Sunday, August 15, 2004

A Very Venezuelan Coup

Hugo Chavez

If Iraq has proved anything, it has proved that the press are not to be believed.

Even the supposedly hard and fast facts can easily turn out to be little but spin and lies. Everyone knows now that there were no WMDs, it's less widely understood that the information on mass Iraqi graves was also untrue.

Public relations and spin are the new front line of any war. We, the people must be dragged along, and give our consent to a war so that our political masters can carry on their agenda, while also being confident about the next election.

Before the Gulf War, we heard of tales of Iraqis soldiers ripping Kuwaiti babies from incubators and leaving them to die on cold floors.

The lie was cooked up between US PR firm Hill & Knowlton and the Kuwaiti Government. Even years after it has shown to be untrue the same story still crops up.

Then there's Libya. Demonised by the press most noticeably over Lockerbie. But despite officially admitting the bombing the country is still unofficially denying it. Indeed there are a number of commentators including the late Paul Foot who believe that Libya had nothing to do with Lockerbie at all.

At a time when, if you speak out against the Government you risk shame and resignations, there are also now newspapers that are coming to the fore and admitting their own reporting has been shameful.

But what of the anti-war newspapers and the more liberal press, surely they are trustworthy? No, they still largely toe the Government line - at least on the accepted "truths" even if they're not in agreement as to policy.

The way war and conflicts are spun and the way they are reported can have a huge impact on how they are perceived by the world at large.

Take this article that deals with the errors in the reporting of Iraq and of the Israel Palestine conflict:

The Glasgow study shows that BBC and ITN news reports are biased in favour of Israel and against the Palestinians. Almost three times as much coverage is given to each Israeli death as to each Palestinian death.

Killings by Palestinians are routinely described as "atrocities" and "murders", while Palestinians deliberately shot by Israeli soldiers have been reported as "caught in the crossfire".

In the period the researchers studied, Israeli spokespeople were given twice as much time to speak as Palestinians. Both BBC and ITN reports have described the West Bank as part of Israel.

And it happens time and time again.

I've got to a point where I don't believe anything from any source, give or take one or two journalists.

But as a handy, cut out and keep guide as to whether or not to believe international stories. Always question the story when:

1. It comes directly from the Whitehouse

2. The "evil" dictator presides over large oil fields

3. The "evil" dictator is an avowed socialist and his efforts are forcing up labour costs for US businesses.

4. The "evil" dictator is described as "hating freedom".

5. They are reported to have links with Cuba/Castro

I was prompted to write all of this as I read about Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

I'll admit to knowing nothing about Venezuelan politics. But skipping through the news reports the same words came up - oil, socialist, US interests, dictator, evil, Cuba, Castro etc etc etc

The democracy loving USA only really support democracy when it suits them. They have been known to pour resources into right-wing parties - just as they have taught the benefits of torturing your opponents.

Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Cuba etc. The list goes on.

So when you read that the opposition to Hugo Chavez in Venezuela is headed by the media barons, big business and supported by the USA then it's enough to make you question all the facts.

Some time ago I wrote about a book called "A Very British Coup". What is happening in Venezuela is merely a Latin American version of the same scenario.

It will be interesting to see how it transpires. But I have a hunch that whatever the outcome there may be a bloody end to all this. And yet again,the USA will have blood on its hands.

But don't expect the real truth to come out for another couple of decades at least.

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.