She’s 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
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 it.
Australian-raised author 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
For starters, a moderately large protest march took place in
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 “
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
The protests continued, nonetheless, on Monday with several thousand students from several universities demonstrating in central
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.
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 Protests
We’ve seen this scheme on the streets play out before. It preceded the aborted 2002 Venezuelan coup with
– The ruling government isn’t a
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
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
That’s how things played out in
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
Bush had more to say in
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 (
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 demurred.
Chavez supporters, however, aren’t being quiet although their actions go unreported in the
Carlson continued saying over 600 social organizations attended a May 31 press conference in
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 strike.
Wall Street Journal O’Grady’s Role in
O’Grady writes a weekly “
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
Space won’t allow a proper and thorough denunciation of this line of vitriolic, hateful rot. Understanding what’s really happening in
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
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
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.
Stephen Lendman lives in
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