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unanswered emails to Guardian's Rory Carroll re Venezuela
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joe emersberger



Joined: 24 Jan 2004
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Location: Windsor, Onatrio, Canada

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RE: (McCarthy, 'Suspend military aid to Israel, Amnesty urges Obama after detailing US weapons used in Gaza,' The Guardian, February 23, 2009; http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/23/military-aid-israel-amnesty)

This article falsely reports that Amnesty International has accused Iran of arming Hamas. Medialens has pointed this error out to you.[1] Amnesty made no such claim. Why has this not been corrected?

The non-response Medialens describes is similar to what I and others have encountered when we have pointed out falsehoods that Rory Carroll has published. For example Carroll recently reported that a spike in South American cocaine production was due to increases in Peru and Bolivia. Carroll also claimed that Hugo Chavez threatened to use the military to annul the electoral gains of his opponents after regional elections in November of 2008. [2]

Mr. Monbiot:

You write for the Guardian. Why don't you speak out about this clear pattern of the Guardian ignoring extremely important factual errors?

Joe Emersberger

[1] http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/20905

[2] see http://www.medialens.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2955

for David Sketchley's rebuttal of Carroll's assertion that Cocaine production spiked because of Peru and Bolivia

See the letters archived here about Carroll's ridiculously biased - and at time flagrantly dishonest - reporting about Venezuela:
http://www.medialens.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2664





--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



REPLY FROM BUTTERWORTH

I replied to the editor of media lens last week. This is what I said:

"Thank you for your email of 23 February addressed to Rory McCarthy and
cc’d to me. I apologise for the delay in responding. The delay is mine,
rather than the journalist’s - he responded with his comments immediately.

The article concerned an Amnesty International report about the weaponry
used in the Gaza war earlier this year called “Fuelling conflict: foreign
arms supplies to Israel/Gaza”.

You complain about this sentence fragment:

"For their part, Palestinian militants in Gaza were arming themselves with
'unsophisticated weapons' including rockets made in Russia, Iran and China,
it said."

In fact, the complete sentence reads:

"For their part, Palestinian militants in Gaza were arming themselves with
‘unsophisticated weapons’ including rockets made in Russia, Iran and China
and bought from ‘clandestine sources’, it said."

The journalist did not, as you suggest, make any allegations about who
directly supplied the weapons to Hamas or other Palestinian groups - he
attributed the supply to "clandestine sources", which is what the Amnesty
report said:

"Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups have smuggled small arms, light
weapons, rockets and rocket components into Gaza, using tunnels from Egypt
into Gaza; this weaponry has been acquired from clandestine sources." (page
30)

The journalist tells me that in an accompanying press release Amnesty
stated:

"Meanwhile, in southern Israel, Amnesty saw the remains of “Qassam”, Grad,
and other indiscriminate rockets fired by Hamas and other Palestinian armed
groups against civilian areas. These unsophisticated weapons - smuggled
into Gaza or constructed from components secretly brought in from abroad -
cannot be aimed accurately and do not compare with Israeli weaponry, but
have nevertheless caused several Israeli civilian deaths and injuries, and
have damaged civilian property. As Amnesty’s report shows, this weaponry is
originally made in Russia (or the Soviet Union), Iran or reportedly China,
but actually acquired from clandestine sources."

The article does not say or suggest that Amnesty alleges that weapons were
acquired directly from the countries mentioned. I do not consider that it
is misleading or that a correction is required."

The editor of medialens has responded asking whether an earlier version of
the article was published. I wasn't in the office last week, but will see
what I can find out.

With regard to the Rory Carroll piece - this was corrected on 13 March. He
has explained to me that the error was introduced when the story he filed
was edited into two separate articles. The correction is appended to the
top of the online article which you can find here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/09/cocaine-production-united-nations-summit


Regards

Siobhain Butterworth

REPLY FROM McCARTHY

Dear Joe,

Thanks for your email.

Let's start with the facts, shall we? My article did not say that Amnesty
accused Iran of arming Hamas.

Media Lens claimed I wrote in my article of February 23: "For their part,
Palestinian militants in Gaza were arming themselves with ‘unsophisticated
weapons’ including rockets made in Russia, Iran and China, it said.”

However, that's not what I wrote.

This is what my sentence actually said: "For their part, Palestinian
militants in Gaza were arming themselves with "unsophisticated weapons"
including rockets made in Russia, Iran and China and bought from
"clandestine sources", it said."

Nowhere in the article did I say that Iran directly supplied weapons to
Hamas. Just because the weapon was Iranian made does not necessarily mean
Iran gave it directly to Hamas.

Why not check for yourself?

My reports:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/23/military-aid-israel-amnesty (in
the paper)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/23/israel-arms-embargo-gaza (on
the web)

And here's what Amnesty said about Iranian arms and Hamas:

Page 30 of the Amnesty report states:

"Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups have smuggled small arms, light
weapons, rockets and rocket components into Gaza, using tunnels from Egypt
into Gaza; this weaponry has been acquired from clandestine sources."

Furthermore, in an accompanying press release, Amnesty stated:

"Meanwhile, in southern Israel, Amnesty saw the remains of “Qassam”, Grad,
and other indiscriminate rockets fired by Hamas and other Palestinian armed
groups against civilian areas. These unsophisticated weapons - smuggled
into Gaza or constructed from components secretly brought in from abroad -
cannot be aimed accurately and do not compare with Israeli weaponry, but
have nevertheless caused several Israeli civilian deaths and injuries, and
have damaged civilian property. As Amnesty’s report shows, this weaponry is
originally made in Russia (or the Soviet Union), Iran or reportedly China,
but actually acquired from clandestine sources."

Why not check for yourself?

Amnesty's press release:
http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=18082

Amnesty's full report:
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE15/012/2009/en


I hope that helps

Kind regards,

Rory McCarthy
Jerusalem correspondent
The Guardian





Dear Siobhain Butterworth.
Thanks for replying (the first ever from you I believe after several attemps). I suspect the editors of Medialens were quoting from an outdated version of the webpage in question. I hope you can soon confirm if this was the case.

The quote you and Rory McCarthy supplied is not nearly as bad what Medialens quoted in their alert. However, even the quote you supplied leaves question marks about whether or not Amnesty is claiming that Iran is indirectly supplying Hamas (i.e, is Iran involved with the "clandestine sources"?).

Had the article included the following quote from Amnesty then the issue would have been clarified completely:

""There have been several reports that Iran has provided military equipment and munitions, including rockets, to Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups but Amnesty International has not seen any evidence to verify these allegations."

Moreover, as Medialens pointed out, Amnesty does not really claim to know where the weapons were manufactured

"Amnesty had merely cited the publication 'Janes Defence Weekly' and was not itself in a position to verify the claims. Worse for the Guardian, as the Amnesty report made clear, the claims actually originate from Israeli and Egyptian security and police sources. Such claims should be treated with extreme caution and, at the very least, be correctly attributed by the Guardian."

As for the Rory Carroll article I glad you corrected the erroneous claim about cocaine production in South America. However, there are others that should be corrected.

1) the claim that Chavez threatened to use the military the reverse the outcome of regional elections
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/nov/24/venezuela-regional-elections
He had in fact said that he would not sit idly by if some of his victorious opponents attempted another coup.

2) the claim that Chavez said at a rally ""Go to hell a hundred times, f*****g Yankees,"
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/sep/12/venezuela.usa
a mistranslation of ""Yanquis de mierda""

3)"Chávez loses bid to rule until 2050"
by Rory Carroll in Caracas
Monday December 3, 2007
http://www.guardian.co.uk/venezuela/story/0,,2221013,00.html

Admittedly, the headline may not be Carroll's doing but it is grossly inaccurate - as you can learn even by reading the article. Venezuelans did not vote down a proposal to let Chavez be president until 2050.

4) The Long Slide by Rory Carroll
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/may/17/venezuela.hugo.chavez
". In 2002, business, church and army leaders briefly ousted Chávez in a coup tacitly backed by the Bush administration."

There was nothing tacit about US support for the coup. The Bush administration openly applauded the coup and peddled the lie that Chavez had resigned even though US Intelligence had detailed knowledge of the planning for the coup.Freedom of Information Act requests have shown that the US funded groups involved in the coup before and after it took place,[See Eva Gollinger "The Chavez Code" ]

Joe Emersberger
Fri Mar 27, 2009 4:12 am
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joe emersberger



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RE: Honduras warned of sanctions over coup; July 3, 2009

Rory Carroll writes

"Congress, the supreme court, the army and the president's own party approved the overthrow in response to the leftist leader's attempt to change the constitution to extend term limits, a strategy pioneered by his ally and mentor, the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez."


This is false. Zelaya was about to hold a non-binding referendum which would have asked Hondurans if they support the election of Constituent Assembly empowered to change the constitution.

The "strategy" Hugo Chavez pioneered is basically the one that follows

1) a vote on whether or not to elect a Constituent Assembly to change the constitution
2) The election of a Constituent Assembly empowered to change the constitution
3) a referendum to ratify the new constitution

The corporate media routinely distorts this very democratic strategy as Chavez (or Correa or Morales and now Zelaya) unilaterally rewriting the constitution.

Zelaya was attempting step 1.

This is not difficult to report accurately. The fact that it is not reported accurately suggests something worse than carelessness is involved.

Joe Emersberger
Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:24 pm
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joe emersberger



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RE: Pablo Escobar's fugitive hippo shot dead
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jul/14/hunters-kill-escobar-fugitive-hippo

Mr. Carroll:
Based on your article about Pablo Escobar's hippo it seems you are struggling to find something important to report about Colombia. Why not a statement by Amnesty International yesterday? [1] It says "Around 380,000 people were displaced only in 2008, which means an increase of 24 percent compared to 2007" Or why not mention that the first case tried in Colombian courts based on evidence obtained from the "magic laptops" was just dismissed for lack of evidence? [2] You might also inform you readers about the Colombian army's PR campaign that asks Colombians to forget about the fact that "a thousand members of the armed forces are suspected of having murdered civilians to make the war against illegal armed groups look more effective and receive rewards."
Joe Emersberger


[1] http://colombiareports.com/colombia-news/news/5014-amnesty-international-denounces-significant-increase-of-displaced-in-colombia.html
[2] http://colombiareports.com/colombia-news/news/5009-first-farc-politic-case-dropped.html
[3] http://colombiareports.com/colombia-news/news/5015-army-asks-colombians-to-forget-about-false-positives.html
Thu Jul 16, 2009 6:56 pm
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joe emersberger



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email to Rory Carroll re Globovision boss suporting coup in Honduras

Mr. Carroll

Guillermo Zuloaga told reporters


""El gobierno de Micheletti está ajustado a la constitucion, y nosotros quisiéramos, nos encantaría que aquí en Venezuela se respetara la Constitución como se está respetando en Honduras". [1]

Translation

"Micheletti's government is following the constitution and we wish, we would love it if in Venezuela the constitution would be respected as it is being respected in Honduras."

In fact, not only is this enthusiastic support for the coup in Honduras but it appears to be a thinly veiled wish for a another coup in Venezuela.

Will you be reporting this?

Joe Emersberger

[1] http://www.aporrea.org/tiburon/n138821
Fri Jul 17, 2009 6:25 pm
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joe emersberger



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email to Rory Carroll re recent articles on Cuba
Posted by emersberger on October 29, 2009, 4:17 am

RE: http://www.chomsky.info/articles/199112--02.htm
http://www.chomsky.info/articles/199112--02.htm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/audio/2009/oct/27/juanita-castro-cuba-rory-carroll

Mr. Carroll:

Your recent articles on Cuba make no mention of US backed terrorism against Cubans - or make mention of Luis Posada Carriles -the most infamous US backed terrorist. The case of Posada Carriles is especially significant because he openly bragged to the New York Times about attacks that killed an Italian tourist.

In other words, the Bush and Obama administrations continue to harbour a known terrorist. There is no way to dispute this fact.

Posada Carriles is also strongly implicated in the bombing of a Cuban commercial airliner in which 73 people were killed and in supporting US backed death squads in Central America.

The US terror campaign against Cuba has been going on for decades.
According to Fidel CAstro - one attack - weeks after the missile crisis - resulted in the death of four hundred workers inside a blown up factory.[1]

Should you not mention the US terror campaign against Cubans, not just some assassination attempts against Castro?

Joe Emersberger

[1] for details about the following articles by Chomsky - one of the few people to dare write about this:

http://www.chomsky.info/articles/199809--.htm

http://www.chomsky.info/articles/199112--02.htm
Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:25 am
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joe emersberger



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RE:'Villain' of Brazil-Paraguay war was misunderstood hero, says new book
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/nov/08/eliza-lynch-paraguay-brazil

Mr. Carroll,
Your article on the Brazilian led war on Paraguay in 1865 failed to point out that it was an monstrous crime carried out to benefit British business interests.

In his "Open Veins of Latin America" Eduardo Galeano discusses this war in significant detail. Bear in mind that Galeano's book was originally published in 1971. Much of what he discussed has been known for quite some time and is worth quoting at length.

Galeano wrote

"The US agent Hopkins informed his government in 1845 that in Paraguay there is no child who could not read and write...When the invaders appeared on the horizon in 1865, Paraguay had telegraph, a railroad, and numerous factories manufacturing construction materials, textiles, linens, ponchos, paper and ink, crockery and gunpowder.....Paraguay was wealthy enough to carry out great public works without recourse to foreign capital. It did not owe one penny abroad, yet was able to maintain the best army in South America, hire British technicians to serve the state instead of putting the state at their service, and send some university students to finish their studies in Europe. The economic surplus from agricultural production was not squandered by an oligarchy (which did not exist); nor did it pass into the pockets of middle men and loan sharks, or swell the profits of the British Empire's freight and insurance men....

British commerce did not hide its concern, not only because the last bastion of national resistance in the heart of the continent seemed invulnerable, but also and especially because of the dangerous example set to its neighbors by Paraguayan obstinacy. Latin America's most progressive country was building its future without foreign investment, without British bank loans, and without the blessings of free trade....

Britain's minister in Buenos Aires, Edward Thorton, played a substantial role preparing the war. When it was about to break out , he participated as a government advisor in Argentine cabinet meetings, sitting beside President Mitre. The web of provocations and deceptions, which ended with a Brazilian-Argentine agreement that sealed Paraguay's fate, was woven under Thorton's fatherly gaze...

In September 1864, Thorton sent a long confidential report to London, datelined Asuncion. He described Paraguay as Dante described the inferno, but put stress where it belonged

'Import duties on nearly all articles are 20 or 25 percent...the duty that is paid often amounts to 40 to 45 percent of the invoice price.'

The invaders came to redeem the Paraguyan people, and exterminate them. When the war began , Paraguya had almost as large a population as Argentine. Only 250,000, less than one-sixth, survived in 1870. It was a triumph of civilization. The victors, ruined by the enormous cost of the crimes, fell back into the arms of British bankers who had financed the adventure....The war was hardly over when the first foreign loans in Paraguay's history fell upon the smoking ruins. It was, of course, British."

Not surprising that "British chroniclers" among others, have consistently lied about this war.

Joe Emersberger
Mon Nov 09, 2009 1:49 am
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RE: Honduras coup: troops deployed to oversee election
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/nov/27/honduras-election-troops-deployed-zelaya

Mr. Carroll

You wrote

"Zelaya snuck back into Honduras in September and from the refuge of the Brazilian embassy called supporters on to the streets. But repression and limited popularity meant no wave of people power swept him back to the faux-colonial presidential palace, leaving him marooned in an embassy surrounded by troops."

It is impossible to see how "limited popularity" even partially explains why unarmed people have not overrun the Honduran military.

A CID Gallup poll recently found that 60% believed that Zelaya "always" or "almost always" did what was best for Honduras. In contrast, 59% believed that the dictator Roberto Micheletti "few times or never" did what was right. These results are consistent with another poll (by Greenberg, Quinlan & Rosner) done at about the same time which found that two-thirds rated rated Zelaya's performance as president as either 'excellent' or “good.”

Micheletti's regime imposed a nation wide curfews and press censorship in response to Zelaya's return. It is not hard to imagine what the fate of his regime would have had been had he not resorted to such measures.

You recently reported (falsely) that Hugo Chavez praised Idi Amin. When will you accurately report that prominent opponents of Chavez have enthusiastically cheered the coup in Honduras?

Joe Emersberger

[1]http://www.cidgallup.com/Documentos/zelaya-still-president-for-46%25%20of%20Hondurans%20Oct%2029.pdf

[2] http://www.gqrr.com/index.php?ID=2399
Sat Nov 28, 2009 2:54 am
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email to Rory Carroll re Honduras
Posted by emersberger on December 2, 2009, 1:23 pm

Guardian: Hondurans elects Porfirio Lobo as new president
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/nov/30/honduras-lobo-president

Mr. Carroll:

The polling company hired by the regime to do exit polls projected turn out (based on official numbers) of under 50%.[1] It is very good that you reported conflicting claims about turnout, but you should have mentioned that a source accountable to the regime does not support its claim of 61% turnout.

Joe Emersberger

[1] http://hondurascoup2009.blogspot.com/2009/11/numbers-dropping.html


Responses:

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Wed Dec 02, 2009 2:25 pm
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Guardian headline says coup shoudl have been good for Honduras
Posted by emersberger on December 17, 2009, 4:44 am

RE: Honduras crisis claims more lives Spate of abductions and murders continues despite coup against Manuel Zelaya and election of new government

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/16/honduras-crisis-claims-lives


Mr. Carroll :

The words "despite coup" in the headline to this article make it sound like you believe the coup was something that should have REDUCED murders in Honduras. You should ask that the headline (which I assume you did not write) be changed. It certainly does not reflect what you wrote in the article

Joe Emersberger
Thu Dec 17, 2009 5:47 am
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RE: UN human rights panel accuses Chávez of undermining Venezuelan judges
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/17/venezuela-judge-chavez

Mr. Carroll:

There is considerable evidence that the Venezuelan judiciary is corrupt
and has flagrantly abused its power in support of Chavez opponents. Your
articles rarely even hint at this problem. For example, you have never reported
that judicial and police corruption has led to assassination of peasant
leaders remaining unpunished.[1]

In this article you neglect to ask why the judge would not take minimal
precautions to ensure that accused banker did not escape .

Moreover, the UN just expressed much more grave concerns about judicial
independence in Colombia

(http://www.colombiareports.com/colombia-news/news/7395-un-claims-colombian-justice-receiving-threa
ts-from-govt-and-police.html)

After visiting Colombia, the UN Rapporteur said that judicial authorities
had received some threats directly from the national government and the
police

Will you be reporting this as you do criticism about Venezuela? If not,
please explain why not.

You might also another report about Colombia newsworthy. If found that the
Colombian army was responsible for 71% of sexual assaults in 2008.

(http://www.colombiareports.com/colombia-news/news/7398-armed-forces-responsible-for-71-of-sexual-assaults-
in-2008.html)

Would such ghastly reports be ignored if they were about Venezuela?

Joe Emersberger

[1]
(http://www.vicuk.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=563&Itemid=30)
Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:30 pm
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email to Guardian asking for correction to Rory Carroll article
Posted by emersberger on January 4, 2010, 5:50 pm

RE: South America: Media has become a political battleground
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/jan/04/south-america-media-political-battleground

Dear Siobhain Butterworth:

The Guardian has consistently let errors by Rory Carroll go uncorrected.[1] I write this note hoping that this practice will not continue in 2010.

In this article Rory Carroll wrote that

"This year he [Chavez] shut dozens of radio stations and said Globovisión, the last critical TV voice, would follow."

Globovision is not "the last critical TV voice". RCTV, to name only one example, continues to broadcast via cable and has an audience bigger than all the Venezuelan state television combined. This fact was buried in a footnote of the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report that Carroll cited in his article.[2]

Moreover the radio stations that were "shut down" in fact had their concessions given to community media. According to the Chavez government the radio stations had expired or illegally obtained access to the airwaves. [3]

I don't think Rory Carroll will ever write articles about Venezuela that subject opposition claims to scrutiny.
However, I ask that you at least retract false statements like the one about Globovision being the "last critical TV voice". The private media is overwhelmingly opposed to Chavez as Rory Carroll must know having been based in Caracas for years..
.
Joe Emersberger

[1] A recent article by Rory Carroll falsely claimed that Chavez has renamed Angel Falls, another claimed that Chavez had threatened to use the military to over turn electoral victories by the opposition. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/nov/24/venezuela-regional-elections
Chavez had in fact said that he would not sit idly by if some of his victorious opponents attempted another coup. .

[2] Weisbrot on Venezuela media law proposal
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/aug/04/venezuela-media-freedom-chavez

[3] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/news/4683
Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:53 pm
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Post Post subject: Rory CArroll self censors Reply with quote

RE: Venezuela ban on violent images fuels censorship row
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/18/venezuela-violent-images-censorship

Mr. Carroll:

This article on a "censorship row" in Venezuela between the Chavez government and its opponents

leaves out some crucial information that Eva Golinger recently pointed out:

"In an interview on CNN en Español with Otero, the US news network admitted the image published by El Nacional was too graphic to present to viewers and stated, “CNN will not show this image during any of our broadcasts since we consider it could perturbe viewers and is too graphic to show”.[1]

Why was this information left out of your article? Shouldn't readers know that the disputed images were considered too graphic for US audiences?

By not disclosing this information in your article, have you not engaged in establishment friendly self censorship?

Why not show the disputed Venezuelan images on the front pages of the Guardian?

Better still, why not shown unauthorized photographs from inside morgues that show murdered British citizens - for example soldiers killed in Afghanistan? Put them on the front pages of the Guardian and see what happens. That way you could effectively compare press freedoms in Venezuela and Britain.

Joe Emersberger

[1] http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/5581
Sun Aug 22, 2010 4:34 am
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RE: Fidel Castro says communism doesn't work
(http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/09/fidel-castro-cuba-economic-model)

Dear Rory Carroll,

In this article about you wrote

"Raúl has said Cuba cannot blame the decades-old US embargo for all its economic ills and that serious reforms are needed. Fidel's statement could bolster the president's behind-the-scenes tussle with apparatchiks resisting change, said Sweig" [a "Cuba expert" from the Council on Foreign Relations]

The "embargo" you refer to has not only made trade between US companies and Cuba illegal for the past 50 years, it has included US support for terrorism against Cuba. As you are well aware, the US continues to harbour Luis Posada Carriles, a man who openly boasted to the New York Times that he organized the bombing of Cuban hotels in the 1990s. The US has blocked Posada's extradition to Venezuela where he is wanted for his involvement in the bombing, in 1976, of a commercial Cuban airliner that killed 73 people on board.[1]

A lawsuit filed by Cuba in 1999 claims the US has inflicted 120 billions dollars worth of damage to its economy. It also alleges that US sponsored terrorism has killed 3,478 Cubans. The lawsuit has been sitting with the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the United Nations since 2001. [2]

Apparently referring only to economic impact of the US embargo (minus sabotage), Cuban official have estimated that it has cost Cuba about 90 billion dollars since 1960.[3] If accurate, that would mean that Cuba's GDP (adjusted for Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)) would increase from $110 billion USD (the CIA's estimate) to $200 billion - enough to increase Cuba's ranking in GDP per capita from 109th to 63rd in the world - if the "embargo" had never been in place.[4]

Is the Cuban estimate reasonable? A comparison with the impact of the sanctions on South Africa during apartheid suggests that it is. Under sanctions between 1985-1992, South Africa real per capita GDP contracted by 1.3% per year. [5] During the period of sanctions the United States remained South Africa's second largest trading partner and the US did not support terrorism against the South Africa. In fact, economic sanctions were imposed over the objections of the Reagan adminstration.[6]

The sanctions against Cuba have been enforced by the United States with fanatical zeal.

Noam Chomsky observed:

"...the Treasury Department has a bureau (OFAC, Office of Foreign Assets
Control) that is assigned the task of investigating suspicious financial
transfers, a crucial component of the 'war on terror' OFAC has 120 employees. A few weeks ago, OFAC informed Congress that four are dedicated to tracking the finances of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, while almost two dozen are dedicated to enforcing the embargo against Cuba

From 1990 to 2003, OFAC informed Congress, there were 93 terrorism-related investigations with $9000 in fines; and 11,000 Cuba-related investigations with $8 million in fines "[7]

In short, assuming the impact of the US "embargo" (sanctions plus terror)has cost Cuba (on average) about 1.3% GDP per over the past 50 years doesn't seem like much of a stretch. That would be enough to almost cut Cuban GDP in half over the period as Cuban estimates suggest.

Joe Emersberger

[1] http://www.zcommunications.org/a-tale-of-two-extraditions-by-saul-landau
http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/5477
[2] http://www.cubasocialista.com/history.htm
http://killinghope.org/bblum6/aer75.html
[3]Http://www.aporrea.org/internacionales/n115358.html
http://www.zcommunications.org/the-economic-sanctions-aga
inst-cuba-by-salim-lamrani)
[4] https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cu.html)
[5] http://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2006/wp012006/wp-01-2006.pdf
[6] http://countrystudies.us/south-africa/84.htm
[7] http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfmSectionID=40&ItemID=5660
Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:30 am
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joe emersberger



Joined: 24 Jan 2004
Posts: 513
Location: Windsor, Onatrio, Canada

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Mr. Carroll:

Will you be reporting that prominent members of the Venezuelan opposition supported the coup attempt in Ecuador?

Tamara Pearson reported

"Host of the program Alo Ciudadano (Hello Citizen) on Venezuelan opposition television station Globovision, Nitu Perez, said the attacks on TV Ecuador were just the reactions of a 'group of annoyed people' and, 'it needs to be understood that these things happen when all the democratic means for expression are shut down', AVN reported.
Journalist Nelson Bocaranda, who works with a variety of opposition print, radio, and television, wrote on his Twitter account that, '[Ecuadorian President Rafael] Correa is marvellous as an actor. He sells himself as a defenceless victim and honest'.[1]

As you know, prominent Chavez opponents in Venezuela also supported the 2009 coup in Honduras but you never reported it.[2]

Joe Emersberger

[1] http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/5684

[2] http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/4576
http://www.aporrea.org/tiburon/n138821
Sat Oct 02, 2010 3:46 am
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joe emersberger



Joined: 24 Jan 2004
Posts: 513
Location: Windsor, Onatrio, Canada

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RE:Haitians turn on UN peacekeepers they blame for cholera outbreak
Nov 16,2010

Mr. Carroll

You wrote

"The 12,000 UN peacekeepers, one of the biggest such missions in the world, lived up to their name: they kept peace. Rampaging criminal gangs melted away and anarchy gave way to stability."

These words - in the most generous interpretation - reveal that you are completely ignorant of credible and damning reports about MINUSTAH's destructive role in Haiti. Shortly after a coup - backed by the US, France and Canada - deposed Haiti's democratically elected government in 2004, MINUSTAH was brought in to serve the Latortue dictatorship. According to a scientific survey in the Lancet medical journal, MINUSTAH's armed allies in Haiti perpetrated about 4000 political killings in the 2 years while Latortue was in power.

Detailed studies by the Thomas Griffin of the Universe of Miami's Center for the School for Human Rights and by researchers affiliated with Harvard Law School also implicate MINUSTAH in grave human rights abuses.

The Harvard report said

"...MINUSTAH has effectively provided cover for the police to wage a campaign of terror in Port-au-Price's slums. Even more distressing than MINUSTAH's complicity in HNP abuses are credible allegations of human rights abuses perpetrated by MINUSTAH itself,...."[1]

There are numerous well documented incidents since 2004 in which MINNUSTAH has perpetrated graved human rights abuses. For example

Independent: Andrew Buncombe: Peacekeepers accused after killings in Haiti : http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article302259.ece

"In a statement, the UN Mission in Haiti (Minustah) said: '[UN forces] did not target civilians in the operation ... but the nature of such missions in densely populated urban areas is such that there is always a risk of civilian casualties. Minustah deeply regrets any injuries or loss of life during its operation.' "

Another example

Znet: Isabel MacDonald: MINUSTAH in Cite Soleil: http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=55&ItemID=9245

Perhaps out of ignorance, you have characterized MINUSTAH's mission in Haiti as a noble and effective one that suddenly outraged Haitians (and for rather shaky reasons). Overwhelming evidence points to a much different conclusion - that MINUSTAH's role was always reprehensible. Please do your job as a journalist and inform yourself about the places you visit.
.
Joe Emersberger

[1] Harvard Report entitled "Keeping the peace in Haiti?"
http://www.margueritelaurent.com/campaigns/campaignone/human_rights_reports/harvard.html

See also
CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF HUMAN RIGHTS UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI SCHOOL OF LAW
Professor Irwin P. Stotzky, Director
HAITI HUMAN RIGHTS INVESTIGATION: NOVEMBER 11-21, 2004
By Thomas M. Griffin, Esq.

The Lancet study mentioned above is the following

Athena R. Kolbe and Royce A. Hutson, "Human rights abuse and other criminal violations in Port-au-Prince, Haiti: a random survey of households," The Lancet, Vol. 368, No. 9538, September 2, 2006,
Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:55 am
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joe emersberger



Joined: 24 Jan 2004
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Dear Rory Carroll:

You have written several articles about Haiti recently and prominently mentioned protests against the UN "peacekeepers" (MINUSTAH). Incredibly, you've avoided mentioning that there were two brutal US backed coups in Haiti in 1991 and 2004. Both coups led to thousands of deaths among other horrors - all to protect the dominance of a tiny elite from minimal levels of democratic accountability. Their murderous exploits were fully backed by the US. In the recent despicable episode in 2004, France, Canada and Brazil among others were willing accomplices. Added to them we must include countless international reporters who have not reported these facts.

I have forwarded reports to you that have been available for years detailing MINUSTAH's grave human rights violations in Haiti since 2004. Why has this readily available information been ignored?[1]

Joe Emersberger

[1] Harvard Report entitled "Keeping the peace in Haiti?"
http://www.margueritelaurent.com/campaigns/campaignone/human_rights_reports/harvard.html

See also
CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF HUMAN RIGHTS UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI SCHOOL OF LAW
Professor Irwin P. Stotzky, Director
HAITI HUMAN RIGHTS INVESTIGATION: NOVEMBER 11-21, 2004
By Thomas M. Griffin, Esq.

The Lancet study mentioned above is the following

Athena R. Kolbe and Royce A. Hutson, "Human rights abuse and other criminal violations in Port-au-Prince, Haiti: a random survey of households," The Lancet, Vol. 368, No. 9538, September 2, 2006,
Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:55 am
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joe emersberger



Joined: 24 Jan 2004
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Location: Windsor, Onatrio, Canada

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RE: Oil giants squeeze Chávez as Venezuela struggles; Dec 9, 2010

Dear Rory Carroll (and editors):

You wrote

“Venezuela's tottering economy is forcing Hugo Chávez to make deals with foreign corporations to save his socialist revolution from going broke.”

You say cables released by Wikileaks reveal a “severe financial crunch in his government.”

The cables you cite actually say nothing at all about Venezuela’s government going broke – understandably enough, since such a claim would be outlandish.

As of September of 2010, the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) reported that Venezuela’s debt to GDP ratio was a very low 18% - far lower than most European country’s (Britain’s is 70% of GDP).[1] Venezuela’s foreign public debt is only 10.8% of GDP. It also has foreign exchange reserves of $28 Billion USD and, as of last year, a current account surplus of $19.8 billion USD.

Given all this data, how do you justify your opening sentence?

Your article strongly suggests that foreign investors now have Venezuela’s government by the throat when you say

“Luigi Maccotta, told his US counterpart that Italian oil company ENI squeezed PDVSA over an Orinoco belt deal in January this year knowing it had no one else to turn to.”

Oddly, you also wrote that “foreign oil companies still in Venezuela stay largely silent lest they anger the government and find themselves locked out of the western hemisphere's biggest energy reserves.”

Why do foreign investors care if the Chavez government gets angry if they have it by the throat?

Moreover, you didn’t mention that even US officials were not completely sold on Luigi Maccotta’s version of events. The cable you cited says

“It is unclear what bonus Eni really paid PDVSA, but it is interesting that regardless of the figure, PDVSA likely will not see any cash flow in the immediate future due to its $1 billion debt to the Italian company.”[2]

You jump from US officials engaging in dubious speculation about PDVSA’s cash flow situation to the Chavez government being the mercy of foreign businessmen who are now keeping the government afloat.

You should have informed your readers of the abysmal track record western officials have in forecasting economic developments in Venezuela. CPER noted

“…the IMF underestimated Venezuela’s growth for the four consecutive years 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007, by 10.6, 6.8, 5.4, and 4.7 percentage points, respectively”

Finally, given the fiasco US and EU economists and business people have made of their own economies, you should clearly receive their assertions, even the ones made in private, far less credulously.

Joe Emersberger

[1] For stats on Venezuela see
CEPR; Update on the Venezuelan Economy, Mark Weisbrot and Rebecca Ray, September 2010
http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/venezuela-2010-09.pdf

For stats on EU debt levels see
Economist;
http://www.economist.com/blogs/buttonwood/2010/02/debt_deficits_and_growth

[2] Wikileaks ref# 10CARACAS163
Mon Dec 20, 2010 8:12 am
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