in Belgrade. None of this is accurate.
When Egypt’s April 6 Youth Movement was struggling to recover from a failed effort in 2005, its leaders tossed around “crazy ideas” about bringing down the government, said Ahmed Maher, a leading strategist. They stumbled on Mr. Sharp while examining the Serbian movement Otpor, which he had influenced.
When the nonpartisan International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, which trains democracy activists, slipped into Cairo several years ago to conduct a workshop, among the papers it distributed was Mr. Sharp’s “198 Methods of Nonviolent Action,” a list of tactics that range from hunger strikes to “protest disrobing” to “disclosing identities of secret agents.”
Dalia Ziada, an Egyptian blogger and activist who attended the workshop and later organized similar sessions on her own, said trainees were active in both the Tunisia and Egypt revolts. She said that some activists translated excerpts of Mr. Sharp’s work into Arabic, and that his message of “attacking weaknesses of dictators” stuck with them.
Peter Ackerman, a onetime student of Mr. Sharp who founded the nonviolence center and ran the Cairo workshop, cites his former mentor as proof that “ideas have power.”
We furnish a wide range of educational materials and information to educators, journalists, international institutions, civil society groups, and people involved in campaigns or movements for rights and justice, who request that information. It does this work primarily through seminars at universities, presentations and briefings, graduate and undergraduate curricula, online learning platforms, and webinars, as well as direct and indirect dissemination of books, reports, articles, audio files, films, videos and a video game, “People Power: The Game of Civil Resistance.”
“Most important was the film. All the demonstrators knew the tactics of the revolution in Belgrade by heart because they showed [the film]…. Everyone knew what to do.”
That Ackerman is a part of the U.S. foreign policy elite and integral to the new modalities of intervention under the rubric of “democracy promotion,” etc., is beyond question. There is nothing controversial about that and anyone who believes otherwise is clearly seriously misinformed or just ignorant.