Jack DuVall

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Jack DuVall is the president of International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), an organization that has produced what can only be termed propaganda films shown on PBS and on university campuses around the US. Note that ICNC is also a project of Peter Ackerman, a right-wing operator. DuVall and James Woolsey, the former head of the CIA, founded the The Arlington Institute. From the official biography distrubuted at a recent student event:

Jack DuVall is the founding Director of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. He was the Executive Producer of the two-part Emmy-nominated PBS television series, A Force More Powerful and co-author of the companion book of the same name. Earlier in his career, Mr. DuVall developed, marketed and executive-produced non-fiction television programming, with clients including the Turner Broadcasting System, The Learning Channel, KCET/Los Angeles, The Christian Science Monitor, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the British Consulate General/Los Angeles, the Vision Interfaith Satellite Network, and over 30 other television and non-profit organizations. Mr. DuVall was also Vice President for Program Resources of WETA, Washington, D.C. and previously was Director of Corporate Relations of The University of Chicago; Director of Industry Compliance, Cost of Living Council, Executive Office of the President; and an officer in the U.S. Air Force. His writing has included speeches for presidential candidates in four national campaigns and poetry published in the Southern Poetry Review and other journals. He is a native of San Diego, California, holds a B.A. degree (cum laude) from Colgate University, and he presently serves as a member of the board of The Arlington Institute and the board of sponsors of Morehouse College.[1]

Writing in the Green Left Weekly in August 2007 Michael Barker notes that:

"In GLW #718, Jack Duvall, the president of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), published a letter in response to a couple of “errors” Eva Gollinger made in her interview “US continues destabilisation push in Venezuela” in GLW #716. Duvall denied accusations that his group had been involved in training activist groups involved in the recent “color revolutions” in Eastern Europe, and in opposing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. However, Duvall does admit in his letter that in March 2005 the ICNC “gave support to the [Albert] Einstein Institute for a workshop it conducted on nonviolent action for Venezuelans, [which was] held in Boston”.
"This admission is significant because although Duvall claims the ICNC “ha[s] not and will not accept any support from any government for any purpose”, it has always worked closely with the Albert Einstein Institute [AEI] — a group that does work closely with the US government and the notorious National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Duvall gives a false impression that his organisation is totally isolated from US foreign policy elites.
"Without prior knowledge of Duvall’s institutional affiliations, it is easy to believe that he and the ICNC are supporting progressive activists all over the world. But unfortunately his work (and that of his close colleagues) is intimately linked to the NED and much of the US-based “democracy promoting” establishment." [1]

In October 2007 Duvall acted as a facilitator at the "first major international conference of its kind on the prevention of genocide. From October 11th to 13th, 2007, in Montreal, Canada, The Global Conference on the Prevention of Genocide will bring together from around the world survivors, witnesses, legislators, diplomats, activists and others whose lives have been forever changed by humanity’s most horrific invention." [2]

"Prior to his work with nonviolent conflict, DuVall was a public television executive and writer for 16 years, where he developed, marketed, executive-produced, and promoted nonfiction television programming. His writings include speeches for presidential candidates in four national campaigns. DuVall holds a B.A. (cum laude) from Colgate University and serves as a member of the Board of Sponsors of Morehouse College and as an associate of the Centre for Justice and Peace Development at Massey University, New Zealand." [3]

Demonizing and justifying

Jack DuVall directed and Peter Ackerman produced Bringing Down a Dictator, a film intended to illustrate the possibilities of nonviolent resistance by focusing on its supposed success in bringing down Slobodan Milosevic, the president of Yugoslavia, in October of 2000. The producers of the film describe it as: "the extraordinary story of the overthrow of the 'Butcher of the Balkans' by an avowedly nonviolent group of student revolutionaries whose weapons included humor, ridicule, and the internet." The film was first aired on PBS in 2002, but then various groups organized for it to be shown across US campuses. Note that both Ackerman and DuVall run International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, and the film was produced by this group.

In reality, the film can only be viewed as a is a shameless piece of propaganda which attempts to justify the US intervention in Yugoslavia, and the 78-day NATO bombing campaign, which we now know targeted many civilian targets and the country's infrastructure. After the war, the US sponsored and supported civic groups seeking to overthrow Milosevic; the extent of this support is not certain, but the Washington Post states that $77 million (a likely underestimate) were used by the USAID and NED-assisted groups, which included Otpor and Radio B92. A drawn out propaganda campaign also demonized Milosevic and his political allies in Serbia. Milosevic's overthrow by a campaign of "non-violent resistance" was the culmination of a protracted war that split up Yugoslavia, embroiled it in a major war, destroyed much of its infrastructure, and have left significant portions of former-Yugoslavia under foreign military occupation. It is incongruous to suggest that the overthrow of Milosevic was an example of the "power of non-violence" and popular resistance. The groups involved were massively manipulated by US agencies and their brand of "non-violence" included putting the parliament on fire, baseball bat-wielding goons, and undermining the constitution, which entitled Milosevic to a run-off election – the opposition claimed Milosevic would use this to engineer a fraudulent election, etc., and thus precipitated the storming of the parliament.

The first paragraph on the film's official website [2] states: "Even in the 20th century - uniquely rich in genocide, institutionalized thuggery, ethnic cleansing, and demagogues - the regime of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic stands out. An ex-communist bureaucrat with modest intelligence and a cold eye for an opportunity, he reinvented himself after the dissolution of the Soviet Union as a Serbian patriot to hold onto the presidency in 1989 and launched an 11-year reign that ranks among the century's bloodiest." First, much of the film is strong on hyperbole. It is difficult to characterize Milosevic as a mere dictator let alone a bloody dictator. Diana Johnstone's Fools Crusade and Michael Parenti's To Kill a Nation, The Attack on Yugoslavia clearly show that there was a clear attempt to demonize Milosevic, while at the same time the propaganda overlooked the gory and shady nature of the Croatian and Bosnian secessionist forces (one resurrecting the pre-war Ustashe fascist movement and the latter seeking to impose an Islamic state). Second, the film repeats propaganda, e.g., ethnic cleansing, massacres, or the infamous "rape camps", much that has since been exposed as Ruder Finn instigated propaganda (Johnstone, op. cit.). Third, the film contributes to considering such non-UN sanctioned interventions as acceptable policy. There are many disturbing issues about manipulating other countries, or intervening militarily to obtain "regime change" (The invasion of Iraq should be a clear example of the criminality of such actions.) However, the film suggests that ends justify the means, and is perhaps the main message of the film. Fourth, although the film purports to demonstrate the power of "non-violent" resistance, the actual means of the overthrow and the drawn out process of subverting former Yugoslavia was actually very violent disproving the premise of the film.

DuVall suggests that the US intervention in former-Yugoslavia was a success, however the shattered countries, mass unemployment, a poisoned environment… all indicate that this avoidable war has been a disaster for the people living in the area.

Bringing Down a Dictator: External resources

Doing the same for Ukraine

Duvall and Ackerman have repeated their Yugoslav formula for Ukraine. The manipulation in Ukraine was much the same as that in former-Yugoslavia, and the manipulators were much the same, e.g., NED, USAID, etc. And it is curious to find this duo reappearing lauding the success of "non-violent" action in Ukraine.

Ukraine: external resources

"…instead of celebrating these events, many pundits and policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic have been debating the propriety of U.S. and European funding for democracy-building in Ukraine. That debate misses the reality of how the Orange Revolution succeeded. Like all victories of people power in the past 25 years, it was achieved, not by foreign assistance, but by the indigenous force of ordinary citizens applying their own strategy to challenge autocratic power... Conspiracy theorists singled out training by veterans of Otpor, a Serbian student group that had helped topple Slobodan Milosevic. While they educated Ukrainians in nonviolent tactics, "it is not true that we are exporters of revolution," said Danijela Nenadic of the Center for Nonviolent Resistance in Belgrade. "There is no universal concept to fight authoritarianism. You have to have your own strategy." So people power is not imported, it's homegrown. External aid can help, but it's neither necessary nor sufficient. With unity, planning and nonviolent discipline all harnessed to the determination of people to be free, oppression can be defeated."
  • Jonathan Mowat, "The new Gladio in action?: Ukrainian postmodern coup completes testing of new template", Online Journal, March 19, 2005. Contains references to DuVall.



Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. Michael Barker, "Promoting ‘democracy’ through civil disobedience", Green Left Weekly, August 25, 2007.
  2. The Global Conference on the Prevention of Genocide, McGill University, accessed December 17, 2007.
  3. Contributors, Gozaar, accessed August 28, 2008.