Back in February I attended a rally in Caracas of the Venezuelan anti-government opposition, where various protesters took it upon themselves to educate me as to President Hugo Chávez’ latest transgressions. These included consulting Cuban assassins on the issue of the electricity shortage in Venezuela and emulating Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.
Given that other world leaders have likened themselves to Mussolini, I thought it might be interesting to briefly compare Chávez and current Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, only one of whom is considered a “great friend” of Barack Obama despite repeated references to the U.S. president’s suntan.
A few basic areas for comparison:
Media control: Chávez is accused of dominating the media despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of outlets are in control of the opposition and, as Mark Weisbrot and Tara Ruttenberg of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. point out, “as of September 2010, Venezuelan state TV channels had just a 5.4 percent audience share.” Berlusconi meanwhile owns Italy’s three largest television channels and a publishing house, and has a history of violating broadcasting laws.
The War on Terror: Chávez opposed the War on Terror and famously announced that “you can’t fight terror with terror” in response to photographs of Afghan children slaughtered by the U.S.-led coalition. Berlusconi opposed the War on Terror-inspired tactic of domestic wiretapping only because wiretap transcripts implicated him and his colleagues in criminal and other dubious behavior.
Killing innocent civilians outside a World Food Programme distribution point is an affront to the people of Pakistan, and to all humanity.”
Actually, it is more of an affront to the people of Pakistan to only vouch for their right to life when they are killed by suicide bombers. If Obama had wanted to accurately convey his views on when it is and is not appropriate to kill Pakistani civilians, he should have expanded his pronouncement to include the following stipulations:
Killing innocent civilians outside a World Food Programme distribution point is an affront to the people of Pakistan, and to all humanity, provided the killing is perpetrated by suicide bombers—or some other undesirable Arab/Muslim phenomenon justifying continued U.S. intervention abroad—and not by U.S. military drones.”
Today marks the two-year anniversary of the start of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, a 22-day onslaught in which Palestinian civilians perished at a rate of approximately 400: 1 vis-à-vis their Israeli counterparts.
I happened to be in Argentina during this particular conflict and was thus able to monitor how well the Israeli embassy and Jewish organizations in Buenos Aires complied with the orders from acting Israeli Prime Minister Tzipi Livni, who had called for an intensified global public relations campaign in order to counteract the fact that “[u]nfortunately, some of the world’s decision makers are swayed by public opinion and the media”. In response to a march in Buenos Aires in support of the Palestinians being slaughtered in Gaza, a pro-Israel “counter-march” was promptly organized. Defying the traditional definition of “march”, it consisted of a closed-to-the-public meeting at the AMIA Jewish cultural association—site of a deadly bombing in 1994, the alleged Iranian perpetration of which Israel insists on passing off as fact, presumably in order to justify a disproportionate response at some point in the future. Parts of the meeting were televised, such as the speech by Israeli ambassador to Argentina Daniel Gazit in which he claimed that, had the IDF done even one-fourth or one-eighth of what the world had accused it of doing in Gaza, the war would have been won in a day.
As we approach the two-year anniversary of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, I have been thinking about potential names for a strike on Iran.
But first a word on the naming process from Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev, who was quoted in Haaretz last year registering his distaste for “Cast Lead”. Apparently the loveliness of the operation’s Hebrew name—adapted from a poem about Hanukkah dreidels—gets lost in translation:
The Israel Defense Forces chooses its names by some computer or by some system which I don’t understand. And the truth is that the Hebrew name Oferet Yetzuka sounds lovely. It’s the translation into English which sounds inappropriate”.
In preparing for her article “WikiLeaks, Honduras and the U.S.”, published today by The Wall Street Journal, WSJ editorial board member and patron saint of the Latin American far right Mary Anastasia O’Grady presumably had a number of approaches to choose him.
One option was to announce that Julian Assange is an agent of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and that confirmation has been obtained from the laptops impounded during the 2008 Colombian raid on a FARC camp in Ecuador, which coincidentally appear to contain incriminating evidence about all of O’Grady’s regional enemies.
Another option was to use the cable from the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa following last year’s coup against President Mel Zelaya, which states that “there is no doubt that the military, Supreme Court and National Congress conspired on June 28 in what constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup against the Executive Branch”, to further her argument that U.S. Ambassador to Honduras Hugo Llorens is a communist sympathizer who deserves relocation to a diplomatic post in Cuba. This may be the gist of a forthcoming article.
A recent FoxNews.com dispatch from the “America’s Third War” series—this one entitled “Fighting Drug Cartels in Guatemala” (read: “Encouraging Drug Cartels in Guatemala Such That They Might Then Be Fought”)—ends on a warning note underscoring how America’s Third War is intimately linked to the first two:
U.S. officials who specialize in counter-narcotics worry that Al Qaeda will soon realize the porous nature of the Central American-U.S. corridor”.
My question is: when?
Is Al Qaeda oblivious to the U.S. news? For how many years must the media hype this threat before it registers?
It has already been proven that Islamic extremists are compatible with Latin American socialists, drug cartels, and other excuses for U.S. militarization. Former U.S. Marine Corps officer Oliver North confirmed in a 2006 FoxNews.com column entitled “Back Door to Terror”:
Since 9-11-01, Americans living along the U.S.-Mexican border have been warning that our porous frontier is a back door for terrorist entry into this country”.
BBC anchor Ben Brown has proven himself an ace investigative reporter, revealing during an interview with disabled victim of British police violence Jody McIntyre that the latter has not yet launched an official complaint with the police—despite the fact that the incident occurred several days ago! Thus, McIntyre’s brutal treatment must be a fabrication, even though it is recorded in video footage shown on the BBC.
In case the incident really did happen, Brown accusingly interrogates McIntyre about reports that he wants to start a revolutionary movement and that he was rolling toward police in his wheelchair, obvious provocations that warrant being dragged across asphalt and hit with a baton. He then cuts off McIntyre’s attempt to liken BBC coverage of the tuition fee protests with BBC coverage of the Palestinian issue, both of which focus on blaming violence on the victims.