Skip to main content

US sanctions against Venezuela force Abby Martin’s “Empire Files” to shut down

The U.S. government is not only seeking to punish the Venezuelan government with its increasingly draconian sanctions, but is seeking as well to cripple the teleSUR media network, despite the fact that it is funded by several other countries.

by Whitney Webb

Recent sanctions imposed on Venezuela by the Trump administration have forced the Empire Files program, hosted by American investigative journalist Abby Martin, to shut down. The decision to officially announce the show’s end came after blocks on wire transfers originating in Venezuela and sent to the U.S. were recently imposed, thereby cutting off the show’s primary source of funding.

Issues with funding caused by the U.S.’ Venezuela policy had, however, been a problem for some time, leading Martin and her staff to halt production in late May. While Martin and her team had hoped conditions would improve, the recent sanctions make that such a distant possibility that the decision to shut down the show was made on Wednesday.

Empire Files, which produces investigative journalism “from inside history’s biggest empire,” is funded by a contract with the teleSUR network, which receives the majority of its funding from Venezuela but is also funded by the states of Bolivia, Nicaragua, Uruguay and Cuba.

According to a statement posted on Media Roots, wire transfers to the U.S. — not just from Venezuela, but from all other countries that fund teleSUR — have been severed. This suggests that the U.S. government is not only seeking to punish the Venezuelan government with its increasingly draconian sanctions, but is seeking as well to cripple the teleSUR media network, despite the fact that it is funded by several other countries. Indeed, other U.S.-located journalists contracted by teleSUR, along with the Empire Files team, have also come under financial attack.

Such financial attacks targeting the network have been on-going, as the U.S. government has been blocking funding sent from teleSUR to its employees located in the United States for over six months. For much of the past year, the U.S.’ Venezuela policy caused payments to be both delayed and sporadic, particularly after as the U.S. Treasury began to push American banks last September to “be on the look-out for suspicious financial activity,” particularly “wire transfers” originating from Venezuela.

U.S. government attacks on the teleSUR network are unfortunate but unsurprising, given the fact that teleSUR has long been a target of U.S. government policy owing to its association with the Venezuelan government. For instance in 2015, a failed coup plot in Venezuela that had been backed by the U.S. included plans to bomb teleSUR’s news building in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas.

More recently, U.S.-funded opposition forces in Venezuela attacked a teleSUR news team, while another teleSUR reporter was shot in the back in a separate incident. Martin herself was also threatened by violent U.S.-backed opposition protesters for her reporting on Venezuela for the Empire Files.

In a statement, Martin told MintPress that teleSUR has come under U.S. attack because “it is one of the very few outlets in the US that gives an alternative to the corporate media propaganda about Venezuela while the US foments regime change against its elected leadership.” She added that “the sanctions that have severed TeleSUR’s finances are another way for the US government to shut down dissenting voices it deems a threat, but this time in the shadows” and thanked the show’s viewers for “the outpouring of support” that she and her staff have received since the show’s shut down was announced.

Empire Files seeks alternative funding

Since the program first launched in 2015, the Empire Files has produced over 100 documentaries, interviews, and other media content from around the world, focusing on the costs of war, inequality and the far-reaching influence of U.S. empire. Most recently, right before funds dried up, the program had hired a staff of journalists within the besieged Gaza Strip. As a result, the program currently has unreleased footage of recent events in Gaza, including the Great Return March, as well as on-the-ground footage from Colombian “peace zones.”

Given the bleak financial outlook for the program and “no end in sight” to U.S. financial attacks on teleSUR and Venezuela in general, Martin and her team halted production of the series at the end of May, before Season Two had concluded. In an effort to complete the post-production of already recorded Season Two footage and to produce a planned third season, Martin and the Empire Files staff have announced independent fundraisers in order to keep the program alive.

For those interested in donating to the Empire Files, a GoFundMe page has been set up to help meet essential expenses. In addition, those wishing to donate cryptocurrency can also donate BitCoin to the program’s wallet (information at the end of this page) or become a monthly subscriber to the program via Patreon.

Source, links:




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

It's definite: Elizabeth Warren is the female Obama, can't be trusted

globinfo freexchange

One year from the 2020 US presidential election, things start to become clearer day by day. In the US political scene, we can now recognize the authentic progressives from the fakes, and certainly, from the establishment neoliberal centrists. 
In the presidential-candidates level we can now identify only Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard as the ones who are willing to fight the establishment and try to implement progressive, anti-imperialist policies. After her latest position, concerning the military coup in Bolivia against the democratically elected Evo Morales, Elizabeth Warren could be considered a pseudo-progressive, equal to a female Barack Obama. Therefore, progressives definitely can't trust her.
Warren tweeted:
The Bolivian people deserve free and fair elections, as soon as possible. Bolivia's interim leadership must limit itself to preparing for an early, legitimate election. Bolivia's security forces must protect demonstrators, not commit …

Technocracy now: The US is working to turn Lebanon’s anti-corruption protests against Hezbollah

While Lebanon’s protests remain focused on the economy and widespread corruption, Washington is increasingly determined to exploit the movement as a geopolitical weapon in the region.
by Rania Khalek
Part 1
Lebanon erupted in massive protests this October. The demonstrations transcended sect and class, and quickly spread across the country. The movement was spurred by the levying of regressive taxes and the persistence of a corrupt neoliberal order that has mismanaged the economy and hollowed out the public sector while enriching a handful of elites amid a looming economic collapse. 
Though the protests remain focused on class issues and corruption, the US is increasingly determined to co-opt the movement for its own goals. At the forefront of Washington’s agenda is ousting Hezbollah from the Lebanese governing coalition and marginalizing the Shia political-military movement as a means of weakening Iran. In its place, the US and its proxies inside Lebanon are demanding a “technocratic” g…

Latest WikiLeaks revelation and its treatment by the mainstream press explicitly demonstrate why the imperialists are determined to eliminate Julian Assange

globinfo freexchange
On November, 23, WikiLeaks published an e-mail, sent by a member of an OPCW fact-finding mission to Syria to his superiors, in which he expresses his gravest concern over intentional bias introduced to a redacted version of the report he co-authored.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons sent a team of experts to investigate allegations that a chemical attack took place in the Syrian city of Douma on the 7th of April 2018. The author of the e-mail was a member of that team and claims the redacted preliminary version of the report, misrepresents the facts he and his colleagues discovered on the ground. The e-mail is dated 22nd of June. It is addressed to Robert Fairweather, Chief of Cabinet, and forwarded to his deputy Aamir Shouket and members of the fact-finding mission to Douma.  


In short, the OPCW whistleblower actually claims that the report has been somehow altered. And it was done in a way to fit the scenario, according to which, the Assa…

WikiLeaks evidence that the imperialist machine was monitoring anti-imperialist Jeremy Corbyn at least since the US invasion of Iraq

The WIKILEAKS Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD)holds the world's largest searchable collection of United States confidential, or formerly confidential, diplomatic communications. As of April 8, 2013 it holds 2 million records comprising approximately 1 billion words. The collection covers US involvements in, and diplomatic or intelligence reporting on, every country on earth. It is the single most significant body of geopolitical material ever published. The PlusD collection, built and curated by WikiLeaks, is updated from a variety of sources, including leaks, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and documents released by the US State Department systematic declassification review. 
globinfo freexchange
A cable from December, 2002, proves that the US officials were closely monitoring anti-war activities. The particular cable was describing a protest "against a possible U.S.-led operation against Iraq" in Istanbul, Turkey, and there is a spec…

Here's why Bernie could end up being better than even FDR

globinfo freexchange

In his speeches, Bernie Sanders frequently refers to the 32nd president of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR), and his New Deal program that helped millions of Americans after the 1929 Wall Street crash. Sanders and other progressives are proposing a similar program adjusted to the modern environmental challenges. The Green New Deal has now become a popular vision, especially among young Americans. Around it, the progressives are aiming to build a whole new model beyond destructive neoliberalism and even obsolete capitalism.

Many would argue that this is quite an extremely optimistic view. That Sanders is just an old-school moderate Social-Democrat who will only manage to revive some typical social policies of the past, and that's it. He will never manage to seriously challenge the current power structure, which, indeed, has grown enormously, controlling nearly every aspect of the political and economic life.

Yet Sanders already managed to achieve …

LIVE: Bolivians resist military coup in La Paz

How a mass bot network is pushing the coup in Bolivia

New research found that, of the 17,427 accounts studied using anti-Morales hashtag #BoliviaNoHayGolpe, almost a third were created on November 11, the day of the coup.
by Alan Macleod 
Bolivia. November 11. Generals appear on television demanding the immediate resignation of the elected head of state, Evo Morales. Ever since Morales won the October 20 election, the country had been in upheaval. The right-wing Bolivian opposition claimed that the socialist had won by foul means, an accusation repeated by the Organization of American States. All over Bolivia, the opposition attempted to intimidate or terrorize the government into submission. For example, the Mayor of Vinto, Patricia Arce, was kidnapped, tied up, had her hair shaved off, covered in paint and dragged through the streets as she was physically and verbally abused. It seemed like a classic Latin America-style coup in the U.S.’ backyard.

But on social media, it was a different story. Twitter was full of tweets in both English …

The UK media is in the midst of the biggest propaganda campaign since the War to destroy Corbyn

globinfo freexchange
British historian and journalist, Mark Curtis, spoke at a conference in defence of Julian Assange at St. Pancras Church in London. Curtis points out the decline of the mainstream journalism in our days as it is depicted in the cases of Julian Assange and Jeremy Corbyn:

                    We are meeting at an extraordinary time. The UK media is in the midst of the biggest propaganda campaign since the War to destroy Corbyn. And it makes the 2003 propaganda campaign over Iraq look like sideshow. And what's going on at the moment is totally relentless, it's every day. And Julian [Assange] has been vilified by the same forces that are now attacking Jeremy Corbyn.

Οργανισμός Αμερικανικών Κρατών: Στην υπηρεσία της Ουάσινγκτον

του Ανδρέα Κοσιάρη
Ο Οργανισμός Αμερικανικών Κρατών, που εξέδωσε την έκθεση για την εκλογική αναμέτρηση στη Βολιβία, η οποία «δικαιολόγησε» το πραξικόπημα εναντίον του Έβο Μοράλες, είναι στη θεωρία ένας ουδέτερος οργανισμός κρατών. Στην πραγματικότητα όμως έχει μακρά ιστορία υποστήριξης των επεμβάσεων των ΗΠΑ στη Λατινική Αμερική, και σήμερα χρηματοδοτείται κατά πλειοψηφία από τα ταμεία του αμερικανικού κράτους. 
Παρά την ίδρυσή του το 1948 με σκοπό την «προώθηση της ειρήνης και τη διευθέτηση διαφωνιών μεταξύ των κρατών-μελών», ήταν μάλλον από την αρχή όργανο της αντικομμουνιστικής εξωτερικής πολιτικής των ΗΠΑ.

Ο ΟΑΚ υπήρξε σιωπηλός ή και στήριξε όλες ανεξαιρέτως τις αμερικανικές επεμβάσεις στη Λατινική Αμερική, είτε αυτές λάμβαναν τη μορφή εισβολής, όπως στην Κούβα το 1961, είτε τη μορφή στήριξης σε πραξικοπήματα και δικτατορικά καθεστώτα, όπως στη Χιλή το 1973 (και στην Αργεντινή, τη Βολιβία, τη Γουατεμάλα, τη Νικαράγουα, την Αϊτή, τον Παναμά, τη Βραζιλία, την Παραγουάη και τον Ισημ…

Bolivian UN ambassador: “racist elite” engineered coup to restore neoliberalism in Bolivia

Democracy Now!
Thousands marched across Bolivia Monday to demand the resignation of Jeanine Áñez, the right-wing senator who declared herself president of Bolivia last week after longtime socialist President Evo Morales resigned under pressure from the military. 
The coup d’état has thrown Bolivia into crisis, with violence across the country leaving at least 23 dead. On Friday, the military gunned down nine pro-Morales protesters outside Cochabamba, where indigenous people took to the streets again on Monday. Thousands more marched to the presidential palace in La Paz. 
The wave of protests are condemning the spike in anti-indigenous violence under interim President Áñez and demanding the return of Evo Morales. Áñez has a history of using racist, anti-indigenous language, and last week she issued a decree protecting the military from prosecution for violent acts and said that Morales would face prosecution if he returned to Bolivia. 
Morales is Bolivia’s first indigenous president, a…