Thursday, August 23, 2007

It couldn't happen here

The War on Democracy by John Pilger

...featuring a little more Chavez arse-kissing than I personally feel comfortable with but nevertheless worth watching for many reasons. Not least...

  • A complete loon of an ex CIA guy totally unrepentant about his agency's track record of political assassination, terrorism and overthrow of democratic governments
  • A section on Bechtel's outstanding humanitarian achievements in the field of monopolising Latin America public water supplies. This is the outfit that tried to charge people living in slums for collecting rain water. In the past I've tried pointing out to people that, with the connivance of our governments, a handful of multinationals are busily developing a stranglehold on global water supplies, including our own here in the UK. However, it is proving to be a hard sell on my part because, apparently, things like that 'don't happen here'
  • On the subject of things like that not happening here, the film also rattles through a tour of the kind of subversion and destabilisation operations employed by Western intelligence agencies to ensure that the 'right' kind of governments run the world. The key fascination this subject holds for me is how Western Liberal journalists are perfectly willing to discuss this kind of rather well documented and virtually undeniable sort of thing, provided it is in the context of someone else's countries. Anyone who even so much as raises the possibility that these sort of tactics have been applied considerably nearer to home is widely denounced as a nutter.

    Remember, cognitive dissonance is your friend

Of course, if you've lived in one of those Latin American countries which have, like Russia, suffered from having their economies and currencies deliberately and systematically imploded as a prelude to oligarchy and corporate neo-feudalism you're likely to be just a tad more open-minded about 'conspiracy theories' than your average Guardian or BBC journowhore

It's just such a damned shame that the majority of people have to be personally reamed senseless before they start to wake up a little. Sadly, things do have to get worse before they can get better.



Rory Winter said...

Arse-kissing? Where does Pilger do this? For once the western media has produced a truthful version of the Bolivarian revolution.

If you mean by arse-kissing the various scenes of people in tears after the 2002 coup I think you are mistaking the heartfelt feelings of the Bolivarian poor for the loss of a good man.

Stef said...


The reason why I say that is quite involved and would require a small essay to explain, which is why I said that's a personal thing

I rate the film and many of the things that have happened recently in Latin America that are described in the film. That's why I've put it up but I'm a jaded old bastard who doesn't have any heroes any more

Stef said...


That's really not a good enough answer. Either I should explain myself when challenged or edit the post...

One of the reasons why I'm a little nervy about Chavez is that his 1998 election campaign was heavily funded by several banks (including Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria and Banco Santander) and Chavez tried to keep that secret

and one of the most subtle subversive techniques Pilger didn't mention in his piece is the old bankers'/ oligarch's trick of funding and controlling both sides in an election or conflict. It's not just here in the UK or US where it often makes no difference who wins a ballot

lwtc247 said...

That’s not only an interesting comment Stef, it’s a significant one. I have never heard of that ‘link’ between Chavez and the banks before. It needs to be checked out.

Poignant questions:

1) What is the source/s of reports that the bankers funded Chavez.
2) Who was involved on the banking side of things and what political allegiance do the bankers have.
3) Who said Chavez tried to cover it up.
4) Why would he cover it up.
5) Has it resulted in any unscrupulous behaviour?

I know what you mean about no hero’s Stef. That’s prospect has long stared me in the face since the bastards have forced me to live with the conspiracy 24/7, however, I'm still holding out hope that Chaves and Evo Morales and Journalists like Pilger, Historians like Howard Zinn, and Steven Kinzer, brave men like Norman Finkelstein and ladies of the lamp like Arundhati Roy. I think I need a hero Stef, ‘cos the worlds to damn bleak without one.

Very Pilgers credit, he ends his illusion shattering film with the following warnings.

[1:27:56] In Latin America, there is now a host of leaders offering new beginnings. Of course history is crowded with hero’s, who offer new beginnings. The respectability of great power and its games and deals and plunder, always beckon. If these new leaders succumb, their biggest threat may not be from Washington, but from the people on the hillsides.

[1:31:23] And those who see the world through the eyes of the powerful should be warned...people are rising from the tyranny and oblivion to which we in the west have consigned them. Indeed their resistance is well under way at this film has shown. I would say it never stopped, and is unbeatable.

Pilger’s is telling us how these new leaders have failed spectacularly in the past (1st / 2nd May 1997 anyone?) and is warning these ones of the fate awaits them if they betray the good citizens they were mandated to help. That to me displays extraordinary intellectual honour, honesty as well as exemplary integrity as a journalist and commentator on global politics. Hero’s will never match our expectations 100%. I’ve come to learn that and accept it. I’m not saying your not aware of that Stef but just its for anyone out there who may fall into that rather painful hole.

Stef said...

The source is a judicial Spanish investigation under this guy...

Baltasar Garzón

Now I could start posting links but they wouldn't prove anything. Chavez has been subject to smear and counter-smear for years

Revolutions, however popular, can be harnessed to serve the purposes of elite interests. Taking the 1917 revolution as an example there have been stories over the years that the Germans helped facilitate it because they were at war with Russia at the time and other rumours that NY money men like Jacob Schiff funded it (he certainly arranged funding for the Japanese in the Russo-Japanese war) because of a long-standing grudge against the Romanovs

Comments about budding revolutionary leaders dining with long spoons made elsewhere apply

The important point is the one you (and Pilger) make about false dawns and placing too much faith in any one person, particularly the kind of person who seeks and retains high political office, and it's worth asking why he makes that point. I think he's being quite subtle there - maybe too subtle for many people

Anonymous said...

I'm not too sore I know what you mean as to me Pilger himself gave that warning, and I have no doubt that if Chavez did go against the people then Pilger would not be silent about it.

I agree, there are many Q's as to the Russian revolution. One researcher told me recently that it was Russia that was originally supposed to be the 'America' that we have now i.e. the global butcher. When I see him again I'll ask why.

And yes,absolutely agree revolutions can be just a recloaking of a corrupt system. There is little way to see though until the thing has unravelled sufficiently long enough.

I go gain great solice however from the fact that Indigenous people are leading this new era and the war loving causacions are having to cede power. I cant see another South Africa happening - thankfully.

- lw

Stef said...

I'm not too sore I know what you mean as to me Pilger himself gave that warning

but he didn't let on as to whether he had anyone in mind

there was one point in his interview with Chavez, and I'm paraphrasing here, where he said something to Chavez like 'in spite of all your reforms there is still so much poverty here, what gives?' and Chavez responded with 'our revolution isn't about consumerism it's about dignity'


as I recall Pilger gave him a pass on that one (I'll be rewatching it at some point)

I'm not knocking Pilger - his film was about the wrongs that have been done and the popular movements that rose up in response. He wasn't exploring the soundness of individual leaders. Fine, but going back to the comment that started this thread I used the expression 'arse-kissing' as a short-hand for some of the issues we've discussed here, including Pilger's own caveat

Rory Winter said...

Thanks for your explanations, Stef. In a world run by banks, what choice does anyone have? We're all forced to use them.

Despite the funding question seems to me the Chaávez is the best thing that ever happened to South America since Fidel.

We live in an imperfect world and even revolutionaries are imperfect. But, compared to the opposition, they're the nearest things to saints we're going to get in Man's Hell on Earth.

Stef said...


Sometimes you do have to dine with the Devil and I sure that knowing people who share your beliefs are keeping an eye on you will help keep you out of temptation's way

lwtc247 said...

but he didn't let on as to whether he had anyone in mind

Stef. I think it is clear he is talking about Chavez and Morales and all the other leaders of South America which are offering the new dawn.

And as you point out Pilger didn't sit on Higo's lap and play horsey, he pointed out there was still poverty.
I understood Chavez's reply not to that the financial condition of people wont get getter, but that the restoration of dignity and involvement is the primary thing. Yes, I am interpreting Hugo here, but similarly one cannot say Hugo said there would be no consumerism. he was just rebuffing any notion that Venezuela was placing consumerism first. Consumerism will come, but not in the way it is currently expressed in the US for example.

I have high confidence that Chavez will be a great leader - he already is, I mean an even great leader, not least from the way he treated those that deposed him as shown in the marvellous documentary "This revolution will not be televised".

RE: Cuba, I struggle with Fidel for not putting himself in front of the people for election. This might be because of history that the US has interfered with free and fair elections. He also clamps down on the Church - whether because it's manipulated by the US or because theocracy has no place in hi philosophy I don't know, but those 'Anti-US administration people' who do not question Castro annoy me, just like they often fail to question Russia.

I've noticed a number of people saying (me included) why cant we have a Chavez over here?

- lwtc247