Posts Tagged ‘Venezuela’

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 NGOs Are The Deep State’s Trojan Horses

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US Sanctions Shut Down ‘The Empire Files’ with Abby Martin

For immediate release – Aug 22, 2018

The Empire Files is temporarily appealing for donations on a one-time and monthly basis to continue production in the midst of US attacks on the TeleSUR Network.

As a result of US sanctions against Venezuela, The Empire Files has been forced to completely shut down operations.

The Empire Files, which airs on TeleSUR throughout Latin America and on Free Speech TV and The Real News Network in the United States, has been funded through a contract with the TeleSUR network. As Abby Martin’s primary broadcast, it has released over 100 documentaries, interviews and on-the-ground exposés from battlefields in Palestine, Venezuela and beyond.

As a result of financial attacks by the US government on the primary source of TeleSUR’s funding, production was halted before the completion of Empire Files Season Two.

Season Three, contracted for 26 episodes, was scheduled to begin on July 1. But with the US government blocking wire transfers that originate in Venezuela, the ability to receive funding has not been possible.

For over a year, funding has been sporadic and often delayed. The Empire Files has been operating by alternating between waiting for late payments and funding production out-of-pocket.

However, with US attacks and sanctions intensifying, the ability to receive funds appears to have been cut-off completely.

Contract TeleSUR journalists elsewhere, including at Empire Files, have had funding blocked by the US government for over 6 months. Even wire transfers not originating Venezuela, but ally countries which also fund TeleSUR, have been severed.

There appears to be no solution, and no end in sight, to this ongoing financial attack.

The Empire Files officially halted all production on May 27, and had to cut all staff prior to that. But we have been holding-off on an official announcement in hopes that the wall put in place by the Trump Administration would be overcome.

We are making this announcement now because, after numerous attempts and constant rejections of all types of fund transfers, we do not believe this barrier will be removed in the near future.

The depth of US attacks

The US State Department has been involved in regime-change projects in Venezuela since the election of the late President Hugo Chavez, first expressed by a violent coup in 2002. During that coup, Venezuela’s state media and pro-government media were shut-down by the US-backed junta. Yet economic sanctions on Venezuela were not implemented until the Obama Administration, in 2015.

The Trump Administration has taken these sanctions to new heights. The most recent escalation came on May 21, 2018, the day after President Maduro democratically won reelection—apparently to punish the Venezuelan people for electing the “wrong” candidate.

Today, the US sanctions on Venezuela are the worst sanctions on any country in the region since those against Nicaragua in the 1980s, according to Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research—a time when the Reagan Administration was waging a full-blown, bloody war against the Nicaraguan people. Similarly it is Venezuela’s poor and working class who are, by design, suffering most from the sanctions today.

These economic attacks cannot be viewed on their own, but part-in-parcel of a regime-change operation—while this is just one front in the US strategy, the sanctions are coupled with violent US-backed coup attempts in Venezuela, including the August 4 assassination attempt on President Maduro.

TeleSUR has always been included as a target for its association with the government. A thwarted US-backed coup plot in 2015 included plans to bomb the TeleSUR news building in Caracas. In 2017, a TeleSUR news team was ambushed by US-backed opposition forces and nearly lynched—one TeleSUR reporter was shot in the back during the assault.

Likewise, Abby Martin and Empire Files producer Mike Prysner were the target of pro-coup politicians and journalists based in Caracas and Miami, leading to hundreds of death threats and causing them to flee Venezuela where they were conducting on-the-ground reporting.

In addition, TeleSUR—along with the other main left-wing news source on Venezuela, Venezuela Analysis—were recently targets of online censorship. Already hit with “warnings” and “sensitive content” bans on YouTube and Twitter, their pages were recently deleted (although later reinstated) by Facebook. This was the second time the TeleSUR English page was removed without warning or explanation by Facebook. Facebook is currently collaborating with the Atlantic Council—stacked with CIA agents, Iraq war architects, Big Oil and the weapons industry—to decide which media outlets “sow discord.”

With only rhetoric of increased aggression coming from the Trump Administration, including threats of all-out US military bombing and invasion, there is no reason to think this multi-pronged attack will subside.

The future of The Empire Files

The entire Empire Files team—which has included a variety of dedicated videographers, editors, animators, graphic designers, composers, audio engineers, writers, researchers, interns and more—has spent nearly three years doing dedicated, rigorous, and sometimes life-threatening work to deliver a high-quality, politically important show once a week.

From the hidden casualties on the US-Mexico border, to environmental disasters in the endangered rainforest, to the most-viewed reporting on the crisis in Venezuela—interviews with President Rafael Correa, Cornel West, Noam Chomsky, Ahed Tamimi, and other important figures—profiles of often-unheard voices of migrant domestic workers, young revolutionary activists, immigrant children, hurricane victims, third-party candidates and more—to in-depth educational documentaries on socialism, the crimes of the US Empire, and histories and crises hidden by the mainstream media—The Empire Files has been extremely proud to make this small contribution to a broader movement for change.

But we do not intend to stop this project as long as there are possibilities to continue.

We are prepared to resume production of weekly programs for TeleSUR as soon as blocks on funding are lifted, or circumvented—however, this could mean six months, a year, or never. We know our colleagues at TeleSUR have been fighting for a solution for us and other contractors, and will continue to do so.

In the meantime, we are appealing to our supporters for donations on a one-time basis or as monthly sustainers to restart production, rehire staff and release new episodes for as long as funding permits. Current expenses include $6000 for Empire Files journalists in Gaza.

Unreleased Empire Files content from Gaza and Colombia

In the immediate term, we hope to raise enough funds to complete post-production on our recent, unreleased footage.

Most importantly, our urgent footage and interviews captured by Empire Files journalists in Palestine’s besieged Gaza Strip. This includes never-before-seen footage of the Great March of Return, including new instances of brutality by Israeli forces against unarmed protesters at the border fence, interviews with the family of slain medic Razan Al-Najar and wounded medical workers, and much more.

In addition, we have hours of unreleased footage of Abby Martin on-the-ground in Colombia’s “peace zones,” featuring interviews with FARC leaders and members, and a rare first-hand look at the countries historic peace process as it hangs in the balance after the victory of the far right in the June 17 Presidential election.

If we raise enough money to cover the cost of releasing all of this important content over a span of several episodes, we can then dedicate funds to new filming and production that is not subject to attacks by the Pentagon. This includes documentaries on everything from Trump’s war machine, to the hidden repression of environmental activists.

We ask for your support to expose the crimes of the US Empire at this critical time, as well as your solidarity with TeleSUR and Venezuela’s right to self-determination.

Click here to make a one-time donation on GoFundMe
Click here to become a monthly sustainer on Patreon
We are now accepting Bitcoin donations here: 
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Share this statement here.

For media and interview requests, contact theempirefiles@gmail.com

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Oliver reveals that he is an imperial tool who uses his progressive credentials to attack the official enemies.

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The lobby of the CIA Headquarters Building in McLean, Virginia

By David William Pear

When the U.S.A. wanted a regime change it used to be done in secret by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), especially when that country had a democratically elected government such as Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954), Chile (1973), Nicaragua (1980’s), Haiti (2006), Honduras (2009), Ukraine (2014) and Syria, where the bloody project is still raging, the body count mounting, and millions of refuges are homeless.

In the last few decades the U.S. has grown bolder in its regime change projects. What used to be done secretly is now unabashedly done in plain sight. The 2017 Venezuela regime change project has gone public. Most of the U.S. public cannot see the forest for the trees of propaganda that has the public confused about what is behind the chaos in Venezuela today. Mostly what is behind it is U.S. funding millions of dollars to the political parties of the oligarchs. Without that money the opposition political parties would be more divided than they already are and weaker.

The mainstream media spreads the propaganda that President Nicolas Maduro is a dictator. That Maduro is repressive and killing his own people of peaceful demonstrators. That the Venezuelan Supreme Court judges are his cronies and exceeded their constitutional powers. That the Constituent Referendum called by Maduro was illegal. That the elections have been a fraud. That the opposition are patriots who are demanding democracy. That Maduro has singlehandedly destroyed Venezuela’s economy. That the press and television media is censored by Maduro. That the reason President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Venezuela is because it is a national security threat to the U.S. That President Trump has imposed additional sanction because he is upset about democracy, freedom and the rule of law in Venezuela.

None of the above is true. Yet the main stream media keeps repeating it: New York Times , Washington Post , Guardian , Fox News , CNBC , and CNN . Members of Congress keep repeating these lies, a word I rarely use. Not since the mainstream media was a co-conspirator for the Bush-Cheney administration’s illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 has the mainstream media fallen so low and been so guilty of collusion to spread false propaganda supporting illegal U.S. foreign policy aggression. Anyone who still has illusions that the U.S. mainstream media is free and independent should be dispelled of that belief by what it is misinforming us about Venezuela today.

The co-opting of the mainstream media is not new. Here is a New York Times editorial the day after Hugo Chavez was kidnapped by a military coup government that was installed in 2002:

UPRISING IN VENEZUELA: THE GOVERNMENT; VENEZUELA’S CHIEF FORCED TO RESIGN; CIVILIAN INSTALLED

By JUAN FORERO APRIL 13, 2002

A transitional government headed by a leading businessman replaced President Hugo Chavez today, hours after military officers forced him to resign. It was a sudden end to the turbulent three-year reign of a mercurial strongman elected on promises to distance his country from the United States while uprooting Venezuela’s old social order—

Pedro Carmona Estanga, the head of Venezuela’s most important business association, was installed as interim president at a ceremony at 6 p.m. He promised that the new government would adhere to ”a pluralistic vision, democratic, civil and ensuring the implementation of the law, the state of law.”

Elections will be held within a year, officials said.

The Bush administration laid the blame for Mr. Chavez’s overthrow firmly with the ousted leader. Officials portrayed the ouster as a victory for democracy

The next day the New York Times was forced by circumstances to reverse itself, kind of a non-retraction retraction. Notice that the “prominent businessman”, Pedro Carmona Estanga is not quite so “prominent” after he “dismantled the National Assembly, fired the ministers of the Supreme Court, repealed the constitution, arrested high-level members of the Chavez government and sent others into hiding. He sounds more like the kind of right-wing fascist that the U.S. prefers to be in charge. And exactly who was it that “installed” him as the interim president, the New York Times does not say. It sure made Bush happy thought. Neither the Times nor the U.S. react the way democracy lovers would be expected to after a military coup d’état. How is that a victory for democracy?

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David Pear

Venezuela is a step closer to civil war after July 20th‘s “fake referendum ” held by the government opposition. Corporate Fake News (i.e. mainstream corporate media) hailed the fake referendum as a vote of “no confidence” for President Nicolas Maduro.

The vote count of the fake referendum has not been released and likely never will be. Only the number of the turnout was reported as being over 7 million, but who needs to count votes when the referendum was only a symbolic protest?

Symbolic or not, the U.S. Empire’s propaganda mill is already churning out that President Nicolas Maduro is no longer the legitimate president of Venezuela. As in Syria, when the Empire labels a president illegitimate it uses it as a fig leaf for illegal aggression against a sovereign country.

The fake referendum now opens the door for more U.S. meddling, both covert and overt. The Empire has had its foot firmly inside the door for 17 years. Reports going back to 2007 document hundreds of millions of dollars funded by the U.S. State Department to instigate an insurgency in Venezuela. A few hundred million dollars to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro is peanuts for the U.S., compared to the $5 billion that was “invested” in Ukraine’s color revolution.

The U.S. started gunning for Hugo Chavez and his Bolivarian Revolution from the moment that he was democratically elected in 1998, according to award winning journalist Eva Golinger (Mike Whitney interview, Counter Punch). Chavez’s election and his Bolivarian Revolutionary challenged the ideology of neoliberalism, pushed by the Empire to exploit developing countries and their resources.

Zealots of neoliberalism, led by the high priests of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, preach that privatization of state owned enterprises, devaluation of the currency, cutting social services for the poor, exploitation of natural resources by international corporations, consolidation of agricultural land into large private holdings, importing cheap subsidized U.S. agriculture, forcing small farmers into city sweatshops, and opening markets to foreign imports will create economic prosperity. It does not. It is Voodoo Economics and the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund know it. What neoliberalism does is guarantee that international bankers will be repaid their crippling loans.

The Bolivarian Revolution rejected neoliberalism and enacted a new socialist constitution in 1999, which lead the way for President Hugo Chavez to nationalize Venezuela’s oil wealth, so its revenues could be used to provide essential services and anti-poverty programs. Chavez used Venezuela’s natural resources for Venezuelans, which is heresy to neoliberals. Chavez’s charismatic personality, commitment to the poor and concern for social justice made him a hero loved by the people. His legacy and “Chavismo” revolutionary socialism lives on.

Chavismo that denies international corporations profits are fighting words to the U.S. Empire. In 2002 President George W. Bush was caught red handed as the instigator of a plot that kidnapped Chavez and tried to overthrow him in a coup d’etat. The coup failed because the people turned out in the streets demanding Chavez’s return and reinstatement. Bush was left with egg on his face, the blood of dozens murdered in the coup attempt and a smoking gun in his hand (The Guardian).

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