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Chavez wants a break from U.S. meddling, Can you blame him?

Politics / Venezuela Sep 20, 2010 - 03:23 AM GMT

By: Mike_Whitney


Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleMost people know that Iran, Russia and Venezuela all have vast oil reserves. And, they also know that Hugo Chavez, Vladimir Putin and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are on Washington's "enemies list".  So, why is it so hard for them to connect the dots?  Can't they see that the media only demonizes the leaders that stand in the way of the corporate agenda?  If Iran's biggest export was pistachios (rather than oil), no one in America would have ever heard of Ahmadinejad. Instead, every time poor guy makes the slightest miscue, his face is splashed across the front pages of US newspapers.

Chavez doesn't have horns any more than Ahmadinejad has a pointy tail. It's just propaganda cooked up by the media.  

Israel has been itching for a fight with Iran for a decade.  Everyone knows this.  Still, "Joe Sixpack" still thinks that Iran is the "bad guy", and that the Mullahs are secretly building atomic bombs so they can go to war with a country that has over 200 nuclear weapons. This is ridiculous. Iran's not suicidal.

Of course, when the case is presented like this, people can see how crazy it really is. But then--half an hour later--they flip on the TV and hear the same  lies over and over again and start to think that there's some truth to it.

Edward L. Bernays figured it out a long time ago. In his book titled "Propaganda" Bernays argued that elites need to manage public perceptions to keep the masses in line. Here's the opening passage from the book:

"The conscious and intelligent manipulation  of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government  which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society  is organized."   (Edward Bernays. Propaganda Liveright, 1928; Ig Publishing, 2004)

There you have it---lying is policy. Bernays believed that "engineering consent" was a better way to control behavior than violence. It's easy to see how his theories eventually evolved into an entire industry--public relations.

Propaganda drowns out the truth; that's how it works. It's a way of saturating everything indiscriminately with the same lie over and over again. It's ideological carpet-bombing. People know this, but they can't resist. Eventually, the seed-thought takes root and grows wrapping its tentacles around the cortex leaving its victim mumbling the same mendacious gibberish that was broadcast just a half-hour earlier on the evening news.

The face of modern democracy is mostly public relations. Many people doubt that Presidents Obama or Bush have/had any real power at all. Would a two-year rookie senator with a background in community organizing really have been chosen to decide the fate of the world's biggest empire? Would a man with Bush's obvious limitations really be the one pulling the levers on issues of war and peace?  It's doubtful, but the farce goes on to preserve the illusion of "democracy." The real power operates behind a curtain. The rest is public relations.

So, what do we really know about Iran that isn't just PR-hype and lies?

 What we know is that Iran poses no threat to the United States or Israel. None. The atomic watchdog agency, the IAEA, has said repeatedly that there's "no evidence" that Iran has a nuclear weapons program or that Iran has diverted any of its low-enriched uranium to illicit activities.  Iran is merely pursuing the peaceful use of nuclear energy to develop power plants which is explicitly approved under the terms of the NPT.  In other words, Iran has kept its end of the bargain,  whereas it antagonists (Israel and the US) have not.

So, should Iran cave in and allow itself to be bullied by the US and Israel or should it fight for its rights under the terms of the treaty?

Israel and the US know they don't have a leg to stand. They know that Iran has been playing by the rules. That's why they've concocted this ridiculous smear campaign against Ahmadinejad. That's why we never read about "treaty obligations" or "compliance" in the media, just spurious accusations that Ahmadinejad is a religious fanatic, or Ahmadinejad is a anti-Semite, or Ahmadinejad wants to "wipe out" Israel or some other such nonsense.  It's all an attempt to divert attention from the fact that Iran sits on an ocean of oil and that Israel wants to expand its regional power. The rest is propaganda.

The same is true of Chavez. Chavez was the first  world leader to offer to send food, medicine and doctors to the victims of Katrina. But no one heard about it, because it wasn't reported in the US media. Bush rejected Chavez's offer because Bush had other things in mind for the people of New Orleans. He wanted to test out his Nazi theories on martial law by cutting off vital supplies, and issuing "shoot to kill" orders for anyone suspected of looting. He wanted to herd thousands of poor, black people who lost their homes into the Superdome at gunpoint where they could live for nearly a week in squalid, prison-camp conditions, completely cutoff from the outside world.

Would the people have suffered as much if Chavez was in charge?  Don't bet on it.

Life has improved dramatically for ordinary working people under Chavez. According to economist Mark Weisbrot:

"The UN Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) found that Venezuela had reduced inequality by more than any other country in Latin America from 2002-2008, ending up with the most equal income distribution in the region." ("The Venezuelan Economy", Mark Weisbrot,

Washington hates Chavez because he's raised living standards for the poor and because he won't bow to the giant corporations. That's why he's pilloried in the media, because his socialist model of democracy doesn't jibe with America's smash-n-grab style of capitalism. Chavez has enacted land and oil industry reform, improved education and provided universal healthcare. He's introduced job training, subsidies to single mothers, drug prevention programs, and assistance for recovering addicts. Illiteracy has been wiped out.

Chavez's policies have reduced ignorance, poverty, and injustice. The list goes on and on. Venezuelans are more engaged in the political process than ever before. That scares Washington. US elites don't want well-informed people participating in the political process. They believe that task should be left to the venal politicians chosen by corporate bosses and top-hat banksters. That's why Chavez has to go. He's given people hope for a better life.

Chavez's social vision is at odds with the prevailing American/corporate view that allows Wall Street speculators to blow up the financial system without fear of reprisal, that permits big oil companies to despoil entire regions of the country and not be held accountable, and that allows lying politicians to drag the nation to a war with utter impunity.  Chavez does not share that view nor does Ahmadinejad or Putin.

All three leaders would like nothing more than to get a break from America's incessant meddling and belligerence. They don't hate America and they are not our enemies. But they would like a little breather from the coups, the financial contagion, the kidnappings, the stolen elections, the propaganda, and the endless killing. Can you blame 'em?

By Mike Whitney


Mike is a well respected freelance writer living in Washington state, interested in politics and economics from a libertarian perspective.

© 2010 Copyright Mike Whitney - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Mike Whitney Archive

© 2005-2018 - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


20 Sep 10, 09:26
More excuses for thugs and tyrants

The truth is Chavez has destroyed Venezuela more effectively than any hurricane could. As typical with communist thugs he steals from everyone to enrich himself. Crime has risen to be worse than anywhere on earth. Venezuela is now more dangerous than Somalia, Iraq or the drug war areas in Mexico. Food is becoming more scare and hard to get for the average person to the point that they are receiving cards to get what food the government is stealing from farmers.

He is also arming a group of thugs to prop up his increasingly unpopular government. Voters are disillusioned from the massive voter fraud that is rampant there. I am not surprised that leftists like a government that is capable of destroying the middle class, destroys the one person one vote concept and is capable of killing those that try to stop the government like Iran.

People were willing to die to change the government there and overthrow a government shooting unarmed women but thanks to preprinted ballots and a bloody crackdown they failed.

20 Sep 10, 10:17
Washington's "Enemies List"

This is a very fine article. Yes, the surest way to get on Washington's "enemies list" is just to say 'No' to Uncle Sam and to the U.S. corporations. In fact, what was actually the gravest crime that former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega and Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein both were guilty of? The answer is that they simply said "No' to Uncle Sam.

Incidentally, I thought that the execution of Saddam Hussein was both illegal and especially brutal. If Saddam Hussein was to be tried for anything, he surely could not expect a fair trial in American occupied Iraq. He should instead have been tried at the Hague. Moreover, the execution of the former strongman could only be befitting of a hangman.

20 Sep 10, 20:00
Kindly submit to "full-spectrum dominance"

Resisting the Pentagon's goal of global "full-spectrum dominance" will put you on its enemy list.

Reflexive MSM-driven rants about Venezuela and Chavez are disputed by others with more concrete reasoning and actual facts

Chavez, whatever his shortcomings, is no less popular in his country than have been the last two US presidents in their own.

In any event, the point is that US citizens should have more concern about the failures and illegal activities of their own government (including support of narco-states,torture, and the unwarranted military invasions of other nations).

20 Sep 10, 23:55

Whatever Saddam's transgressions may have been, his execution stunk of "silencing".

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