Venezuela to be „democratized“ by breach of international law
By Friedhelm Klinkhammer and Volker Bräutigam | February 4th 2019
The AgitProp tinkerers of the ARD-aktuell have already delivered so much botch on the subject of „power struggle in Venezuela“ that one goal of their opinion-making is largely missed: to deceive about the fact that the U.S. is having a coup in Caracas. Washington’s vassals in Latin America – and in the European Union – support repressive interference. The breach of international law is evident, but the news writers avoid embarrassingly informing about it thoroughly. The propaganda war of the West does not only aim to portray this or that president, Maduro or Putin, Xi or Kim, as the personified evil. The intention is that, in the end, no one believes anything anymore. A society of the disoriented is easier to control.
Just as wars are no longer fought for the victory of one nation over another, but for the chaotic exploitation of an entire region, which is then exploited unrestrained by the international capital elite, the agit-prop war is about the destruction of values and standards. Legal nihilism is elevated to normality, disorientation to the rule. In the end, for example, the Tagesschau could shamelessly quote a government spokesman in Berlin saying that he knew nothing more about Venezuela’s constitution and electoral system, but Maduro had to resign and call new elections because his presidency was not legal. The speaker does not have to fear that the Journaille will make him and his employer a snail in public.
In Caracas, an attempted coup d’état is underway, operated by the USA and diplomatically supported by Germany. (1) Journalists‘ voices of reason and criticism are rare, however. Pars pro toto and Rescue of Honor of the Guild here the reminder of the commentator of the „Nürnberger Nachrichten“, Georg Escher:
Should there be new elections in Venezuela? And if so, who decides: the Venezuelans or foreign powers? In this conflict it becomes exemplarily visible how wildly international law has become in the meantime. (2)
Escher’s short formula is to be interpreted as follows: International law is not wild, but the way it is dealt with is. And this applies equally to our politicians and their media cronies. They are hand in hand with Schindluder with international law:
„The European Parliament is positioning itself in the discussion on how to deal with the situation in Venezuela. The MEPs decided by a large majority to recognise opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the legitimate interim president of the South American country. At the same time, they called on EU governments to follow this decision. The reason given for the clear positioning in the adopted declaration was the recent statements of the incumbent President Nicolás Maduro. He had publicly rejected the EU demand for an immediate and fair re-election of the president in the country.
Whether the EU states will be able to agree on a common line on the question of Guaidó’s recognition is still unclear. There will be further talks on this topic in the afternoon at an informal meeting of foreign ministers in the Romanian capital of Bucharest“. (3)
Journalism, especially public-law journalism, has the task of explaining the world to people with different levels of knowledge and different perceptions (4), according to Ernst Elitz, the founding director of Deutschlandradio. It is not proven that he had the ARD-aktuell in mind as exemplary. In Venezuela’s reporting, this editorial department already embezzled countless pieces of information that would have been indispensable in the sense of its statutory programme mandate. First and foremost: the reference to the commitment of all state leaders to peaceful conflict resolution and the prohibition of the threat of violence, enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations:
All Members shall refrain in their international relations from any threat or use of force contrary to the territorial integrity or political independence of any State or otherwise incompatible with the objectives of the United Nations. (5)
In the Tagesschau report quoted above, no attempt was made to provide such factual and comprehensive information that everyone was empowered to form a qualified opinion about what was going on in Venezuela. Among other things, the declaration that the EU Parliament has no foreign policy competence was missing. His decision was an opportunistic window speech.
A note was missing that in international dealings it is not persons who are „to be recognised“, but only states and their governments, and that it would at most be up to the UN Security Council to determine whether a government is legally in office or not. Consequently, the news that UN Secretary General António Guterres called for restraint was suppressed by the Tagesschau, calling for dialogue with the legitimate government in Caracas (6), and that Washington’s demand for recognition of self-proclaimed President Juan Guaidó was rejected by the UN Security Council on 27 January. (7)
The Tagesschau has not said a word about Venezuela’s extraordinarily transparent and secure electoral system, so that in the past 30 years there has never been any accusation of electoral manipulation, unlike in the US and many other Latin American countries. Not a word that Maduro was formally correctly re-elected a good year ago with 67.8 percent of the votes, but with only just under 48 percent turnout because the traditionally divided opposition had not agreed on a rival candidate and therefore boycotted the election. (8) No Tagesschau hint that it is typical opposition gossip to blame Maduro for this lack of voter turnout and deny his re-election legitimacy.
The daily news concealed the fact that US Secretary of State Pompeo had also failed at the conference of the OAS, the Organization of American States, with his attempt to have the opposition politician Guaidó recognized as the new president of Venezuela: This would have required a two-thirds majority. Of the 34 member states, however, only 16 agreed, not even half. (9) Not a word was said on the news that together with the USA their European puppet had failed in the World Security Council, newcomer Heiko Maas; our chief Große Klappe had even in this illustrious circle snotlessly and ultimatively demanded „immediate new elections“ in Venezuela. (10)
It is now standard news that it ignores the bankruptcies of German foreign policy on the world stage. This can also be seen from the European perspective in the above-mentioned report. (11) It was unclear whether the European foreign ministers could agree on a line regarding the recognition of the self-proclaimed „interim president“ Guaidó. No, dear Aunt Tagesschau, they could not do that; you should have reported that our wet researcher Foreign Minister could not convince his EU colleagues in Bucharest either.
On 3 February, the Tagesschau reported lapidary:
Venezuela’s President Maduro continues to refuse to call a presidential election. A deadline set by Germany and six other EU states ends today. At the end they want to recognize the self-proclaimed interim president Guaidó. (12)
How long will it take until ARD aktuell turns to open agitation and Maduro is no longer called „president“ but „ruler“? Demonstratively on the line of the Berlin government, the Tagesschau also omitted the elementary message in this report that 21 EU governments, the large majority, had expressly not joined the undiplomatic German push and, unlike Heiko Maas, saw no reason to make a kipper in front of Washington’s imperialist policy. Greece, Austria and Italy had decided that Guaidó’s recognition was out of the question for them. (13)
No syllable in the 20:00 programmes of the first weekend of February mentioned that the majority of EU governments would have preferred to have played a mediating role; that the Presidents of Mexico and Uruguay were prepared to invite all governments involved in the conflict, including European representatives, to a conciliation conference; that the EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Federica Mogherini had therefore already held talks with Uruguay’s President Tabaré Vázquez in Montevideo and had subsequently admitted that there would „probably be no majority“ for the recognition of Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate president. (14)
There is simply no room for such objectifying information in a main edition of Tagesschau. Although it can be stated that President Maduro announced early parliamentary elections (15 ), no further information is provided – despite the expensive network of ARD foreign studios and their correspondents paid for research. For example, whether Maduro’s announcement justifies new considerations and whether it would now be appropriate to suspend the ultimatum while preserving face and intensifying diplomatic efforts. The Tagesschau does not manage this, although a corresponding questioning of the embarrassingly unqualified Heiko Maas was virtually inevitable.
On the other hand, much was said in the news of the „First German Television“ about the alleged Venezuelan democratic deficit as the motive of the West to now press for a „regime change“. The daily Tagesschau points out in its broadcasts and Internet appearances that the USA is keeping an eye on Venezuela’s oil. It’s hard for one to match the other. Indeed, a few days ago, US security adviser John Bolton, a war-monger of the first order, bluntly announced that he wanted to get Maduro out of office in order to gain access to Venezuela’s oil. (16) It is, however, only a sham objectivity that the Tagesschau here allows itself. It abstains from any statement about the fundamental illegality of the excessive US desires.
She never mentioned the true motive of the USA anyway: Oil from Venezuela is traded on Chinese stock exchanges, against Chinese yuan, and no longer against the dollar in New York. (17) Washington fears for the value of the Petro-Dollar and knows at the same time that Fracking oil and Fracking gas from US sources are not competitive in the long run in the world trade and the future of the US energy production is uncertain thereby.
Russia’s Rosneft Group is the main marketer of Venezuelan oil. By John Bolton and Finance Minister Steven Mnuchin practically confiscating the Venezuelan petrol station network CITGO in the USA – CITGO is a subsidiary in Venezuela’s state-owned company PDVSA – they declare Caracas and Moscow at the same time the open trade war. (18) Hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake here: CITGO is one of the guarantee effects for Russian state loans to which the Maduro government owes its survival despite the embargo policy of the USA.
CITGO may now continue to import oil from Venezuela, but the proceeds go to US-controlled blocked accounts. Maduro reacted promptly: Oil transports to the USA are only allowed against prepayment – when the tankers leave Venezuela.
However, robbery as a means of politics has been perpetrated by the USA for generations, they have made it quasi socially acceptable. This may explain why the Tagesschau takes no notice of the illegal side of the CITGO affair, but it does not excuse the ARD quality journalnaille at all.
The shop honours us – for the time being without consequences – with news products like this:
In Venezuela, the self-proclaimed interim president Guaidó presented his plan for the country’s future. He rejects military support by the USA at the present time. He wants to allow deliveries of food. In Caracas, Guaidó said the police were trying to intimidate him. He’s trying to remove Head of State Maduro. His re-election was not legitimate. Among others the USA have already recognized Guaidó. (19)
The daily chowers do not at all raise the question of what would happen here in Germany if an unsuccessful opposition politician proclaimed himself chancellor after months of secret talks in Moscow and Beijing and was immediately recognized by Moscow: guaranteed, worse things would happen to him than just „intimidating intentions“ of the police. He’d be in jail immediately for treason. The fact that the self-proclaimed „interim president“ Guaidó had been prepared for his coup attempt for months at secret meetings with diplomats in Canada, Brazil, Colombia and the USA had even been reported by the transatlantically trimmed US news agency Associated Press, (20) but not our news report.
Instead she let her Moscow correspondent Ina Ruck continue rumours that Maduro wanted to „take 20 tons of gold to safety“ with a mysterious Russian plane from Venezuela to Russia. Moreover, Moscow was worried because no Russian weapons could be sold there when Venezuela moved to the western camp. (21) „Opportune witnesses“ for such nonsense always finds a quality correspondent. What is right – and was therefore concealed – is that the Bank of England, in anticipatory US obedience, refuses to release Venezuelan gold reserves worth 1.2 billion dollars. (22) It is only one of the many actions to destroy Maduro’s socialist Venezuela.
In another broadcast, the Tagesschau supported transatlantic acceptance strategies of the pampered „interim president“ Guaidó and reported that he had turned to Moscow and Beijing: Maduro is not in a position to protect its investments in Venezuela, but it will continue to fulfil all its obligations. (23, 24)
The Tagesschau even gives Washington’s youngest putschist the aura of a charitable friend of the people: He „represents the interests of the poor“, it says in a stirring piece disguised as a political portrait on tagesschau.de. (25) It just depends on how you interpret things. As one of his first steps he will privatize the state-owned oil company PDVSA (i.e. leave it to the access of US-American investors), Guaidó had already informed elsewhere. (26) The Tagesschau again does not report this. What the privatization of a state-owned enterprise has to do with the welfare of the people is something the German viewer knows quite well: absolutely nothing. He had the opportunity to study the history of the Deutsche Bundesbahn (today Bahn AG) and the ruinous dealings of the Treuhand with the GDR state enterprises.
ARD-aktuell, on the other hand, relies on the dock of indictment in all its formats: the socialist, whose unsuitable economic and social policy has led Venezuela into poverty and misery. Against such agitation, which does not let the accused speak, invents facts and works with lies and half-truths, one can argue rationally only to a very limited extent. Negative evidence is rarely possible and even less useful. For good reasons, the principle applies in court that it is not the defendant who must prove his innocence but the plaintiff who must prove the defendant’s guilt. In the combination of politics and media this principle is abolished. What the United States claims is a fact of life. The application of the Goebbels recipe is normality: Repeat the lie until it is perceived as truth – the daily practice of all quality journalists. The Tagesschau participates, first and foremost.
It does not show that the USA is shredding international law in Venezuela and a la Maidan is about to overthrow a democratically elected government – if necessary, with criminal violence on the streets and with the consequence of a fascist dictatorship. (27) In addition to Venezuela, Haiti and Honduras (this country even twice) were also objects of US military interventions in this century. (28, 29) However, the Tagesschau did not raise the question of democracy, nor did it claim disregard for the sovereignty of those countries and for international law.
„The roof of freedom is wobbling“ is the headline of the Neue Züricher Zeitung; the West is increasingly suppressing moral concerns in favour of economic interests. (30) Even the Swiss no longer realize that political action does not have to follow any moral laws, but must be evaluated according to the rules of international law. Even if „the West“ completely ignores this set of rules.
The lack of any morality and any legal awareness was demonstrated by war agitator and hate preacher John Bolton: Maduro would „end in Guantanamo“ if he did not finally resign and leave Venezuela. (31, 32) The US President’s security advisor threatens a head of state with the world-famous US torture camp. It documents the concentration camp guard attitude of the regime in Washington and its backers. The Tagesschau did not find this worth reporting. The United States coup is kept silent by her.
Honduras, unlike Venezuela, has neither oil, nor gold deposits, nor rare earths. But a bloodthirsty dictator of Washington’s mercy, the corrupt villain Juan Orlando Hernández (the stirrup was held by German party foundations). However, the Honduran mass protests (33, 34), which cannot be overlooked, express their longing for the return of democratic conditions and social reforms, do not appear in the Tagesschau reports. How can an editorial staff that is so diligent and permanently committed to double standards ever report „objectively and independently“, uphold the „principles of objectivity“ and give a „comprehensive overview of international events“? (35)
When refugee routes from Guatemala and Honduras set off for the USA, then ARD is currently moralizing against the wall policy of US President Trump. The reason for the flight wave is poverty and hunger, reports the Tageschau, and thus remains on the surface beautifully well-behaved. It does not report who is causing the poverty and hunger, let alone the German complicity. That would be too much objective and comprehensive information.
In Gniffke’s name: You can’t do that.
(29) Blum, William, „Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventionalism Since World War II“, Monroe, Maine. Common Courage Press, 1996
(35) State Treaty on Broadcasting and Telemedia, Section II, Regulations for Public Service Broadcasting, Section 11, Mandate. S. https://www.ard.de/download/538848/Staatsvertrag_for_Rundfunk_und_Telemedien_in_the_version_of_the_20__Aenderungsstaatsvertrag__vom_8__bis_16__12__2016.pdf
The writing team
Friedhelm Klinkhammer, born 1944, lawyer. 1975 – 2008 Employee of the NDR, at times chairman of the NDR staff council and the ver.di works association as well as consultant to a radio station director.
Volker Bräutigam, born 1941, journalist. 1975 – 1996 NDR employee, first in the ARD Tagesschau, after 1991 in the NDR main department of culture. Afterwards teaching and research assignment at the Fu-Jen-Uni Taipei.