Breaking Through the Muzzle

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Less than two months after being forced off the air, Venezuela' RCTV is back as a pay cable station.

Employees and actors sang Venezuela's national anthem as Radio Caracas Television, or RCTV, made its first broadcasts since May 27, when Chavez granted the network's open airwaves signal to a state-controlled channel.

"We were prevented from being together with you, for showing that we are independent and free," RCTV President Eladio Lares told viewers said during a brief address. "We will always be standing, never on our knees."

More proof that this was one of the stupidest moves Chavez could have made.

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  1. What’s the old saying about what to do when your opponent is committing suicide?

  2. David, there is nothing new about this. RCTV broadcast license wasn’t renewed when it expired (which is hardly surprising as it openly supported two US-backed coup attempts against Chavez). It continued to broadcast on its satellite and cable outlets, as do other private operators who are critical of the government, despite the “dictatorial” nature of the regime there. Perhaps if you didn’t depend on corporate media for your information about Venezuala, you’d be more knowledgable about that country. How long do you think broadcast outlets sympathetic to Al Qaeda would remain on the air in the US?

  3. “(which is hardly surprising as it openly supported two US-backed coup attempts against Chavez). ”

    Please provide evidence to support your assertion that the coups were U.S. backed. Speculation by Chavez does not count.

  4. Chavez is a fucktard, but it’s always better when he focuses his efforts on the second half of descriptor.

  5. Venezulea needs to embrace a free press, like America. By “free” of course I mean the freedom to allow Rupert Murdock to buy everything.

  6. A Chavez version of the Fairness Doctrine – only pro-Chavez voices will be heard.

    As for Murdoch, he owns one cable news network and potentially a major newspaper. Relax.

    Look at what Time Warner, Viacom, etc. own, and give it a rest.

  7. T-Nad-

    We all know you enjoy teh beastiality.

    This post brought to you by Rupert Murdoch.

  8. Mr. Pope

    A dictator is a person whose dictates are law. Chavez, who is the President of Venezuela, has the de jure power to rule by decree. President Chavez is accordingly indisputably the Venezuelan dictator. The adjectival form is dicatatorial. So Venezuela, being under the rule of a dictator, is under a dictatorial regime.

  9. How long do you think broadcast outlets sympathetic to Al Qaeda would remain on the air in the US?

    Well, I see the New York Times is still publishing, even after their traitorous leaking of NSA surveillance, secret prisons in Eastern Europe, and other classified programs essential to the fight against al-Qaeda.

    Chavez should know about coups, having demonstrated his disregard for the rule of law when he was involved in a failed military putsch some years ago. He took the smarter route this time to dictatorial power: shameless demagoguery.

  10. I find Bill Pope’s comments amusing, given that he comes from a country (Canada) in which it is illegal to receive satellite TV signals from other countries.

    Also, he seems to be unaware that Al-Jazeerah TV is widely available in the USA.

  11. Mr. Pope,

    1. It always amuses me that although Televen and Venevision also backed the coup, their licenses where renewed. Then I remember they’ve changed their editorial lines to match the government’s.

    2. RCTV did not continue transmiting on cable after May 27; the government forced them out of cable and presured operators to keep them out.

    3. If by “other private operators who are critical of the government” you mean Globovision (because thats the only one…), then its worth noting that the government has subjected it to judicial harassment, prevented it from extending its signal, and explicitly theatened it with closure.

    4. Perhaps if you didnt depend on Chavez’ propaganda machine “for your information about Venezuala [sic], you’d be more knowledgable about that country.”

    5. Your analogy is pretty bad. How large a percentage of the US population supports Al Qaida? A negligible fraction. How large a percentage of the Venezuelan population oposes Mr. Chavez? At least 39% (the official percentage of votes against him in the last elections). Oh, and actually, if you live in Toledo, OH, you can watch Al Jazeera English on cable…

  12. Well, I see the New York Times is still publishing, even after their traitorous leaking of NSA surveillance, secret prisons in Eastern Europe, and other classified programs essential to the fight against al-Qaeda.

    It’s now treasonous to support the Fourth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments?

  13. Please provide evidence to support your assertion that the coups were U.S. backed.

    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,688071,00.html

  14. “More proof that this was one of the stupidest moves Chavez could have made.”

    In the arena of stupid things to do, only David Weigel would award the crown to muzzling a TV station over seizing oil refineries while courting Fidel Castro.

    I don’t think Weigel belongs in Reason’s gene pool and never have.

  15. Al-Jazeerah TV is widely available in the USA.

    Please provide evidence that Al-Jezeerah supports Al Qaeda.

  16. Just a quick note. Al Jazeera, is not only available in the US, it maintains a Washington, DC headquarters on K St, in the heart of DC. Not far from various federal government sites, I might add. Yet, no one has shut them down. So, the “How long do you think broadcast outlets sympathetic to Al Qaeda would remain on the air in the US?” argument is false. The US does allow anti-American media here. Unlike Venezuela, dissent is still welcomed here in the United States. We just debate vigorously about that dissent.

  17. Oh and evidence that Al-Qaeda is supported by Al-Jazeera? Well, they get first dibs on any terrorist tape that AQ/AQI puts out. Somehow, the tapes ‘mysteriously’ wind up in a AJ producers mailbox. Or how about when AJ spreads false information to whip up pro-AG sentiment? Right before OIF, AJ put out a broadcast saying that oil from Iraq would be piped straight to Israel after the US took over. Which was blatantly false, considering the geography of the region (Iraq is bordered by anti-Israel countries who would never be caught dead supplying oil to Israel). Plus, watch their newscasts. They have a definite slant to them.

  18. Bob,

    I’ll put you down as “doesn’t have any evidence.”

  19. But when will we see another picture of hot tape-on-mouth girl?

  20. I’d like to know what standard of proof NM needs – or will he just ignore everything?

  21. NM,
    See the case of Tayssir Alouni. He was convicted for carrying money for Al-Qaeda. And he wasn’t a low level guy in AJ either. He was a fairly high level reporter who was charged with providing “support, financing and coordination” for AQ. Just look around, and AJ’s tacit support for (and occasionally active support for) AQ is there.

  22. Bob,

    Much better.

    Now explain how a member of an organization supporting Al-queda = the organization supporting Al-queda.

    So was Tayssir Alouni convicted fairly in your opinion?

    Did Tayssir Alouni make policy for AJ?

  23. Just look around, and AJ’s tacit support for (and occasionally active support for) AQ is there.

    What does this “tacit” support look like?
    Beyond Alouni, an individual not AJ, what examples of AJ providing “active support” can you cite?

  24. Neu Mejican,

    C’mon, he’s already been to Wiki once to come up with Allouni, why are you asking him to go back again?

    He’s just gonna throw Sami al-Hajj (sp?) in your face.

  25. New Mexican –

    If you’ll note Bill Pope’s question was “How long do you think broadcast outlets sympathetic to Al Qaeda would remain on the air in the US?”

    Are you honestly trying to claim that Al-Jazeera has no sympathy for al-Qaeda whatsoever?

    Or are you just willingly deaf, dumb and blind?

  26. NM,
    Mr. Pope said “sympathetic to [AQ]“, not “actively supporting AQ.”

    Of course, that would be the wrong standard. Chavez muzzling a broadcaster would not be right just because Bush would like to do it, too.

  27. Justsaying:

    The Guardian story you link provides not a shred of evidence to support any claim that the US backed any coups in Venezuela. It consists of unsupported allegations that are completely unsourced.

    The only quote from anyone regarding anti-Chavez forces is from Chavez’ own spokesman, who says “said dissident generals, local media and anti-Chavez groups in the US had plotted the president’s removal.” Even HE doesn’t say the US government was involved — only “anti-Chavez groups in the US.” It’s a long way from there to “the Bush administration”.

    Got anything better?

  28. Wow, the commies popped in quick. Someone should check the IPs of the Chavez comments that pop up 5 minutes after articles are posted. $100 says they come from public relations firms hired by Chavez.

    One company in Alexandria comes to mind…

  29. Mr. Pope said “sympathetic to [AQ]”, not “actively supporting AQ.”

    True, but to keep the example symmetrical to RCTV you would need to show a similar level of involvement between the two organizations. RCTV was actively involved in the coup attempt (coordinated with the coup leaders, etc…). Does Al-Jazeerah demonstrate similarly close ties to AQ? I just don’t think it is a good counter-example.

    Are you honestly trying to claim that Al-Jazeera has no sympathy for al-Qaeda whatsoever?

    I don’t even know what this question means. Do you mean that AJ has some sympathy for some of AQ’s positions? For its members? For its actions? Are you referring to the overt policies of AJ or personal views held by individuals within the organization?

    What I have seen of AJ does not appear to me to be overtly biased towards AQ positions, fairly neutral towards its members, and consistently negative towards its actions. They certainly don’t present acts of terror as triumphant events for the Arab communities in which they occur. Neither do they celebrate collateral damage from US forces.

  30. Ah, the old “depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is” argument.

    Well played, NM. Well played.

  31. NM could have saved typing 100 words and just responded “deaf, dumb and blind”.

  32. Is Al-Jazeera anti-Israeli? Yes, very much so.

    Are they anti-Iraq War,? Again, yes.

    Do they report things with a bias towards the Arab side? Certainly.

    Does this mean they support AQ? No.

  33. Do you mean that AJ has some sympathy for some of AQ’s positions? For its members? For its actions? Are you referring to the overt policies of AJ or personal views held by individuals within the organization?

    I get your point, and just because Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling were crooked as hell doesn’t mean Enron was a bad company.

  34. I filter a number of people, so it’s tricky to tell; how many folks do we have in today’s thread actively trying to twit anyone who commits the sin of being down (or too down) on Chavez? 🙂

  35. I get your point, and just because Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling were crooked as hell doesn’t mean Enron was a bad company.

    Another sloppy analogy.

    Enron, as an organization, undertook specific actions, and had certain operational procedures implemented by their leadership that would allow you to claim they were a “bad company.”

    Do you have evidence that the CEO and other higher ups in Al-Jazeerah support AQ? Who in AJ is symmetrical with Ken Lay, who with Jeff Skilling?

    Frank IBC: illiterate, stupid, and ignorant?

  36. Pope, have you ever BEEN to Venezuela? You get your information from THE GUARDIAN for godsake, and you want to call into question OTHER people’s sources of information?

    TRY GOING THERE AND LIVING THERE, IDIOT!!!

  37. I cannot possibly be the only person who remembers then-Undersecretary for Latin America John Negroponte holding a press conference and endorsing the anti-Chavez coup plotters while shots were still being fired.

    It astounds me how people with an ax to grind can manage not to know things.

  38. joe,

    Others remember.
    Here is a CNN story that provides similar data to the Guardian story cited above.

    WASHINGTON (CNN) — The Bush administration said Tuesday it did not encourage a failed coup in Venezuela, but acknowledged “conversations” with opposition leaders in that oil-rich country, as well as a meeting with Venezuela’s military chief-of-staff late last year…The New York Times reported Tuesday that senior members of the Bush administration met several times in recent months with leaders of the coalition that briefly toppled Chavez from power.The administration did not deny such meetings, but it took issue with the suggestion that the United States had given its tacit approval to any plot to overthrow the Chavez government.

    http://archives.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/04/16/US.Venezuela/

  39. “http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,688071,00.html”

    Ha, ha. If you think this thinly sourced smear is evidence of US involvement in the coup, you are more retarded than the guy who claims Chavez is not a dictator.

  40. “cannot possibly be the only person who remembers then-Undersecretary for Latin America John Negroponte holding a press conference and endorsing the anti-Chavez coup plotters while shots were still being fired”

    Wow, you have to be kidding me. An official in a democracy actually supported the overthrow of a dictator. Damn, now that I think about it, I think someone actually spotted U.S. f-15s over Caracas.
    The endorsement as evidence of participation is beyond flimsy. I guess since I endorsed Reagan for president, I was intimately involved in his campaign.

  41. Wow, I am really surprised that someone as brilliant as joe thinks he is failed to mention the investigation, led by Christopher Dodd, which concluded that “U.S. officials acted appropriately and did nothing to encourage an April coup against Venezuela’s president, nor did they provide any naval logistical support.” You also fail, not surprisingly, to mention the investigation conducted by the U.S. State Dept. which concluded that no evidence of “U.S. assistance programs in Venezuela, including those funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), were inconsistent with U.S. law or policy” or “? directly contributed, or was intended to contribute, to [the coup d’?tat].” But hey, since one whole organization with a decided anti-American bias tells the Guardian, of all papers, that the U.S. is involved, by golly that must be incontrovertible truth.

    Chavez has also blamed the U.S. for virtually everything else which has gone wrong in his country during his reign. It’s called paranoia; it tends to be a hallmark of dictators.

  42. Mr. Pope is unable to respond to any comments. In the dimension he resides, the black helicopters have already swooped in and hurried him off to Guantanamo.

  43. “True, but to keep the example symmetrical to RCTV you would need to show a similar level of involvement between the two organizations. RCTV was actively involved in the coup attempt (coordinated with the coup leaders, etc…). Does Al-Jazeerah demonstrate similarly close ties to AQ? I just don’t think it is a good counter-example.”

    It is absolutely amazing the hoops people will jump through to defend the indefensible. If this station was actively involved in acts of treason and sedition, as you claim, why were they allowed to operate for five years after the fact?

  44. One of Sweden’s most prominent leftist bloggers, Ali Esbati, resurrected the subject of RCTV with similar misunderstandings as Mr. Pope which I took the time to write a semi-lengthy reply post to.
    Guesbert does also sum up most of the more important points above in a more space efficient manner.

  45. “It astounds me how people with an ax to grind can manage not to know things”

    I ask, very inocuosly, for evidence supporting an assertion that the US is involved in a coup, and I have an ax to grind?
    As for the story in the Guardian, which is thin evidence to say the least, I think I also read on DailyKos that Bush was involved. Maybe you should cite that also.

  46. I looooooove the part about “while shots were still being fired.” BY WHOM?? From the Llaguno Bridge outside Miraflores by Chavista thugs! At the demonstrators below! Especially targeting reporters and journalists and anyone else who would go to the aid of the wounded.

  47. Chavez is a thug,

    Not in dispute

    It is absolutely amazing the hoops people will jump through to defend the indefensible. If this station was actively involved in acts of treason and sedition, as you claim, why were they allowed to operate for five years after the fact?

    Good question.
    The fact of their involvement in the coup, however, is not really in dispute. Both they and the conspirators are on the record confirming their involvement.

    So since we are on a pedantic rant, please tell me where I defended Chavez? I simply pointed out that comparing the existence of Al-Jazeerah broadcasts in the US to RCTV not having their license renewed was an inapt analogy.

  48. http://venezuelafoia.info/english.html#cia

    This link provides documents obtained thru FOIA related to the coup.

    Judge for yourself the level of US involvement.

    I will note that the documents make clear that the US explicitly told the dissidents that the would not support extra-constitutional efforts.

  49. “The fact of their involvement in the coup, however, is not really in dispute”

    Actually it is, or I wouldn’t be posting. The United States government has never claimed involvement in the coup, and as I mentioned, multiple committees, including those chaired by Christopher Dodd, the world biggest hater of Otto Reich, have explicitly stated the US was not involved in the coup. The notion that the question of US involvement in the coup has be settled is false.

  50. Pay attention.

    We were discussing RCTV’s involvement in the coup being uncontroversial.

    I also posted links to the documents regarding the level of involvement of the US government, but that is a separate issue.

  51. Chavez is a thug,

    You do realize that you just flip flopped, within the space of eight minutes, from insisting that the administration didn’t support the coup to defending it for supporting the coup, right?

    I ask, very inocuosly, for evidence supporting an assertion that the US is involved in a coup, and I have an ax to grind?,/i>

    Um, yes, guy who posts as “Chavez is a thug,” you do have an ax to grind.

    Actually it is, or I wouldn’t be posting.

    Uh, yeah, because you clearly wouldn’t want to post anything contradictory, dishonest, or obfuscatory. Heavens, no!

  52. Hey, Atrevete,

    Good job demonstrating my point about people managing not to know things.

    You managed not to know that that the original, uneditted tape of those Chavez people firing fromt the bridge was released about a month after the failed coup, and it showed them practice-firing into an empty field. You managaed not to know that the footage was edited together with a tape of an unrelated crowd scene from a month later.

    This shoddy, transparent bit of propaganda has been debunked for years now, yet you managed not to know it.

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