Judi LynnJudi Lynn's Journal
Does It Matter That the Venezuelan Opposition Is Funded by the US?
By Ray Downs
In the summer of 2007, the vehemently proHugo Chávez journalist and lawyer Eva Golinger got on Venezuelan state TV and, with the help of a flow chart hand-drawn on flimsy poster board, called out several fellow journalists who had allegedly accepted US funding to help bring down the country's famously left-wing, anti-American president.
These journalists are destabalising agents, Golinger said, and explained that that they had participated in programs paid for by the US that were designed to promote a pro-American agenda, the goal of which was to create anti-socialist sentiment in Venezuela.
The accusation didn't cause the kind of uproar Golinger was hoping for. The journalists were briefly investigated by a government committee, but that prompted an immediate public outcry in fact, many Chavistas rejected such McCarthy-like tactics, claiming they made them look bad.
The incident did cause the US Embassy in Caracas some concern, however. In a cable released by Wikileaks titled IV Participants and USAID Partners Outed, Again that describes Golinger's TV appearance and the aftermath, an embassy official wrote that people were becoming wary of getting involved with any enterprise funded by the US. It is particularly hard to persuade Chávez supporters to participate in a program they perceived as potentially career-ending, the official wrote. In other words, though Golinger embarrassed herself with her shit-stirring, the US was really trying to bring down Chávez by funneling money to his opponents.
Interestingly, it's illegal for a US political party or candidate to accept funding from any foreign national, which includes individuals, corporations and governments. Venezuela passed a similar law in 2010, but this is easily circumvented by channeling the money through NGOs.
Weekend Edition Feb 28-Mar 02, 2014
Support the Venezuelan Protesters?
by ALAN MACLEOD
In recent days, angry anti-government protests have erupted in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas. If we are to believe some influential Venezuelan bloggers, the government is sending teams of motorbike-riding death-squads roaming around rich neighbourhoods looking for people to kill. Social media is awash with pictures of children, apparently having been beaten to within an inch of their life by government thugs. This, the New York Times eagerly reports, is making Secretary of State John Kerry increasingly concerned. Surely this must be the beginning of a democratic uprising against an authoritarian dictator?
But what on Earth has the White House got to do with all this? And why are so many respected international bodies talking about imperialism? You would be forgiven for not knowing, as no New York Times or Washington Post article has revealed the fact that Washington has been funding and training the heads of these protests for at least 12 years. Indeed, the US government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to overthrow the Venezuelan, Bolivian and Ecuadorean governments.
Those leading the protests, Leopoldo Lopez and Maria Corina Machado, are not students, but two of the wealthiest people in South America; Machado is a personal friend of George W. Bush. She was also involved in the last three opposition attempts to overthrow the government: in 2002, 2002-2003 and 2004. In 2002, with the financial, technical and political help of the US government, she and her co-conspirators kidnapped President Hugo Chavez and installed Pedro Carmona as President. He immediately suspended the constitution, sacked all politicians, sacked all judges in the country, suspended human rights, gave himself power to rule by decree, and even changed the name of the country. They were only stopped by a massive revolt, some 25-50 times the size of the current protests, of ordinary, poor Venezuelan citizens.
Prominent among the current protesters are students from Caracas elite, fee-paying universities, who wish for change in the country. And yet Venezuela has changed enormously since Hugo Chavezs election in 1998. Poverty was reduced by 50%, extreme poverty by 72%. The bottom 40% of Venezuelas population have seen their slice of the economic pie expand by nearly half and those in the economic percentile 40-70 have also seen their incomes rise.
Former intelligence director jailed innocent men for assassination of Luis Carlos Galan
Feb 28, 2014 posted by Charlane Robinson
One of Colombias high courts has ruled that former director of the DAS, Miguel Maza, wrongfully imprisoned innocent men during the course of the investigation into the 1989 assassination of the late presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan.
Colombias National Police and Prosecutor Generals office have been ordered by the State Council to pay about $1.5 million in compensation for the wrongful imprisonment of three men who were accused of being involved with the murder of Galan.
The three men in question were detained for over three years in separate prisons for the crime of murder of a presidential candidate for terrorist purposes. Recent investigations however revealed that both the arrests and evidence compiled against the men were based upon many irregularities.
This case presented a serious violation of the rights [of the wrongfully detained] and discredited the good name and honor of the aforementioned victims These people were subjected to public ridicule and were showcased as being the perpetrators for the assassination of presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan Sarmiento which was an event that shocked the whole country and inspired hatred, public scorn and rejection of these people, said the Prosecutors Generals Office.
Luis Carlos Galan[/center]
Luis Carlos Galan: The Most Important Criminal Case You've Never Heard of
Posted: 17/01/12 00:00
It's the most important criminal case you've never heard of. A tale of political conspiracy and assassination, set against the background of the violent 1980s cocaine trade.
In life, Colombia's 1989 presidential candidate, Luis Carlos Galan, was South America's version of JFK; charismatic, visionary, admired and fearless. More than 20 years after his murder the comparisons to JFK continue. Galan was gunned down in public. TV cameras recorded the moments leading to and including his death. And yet, like JFK, the truth behind his killing has never emerged. Nobody, it seems, knows who killed Luis Carlos Galan.
One senior Colombian official once told me Galan's fate could be summed up in the title of a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel. "His life reads like the chronicle of a death foretold", he said. In the absence of an undisputed, legally proven case, a 'generally accepted' version of events around Galan's murder has developed. It goes something like this:
In lawless, 1980s Colombia, Liberal politician Galan was the only person willing to stand up to cocaine drug lords, such as the notorious Pablo Escobar.
Galan's election pledge was to get tough on the drug trade by extraditing the likes of Escobar to the US for trial and punishment. Escobar feared this more than anything and was determined to prevent it, so organised for Galan to be dealt with. He wanted to make an example of him.
February 27, 2014
The New York Times and the Fed's Transcripts
The Greatest Propaganda Coup of Our Time?
by MIKE WHITNEY
Theres good propaganda and bad propaganda. Bad propaganda is generally crude, amateurish Judy Miller mobile weapons lab-type nonsense that figures that people are so stupid theyll believe anything that appears in the paper of record. Good propaganda, on the other hand, uses factual, sometimes documented material in a coordinated campaign with the other major media to cobble-together a narrative that is credible, but false.
The so called Feds transcripts, which were released last week, fall into the latter category. The transcripts (1,865 pages) reveal the details of 14 emergency meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) in 2008, when the financial crisis was at its peak and the Fed braintrust was deliberating on how best to prevent a full-blown meltdown. But while the conversations between the members are accurately recorded, they dont tell the gist of the story or provide the context thats needed to grasp the bigger picture. Instead, theyre used to portray the members of the Fed as affable, well-meaning bunglers who did the best they could in very trying circumstances. While this is effective propaganda, its basically a lie, mainly because it diverts attention from the Feds role in crashing the financial system, preventing the remedies that were needed from being implemented (nationalizing the giant Wall Street banks), and coercing Congress into approving gigantic, economy-killing bailouts which shifted trillions of dollars to insolvent financial institutions that should have been euthanized.
What Im saying is that the Feds transcripts are, perhaps, the greatest propaganda coup of our time. They take advantage of the fact that people simply forget a lot of what happened during the crisis and, as a result, absolve the Fed of any accountability for what is likely the crime of the century. Its an accomplishment that PR-pioneer Edward Bernays would have applauded. After all, it was Bernays who argued that the sheeple need to be constantly bamboozled to keep them in line. Heres a clip from his magnum opus Propaganda:
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.
February 19, 2014
Remembering Gerald Berreman
One Who Raged Against the Machine
by DAVID H. PRICE
A few mornings ago I saw an announcement that anthropologist Gerald Berreman died this last December. Berreman was a professor of anthropology at Berkeley for decades who became an important voice of dissent in the 1960s and 70s, speaking out against anthropologists interactions with the CIA and other intelligence agencies, and championing openness in science. Berremans early ethnographic work studied caste stratification dynamics in India, and cultural ecology in India and Nepal.
I did not know Professor Berreman well. We occasionally corresponded and both contributed to an American Anthropological Association (AAA) panel on militarism a few years ago, but his writings, his work on the AAA code of ethics, and his political activism have had a significant impact on my work and on generations of anthropologists who followed him. I write this brief salute to Gerry Berremans ideas with the simple hope that some new generation of anthropologists and other academics might be drawn to his work (his essays like The Social responsibility of the Anthropologists, Ethics Versus Realism in Anthropology, or his book The Politics of Truth) in this disjointed era where notions of knowledge for the public good have been outsourced to cynical opportunists of capital or state.
Berreman was the real deal, a strong early voice speaking out against anthropologists collusion with military and intelligence agencies, playing crucial roles in giving legitimacy to the AAAs efforts to develop an ethics code during the late 1960s and early 1970s. This was an era when a strong belief in unmitigated science led many to view other cultures as datasets to be explored as needed, but to Berreman, the world was no longer anthropologists laboratory, but a community in which we are coparticipants with our informants.
In the late 1960s he worked on the University of Californias Himalayan Border Countries Research Project. He resigned this project in early 1968 after its funding became dominated by the Defense Departments Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, the institutional predecessor of DARPA). Berreman understood how Pentagon funds altered the focus of the project and after resigning from the program he publicly critiqued the damaging impacts of these military funds.
OpEdNews Op Eds 2/26/2014 at 10:09:49
U.S. Drug "War" Destroys Rain Forests
By Thomas Riggins
Rain forests around the world are rapidly disappearing due to illegal logging, the growth of palm oil and other plantations, and clearance for cattle raising and other forms of commercial agriculture. Now scientists warn of another threat to the rain forests of Central America-- especially those in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras and some of their neighbors-- this according to a news report in Science Daily for January 30, 2014 ("Drug trafficking leads to deforestation in Central America" .
It seems that the drug war in Mexico, fueled by the misguided anti-drug policies of the United States and the Mexican government (relying on military action and violence instead legalization and reform) has driven the drug gangs deep into the remotest areas of the jungles of Central America-- especially into supposedly protected regions where they are destroying large areas of the virgin forests to build airstrips, roads, and storage facilities to facilitate their drug activities.
They are also constructing "agribusinesses" in order to "launder their drug profits." It is almost impossible to believe that all this activity could be going on under the noses of the United States and its allies in the so-call "war on drugs" and is not being protected due to the graft and corruption of all the parties involved. This has been going on for years according Kendra McSweeney, a scientist at Ohio State University whose research, along with others, was the basis of the Science Daily report. "In response to the crackdown in Mexico," she said, "drug traffickers began moving south into Central America around 2007 to find new routes through remote areas to move their drugs from South America and get them into the United States. When the drug traffickers moved in, they brought ecological devastation with them."
The indigenous Amerindian people who live in the forests suffer as a result of the arrival of the drug dealers who strip the forest for their roads and landing areas for planes. Drug money is used to bribe government officials to turn a blind eye to the drig dealers as well as the deforestation activities. Ranchers, illegal loggers, and land speculators, according to the article, up their activities, at the expense of the forest people, stimulated by the influx of drug money and the dealers desire to launder their profits with "legitimate" businesses. "Drug policies," McSeeney said, "are conservation policies, whether we realize it or not."
Villa Baviera: Chile's Torture Colony Tourist Trap
By Monte Reel February 27, 2014
Courtesy Villa Baviera
Scene from Villa Baviera
The easiest way to get to Villa Baviera, a resort in Chiles Andean foothills, starts with a four-hour train ride south from Santiago past small vineyards, villages of sun-faded stucco, and swaying windbreaks of Lombardy poplars. From the drowsy train station at Parral, youll need to raise dust on about 12 more miles of loose gravel roads, one of which leads to a small guardhouse and a closed gate. My driver pulls up to the gate. A woman emerges from the guardhouse, checks my name on a list,and flashes him a smile. They all know me, he says, because every week I pick up a psychologist from Santiago at the train station and drive him here to work with the residents. I spot a lookout tower rising above the roadside trees. Thats from the old days, he explains. To prevent escapees.
54-square-mile territory was known as Colonia Dignidad. Founded in 1961 by a group of German immigrants, the colonys publicized aim was to deliver Christian charity to the local communities whod suffered through the strongest earthquake ever recorded, a magnitude 9.5 that killed more than 4,000 people. The colonists built their own hospital, staffed it with their own doctors, and provided free health care to thousands of Chileans. But the groups leadera former Nazi nurse with a glass eye named Paul Schäferwas fleeing a child molestation rap in West Germany. Safely ensconced in this remote alpine village, he spent the next three decades transforming the countryside, where pines and palms form unlikely alliances, into a place of terror. Schäfer controlled the 300 residents with absolute authority, railing against the corruption of the outside world. Children were separated from their parents and siblings and raised communally in groups of 6 to 15. Televisions, computers, and calendars were banned. Sex was forbidden without Schäfers approval. If residents committed sins in thought or deed, they were required to confess them directly to Schäfer, who sometimes punished them with electric shocks.
In the 1970s, General Augusto Pinochets military regime found Colonia Dignidad to be friendly territory, and Schäfer allowed the dictators secret police to detain political dissidents on the property. Chiles National Commission for Truth and Reconciliation, which investigated the human-rights violations of Pinochets government after he ceded power in 1990, concluded that an unknown number of political prisoners were tortured within the enclave and that some of the colonys residents participated in the abuses. Several witnesses, including a former military security agent, have testified that political executions were also carried out on the premises. Famed Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal was convinced that Josef Mengele, the Angel of Death who oversaw deranged medical experiments at Auschwitz, enjoyed temporary refuge in Colonia Dignidad before fleeing to Brazil, where he died under an assumed name in 1979.
In 1997 more than 300 Chilean police descended on Colonia Dignidad to apprehend Schäfer, whod been accused of rampant child molestation by several former residents who had escaped. With the aid of the remaining colonists, Schäfer fled to Argentina. In 2005 he was caught and convicted of sexual abuse charges; he died in prison in 2010. Since then, more than 20 other colony elders have been convicted of aiding him in his abuses.
It got a lot more serious than this. It was goddawful. There are many psychologically badly damaged survivors, who might or might not be all that better off than the ones who were murdered there.
More information, posted in 2010:
Paul Schaefer, German Guilty of Chile Child Abuse, Dies at 89
U.S. should not interfere in Venezuela
By JUAN BLANCO PRADA
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
February 27, 2014 Updated 26 minutes ago
The United States should stop meddling in Venezuela.
Since the death of President Hugo Chavez, Venezuela has gone through two elections. The ruling coalition led by Chavez's successor, President Nicolas Maduro, won both of them.
In April 2013, Maduro won the presidency against the leader of the united opposition front, Henrique Capriles. The narrow margin of this victory, 1.6 percent of the vote, prompted a challenge by Capriles, but international observers certified the results as fair and clean.
In December, Venezuela held municipal elections. The opposition, boosted by a deteriorating economic situation, decided to turn the election into a plebiscite on Chavez's Bolivarian revolution.
To the consternation of the opposition leadership and supporters, the pro-government parties won a decisive victory, by a margin of 11 percent.
Source: Colombia Reports
Neo-paramilitaries announce the end of communist, homosexual students in Bogota
Feb 27, 2014 posted by Mimi Yagoub
This is the time for social cleansing, reads the most recent pamphlet by Colombian neo-paramilitaries, which threatens to take the lives of the communist, homosexual, immoral and rapist schoolchildren of Bogota.
A neo-paramilitary group known as the Aguilas Negras has issued a social cleansing pamphlet to schoolchildren in Colombian capital, Bogota, Colombias human rights agency, ombudsmans office, announced on Wednesday.
For the schools of Ciudad Bolivar, Kenedi, Bosa, Usme and others, fathers take care of you children, those who are crooked were going to straighten out by bullet or knife, either theyre with us or the c**** disappear, the pamphlet reads, referring to the students of various localities in Bogota.
This is the end of communist, homosexual students, immoral swines and rapists.
The ombudsmans office has called for authorities to put in place the necessary evacuation and security measures.
Read more: http://colombiareports.co/end-communist-homosexual-students-social-cleansers-threaten-colombia-schools/
February Traumas: The Third Insurrectionary Moment of the Venezuelan Right
Written by Jeffrey R. Webber and Susan Spronk
Tuesday, 25 February 2014 20:53
Today the counter-revolutionary Right is reactivating itself, according to long-time Venezuelan revolutionary Roland Denis, taking advantage of the profound deterioration that this slow revolutionary process is suffering. Its reappearance and interlacing with democratic civil society is a clear signal to the popular movement that we either convert this moment into a creative and reactivating crisis of the collective revolutionary will, or we bid farewell to this beautiful and traumatic history that we have built over the last 25 years.
For seasoned observers of Venezuelan politics, the events of the past week are a disheartening repetition of opposition-led resistance efforts that have yet again sought to undermine political stability in the country. This is not the first time in recent history that the opposition has resorted to extra-parliamentary tactics, including violence, to push their political agenda. Nor is it the first time that the mainstream media has provided generous airtime to opposition demonstrations in Caracas, repeating the sob stories of upper class Venezuelans repressed by the government because they cannot find toilet paper on the store shelves, or in a more laughable episode, ingredients to bake a cake.
As with most situations in which there has been a violent conflict over who controls the reins of the state, it is possible to find fault on both sides. As a February 22nd report by the Centre for Economic Policy Research notes, the political allegiances of the victims of the violence so far and their causes of death are varied. Of the eight deaths, two of the responsible assailants might be linked to the government, including a SEBIM agent (the Venezuelan intelligence service) who was not authorized to be at the protest. The head of SEBIM was subsequently fired and there is a warrant out for arrest of the agents who fired the shots.
Over the last few weeks, the functional role of the privately-owned media viewable in Venezuela, such as the Colombian television station NTN24 which also broadcasts in Colombia, and CNN en Español, based in the US, has been to promote and consolidate a matrix of opinion and interpretation around the recent events in Venezuela: peaceful protests have been lined up against excessive use of force by state security apparatuses. This frame has found its echo in virtually all of the presidential or prime ministerial statements on the recent conflicts in Venezuela issued by Western imperialist states over the last number of days.
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