Venezuela: Politics of assassination

Bodyguards cover president Nicolás Maduro as drones carrying explosives are shot down close to his platform (@XHNews / Twitter)

By TONY SEED*

(August 5, updated August 9, 14) – Both CBC and CTV national news on August 4 and August 5 openly contested that the terrorist drone attack in Caracas of August 4 constituted an attempted assassination of the president of that country, Nicolás Maduro, as affirmed by the Venezuelan government that night as well as video and photographic evidence provided by independent news sites in that country. They all but openly declared that the assassination attempt simply did not happen.

Mr Maduro was speaking at a commemorative ceremony marking the 81st anniversary of the Bolivarian National Guard, a branch of the armed forces. The event was being broadcast live to the nation.

Towards the end of the parade, various industrial DJIM600 drones – costing US $5000 each and more commonly used to carry cinematic cameras, but loaded with C4 explosives, a favourite material of the CIA’s Cuban-American terrorists – were shot down by snipers at 5.41pm, causing an explosion just metres away from the president, his wife Cilia Flores, and the Minister of Defence Vladimir Padrino. The military high command and other top civic leaders of the nation including Supreme Court judges and ambassadors were with the President. If successful, it would have been a mass assassination – broadcast live on TV. The aim was to decapitate the Venezuelan state, to strike terror in the ranks of the Bolivarian Revolution and simultaneously to precipitate an uprising which the authors believed would spell the doom of socialism in Venezuela. Venezuela’s interior minister Néstor Reverol that night said “six terrorists and hit men” had already been arrested, including one who had attacked the government before.

Using U.S. news agency reports, primarily Associated Press (AP), both CTV and CBC broadcasts suggested the statements issued by Venezuela were ambiguous and lacked credibility. Evidence is falsified or belittled. CTV and CBC both cited anonymous “firefighters” to suggest that the drone attack was a gas explosion in a nearby building. The firefighters are presented like representatives of working people, first responders, as ones who would know. Of course, in the heat of the moment and under pressure of deadline, journalists in a war zone can and do get facts wrong. But even the AP newswire, which originally reported this claim, stated that this could not be verified. At 8.30pm, within three hours of the drone attack, a terrorist front (see below) from Miami publicly took credit for the drone attack. This put paid to the nonsensical “gas explosion.” None of this is mentioned by either CBC nor CTV the next day – over 24 hours later – even though by this time the AP newswire had changed its story and dropped any mention of the gas explosion like a hot potato.

Furthermore, the independent Venezuelanalysis.com news portal immediately provided evidence that showed that it was one of the drones that had hit the building:

One of the explosions caused damage to a nearby tower block (AFP)

Regardless, the Canadian networks proceeded to viciously attack the Venezuelan government politically. CTV intoned that “Venezuela’s government routinely accuses opposition activists of plotting to attack and overthrow Maduro.” It implied that its statements about the assassination lacked credibility and that it is Venezuela that “routinely” falsifies reality. President Maduro, CTV went on to declare, was “unpopular”, even though he had just been re-elected, “which many countries [which are not named] accuse of being rigged.” [1] The governments of Nicolás Maduro and Hugo Chavez express the will of the Venezuelan people: to the consternation of Washington, they have never been defeated since Mr Chávez was first elected president in 1998. All in all, he was elected to four terms until his untimely death on 5 March 2013 at the age of 58. Nicolás Maduro Moros was ratified as president in the elections of May 20, with popular support of 67.76 per cent, according to updated figures from the National Electoral Council. Never mind that there have been international observers on hand that have testified to the fairness of Venezuela’s elections.

The precise wording of this allegation “routinely” turns up in broadcast after broadcast. Here it is on the U.S. Fox Sunday News: “Venezuela’s government routinely accuses opposition activists of plotting to attack and overthrow Maduro, a deeply unpopular leader who was recently elected to a new term in office in a vote decried by dozens of nations.” Facts do not matter. The logic of the conspiracy fantasy in their own minds is amoral and criminal, as if mass murder is a small matter without anything to do with the Rule of Law.

CTV’s news clip from Caracas showed guardsmen assembled before the podium apparently fleeing the street in panic and fear as if they are deserting the government. The New York Times also vilified the National Guardsmen, reporting from Caracas, “Suddenly, hundreds of national guardsmen, standing in formation for the parade, abandoned the president, scrambling in a panic to find safety.” Taking cover in an exposed position from an air attack seems to be a necessary response, no?

Soldiers take cover after attempted drone attack on President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas | Venezuelan State TV / Reuters

CTV does not show the bodyguards of the president immediately forming a solid shield around their leader, nor the steadfast calm of President Maduro. CBC does show the bodyguards but not their swift response to protect their president. It carefully edited the clip showing the president, his wife and others  on the podium so as to not show this happening:

Bodyguards the president following the explosion | Xinhua

The New York Times went so far as to qualify that it was “an apparent assassination attempt” (emphasis added). It stated that “We analyzed videos and photos to show how a speech by President Nicolás Maduro ended in an apparent assassination attempt.” Then came the photo credit: “Image by Xinhua, via Associated Press.” Xinhua is the New China News Agency. Further comment is superfluous.

In fact, one or more flying devices loaded with explosives were shot down by the presidential guard. This is hardly surprising, as Syrian defence forces have repeatedly shot down the vaunted Israeli attack drones as well as its “smart missiles.” Venezuelanalysis.com published this photo:

2018.08.04

The DJIM600 drone used in the attack is more commonly used for industrial work (DJI) | Venezuelanalysis.com

Jorge Rodríguez, the communication minister, appeared before reporters just after 7 pm to say that Mr. Maduro had personally asked him to “calm down the country.” President Maduro took to the TV at 9pm to assure people of his safety “without,” as he said, “sounding dramatic.”

“To all of our friends in the world, I am fine, I am alive.” He asked Venezuelans to soberly consider the consequences if the terrorist assault had been successful. He affirmed, “The Bolivarian revolution keeps its path.” The security and intelligence agencies began their investigation to root out the culprits minutes after the failed attack.

A CBC Radio listener from Ottawa, Greg Macdougall, informed this writer of its role in falsifying the news. “I found this version, its first story on 10 min World Report from Sunday morning ≤ http://podcast.cbc.ca/wr/wr_20180805.mp3  ≥ “It’s not quite what I heard later, but there’s also ‘The World This Week’ from Sunday evening [over 24 hours later] and there they’ve shifted to AP reporting about the firefighers.”

This “news” reporting is self-serving and right from the CIA playbook. The media is crying Havoc! and the dogs of war are being unleashed.

Response of the United States

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton took to Fox Sunday News at 10.30am. He cynically insinuated – without saying a word against a terrorist attempt on the life of a head of state – that the response of the Maduro government was “a pretext set up by the Maduro regime itself” to divert from the serious problems faced by Venezuelan society. “He’s said these things before.” His silence indicates his agreement and fuels terrorism. To what level must beastly brutality and moral degradation have risen, if we watch a slaughter and savour it like a medieval wild mob? Bolton acted on the principle of “you’re guilty anyway, because I want to eat.”

“I can say unequivocally there was no U.S. government involvement in this at all,” Bolton told host Chris Wallace. “If the government of Venezuela has hard information that they want to present to us that would show a potential violation of U.S. criminal law, we’ll take a serious look at it, but in the meantime I think what we really should focus on is the corruption and oppression in the Maduro regime in Venezuela.”

The response of Mr Bolton, who once falsely accused Cuba of manufacturing biological weapons, is suspect and self-serving and betrays a guilty conscience. Why such an exaggerated denial and attempt to change the narrative to blame the victim? At that point, no one had accused the U.S. government of being directly involved. President Maduro blamed the terrorist act on Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and elements of “the extreme right”: “I have to report that some of those responsible for the attack were captured and are being prosecuted, we have the evidence, they have tried to kill me, I have no doubt that behind this is the extreme right and Juan Manuel Santos,” he declared. After noting that several of those responsible for the attack – reported from Miami by a self-styled Grupo Fénix – live in the United States, he said he expects President Donald Trump to collaborate in fighting “terrorist groups that intend to commit assassinations.” Bolton’s reaction resembled the classic black propaganda tactic of blaming the other side in order to deceive and confuse.

The Bolton interview was immediately aired in Canada by CBC, CTV and Global News.

In an accompanying report, CBC’s veteran Washington bureau chief Keith Boag echoed Bolton. He speculated that “it [the assassination attempt] will be used as a distraction from the economic problems, which are severe.” Mr Boag did recall Trump’s barbaric threat to invade Venezuela, in the context of discussing “the adversial relationship” between the two countries, as if they are both on the same plane. Neither the CBC’s Boag nor CTV clarified the role of the United States against Venezuela in this “relationship.” In addition, the CBC anchor added to the Cold War narrative of “dictatorship” by speculating that Venezuela “will use the event to strong arm the opposition.”

Terrorists and the Anglo-American media

ON Saturday night, Spain’s El Mundo newspaper cited a twitter account and a statement which was dramatically read at 8.30pm by one Patricia Poleo of the Miami-based private news network “Factors of Power” – Operación Fénix, a group supposedly composed of active and reserve soldiers. They seek to overthrow the current government and form a military junta to monitor a transition process to restore “democracy” in the country. It alleged “the operation was to fly drones loaded with C4,” but said they were shot down by the presidential guard before reaching their target. The account also uploaded what it said were photos of the attack. This was surely known by Bolton.

The communique – very similar in its wording to the proclamation of the coup against Hugo Chávez on April 11, 2001 – adds that, noting that a good part of the government and its authorities have “failed to observe the Constitution and its norms” both in the exercise of “public power” as in “respect for the rights of Venezuelans”, the group had decided to intervene in order to fulfill its duty as military, in compliance with “Article 333” of the Constitution.

“It is contrary to the military honor to those who have not only forgotten the Constitution, but have made the public function a way to enrich and degrade,” said the statement, which concluded with a call to the Venezuelan population to go out to the street to support this military movement and consolidate “the seizure of power towards the formation of a transitional junta.”

In addition, a so-called “Flannel Soldiers” or “Soldiers in T-Shirts” (Soldados de Franela) immediately started using social media to take credit for the attempted assassination, as mentioned above. It put a message on Twitter in which it assumed responsibility for the attack and said its plan was to fly over two drones loaded with C-4 explosives, but snipers knocked them down before achieving their goal. “We show that they are vulnerable,” the message said. “It was not achieved today, but it’s a matter of time.”

None of this is mentioned by either CBC nor CTV in later broadcasts. Nor is this even investigated as a diversion. Miami is the longtime centre of organizing terrorist attacks against Cuba. It is a very real possibility that the “Flannel Soldiers” is a fictional front or a diversionary and convenient cover to shield the allegedly more respectable opposition forces of the bourgeois oligarchs from direct links with terrorism and assassination. This alibi is essential for the patron, as a fair share of terrorist crimes have become more and more desperate, and mounted from abroad, as the Venezuela government is alleging.

Obama Doctrine and targeted assassinations by drones

The politics of assassination represents the darkest reaction. The United States is the greatest organizer of assassinations of its opponents and patriotic and progressive personalities including heads of state in history. Drone warfare and targeted assassination by predator drones became the hallmark of the Obama Doctrine. Unlike the preceding Bush regime, aggression to overthrow what Obama deemed to be pariah regimes was to be waged not with regular U.S. forces, but with mercenaries, proxies, drones and U.S. Special Forces.

Obama personally approved those to be executed from the ‘kill list’ compiled by the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies. The president then had final say over who will be killed. This included individuals who had not been formally charged or tried in a court of law. To date, only three countries have used armed drones: the U.S. in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen; the UK in Afghanistan; and Israel in Gaza and Syria.

Targeted drone assassinations have been routinized in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. The August 4th attack in Caracas is perhaps the first time drones have been used in the Americas. In the face of failure, the U.S. under Trump is taking its revenge on all those who do not submit, either friend or foe. This includes the Executive Order issued by Obama in 2015 and extended by Trump describing Venezuela as “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy” of the United States; unilateral economic sanctions in violation of international law; the statement by the U.S. Secretary of State asserting that the Monroe Doctrine remains in full effect and calling for a military coup against the constitutional government of Venezuela; and the U.S. President’s threat of using “a possible military option” against the country.

Internationally, this constitutes the first drone attack against a head of state. A review of the news will show that the number of targeted assassinations in which either Israeli Mossad or U.S. agencies are implicated is growing dramatically. On the same day, Syrian and Lebanese news outlets reported that Aziz Azbar, the head of the Syrian Scientific Research and Studies Center in the city of Masyaf, was assassinated along with his driver in a car bomb attack on the night of August 5. The Syrian scientist had survived at least two Israeli aerial assaults over the past months on his research centre. Israel frequently attacks military targets inside Syria in an attempt to prop up U.S.-organized terrorist groups that have been suffering defeats against Syrian government forces.

Israeli culture and sport minister Miri Regev this week publicaly called for the assassination of the leaders of Hamas Palestinian resistance movement, stressing that “We must go back to the policy of targeted assassinations of leaders of this murderous terrorist group.” Since March 30, nearly 160 Palestinians have been killed and some 17,500 others wounded during attacks by the Israeli military targeting the March of Return protests, the Palestinian Health Ministry reports.

“Black ops” assaults by drone are mostly “off the book”. Congressional oversight does not happen for them as the impact within the U.S. is too small. Whereas the Bush presidency employed the method of embedding journalists in its attacking forces, the Obama Doctrine virtually excluded the media in practical terms. The money comes out of secret CIA and special forces accounts or is shaken out of some U.S. client state like Saudi Arabia. Force is applied willy-nilly. It doesn’t matter much who gets hit or why. The London based Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that between 424-969 civilians have been killed out of a total of 2,515-4,026 dead from at least 430 drone strikes conducted by the US in Pakistan alone since 2004.

On August 5, reports indicated that seven Venezuelan National Guard soldiers had been injured as a result of the failed assassination, three of them seriously. The extent of their injuries has not yet been revealed.

Seven National Guard members are reported to be injured | AP

Media manipulations and censorship

The monopoly media is nevertheless an integral part of such assaults by portraying the victims such as President Maduro as “deserving” of such things. Actual proof is not significant. The truth has nothing to do with whether they will attack this or that country. The imperialists use every and all opportunities to push their agenda. The usual justification is “terrorism” or the “moral” need to eliminate a “brutal regime,” while drone warfare is presented as “surgical and precise” and even “humanitarian.” In the name of high ideals, backwardness and distortions are being put forward in contempt of the Venezuelan people who are the victim of vicious intervention and aggression. The monopoly media uses all its resources to create disinformation about the events, refusing to explain the role of the U.S. and others and taking the opportunity to attack all those who stand in the way. [2]

Outside Canada, all the leading newspapers of Anglo-American imperialism from the New York Times – it declared the abortive coup attempt against the Hugo Chávez government in 2002 a “resignation” by the president – to the London Guardian played the same violin. This process is known as “the multiplier effect,” behind which is the police and military power of the U.S. state. [3] CNN in Spanish interrupted its transmission of President Nicolás Maduro’s speech on August 7 when he began to show videos, telephone recordings, photos, confessions, names of detainees and fugitives, etc. “CNN thus gave the pattern to the behaviour observed by the media of the continent,” notes Manuel Canieses on rebelion.org. It is to doubt or “debate” whether or not such an attempted assassination actually took place, while at the same to camouflage and shield the actual culprit.

In a word, information is weaponized. The assault on the Venezuelan state is now turning into an assault on conscience, speech and expression that is critical of or that opposes the U.S. dictate and the Politics of Assassination. It is not fortuitous that on August 9 Facebook arbitrarily “unpublished” the Facebook page of Venezuela Analysis (see herewith no warning or explanation, although it was later restored after an official appeal without explanation. The social media mega-giant has been presenting itself as a legitimate force to police political discourse. The implementation of a system of censorship is being placed in the hands of Facebook and Google. This places censorship outside of the public domain, beyond the reach of public mechanisms that are supposed to provide recourse to such an abuse of police powers. More recently (August 14), Patria Grande, a producer at teleSUR, tweeted that “Haiti Analysis was pulled from , a day after it pulled , and day’s after taking down . Worth noting the type of content shared on their page, including ‘s Venezuela coverage and republishing teleSUR English’s content.” TeleSUR English was disabled for the second time this year.

The aim of the monopoly media reports is to spread ignorance and doubt about the criminality of the drone attack, confusion and paralysis about the nature of the forces in combat in that country, and to give impunity to the politics of assassination. It cannot be described as “corporate bias” or misinformation. The spreading of doubt and hopelessness, helplessness and humiliation is a method – an integral part of the offensive of U.S. disinformation. Those who dissent or provide independent information are silenced or criminalized, in the name of defending democracy and national security. [2]

Other forgeries and lies demonstrate that the media manipulations, such as the ones we currently see in the Venezuelan conflict, are rather consistent props in the standard repertoire of the police and military power for escalating conflicts through violence, assassinations, atrocities and massacres. The technique of the media and U..S. official response to the deadly military coup attempt of July 15-17, 2016 against the government of Turkey, a NATO bloc member, merits attention. Initially the media began to cover events as if the rebels had almost succeeded, in a manner reminiscent of the 2002 abortive coup of the Hugo Chávez government. When it became clear it was going to fail, it was also ridiculed as “Coup 101” by CNN and a harmless Keystone Kops affair or dismissed as a “false flag” created by the Recep Erdoğan government. The main theme in media coverage then changed to “this came out of the blue” and “no-one saw this coming” – in the words of Sen. Jim Raisch (R) of the U.S. Select Committee on Intelligence. The fact remains that the F-16 fighter jets and helicopters involved in the bombing of Ankara (the capita)l and of Erdoğan’s vacation retreat were flying from the strategic U.S.-NATO Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey.

Response of Venezuela

Despite the ongoing brutal blockade and political, economic and social destabilization, Venezuela is showing the world that a people determined to defend their freedom and sovereignty are more powerful than any foreign force, no matter how strong and arrogant, overt or covert it is. The Venezuelan opposition, defeated by national elections, aims at taking power with fascist violence. The Venezuelan President replied that “they have not been able or will be able to beat me, they have not been able or will be able to beat us, be sure that we will continue the course of a homeland that seeks peace, development, prosperity, happiness, tranquility, love.” At the same time, he affirmed that “Venezuela will continue to follow the democratic, independent and socialist path”.

Prensa Latina reported that Venezuela’s Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino condemned the failed assassination attempt against Maduro and voiced the Armed Forces’ unwavering support to the President and the Government. Reactionary officers have hitherto participated in terrorist incidents during opposition rioting. On Sunday, the National Constituent Assembly of Venezuela strongly condemned the assassination attempt.

The Public Ministry has already appointed three national prosecutors to clarify the facts and determine both the material and intellectual authors.

TeleSUR reports that messages and statements of support and solidarity from world leaders, governments, and personalities continued pouring in Sunday as they condemned the assassination murder of President Maduro.

2018.08.06.Caracas demo.1

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans marched on August 6 in Caracas in defence of the Maduro government.

The shocking silence of Canada

More and more it is clear that CBC, CTV and Global News are incapable of providing Canadians with any independent, self-respecting Canadian journalism or objective Canadian point of view on the hemisphere and the important questions of foreign policy and war.

The CBC and CTV broadcasts on Venezuela on August 4 and 5 and the media coverage of the violent attack against the Venezuelan leadership (and most everything else) says more about the character and deficiencies of our own news media than it does about Venezuela. It talks about “foreign interference” in Canada, while demonstrating that it is more than willing to carry water for Washington and echo the obsequious role of the Canadian government than to ascertain and report the truth of the matter. The Canadian monopoly media that until Sunday August 6 demanded evidence about the attack it qualified as “presumed”, “alleged” or “he said”, are now “routinely” ignoring President Maduro’s factual revelations of a criminal conspiracy of terrorism. The silence shames this media.and journalism: any Journalism 101 student would recognize that this is a compelling “story” that is dramatic and sensational in its physiognomy and leap at the assignment to inform the people of how such murky forces operate against public will. On the other hand, the story of the humanitarian crisis, the problems of human rights and the character of “dictatorship”, are elements of the Bolton recipe exploited by the media in order to create all conditions conducive to facilitating and justifying the destabilization of the government of Nicolás Maduro and the process of change that Venezuela is experiencing. The food and medical blockade is accompanied by the blockade of news and information. The sole aim is to disinform the polity and its right to conscience and freedom of expression. In terms of Canada, this means that the aim is to make sure the formation of an organized opposition to the Trudeau government, which thinks that questions of war and peace can be decided without us, is not possible.

It is revealing that the normally busy Twitter feed of Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland is conspicuously silent on this attack against the head of a government in our own hemisphere, while she politely tweets about a barbaric feudal desert kingdom considered an ally with the Liberal hypocrisy that Canada is good and kind and defends “human rights.” Freeland is the vitriolic apologist for the violent and illegal 2014 putsch of the elected government of Ukraine. [4] Is the CBC state broadcaster speaking for her?

The Trudeau Liberals have been in the U.S. front line advocating imperialist intervention in Latin America inside and outside of the Lima Group. Opponents of the Bolivarian Revolution are feted in Canada and presented as heroic dissidents, while the Canadian prime minister gives speeches in New York denouncing “aggressive nationalism.”

Canadian Assistant Deputy Minister for the Americas, David Morrison (at left), and Ben Rowswell in Caracas, July 2014

The Canadian embassy in Caracas, which also represents Israel’s interests in Venezuela, has shown itself to be a nest of intrigue, subversion and espionage. This is how embassies promote “Canadian values” and connect directly with and promote dubious “human rights activists” in targeted countries where the U.S. wants regime change. Canada’s ambassador from 2014 to 2017, Ben Rowswell, specialized in this type of “direct diplomacy.” Openly referred to as “the combat diplomat”, the notorious ambassador was implicated in a failed coup attempt in February 2015, and disgraced Canada. [5]

In the military sphere, under the codename “Caribe Ops,” Canadian warships regularly patrol the Caribbean under the direct command of U.S. SouthCom with the pretext of the so-called “war against drugs.” Canadian Forces participate in the U.S. “Panamax” war games held annually in August in the Panama Canal zone since the 2002 abortive coup attempt against Hugo Chávez. In parallel, Canada is acquiring drones from Israel in a multi-million dollar purchase and supplying them to the Ukrainian army and private fascist militias fighting the pro-Russian separatists. Sanctions against Venezuela are a war crime but a formal declaration of war on Venezuela has been dispensed with by the U.S. and its clients working inside and out of the Organization of American States (OAS) such as the Lima Group. This would require an explanation before the world of a just cause to break the peace.

Likewise, the United States has not denounced the assassination attempt. When the violation of the rule of law is normalized, and targeted assassinations are presented by the big powers and their news agencies as par for the course, nobody is safe. States are given free rein to act outside the law and abuse of rights and terrorism are justified by higher good. It is unacceptable that the Prime Minister of Canada and all other ministers continue to remain silent. “The ends justify the means” is a corrosive rationale that subverts the advances that humanity has made over time to establish the rule of law and safeguards to protect democratic rights.

The onslaught of the disinformation of Bolton, CTV, CBC and others aims to sideline the people and smash their ability to unite in action from nation building whereby our sister countries become a factor for peace, not intervention and war. The aim is to prove that the people are powerless, e.g., “the lying machine is just too powerful for the truth to prevail,” that “people are sheep,” or spread the psychosis of fear amongst Canadians of a Latin America seething with violence, anarchy and chaos. [2] Combined with the assault on conscience and expression, this represents a broad assault on freedom of conscience and speech and the struggles of the peoples to affirm their rights and for empowerment.

While “targeted assassinations” are being presented by the monopoly media in an acceptable light by portraying the victims as “deserving” of such things (see also here), the same politics are being put in place at home in the form that all agencies of the state, not just “security” forces, can act with impunity. The most recent initiative is the creation of a new “Ministry of Border Security and Organized Crime” as part of Canada’s integration into U.S. Homeland Security and its police agencies such as United States Border Patrol. This must be ended.

Not only Venezuela and Canada but the entire world is at a crossroads: nation-wrecking or nation-building? Crushing the right to be versus affirming the right to be of individuals, peoples and nations. What to do? In contrast to the shocking indifference of the Trudeau government, Canadians must immediately speak out and condemn this crime. Journalists too have a duty to condemn the blockade by the monopoly media. Every voice counts. It is a great contribution and every voice counts!

End the sanctions against Venezuela! Organize for an anti-war government!

With files from Venezuelanaysis.com, TML Weekly and agencies.

*Former journalist and features writer, Globe and Mail, editor/publisher of Nova Scotia’s Shunpiking Magazine (1996-2009), recipient Journalist of the Year award (2007) and former member, Canadian Association of Journalists.

Notes

1.For detailed information on the June Venezuelan election, see Margaret Villamizar, The Venezuelan election on this blog. She reports:

Canada on its own and as part of the so-called “Lima Group” declared the election illegitimate and said it would not recognize the results – a position it took the day the election was called. Using its role as Chair of the G7 this year, Canada made sure that body did the same, having already made known it was putting Venezuela on the agenda for the upcoming G7 summit in Quebec.

In a statement on May 21, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland falsely accused the Venezuelan government of “restricting Venezuelans’ rights and liberty” and “preventing the free participation of opposition parties.” Exposing the hypocrisy of the Canadian government on a matter that goes to the heart of its own credibility crisis and the crisis of Canadian democracy, Freeland denounced the Bolivarian government for not allowing its people to have a voice in their own governance….

What’s more, Freeland’s lament that the people of Venezuela have allegedly been denied a voice came the day after her government denied over 5,000 registered Venezuelan electors resident in Canada their democratic right to vote in the presidential election by prohibiting Venezuela’s embassy and consulates from setting up polling stations inside their premises. The reason given for this gross interference was that Canada had decided the election was “illegitimate”!

2.For an excellent discussion of this method, on which this article draws, see TML Weekly, Disinformation on gas attacks in Syria (4): The falsification of evidence is the falsification of history

3. The circuitous process of recycling dubious claims until they are reported as true has a long history. The U.S. Senate’s hearings on the CIA’s efforts to overthrow Chile’s government in 1973, the Church Committee, extensively documented the Agency’s use of this technique, known as the “multiplier effect.” The CIA would work to ensure that false claims about the Chilean government were published and then picked up by other periodicals, so that they gradually acquired credibility.

4. In Ukraine, following a strategy of escalation, the Maidan massacre on February 20, 2014 was attributed to repressive organs of the government or to unspecified Russians. That bloodbath, of more than 100 people killed, accelerated the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych.In Ottawa this was also used as the decisive justification for the putsch and US-NATO military intervention: a president, who deliberately orders the massacre of demonstrators, has forfeited his right to office. Beginning with Stephen Harper, successive Canadian ministers made pilgrimages to lay flowers in Kiev for the victims, the “Heavenly Hundred” –  although only from one side.

As has now been confirmed by witnesses, independent experts and European media, armed demonstrators were the first to open fire on police, and only then, did repressive forces return fire, when they were caught in a hail of bullets while retreating. It could not have been a government-planned massacre. Furthermore, evidence indicates that the snipers, who had shot to kill, were on the side of the government’s opponents. Some of the snipers were imported for this mission, including three recruited from the entourage of then-President Mikheil Saakashvili, together with a US soldier under the assumed name of Brian Christopher Boyenger. The Georgians also report that the “commander of the Maidan,” Andriy Parubiy, was often seen in the hotel, from where the snipers were firing that day. Meanwhile, Parubiy, the former fascist leader, according to former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, was conferring with the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, throughout the upheavals almost on an hourly basis. Parubiy has been received in Ottawa with honours in 2015 and 2016 after becoming head of the National Security and Defence Council and since April 14, 2016 Vice Chairman of the Ukrainian parliament. The consequences of this collusion can be seen in the war in eastern Ukraine which has claimed more than 10,000 lives to which Ottawa has despatched military and police forces as well as arms.

5. Rowswell is regarded as Canada’s foremost expert in “digital” or “direct diplomacy” and has a long history in subversion. He received training in the United States at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service from 1989 to 1993 paid for by the Inter-American Development Bank headquartered in Washington, of which his stepfather was executive director for Canada,  and later in 2011 at Stanford University. He boasted to the Ottawa Citizen in August 2017 how the Canadian embassy was using the Internet to interfere in the internal affairs of Venezuela:

“We established quite a significant internet presence inside Venezuela, so that we could then engage tens of thousands of Venezuelan citizens in a conversation on human rights. We became one of the most vocal embassies in speaking out on human rights issues and encouraging Venezuelans to speak out.”

Can one imagine the hue and cry if any ambassador organized something similar in Canada? Rowswell added that Canada would continue to support the opposition of the oligarchs to the Venezuelan government after his departure from Caracas since “Freeland has Venezuela way at the top of her priority list.”

“Digital diplomacy” is a euphemism for cyberwarfare through the use of anti-social media as well as hacking and other means. The anti-social media such as the Twitter service embraced by the Harper and Trudeau governments is integrated with the U.S. state military and espionage agencies. This 2014 article gives more on Rowswell’s background as a counter-insurgency specialist: “Digital diplomacy: Harper’s new ambassador modernizes Canada’s hidden agenda in Venezuela.”

For an indepth discussion on the “Weaponization” of social media, see “NATO on Social Media – The Threat to Liberal Democracy,” TML Weekly, February 24, 2018 – No. 7.

(From a Facebook post. Thanks to Pita Venegas who first raised this issue with me.)

For further information on Canada’s role against Venezuela:

Venezuela: Who is Ben Rowswell?

‘Digital diplomacy’: Harper’s new ambassador modernizes Canada’s hidden agenda in Venezuela

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  1. Pingback: Venezuelan people march on Monday to support President Maduro | Tony Seed's Weblog

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  3. Pingback: Venezuelans march in support of Maduro and Bolivarian Rvolution | Tony Seed's Weblog

  4. Pingback: Canadians condemn attempted assassination of president of Venezuela – Trudeau government continues shocking indifference | Tony Seed's Weblog

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