Skip to main content

Western media fall in lockstep for cheap Trump/Rubio Venezuela aid PR stunt

by Adam Johnson

The Trump administration’s now completely overt effort to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro had a very successful public relations effort this week, as major Western media outlets uniformly echoed its simplistic, pre-packaged claim that the Venezuelan government was heartlessly withholding foreign aid:


All of the above articles—and scores more like it—repeated the same script: Maduro was blocking aid from the US “out of refusal to relinquish power,” preferring to starve “his own people” rather than feed them. It’s a simple case of good and evil—of a tyrannical, paranoid dictator not letting in aid to feed a starving population.

Except three pieces of key context are missing. Context that, when presented to a neutral observer, would severely undermine the cartoonish narrative being advanced by US media.

1) Both the Red Cross and UN warned the US not to engage in this aid PR stunt.

2) The bridge in question is a visual metaphor contrived by the Trump administration of little practical relevance.

3) The person in charge of US operations in Venezuela has a history of using aid as a cover to deliver weapons to right-wing mercenaries.

(1) Not only has the international aid community not asked for the “aid,” earlier this week, both the International Red Cross and United Nations warned the US to explicitly not engage in these types of PR stunts. As Washington Post contributor Vincent Bevins pointed out, the transparent cynicism of these efforts was preemptively warned about by the groups actually charged with keeping starving people fed:

Red Cross Warns US About Risks of Sending Aid to Venezuela (PBS NewsHour, 2/1/19):
The International Committee of the Red Cross has warned the United States about the risks of delivering humanitarian aid to Venezuela without the approval of security forces loyal to President Nicolas Maduro.
***
UN Warns Against Politicizing Humanitarian Aid in Venezuela (Reuters, 2/6/19):
UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations warned on Wednesday against using aid as a pawn in Venezuela after the United States sent food and medicine to the country’s border and accused President Nicolas Maduro of blocking its delivery with trucks and shipping containers.

Indeed, as Bevins also noted, the Red Cross has long been working with local authorities inside Venezuela to deliver relief, and just last week doubled its budget to do so. We have ample evidence the Maduro government is more than willing to work with international aid when it’s offered in good faith, not when it’s a thinly veiled mechanism to spur civil war and contrive PR victories for those seeking to overthrow the government. It’s not just Maduro—as the Western media are presenting it—who opposes the US aid convoy; it’s the UN and Red Cross. Why do none of the above reports note this rather key piece of information, instead giving the reader the impression it’s only the stance of a sadistic, power-hungry madman?

(2) Despite dozens of media outlets giving the impression (and sometimes explicitly saying) that the Venezuelan government shut down an otherwise functioning pathway into the country, the bridge in question hasn’t been open for years.

It’s true the Venezuelan government appears to have placed an oil tanker and cargo containers on the bridge to prevent incursion from the Colombian side, but the other barriers, as writer and software developer Jason Emery noted, have been in place since at least 2016. According to La Opinion (2/5/16), after its initial construction in 2015, the bridge has never been open to traffic. How can Maduro, as the BBC suggested, “reopen” a bridge that was never open?

The reality is BBC and other Western media were just going along with the narrative pushed by Sen. Marco Rubio and Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, not bothering to check if their primary visual narrative was based on a bad faith, context-free PR stunt.

This point is a relatively superficial one, but in a long term PR battle to win over Western liberals for further military escalation, the superficial matters a lot. Rubio and the Trump administration cooked up a gimmicky visual metaphor, and almost every outlet uncritically passed it along, often making factually inaccurate assumptions along the way—assumptions the Trump State Department and CIA coordinating the effort knew very well they would make.

(3) The Venezuelan government has an entirely rational reason to suspect the US would use humanitarian aid as a cover to smuggle in weapons to foment armed conflict: The person running quarterback for Trump on the current Venezuela operation, Elliot Abrams, literally did just that 30 years ago.

From the first two paragraphs (emphasis added) of a 1987 AP/New York Times article on Elliott Abrams, “Abrams Denies Wrongdoing in Shipping Arms to Contras” (8/17/87—h/t Kevin Gosztola):

Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams has defended his role in authorizing the shipment of weapons on a humanitarian aid flight to Nicaraguan rebels, saying the operation was ”strictly by the book.”

Mr. Abrams spoke at a news conference Saturday in response to statements by Robert Duemling, former head of the State Department’s Nicaraguan humanitarian assistance office, who said he had twice ordered planes to shuttle weapons for the Contras on aid planes at Mr. Abrams’ direction in early 1986.

It’s literally the same person. It’s not that Maduro is vaguely paranoid the US, in general, would dust off its 1980s’ Contra-backing Cold War playbook, or some unspecified assumption about a higher-up or two at State. It’s literally the exact same person in charge of the operation who we know—with 100 percent certainty, because he admitted to it—has a history of using aid convoys as a cover to smuggle in arms to right-wing militias.

It’s all playing out right now, in real time. The same actors, the same tricks, the same patently disingenuous concern for the starving poor. And the US media is stripping it of all this essential context, presenting these radical regime-change operators as bleeding heart humanitarians.

The same US media outlets that have expressly fundraised and run ad campaigns on their image as anti-Trump truth-tellers have mysteriously taken at face value everything the Trump White House and its neoconservative allies have said in their campaign to overthrow the government of Venezuela. The self-aggrandizing “factchecking” brigade that emerged to confront the Trump administration is suddenly nonexistent as it rolls out a transparent, cynical PR strategy to delegitimize a Latin American government it’s trying to overthrow.

Source, links:



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Gaddafi's plan for a pan-African independent power as the main reason for which the Western neocolonialists finally destroyed Libya

'Hillary Clinton is a war criminal'
globinfo freexchange
Afshin Rattansi of RT's Going Underground, speaks with Muammar Gaddafi's spokesperson during the Libyan Civil War, Moussa Ibrahim, about how Gaddafi's government's predictions came true on terrorism, extremism and tribal conflict plaguing Libya following Gaddafi's downfall.
Ibrahim gives details about Gaddafi's plan to create a fully independent African Union from the Western neocolonial powers. And he implies that this was the main reason for which the Western neocolonialists finally destroyed Libya. He claims that Gaddafi administration was very open to a dialogue with the West, but he had been deliberately ignored. He also characterizes Hillary Clinton as a 'war criminal'.
Some key points:
Gaddafi was laying down real plans and real project for the control of African natural resources through the African Organization for Natural Resources. Unifying African armies into one army called th…

Roger Waters: militarism is exacerbating the Climate Crisis

The Real News Network
Pink Floyd co-founder and activist Roger Waters speaks to the Real News at the People's Mobilization Against the U.S. War Machine in New York City.

Trump threatens to transfer the endo-capitalist war into a civil war level

globinfo freexchange
Donald Trump finally counter-attacked against corporate Democrats and their persistent desire to impeach him, through the ultimate threat: a civil war. In a recent tweet he wrote:
"... If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.
....If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.” Pastor Robert Jeffress, @FoxNews — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2019
Speaking to the Real News Network, Jeet Heer of The Nation pointed out:
The civil-war tweet is almost like a threat. It’s like, 'Well, this is a nice little Republic you got here, and it’d be a shame if anything happened to it.' But the thing is that this civil-war talk did not originate from T…

Why NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden risked his life to expose surveillance state

Democracy Now!
Six years ago, Edward Snowden leaked a trove of secret documents about how the United States had built a massive surveillance apparatus to spy on Americans and people across the globe. 
Snowden was then charged in the U.S. for violating the Espionage Act and other laws. As he attempted to flee to Latin America, Snowden became stranded in Russia after the U.S. revoked his passport. He has lived in Moscow ever since. 
Snowden just published his memoir, “Permanent Record,” in which he writes about what led him to risk his life to expose the U.S. government’s system of mass surveillance. 

Greta Thunberg: “We are striking to disrupt the system”

Democracy Now!
Greta Thunberg, is the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who has inspired millions across the globe. Last year she launched a school strike for the climate, skipping school every Friday to stand in front of the Swedish parliament, demanding action to prevent catastrophic climate change.
Her protest spread, quickly going global. Hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren around the globe have participated in their own local school strikes for the climate.
Since her strike began in 2018, Greta has become a leading figure in the climate justice movement. She has joined protests across Europe. She has addressed world leaders at the U.N. climate talks in Poland and the European Union Parliament. She has even met the pope. 
She is also planning to attend the U.N. climate summit in Santiago, Chile, in December.

Το βαθύτερο νόημα του να κάνεις κολοτούμπες σε σύνοδο του ΟΗΕ

globinfo freexchange
Επικυρώθηκε με κάθε επισημότητα η μεγάλη απάτη του Μητσοτακικού καθεστώτος και του βρόμικου μιντιακού κατεστημένου της ντόπιας ολιγαρχίας, το οποίο έκανε τα πάντα, προκειμένου να κερδίσει τις εθνικές εκλογές η χειρότερη δεξιά της μεταπολίτευσης. 
Μετά τις θεαματικές κολοτούμπες Παναγιωτόπουλου-Βαρβιτσιώτη σε συνέδριο του Economist όσον αφορά το Μακεδονικό, ήρθε η σειρά του ίδιου του Μητσοτάκη να τους μιμηθεί, όχι απλά σε κάποιο συνέδριο, αλλά σε σύνοδο του ΟΗΕ για το κλίμα. 
Η δήλωση Μητσοτάκη δεν αφήνει κανένα περιθώριο παρερμηνείας:
«Νωρίς το απόγευμα της 23ης Ιουλίου πέρυσι μία μικρή πυρκαγιά ξέσπασε σε λόφο έξω από την Αθήνα. Οι πυροσβεστικές υπηρεσίες αντιμετωπίζουν χιλιάδες τέτοιες φωτιές κάθε χρόνο. Αυτή όμως ήταν διαφορετική. Οδηγημένη από ισχυρότατους ανέμους, εξαπλώθηκε γρήγορα και έφθασε στην προαστιακή κωμόπολη του Ματιού. Μόλις μπήκε στην πευκόφυτη οικιστική περιοχή κατέστη αδύνατο να περιοριστεί… Τα ακραία καιρικά φαινόμενα είναι η άμεση συνέπεια τη…

Το Μητσοτακικό καθεστώς βάζει σε εφαρμογή το σχέδιο για τα σύγχρονα φέουδα

globinfo freexchange

Φαίνεται ότι αρχίζουν κιόλας να επαληθεύονται οι εκτιμήσεις σχετικά με τη δημιουργία Ειδικών Οικονομικών Ζωνών εντός της Ελληνικής επικράτειας. 
Όπως έχουμε αναφέρει σε πρόσφατο άρθρο, ο πρώτος μεγάλος στόχος του Μητσοτακικού καθεστώτος θα είναι η δημιουργία Ειδικών Οικονομικών Ζωνών εντός της Ελληνικής επικράτειας και το σχέδιο αναμένεται να ανακοινωθεί επίσημα γύρω στον Γενάρη-Φλεβάρη του 2020, εκτός απροόπτου. Οι νεοφιλελεύθεροι "τζιχαντιστές" της δεξιάς ετοιμάζονται να στρώσουν χαλί στους φεουδάρχες του 21ου αιώνα τους οποίους σήμερα αποκαλούμε "επενδυτές". 
Το σχέδιο θα εφαρμοστεί ανεμπόδιστα και σε πλήρη σύμπλευση με το νεοφιλελεύθερο ιερατείο του άξονα Βρυξελλών-Βερολίνου, καθώς οι φανατικοί τεχνοκράτες του Μητσοτάκη είναι απόλυτα αφοσιωμένοι στην επιτυχή ολοκλήρωσή του.

Όπως είναι φυσικό, οι περιοχές που προσφέρονται περισσότερο για την επιτυχή εφαρμογή του σχεδίου, είναι αυτές που παρουσιάζουν την υψηλότερη ανεργία. Με τη Μητσοτ…

'How dare you!': Greta Thunberg rages at 'fairytales of eternal economic growth' at UN climate summit

In a speech to the United Nations Climate Action Summit Monday, Swedish youth climate activist Greta Thunberg lit into world leaders for their "empty words" around solving the climate crisis and said decades of inaction have left her generation without a future.

"People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosytems are collapsing. We are at the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth," said Thunberg. "How dare you!
Thunberg delivered her remarks during a panel on the climate crisis after she was asked what she thought of the worldwide climate strike movement that she began, alone, 13 months ago. But the youth activist wasn't interested in rehashing the past or praise from politicians.

"I shouldn't be standing here," said Thunberg. "I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to me for hope? How dare you! You have stolen my d…

EVERYONE is on the list: Snowden says no ‘innocents’ in mass surveillance world

Asked if buying his memoir would get one on a spy list, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden chillingly replied that everyone in the world is on the “list” and there are no innocents in the age of mass surveillance.

Responding to a reader who joked that buying Snowden’s book ‘Permanent Record’ might have put him on a list of people to be spied on, the exiled former intelligence contractor said in all seriousness that everyone is being spied on regardless.

Systems of mass surveillance strive to record all people, in all places, at all times. The question is no longer ‘Am I on the list?’ it is ‘What's my rank on the list?’,” Snowden tweeted on Wednesday.
The former NSA and CIA contractor became a household name in 2013, when he revealed the extent of surveillance by the ‘Five Eyes’ network of US and its allies. He fled to Hong Kong ahead of being charged with espionage and eventually found asylum in Russia.

The US government reacted to the publication of his memoir by filing a civil l…

Chris Hedges: "Democracy has been destroyed by global capitalism"

Democracy Now!
House Democrats have subpoenaed President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, seeking documents related to his work in Ukraine, after Giuliani admitted on television that he had urged the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. This comes as House Democrats continue to build their case for impeaching the president, following a whistleblower complaint focused on a phone call in which Trump asked the Ukranian president to do him a “favor” by digging up dirt on his political rival ahead of the upcoming election. 
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Chris Hedges says the president's latest behavior merely scratches the surface of the underlying corruption and malaise that plagues the country, and describes global capitalism as an impediment to democracy. Currently, he says, "we have the façade of democracy." The capitalist class has leveraged its influence to draft legislation, invert the constitution and orchestrate the &…