The new smear against Chávez by Chris Carlson

Dandelion Salad

by Chris Carlson
socialistworker.org
May 28, 2008

Chris Carlson, a contributor to venezuelanalysis.com, looks at the allegations that there is a connection between Venezuela and the FARC, and finds them lacking.

The reported death of Manuel Marulanda, leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), once again highlights the U.S.-backed dirty war in that country. The Colombian military’s report that it killed the rebel leader comes amid claims that the FARC is receiving support from the Venezuelan government, led by President Hugo Chávez.

WASHINGTON AND its faithful lackeys in the media have launched a new offensive against Hugo Chávez and the government of Venezuela. The recent “discovery” of a laptop computer that allegedly belonged to the FARC guerrilla group has ignited another media-generated scandal, creating a whole new round of accusations against the Chávez government, but without any evidence to support them.

Those who have followed events in Venezuela in recent years shouldn’t be surprised by this. Every few months, a new controversy is ignited by the media regarding Venezuela’s socialist president, Hugo Chávez; each time with plenty of distortions, baseless accusations and outright falsehoods.

Late last year, the media “show” centered on a proposed reform to the Venezuelan constitution. The mainstream media repeated endlessly that the constitutional reform would make Chávez “president for life” and would “turn Venezuela into a dictatorship.”

In reality, the reform simply proposed the removal of presidential term limits–something that has also been in the works in neighboring Colombia, where it has gotten absolutely zero criticism from the mainstream media. The reason? Colombian President Alvaro Uribe is Washington’s closest ally in the region.

In early 2007, the media generated yet another controversy based on complete fabrications, this time about freedom of expression and media censorship in Venezuela. After President Chávez announced the decision not to renew a broadcast license of one of Venezuela’s major TV stations (a legal right afforded to the president), a media scandal erupted claiming that there was no “freedom of expression” in Venezuela, and for months on end, the media repeated the false claim that Chávez had “shut down” a major media outlet and was “censoring the media” because of its anti-government stance.

But the reality is that no TV station was ever closed down, and to this day, the same TV station continues to broadcast its virulently anti-Chávez message across the country by cable and satellite TV.

In fact, much of the media in Venezuela continues to be extremely anti-Chávez, including nearly all of the major newspapers and several radio and TV stations, leaving the claims about freedom of expression in Venezuela to be completely baseless. Venezuela has a diversity of media outlets and a range of political debate that one could only dream of having in the United States.

So it should come as no surprise that Washington and its unofficial spokesmen at the media are at it again, this time accusing Hugo Chávez of having ties to the Colombian guerrilla organization FARC. And they claim that the computer recently “uncovered” from a guerrilla camp has the evidence to prove it.

This “proof,” Washington claims, is enough to put Venezuela on their list of state sponsors of terrorism, a move that would significantly change relations between the countries and could involve economic sanctions against Venezuela. But, once again, the allegations are full of complete distortions and baseless claims.

***

THIS LATEST attack on Venezuela has centered on information found on laptop computers that were allegedly uncovered from a FARC guerrilla camp in Ecuador after the Colombian military made an illegal cross-border bombing of the camp, an attack that was widely condemned in Latin America, but which Washington supported.

The illegal military assault resulted in the killing of a top FARC official along with more than 20 other people, including several university students from Mexico. Hours after the attack, Colombia announced it had “found” a laptop computer at the camp belonging to the FARC, and that it contained information linking the Venezuelan government to the FARC guerrilla organization (allegations that Washington has long made, but has never supported with any evidence).

The allegations raised some immediate doubts. First, how likely is it that a laptop computer could survive a bombing attack that killed nearly everyone in the camp? And second, if it did survive, how could the Colombian government have gone through the literally thousands of files on the computer in a matter of hours to find information implicating Hugo Chávez?

But notwithstanding these questions, there is not even any way to prove that the computers were actually found at the guerrilla camp, or that the files contained on the computer are authentic, and weren’t just put there by the Colombian government.

After all, how easy would it have been for the Colombian government to simply load whatever files they wanted onto the computer, or simply prepare the computer ahead of time and claim that it was found it at the FARC camp? As Venezuela expert Eva Golinger said, “How easy it is to just write a document in Word on some computer and say it was written by someone else!”

For this reason, the Colombian government invited the International Police (Interpol) to analyze the data and validate the information found on the computers. But contrary to the claims of the Colombian government and the international media, Interpol did nothing of the sort. The Interpol examination was limited to determining one thing: whether or not the computer files were manipulated after March 1, the date the Colombian military bombed the FARC camp and supposedly gained possession of the evidence.

When Interpol’s report stated that there was no evidence the files were manipulated, Colombia and Washington immediately jumped on this as validation for their claims. The international media faithfully echoed the official line. “FARC Computer Files Are Authentic,” said one headline from the Washington Post. “Venezuela Offered Aid to Colombian Rebels,” read another. And the next day, the BBC confidently stated, “Colombia did not fake Farc files.”

But even Interpol’s own report reveals that they have no way of verifying this. Many of the files found on the computer were dated in the future, in 2009 and 2010, throwing out the reliability that any of the dates on the computer are accurate, and suggesting that the dates had been altered.

In addition, Interpol’s own report also says that they have no way of validating where the computers came from, or the source of any information found on the computers. “The verification of the eight seized FARC computer exhibits by Interpol does not imply the validation of the accuracy of the user files, the validation of any country’s interpretation of the user files or the validation of the source of the user files,” the Interpol report clearly states on page 9.

So in other words, there is no way of knowing if the computers or any of the files contained on the computers are authentic, or if the Colombian government just made the whole thing up and planted the evidence.

In spite of all this, Washington and the international media are treating the findings as irrefutable proof that Hugo Chávez has ties to the FARC guerrilla organization, and are accusing the Venezuelan government of supporting acts of “international terrorism.” Some in Washington are even calling for Venezuela to be added to the U.S. State Department’s list of “State Sponsors of Terrorism” along with Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Sudan and Syria, which could mean economic sanctions against Venezuela.

Many analysts believe that the Bush administration will not go through with this, however, given that Chávez has repeatedly threatened to stop the supply of oil to the United States in the event of any aggressions toward Venezuela.

***

PERHAPS THE most ironic part of this latest attack on Venezuela is the fact that it is the United States, not Venezuela, that supports terrorism in Colombia.

Washington sends hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Colombian government every year in addition to military equipment and personnel. In 2007, total aid to Colombia reached the astronomical level of $756 million, all of which goes to the Colombian government, and the Colombian military. Ironically, the largest perpetrators of violence and killing in Colombia are the Colombian military and the right-wing paramilitary groups connected to the government, not the FARC guerrillas.

Human rights organizations that routinely document human rights violations in Colombia have repeatedly shown over the years that the paramilitary groups are responsible for the majority of the killings of civilians.

For example, the Colombian Commission of Jurists (CCJ) reported last year that during President Uribe’s first term in office (2002-2006), the paramilitaries were responsible for 61 percent of the deaths, the Colombian military accounted for 14 percent, while the various guerrilla groups were responsible for the remaining 25 percent.

And over the last two years, it continues to be revealed that many in the Uribe government, including some of the president’s closest allies, have maintained long ties to the right-wing paramilitary groups, those responsible for the largest portion of the killings in the country. As many as 33 lawmakers, and most recently, the president’s cousin Mario Uribe Escobar, have been indicted for colluding with the paramilitaries and are currently in jail awaiting trial.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that what is known as the “para-politcs” scandal is really more of a “para-Uribismo” scandal, as one Colombian senator has suggested–and that could explain why Uribe might want to divert attention away from his government and direct it toward Venezuela and the FARC.

Once again, Washington and its allies have launched a successful media campaign of slander against Venezuela and the Chávez government. And, once again, it is based on lies, distortions and baseless accusations.

But the hard truth is that Washington is supporting the side that is doing most of the killing in Colombia, with more money and weapons than the FARC could ever dream of having. And we don’t need to “find” a laptop in the jungle to prove it.

Material on this Web site is licensed by SocialistWorker.org, under a Creative Commons (by-nc-nd 3.0) license. Readers are welcome to share and use articles and other materials for non-commercial purposes, as long as they are attributed to the author and SocialistWorker.org.

see

Venezuela, Nicaragua Propose Joint Military Force for Latin America by Chris Carlson

The CIA’s Attempts to Destabilize Venezuela by Chris Carlson

Colombia: What did Interpol find in the laptops?

Spinning the News: The FARC-EP Files, Venezuela and Interpol

Latin America: the attack on democracy By John Pilger

Chavez-Hugo

Israeli settlers and army started to expand illegal settlement on Bil’in land

Dandelion Salad

www.imemc.org
May 26, 2008

Israeli settlers under the protection of the Israeli army started on Monday morning to install homes on lands that belong to villagers from Bil’in, located near the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

Iyad Burnat, of the local committee against the wall and settlement construction, said that villagers noticed the construction since early morning on Monday. Villagers tried to reach their land in order to stop the settlers but Israeli troops prevented them from crossing the wall.

A group of men from the village were staying over night in there land managed to come close to the trucks installing the mobile homes of the settlers and stopped them by standing infornt of them, Burnat stated. He added that the men will continue to block the trucks way in an attempt to stop the destruction of the villagers lands.

In 2007 the villagers of Bil’in won an Israeli high court of Justice decision to remove the Israeli wall that separates the village from its land and move it away. The Israeli army refused to comply with the order for “security reasons.”

The court ruling also forbids the settlers from expanding the settlement of Mitetyaho Mizrah which is built on the village land. Today settlers came and installed six mobile homes on the villagers’ land in a clear sign that they are going to expand their settlement, Burnat said.

Burnat demanded more involvement form the Palestinian Authority and he asked for the freeze of negotiations with Israel since Israel refuses to respect any agreements with the Palestinians.

Last November the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks were revived by the U.S on the basis of the Road Map peace plan. According to the Road Map plan Israel must stop all settlement activity in the West Bank.

The villagers of Bil’in have been conducting weekly nonviolent protests against the Israeli wall and settlements for a little over three years. Burnat told IMEMC that the villagers of Bil’in will continue their resistance and the legal work in the Israeli court system.

© 2001-2008 IMEMC NEWS. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere.

h/t: Jewish Peace News

White House Puzzled Over McClellan Book: We Taught Him To Lie, Now He’s Forgotten How

by R J Shulman
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Robert’s blog post
May 29, 2008

WASHINGTON – White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Wednesday that she is “puzzled and saddened” by former Presidential Press Secretary Scott McClellan’s new book which attacks President Bush on many issues. “The White House staff spent so much time teaching him how to lie, lie, lie and how does he repay them? He tells the barefaced truth,” she said. “He should be ashamed of himself.”

Continue reading

Casey’s Star Birthday by Cindy Sheehan

The Real Cindy Sheehan

by Cindy Sheehan
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Cindy Sheehan for Congress

May 29, 2008

A “Star Birthday” is the birthday where ones age matches ones birth date. My first-born son, Casey, was born on the 29th of May in 1979 and today, if he wasn’t killed in BushCo’s war for profit brought to you by the Military Industrial Congressional Complex, he would have turned 29.

In the dark of night when I am tossing and turning from sadness and regret, I often wonder what my family would be doing if Casey were not dead. Casey wanted to get married, have children, be an elementary school teacher and, most of all, live to be at least three times older than he was when he was killed on April 04, 2004 in Iraq. Would I still be married to Casey’s dad? Would I still be working in Health and Human Services for the County of Napa? Would I have finally awakened to the truth that George Bush and his evil occupations are just boils of the much deadlier disease of unchecked militarism? I don’t know because Casey was killed and we won’t be celebrating his birthday no matter what.

This evening in Berkeley, Ca, I was supposed to have debated a military recruiter in front of an audience of students, parents and other community members as my way of honoring Casey’s sacrifice. If Casey died for any “noble cause” it will be to prevent others of our young people from making the same tragic mistake that our family did when Casey was lied to and his goodness was exploited to help fulfill his recruiter’s quota for that month. We found out after Casey died that a recruitment contract is only binding on the recruit and the government can break all of its promises. A unilateral contract used to be against the law before we entered the Bizarro-world of US Empire.

I have absolutely no respect for military recruiters that go after our young people and some as young as 5th grade have had AK-47’s shoved in their little hands that have barely lost the dimples in their knuckles and some of the biggest selling video games are ones based on war and destruction. How can anyone, from Dick Cheney to Sgt. What-a-Liar, face himself or herself in the mirror knowing that their livelihood derives directly from murder and oppression?

Recruitment levels are thankfully down, despite the greatly lowered standards and increased Pentagon recruitment budget. To try to cure even a small part of the sickness that is causing our so-called Republic to slide into a military-fascism, we need to put ourselves in between the military services and our children. To cure the evil of military/corporate Empire, we need to put ourselves in between the US military and the children of Iraq and Afghanistan who did not volunteer to be murdered in their own beds or orphaned by US soldiers who are often victims of poverty and oppression themselves.

A “volunteer” military that counts on poverty, ignorance, a tanking economy, and false patriotism is one of the tools that the Military Industrial Congressional Complex uses to keep our nation in constant war while using the deceptive phraseology of “Support the Troops;” the same troops that they are mis-using as bullet sponges and paid assassins. Some people, who like to complain, but not get out from behind their computers to protest, are comfortable with an all “volunteer” Army because it bestows on them a false sense of safety in their lack of shared sacrifice.

But I reluctantly say: Bring the dreaded-draft on.

A forced conscription would put a crimp in the Military Industrial Congressional Complex’s wars of aggression, because the “not my kid” people would rise up and give the anti-war movement the numbers we have so desperately needed to put a swelling sea of bodies on the streets to demonstrate what 2/3rds of a nation really looks like. I want to go on the record to say that I am not pro-draft, but pro-radicalism. If it takes a draft to radicalize apathetic Americans it is better than having to be radicalized the way I was: by three Army officers appearing one evening in my living-room regretting to inform me that my first born had been killed.

I said I was “supposed” to debate a military recruiter on Casey’s Star Birthday, but that won’t happen because no recruiter had the balls to debate me. Is it because they know they can’t defend their immoral practices, or because they don’t want to look into the sorrow filled eyes of the mother of a soldier who died for lies (on his birthday)—could I potentially be the mother of one of their recruits? Or both?

Today on Casey’s Star Birthday, you can give him a posthumous birthday present. Donate to organizations that do counter-recruitment efforts, or that support soldiers who are resisters.

www.CouragetoResist.org
www.VeteransforPeace.org
www.GoldStarFamiliesforPeace.org
www.objector.org
www.afsc.org (American Friends Service Committee)

Supporting Cindy for Congress also supports a reduction in US imperial militarism.

see

Stopping the War Machine: Military Recruiters Must Be Confronted

9/11: Cover For A Coup D’Etat? by Ed Encho

Dandelion Salad

by Ed Encho
http://www.opednews.com
May 27, 2008

“A coup consists of the infiltration of a small but critical segment of the state apparatus, which is then used to displace the government from its control of the remainder.”

-Edward Luttwak

On Memorial Day, a day that is intended to be one of somber remembrance and the recognition of our nation’s war dead although it is perversely come to be more associated with boozing barbecues, silly NASCAR races and the inevitable retail extravaganzas at the shopping emporiums throughout the land it is no longer necessary to most Americans to pay tribute. They are the type who just wear those stupid assed American flag pins as though they were some sort of star spangled merkin, festoon their gas guzzlers with yellow ribbon stickers that in and of themselves are gauche take offs on a lousy country western song and wrongly believe that they are being truly patriotic. Such garbage only serves to dishonor those who have sacrificed and perished in past conflicts and will continue to do so in the new American century due to the illegal wars of aggression and conquest that have been thrust upon us due to the criminal Bush regime and it’s neocon policy makers who conspire in secret to launch their schemes of global conquest all justified by that one great and fortuitous ‘terrorist’ attack that tore open a hole to a parallel universe where up is down, black is white, freedom is slavery, war is peace and most importantly: ignorance is strength.

::::::::

September 11th 2001. The day that will forever live in infamy as the day when the reset button was hit on over two centuries of American history and allowed for the new doctrines of preemptive war, the domestic police state and the codifying of torture into the law of the land. The real meaning as well as the cause of 9/11 continues to resonate and be debated throughout the alternative media and the blogosphere despite the sanctimonious reverence given to it by the corporate, state controlled mainstream media where those who dare to even suggest that it was blowback are shouted down by angry demagogues standing atop their electronic soapboxes. That one single day more than anything else has been used as the justification the rise of the new American fascist state and the illegal wars of aggression that feed the colossus that is the military industrial complex.

With any crime it is imperative to look at who benefited or Cui Bono for those familiar with Latin and there have been many beneficiaries of 9/11, first and foremost there is the by now infamous Project For The New American Century, a policy organization for global/full spectrum U.S. military dominance whose members and contributors are a who’s who of fifth columnist fascist filth including none other than Richard B. Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. The PNAC’s reference to the need for a “New Pearl Harbor” to allow for their plans to be implemented should have been ample circumstantial evidence for major players to be subpoenaed and put under oath in front of the Kean-Hamilton Commission but any questioning of this most blatantly arrogant statement was as absent from the report as the collapse of WTC 7 or what Sibel Edmonds may have stumbled upon while translating communications while she was employed by the FBI.

…continued

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see

Edmonds-Sibel

Sibel Edmonds (archive of posts)

Continuity of Government and the “ENDGAME” Scenario by Tom Burghardt

The Ignorance Of The Highly Educated (video; Peter Dale Scott; 9-11; Cheney)

9/11 Contradictions: When Did Cheney Enter the Underground Bunker?

Rule by fear or rule by law? By Lewis Seiler & Dan Hamburg

For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets

FBI denies file exposing nuclear secrets theft

Tip-off thwarted nuclear spy ring probe by Chris Gourlay, Jonathan Calvert, Joe Lauria

Leaving No Tracks By Jo Becker and Barton Gellman (Cheney; Angler)

Pushing the Envelope on Presidential Power By Barton Gellman and Jo Becker

‘A Different Understanding With the President’ By Barton Gellman and Jo Becker

Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism? by S Hersh

George W Bush Authorized 9/11 Attacks Says Government Insider (2004)

9/11