Tag Archives: Nick Robinson

Legitimizing Terrorists, BBC Style

This morning, I sat dumbfounded as a I listened to Nick Robinson interview Otto Reich.  For those who are unfamiliar with his name, Reich is an anti-Castro Cuban and former US ambassador to Venezuela, but more about that later.  At no point during the interview did Robinson mention his role in destabilizing governments or harbouring and funding  state-sponsored terrorists like Orlando Bosch or Luis Posada Carilles.  Instead, listeners were left with the impression that Reich was just another anti-Castro Cuban railing against the ‘tyrannical rule’ of Fidel Castro.

“I’m very proud of what the United States has done in Latin America”, Reich told Robinson without a shred of shame.  From the funding of the Nicaraguan Contras to the 1976 shooting down  of Cubana de Aviación Flight 455, Reich was behind the scenes pulling the strings in his role in the Orwellian-sounding Office of Public Diplomacy. When George W Bush became US President in 2000, he rewarded Reich by appointing him as Under Secretary of State. He had previously worked for Bush’s father during his presidency.

This article written by Duncan Campbell, appeared in The Guardian in 2002 and is worth reading. For not only did Reich pull strings, his dirty fingerprints are all over some of the most violent acts in Latin America, including the 2009 Honduran coup d’etat that overthrew the democratically elected government.

According to Counterpunch, he “dedicated himself to the release of Orlando Bosch”, the man who is thought to be responsible for shooting down Flight 455.  Reich’s role in the Venezuelan coup in 2002 was to generate and disseminate anti-Chavez propaganda and disinformation.

Jean-Guy Allard of Counterpunch reported:

On February 7, Colonel Pedro Soto, former aide to Carlos Andres Perez (president at the time of the 1992 coup led by Chavez), affirming that he represented “75% of the armed forces,” publicly attacked the Chavez government. (Invited by an international institute, a CIA client, Soto then visited Washington and Miami, where he was to be found on April 11, loudly celebrating the “return to democracy,” along with Cuban-American terrorist leaders).

Thus a rapidly and steadily more brazen deception campaign was mounted, rapidly joined by the Venezuelan private press, which ended up running a grossly hostile campaign against the government. El Universal daily and Radio Caracas Television, Globovision and Venevision TV networks were already actively preparing the media-military coup, channeling information and systematically harassing the constitutional government and the head of state.

During the coup, the same disinformation gang cut off the broadcast the president’s speech to the people and repeated lie after lie, unleashing violent incidents that would subsequently serve to justify the subversive operation. Meanwhile, the representatives of the new “order” were destroying state television program material.

Then the communications junta shamelessly spread the false information that Chavez had resigned, silenced all public pronouncements by members of the government, and the played up declarations in favor of the criminal coup. One of these was made by Ambassador Shapiro, who affirmed that April 11 was an extraordinary day in the history of Venezuela.

In the morning of Saturday, April 13, speaking before more than 30,000 people at rally in the municipality of Guira de Melena, Habana province, in the presence of President Fidel Castro, Bruno Rodriguez, Cuban ambassador to the United Nations, clearly denounced the media disinformation campaign in Venezuela. “The truth is that a coup d’etat has taken place in Venezuela and that a sellout and . junta is usurping, by means of force, the power invested in President Chavez by the Venezuelan people, with hopes of erasing decades of injustice and corruption by applying Bolivar’s ideals.”

Other lies followed the one alleging Chavez’s resignation, including the assertion that Chavez had sought asylum in Cuba, which was rapidly refuted by Havana.

Indeed, the media complicity with the coup organizers was so strong that when the latter attempted to take the imprisoned president out of the country to the United States, it was planned to transport him aboard a private plane registered in the United States in the name of Gustavo Cisneros, the owner of the Venevision TV network.

Meanwhile, CNN en Espanol linked up with Globovision to finally announce the taking of Miraflores Palace by the people and the presidential guard of honor… five hours after it happened.

Lies, deception, violence, terror: everything smacks of Otto Reich in this failed coup. Even that hysterical rabble of Cuban-Venezuelan emigres that surrounded the Cuban embassy in Caracas for a number of hours, destroying cars and threatening to enter by force – before fleeing when the Bolivarian leader’s return was announced.

Since the death of Fidel Castro, the British mass media has been circling around Cuba like vultures and offering highly-slanted reportage on the 9 days of mourning. The not so hidden discourse of the media expresses the hope that the US will  force the Cuban people to accept American-style freedom. Let’s hope that never happens.

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The BBC’s Nick Robinson and, er, Britain First’s Jayda Fransen?

I saw this photo of the BBC’s political editor, Nick Robinson getting cosy with Britain First’s Jayda Fransen (is that an English name?) on Twitter and had to post it here. Somehow, you just can’t see Old Nick getting that close to the Green Party or TUSC candidate.

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Ah, don’t they make a lovely couple?

The next time a Kipper tells you that there’s a left-wing bias at the BBC, you show them this image.

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Filed under BBC, Ideologies, Media, propaganda

This week’s strikes and the media backlash

One of the topics for discussion on this morning’s Sunday Morning Live is about striking workers. The host, Susannah Reid asks “Are strikes justified or are they the tactics of bullyboy unions”? Cue footage of Thatcher, the ‘Winter of Discontent’ and the Miner’s Strike. The overall tone of the pre-discussion film is anti-union. Some woman called Angela Epstein, whom I have never seen before declares that all strikes should be made illegal. But it’s  2 against 1 as Jonathan Bartley and Hardeep Singh Kohli lay into her ill-thought out opinions.  But that isn’t the end of it. Cue the talking heads from around the country linked by webcam to the studio. It’s all about the “cost to British business”. Never mind working conditions. They just shouldn’t do it. Angela asks “do really want to return to the militancy of the 1970’s”? To be honest she doesn’t look old enough to remember the 1970’s. If she was old enough to remember she may recall how utterly rubbish British management was though I suspect that she’d have been on the side of the Tories. Their view was that Britain’s gin-soaked managers were doing a bang up job.

Earlier on The Andrew Marr Show, Julia Hobsbawm and Clive Anderson were reviewing the papers. Anderson lighted on an article by Andrew Gilligan that is titled “The Return of the Strike”.  I don’t know where Kennite has been living for the last 20 years but the strike never went away. Britain’s unions have become weaker thanks to the restrictive legislation passed by Thatcher and all the governments since. But strikes still happen.

Over the last few months, there has been much union and media talk of a “new winter of discontent” to be allegedly provoked by the savage public spending cuts ahead. And indeed, last week, as the clocks went back, the workers went out – not just at the Beeb, over pensions, but on the London Underground, where Wednesday saw the third 24-hour strike about ticket office closures, and in the London Fire Brigade, over shift patterns, with the second of two eight-hour strikes on Tuesday and a 47-hour walkout due to begin on Friday.

I don’t recall any union leader talking about a “New Winter of Discontent”. Yet here Kennite claims that some union leader, somewhere, has said it.   In fact, his own paper warned in August that Scotland was facing a winter of discontent.  Indeed much of this talk has come directly from the Tory press and Tory commentators. So maybe he’s half right. But Kennite is a little late with his analysis. The BBC’s Nick Robinson produced this article in September. He says,

The unions are weaker, the laws limiting their actions much stronger and the desire for that style of confrontation is simply not there.

There is no mention of this rather important fact in Kennite’s article. Instead he concentrates his attention on how the unions present themselves in the media,

And there are also doubts about the union movement’s ability to fight in the media age. Sophisticated trade unionists, like the TUC’s Brendan Barber, know that Seventies-style chest-beating will not work. It is notable that in his first speech as Labour leader, Mr Miliband went out of his way to condemn “irresponsible strikes.”

He continues,

People like Barber know that a new unionism, modelled on the most effective NGOs, such as Greenpeace, is needed: addressing the public, rather than just the employer; based on campaigning, and on uncovering information that changes minds, rather than just the diminishing asset of workforce muscle.

It never occurs to Gilligan how the Tory-dominated press operates with regards to workers, unions and strikes. His paper and others like it print smear story after smear story about unions and striking workers. These days mainstream politicians will do any thing to please the media barons. You may recall how Tony Blair schmoozed The Old Bastard before Labour’s election victory in 1997.  The Murdoch media empire was more than happy to  swing behind Blair and his new Tories. It was as if the real constituents; the ordinary voters didn’t matter. What mattered was appeasing the Tory press. Miniband is merely trying to keep onside with the hostile media because he knows that if he doesn’t the press will make mincemeat of him and his party.

What programmes like Sunday Morning Live succeed in doing is regurgitating old myths and canards. They attract armchair activists whose understanding of the world comes to them from the Tory press.

Why do we fight? Because we have to!

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Filed under Comprehensive Spending Review, Government & politics, London