/ Venezuela - Are we getting the truth?

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krikoman - on 12 Feb 2019

I read a couple of news articles yesterday about 1000s of Venezuelans queueing up to sign a letter of support for current president Maduro.

https://twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal/status/1094661822081306626

Though never saw any mention on the TV News of this, is Venezuela the new Iraq?

Are we only getting one side of the news?

Who's Max Blumenthal, and is he worth listening to?

Post edited at 12:51
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TobyA on 12 Feb 2019
In reply to krikoman:

You don't seem to be, so do you mean if people just watch the TV news I've watched but don't read the news articles I've read, are -they- getting one side of the story?

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subtle on 12 Feb 2019
In reply to krikoman:

you can't handle the truth

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krikoman - on 12 Feb 2019
In reply to TobyA:

> You don't seem to be, so do you mean if people just watch the TV news ...

Yes, I still think most people get their news from the telly, so we quite often only get part of the story, if any story at all.

I don't think I'm unique in my sources, but I have spare time and it's something I'm interested in, rather than sitting down and watching what I'm given.

I've seen a lot of "bad" stuff about Venezuela, and it's all been about Maduro ( I don't think he's the new messiah, by the way, or that's he's great for the country, in fact I know very little about him or Venezuela).

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krikoman - on 12 Feb 2019
In reply to subtle:

> you can't handle the truth


You're probably right, who knows what the truth is nowadays anyhow?

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Eric9Points - on 12 Feb 2019
In reply to krikoman:

I'll post an article this evening but I'd say we're getting half the story.

Yes Maduro is all the things he's accused of being. The problem is that the leader of the opposition is the leader of a minority party which has 14 out of about 160 seats in Parliament. He is leader if the opposition because leadership of the coalition has been rotating every six months. Further the policies of the opposition are the policies of the rich in Venezuela and as such the poor will get screwed by design rather than accident. Further the opposition have been running a very dirty tricks campaign for many years so the reaction of the government must be viewed with that knowledge.

Sadly the people of Venezuela are left with the choice of having their jobby sandwich on rye or sourdough. Not much of a choice really.

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krikoman - on 12 Feb 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

Cheers

just skimmed through this, and obviously can't validate any of the "facts" but from what I've read about Guaido he seems to have come from nowhere to become "the true leader" rather quickly, it does make you wonder.

https://countercurrents.org/2019/02/08/imperialist-intervention-in-venezuela-update-5/

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Stichtplate on 12 Feb 2019
In reply to krikoman:

Consistent threats and pressure from US, EU, UK to hold new elections despite the usual independent monitoring bodies giving the Venezuelan election processes a clean bill of health. This has a very strong smell to it, to my mind at least.

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MeMeMe - on 12 Feb 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

Well it stinks in all sort of ways but I think summarising the election process as 'the usual independent monitoring bodies giving the Venezuelan election processes a clean bill of health' is a little simplistic to say the least  - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_Venezuelan_presidential_election

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Eric9Points - on 12 Feb 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Consistent threats and pressure from US, EU, UK to hold new elections despite the usual independent monitoring bodies giving the Venezuelan election processes a clean bill of health. This has a very strong smell to it, to my mind at least.


Well yes but as the opposition boycotted the elections they were never a threat and therefore there was no need to cheat.

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MarkJH - on 12 Feb 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> ...despite the usual independent monitoring bodies giving the Venezuelan election processes a clean bill of health. 

Link?  One of the objections of the OAS (along with other international groups) was that no accredited monitoring groups were given sufficient access to the 2018 election.  The OAS were invited, but so close to election day that they could not guarantee a mission that met minimum standards.  As far as I know, there are no independent observer reports, clearly you have better information....

Post edited at 14:29
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Stichtplate on 12 Feb 2019
In reply to MarkJH:

I'm no expert. Off the cuff remark based on a R4 report mentioning The Carter Foundation approving the electoral process.

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Stichtplate on 12 Feb 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> Well yes but as the opposition boycotted the elections they were never a threat and therefore there was no need to cheat.

A quick google reveals a 46% turnout for the presidential elections. Not a million miles away from typical US presidential election turnouts of low to mid 50s.

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Stichtplate on 12 Feb 2019
In reply to MeMeMe:

> Well it stinks in all sort of ways but I think summarising the election process as 'the usual independent monitoring bodies giving the Venezuelan election processes a clean bill of health' is a little simplistic to say the least  - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_Venezuelan_presidential_election

Yeah, you're right. I should probably have qualified 'clean bill of health' with 'by the usual standards of South American's murky political dealings'.

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MarkJH - on 12 Feb 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> I'm no expert. Off the cuff remark based on a R4 report mentioning The Carter Foundation approving the electoral process.

I don't think that is true.  Jimmy Carter himself was once rather complementary about the Venezuelan electoral system, but that was many years ago.  The link above suggests that they didn't send a mission to the 2018 election (presumably they did not feel able to perform that mission to acceptable standards). A more recent quote from the Carter Foundation on elections under Maduro: 

“On top of the fact the election was illegal, the (electoral council) broke every rule in the book of electoral integrity,” said Jennie K. Lincoln, the Carter Center’s director for Latin America and Caribbean. “This election destroyed any vestiges of democracy that might have yet existed in Venezuela.”

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-turnout/opposition-leaders-election-experts-decry-venezuela-vote-idUSKBN1AG2FN 

Post edited at 14:54
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Stichtplate on 12 Feb 2019
In reply to MarkJH:

So how do you see the process compared with regional standards? Certainly from the links it seems cleaner than Russia’s presidential elections but I don’t remember USA,EU,UK calling for re-runs or official recognition of the opposition candidate.

Edit: possible source of the discrepancy ?

https://www.cartercenter.org/news/pr/venezuela-020419.html

Post edited at 15:05
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MarkJH - on 12 Feb 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> So how do you see the process compared with regional standards? Certainly from the links it seems cleaner than Russia’s presidential elections but I don’t remember USA,EU,UK calling for re-runs or official recognition of the opposition candidate.

According to the 'democracy index'  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index) it falls well below regional standards.  As you say; better than Russia, but that isn't really anything to be proud of.

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Eric9Points - on 12 Feb 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> A quick google reveals a 46% turnout for the presidential elections. Not a million miles away from typical US presidential election turnouts of low to mid 50s.


Fair enough but even if 1/5 of opposition voters stayed at home that would significantly affect the result but only change the turnout by roughly 10%.

....and of course that assumes that 46% did actually vote 😉.

Post edited at 15:20
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pec on 12 Feb 2019
In reply to krikoman:

> Cheers

> just skimmed through this, and obviously can't validate any of the "facts" but from what I've read about Guaido he seems to have come from nowhere to become "the true leader" rather quickly, it does make you wonder.


You do like your dodgy "news" sources don't you. If you trawl the internet enough you can find all sorts of crap to justify whatever view you want to believe.

There's a reason why the sites you link to aren't exactly what you'd call mainstream (to put it politely) and its not because of a conspiracy, though much of what's in them is.

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cumbria mammoth - on 12 Feb 2019
In reply to MarkJH:

There's plenty of popular support for Maduro. The ususual independent monitoring bodies weren't there but what can they do if a hostile world refuses to turn up for fear of giving the result legitimacy? The background to the calling of the 2018 election was dodgy but the electoral process wasn't.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesleadershipforum/2013/05/14/venezuelas-election-system-holds-up-as-a-model-for-the-world/#d080371e236c

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orejas - on 12 Feb 2019
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

The truth is a country of inmigrants has become a country of emigrants, into Colombia and Brasil mostly. It shows things are not what they should be, whether the next guy will do a much better job or how that change should happen is above my paygrade but yes things are as bad as they get reported.

Post edited at 23:36
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MarkJH - on 12 Feb 2019
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> There's plenty of popular support for Maduro. The ususual independent monitoring bodies weren't there but what can they do if a hostile world refuses to turn up for fear of giving the result legitimacy? The background to the calling of the 2018 election was dodgy but the electoral process wasn't.

That is a story from 2013!  We are discussing the recent presidential election.  The company that produced the electronic voting system that is praised in that  article now no longer operate in Venezuela because they cannot guarantee a fair process.  Similarly, the reason that independent observers were not present was not because they were hostile; it was because they weren't offered the support that would allow them to do their job to recognised standards.

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Pan Ron - on 12 Feb 2019
In reply to MarkJH:

Yes. I really wouldn't trust anything from Forbes. It has no particular alignment but will publish anything.

Regardless of which side of the fence you sit on, Maduro has allowed (or ensured) a tanking economy of biblical proportions. In those circumstances I don't begrudge any "foreign imperialist" state saying it's time to change.

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cumbria mammoth - on 13 Feb 2019
In reply to MarkJH:

The story is from 2013 but they're still using the same system and it's funny how the narrative we are fed has changed to fall in line with the will of our rulers which feels like it's building towards an imminent invasion of Venezuela or coup. Smartmatic are the company that produced the voting system and they didn't change their tune until after they moved their headquarters from Caracas to London.

There's obviously a lot wrong over there but the news we are fed is definitely very one sided.

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neilh - on 13 Feb 2019
In reply to krikoman:

The truth on inflation and people leaving the country due to its current state?

Not sure USA is really bothered about oil these days, it has more than enough of its own.

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wbo - on 13 Feb 2019
In reply to neilh:  - the US is the biggest market for that oil yet and they've haven't stopped buying ... yet.  That might be due to need, or political fears for the consequence, and a messy revolution they might not control.

Certainly things are as bad as they're portrayed, but Maduro still polls pretty well, 40% plus.  People remember that US installed regimes in S/C America historically are pretty dire on all counts - economics and human rights

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girlymonkey - on 13 Feb 2019
In reply to krikoman:

My Venezeulan friend certainly paints a bleak picture of the country. The brain drain from the country is huge. Her and her sister both got sent out of the country by their parents after she was held up at gunpoint. Her parents are currently closing down their engineering firm, gaining Spanish citizenship and getting out of there. Any one who can leave is doing so. Even if this new guy turns out to be sound (which my friend is hopeful of, but still wary at this stage), the country has lost so many of its skilled and educated people that it will be a long road to recovery

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krikoman - on 13 Feb 2019
In reply to pec:

> You do like your dodgy "news" sources don't you. If you trawl the internet enough you can find all sorts of crap to justify whatever view you want to believe.

Where did I say I wanted to believe?

> There's a reason why the sites you link to aren't exactly what you'd call mainstream (to put it politely) and its not because of a conspiracy, though much of what's in them is.

It started with Max Blumethal, I know nothing of him or what he represents. You could simply chow down on what you're fed, or it might be worth questioning a few things.

I didn't profess to know anything or take any partisan stance, I simply asked the question "are we getting the truth?" and "how do we know what's the truth?".

You seem to have assumed, wrongly, that I've taken sides, I haven't, I was asking for information.

I hate to bring it up again, but we went to war in Iraq, because we believed all the bullshit information we were being fed.

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krikoman - on 13 Feb 2019
In reply to neilh:

> The truth on inflation and people leaving the country due to its current state?

> Not sure USA is really bothered about oil these days, it has more than enough of its own.


I didn't say this wasn't true.

As for oil, they're worried about what OPEC does and always have. It's not really relevant on how much of it's own it has, it's about creating a market and fixing a price that's the issue.

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krikoman - on 13 Feb 2019
In reply to girlymonkey:

> My Venezeulan friend certainly paints a bleak picture of the country. The brain drain from the country is huge. Her and her sister both got sent out of the country by their parents after she was held up at gunpoint. Her parents are currently closing down their engineering firm, gaining Spanish citizenship and getting out of there. Any one who can leave is doing so. Even if this new guy turns out to be sound (which my friend is hopeful of, but still wary at this stage), the country has lost so many of its skilled and educated people that it will be a long road to recovery


It does sound grim and I can't see it ending well with either president in power.

My OP was about knowing next to nothing about Venezuela, or it's politicians. Thanks for the insight.

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Stichtplate on 13 Feb 2019
In reply to krikoman:

> I hate to bring it up again, but we went to war in Iraq, because we believed all the bullshit information we were being fed.

Most of us didn't, despite the constant blandishments of a convincing and charismatic PM, and a US government determined to link the war with revenge for the worst act of terrorism the world has ever seen.

https://www.ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en-uk/iraq-last-pre-war-polls

...and also the biggest UK demonstration in history.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2765041.stm

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TMM on 13 Feb 2019
In reply to girlymonkey:

> My Venezeulan friend certainly paints a bleak picture of the country. The brain drain from the country is huge. Her and her sister both got sent out of the country by their parents after she was held up at gunpoint. Her parents are currently closing down their engineering firm, gaining Spanish citizenship and getting out of there. Any one who can leave is doing so. Even if this new guy turns out to be sound (which my friend is hopeful of, but still wary at this stage), the country has lost so many of its skilled and educated people that it will be a long road to recovery

This was my experience when I was in VZ a couple of years ago. The country has many dual-nationals and those that can are leaving or have left already. The country has the most incredible potential; the largest proven oil/gas resources in the world, a climate that allows for harvesting in every month of the year and an environment that could make a centre for global tourism. It has so much going for it.  There was a hostile feel whenever there was interaction with the state; immigration and the many, many checkpoints on the road. The people I spent time with were incredibly friendly, open and hospitable.  The shops were empty and everyone had stockpiled goods at home due to stock scarcity, inflation and level of uncertainty. 

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willworkforfoodjnr - on 13 Feb 2019
In reply to krikoman:

I also know a lass who moved here from VZ, any slight mention of support for Maduro sends her into a rage, with inevitable stories of her family horrors and them all leaving. Considering I used to be quite a fan of Chavez I found it quite enlightening

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krikoman - on 13 Feb 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Most of us didn't, despite the constant blandishments of a convincing and charismatic PM, and a US government determined to link the war with revenge for the worst act of terrorism the world has ever seen.

Maybe not the people, but the MPs did, not much use all of us fighting against it when the people with the power ignore us. That also flys in the face of the information we were given, WMD was always a given, whether or not people wanted the war, we were still fed a line about Saddam having WMD.

> ...and also the biggest UK demonstration in history.

I was there, but again, it didn't stop the war did it? And it didn't stoop the media telling us about Saddam's WMD.

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krikoman - on 13 Feb 2019
In reply to willworkforfoodjnr:

> I also know a lass who moved here from VZ, any slight mention of support for Maduro sends her into a rage, with inevitable stories of her family horrors and them all leaving. Considering I used to be quite a fan of Chavez I found it quite enlightening


I suppose it could well be an in-built repulsion to an US attempt at regime change, they don't exactly have a great history of success in this area, with Trumpton in charge I suspect this is even worse. Saddam was once the darling of the US.

Anyhow, thanks for the info, hopefully it's gets sorted out soon, and peacefully.

I sort of admired Chavez too, but not sure it was simply for standing up to the US and other outside influences, rather than his policies and leadership.

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Stichtplate on 13 Feb 2019
In reply to krikoman:

> Maybe not the people, but the MPs did, not much use all of us fighting against it when the people with the power ignore us.

If everyone followed that rational we'd still be grovelling in the mud before our feudal overlords. Have you decided it's pointless questioning Tory policy?

>That also flys in the face of the information we were given, WMD was always a given, whether or not people wanted the war, we were still fed a line about Saddam having WMD.

The veracity of the WMD justification was extremely controversial at the time (remember David Kelly) as was the breadth of weapons categories deemed WMDs.

> I was there, but again, it didn't stop the war did it? And it didn't stoop the media telling us about Saddam's WMD.

So we should all just roll over in future?

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Rob Naylor - on 13 Feb 2019
In reply to girlymonkey:

> My Venezeulan friend certainly paints a bleak picture of the country. The brain drain from the country is huge. Her and her sister both got sent out of the country by their parents after she was held up at gunpoint. Her parents are currently closing down their engineering firm, gaining Spanish citizenship and getting out of there. Any one who can leave is doing so. Even if this new guy turns out to be sound (which my friend is hopeful of, but still wary at this stage), the country has lost so many of its skilled and educated people that it will be a long road to recovery


I have two well-educated Venezuelan friends who haven't been back for more than 10 years. Both started working in Venezuela's oil industry and then moved into international operations. During the early Chavez years, one had a home in Caracas, paid for by the international earnings he repatriated but it was confiscated without compensation to make way for an apartment block "for the workers". The other had a small farm, about 20 hectares, again paid for by repatriated international earnings. He had 4 families looking after it for him, and it fed them plus his own family, also producing a surplus for market. That was also confiscated and split up into small lots. Shacks were built on productive farmland and where fruit and veg previously grew, very little is produced apart from wrecked cars and a few chickens scratching around....the people who were moved in weren't farmers.

Both of them are still earning outside Venezuela, but now only repatriate a small amount of hard currency  back there to relatives who haven't yet got out. They were predicting this meltdown when I was working with them in the middle east 10 years ago.

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Eric9Points - on 13 Feb 2019
In reply to krikoman:

Is anyone else seeing images of Zimbabwe after reading some of these posts?

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krikoman - on 13 Feb 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> So we should all just roll over in future?

You seem to be spoiling for an argument again.

What I'm saying, and you seem to be agreeing somewhat, is that we (our politicians) were duped about Iraq, and we had no say in the going to war or not.

This has certain parallels with VZ in that no one really knows what's behind the apparent coup in waiting, has the whole crisis been, partly at least, manufactured.

Is our media is only presenting one side, I've not heard anything about the support for Maduro?

As for protesting, I'm off for another futile gesture on March 30th, if you fancy going.

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Stichtplate on 13 Feb 2019
In reply to krikoman:

> You seem to be spoiling for an argument again.

If I get something wrong or state something badly, I'm happy to hold my hands up and say so. I just think that in this case you've made a string of assertions that aren't correct and rather than re-think or re-word, you're just doubling down.

>WMD was always a given

It definitely wasn't

>not much use all of us fighting against it when the people with the power ignore us.

You've just shown that you don't believe that.

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jimtitt - on 13 Feb 2019
In reply to krikoman:

Give Maduro some credit, making Chavez look good is a real achievement

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Cú Chullain - on 13 Feb 2019

Where is 'Workingclasslass' these days to give us the facts on the ground?

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krikoman - on 13 Feb 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> You've just shown that you don't believe that.

how FFS!

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girlymonkey - on 13 Feb 2019
In reply to Rob Naylor:

Yeah, it's so sad to see a country falling apart when they have so much potential.

My friend's parents had a flat in Caracas and then managed to save up for some land outside the city and built a beautiful big house. It was the sort of place where there were always members of the extended family coming to visit. But only a couple of years after building it my friend and her sister had to leave the country and gradually almost all of the extended family left too. Her parents are some of the few left and they plan to leave asap. The beautiful life they worked so hard to build pulled apart. Her parents will have to start from scratch if they want to run their engineering firm again in Spain, which is so much harder too once you are older. But they are not likely to be able to sell the firm and house for enough to retire since the country is in such disarray. 

Such a waste. 

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Pekkie - on 13 Feb 2019
In reply to krikoman:

> I sort of admired Chavez too, but not sure it was simply for standing up to the US and other outside influences, rather than his policies and leadership.

That's the problem. You always get pulled into tribal arguments about little countries v Big Bad USA (which it is). Chavez was never a proper socialist: he was a typical South American populist. And when the oil price fell the whole system started to fall apart. Until very recently (have they put sanctions in place yet?) the US bought Venezualan oil at knock-down prices - something good old Ken Livingstone didn't know until it was kindly pointed out to him by Andrew Neill of all people (Ken thought that US oil sanctions had been in place for years, causing the present crisis).

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Pekkie - on 13 Feb 2019
In reply to Cú Chullain:

> Where is 'Workingclasslass' these days to give us the facts on the ground?

Right! She was a very useful source of information. She had a habit of finishing her posts, even those having nothing to do with Venezuala, with 'Cha! Cha! Chavez!'

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pec on 13 Feb 2019
In reply to krikoman:

> I didn't profess to know anything or take any partisan stance, I simply asked the question "are we getting the truth?" and "how do we know what's the truth?".

> You seem to have assumed, wrongly, that I've taken sides, I haven't, I was asking for information.

Its not your quest for greater understanding I was questioning but the sources you choose to turn to for it, you have "form" for that sort of thing.

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krikoman - on 14 Feb 2019
In reply to pec:

> Its not your quest for greater understanding I was questioning but the sources you choose to turn to for it, you have "form" for that sort of thing.


I did ask who Max Blumenthal was in the OP, so I was suggesting I knew FA about him or if he's a reasonable source.

Where would you suggest I get information from, the BBC? They are extremely biased on certain subjects or simply have no news at all.

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neilh - on 14 Feb 2019
In reply to krikoman:

Bias just means they do not conform to your view point.

No news means they do not publish stuff on what you consider to be news.

Unfortunately Venezula is really not a major news topic in the UK .Maybe try the Spanish newspapers for a bit more on the subject.You can debate this endlessly. By the same token my interests are not covered  in detail on the BBC, their news coverage on business is poor. So have to go elsewhere. I just do not hold it against them.

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nufkin - on 14 Feb 2019
In reply to krikoman:

>  They are extremely biased on certain subjects or simply have no news at all.

To be charitable, it's likely that the main factor in considering what to broadcast is likely to be 'the most important to the most people'. This means that lots of things, important or otherwise, get left off of the main UK news reports. But if you try, say, the World Service news, you often get information about things elsewhere in the world, because the catered-for audience is different. It's presumably more just a practical consideration for the producers and the journalists, rather than a malicious effort to keep secrets.

There's also much more information on all manner of topics in specialist programmes - 'From Our Own Correspondent', for example, gives vignettes about the day-to-day situation in all sorts of places, with detail and human interest that the news just can't provide.

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Eric9Points - on 14 Feb 2019
In reply to krikoman:

> Where would you suggest I get information from, the BBC? They are extremely biased on certain subjects or simply have no news at all.

Al Jazeera.

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pec on 14 Feb 2019
In reply to krikoman:

> I did ask who Max Blumenthal was in the OP, so I was suggesting I knew FA about him or if he's a reasonable source.

> Where would you suggest I get information from, the BBC? They are extremely biased on certain subjects or simply have no news at all.

I don't know who Max Blumenthal is either but since its on twitter I'd assume he isn't bound by neutrality so what his views are worth I don't know.

However it was the countercurrents link you posted I was particularly referring to. Any website which has a drop down link specifically dedicated to "Imperialism" is not going to pass many reliability tests.

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krikoman - on 14 Feb 2019
In reply to neilh:

> Bias just means they do not conform to your view point.

Simply not true, there are instances where the BBC have "conformed" to my view point, but know for a fact they haven't presented both sides of the story. It happens all the time; Scotland referendum, most things to do with Israel, Ireland in the 1970s, the list goes on.

> No news means they do not publish stuff on what you consider to be news.

Well that might be true, and yet I've seen demonstrations on thenews when there have been a few as a hundred people there, and yet others where there were 500,000 and they never got a mention.

> Unfortunately Venezula is really not a major news topic in the UK.

It's news enough to give us the line the US are taking, but nothing about the other side. (Which admittedly might be rigged / false, but that's the issue we not getting both sides, or much history behind what's happening)

I notice Haiti, hasn't made the news either here or in the US and yet it seems to be worse there than in VZ. So why aren't the US interested in that?

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krikoman - on 14 Feb 2019
In reply to pec:

>  specifically dedicated to "Imperialism" is not going to pass many reliability tests.

Not that I'm defending the link, but you don't think imperialism exists?

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krikoman - on 14 Feb 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> Al Jazeera.


I used to watch AJ, but decided it was a bit too Russian (I still watch now and again), I quite like the French News, they seem to have a far wider view of the world then we do.

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summo on 14 Feb 2019
In reply to krikoman:

I guess it's all relative to how people want it to appear. You can be pivotal in saving millions from an early death or a lifetime of suffering, but also causing suffering to a few hundred at an early time and still be labelled a villain. 

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neilh - on 14 Feb 2019
In reply to krikoman:

Just go to the Spanish papers. 

I read NY times as the coverage on American news over here is appalling.

the bbc is when all said and done reasonably well balanced but does not and cannot cover every issue for every person .

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Eric9Points - on 23:07 Fri
krikoman - on 21:44 Sat
In reply to Eric9Points:

Cheers, I'll have a look when I get chance. nice one.

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