The New Smear Against Venezuela’s Chávez

Washington and its faithful lackeys in the media have launched a new offensive against Hugo Chávez and the government of Venezuela. The recent "discovery" of a laptop computer that allegedly belonged to the FARC guerrilla group has ignited another media-generated scandal.

Washington and its faithful lackeys in the media have launched a new
offensive against Hugo Chávez and the government of Venezuela. The
recent "discovery" of a laptop computer that allegedly belonged to the
FARC guerrilla group has ignited another media-generated scandal,
creating a whole new round of accusations against the Chávez
government, but without any evidence to support them.

Those who have followed events in Venezuela in recent years
shouldn't be surprised by this. Every few months, a new controversy is
ignited by the media regarding Venezuela's socialist president, Hugo
Chávez; each time with plenty of distortions, baseless accusations and
outright falsehoods.

Late last year, the media "show" centered on a proposed reform to
the Venezuelan constitution. The mainstream media repeated endlessly
that the constitutional reform would make Chávez "president for life"
and would "turn Venezuela into a dictatorship."

In reality, the reform simply proposed the removal of presidential
term limits–something that has also been in the works in neighboring
Colombia, where it has gotten absolutely zero criticism from the
mainstream media. The reason? Colombian President Alvaro Uribe is
Washington's closest ally in the region.

In early 2007, the media generated yet another controversy based on
complete fabrications, this time about freedom of expression and media
censorship in Venezuela. After President Chávez announced the decision
not to renew a broadcast license of one of Venezuela's major TV
stations (a legal right afforded to the president), a media scandal
erupted claiming that there was no "freedom of expression" in
Venezuela, and for months on end, the media repeated the false claim
that Chávez had "shut down" a major media outlet and was "censoring the
media" because of its anti-government stance.

But the reality is that no TV station was ever closed down, and to
this day, the same TV station continues to broadcast its virulently
anti-Chávez message across the country by cable and satellite TV.

In fact, much of the media in Venezuela continues to be extremely
anti-Chávez, including nearly all of the major newspapers and several
radio and TV stations, leaving the claims about freedom of expression
in Venezuela to be completely baseless. Venezuela has a diversity of
media outlets and a range of political debate that one could only dream
of having in the United States.

So it should come as no surprise that Washington and its unofficial
spokesmen at the media are at it again, this time accusing Hugo Chávez
of having ties to the Colombian guerrilla organization FARC. And they
claim that the computer recently "uncovered" from a guerrilla camp has
the evidence to prove it.

This "proof," Washington claims, is enough to put Venezuela on their
list of state sponsors of terrorism, a move that would significantly
change relations between the countries and could involve economic
sanctions against Venezuela. But, once again, the allegations are full
of complete distortions and baseless claims.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THIS LATEST attack on Venezuela has centered on information found on
laptop computers that were allegedly uncovered from a FARC guerrilla
camp in Ecuador after the Colombian military made an illegal
cross-border bombing of the camp, an attack that was widely condemned
in Latin America, but which Washington supported.

The illegal military assault resulted in the killing of a top FARC
official along with more than 20 other people, including several
university students from Mexico. Hours after the attack, Colombia
announced it had "found" a laptop computer at the camp belonging to the
FARC, and that it contained information linking the Venezuelan
government to the FARC guerrilla organization (allegations that
Washington has long made, but has never supported with any evidence).

The allegations raised some immediate doubts. First, how likely is
it that a laptop computer could survive a bombing attack that killed
nearly everyone in the camp? And second, if it did survive, how could
the Colombian government have gone through the literally thousands of
files on the computer in a matter of hours to find information
implicating Hugo Chávez?

But notwithstanding these questions, there is not even any way to
prove that the computers were actually found at the guerrilla camp, or
that the files contained on the computer are authentic, and weren't
just put there by the Colombian government.

After all, how easy would it have been for the Colombian government
to simply load whatever files they wanted onto the computer, or simply
prepare the computer ahead of time and claim that it was found it at
the FARC camp? As Venezuela expert Eva Golinger said, "How easy it is
to just write a document in Word on some computer and say it was
written by someone else!"

For this reason, the Colombian government invited the International
Police (Interpol) to analyze the data and validate the information
found on the computers. But contrary to the claims of the Colombian
government and the international media, Interpol did nothing of the
sort. The Interpol examination was limited to determining one thing:
whether or not the computer files were manipulated after March 1, the
date the Colombian military bombed the FARC camp and supposedly gained
possession of the evidence.

When Interpol's report stated that there was no evidence the files
were manipulated, Colombia and Washington immediately jumped on this as
validation for their claims. The international media faithfully echoed
the official line. "FARC Computer Files Are Authentic," said one
headline from the Washington Post. "Venezuela Offered Aid to
Colombian Rebels," read another. And the next day, the BBC confidently
stated, "Colombia did not fake Farc files."

But even Interpol's own report reveals that they have no way of
verifying this. Many of the files found on the computer were dated in
the future, in 2009 and 2010, throwing out the reliability that any of
the dates on the computer are accurate, and suggesting that the dates
had been altered.

In addition, Interpol's own report also says that they have no way
of validating where the computers came from, or the source of any
information found on the computers. "The verification of the eight
seized FARC computer exhibits by Interpol does not imply the validation
of the accuracy of the user files, the validation of any country's
interpretation of the user files or the validation of the source of the
user files," the Interpol report clearly states on page 9.

So in other words, there is no way of knowing if the computers or
any of the files contained on the computers are authentic, or if the
Colombian government just made the whole thing up and planted the

In spite of all this, Washington and the international media are
treating the findings as irrefutable proof that Hugo Chávez has ties to
the FARC guerrilla organization, and are accusing the Venezuelan
government of supporting acts of "international terrorism." Some in
Washington are even calling for Venezuela to be added to the U.S. State
Department's list of "State Sponsors of Terrorism" along with Iran,
North Korea, Cuba, Sudan and Syria, which could mean economic sanctions
against Venezuela.

Many analysts believe that the Bush administration will not go
through with this, however, given that Chávez has repeatedly threatened
to stop the supply of oil to the United States in the event of any
aggressions toward Venezuela.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

PERHAPS THE most ironic part of this latest attack on Venezuela is
the fact that it is the United States, not Venezuela, that supports
terrorism in Colombia.

Washington sends hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the
Colombian government every year in addition to military equipment and
personnel. In 2007, total aid to Colombia reached the astronomical
level of $756 million, all of which goes to the Colombian government,
and the Colombian military. Ironically, the largest perpetrators of
violence and killing in Colombia are the Colombian military and the
right-wing paramilitary groups connected to the government, not the
FARC guerrillas.

Human rights organizations that routinely document human rights
violations in Colombia have repeatedly shown over the years that the
paramilitary groups are responsible for the majority of the killings of

For example, the Colombian Commission of Jurists (CCJ) reported last
year that during President Uribe's first term in office (2002-2006),
the paramilitaries were responsible for 61 percent of the deaths, the
Colombian military accounted for 14 percent, while the various
guerrilla groups were responsible for the remaining 25 percent.

And over the last two years, it continues to be revealed that many
in the Uribe government, including some of the president's closest
allies, have maintained long ties to the right-wing paramilitary
groups, those responsible for the largest portion of the killings in
the country. As many as 33 lawmakers, and most recently, the
president's cousin Mario Uribe Escobar, have been indicted for
colluding with the paramilitaries and are currently in jail awaiting

It is becoming increasingly obvious that what is known as the
"para-politcs" scandal is really more of a "para-Uribismo" scandal, as
one Colombian senator has suggested–and that could explain why Uribe
might want to divert attention away from his government and direct it
toward Venezuela and the FARC.

Once again, Washington and its allies have launched a successful
media campaign of slander against Venezuela and the Chávez government.
And, once again, it is based on lies, distortions and baseless

But the hard truth is that Washington is supporting the side that is
doing most of the killing in Colombia, with more money and weapons than
the FARC could ever dream of having. And we don't need to "find" a
laptop in the jungle to prove it.

Source: Socialist Worker