Looking Glass World
By Stephen Lendman
09 June, 2007
at it again on the Journal's editorial page in her June 4 article called
"The Young and the Restless," subtitled "Is this the
beginning of the end for Hugo Chavez?" The writer is self-styled
Latin American expert Mary Anastasia O'Grady always getting top grades
in vilification and disinformation but failing ones on regional knowledge
and legitimate journalism.
This time she may have overstepped. Her article wreaks with disinformation,
outright lies, and most disturbing of all - incendiary commentary straddling
the tipping edge of inciting insurrection. She can get away with it
because she represents elitist interests and the Journal's editorial
view supporting the Bush administration's fixation on ousting Hugo Chavez
by any means, including through violence. It doesn't matter that Chavez
was just reelected again in December by a near two to one margin or
that he's admired and loved by the great majority of Venezuelans. They're
unperturbed and/or supportive of his shuttering RCTV's VHF Channel 2
overshadowing that issue being used as a pretext for suspicious violent
street protests, mainly in Caracas. More on that below.
It's clear O'Grady will fit
right in if the Journal's controlling Bancroft family succumbs to greed
selling out to Rupert Murdock's wooing. That prospect's got Journal
employees apoplectic. They're scrambling through their union seeking
an alternate buyer willing to grant what Murdock never will - journalistic
independence and what's left of the paper's tattered integrity. Those
ideas are anathema to how he views journalism, and he's not shy saying
Bruce Page wrote about him in his new book, "The Murdock Archipelago,"
calling him "one of the world's leading villains (and) global pirates."
Murdock is clear, according to Page. He wants his journalistic empire
to be a privatized "state propaganda service, manipulated without
scruple and with no regard for truth (in return for) vast government
favors such as tax breaks, regulatory relief, and monopoly" market
control free as possible from competitors having too much of what Murdock
wants for himself. The problem is he usually gets his way. Unless Journal
employees stop him, the WSJ's independence and status as a legitimate
publication are over. Under Murdock control, no distinction will be
made between real news, editorial opinion and agitprop, and no views
will be tolerated, henceforth, contrary to Mr. Murdock's. That's how
he operates throughout his media empire - take it or leave and find
another line of work.
The way O'Grady writes, she's
not on board with other staffers against the Bancroft family sellout.
Murdock will love her views, may give her more latitude and maybe more
space as well. Let's hope she's disappointed, that Journal employees
retain their independence, and Journal readers keep what they now have
free from the venomous claws of the villanous king of media moguls.
On June 4, O'Grady was warming
up for the Murdock era, but her circuits were crossed, and she's straddling
a dangerous line. Despite her claim or hope, it's not the end of Hugo
Chavez in a nation where two-thirds of the people adore him and all
but the "sifrino" well-off 15 - 20% want no one else as president.
They plan keeping him as long as he wants the job regardless of O'Grady's
delusional musings. She might also try getting her facts straight, hard
as that is for her.
She wrote "As tens of
thousands of antigovernment student protestors poured into the streets
of Caracas last week and national guard troops used tear gas and rubber
bullets against them, many observers were asking whether....Chavez had
finally met his Waterloo." Sorry Mary. Your count needs fine-tuning
and your commentary an explanation of what really went on, why, for
whose benefit, and who's behind it.
For starters, a moderately
large protest march took place in Caracas May 28 after Radio Caracas
Television's (RCTV) VHF Channel 2 went off the air at midnight May 27.
A much larger crowd of supporters dwarfed the opposition, unmentioned
in O'Grady's column. A new public TV station, TVes, went on the air
immediately, mandated by the Venezuelan Constitution to do for all Venezuelans
what RCTV never did serving corporate interests alone.
RCTV lost its operating license
because it broke the law and continued flaunting it openly. It playing
a leading role instigating and supporting the aborted April, 2002 coup
against President Chavez mass public support on the streets helped overturn.
At year's end, it conspired again in the economically devastating main
trade union confederation (CTV) - chamber of commerce (Fedecameras)
lockout and industry-wide oil strike. It cost state oil company PDVSA
an estimated $14 billion from lost revenue and willful sabotage of its
facilities. In January and late May, this writer twice wrote about these
events detailing how RCTV flaunted the law, especially in an article
titled "Venezuela's RCTV Acts of Sedition."
No government should tolerate
seditious acts, especially from its broadcasters able to reach and influence
large audiences. Chavez, however, was tolerant letting RCTV's VHF Channel
2 continue on-air until its license expired. His National Telecommunication
Commission (CONATEL) then, with full justification, refused to renew
it. RCTV broke the law and flaunted the public trust. But it wasn't
silenced and is still able to broadcast through cable and satellite
where media like CNN in the US thrive. It even set up huge public screens
in upscale neighborhoods airing its programming for street viewers there.
Shuttering Channel 2 isn't a free speech issue. It's a public trust
and responsibility one. In how he governs, Chavez respects that as his
duty to all Venezuelans. RCTV consistently failed on all counts. Yet,
it got off with a wrist slap.
The protests continued, nonetheless,
on Monday with several thousand students from several universities demonstrating
in central Caracas. Pro-business newspaper El Universal and other reports
said violence broke out between demonstrators and police after students
threw rocks at a government building. The police acted to stop it they
as they should, but not as O'Grady wrote making it sound like a military
About 200 students also burned
tires and boxes blocking traffic at Plaza Brion in the Chacaito neighborhood,
then again attacked a government building. Police were forced to use
tear gas and perdigones, or plastic shrapnel, in response with protestors
throwing with rocks and bottles.
Protests continued for several
days with opposition media channel Globovision falsely reporting demonstrations
were peaceful and police attacked without provocation. It's this kind
of reporting, common on Globovision and other corporate media channels,
that made Chavez speak out on national television May 29 warning Globovision
specifically he will act against it if its violence-inciting reports
don't stop. He did what any responsible leader must to maintain law
and order saying he won't tolerate privately run media or public officials
openly inciting violence and chaos in the country.
What Venezuela's National
Assembly did allow is something unimaginable in the US where democracy
is more illusion than fact. It invited students on both sides of RCTV's
shuttering to debate it before a full session of congress. When they
came June 7, it highlighted what's evident on the streets - the sharp
class divide showing students from elitist families in the protests
while the great majority of ordinary Venezuelans, benefitting from Bolivarianism,
The National Assembly forum
was held June 7. Each side showed up with a list of 20 speakers, but
things didn't go as planned. Protesting student representatives came,
then left after the first pro-government speech saying nothing after
its leader's comment that protests would continue. It proved free expression
isn't the issue at all as, given the chance to make their case to congress,
student agitators chose not to do it.
When exposed to the truth
in a public forum, their hypocrisy imploded. It can't stand against
Chavez's commitment to participatory democracy at the grassroots, true
respect for free and open expression, and support for free quality education
at all levels. His government just increased access to it further by
eliminating university entrance exams and raising teachers' salaries,
according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. It's part of an effort
to give children of the poor and working class equal access to what
those of the well-off always had.
Made-For-Media Staged Street
We've seen this scheme on
the streets play out before. It preceded the aborted 2002 Venezuelan
coup with Washington's dirty hands all over it. US administrations often
pull these stunts as a tactical way to incite trouble, at times having
something more devious in mind like ousting a sitting government it's
become expert doing. Often when it happens anywhere, you can bet on
-- The ruling government
isn't a US client state. That means it's unwilling to sacrifice its
own sovereignty to that of the lord and master of the universe.
-- Secondly, Washington's
dirty hands are all over it, and no stunt is too underhanded to use,
including murder. Unconfirmed reports indicate seven or more Chavistas
have already been killed in the violence.
Past May Be Prologue
On August 19, 1953, a Washington-orchestrated
CIA implemented coup ousted the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh
Iranian nationalist government whose "crime" was challenging
US-UK corporate interests. Masterminding CIA's Operation Ajax was Theodore
Roosevelt's grandson Kermit. It took him two attempts to do it, and
key making it work involved bribing Iranian military officers and engineering
street protests like what's ongoing now in Venezuela, mainly in Caracas.
Venezuelans should take note of the Iranian experience. Following the
coup, the US reinstated Shah Reza Pahlavi to power ushering in his 25
year reign of terror leading to the 1979 revolution ousting him.
Mossadegh was lucky staying
alive. He died in 1967 at age 82, but lived under house arrest in his
hometown of Ahmad Abad. Chavez won't likely fare as well if a US coup
against him succeeds. He won't be tried in a staged kangaroo court trial
like Saddam and then hanged. Washington won't let him survive that long
realizing it erred in 2002 when it had a chance to eliminate him and
didn't. This time it will, Chavez knows it, and possibly we're witnessing
the latest US attempt to do it using RCTV's shuttering as a pretext.
That's how things played
out in Chile in 1973 when Nixon, Kissinger and CIA ousted and murdered
democratically elected Salvador Allende ushering in 16 years of fascist
rule under General Augusto Pinochet. It began with Nixon "making
the (Chilean) economy scream" leading up to CIA-instigated destabilization
and bloody military coup on another September 11. Prior to it, the anti-Allende
disinformation campaign championed "freedom of the press"
with CIA money given right wing daily newspaper El Mercurio for anti-government
propaganda. Washington also orchestrated an international disinformation
campaign against the Allende government smearing his socially democratic
administration similar to what's happening now against Chavez on the
same issue of free expression and the media.
Back to the Present
It wasn't surprising US Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice used the June Organization of American States
(OAS) general assembly to lash out at Chavez on the RCTV issue calling
on OAS to investigate the state of freedom of expression in Venezuela.
Without a touch of irony, she championed "Freedom of expression,
freedom of association and freedom of conscience" in a democracy.
She neglected to mention her own government openly defiles democracy
saying challenging its policies is unpatriotic or even treasonous with
George Bush stating "Either you are with us, or you are with the
Bush had more to say in Prague
en route to the G-8 summit in Germany saying "In Venezuela, elected
leaders have resorted to shallow populism to dismantle democratic institutions
and tighten their grip on power." The shameless US Senate agreed
passing a resolution denouncing Chavez and supporting RCTV - another
example of how complicit the Democrat-led Congress is with Bush's imperial
Various human rights organizations,
like Human Rights Watch, have been co-opted as well joining in this
outrageous attack. So did Reporters Without Borders with a long record
ignoring real abuses and denouncing phony ones all too often. Then there's
the notorious (US) National Endowment of Democracy (NED) that's funded
and operated to subvert what it claims to stand for and has an ugly
record doing it. It works with CIA doing overtly what the spy agency
does sub rosa - helping to oust democratically elected leaders unwilling
to be submissive US clients.
Peru's Alan Garcia serves
the elite so his lawlessness was ignored when he pulled the operating
licenses of two TV stations and three radio stations. The likely reason
was their support for a strike Garcia opposes because, unlike Chavez,
he's subservient to Washington and no democrat.
Summing up, what's playing
out on Venezuela's streets is part of a made-in-Washington attempt weaken
Hugo Chavez through a phony trumped up scheme denouncing him for opposing
free expression, using RCTV's shuttering as the pretext. This writer
even got one unconfirmed report elitist university professors ordered
their students to the streets in protest or get failing grades in their
courses if they refused. It's likely true, so many in the protest crowds
weren't there for conviction, but fearing retribution in class if they
Chavez supporters, however,
aren't being quiet although their actions go unreported in the US and
Venezuelan corporate media. Chris Carlson (from Venezuela) wrote in
Venezuela Analysis June 1 that "Organizations, journalists, students,
activists and intellectuals in Venezuela accused the national and international
media of waging a campaign against Venezuela" as part of destabilization
efforts over the past few days...."the RCTV protests and media
coverage of them have a hidden agenda directed by the United States
and their Venezuelan allies to destabilize the country."
Carlson continued saying
over 600 social organizations attended a May 31 press conference in
Caracas. They signed a document rejecting the "imperial interference
to destabilize and overthrow the Bolivarian government" citing
interference by CIA. They also supported Chavez's shuttering of RCTV
and revealed evidence from documents obtained that Washington (through
NED) paid RCTV and Globovision journalists to incite street violence
on-air that could result in deaths hoping to discredit and weaken Chavez.
They further claimed RCTV and Globovision systematically "called
for subversion, chaos, fascism, terrorism, and assassination" acting
as "spokespersons for foreign interests" - namely the Bush
administration. Its ultimate objective is to "overthrow and assassinate
President Hugo Chavez," they said.
Pro-Chavez students joined
in denouncing the corporate media smear and violence inciting plan saying
"We, the university students, denounce....the destabilization plan....promoted
by the private media (serving) the national and transnational elite.....We
repudiate (lies) to alter the public order and peace" to create
conditions like April, 2002 and the 2002-03 industry lockout and oil
Wall Street Journal O'Grady's
Role in Washington's Scheme to Destabilize Chavez's Government and Oust
O'Grady writes a weekly "Americas"
column for the Journal's hard right editorial page at times extreme
enough to make a Nazi blush. Once Murdock arrives, it's hard imagining
how much worse it may get, but he has a way of surprising for the worst.
It may not be long finding out how bad. Imagine Fox News on every WSJ
page or more O'Gradys making them even worse.
In her June 4 column, O'Grady
writes: Chavez is "An avowed Marxist....in the process of destroying
his country....he is also an international menace....using his oil wealth
to sow revolution, a la Fidel Castro, in South and Central America (and)
a dear friend of the Iranian government. Most of Latin America....has
his number, and it would be hard to find a democrat in the Western Hemisphere
who wouldn't cheer his retirement and the return of checks and balances
in Venezuelan government."
Space won't allow a proper
and thorough denunciation of this line of vitriolic, hateful rot. Understanding
what's really happening in Venezuela under Chavez and his relations
in the region and beyond requires only flipping this rhetoric on its
head to know the truth. Read "Hugo Chavez's Social Democratic Agenda"
by this writer to get the facts in detail, not O'Grady's agitprop fiction.
It explains the Chavez agenda comparing it to Washington under George
Bush who's no democrat, unlike Chavez who's a model one. And that's
the problem as Bush neocons see him as their greatest of all threats
- a good example that's spreading and must be stopped.
O'Grady continued saying
"film footage....featured unarmed university students....caught
in clouds of tear gas, being chased and beaten by helmeted jackboots,
and fired on with water cannons. (They were spurred) by eight years
of property confiscations, the jailing of government adversaries and
the manipulation of voter rolls and elections (but now) the attack on
free speech hit a nerve and sent them to the streets." The resistance
movement "focus(es) on freedom and calls to end the dictatorship....with
polls showing more than 70% of Venezuelans opposed to the closing of
RCTV....(there's) simmering discontent in the economy as well (with)
Venezuelans no better off than....eight years ago (before Chavez). Food
shortages are growing....A perfect storm may be brewing."
Again, turn all this on its
head to know the truth - the exact opposite of what O'Grady writes,
and it's shameful she's allowed to get away with it. Sadly, that's the
state of the dominant US media that's right out of Orwell with war being
peace, freedom being slavery, and ignorance being strength. O'Grady's
pathetic writing alone proves it. Journalism it's not.
She continues saying "Chavez
has fallen from grace and a majority of Venezuelans now want him gone
(but he won't likely) go down without a fight." He has built up
support inside the military, armed a street militia and refined intelligence
tactics using Cuban personnel....(He) no longer feels it necessary to
keep up the appearance of a democracy." No comment needed except
to say O'Grady got one thing right. Chavez does have support in the
military also infiltrated with rogue elements opposing him. She ends
her hate piece practically calling for insurrection saying Chavez won't
relinquish power voluntarily as O'Grady practically demands. But "Given
his failing popularity, a showdown, sooner or later, is more than probable."
O'Grady writes these articles
from an elitist perspective. Her background is from earlier Wall Street
and extremist Heritage Foundation employment before joining the Journal.
She's now tasked to write black propaganda for the imperial government
in Washington she pledges fealty to. No matter it's a near-fascist administration
building a military colossus, waging war on the world, shredding civil
liberties at home, and destroying the social state to pay for it - an
agenda O'Grady champions winning awards writing about it.
Mirror opposite of what O'Grady
writes, the great majority of Venezuelans want none of it. They had
it for generations under repressive rule till Chavez was elected in
December, 1998 and took office in February, 1999. Under him, social
democracy bloomed, and the great majority of Venezuelans benefit under
it in ways Americans can't imagine. They'd be outraged to learn they
lack essential social benefits (in the richest country in the world)
all Venezuelans have - because of Hugo Chavez's dedication to all the
people, not just the privileged under democracy US-style.
In Venezuela, it's the real
thing, although still a work in progress undoing generations of governments
of, by and for the rich and well-off alone. No longer, and people like
O'Grady denounce it because it works so well shaming the state of things
in America she won't reveal. She can keep railing, but facts, in the
end, trump rhetoric, and Venezuelans have them. They need only cite
their daily lives in socially democratic Venezuela compared to how things
were in the past. They're not about to go quietly into the night letting
that be lost. They fought for it once. If threatened, they'll do it
again, sending a message to others - you, too, can have this. Just go
for it, including in America where the need is greater than ever under
Stephen Lendman lives in
Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site
at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Steve Lendman News and Information
Hour on TheMicroEffect.com Saturdays at noon US central time.
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