The latest CIA coup, or Let's Learn about Venezuela

Sorry about the cutesie title. Trying to get your attention and all.

A few of you might have read a previous thread in which I contended that the corporate media do not keep us well informed on foreign relations issues. I have also posted a thread questioning whether the media cowers from authority, or takes its cues from authority figures and officials.

Obviously, I’m interested in, and dubious about, the process by which Americans are fed the news from our established media – the mainstream media, if you will. I don’t buy the argument that Americans simply don’t care about other cultures. I feel that they don’t know enough about what’s going on in other cultures because they are being misled as to what’s going on.

I’m going to use Venezuela as an example. I will argue that the CIA inspired the attempted coup in April against the rightfully elected nationalist leader, Hugo Chavez, as it has with so many Third World countries that have decided to stray from the U.S. vision of globalization. Or, I think I can at least show that there’s enough evidence that the media should be investigating this distinct possibility.

First, some background on Chavez’s Bolivarian party from this article:

A populist leader gets elected to lead a nation, the rich people who support U.S. globalization get pissed off, and this is where the U.S., through the CIA, gets involved. Our leaders have decided that our nation’s “best interests” are keeping foreign markets open for our business. Our mainstream media outlets seem to still believe that this is somehow linked with democracy and liberation, I guess.

I tried to find news stories about Venezuela’s coup attempt in April (more on that in a bit) in the mainstream media. I didn’t get many hits on Google. This article on a conservative site came up and mentions Venezuela only with vague sources linking Chavez with terrorism:

Expect to see more and more of this in the mainstream U.S. media: Chavez will be demonized as a terrorist soon enough. Until then, the CIA’s underground shenanigans will have to do.

Back to the coup: Chavez’s opponents set up the government takeover so that it looked like a popular uprising. Instead, what happened is that after Chavez escaped harm, an actual popular uprising overthrew the conspirators who pulled off the coup. The people of Venezuela fought for their autonomy, and won. Really, it’s a great story. If the media would touch it.

Some articles I found about the coup and the situation in Venezuela:

This one describes the coup and the uprising to defeat it. A portion:

Here’s one article that declares this a CIA coup and talks about other CIA coups, including Guatemala, Chile, and the CIA coup in Iran in 1954, which eventually steered that country to religious zealotry and hatred for the U.S. I’ll print portions of the text, and I’ve bolded the evidence that America was involved (something, you’d think, that our citizens would like to know about, and U.S. media might want to check out):

Author William Blum writes here that it’s an obvious CIA coup.

Blum has written some books detailing how the CIA has its tentacles in nations around the world. From the article:

He goes on to list Chavez’s transgressions, which mainly have to do with not playing ball with the U.S. in the areas of trade, commerce, war and propaganda.

Then Blum says:

If you look through this stuff, you’ll see that there’s some mainstream papers quoted. In other words, it’s not like the mainstream media didn’t know about the situation. They just didn’t care to learn more, and didn’t care to do any more than quote official sources.

According to this article by a Venezuelan reporter, the Venezuelan media, which is part of the wealthy opposition, played a big part in trying to kick Chavez out of power.

This paragraph was particularly eye-opening:

Yipes, that was a long post.

Well, I’m pretty skeptical whenever people start claiming that the CIA is secretly behind some action down there.

If this Chavez fellow is trying to steal private property for the benefit of “the people”, I have very little sympathy for him. He’s just another crook. I have no desire for us to get involved toppling him, but I’d be glad to see him and all his thieving brethren gone from the earth.

I have a friend at Exxon Mobil, and he tells me that unfortunately this is how most of the world runs it’s oil industry. The government either runs the industry outright, or takes a giant chunk in “royalties” or whatever they want to call them. The goal in negotiating with those countries is to find the lowest possible rate, the most favorable contract, and hope that the contract will be honored. In nations where the gov’t has absolute power over the economy, nothing can be trusted. The way it’s looking in Venezuela from your articles, any company would be wise to stay away from investing there, as complete nationalization (aka wholesale theft) of the entire industry and all related private properties could be on the horizon.

Anyways, a couple of those articles just sound like leftist conspiracy theory ramblings, especially the one from Surely you recognize that writing style as that of a paranoid nutjob, and not a serious journalist, right? Why should the US mainstream media jump on a story that so far has no credibility?

I wrote a lengthy response to the above, but as usual the Baord had one of it’s hiccups and it got dumped, so sorry, but here’s the short version.

I read both the Presswatch piece and Blum’s article, and failed to find a single statement of fact relating to possible CIA participation in the failed Venzuelan coup. There was not a single name, place or date of an specific event that showed positive CIA involvment. All I saw were a number of assertions of CIA involvement with no other factual backing than “well, they did it years ago in Guatemala/Iran/Indonesia back in the '50s/'60s/'70s, so they must have done it here”. Hell, the Presswatch pice doesn’t even attribute an AUTHOR, much less any source material on which it bases its conclusions.

Also, I would like to highlight again Blum’s statement:

In its utter lack of anything approaching objectivity, and in the author’s complete failure to provide a single verifiable supporting fact in support of this this thesis, this has to be one of the most assinine statements I have ever seen from someone purporting to be a journalist.

You want to make your case? Fine. Show me something that A) indicates positivley the CIA had a hand in this failed coup, not one thirty years ago; and/or B) that the coup ONLY TOOK PLACE because of CIA involvement. I’ll be happy to evaluate the evidence when there actually is some to evaluate.

Wasn’t there a lawsuit against a jourtnalist who published some nasty things about what was happening in Venezuela and how they related to some congressman or another. The court ruled that because what was published was true that there was no case for libel.

I think that there may actually be something to this’n.

Go to it Clucky!

I know. I’ve found that if I don’t fully document my “nutjob” arguments, I leave myself open to personal attacks. Americans don’t hear this stuff enough to have a collective knowledge about it, so you have to cite, cite, cite.

*Originally posted by RexDart *
Well, I’m pretty skeptical whenever people start claiming that the CIA is secretly behind some action down there.

Don’t be. It’s well documented that the CIA has been heavily involved in Latin America’s government. You just won’t hear about it in the mainstream press, unless you dig for it, or happen across the occasional article referring to it. The stuff that’s put in those “nutjob” articles are good background. There’s a new book out about the CIA coup in Iran. You can look it up here at a “serious” news source. Of course, it’s a little late to do anything about screwing up Iran, but maybe we can avoid future mistakes if we can keep the U.S. from overthrowing democracies.

I see “the people” in quotation marks, noting that you don’t believe it, but read the articles and see what laws his party has passed. Besides, what’s it to you what another nation’s legislature decides to pass? Why should the U.S. get to make final judgments on it?

Hmmm. Well, this explains your point of view. You’re getting your info from Exxon Mobil. I see that this type of nationalist movement surely would create great heartburn for a company that’s coming in to use another nation’s oil for its own profits. What that nation does with its natural resources and products should be up to that nation. In this case, Chavez was elected democratically, so there’s no “absolute power” involved, unless you can provide proof otherwise.

No credibility, huh? Well, this is what I’m saying. Unless people see the “serious” media as taking up an issue, they never see it as an issue. And, if the “serious” media never take up an issue, it therefore isn’t important to us. So, if another nation’s being toppled, and it isn’t reported, it just doesn’t matter, because our corporate media, acting as just a wing of Big Business, and not as “government watchdog,” has decided it a nonissue.

It’s all part of the cycle. It seems impossible to break.

What about this?

I will research this further, but it appears from the Venezuelan Parliament, that America is involved. If it ain’t the CIA, who else would be involved from the U.S., and does it matter if it was the CIA or the School of Americas or whomever?

Blum, btw, has studied this stuff for years. He worked for the State Department. Here’s a biography:

**William Blum left the U.S. State Department in 1967, abandoning his aspiration of becoming a Foreign Service Officer because of his opposition to what the United States was doing in Viet Nam. Two years later he published an exposé of the CIA which was followed by numerous writings which unmasked Washington’s interventions around the world. Blum was in Chile writing about the government of Salvador Allende, who wasoverthrown by the CIA in 1973; he worked with former CIA agent Philip Agee to expose CIA personnel and their misdeeds in London; and he authored two book, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II and Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower. Blum was honored with a 1998 Project Censored award for his “exemplary journalism” **

While that doesn’t automatically mean he’s correct on this issue, it does make him an expert – one that the mainstream media could use as a source if they wanted to report outside an “official, P.R.” look at the matter.

At the least, you’d think the mainstream media could interview some of those Venezuelan lawmakers who say the U.S. is involved. Remember, it took the BBC to interview the Iranian doctors about Jessica Lynch to get the ball rolling on the truth there.

Btw, and off the OP, did you see the most recent Newsweek story about Lynch? I think it might have come directly from a government news release. I am planning on starting a thread on that alone.

The CIA may or may not have been involved, but the NSA certainly was. Venezuelan government transmissions were being intercepted by intel folk at MRSOC and passed on to supporters of the opposition.


Any cites at all on this, Simon? Or, any clues on where the congressman or journalist was from?

Wow! aren’t you heartless. Wouldn’t you think that a country’s natural resources should somehow benefit the people? Unfortunately, most of the world is NOT run like this. Most of the world’s oil is controlled by either dictators (hording all the proceeds for themselves) or by huge corporations (which are only motivated by profit - ie. hording all the proceeds for themselves). Maybe if we had a system in place where natural resources would actually benefit the people, instead of just benefiting the rich, we wouldn’t currently have a fascist government. If only you could go back in time to Saddam controlled Iraq - now that’s a system it seems you could enjoy. The system in the U.S. is just as good. We’ll take over a country, plunder all their natural resources, and leave them poorer and dirtier than when we started. All for the benefit of the corrupt CEO’s and their pals. Ever notice that Enron was an energy company? And good friends of the Bush’s. Cheney’s Halliburton is under investigation for accounting fraud. Ah, and the evergy taskforce and the GAO, need I go on? Put these folks in a room with their dictator pals and these are the true ‘thieving bretheren’. :smack:
Benito Mussolini - “Fascism should rightly be called corporatism as it is a merger of state and corporate power.”

I wasn’t aware of that. Did a Google search. Found this:

And this piece, quoting the same fellows quoted in the above article. A portion:

akrako, I couldn’t have said it better.

Clucky, are you a writer for La Prensa? This is well presented.

Same problems as I stated: an assertion that “Americans were named” without, er, naming the Americans, and an assertion that Eliot Abrams is in charge of a destabilization program, but neither clearly dfiening the nature of the program nor how the author knows that Abrams is its head.

Look, what I’m trying to point out here is the difference between polemic and journalism. The item Unomundo posted, and that you have quoted, makes a far more credible case for US meddling in Venezuela than the vague rantings you quoted in your OP.

Also, not to be mean about this, but in your support of Blum you seem to to be employing the fallacy of “argument from authority”. I don’t care what Blum’s background is, he fails to provide fact one to make his case.

With that out of the way, I guess we can finally get to the meat of the OP. It seems that the OP’s position is that the major US media is deliberately avoiding discussion of a possible US covert role in the attempted Venezuelan coup. I can conceive of several reasons why this might be so, but I am curious as to which the OP thinks is the most likely case and why (or, if there’s another reason, feel free to explain). The reasons, in no particular order:

  1. Major media are afraid of losing access to administration sources if they investigate this issue

  2. Major media reject non-government sources of information on this issue as either untrustworthy or agenda-driven

  3. Major media are suppressing the story out of a misplaced sense of patriotism

  4. Major media find the story to be of insufficient interest to the public at large (read: consumers) to bother investigating further

  5. Major media are deliberately colluding with government officials to bury this story, in exchange for known or unknown considerations

  6. Major media are deliberately colluding with government officials to bury this story, due to government threats or intimidation

  7. Major media are afraid of losing advertising revenue, for one reason or another, if they pursue this story.

  8. Major media are following a long-standing tradition of paying little attention to stories which do not directly affect domestic conditions or pose an immediate danger to US military or civilian lives.

Three comments, and my contribution to this thread is finished.

Firstly, I do not believe that while major media may be neglecting a potential story here, I do not see any compelling reason to believe they are deliberately suppressing it.

Secondly, I continue to fail to see why such emphasis on whether major US media lead the coverage on this or not; I have heard the argument about ‘shaping the debate’ and find it irrelevant. I submit it is not up to the major media, or any single organisation, to ‘shape the debate’, it is up to the individual, and anyone who looks to the major media do their thinking for them is a fool of the first rank.

Thirdly, I personally don’t care from what organization a responsible journalist comes from If this story is getting out, it is more due to the unbelievably shoddy journalistic standards displayed in the articles quoted by the OP, than any overt or covert supression by the mass media.

Over to you.

Sorry, as usual my proofreading is shoddy as well. Last sentence should start, “If this story is NOT getting out…”

[brief hijak]

You should start a file where you document different sources and resources. compile your cites.

Well, no, I’m asserting that this guy is an expert, in that he’s studied CIA affairs for a few decades now. I’m saying he seems to be someone who the media might want to talk to if they were interested in getting an unofficial look at the story. While he certainly didn’t provide facts in the article I posted, he does give an expert opinion, no different than those “expert opinions” from official sources who inundated the air waves concerning Gulf War II.

I think it’s a number of reasons. I think No. 1 applies. Media certainly do pander to officials in hopes of getting the “inside scoop,” regardless of whether the inside scoop comes only from official sources, thereby showing one side of the story.

No 2 certainly applies, because as part of the mainstream media, you begin to view yourself as THE voice of reason, THE holder of truth, THE official voice. The last being the only legitimate claim in our society.

No. 3 applies. The media have closely linked themselves with the interests of our government, which is in turn closely linked with the interests of Big Business, which also owns the major media. The people who own the media are the same as the people who run our country who are the same as the people who own Exxon Mobil and the like. There’s a similiar mindframe. When they say “patriotism,” have no doubt that this means supporting our troops overseas, because they are, with little doubt, fighting for liberation. If you buy that line of thinking, then you wouldn’t see anything wrong with the way the Venezuelan story is being treated.

I don’t buy No. 4. This has nothing to do with what the people want to see. With a story written well enough, and printed in major newspapers and aired on TV, you could easily sell Chavez the hero. Unless, of course, Chavez is immediately demonized as supporting terrorists. See my reply to No. 7.

Nos. 5 and 6 get into the conspiracy theory realm. I’m not saying these things haven’t happened or couldn’t happen, but that they’d have less to do with the media not covering the event than with the media identifying with the government and its objectives.

No. 7 is interesting. If the rest of the media are saying Chavez is a terrorist, of course it would be dangerous for a major media outlet to portray him as a hero. I don’t think this reason applies so much, because the media won’t even get to the point where they consider the Venezuelan coup and subsequent popular uprising as a story – unless official government sources come out and tell them that it’s a story.

No. 8 certainly applies. It’s easy to ignore these stories, because the wealthy, privileged people who run the corporations, including the media, don’t see this as important stuff. I would think their views would be similar to that of Rexdart – “If this Chavez fellow is trying to steal private property for the benefit of ‘the people’, I have very little sympathy for him. He’s just another crook.”

Okay. They’re indifferent. But, why? Why do we hear a lot of news of certain other foreign events, let’s say terrorist attacks on Israel, but not about an attempted coup to overthrow a democratically elected government in Venezuela?

Well, an individual can shape the debate all he wants for those within earshot. He’ll have very little effect. Give him access to mass media, and you have a different story. I think it’s that simple. While you think that people who let the major media shape their thinking are fools, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s exactly what’s happening. I don’t fault them. I was one of them, and I understand how it can happen. We have “freedom of the press,” and people think that this automatically means that the media will inform us. It’s a propaganda tool, and it works.

Well, I guess you could blame the alternative media for the mass media’s failure to report this, based solely on your view of the quality of the initial articles I posted. I fail to see how this really relevant, given that the Venezuelan government is still there and open for interviews about their plight against the corporate plot to overthrow their democracy. All a reporter would have to do is try to contact these people and ask them their views.

I remember in Reporting 101, on the first day there, when the professor talked about getting information from all sides to write a balanced story. I guess that just doesn’t apply to our media when they’re coving an American transgression.

Here’s the Right-Wing conspiracy version

Relevant bits from Auntie Beeb

Chronicle of a Coup

I have no sympathy for Chavez or his methods or for the USA meddling in Venezuela’s internal affairs.