Wednesday, June 28, 2017

CIA linked to helicopter attack



What we know so far of yesterday’s confusing incident is that a group of agents of the CICPC (intelligence police) flew a police helicopter over the buildings of the Venezuela’s Supreme Justice Tribunal and Interior Minister. Several shots were fired at the buildings from the helicopter and at least one grenade was thrown. No injuries were reported.

The helicopter had been commandeered by Oscar Pérez and a group of at least four more officers. Pérez published a video explaining that his aim was to “return power to the democratic people.”

Some opposition supporters expressed via social networks their suspicions that the actions could have been staged by the government as an excuse for further militarization and repression.

The government however was quick to alert of an unfolding coup attempt. On early evening, president Maduro said on television that the event had been a “terrorist attack” and that the armed forces would be deployed in full to stop the coup.

The Ministry of Information issued a statement saying that the event was part of “an escalation of a coup against the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and its institutions.” Oscar Pérez, says in the statement, “is under investigation for his links with the CIA and the United States Embassy in Caracas, and for his links with an ex-minister of Interior (of Venezuela), who has recently publically confirmed his contacts with the CIA.”

The “ex-minister of Interior” mentioned is Miguel Rodríguez Torres, who said in a news conference that he in fact had had contacts with the CIA as Chavez’s Interior Minister and under his orders. “When I was the director of the intelligence services, president Chávez told me that we should have the best relations with all the other intelligence services of the world, including the CIA,” said Rodríguez Torres.

Here is the transcription made by Telesur of the statement read by Information Minister Ernesto Villegas yesterday (the statement has not yet been published in the MINCI web page):

El Gobierno de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela informa a la ciudadanía en general y a los pueblos hermanos del mundo sobre los ataques armados perpetrados durante la tarde de hoy, martes 27 de junio, contra la sedes del Ministerio para el Poder Popular para las Relaciones Interior, Justicia y Paz, y el Tribunal Supremo de justicia, como parte de una escalada golpista contra la Constitución de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela y sus instituciones.
Ambos ataques fueron efectuados desde un helicóptero Airbus Volcom, modelo 105, siglas CICPC02, hurtado de la base aérea Generalísimo Francisco de Miranda, en La Carlota, Caracas, por parte de un sujeto de nombre Óscar Alberto Pérez, quien para cometer los atentados se valió de condición de inspector adscrito a la división de transporte aéreo del Cicpc.
El complotado voló la aereonave hasta las inmediaciones del Ministerio para el Poder Popular para las Relaciones Interior, Justicia y Paz, en la avenida Urdaneta, y efectúo alrededor de 15 disparos contra la edificación, mientras se desarrollaba en la terraza de ésta un agasajo a un grupo de comunicadores sociales, con motivo de celebrarse el día de hoy el Día Nacional del Periodista. Para el momento del ataque, se encontraban ahí unas 80 personas.
Posteriormente, el helicóptero fue llevado hasta la sede del Tribunal Supremo de Justicia, precisamente mientras se encontraba sesionando allí la Sala Constitucional del Máximo Tribunal, con todo sus magistrados, mientras un grupo de trabajadores permanecían laborando en sus oficinas. Contra estas personas, fueron efectuados disparos y lanzadas al menos cuatro granadas de origen colombiano y de fabricación israelí, de las cuales una no estalló y fue colectada. Dos de estas granadas fueron lanzadas contra los efectivos de la Guardia Nacional Bolivariana que custodiaba el edificio.
Gracias al rápida reacción de los custodios pudo evitarse una tragedia. El autor material de estos hechos está siendo investigado por sus vínculo de la Agencia Central de Inteligencia de los Estados Unidos y la embajada de ese país en Caracas, así como su vínculo con un exministro del Interior, quien recientemente ha confirmado públicamente sus contactos con la CIA.
Para el Gobierno Bolivariano, se tratan de ataques terroristas enmarcados en la ofensiva insurreccional adelantada por factores extremistas de la derecha venezolana, con apoyo de gobiernos y poderes extranjeros.
La Fuerza Armada Nacional Bolivariana y los cuerpos de seguridad del Estado se encuentran desplegados, con el objetivo de capturar al autor de estos hechos y recuperar la aeronave. Se exhorta a quienes puedan aportar elementos que ayuden a dar con su paradero, comunicarse con las autoridades a través del teléfono 911.
Emplaza, el Gobierno Bolivariano a los partidos políticos coaligados en la llamada Mesa de la Unidad Democrática, así como la jerarquía eclesiástica y demás factores de la sociedad venezolana a condenar resueltamente estos hechos y a deslindarse de una vez por toda la violencia.
El Gobierno Bolivariano llama al pueblo venezolano a estar alerta frente a la escalada golpista que pretende alterar el orden constitucional en Venezuela y que ha demostrado carecer de cualquier escrúpulo para el logro de sus ambiciones políticas y económicas.
Ninguno de estos ataques detendrán la activación del proceso popular constituyente, ni impedirá el ejercicio del derecho al voto, por parte del pueblo venezolano, el próximo 30 de julio, para elegir a los miembros de la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente.
El presidente constitucional de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros, quien encabezó hoy la entrega de los Premios Nacionales de Periodismo, se encuentra al frente de su equipo gobierno dirigiendo las acciones, para asegurar la seguridad y la tranquilidad del pueblo venezolano.
Hoy más que nunca están vigentes las palabras del comandante Chávez: Unidad, lucha, batalla y victoria.

Caracas, 27 de junio del año 2017

Friday, June 23, 2017

Deaths during manifestations could be part of a conspiracy

“The Bolivarian National Police and the Bolivarian National Guard have done a heroic effort to act without firearms,” president Maduro told international correspondents yesterday at the presidential palace.

When asked by the BBC correspondent in Caracas, Daniel García (@danigmarco), about the case of Fabian Urbina, fatally shot by a National Guard during protests in Caracas in July 19, Maduro said that in any such cases the agents responsible for the shootings have been detained by authorities, “the second such incidents happen.”

But also, Maduro added, “I have ordered an investigation to find out if there is a conspiracy [behind those cases], so that the People may know. I can’t be fooled compadre, nobody can think that if I have clearly given orders not to use firearms, and if there are the contention mechanisms in place of gas and pellet guns, somebody could take a picture of himself holding a firearm. Don’t you think that’s strange?” asked Maduro.

“Photographers, photographers everywhere. How many photographers do you find in an opposition protests? Sometimes more than the protesters themselves. So I have ordered an investigation, because there is too much money behind all this compadre, to many dollars,” explained the president.  



Sunday, June 18, 2017

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Diagnosing the political opposition

Questions by the opposition about the mental health of president Chávez were common before his death. His successor Nicolás Maduro has also been “psychologically diagnosed” by critics. Venezuelan government agencies and officials are increasingly also using a rhetoric taken from the field of psychology with political intent: opposition to the government, or even “critical chavismo”, is regularly now labeled in government media as a mental disorder. Opposition discourse is also analyzed as part of a “psychological war” aimed at the Venezuelan people.

The trend was originally set by PSUV leader Jorge Rodríguez, a psychiatrist and mayor of the Libertador Municipality of Caracas. Rodriguez has hosted a public television show called Politica desde el Divan since 2015 (watch the first episode here.) According to its web page description, in the show “political subjectivities, discourses, classical tensions, and the forces that produce the social scene are analyzed, arguing that politics, no matter its nature, is constituted by measurable and scientifically verifiable (facts).” In practice, Rodríguez regularly analyses opposition figures and questions their mental sanity. He explains the opposition discourse as a whole as a part of a “psychological war” waged by the Empire and its local allies against the Bolivarian revolution.

Psychological diagnoses have also been waged against internal government critics. Most recently PSUV leader and National Assembly deputy Pedro Carreño formally asked the Supreme Justice Tribunal to name a medical board to evaluate the mental health of Attorney General Luisa Ortega Díaz, who has criticized the Constitutive Assembly called by president Maduro. “The attorney is showing signs of mental insanity, and her appointment should therefore be revised,” diagnosed Carreño.

In order to better draw from the tools of psychology to understand the current crisis, the Venezuelan government sponsored the “First International Forum on Psychology, Violence, and Psychological Operations,” from 12 to 24 June in Caracas.

Information Minister Ernesto Villegas was the keynote speaker for the inauguration of the event. He encouraged the 11 international psychologists participating in the forum to discuss the “manipulation of information mechanisms used in the spiral of fascist violence now lived by the country. (…) Do not leave outside the range of your radar the extent and severity of the fascist phenomenon in the country,” asked Villegas in his speech.

During the academic sessions, according to government media, international experts devoted most of their attention to the analysis of the “main psychological operations used by the right-wing against the revolution in Venezuela.” For example, research by Argentinian psychologist Mario Colussi has led him to conclude that “under a systematic and progressive attack scheme, a plan of economic strangling, that has also created the conditions for a psychological war, has been stablished in Venezuela.”

The Venezuelan psychologist Fernando Giuliani, also a participant in the forum, pointed out that “the right-wing is trying to create stereotypes and prejudices in order to diminish critical capacity (capacidad reflexiva) of the populace, so that the populace itself will generate the conditions for the overthrow (of the government).”

The idea that the enemies of the revolution are waging a “psychological war” has also been argued by pro-government pollster Hynterlaces since 2015. In its reports Hynterlaces has regularly accused the opposition of “inducing neurotic responses” in the Venezuelan people (In this blog here, here, and here.) 

  

Friday, June 9, 2017

Conspiracy against Constituent Assembly

President Maduro is launching a preemptive conspiracy theory against what he says is a future plot against the Constituent Assembly he is convening. He is calling for “civic-military union” against this plot.

“If one of these days Venezuela wakes up to news of a conspiracy, of a plot, to stop the popular constituent process, which has been constitutionally set for July 30, I call upon the civic military union to defeat, on the streets, the conspiracy, the plot, the coup d’état, that could be staged against the call for a Constitutive (Assembly),” the President said yesterday.

Apparently referring to the Attorney General, Luisa Ortega Díaz, who has filed a petition to the Supreme Court of Justice to halt the Constitutive Assembly process, Maduro warned against “traitors and treasons.”

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Nutella plot



#Nutella has been the Twitter top trending topic for Venezuela all morning today.

Yesterday Venezuela government media reported that the pro-government “Fundación para Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes de Caracas” handed the public prosecutor’s office a document with more than “one hundred individual and collective complains” about minors being used by the opposition in “terrorist actions” in the context of this month’s protests.

In one of the testimonial videos shown by Telesur, a woman tells of her son being “involuntarily induced” to participate in the protests. The woman directly accuses Lilian Tintori, wife of imprisoned opposition leader Leopoldo López, of offering the popular hazelnut spread Nutella to the child if he was willing to “cause terrorism in the country.”


“Tintori asked my son what he liked the most. He answered Nutella. She told him that if he hit the guard [National Guard] with a bottle she was handing him, which was full of fuel and had a piece of cloth, she would give him Nutella,” says the woman in the video.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

News according to public media

Here is a selection of “infographics” produced by Venezuelan news outlet Telesur this week and posted in social networks.


In this image Telesur explains how “fake news” is fabricated against the Venezuelan government. The objective of these fabrications is “To reach a climatic point, as planned in manuals prepared by the Pentagon: in order to induce the turning of the population against its own government.” Possible discontent of the populations with its own government is, of course, out of the question.


Comparisons of the Venezuelan case with Chile’s 1973 coup have been part of the official rhetoric for a long time. Here is Telesur’s version. It includes the opposition funded by the US, economic attacks, and a “psychological warfare” by the media.


Finally here is Telesur explaining OAS meddling (injerencista) agenda against Venezuela, in cahoots with the local opposition. 


False positives and intervention

Minister of Foreign Relations, Delcy Rodríguez, met yesterday the international press correspondents in Venezuela to tell them that “media corporations have a historic responsibility in the configuration of facts that have justified interventions, such as in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, and this is also a manual they are trying to impose in Venezuela.”

“All imperial wars, in the history of humanity, have always been preceded by media campaigns validating their actions,” further explained Rodríguez. She also asked the international press to verify their sources and to truthfully inform what is happening in Venezuela.

The prime example of this international media disinformation campaign against Venezuela, presented by Rodríguez and the government’s media apparatus, is the death of the young opposition protester Juan Pernalete on April 26.

Witnesses and media have alleged that Pernalete died of wounds caused by a teargas bomb directly fired at close range to his chest by the security forces.
Rodríguez says however, that “the elements shown today totally undermine that version and this is why we are calling for news to be presented in the most objective way possible.”

Those elements undermining the media version were presented by Communication and Information Minister, Ernesto Villegas. He showed a video taken during the confusing seconds after Pernalete went down and other protestors were carrying him away.


Villegas explained that this video is part of “a police approximation that shows with a high degree of certainty the possibility that this young man was murdered with a weapon called captive bolt gun [pistola de perno], a type of gun used in livestock farming, to finish off cattle, and we have found elements of criminalistics and news worthy interest that point to this direction.”

The video shown by Villegas had been originally posted by pro-opposition newspaper El Nacional. The Information Minister however invited the international press to more closely watch the video for “criminalistics elements.”

For example, said the Minister, one of the protestors in the video screams “Was he hit?” to which the answer from another from a second is “No!” A close up of the moment two protestors are aiding Pernalete out of the protest line seems to show, according to Villegas, one of them pulling his hand from out under Pernalete’s t-shirt. This is a “suspicious attitude” which has led police investigators to conclude that the captive bolt gun could have been used to kill Pernalete.

“It’s all part of a strategy of a construction of false positives. The similarities in the construction of facts that do not exist and that justify violations of international rights, this is our concern,” concluded Delcy Rodríguez.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Videos, torture, and peace

Easter week has been a triumph for peace, according to President Nicolas Maduro.

Maduro showed videos last night of what he said are detained opposition militants confessing to being paid by opposition party Primero Justicia to commit “terrorist acts.” Maduro called the videos “testimonials” and said that he has been authorized to show the “confessions” on television by the “Citizens Power and the Judicial Power.”

Maduro also said that such videos, the product of an “impeccable criminal investigation,” are irrefutable evidence that the opposition is engaged in terrorists and destabilizing activities.

“Here are the testimonies, the proofs, and we are about to capture those directly responsible for all this destruction in the country. We are following several investigation lines. I want to congratulate the officers of the CICPC (criminal investigations police) and the SEBIN (political police), the Interior, Peace, and Justice Minister, prosecution authorities all over the country, and the Judicial Power for this meticulous work done according to our laws,” commended Maduro.

The Secretary General of the Primero Justicia party, Tomás Guanipa, claimed that members of his party detained during this last week’s opposition protests had been “physically and psychologically tortured” and forced to confess to participating in acts of terrorism. Guanipa, and other opposition deputies, were mentioned in the confessions as the “master minds” of the plot. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

Miguel Rodríguez Torres: From conspiracy theorist to conspiracy theory victim

General Rodríguez Torres was Maduro’s Popular Power Minister of Interior Relations, Peace and Justice, from 2013 to October 2014. He was part of Chavez’s 1992 failed coup, but is best known for being the public face of Maduro´s government during the 2014 opposition protests.

In 2013 a group a Venezuelan human rights organizations published a press release expressing concern for Rodriguez Torres’ public claim that the president of the NGO Control Ciudadano, Rocío San Miguel, was a CIA agent. Rodríguez Torres never provided evidence of his claim.
  
During the violent first months of 2014, Rodríguez Torres often gave news conferences claiming that the opposition protests were no more than part of a plot to overthought Maduro’s government. The conspiracy was, according to Rodríguez Torres, led by the Department of State of the United States, and also included Colombian ex-president Álvaro Uribe Vélez, and a long list of opposition leaders. Short of evidence to back his conspiracy claims, Rodríguez Torres often illustrated his press conferences with screen graphics linking pictures of opposition leaders and their foreign puppet masters.

But since January 2015, after his dismissal as Interior Minister, Rodríguez Torres has become increasingly critical of the government, making statements about the government’s food program CLAP, for example, and claiming that “Venezuela needs a spiritual revival.”

Now, according to the Venezuelan news portal El Estímulo, the military intelligence agency DIGCIM could be about to accuse Rodríguez Torres of being part of a conspiracy to oust Maduro. El Estímulo claims that the General will be presented as the head of a “great military conspiracy movement” operating in Venezuela.

This comes a day after PSUV leader Diosdado Cabello announced on his TV Show Con el Mazo Dando, that the government has discovered an ongoing conspiracy which the international reaction to the coup against the National Assembly, and street opposition protests in Venezuela. Cabello implicated opposition party COPEI leader Roberto Enríquez among other opposition leaders in the plan, but said that unnamed “members of the armed forces” are also part of the plot.

“Don’t be surprise if we come knocking your door, tun, tun, tun… we are working for peace,” said Cabello referring of possible night raids to come.