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Captured Computers Offer Glimpse Into Venezuelan Threat

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On March 1, Colombian armed forces carried out an attack on a FARC (Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces) camp just over the Colombian border, inside Ecuador.

Because the raid took place a mile inside Ecuador, it sparked an immediate furor in the region, with strong protests being voiced not only by Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, but especially from Venezuela's Hugo Chávez, who called Colombian President Alvaro Uribe a “murderer” and a "lapdog of the U.S. Empire." Chávez immediately mobilized thousands of troops, with tanks, to the Colombia-Venezuela border.

Colombian forces killed 17 FARC guerrillas in the fight, including Raúl Reyes, a senior FARC commander. The Colombians seized three laptops belonging to Reyes, finding evidence immediately that Venezuela had given FARC $300 million in funding. All three countries broke off diplomatic relations, recalling ambassadors and closing missions. There followed an extended period of saber rattling from all involved, but further warfare was averted, and gradually, the furor died down, though Colombia has periodically released documents it says were found on the captured laptops.

On Friday, May 9, Colombian officials showed AP reporters more than a dozen additional electronic documents, a small sample of the more than 11,000 papers they claimed were taken from the laptops seized in the March raid. U.S: intelligence experts, who had been given an opportunity to examine the documents prior to their release to the press, confirmed their authenticity.

According to a front page article published Friday in The Wall Street Journal, a senior U.S. official said, "There is complete agreement in the intelligence community that these documents are what they purport to be."

Colombian authorities have also asked Interpol to examine the documents for authenticity, and recently, Costa Rican authorities carried out a raid on a FARC-connected home in that country, seizing over $480,000 in cash. The house targeted in the raid was identified from information found on the Reyes computers, which also indicated that the FARC funds were stashed in the house.

Additional information found in the computers and released on Friday strongly implicates Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in activities in support of the FARC terrorists. According to the WSJ,

These documents indicate Venezuela appears to be making concrete offers to help arm the rebels, possibly with rocket-propelled grenades and ground-to-air missiles. The files suggest that Venezuela offered the FARC the use of one of its ports to receive arms shipments, and that Venezuela raised the prospect of drawing up a joint security plan with the FARC and sought basic training in guerrilla-warfare techniques.

Other confiscated documents released by Colombian authorities include dozens of email exchanges between senior FARC officials which describe weapons, including bazookas and rockets supplied by Venezuela; others include offers for the use of Venezuelan facilities, including the principal port of Maracaibo, as well as medical facilities and “rest and recuperation” camps on the Venezuelan side of the border.

Evidence of Chavez' personal involvement in arming and supporting the Colombian rebels is also present. In one document, a FARC commander declares, "Chávez is studying our documents and has said that just like Fidel has decided to delegate his other responsibilities to concentrate on the Venezuelan situation, he [Chávez] is ready to do the same to dedicate more time to Colombia."

If there ever were doubts about Chávez ambitions of achieving Venezuelan hegemony over the region, with himself in command, these new revelations should dispel them. His attempts to destabilize Colombia, a staunch ally of the U.S., his financial support of Castro's Cuba, now reaching $2 billion per year, and his pouring oil money into the coffers of Bolivia and Ecuador, as well as his courting of Argentina and Brazil, are all aimed at turning as much of Latin America against the U.S. as he can.

Moreover, his efforts are not limited to this hemisphere; he has cultivated the friendship of Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, proclaiming during a visit to Tehran last year, "United, we are going to help defeat U.S. imperialism, and that's why…they get worried in Washington when they see the two of us shaking hands."

Latin America has a long history of instability; some of it, admittedly, caused by U.S. activity in the region. Today, Hugo Chávez presents a greater threat to his neighbors than they have ever before faced. Unlike previous Latin American caudillos, Chávez has money to back up his ambitious plans; far more money, now and in the future, than all the rest of his neighbors put together. The sovereign independence of Latin American nations, especially those friendly to the U.S., is more threatened now than it ever has been. If Chávez is not checked, the best that nations like Brazil, Chile, Peru, Argentina, and the tiny, relatively weak nations of Central America can hope for is the same vassal status vis-a-vis Venezuela as is now the fate of Ecuador, Bolivia, and Cuba.

In particular, the U.S. should move immediately to strengthen its ties with Colombia even further, and should support Alvaro Uribe against the depredations of Chávez. This, however, is easier said than done; under pressure from unions and other elements of the party, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders have blocked congressional attempts to forge new trade accords with Colombia; accords which that country desperately needs to ensure its continued independence.

Unless the U.S. acts, and acts quickly, to strengthen our allies in Latin America economically, Chávez will engulf them all.

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About Clavos

Raised in Mexico by American parents, Clavos is proudly bi-cultural, and considers both Spanish and English as his native languages. A lifelong boating enthusiast, Clavos lives aboard his ancient trawler, Second Act, in Coconut Grove, Florida and enjoys cruising the Bahamas and Florida Keys from that base. When not dealing with the never-ending maintenance issues inherent in ancient trawlers, Clavos sells yachts to finance his boat habit, but his real love (after boating, of course) is writing and editing; a craft he has practiced at Blogcritics since 2006.
  • Aloady

    This is terrible news. I am horrified. Must stop to wring my hands. Need a towel to mop cold sweat from brow. Got the shakes already. Have to stock up on toilet paper. Heading for the hills. Sketching plans to build fortified compound. Ordering another Hummer. Getting idea for crappy B movie starring Robert Vaughn. Lots of explosions and apple pie. Yeah, that’s it! Start the movie with scenes of apple pies exploding and people running for the nearest laundromats and dry cleaners. Yippie-ki-yi-yaa…..

  • Dan Miller

    Good morning, Clav

    Good article. Having spent perhaps twelve months in Venezuela back in the late 90s and early 2000s, and living in Panama, I try rather hard to keep up with what’s going on in Venezuela. It’s a pig’s breakfast, but Chavez is nowhere near as popular as he once was. The economy is going down the tubes, and oil production is diminishing because the technicians who formerly tended to things have gone away.

    Here is a good blog site which, if you are not already familiar with it, you should read occasionally. It is written by a guy in a rather remote area of Venezuela, who thus far seems to have bypassed the censors. Back when Chavez was moving troops to the Colombian border, he monitored things very carefully, and it seemed to be that the mobilization was more smoke and mirrors than anything substantive.

    From what I can see, there is little sympathy for Chavez or Castro here in Panama.

    As you note, the U.S. is doing a poor job of maintaining and strengthening relations with Colombia and, for that matter, Panama, by failing to ratify the free trade agreements with both countries. The reasons are, of course, based substantially if not entirely on U.S. politics and substantively are nonsensical.

    Dan

  • Cindy D

    The Colombians seized three laptops belonging to Reyes, finding evidence immediately that Venezuela had given FARC $300 million in funding.

    $300 MILLION FROM CHAVEZ
    TO FARC A FAKE

    “That’s what George Bush tells us. And he got that from his buddy, the strange right-wing President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe.

    So: After the fact, Colombia justifies its attempt to provoke a border war as a way to stop the threat of WMDs! Uh, where have we heard that before?

    The US press snorted up this line about Chavez’ $300 million to “terrorists” quicker than the young Bush inhaling Colombia’s powdered export.

    What the US press did not do is look at the evidence, the email in the magic laptop. (Presumably, the FARC leader’s last words were, “Listen, my password is ….”)”

    You can view the e-mail on Greg Palast’s site. It says nothing about 300 “million” anything. It does contain the word 300. I don’t think I’ll be taking the word of the powers that be (and whatever they feed to the ridiculous mockery of what we call journalism) on the rest of the docs. I’d rather see them with my own eyes.

    Something smells bad, and as usual George W is involved.

  • Dan Miller

    Cindy D,

    I would only point out that the date of the cited article is March 6, 2008, and that rigorous analysis of the computer contents (approximately eleven thousand documents) has been going on since then. A lot of analysis can take place in two months, and the computer contents seem to have been substantially verified.

    Dan

  • Cindy D

    Dan,

    The e-mail in question, the one you can actually read on Palast’s site is the sole evidence for any imagined $300 million payment.

    I hate so much doing all the work. Here, I’ll give you a link to start you off if you’d like more info:

    Subtitle: Colombian interpretation of documents discredited by analysts, OAS Secretary General

  • batman

    A couple months ago, I thought I recall reading mentions of a couple of these notes found on Reyes’ computer: Mentioning arrangement of meeting with some “gringos” up north, who represent the new leader to be, that are sympathetic to the FARC cause?

  • Clavos

    He said, she said.

    The Colombian government itself asked Interpol to conduct forensic analyses on all 11,000+ captured documents; the issue of their authenticity will be settled definitively when Interpol presents its report.

    Regardless of whether the $300 million is found to be a correct figure or not, the totality of information found on the three (not one) laptops incontrovertibly proves that Chavez has been supporting FARC in a variety of ways, including supplying them with arms and offering them sanctuary inside Venezuela for more than a decade.

    By doing so, he is actively attempting to disrupt and destabilize a sovereign nation.

  • Clavos

    What you refer to, batman, is a rumor (for want of a better word) circulating through the blogosphere about a supposed contact made with FARC personnel by “gringos” purporting to be connected in some way with the Obama campaign.

    It sounded unlikely to me, and after much research, I could find no verification of it from a credible source, only blogs, so I didn’t include it in the article.

  • troll

    …and what iyo should be done about this – ?

  • Cindy D

    Clavos,

    First of all, how convenient that documents keep showing up LMAO!!!!

    Second of all, where is this incontrovertible proof? Please, show me some. Taking the word of George W. Liar and company wouldn’t count to anyone with more than two brain cells.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Nice to see the shills are showing up.

    Cindy. Why would anyone believe anything Greg Palast posts? He’s a bought and sold communist propagandist with no legitimacy whatsoever.

    And if that one email was the only evidence in March, who is to say that it is the only evidence now. What’s more, Palast’s argument ignores that later in the same document there is specific discussion of receiving payments in dollars and what to do with the money.

    And in fact, there are other documents which refer to a loan of $250 million to FARC from Chavez, as well as other financial support and the purchase of 50kg of uranium and a variety of other munitions and missile components.

    Interestingly there’s also evidence in the documents that FARC representatives met with representatives of the Democratic Party to sound out whether Obama would have a less hostile policy towards FARC than the current administration.

    Dave

  • Dan Miller

    Troll,

    Fortunately, it seems likely that due to substantial and increasing economic and social unrest in Venezuela, President Chavez won’t last too much longer. I don’t think we need to do much, if anything, to hasten his implosion. If President Bush so much as sneezed in a southerly direction, President Chavez and the Venezuelan press (controlled almost entirely by the Venezuelan Government) would have a field day carping about the imperialist intentions of the United States, as evidenced by the obvious attempt to employ biological warfare against the country.

    The U.S. should ratify the free trade agreements with both Colombia and Panama, and do it now. By refusing for purely political reasons to do so, we are sending a bad signal to countries in Central and South America.

    Dan

  • Clavos

    troll,

    Not sure what “this” refers to, but if you mean the overall situation vis-a-vis Colombia and Venezuela, I advocate stronger US ties with Colombia, including negotiating and implementing the trade agreement they seek, in order to strengthen and back up a government which has shown itself to be democratic and independent.

  • troll

    Dan – I agree with the your ‘hands off’ assessment

    Clavos – I was referring to: he is actively attempting to disrupt and destabilize a sovereign nation.

  • Clavos

    What Dan said…

  • Dan Miller

    Dave,

    I think I understand the psychology behind leftist encouragement in the U.S. of President Chavez and his ilk.

    Bertrand Russell, years ago, wrote a satirical article about the Superior Virtues of the Oppressed. If one considers the oppressed to have superior virtues, then it is one’s clear duty to see that they remain oppressed, or even better to increase their oppression, to make them even more virtuous than at present.

    That explains it, doesn’t it?

    Dan

  • Dan Miller

    Dave,

    The link to evidence in the last paragraph of your comment # 11 does not seem to work. I would like to read it.

    Dan

  • Clavos

    Worked for me.

    Here, try again.

  • Clavos

    Oops, sorry, Dan.

    I don’t see a link where you mentioned.

    Dave?

  • Dan Miller

    Clav,

    It’s in the last paragraph, where “evidence” appears in blue, but placing a cursor over it doesn’t yield a link.

    Dan

  • Cindy D

    Cindy. Why would anyone believe anything Greg Palast posts? He’s a bought and sold communist propagandist with no legitimacy whatsoever.

    Sorry if I don’t just take your word for anything Dave. It’s nothing personal, it’s sort of a habit with me that I like some evidence with opinions.

    Merely saying things without any reference to evidence seems, well, a way of promoting one’s own biases.

    Dave, your second link did not come through. The one that was linked to the word “evidence”.

    BTW, nice article, sounds just like all the other articles though. Not sure why this one was so special.

    By evidence, I mean copies of the public documents. Tip-toeing through a bunch of propaganda promoted by known liars to try to sort out the truth is hardly a likely way to obtain it.

  • Clavos

    BTW, nice article…

    Thanks, Cindy!

  • Cindy D

    Dave,

    You know that if you post something about Greg Palast, besides a derisive remark, you will have to do all the work of backing it up. Why? Because unlike some posters whom I argue with, you (like Clavos) seem to, at least in theory, acknowledge the fair rules of argument.

    So, come on Dave, give it a shot. Show us how Greg Palast is a “bought and sold communist propagandist with no legitimacy whatsoever.”

  • Aloady

    Me and Homer stuck a loudspeaker on the roof of the Hummer and we been driving round the neighborhood warning folks to leave town before their desserts start blowing up. That fat commie Chavez has the upper hand at the moment but we’ll find a way to make our apple pies safe again for good God fearing right of center Americans. His dastardly plan to disrupt apple sales in the USA so that the whole crop is bought for fire sale prices in Caracas has been discovered in the nick of time. The next crop will be treated with a non-ignitable spray and Moms will be constantly reminded to wash all apples with the rest of the laundry. Thanks to me and Homer the town will be evacuated soon and the last of the factory reject tents and sleeping bags we invested in will be sold…at a handsome profit.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Dan, the Obama contact is referenced in this ABC News story and the actual quote from the documents can be found in this article. Hopefully the links work this time.

    There’s no indication that Obama himself had anything to do with these contacts with FARC. What’s notable about them is how aware FARC is that Obama’s policies are likelyt to be more sympathetic to fellow marxists everywhere.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    So, come on Dave, give it a shot. Show us how Greg Palast is a “bought and sold communist propagandist with no legitimacy whatsoever.”

    Cindy, I refer you back to your own comments about “propaganda promoted by known liars”. That would describe Palast’s body of work. With people like Palast and Juan Cole who have a large body of published work to refer to, all you have to do is go through it and read the articles to know what agenda they are promoting and whose interests it serves.

    Palast is more a propagandist than a liar, but he has been caught in a few lies, including a series of interesting exposes on DailyKos of all places.

    I’ll give Palast this, thought, despite his desire to blame everything in the world on Rovian conspiracies, he has been outspoken in his opposition to the 9/11 Truthers.

    But the main point on Palast is his legitimacy as an ‘investigative reporter’, and given his constant bias and clear politically motivated subjectivity, he cannot be taken seriously as a journalist. Like other propagandists he fails the basic test of objectivity, because he gathers facts to support his opinions rather than letting his opinions be formed based on fact.

    Dave

  • Cindy D

    Dave,

    That article has an interesting blog attached to it. Here are the words of an apparently right-wing blogger in regard to the article:

    StevenInBrooklynNY said…

    I am a little skeptical of the authenticity of this. It would also be in the Colombian government’s interest to fabricate such a paragraph. Any chance of some followup in this regard?

    In a later post he says:

    StevenInBrooklynNY said…

    Just saying that there are lots of paths of disinformation that could call this “find” into question, and better to be cognizant of that now than later.

    He continues on to deride both Chavez and Obama.
    But, I have to admire him. He is saying basically the same thing I am.

    So, we have it from the mouth of a non-shill.

    There is intelligent life on the right.

  • Clavos

    Especially damning of Palast’s credibility, IMO, is the exposé presented at the DailyKos, which is everything such journalism should be (and Palast is not):

    Thorough.

    Impartial.

    Documented.

    Authoritative.

    Unimpeachable.

  • Clavos

    Cindy,

    As I said previously, the Interpol report of its investigation into the authenticity of the documents is due out shortly (next week, in fact).

    Whether or not the “gringos” mentioned in the various stories about the alleged meeting were actually associated with the Obama campaign is actually immaterial; Obama himself has said publicly he will not approve the Colombian Trade Agreement, nor will he support other trade agreements, including those, like NAFTA, which are already in force.

    Unfortunately, both he and Hillary are too much in thrall to US trade unions, who typically, are looking at the trade issue only from their own limited (and short term) perspective; ignoring the fact that such trade pacts can and do result in increased trade (and therefore jobs) for all signatories.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Note that the CIA already spend substantial time going over the Colombian documents and found them to be legitimate, and the CIA is known for not being terribly sympathetic to the Bush administration, so they wouldn’t be just following the party line here.

    As for Palast, further reading on his caging lists story brings up all sorts of evidence which suggests that he took a basically unsubstantiated accusation with virtually no evidence and attempted to blow it up into a scandal and then got defensive and accusatorial when called on it.

    Dave

  • Cindy D

    Dave,

    Palast discredited that drational DailyKos diary two days after it was written:

    Excerpt:

    There’s two kinds of illiterates in this world: those who can’t read, for whom I’m entirely sympathetic — and those who CAN read but WON’T, for whom I have no sympathy whatsoever.

    Drat is of the latter. He (she/them/it?) has mounted a full-scale assault on the seven-year-long effort of my BBC and Guardian team investigating systematic suppression of the minority vote by the Republican Party and our latest revelation: ‘caging voters.’ His “evidence” is 100% limited to snippets of my conversations on talk radio or phone interviews, second-hand reports on websites and some musings of one of my good researchers, Zach Roberts, posted to this site.

    Nowhere does he suggest he’s bothered reading the one hundred-page description of the attack on voters, including caging, in the new edition of Armed Madhouse. Shame that. Law professor Robert F. Kennedy Jr., using the book as a source, verified by his own corroborative work, found the matter therein convincing enough to call for putting Rove’s right hand man, Tim Griffin, “in prison, not in office.”

    Picking up a book won’t hurt you, Mr. Drat, at least until Patriot Act IV goes into effect…

    As far as the claim that Palast lied about the McKinney quote. The quotes in the article you cited, themselves, support Greg Palast’s contention that McKinney never made the statement she was said to have made.

    There is a vast difference in the quotes cited and the quote that Palast said was nonexistant. There is no quote in which McKinney said this:

    “…Ms. McKinney’s suggestion this year that President Bush might have known about the Sept. 11 attacks but did nothing so his supporters could make money in a war.” (Printed by the NYT, Lynette Clemetson)

    Are you suggesting that because McKinney had the audacity to suggest that we deserve an investigation, that such a comment is tantamount to saying what the New York Times reporter printed?

    Ms. McKinney’s position was clear in her news brief–where she never makes any such suggestion that George Bush knew anything. But, she does clearly call for an investigation. And as citizens, we don’t have the right to such an investigation? We don’t have the right to question our leaders?

    A country that desires to crush people for responsibly questioning their leaders, now that sounds more like the type of communism you associate Palast with.

  • Cindy D

    Dave,

    “As for Palast, further reading on his caging lists story…”

    What further reading? “Further reading…” How does that document anything?

    “…all sorts of evidence…?” Who presented this evidence, where did they get it from?

    Rush Limbaugh says, “all sorts of things” are true, so does George W. In fact, I know a lot of people who are dumb as posts who say a lot of things.

    “…he took a basically unsubstantiated accusation with virtually no evidence and attempted to blow it up into a scandal and then got defensive and accusatorial when called on it.”

    Called on it by whom?

    Or is this an adequate reply:

    Well, after tons and tons of reading I came up with a thorough, impartial, documented, authoritative, and unimpeachable amount of evidence, that Greg Palast is great and all the stuff you are saying is absolutely, unequivicably, and very very wrong.

    So there!

  • Cindy D

    Well, you see, I have a different view of Pallast, and it goes like this:

    He is an excellent investigative journalist, in light of the fact that he actually investigates stories. Unlike the vast majority of the bought and paid for propagandizing media, where the main qualification for becoming a reporter seems to be having the ability to rip a page from the AP wire and put it into your own words.

    “…he gathers facts to support his opinions rather than letting his opinions be formed based on fact.”

    Um Dave, if the facts supported my opinion, um, wouldn’t that make me perhaps, smart?

  • Lumpy

    Cindy selective presentation of cherrypicked facts is a basic tool of the propagandist.

  • Ruvy

    Cindy,

    The bottom line here is that there is a shitload of evidence that Chavez is out to ditch Colombia, possibly Panama, and possibly weaken your country in other ways. Given that he wants to be a real pal of Ahmadinejad, and given that Ahmadinejad is a cat’s paw for Putin, there is a real threat from Central Asia and Eastern Europe aimed directly at your country, whether you like it or not.

    And that is the point, my dear lady. The threats exist whether you like them or not. It makes no difference what George W. Bush thinks or says – this has to do with Hugo (yo soy el nuevo Hitler) Chavez and his actions.

  • Pablo

    I am still waiting for Davey’s references to Palast being a communist. I recall about 6 weeks ago in another post of mine in reference to Mr Palast’s excellent writing, Davey at that time called him a socialist! I guess Dave has a bit of problem understanding the difference.

    So how about it Davey? As you did not (as you NEVER do preface your remarks about Mr. Palast by saying it was your OPINION, how about some references buddy?

    Or do you just prefer your standard sort of character assassination to those that you do not agree with?

    Mr. Palast not only showed conclusively how Choice Point Inc. in collaboration with Jebbie and that stalwart patriot, the lovely Katherine Harris disenfranchised over 40,000 voters mostly of african hertiage, hence democrats, but he also has shown how the war in Iraq was staged to cut off the supply of oil for the purposes of price gouging.

    There is a reason I call you a shill Davey, and it is because although you pretend to side on the cause of liberty, you are almost invariably on the side of oppression. I loved your citation of the Daily Kos, that is the biggest CIA front going currently on the left. But hey Dave we all know how much you just adore the CIA and all there attendant dirty work don’t we?

  • Cindy D

    Lumpy,

    That one has an opinion which one uses facts to support, in no way implies that one engages in selective presentation of cherry-picked facts. Otherwise, no one would be able to make any kind of argument that supports his or her opinion without being a propagandist. In fact, our criminal system is based on having suspicions (opinions) about people that are investigated by other people to determine what the facts are.

    I’ll make a few comments to clarify. Because I think it’s just a difference in semantics that we are talking about.

    I live in a country, where I the vast print, radio and television media has to bow to corporate and government approval. Where station after station and article after article spews the same information over and over ad infinitum. Where there is a side of the story that is often or always excluded. Where important questions aren’t asked by mainstream media. Where “certain” stories aren’t pursued.

    How would unearthing factual evidence in a legitimate investigation make someone a cherry-picking propagandist, simply because the facts bear out an opinion that there is more to the story than what we are being told in the mainstream media?

    So, basically, in the sense Dave means it, I don’t really think that Palast intentionally supports what he believes with some facts while ignoring other facts. I do, however, think he presents many facts the rest of our media ignore.

    I am just a mischievous person, who likes to explore semantic meaning.

  • Lu.mpy

    LOL. This kind of stuff is why those few who even read Pablo’s coments only do it for the humor value:

    I loved your citation of the Daily Kos, that is the biggest CIA front going currently

    How can u not enjoy that special kind of pinheaded raving? It’s like chimpanzees strying to paint like Reubens. Delicious.

  • Pablo

    Lumpy!

    Your back! Oh how I have missed your wisdom.
    Here is a lil hint for ya Lumpy my man. Try this new search engine technology. It is called GOOGLE!

    Go to http://www.google.com, another hint for ya Lumpy, you can even leave out the http and shit.

    The type in these words Lumpy. “The daily kos and Cia”.

    Go ahead, I know its a new technology and your nervous, but go ahead and try it Lump. God forbid that you just might learn somethin, instead of your usual un-informed smug self.

    Ignorance is bliss aint it Lump?

  • Pablo

    Dave?

    References to Mr. Palast? Or are you going to at the very least say that YOUR opinion of him is that he is a commy socialist, hehehe.

    I thought you were big on references Davey. What happened?

  • Pablo

    Oh and Davey just cuz someone like Palast investigates republican cronyism, doesnt make them a commie, or a socialist. Even the fact that I disagree with him on 9/11 issues, I can still respect the man and his very good journalism.

    You on the other hand, throw out labels like there is no tomorrow, because if you did not you would be left with actually having to debate, which quite frankly is not your forte. Snobby? Oh yes. Self-righteous? You bet! Informed, sure if your main source of reading material is “Foreign Affairs” magazine!

    Liberty? Hardly. Opinionated? Not Dave, cuz he is the end all and be all of current affairs, after all his mom was in the agency!

    If you ever bother to actually do your homework Davey you will find that both Communism and Socialism were Wall Street creations, as to keep the poor huddled massed even more ignorant than they were to start with.

    You are about as libertarian as Orin Hatch, who wonder of wonders is also in your favorite group the CFR.

  • Zedd

    Clavos,

    My response is SO.

    This man has indigenous blood. This is the land and region of his people. Why should he not want to play a major role in it. Why should he want the US to have a more significant role? Why is his desire a bad thing? It’s his part of the world.

    What is the fear? Is it that he will take over the entire hemisphere and bring or enemies to our borders. Or is it that he isn’t impressed with Europeans and European culture? Is it that he is proud of his efforts and isn’t apologetic about his success? Is it because he dares view himself as equal to Europeans? What is it?

    What exactly is it that you have a problem with?

    Bush and crew were jerk-some, you knew it and the world knew it. However when Chavez pointed it out, people acted as if he had spat on the Bible. Bush called several nations evil but when Chavez said (eloquently if I may add), that he could still smell the sulphur in the halls of the United Nations, people like yourself were aghast. Why? Do you REALLY believe in equality? Do you really believe in each soul on this planet having the same say? Then where is the problem?

  • Clavos

    What exactly is it that you have a problem with?

    It might be better if you read the article before commenting; as I clearly state therein, Chávez is meddling in another sovereign nation’s affairs, and the government of that nation doesn’t want him to. When Bush does that (as in Iraq), I don’t see you defending him as you do Chávez; could that have something to do with the fact that Bush is a white man?

    Do you REALLY believe in equality? Do you really believe in each soul on this planet having the same say?

    No and no. I am an elitist, like Obama.

  • Cindy D

    Random musing.

    Sorry Clav, this has nothing to do with your article. But I need an answer to a long-pondered question.

    M.A.S.H. the TV show is IMO the best sitcom ever created. I am 100% on track with its political statement. So, what I am wondering is, how is that M.A.S.H. is one of the all-time most successful and best sitcoms of all time AND one that corresponds to my own views, yet at the same time my views are amongst the most unpopular of all time?

    How can it be that a show that espouses an ideology that I believe in can be popular with the average person?

  • Cindy D

    On a more Clavosian note: My interest has been piqued, for some time, on what your definition of elitist is Clav.

  • Dan Miller

    Zedd,

    I spent quite a lot of time in Venezuela, just after Chavez took over and a couple of years later. At first, I thought he was an OK guy who just might do some good for the country.

    Boy, was I wrong. The economy has gone down the tubes, along with civil liberties and just about everything else of importance. So has Chavez’s popularity with just about everybody. Corruption is even more rampant than previously. The various industries which Chavez nationalized no longer have people with the technical expertise to run them, and the diminishing oil money which had been pouring in has gone to promoting Chavez’s place on the international stage rather than to helping the poor — whom he claims to love. With the dramatic increases in the price of oil, that is a major feat, even for Chavez. Here is a blog maintained by a Venezuelan in a relatively remote area and, unlike most of the press and other news media, Chavez has not got around to nationalizing, closing or censoring it.

    Please do spend an hour or so reading recent articles there. I think it is just possible that you might change your opinion.

    Dan

  • Clavos

    Cindy,

    So, what I am wondering is, how is that M.A.S.H. is one of the all-time most successful and best sitcoms of all time AND one that corresponds to my own views, yet at the same time my views are amongst the most unpopular of all time?

    IMO: Humor, and a hell of a good script.

    Start presenting your views in clever, snappy repartee, with some human interest thrown in and see what happens. A lot of TV is like that: The West Wing appealed to me, even though I rarely agreed with their political viewpoints, but the show was exceptionally well written, with interesting characters, crisp dialogue and intriguing plotlines.

    I’m a BIG fan of Aaron Sorkin’s shows; West Wing was preceded by Sports Night and followed by Studio 60 on Sunset Strip, all of which I loved, as I did A Few Good Men, (play AND movie). I haven’t seen Charlie Wilson’s War yet.

    The point is, I loved all of these because they were good theatre, even though I disagree with almost all of Sorkin’s views.

  • Cindy D

    So, basically, what you are saying is, people might disagree with the politics espoused in M.A.S.H. yet love it because it was well done?

    Okay. That would explain it.

    And all this time I am giving all this credit to people to understand not only M.A.S.H. but scores of films that are popular with people yet seem to correspond with a very left ideology, and here they are just thinking…wow good actor and well done cinemetography and things like that?

  • Clavos

    Cindy,

    Elitist

    I thought about this for a while, wrote and deleted at least three definitions; finally went to good ol’ Wikipedia, wherein I found the following:

    Elitism is the belief or attitude that those individuals who are considered members of the elite — a select group of people with outstanding personal abilities, intellect, wealth, specialized training or experience, or other distinctive attributes — are those whose views on a matter are to be taken the most seriously or carry the most weight; whose views and/or actions are most likely to be constructive to society as a whole; or whose extraordinary skills, abilities or wisdom render them especially fit to govern.

    And this:

    Elite theory is the sociological or political science analysis of elite influence in society – elite theorists regard pluralism as a utopian ideal.

    Which, taken together, pretty much sum it up for me.

    In today’s vernacular:

    Smart people rule!

    Or should…

  • Cindy D

    I will have to address the elitist definition another day. But, at least we agree on the idea that smart people should rule or the wish that smart people did.

  • Clavos

    and here they are just thinking…wow good actor and well done cinemetography and things like that?

    …while disagreeing with the viewpoints expressed? Yes, some are, while some are diggin’ the whole package,

    …and some just like the jokes…

    See “Elitist.”

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    The West Wing appealed to me, even though I rarely agreed with their political viewpoints, but the show was exceptionally well written, with interesting characters, crisp dialogue and intriguing plotlines.

    One of the key things about WW was that when they presented conservatives they treated them like human beings, not like abstracts of evil with a label slapped on them. In the real world the left is usually not that empathetic and just stereotypes instead of making any attempt to see things from the other point of view.

    Dave

  • Pablo

    I am still patiently waiting for those references to Palast Davey. Won’t you indulge me?

  • Pablo

    Clavos,

    Nothing about wisdom compassion or humanity in all those virtues buddy? How bout them apples, surprise surprise.

    As to your definition:
    “with outstanding personal abilities, intellect, wealth, specialized training or experience”

    How does that apply to YOU Clavy?

    Now I will give you my definition of elites.

    Since the dawn of time, man (humans) has been eating man. Whether we call the predator the strong man, the will of the people, the benign dictator, the royals, the church, the state, or the elites, it has always been the same. Man exploiting man. However its not even dog eat dog, its the other way around.

    You may call them elites Clavy, but the truth is and the inference is that they are the “ruling elite”. I am afraid under that truer definiton Clavy you dont rate any semblance of being an elite, as you are just another peon like the rest of us schmucks. The only difference is that you view your owners as your benevlolent friends, and dare I say comrades.

    The elites have made sure that they have the leverage particularly economically, through their various agents, such as the FED, the CFR, Chatham House, Wackenhut, and many others to not only dominate the rest of humanity, but for all intents and purposes subjugate them.

    Whether it is the black nobility of Europe, the Pilgrim’s society, dare I say the Rothschilds and their agents, the Harriman family, or even old Jacob Schiff, (whos grandson married Al Gore’s daughter recently), the game has always been the same. More for them (more meaning more money power license and freedom)and less for the rest of us.

    The elites have no compunction about murder, torture, maiming, extorting or blackmail, in fact my own research suggests that they revel in it. They remain in power for one reason, and one reason only. Most people particularly in this country have no idea about their own enslavement. They think that to be a slave means tied up, or whipped into work. Not only do most people in this country have absolutely no idea what slavery means they have even less idea what freedom means. This is the true coinspiracy of the elites.

    It does not surprise me however Clavos that you wish to identify with them. I should tell you though the club starts at around the 5 billion dollar mark. You just might be a bit short buddy.
    But hey theres no reason not to be inspired now is there?

    Oh and in case you don’t know where they congregate, I will give you a few clues. Try Sonoma County California 2nd week in july. It is a good ole boys party, with the emphasis on (boys)and who knows they just might give you a pass. If not there try the world economic forum at Davos, same guys different show! I would suggest the Bilderbergs, however their location each year is a very closely held secret, and as I am only a peon not privy to it. I would have recommended the CFR to ya Clavy, but your world history comes up a bit short.

    So there you have it, Pablo’s definition of elites. I dont hate em, I pity em, that does not mean however that I am not engaged in a struggle with them, as I dont care for murder, torture, maiming or blackmail. Just my two sense worth Clavy.

  • Franco

    Clavos, good article, and nice to see you up there again.

    I was catching some news quotes of Chavez right after the release of this info………

    On Columbia

    “I issue an alert to the continent, the Venezuelan people, the armed forces over the Colombian government’s intention to provoke a war against us.”

    On Bolivia

    “Venezuela will not tolerate a movement for secession in Bolivia’s eastern lowland states.”

    On Germany

    Chavez almost told German Chancellor Angela Merkel to go to hell, but stopped short of insulting the woman leader on Mother’s Day. Instead he called her “a political descendant of Adolf Hitler and German fascism.

    “She is from the German right, the same that supported Hitler, that supported fascism, that’s the Chancellor of Germany today.”

    Well, uncle Hugo has had a hell of a couple of days. I could not quite get his real reason for hammering on Angele Merkel until I read this.

    Aljazeera Net Report: Farc set up cells abroad

    The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia has established undercover cells abroad in 17 countries, a Spanish newspaper says, quoting from documents found on the computer of Raul Reyes. The report said that Farc was the central force behind a leftist group called the Bolivian Continental Co-ordinator, which had branches in 17 countries including Germany.

    As Dan pointed out about Chavez’s waning popularity and economic problems as such, that he is less of a threat then what he was. I can understand the logic, but there is also another side to it.

    Chavez could actually be more dangerous now then before because of his waning popularity. I mean, dose Chavez strike you as the kind of guy who would step aside for anyone, even if the people wanted it? President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is going to be easier to unseat by the people then Chavez.

    If Chavez feels his time is running out with the people, he could start a war, declare a state of emergency and who is going to stop or replace him then?

    Now this last thing about FARC and Obama bugs me because it is too hard to nail down. It is not going to go away if it has any resonalbe suspistions at all.

    I ran a google news search (FARC+Obama) and it kicked out Results 1 – 10 of about 1,880,000 for FARC+Obama. (0.27 seconds).

  • Ruvy

    Pablo,

    You gotta learn how to spell, boychick. It’s “two cents” worth (as in not a whole lot) – not two sense worth. That’s nonsense.

    The elites have no compunction about murder, torture, maiming, extorting or blackmail, in fact my own research suggests that they revel in it. They remain in power for one reason, and one reason only. Most people particularly in this country have no idea about their own enslavement. They think that to be a slave means tied up, or whipped into work. Not only do most people in this country have absolutely no idea what slavery means they have even less idea what freedom means. This is the true coinspiracy of the elites.

    I tend to agree.

    That is the precise reason I support Obama; I don’t like the scumbag. But from my point of view here in Jewboyland, the only time Israelis will turn against the American and European puppets who rule them is if they can see that the assholes are actually enemies; then like the Satmar Hassidim used to do in Williamsburg, they’ll scream “goyim!!!” at top of their voices and run the bastards (along with the American and European soldiers supporting them) out of the country.

    But the CFR hasn’t gotten the whole planet sewn up yet. They don’t own China and they don’t own Russia – which is the point of paying attention to this article. Both China and Russia support Chavez to some degree or another.

    And Putin is not some namby pamby politician who counts votes. He studies The Way and counts dead bodies. And he is now behind the Shia mahdi master, Ahmadinejad, a good friend of Hugo (yo soy Hitler) Chavez.

  • Franco

    #54 —Pablo

    Nothing about wisdom compassion or humanity in all those virtues buddy? How bout them apples Clavos, surprise surprise.

    Mouth

    Open

    Foot

    Um….Pablo, do you even read the stuff you criticize.

    Here is what Clavos said: whose views and/or actions are most likely to be constructive to society as a whole; or whose extraordinary skills, abilities or wisdom render them especially fit to govern.

    Constructive to a society as a whole includes compassion or humanity, as the absents of these would be destructive. I can understand that your deductive reasoning my be a bit challenged, but how did you miss the word “wisdom”?.

  • Zedd

    Clavos,

    Governments support the regimes that they so choose. They always have. We have done it since our conception.

    Again I say SO.

    Giving money to governments and groups that you support is not criminal. Trumping up charges and attacking a nation yourself, overthrowing the government and manipulating who is in power and how they rule, all with the plan of changing their culture to become like yours is wrong. Let’s hope that you can appreciate the difference.

    We are giving money to Israel today.

    Again SO on the article?

  • Clavos

    Zedd,

    Once more:

    READ THE FREAKIN’ ARTICLE!!

    And if you HAVE read it, learn to comprehend what you read!!

    Sheesh!!

    Chávez is not giving money to a GOVERNMENT; he’s giving it to TERRORIST GUERILLAS, who are trying to overthrow ANOTHER COUNTRY’S government.

    He’s also giving them arms and allowing them to hide in his territory to avoid retaliation by their own government.

    Your comparison of the US giving Israel money is ludicrous and a complete non sequitur.

  • Zedd

    Clavos,

    There is a difference between being a member of the elite and elitism.

    Elitism suggests that one believes that they should be given power because they believe they are elite.

    Being an elite means that you excel above most in a number of areas.

    These are two very different things.

    Also, the notion of the elite is becoming out dated in that we now know more about intellect, privilege, class, and such things.

    In a time when radio and television were not present, our President would be considered a member of the elite. We now see him to be in the privileged class and not an elite.

    We also live at a time when spin plays such a role to where reality is distorted. Is Romney an elite or a guy who had he been born under normal circumstances been a good looking mid level manager? Also, because we have humanized those in power, the notion of elites has faded. There are few renaissance men. Even Jefferson is now flawed.

    Comming from a generation where nerds rule, the notion of elitism is rather murky. Practical thinkers are more valued.

  • Clavos

    Oh, and BTW, Zedd,

    overthrowing the government and manipulating who is in power and how they rule, all with the plan of changing their culture to become like yours is wrong.

    That is EXACTLY what Chávez is doing in Colombia.

  • Zedd

    Clavos

    I read the article, hence:

    “Giving money to governments and groups….”

    Now why is Israel a bad example. I would think that the Palestinians would beg to differ with you.

    Also, you know full well that we support “liberation armies” all over the globe. Also do people even use the word ‘guerrilla” to describe fighters. I think that was 70’s spin. It only works on people like Arch.

    I will end by saying SO regarding Venezuela’s actions. Looks like they are behaving like all powerful nations do to me. You being a Latino or Hispanic or whichever terms you chose to use, should be proud.

  • Ruvy

    Ridiculous non-sequiturs is about all you can expect from Zedd, Clavos. Truly a shame, because she is not a stupid woman.

  • Clavos

    Coulda fooled me, Ruve…

  • Zedd

    Clavos,

    “That is EXACTLY what Chávez is doing in Colombia.”

    That is not what Venezuela is doing.

    If North Korea had invaded Columbia and tried to make that South American country into an Asian nation, THEN it would be the same thing.

    As things stand, the Iraq debacle and giving money to fighters at the border of Columbia is not the same. Oh and lets just settle this by saying, you know that.

  • Ruvy

    Zedd,

    You still haven’t figured out imperial control from real aid, have you, Zedd. American credit chits to Israel are designed to keep Israel dependent on American arms – AND WEAK!!! Venezuelan aid to the FARC is designed to strengthen it AND WEAKEN COLOMBIA!!

    Boy, you’re slow.

    I would think that the Palestinians would beg to differ with you.

    Are you talking about all the resident Arabs the CIA is training as sharpshooters? Are you talking about all the money the Americans keep giving to Abbas? Which resident rebel Arabs would complain about American “aid”? Especially aid that they are getting?

    Explain this in more detail, while you’re busy kissing Arab ass.

  • Zedd

    Snickers….

    Both of you think you are qualified to judge who is intelligent and who isn’t.

    Funny stuff… men.

  • Clavos

    Oh and lets just settle this by saying, you know that.

    Only thing I know for sure in this exchange, Zedd, is that you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    And you’re not even a Swede; where on Earth did you get such a thick head?

    Let me try once more:

    Colombia (NOT Columbia) is a sovereign nation.

    Venezuela is a sovereign nation, and is one of Colombia’s neighbors.

    They have both been nations for centuries.

    Colombia has INTERNAL (Colombian) terrorist guerrillas who have been trying to overthrow the LEGAL government of Colombia for decades. The situation is an INTERNAL one, involving ONLY Colombians fighting each other; nobody else’s business for any reason.

    Chavez (a Venezuelan) is aiding the COLOMBIAN terrorist guerrillas (not a “70s construct”, BTW. They are so named [by experts-not me] for the type of fighters they are and the warfare they practice), in their attempt to overthrow THE COLOMBIAN (not his Venezuelan) government. In other words, he is INTERFERING in Colombia’s INTERNAL affairs; an action prohibited by all international law, and universally sanctioned worldwide.

    Here’s an analogy even my 9 year old niece understands: She is not allowed to go into her brother’s room without his permission and start messing with his stuff. Likewise, Chavez is not allowed to mess with Uribe’s stuff.

    Capisce?

  • Pablo

    Ruvy,

    I know perfectly well how to spell sir. The two sense is a pun, particularly for Clavy.

    Franco,

    Yeah I missed the wisdom comment by Clavy, so go ahead and throw the baby out with the bathwater, that the modus operandi around here anyways.

    I still stick to the thrust of my arguments about elites, either it went over your head, or you dont care to comment on who rules the planet. Either way, thanks for the constructive criticism Franco.

  • Pablo

    Ruvy,

    Boychick? Huh?

  • Pablo

    Oh and Franco?

    That last sentence in the above comment directed at you is called sarcasm.

  • Ruvy

    Boychick is Yiddish and is NOT a combination of boy+chick. It comes from putting Russian endings on words so common in my father’s native tongue, and is a term of affection.

    Not a booty call….

  • Pablo

    Ruvy,

    Thanks for the explanation :)

  • Zedd

    Clavos,

    I finally understand your nickname. You have to drill a nail into that thick mush on top of your head in order to get anything through. Well let me get my hammer….

    To start, I got “it” the first time around hence the SO.

    Now… Let me see if I can help you.

    Bottom line, it happens all of the time. Adjust.

    All bush fighters are funded by someone. CAPISCE? I know shocking, right? Sometimes it’s Russia, sometimes is America and other times it’s….. drum role, Venezuela. I know huge isn’t it. Try to take it in. Let it sink in and allow the revelation to change your life. It’s a big mean and nasty world. I know, there, there.

    Oh and please don’t advise the children.

  • Zedd

    Ruvy,

    It is you that is slow. The purpose of funding any country is to reach your own personal goals. Whether it is Israel or Colombia.

    That is a given. Nothing to iluminate. That should have been assumed from the start.

  • Zedd

    Clav,

    I didn’t say that the word guerrilla was a 70’s construct. I said it was used as spin in the 70’s. It was used to tug at people emotionally then. Conservatives often used the term to try and depict the commie bad guys. When the word was used, we were supposed to think that they were evil. Are you caught up now?

    That notion was clear to me then and I was a child.

    Hmmm it could mean too many nails up there.

  • troll

    …why does Uribe have so little support from any of his three southern neighbors – ?

  • Clavos

    Zedd: Bottom line, it happens all of the time.

    Fifth grader: “But everybody gets body piercings, Mom!!”

  • Clavos

    When the word was used, we were supposed to think that they were evil.

    Maybe in South Africa, but here it simply refers to a type of warfare (and warrior), including the tactics of the American revolutionaries, which most Americans don’t consider to have been evil.

  • troll

    dunno Clavos…in the 60s and 70s in the Northeast US the word definitely carried emotional tones and was used for ‘propaganda purposes’ – just like terrorist today

  • Clavos

    troll, the etymology of the word is Spanish, guerrillero which, as you know, simply means “warrior.”

    People can put whatever emotional freight they choose on a word. I was (and am) using it to describe the type of warfare FARC wages; they are not, after all, conventional infantry troops.

    The colonials fought a guerrilla action against the Redcoats; in fact, when I was in Vietnam I used to marvel at how stupid our military leadership was in that they couldn’t see the (to me) obvious parallel between the NVA/Vietcong’s and our own Colonial troops’ tactics, and instead insisted on being as stupid as the Brits were in the eighteenth century.

    The Brits lost back then, and so did we in ‘Nam.

    Which may go to prove West Point isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

  • Clavos

    troll re #77:

    Ecuador is a Chavez ally. ‘Nuff said.

    Peru and Brasil have concerns centered around the staggering drug trade and Uribe’s efforts (which have included incursions into their territories) to quell it. Ironically, much of the drug business is run by FARC, who use it to finance their activities.

  • Zedd

    Clavos,

    You are more a foreigner than I am. I keep telling you, I grew up here. When it was used, in the 70’s, when I was a child, I was here.

    Perhaps you have a Latin American perspective on the connotation. The reason that that term is not used anymore, especially among those who deal with social issues is because it is loaded. Now you know.

  • troll

    (geeze – I forgot about Peru…good thing Martha’s not here to drag me over the coals for my unforgivable ignorance)

    correction to 77: 4 southern neighbors

  • Zedd

    Clavos,

    You really miss what I have been saying. Partly because I thought I didn’t have to elaborate. I took the glib route.

    I suppose I took your comments to be more so a news report and not an editorial comment. I really meant it when I said “so what”.

    You haven’t elaborated on what these actions do. Do they destabilize the region? What do you forecast for the future because of this maneuver? I say this because countries support rebel forces all of the time. It’s what governments do. It’s what they have always done. Venezuela is a nation so it is doing what nations do. I am missing what the point is.

    It seems to me that you approach things from the stand point that everyone has their place and only certain people or entities are “allowed” to play certain roles; that we are all in agreement as to who gets to do what and those who veer from their role (the subordinate positions) are nervy and need to re-align themselves (or behave). Your take and previous comments on class and structure supports my perception. Your objections are often supported by an unspoken “supposed to” premise and your consistent acquiescence on these boards also stirs me to this assumption. Hence I reply to you saying that people are people. Venezuela by taking this course of action, follows a set pattern of conduct by nations (good guys and bad guys) from all civilizations through time. Thus I say, SO.

    I would be happy to be educated on what you think Chavez’s action will do to the region.

  • silver surfer

    Clav’s right, the term guerrilla IS Spanish, and the etymoloogy comes from the old German occupiers of Hispania in the 5th century AD.

    It was used to describe the warfare fought by irregulars (Spaniards and Portuguese) and the forerunners of special frorces units and raiders (British) fighting alongside the Portuguese, British and Spanish regulars against Napoleon’s France during the Peninsula War in the early 1800s.

    Americans might disagree, but it was regarded as the first large-scale guerrilla campaign. It also passed into common English-language military usage from there through the Poms.

    Guerrilla actually means small war.

    They won, too, by the way. The French had no answer to it, much like the Redcoats in America and the Americans in Vietnam. Interestingly, the British learned from their experience in the American revolution while the US military seemed to have forgotten it by the time Vietnam rolled around 200 years later.

    The Penisnular War led to the (first) fall of Napoleon. Although the British and Portuguese and to a lesser extent their Spanish allies engaged the French in some very large-scale pitched regular battles in the style of Waterloo (which was later) and won some stupendous but costly victories, much of the campaigning was done as a harassing kind of warfare. The British engaged rifle companies (Green Jackets) to scout around and ambush the French, while Spanish insurgents harassed the Frogs at every turn (literally).

    From an American historical perspective, it’s also why the British regarded the War of 1812 as a sideshow to the European continental battles and why they were so pissed off at the US for starting it; at the time, the Poms were literally fighting for democracy and their very existence and way of life against a nasty enemy bent of total conquest in a war on the scale of the later American Civil War. They felt Americans had taken a sly and opportunistic swipe at them while their backs were to the wall. They were right too, IMO, so America getting its first military commeuppance was probably a nice bit of get-square justice … (sorry guys, but it’s always good to have the other perspective don’t ya think?)

    Anyone interested in this stuff should read the Sharpe books – kind of an army equivalent of the Hornblower books, set in the British Army during the Peninsular War in roughly the same period as Hornblower.

    The author, Bernard Cornwell, does his historical analysis very well, and you can see as the series progresses how the guerilla actions become the preferred method of fighting what became a very bloody war and which probably saved continental Europe from Bonapartism at its brutal peak. Kind of like a 19th century Nazism.

    It’s great period action, and expertly researched. The TV series starring Sean Bean and available in the US on DVD wasn’t bad either.

    Just thought I’d throw me two-bob’s worth in …

  • Zedd

    The point was not what it’s etymology is but what the connotation is in our culture. Hence the word “spin”.

  • silver surfer

    Also, expanding on the theme of Zedd and others in relation to usage, the earliest common use of the word in English was to describe a group of people who had been involved in a genuine and just war of liberation … not bad, or evil, at all.

    The opposite.

  • Zedd

    Depends on who is using the word SS. Again, people in the Social Sciences tend to shy away from the term now.

  • Ruvy

    Actually, after she got some sleep, Zedd came up with a good point.

    I know I can guess at what I think the consequences of the Venezuelans trying to undermine their neighbors would be – but it would be good if you did spell out the consequences for us.

    I’d like to know if your suspicions run in tandem with mine, for example.

  • Franco

    Guerrilla warfare is a warfare tactic. Period.

    The term clearly identifies this warfare tactic and does no more or less.

    Guerrillero is the Spanish word for guerrilla fighter, while in Spanish-speaking countries guerrilla as a noun usually means guerrilla army (for example, la guerrilla de las FARC would translate roughly as “the FARC guerrilla group”) because of their fighting tactic. It is inconsequential if you have a positive or negative connotation to the meaning, including FARA or any other group using this warfare tactic.

    Foreign support in the form of soldiers, or weapons, or sanctuary, or statements of sympathy for the guerrillas, can greatly increase the chances of victory.

    Foreign sanctuaries not only add heavily to guerrilla chances, furnishing weapons, supplies, materials and training bases. Such shelter can benefit from international law, particularly if the sponsoring government is successful in concealing its support and in claiming “plausible denial” for attacks by operatives based in its territory.

    It is not a US propaganda word. Is in not US spin. To insinuate or claim that is either itself pure propaganda and spin, or a lack of understanding of this historical warfare tactic, or both. It most recent historical US association it was applied to enimies of the United States as it is currenly applied to FARC.

    If you still what to argue that fact you can take it up with Che Guevara and Mao Zedong, just to name a few, in recent history who have written books on it. “Guerrilla Warfare”, by Che Guevara 1969, and Mao Tse-tung, 1937.

    Additionally, guerrilla tactics were summarized into the Mini-manual of the Urban Guerrilla in 1969 by Carlos Marighella. This text was once banned in several countries including the United States. This is probably the most comprehensive and informative book on guerrilla strategy ever published, and is available free online. Texts by Che Guevara and Mao Zedong on guerrilla warfare are also available.

    This warfare tactit goes back hundreds of years and has been applied in both application and practice far longer then our short life spans current positive or negative assimilation. For those who have difficulty in connotation neutrality, allow yourself the luxury of opening up your limited live span perception to the larger picture. The following link my help.

    Guerrilla Warfare

    For those who can’t do that and or like to play social science command word games, you are the true propaganda spin-doctors.

  • Zedd

    Franco,

    You simply don’t understand the discussion. Let it go.

    Words evolve. Accept it. Learn what the connotation is and use it in the proper context knowing your audience. Selah!

  • Franco

    I, along with many in this thread are using it in its proper context. It is not us who can not let go of improper context.

    I can not speak for the others who are in agreement with me on the true contest of Guerrilla Warfare. Bur if you are going to choose to engage me in this discussion, I am going to continue to use the correct context “Guerrilla Warfare” whether you like in or not.

  • Franco

    “Franco, You simply don’t understand the discussion. Let it go.”

    Zedd, I can not speak for the others who are in agreement with me on the true context of Guerrilla Warfare. But if you are going to choose to engage me in this discussion, I am going to continue to use the correct context “Guerrilla Warfare”, whether you like in or not.

  • Clavos

    “Franco, You simply don’t understand the discussion. Let it go.”

    Al contrario, Zedd. He understands it far better than you do.

  • Zedd

    You are not letting it go.

    Stop yourself.

  • Franco

    Zedd, you say……

    “Trumping up charges and attacking a nation yourself, overthrowing the government and manipulating who is in power and how they rule, all with the plan of changing their culture to become like yours is wrong”.

    Then is #61 Clavos responds to your statement,

    “That is EXACTLY what Chávez is doing in Colombia.”,

    My question is, why do you not recognize that Chavez is doing exactly what you say is wrong?

  • Zedd

    Franco,

    I really want to discuss substance. I know I approach things tongue-in-cheek but I do that because these exchanges are a release of sorts. I am highly stressed. However it is important that I am not tit for tatting. I have to discuss matters that build me or at least allow me to exercise or intrigue the senses. Perhaps you missed my point (it was simple) and you need to go back and read. However, I am not a guy. I don’t need to play the dozen as we call it. I lack the testosterone to care.

    Now, do you have a reason why Venezuela’s actions are so deplorable? If so, tell me and we can discuss.

  • Franco

    Well to start with Zedd, I see Chavez doing all the things you say are wrong.

    Now who is Chavez? Well in the current escalating situation is everything. Does he care about people, I think so, in his less then fully developed character format. Does he care about power, I think he has become a full-blown hard core addict. Those that have had the power have talk about it after the fact, and they say it can be like nothing else on earth.

    Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That is way a government of checks and balances is so important. Chavez has trimmed out most of the checks and balances out of his government. That is way he is so dangerous.

    One of his best friends and Defense Minister General Raul Baduel who has been one of Chavezs closest comrades for over 30 years, and who helped Chavez back into power after the 2002 coup, has lost all faith in Chavez because of his lust for power

    I will just say this much in this post so you can comment so far..

  • Ruvy

    Clavos,

    I repeat my suggestion of #90.

    Outline for the reading public the negative consequences of allowing Chávez to go unchecked. Zedd’s point was simply that Chávez is doing what any other potentate with the ability to interfere in his neighbor’s affairs would do.

    What negative consequences flow from sitting on one’s hands and doing nothing to stop him?

    I’m not arguing here. I can guess negative consequences myself. And I have plenty of nasty ideas. I want to know if my guesses match yours. After all, Clavos, it is your neighborhood, and I’m just a “dumb gringo” looking in at the situation from a third of a world away.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Zedd, I grew up in the US and elsewhere in the 60s and 70s and I don’t remember guerilla ever being a lodaded term or exclusively applied to bad guys. It’s a specific technical term for a type of warfare. In college lectures Francis Marion and Benedict Arnold are discussed for their techniques of guerilla warfare in the Revolutionary War as heroes. The Contras were on our side and regularly described as guerillas. So were the Afghans fighting the Soviet occupation. Italian and French partisans in WW2 engaged in guerilla warfare against the Nazis. The exclusively negative connotations of the term are mostly in your head.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Ruvy,

    As Dan Miller pointed out in #46 above, Chavez has already ruined Venezuela economically; no mean feat when you consider he’s sitting on the largest oil deposits outside of the Middle East. Yet, due to his ineptitude and repressive rule, the trained, educated people necessary to run the oil production facilities are leaving in droves; oil revenues are plummeting, and he’s spending enormous sums of money on arms (including big ticket items like fighters).

    He promised the poor people the moon and the sky, yet years into his regime, they’re still poor, only now, because of his mistakes with the economy which have created severe shortages of foodstuffs (thanks to price controls), they have no food, either. Before, they were poor, but they ate. Today, money that might have fed them now goes to Cuba ($2 Billion a year), Bolivia, and Ecuador.

    The educated, skilled, trained and entrepreneurial Venezuelans are pouring out of the country, taking their brains and training with them. There are more than 100,000 here in Miami, with more arriving every day. Many more are going to the more stable, progressive LatAm countries like Mexico and Chile.

    He’s plunging the country that had the potential of being the richest in Latin America, surpassing even Mexico, into abject poverty and economic ruin.

    And now he’s attempting to overthrow the legally elected democratic government of a very prosperous (for LatAm) neighboring country. You do the math, Ruvy; what do you think will happen to Colombia?

    And, he won’t stop there, he’s already made that crystal clear; ultimately, he wants control of the entire continent.

    And that’s not all, folks! He’s also cozying up to the worst tyrant in your neighborhood, Ahmadinejad, as well as to the Russians and the Chinese.

    But, the main point I was making had nothing to do with the future; it’s the fact that right now he’s interfering in the internal affairs of another nation; an act which is prohibited in all international law, and which is also condemned by every Democratic nation on the planet; something which, when the US does it (as in Iraq), the entire world condemns US (probably justifiably), but when this rat bastard thug in Venezuela does the same thing, everybody wants to give him a pass.

    If WE plotted to overthrow the Colombian government, everybody in the world, starting with the comic opera UN, would be condemning us. How do I know that? Because it happens every time we do something like that. Talk about a double standard!

    It ain’t rocket surgery, Ruvy…

  • Irene Wagner

    “United, we are going to help defeat U.S. imperialism, and that’s why…they get worried in Washington when they see the two of us shaking hands.”

    Chavez and Ahmadinejad? Before I read your well-written article, I thought it was something Dave Nalle claimed to have overheard at a Republican Party soiree “infiltrated” by Ron Paul supporters.

    Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

  • Dan Miller

    When in Venezuela several years ago, a friend told me that when the gods created Venezuela, they gave her beautiful mountains, crystal clear streams, fertile land, wonderful people, lots of oil for exploitation, and a bunch of other good stuff. Then, one of the minor gods pointed out that Venezuela had been given far too much, in comparison with other countries. The rest of the gods agreed, and created her government to balance things out.

    Methinks they went a tad too far.

    Dan

  • Franco

    The problems that exist in the Venezuela today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them.

    Eleanor Roosevelt said it 50 years ago;

    “We must prevent human tragedy rather than run around trying to save ourselves after an event has already occurred. Unfortunately, history clearly shows that we arrive at catastrophe by failing to meet the situation, by failing to act when we should have acted. The opportunity passes us by and the next disaster is always more difficult and compounded than the last one.”

  • Jimmy the Spiv

    “We must prevent human tragedy rather than run around trying to save ourselves after an event has already occurred. Unfortunately, history clearly shows that we arrive at catastrophe by failing to meet the situation, by failing to act when we should have acted.”

    Eleanor must have seen 9/11 coming.

    If only the US had acted as though it actually respected human rights throughout the world.

  • Zedd

    Dave,

    On the term. You don’t keep up with social issues, at least judging from your comments. You are totally oblivious to social issues. You only perk up after something has been discussed for generations and watered down, warped and disheveled. If it has something to do with money or some trumped up political football you are well versed (by then it is a none issue really) but you wouldn’t have known that. You are clueless in this area. I don’t think you value social issues (real ones not the Fox variety)

  • Zedd

    Franco,

    Does Bush care about people? Probably not as much as Chavez. Does he care about power? I think everyone who seeks high office does.

    Now can you give me something to chew on?

  • Clavos

    Chavez started caring about the people??

    Really caring?? Beyond lip service?

    Bwahahahahahaha!!

    Good one, Zedd!

    Hehe…

  • Zedd

    Clavos,

    I know it serves a purpose to completely demonize those that you don’t agree with but doing so causes your views to be discounted because they are under considered. Your comments are missing the layers that are always present when it comes to social phenomenon. He can care about the people but have a distorted view on how to create a society that benefits them. It’s just that simple. Comprende?

  • Clavos

    He can care about the people but have a distorted view on how to create a society that benefits them.

    Or, he can simply be a thug who found a way to enrich himself and grab the power he craves by deceiving the people and using them to help him gain office.

    The evidence overwhelmingly points to the latter.

  • Clavos

    Oh, and BTW:

    I don’t have to “demonize” him. He does that very well on his own.

    All I have to do is report it.

  • Franco

    GIVE THEM AN INCH & THEY’LL TAKE A MILE

    Never was this idiom more appropriate in this thread than then with you Zedd.

    I obliged you your attempt to get out of commenting and defending some of your previous accretions that many in this thread asked you to defend and you would not.

    I obliged your wishes for me to skip over your defending them as I thought it would make you more comfortable in openning up this dissection on a rational footing.

    I obliged your request for me to begin opening up this platform, which I did. Then low and behold, instead of your meeting me half way you respond with spin, side step, sputter sputter, fart, ad homineman, and denial as if saying, ah that aut to work for me.

    If you want to pretend you can’t put 2 and 2 together that’s your call, but then by your own call the obliging party is over and were back to square one.

    You say…..Now can you give me something to chew on?

    Without misinterpreting your last comment as a pass, how about you’re chewing on defending your own statement for us, which several have asked you to do. A statement you made, you framed, and you accreted as argument into this thread.

    Defend your following statement it in light of what Chavez is doing.

    “Trumping up charges and attacking a nation yourself, overthrowing the government and manipulating who is in power and how they rule, all with the plan of changing their culture to become like yours is wrong”.

    Can you chew defensively on that for us? If you can’t, which would also be your call, you have no credibility.

    So what’s it going to be? We’re waiting…..

  • Franco

    #107 — Jimmy the Spiv

    “If only the US had acted as though it actually respected human rights throughout the world.”

    IYO

  • Franco

    Zedd, make a self help note to yourself on your “things to do today” list.

    Look in mirror and repeat 3 times…….“I know it serves a purpose to completely demonize those that you don’t agree with but doing so causes your views to be discounted because they are under considered.”

  • Franco

    This one has been going under the radar.

    Argentina’s Defence Minister announced on Thursday a budget boost and promised a significant increase in the number of aircraft for the Air Force

    “The budget boost will represent a 54% increase over 2007, for training and for the recovery of Air Force equipment and material”, said Defence minister Nilda Garré.

    She also revealed that Argentina together with “friendly countries” from the region was in the process of an ambitious initiative to recover Air Forces manufacturing capacity.

    Um……That nebulous reference to links with “friendly countries” is worrying. Is that a reference to Venezuela?

    The only world News News source I could find on this at Merco Press, Uruguay

    Found the heads up on Desicritics

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Zedd, out of curiousity, do you ever admit that you’re wrong?

    Depends on who is using the word SS. Again, people in the Social Sciences tend to shy away from the term now.

    Zedd, I taught college history for years. No one was shying away from using the term ‘gurerilla warfare’ in our department, and last I checked History is one of the social sciences.

    The negative connotation you keep talking about really does exist primarily in your head.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Franco,

    Venezuela and Argentina have had a number of joint projects going back through the years into the Kirchner (Nestor) administration in Argentina, so I’m not surprised that Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner would continue the relationship. Unquestionably, the two countries consider each other “friendly,” and have for years.

    The two have had pacts wherein Venezuela supplied fuel to Argentina in exchange for food; they had an agreement to jointly produce and market natural gas from fields in Venezuela, both are members of South America’s trading bloc Mercosur, etc.

    All that said, I’ve never heard, until you brought it up, of a military-based relationship between the two before.

    Please keep us posted as you explore the issue.

  • Franco

    Ah yes Clavos, Venezuelas many pacts with Argentina indeed.

    Lets not forget the “suitcase scandal”

  • troll

    Dave says – I grew up in the US and elsewhere in the 60s and 70s and I don’t remember guerilla ever being a lodaded term…

    it is always reassuring to find more evidence that Dave and I grew up in alternate realities together

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Well, I was raised by and around lefties, Troll. I imagine they thought the guerillas were the good guys most of the time. Given that ‘guerilla’ is a specific descriptive term which doesn’t carry any denotative weight at all, it seems foolish to tack irrelevant connotations onto it. It’s too good a word to waste that way.

    Dave

  • Zedd

    Dave,

    Just say, “OH, I didn’t know”. That’s all. It’s getting uncomfortably embarrassing.

  • pleasexcuetheinterruption

    Cindy, M.A.S.H. the TV show is IMO the best sitcom ever created.

    I LOVE M.A.S.H.!!!! Especially the earlier episodes. Movie is good too.

  • pleasexcuetheinterruption

    Dave, One of the key things about WW was that when they presented conservatives they treated them like human beings, not like abstracts of evil with a label slapped on them. In the real world the left is usually not that empathetic and just stereotypes instead of making any attempt to see things from the other point of view.

    Dave

    Loved the WW too. You hit it right on. Even though the politics of the show favored the democrats, both sides were legitimate actors with legitimate agendas. They just disagreed. It would be great if real life was like that too.

  • pleasexcuetheinterruption

    On the absurd argument over the connotations of guerilla.. I think you will find any high school history text-book in the country currently uses the word free of any negative connotations. Nor do any political science works I have read. Both fields are social sciences. I have never had the impression guerilla carries negative connotations. You’re imagining it Zedd.

  • pleasexcuetheinterruption

    On a broader note, the apologetic nature of this thread for sworn enemies of the U.S. is disturbing. The sovereignty of a nation and freedom from foreign intervention is one of the most essential components of international law and political philosophy. Chavez’s intervention in Colombia doesn’t even come close to fullfilling any of the criteria for intervention detailed in any accepted political philosophy.

    If it’s ok for Chavez to try and destabilize Colombia, I think we should invade Venezuela in response.

  • Cannonshop

    Y’know, I’d almost say “Forget it.” The semantic argument about “Guerilla” is a red herring. Every single thing you bring up, guys, that is a reason in your mind to view Chavez negatively, Zedd and Cindy see as POSITIVE TRAITS.

    he is, after all, a “radical” in the Radical Chic style. “Radicals” are held to a different standard, a double-standard, of behaviour. FARC is not a legitimate force of resistance to foreign occupation, it’s a Gang with a Poltical Smokescreen, engaged in Kidnapping, strong-arming for Drug=Lords, Murder, and all those Revolutionary things (Extortion and keeping the Peasants producing for the Cartels among them.)

    Most important, Chavez hates the U.S., so he’s a HERO to the American Left.
    (Most of whom would not survive in their Revolutionary Utopia.)