Over my eleven years as an elected local government Councillor and eight years as a Member of the Scottish Parliament I championed many causes and found myself often in police cells, on picket lines, marching in demonstrations and the subject of scathing attacks in mainstream newspaper headlines and editorials.
I wore such attacks as a badge of honour remembering the opinion of Labour’s first working class leader and MP, Keir Hardie, that when the press attack you it means you are doing something right.
Perhaps it was that notoriety that made me very popular with journalism students anxious to conduct an interview for their course portfolios. Lecturers regularly invited me to address student journalism classes. I offered the same advice then as I do now to anyone interested in journalism or news gathering. Read John Pilger.
Pilger is the foremost investigative journalist in the Western hemisphere and familiarising yourself with his articles, books and documentaries amounts to the cheapest but best education you could ever experience. Without fear or favour he speaks truth to power and holds the powerful to account in a way which shames the lackeys and useful idiots employed by the mainstream press and media.
John’s latest article was published a few days ago and exposes expertly the real story of Venezuela today and why the duty of every individual with a shred of democratic principle and progressive values in their pores is to stand 100% behind the democratically elected President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, and the ordinary masses of Venezuela. Please open your mind and improve your understanding of real news and international affairs by reading it today.
Entitled ‘The War on Venezuela is Built on Lies’ Pilger takes you on a journey through the recent history of Venezuela and reflects on his many visits to the country and inter-exchanges with former President Hugo Chavez, ordinary Venezuelans whose lives have been radically improved by the socialist Bolivarian revolution that unfolded after Chavez was first elected in 1998 and the contrast between the opinions of the poor and the vitriolic hatred of the elites who despise the fact their previous privileges and vast wealth in the midst of generalised poverty is now under real threat.
People who could not read or write let alone secure educational qualifications are now raised from the swamp of ignorance and able to participate more fully in society. Children and the elderly who used to die premature deaths through their inability to access expensive health care now live longer and healthier lives as a result of the Cuban influenced universal and free health care provision introduced by Chavez and defended by Maduro. Over one million new homes have been built for the poor to replace the almost uninhabitable shacks which adorn the barrios communities surrounding Caracas.Chavez was arguably the most popular politician on the planet. Certainly the most democratically accountable having won eight elections and country wide referendums in eight years. Nicolas Maduro was a close confidant of Chavez. He rose through the ranks of the Bolivarian movement from ordinary bus driver to trade union representative to government minister under Chavez before being elected his successor in 2013 after his death from cancer.
Maduro stood for election again last May 2018. Many of the elites and right wing who own and control the press and media called for a boycott of the election. They failed miserably. Sixteen parties participated and six candidates stood for election. A total of 9,389,056 Venezuelans used their vote and 6,248,864 voted for Nicolas Maduro. In other words Maduro won almost 68% of the over 9 million votes cast and Pilger quotes one of the 150 foreign election observers who monitored the election:
“It was entirely fair. There was no fraud; none of the lurid media claims stood up. Zero. Amazing really“.
This is the election and elected President who that moronic, semi-illiterate, misogynist, racist and serial bankrupt Donald Trump declares as ‘illegitimate’. The guy who won three million fewer votes than his main opponent but still got elected brands Maduro illegitimate! You couldn’t make this stuff up. Imagine being lectured about child care from King Herod or being ordered to sit up straight by Quasimodo? That is the equivalent of being branded democratically ‘illegitimate’ by Donald ‘vacuous’ Trump.
Pilger quotes the former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who set up the Carter Centre to monitor elections around the world:
“Of the 92 elections that we’ve monitored I would say the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world“.
Carter contrasts the electoral system in Venezuela unfavourably with the electoral system based on campaign funds and millionaire influences in the United States. That system is, according to Carter, “one of the worst”.
A foundation established to monitor elections around the world praises Venezuela for one of the best systems in the world but because imbecilic Trump labels it illegitimate puppy dogs and puppets in other countries do as they are told and mimic Trump’s derision of Maduro. It really is fantasy world politics.
Trump is a fraudulent and bent politician with the intellect of a small child and yet Presidents and Prime Ministers, including Malevolent May in the UK, are prepared to fall into line behind his illegal, undemocratic and immoral attempt to overthrow the elected President of Venezuela. It is madness and it is being facilitated by media manipulation of the very worst kind.
Let’s remind ourselves of previous false flags and invented lies which have been used as the pretext for illegal and immoral interventions in the past. The Gulf of Tonkin incident in August 1964 was presented as an “unprovoked attack” on two US warships which justified a quick and massive response against North Vietnam. Hellfire was released from the sky with 64 bombing sorties causing incredible destruction and loss of lives and that retaliation was the green light for the launching of a 500,000 US army invasion force over the three years which followed. The Gulf of Tonkin incident was a manufactured lie to allow the US to justify what they were itching and planning to do anyway. Over 2 million civilians in North and South Vietnam perished as a result of that war, over 1 million Vietcong fighters died and over 58,000 American soldiers were killed. All that death and incredible destruction initiated by a manufactured lie.
The American led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 was based on reliable ‘intelligence’ that Saddam Hussain possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD’s) and probably nuclear weapons. He refused to cooperate with arms inspectors and the US was left with no alternative but to invade and disarm him in the name of human rights and democracy. ‘Shock and awe’ was unleashed and the world was encouraged to cheer lead the invasion to save us from the misuse of these WMD’s. Over one million Iraqi lives were extinguished. The vast majority were innocent civilians. There were no WMD’s. The US Government knew there were no WMD’s. It was all a manufactured lie.
In 2011 the UK and France were encouraged and militarily supported by the US to bomb and intervene in the formerly prosperous North African nation of Libya to defend the population from human rights abuses and alleged atrocities perpetrated by Libya’s President Muammar Gaddafi. Hundreds of thousands were killed, millions were displaced and forced to seek refuge in other countries and a once modern nation state with abundant resources and wealth was reduced to the status of a basket case with the literal return of slavery, human being traded for sale in markets and villages controlled by brutal militias and tribes. Let me quote from the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Report of September 2016 which examined this military intervention:
“In March 2011, the United Kingdom and France, with the support of the United States, led the international community to support an intervention in Libya to protect civilians from attacks by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi. This policy was not informed by accurate intelligence. In particular, the Government failed to identify that the threat to civilians was overstated and that the rebels included a significant Islamist element. By the summer of 2011, the limited intervention to protect civilians had drifted into an opportunist policy of regime change. That policy was not underpinned by a strategy to support and shape post-Gaddafi Libya. The result was political and economic collapse, inter-militia and inter-tribal warfare, humanitarian and migrant crises, widespread human right violations, the spread of Gaddafi regime weapons across the region and the growth of ISIL* in North Africa“.
Please read and re-read this Report Summary compiled by a Committee comprising 6 Tories, 4 Labour and 1 SNP MPs. Note in particular the words I have highlighted. “Not informed by accurate intelligence”, the threat to civilians was “overstated”, the exercise became an “opportunist policy of regime change” that resulted in “economic collapse” and a “humanitarian and migrant crises”. That was what the UK was led into in Libya by the US in 2011. The illegal, immoral and undemocratic overthrow of the Gaddafi government was based on a pack of lies.
Think about the revulsion which was generated by the mass media when we were informed about the Assad Government chemical weapons attack on Douma, inside Syria, last April 2018. Do you recall the pictures relayed into our living rooms in bulletin after bulletin of the hospital ward and the coughing and spluttering children desperately trying to draw a breath? That attack was the basis upon which the Trump administration justified powerful bombing missions against Syrian government targets in Damascus. Brave and respected journalists on the ground like Robert Fisk cast severe doubts on the authenticity of these chemical weapons attacks but was ignored and derided in equal measure from mainstream media sources and pompous politicians thousands of miles away in comfortable TV Studios. Now it is confirmed by a BBC Syria reporter who investigated the incident in detail over several months that the chemical weapons attack was indeed “staged”, a lie manufactured to justify American bombing.Lie after manufactured lie is deployed by the US to dupe the public into believing military interventions are based on humanitarian grounds when in actual fact the only concern the US ever has in mind is the corporate arms and oil company interests and their strategic desire to ensure easy access to allow American exploitation of targeted nation’s wealth and materials. The war unleashed against Venezuela has absolutely nothing to do with human rights and everything to do with American corporate interests. They despise what the Bolivarian governments have being doing to redistribute wealth and power in Venezuela and they are terrified it will spread to other nations and hamper their ability to exploit and usurp the regions mineral wealth and oil.
How much of a fool do you have to be to believe that a country which supports, trades with and militarily arms regimes like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Honduras, Israel and the UAE actually gives a toss about human rights? Come on waken up and smell the oil. That’s what the Venezuela intervention and attempted coup is all about.
The blocking of the Tienditas Bridge with the articulated lorry containers story was a fabricated lie. The bridge was blocked 18 months ago and by Colombia not Venezuela.
The use of Red Cross vests and insignia at the border with Colombia at the weekend to lend credibility to the US humanitarian aid story is a fabrication. Neither the Red Cross nor the UN are involved in or recognise the legitimacy of the humanitarian aid story.
The story about aid trucks being set alight by Venezuelan military personnel and the use of live ammunition is a fabrication, a lie and video proof is now available to expose the fact the truck was set alight on the Colombian side of the border and by demonstrators in Colombia not by anyone in Venezuela.
A ten year examination of the BBC’s coverage of Venezuela by a team of researchers at the University of West of England during the Chavez terms in office showed an incredible bias against the socialist government. Of 304 reports analysed only 3 were positive despite the eradication of illiteracy, halving of poverty, introduction of free universal health care, building of over one million new homes for the poor and massive expansion of democratic engagement and involvement.
The BBC is the mouthpiece of the British Establishment and ruling class. They represent and defend the interests of the rich and powerful. That is why they constantly present utterly skewed and biased reports against the socialist government of Maduro.
The US couldn’t give a damn about the real issues of medicine and food shortages they have inflicted on Venezuela through sanctions, embargos and the withholding of international oil payments there only aim is to re-take control of Venezuela’s economy and oil the way it used to be before Chavez, Maduro and the Bolivarian revolution.
If the US attempt to overthrow the elected government of Venezuela and install the CIA stooge Guaido is successful it would mark the 68th time they have intervened to illegally overthrow a sovereign government. It is no wonder those with half a working brain cell and an ounce of democratic value recognise the US as the biggest rogue nation on the world’s stage and the most consistent threat to world peace.
Maduro and Venezuela deserve international support and solidarity. They refuse to be bullied by the threat of military intervention by the US or the use of economic terror by them to cripple the Venezuelan economy. They are a proud people and they have had their eyes opened to the vast opportunities afforded to them by the Bolivarian revolution. They will not give up those gains without a fight. Venezuela is not Vietnam but they will fight with the same ingenuity and tenacity to defend their territory as the Vietcong did and the US and Trump will hopefully face a similarly humiliating defeat in 2019 as they did in 1975.