Old Cold Warriors Don’t Die, They Just Become Pro-Tyranny Communications Professionals

And you thought, hoped, dreamed the Cold War was over. Well, not on the New York Times’ watch, baby.

The New Pravda (New York Times) published on November 24 a creepy Simon Romero “article” positively crowing over Chavez’s recent electoral losses to Venezuelan elites. Can the NYTimes not once tone down the overbearing propaganda on the subject of Chavez? Holy fucking shit. Pretend you’re not the Wall Street Journal. I know this junk is fed to you by your sanctimonious, over-entitled, Harvard-classmate Venezuelan elite buddies, but the professional communications on this matter is just really, really ugly. It is completely untrustworthy from any perspective other than that of a Shell shareholder or a 5,000 acre ranch-owning Venezuelan media tycoon. Think of your poor, educated middle class American audience, won’t you? Just a little, tiny bit of respect. Publishing such heavy-handed right-wing dogma makes your liberal postures on other issues look alarmingly superficial. Scratch under the surface of a liberal, and all of a sudden it’s Pinochet, Franco, and the Contras…and we’re waterboarding away!

Providing a bit of relief, constitutional lawyer-turned-journalist Glenn Greenwald dresses the NYTimes down a bit for some of this propaganda overkill in “Mumbai, the NYT’s revisionism, and lessons not learned” (Salon.com, November 28), as well as the NYT’s anti-law/pro-torture slant, in “How the media talks about torture and the rule of law.”

Economists Robert Chernomas and Ian Hudson (who co-authored “Social Murder,” a very readable analysis and critique of conservative economics, published out of Winnipeg by Arbeiter Ring Press) are soon publishing a contemporary-historical examination of the New York Times’ politics, featuring a look at the history of the NYT’s hoary verbal savaging of social democratic countries.

Raping Bolivia

You can read, from an imperialist perspective, a little bit about how the US has not given up on pillaging Latin America. The US has been sponsoring elite Bolivians in the eastern natural gas-producing regions to fight to prevent Bolivia from using its natural gas to develop economically and socially. They claim that they want to hoard the wealth for themselves. But, in this way, the US can maintain control over the natural gas and dribble some payola down to its corrupt Bolivian proxies, while Bolivia itself rots. Same old, same depressing old.

Even the best possible outcome here entails the US getting more fascist refugees, to add to our happy multicultural family of antisocial right-wing nut bars. More awesomeness.

So currently diplomatic relations between Morales’ Bolivia (and in solidarity Venezuela) and the old, over-reaching US of A are not so good. 

Colombia 2008

From Public Citizen:

“(April 23), the lies of the Bush administration and the Colombian government were laid bare as Colombian President Álvaro Uribe’s cousin and closest political advisor, Mario Uribe, was arrested for his connections with murderous right-wing paramilitaries responsible for assassinations of union activists and forced displacements of Afro-Colombians and other citizens from their lands.

…Colombia has the world’s highest rate of assassinations of union leaders and activists and it is now increasing relative to last year. More than 400 unionists have been killed by right-wing paramilitaries – and in some cases in collusion with the Colombian army – since President Alvaro Uribe took office. The Uribe government has signaled this horrific conduct is acceptable by prosecuting less than 3 percent of these cases.

The right-wing paramilitaries – often with the Colombian army’s cooperation – have also waged a systematic campaign to violently displace Afro-Colombians from their lands so that national and international companies can exploit these rich territories. Gruesome massacres, killings of community leaders, threats and intimidation have resulted in approximately 79 percent of the Afro-Colombian population who lived on collective lands being forcibly displaced.

It’s time we stop President Bush’s agreement with a government leading a morally repellent campaign of murder and violence against thousands of Colombians seeking to exercise their most basic human rights.”

Colombian Spook Yamhure threatens Swedish lives

NORDIC NEWS NETWORK
9 January 2008

Colombian “Diplomat” Threatens Lives
Of Regime Critics and Swedish Journalist

A Swedish journalist with long experience of Latin America is the primary target of thinly veiled death threats from the former head of intelligence at Colombia’s Stockholm embassy.

Writing in the leading Colombian weekly El Espectador , Ernesto Yamhure has accused reporter Dick Emanuelsson of being, among other things, “the FARC guerrillas’ representative in Europe” and “one of FARC’s more important ambassadors in Europe”. Similar accusations have also been aimed at Swedish and Colombian parliamentarians, and two solidarity organizations based in Sweden.

In the past, such accusations have often been followed by the torture and murder of the accused. Over 120 journalists are known to have been murdered in Colombia during the past twenty years, while others have fled into exile, sought safety in self-censorship or switched to less deadly occupations.

“Of course, there is not an ounce of truth in the absurd statements of Yamhure,” says Dick Emanuelsson, whose reporting has been a source of irritation to brutal regimes in Latin America for over a quarter-century. “This is just one more example of the Uribe government and its henchmen attempting to frighten journalists and others into silence.”

The reaction of the Swedish government has not been especially visible or robust, reflecting the transformation that the country has undergone since the assassination of Olof Palme in 1986– from widely respected, independent voice of reason in world affairs to just another vassal-state within the U.S. empire.

Details in PDF document at: http://www.nnn.se/nordic/colombia.pdf

Phillip Agee

CIA whistleblower Phillip Agee dies

modified from the story by
Fred Attewill and agencies
Wednesday January 9, 2008
Guardian Unlimited

Philip Agee, a former CIA agent who became a critic of Washington’s Cuba policy, has died aged 72, Cuban state media reported today.

Bernie Dwyer, a Radio Havana journalist, said Agee had been in hospital since last month, where he died following several operations for perforated ulcers. Dwyer said friends planned a remembrance ceremony for Agee on Sunday at his Havana apartment.

Granma, Cuba’s communist party newspaper, said Agee died on Monday night and described him as “a loyal friend of Cuba and fervent defender of the peoples’ fight for a better world”.

A Brief Biography of Phillip Agee:

Agee quit the CIA in 1969 after 12 years in which he mainly worked in Latin America.

His famous 1975 book, Inside the Company: CIA Diary, cited CIA violations against leftist people in the region and included a 22-page list of agency operatives.

In Britain, Agee worked with journalists to list the names of the agents, leading to many spies being sent back to Washington (at least temporarily) with their cover blown.

In comments published last year, Agee explained his decision to expose the CIA: “It was a time in the 70s when the worst imaginable horrors were going on in Latin America. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Guatemala, El Salvador – they were military dictatorships with death squads, all with the backing of the CIA and the US government. That was what motivated me to name all the names and work with journalists who were interested in knowing just who the CIA were in their countries.”

His intent to destabilise the organisation’s own disruptive operations by revealing the identities of CIA agents infuriated the right wing US intelligence community.

Agee wanted to settle in Cambridge, England with his partner, Angela, a Brasilian who had been jailed and tortured by the right wing in her own country, and his two young sons by his former wife. He intended to continue exposing the CIA, but he was deported from England in 1978 as a “threat to the security of the state”. Agee thinks that the British prime minister Jim Callaghan acted under the instruction of the US secretary of state, Henry Kissinger. Kissinger’s vengeance was meted out because he believed that Agee’s exposure of CIA activities in Jamaica influenced the Jamaican elections in favour of progressive Michael Manley and against the US’s own preferred right wing politicians.

Agee settled in Germany with his new partner, the ballet dancer Giselle Roberge, and later split his time between Hamburg and Havana. In 1979, his US passport was finally revoked and was never returned.

Though he was punished, Agee had no regrets about his decision to blow the whistle on the CIA. He said: “There was a price to pay. It disrupted the education of my children [Phil and Chris, then teenagers] and I don’t think it was a happy period for them. It also cost me all my money. Everything I made from the book, I had to spend.

“But it made me a stronger person in many ways and it ensured I would never lose interest or go back in the other direction politically. The more they did these dirty things, the more they made me realise what I was doing was important.”

Under the US Freedom of Information Act, Agee was able to discover the CIA had accumulated 18,000 pages of information on him.

Agee was denounced as a traitor by George Bush Sr and was threatened with death by his former colleagues in the CIA.

The US right wing repeatedly blamed Agee for the death of Richard Welch, the CIA station chief in Athens who was assassinated in 1975. Explained Agee, “George Bush’s father [George Bush Sr] came in as CIA director in the month after the assassination and he intensified the campaign, spreading the lie that I was the cause of the assassination. His wife, Barbara, published her memoirs and she repeated the same lie, and this time I sued and won, in the sense that she was required to send me a letter in which she apologised and recognised what she wrote about me was false. They’ve tried to make this story stick for years. I never know what government hand or neocon hand is behind the allegations, and I don’t pay too much attention, but I know I haven’t been forgotten.” While the Bush family tried to hang the Athens CIA chief’s death on Agee’s work to counter state terrorism, George Bush Jr. outed CIA agent Valerie Plame when the politics suited the right wing’s interests.

Agee was a great supporter of Cuba’s progressive policies providing universal healthcare and education, and he regarded the current US president, George W. Bush, as the “antithesis” of those achievements.

Writing in the Guardian last year, he said: “All Cuba’s achievements have been in defiance of US efforts to isolate Cuba. Every dirty method has been used, including infiltration, sabotage, terrorism, assassination, economic and biological warfare and incessant lies in the media of many countries.”

Agee denied claims from a former Cuban intelligence officer he had received $1m from Cuban intelligence.

Despite the long-running bitterness between him and the US authorities, Agee was allowed to return to the US many times without being arrested and was allowed back into Britain under John Major’s government.

In the 1990s, Agee set up a company to bring visitors to Cuba. Many travellers came from the US, even though Americans are forbidden by law from visiting the country.

Until his death, Agee remained committed to exposing the repressive operations of the CIA. Last year, he was working on a book about the CIA’s activities in Venezuela.

The Kingdom of Spain

It’s just diversionary propaganda, interpersonal conflict accessible to know-nothing Communications Professionals, but as far as Chavez and the King of Spain go:

Juan Carlos, the King of Spain betrayed the Spanish military fascists by surprise transferring his royal imprimatur to liberal democracy when Franco died. So the fascists in Spain hate Juan Carlos and he’s had to live with that.

Since Spain has been a liberal democracy since 1975, the Left has increasingly called for an end to monarchy. You could interpret that as ingratitude–if you were a liberalista.

Now Chavez calls Aznar a fascist. As we all should know, fascism is the authoritarian, militaristic, business-friendly liberal opposite of social democracy. Fascism is an extreme within capitalism. Nixon said of the fascist Franco, “General Franco was a loyal friend and ally of the United States” (New York Times. “Nixon Asserts Franco Won Respect for Spain.” November 21, 1975, Friday, page 16). Today the fascist-liberal US supports Musharref in Pakistan, among many, many other tyrannical military dictators over the years.

Why should Chavez owe Aznar or Juan Carlos dissembling deference? Juan Carlos isn’t the arbiter of progress. At a certain historic point, after decades in which Franco had forcibly secured capitalism in Spain, Juan Carlos enabled a more moderate form of liberalism than fascism. That did take leadership at that time. But, sorry Fukuyama, history’s not over. More moderate liberalism does not under many global political-economic conditions, oppose fascism.

His self-righteousness and inherited privilege inflamed by capitalist consensus, Juan Carlos recently had a diplomatic meltdown, and I can understand why. A liberal monarch in Spain today is under a lot of pressure from both Right and Left. Que sera sera. At least Juan Carlos can console himself with the caviar, fine wines, cars, servants, estates, etc.

Venezuelan Media

“On April 12 (2002), Venezuelans awoke to television personality Napoleon Bravo, host of Venevision’s ’24 Horas’ morning show, declaring ‘Good morning Venezuela–we have a new president!’ During this extraordinary television moment, the guests thanked the private media channels for their integral role in making the coup happen and explained in detail the plans leading up to the coup. They specifically underlined the key role of the private media in broadcasting the images that justified the coup…Later on that same program, bravo hosted Rear Admiral Carlos Molino Tomayo, Leopold Lopez, Victor Manuel Garcia, and other coup participants who gave an in-depth account of the coup plotting and plans.”

Gollinger, Eva. “The Chavez Code 73”. Cited in Monthly Review 59(3) 2007: 142.

Note to CIA: When attempting to overthrow democratically elected presidents outside of US, (1) make sure they don’t have functional military connections, and (2) stifle the boorish braying of the local elite co-conspirators. Just in case you assholes fail.