30.7.11

[UPDATED] Cuba subcontracts Gemalto for provision e-IDs in Venezuela

In another twist in the ongoing saga of Hugo Chavez ceding sovereign matters to Cuba, El Nacional reported on 17 July that the new electronic IDs will be handled  by a branch of a Cuban "technology" university, called ALBET, which in turn has subcontracted Dutch multinational Gemalto's 100% owned Mexican subsidiary -to the tune of $40,500,000- for the provision of 6 million e-IDs. ALBET's contract with Venezuela dates from 2005, according to Spain's El Pais. More worrying still, Ramiro Valdés, one of communist Cuba most feared party apparatchiks, is meant to be behind the contract.

But Gemalto, that as a publicly traded Dutch company is the only party to this deal that has to operate according to some transparency rules, has refused to answer any of my requests for information. In fact, there's nothing in Gemalto's last three years annual reports indicative of a contract between its fully owned Mexican subsidiary and ALBET. The $40,500,000 that allegedly exchanged hands aren't reflected anywhere. Below, the emails that I have sent thus far.

From: Alek Boyd
Date: 21 July 2011 12:47:29 GMT+01:00
To: vincent.bonnot@gemalto.com
Cc: comercial@albet.cu, sampedro@albet.cu, francesc.ortodo@gemalto.com, arturo.ortiz-de-zarate@gemalto.com
Subject: Re Gemalto's provision of IDs in Venezuela

Dear Mr Bonnot,

My name is Alek Boyd, Venezuelan blogger based in London, who has called your office on a couple of occasions regarding an alleged contract between a Gemalto subsidiary (Mexico) and a Cuban agent for the provision of IDs to the government of my country. Your name was given to me by a kind secretary in your office in London (Vicky).

I should be most grateful if you could read the message below, and provide information as per who may be the correct person to contact regarding issues raised. Furthermore, I'd like to add to the questions below, the following:

- Why would a multinational, publicly traded company, like Gemalto, not contract their services directly with the Venezuelan government? Why use, instead, a dodgy Cuban intermediary?

Cordially,

Alek Boyd

From: Alek Boyd
Date: 20 July 2011 16:55:47 GMT+01:00
To: Ramzi.Abdine@gemalto.com
Cc: peggy.edoire@gemalto.com, Isabelle.Marand@gemalto.com
Subject: Re Gemalto's provision of IDs in Venezuela

Dear Mr Abdine,

El Nacional, which is one of Venezuela's leading newspapers, reported on 17 July [link], that Gemalto de Mexico had been contracted by a Cuban company called ALBET, to the tune of USD $40,500,000, for the provision of IDs to the government of Venezuela. The alleged contract between Gemalto de Mexico and ALBET can be read, in Spanish, following this link:

http://www.el-nacional.com/www/files/documento/170711_ctarjetas.pdf

The contract is meant to have been signed on 20 August 2008. Given the amount of the contract, and the sensible nature of the services provided, one would be forgiven for thinking that Gemalto would boast about it in its annual reports. However, I could not find any indication in Gemalto's annual reports of 2008, 2009, or indeed 2010, about the contract between ALBET and Gemalto de Mexico, which is described in your reports as Gemalto's 100% owned subsidiary.

This of course raises a few issues, given that Gemalto is a publicly traded company. To be frank, we Venezuelans couldn't care less about how Gemalto conducts his business, where or how declares its income, where or how pays its taxes, etc. What we do care about is the fact that Gemalto de Mexico seems to have been subcontracted by a Cuban joint in violation to Venezuela's legislation, and, as a consequence, may have received, in case the contract is legit and has been acted upon, millions of dollars of Venezuelans tax payers' money illegally.

Yesterday I called your office here in London to ask for verifications. After a short explanation, a kind secretary, called Vicky, replied by saying that "someone senior would get back to me, either by phone or email." Alas, as of this hour, no one has.

Therefore, I should be most grateful if you could indicate the name, and contact details of a Gemalto representative that could answer a few questions about the issues raised above, namely:

1- Did Gemalto de Mexico, represented by Messrs. Arnaud Jean Loic and Martin Djunte Ghomsi, signed a contract with ALBET?

2- If it did, what due diligence was made by Gemalto de Mexico with regards to whether ALBET had the power to enter into contracts for the provision of IDs to the government of Venezuela?

3- If it did, how much has Gemalto de Mexico received to date (in USD), as per contractual clauses?

4- If it did, what has Gemalto de Mexico delivered, as per contractual clauses?

Cordially yours,

Alek Boyd

UPDATE, 2 August 2011: a comment by Rodrigo has pointed me in the direction of what he defines as common practice: i.e. European companies paying bribes to officials through dodgy intermediaries. That could be the reason why Gemalto did not enter into a contract directly with the Chavez regime. Rodrigo cites three Panamanian companies (Billingsley Global Corporation, Ferdell Business Inc., and Selbor International Inc.) involved in some inexplicable payments on a €46 million deal of Germany's Bundesdruckerei with Venezuela (reported here by German media). Ferdell and Selbor share the same directors (Thays Herrera de Salas, Mariela de Cristi, and Eligio Rodriguez).

But that's not the issue. Gemalto's ADR are traded in the US, and its shares are also traded in Paris' stock exchange. Perhaps it's time to blow the whistle with American and European authorities?

24.7.11

Fuerza Armada se arrodilla ante Hugo Chavez

Una foto, resume el chavismo, y cómo el caudillo comunista percibe el poder. La expresión facial de Hugo Chavez lo dice todo. Huelgan más comentarios.

22.7.11

Maria Corina está equivocada

Acabo de ver un video de Maria Corina, hablando de su proyecto, de lo que quiere hacer, de convertirse en la primera mujer presidente de Venezuela. Y dijo algo que me dejo boquiabierto, minuto 5:43 del video, sobre las dantescas  violaciones recientes en La Concepción. Maria Corina dijo al respecto: "¿Qué nos está pasando? Esto no es Venezuela."

Está equivocada Maria Corina. Esa si es Venezuela, de hecho Maria Corina comenzó su entrevista diciendo que la crisis era una de valores. Es una crisis moral, de eso no queda ni la menor duda. Y precisamente por que hay una crisis moral que ha afectado a todos los venezolanos, es incorrecto decir "Esto no es Venezuela." Y traigo a colación una conversación con mi suegro, hace unos días. Como telón de fondo, Chavez mandando desde La Habana, por tres semanas y en clara violación a la constitución, y por otro lado, un conflicto armado de igual número de semanas entre presos y Guardia Nacional en El Rodeo. Cuando pregunté "¿y cómo está la vaina?" Recibí un "... todo bien chico, aquí no está pasando nada..."

Esa es Venezuela, una nación repleta de gente amoral que ha abdicado su poder ciudadano, y los derechos y deberes que ello comporta. Es una nación repleta de gente que encuentra tolerable que un maldito apátrida entregue la soberanía a los dictadores comunistas cubanos. Es una nación repleta de gente que ha renunciado a su dignidad, a sus derechos inalienables. Es una nación repleta de eunucos intelectuales, de gente que no cuestiona, de gente cuya máxima en la vida es "como vaya viniendo, vamos viendo." Es una nación repleta de gente que se ha acostumbrado a ver lo extraordinario, lo intolerable, lo oprobioso, lo amoral, lo corrupto, lo sanguinario, como normal. Es una nación repleta de gente pendiente del físico, en detrimento de lo ético, donde padres y madres le regalan a sus hijas quinceañeras operaciones para aumentarse el busto. Es una nación repleta de gente que ha permitido todo tipo de humillaciones a manos de sus empleados públicos. Es una nación repleta de gente hambrienta que ve como sus recursos se despilfarran, y se regalan sin permiso a otros países. Es una nación repleta de criminales, gobernada por criminales, que se saben más allá de la justicia.

Esa es Venezuela, y ese es el gobierno y estado de cosas que se merece. Ante la inmovilidad, desidia, y absoluta pobreza moral -en todos los niveles socioeconómicos- no puede esperarse otra cosa.

18.7.11

La oposición que necesitamos

Hay que admitirlo: en política Hugo Chavez es un tipo afortunado. No voy a referirme a los altos precios del petróleo, al sobreseimiento, ni a que llegó al poder surfeando la ola de antipopularidad para con los partidos tradicionales. No. Voy a tratar el tema de la calidad, o mejor dicho, falta de ella, del estamento político opositor. Me voy a referir a los Ramos Allup, a los Barboza, a los seudo intelectuales que tienen a Petkoff como dios. Y tambien, hemos de admitir, a los Borges, Lopez, Perez, Goicoechea, etc. Esto ha sido una bendición para Chavez. Más incluso, en opinión de quien escribe, que los miles de millones de dólares del erario publico de Venezuela, que el caudillo tiene a su entera disposición.

"Les falta burdel", se le ha escuchado decir a políticos de la vieja guardia, refiriéndose a la nueva generación de líderes de oposición. Ellos, que uno presume se conocen hasta el ultimo antro de mala muerte donde han dejado muy probablemente los dineros mal habidos, la piel, el mal aliento y el sudor con mujeres, u hombres, del llamado mal vivir, se vanaglorian de una supuesta extensa experiencia política. Luego de 12 años llevando más palo que rata ladrona, comportándose como bueyes narigoneados, es imposible creer en tales afirmaciones. Menos aceptable aún, la pretensión de que la vieja guardia está mejor capacitada para hacer oposición eficientemente al régimen castro-chavista. La realidad, a la vista de todos, es que el colectivo opositor venezolano, salvo contadas excepciones, no tiene ni puta idea de cómo hacer oposición efectivamente. El inmediatismo y la ambición de poder son el padre y la madre del problema.

Venezuela es un país que tiene 1 presidencia, 1 distrito federal, 23 gobernaciones, 165 escaños en el congreso, 335 alcaldías, 2.389 vacantes en consejos municipales, y 3.207 vacantes en juntas parroquiales, cargos más cargos menos. Cualquiera de los aspirantes, a cualquiera de los cargos, no inicia su carrera política pensando "algún día, quiero llegar a ser concejal, alcalde, diputado, miembro de junta parroquial, gobernador..." No. En la tierra del caudillo, todos, y todas, ansían una sola cosa: ser presidente/a. He allí la madre del problema. Como no todos pueden alcanzar el objetivo, emergen entonces la envidia, las rencillas, la falta de compromiso, y de colaboración, la incapacidad de arrimar el hombro en pro del bien común. De hecho el bien común en bocas de los políticos es simple retórica, por cuanto los que allí hacen vida no es precisamente por el establecimiento del bien común, sino del personal. ¿El padre? Ninguno/a de los aspirantes a presidente/a inicia su carrera política con planes a 2, 5, 10, 15, y 20 años. Salvo Hugo Chavez. Mientras que los miles de aspirantes a cargos de poder público en Venezuela están entretenidos en el carrusel electoral anual que ha montado el caudillo, ninguno de ellos está pensando, en el mediano y largo plazo. Es más, reto a quienes leen esta pagina, si es que conocen de cerca a alguno de los personajes referidos, a que me envíen un plan, un proyecto, que tenga como lineamientos temporales, plazos similares a los arriba descritos. Es el inmediatismo, es querer ser gobernador, mientras no se ha terminado el periodo como alcalde; el querer ser diputado, cuando no se han hecho los votos como concejal; en suma, el deseo de poder, inmediato, a toda costa, como fin en si mismo. Tristemente, la obtención y ejecución de cuotas de poder raramente vienen acompañadas de la asimilación y comprensión de la magnitud de los problemas a enfrentar en la siguiente escala. Así, el alcalde de Chacao, o de Baruta, o de Maracaibo, cree que ya ha adquirido lo necesario para ser presidente de la república. El líder de partido opositor, o diputado, ya se cree capacitado, para tal fin, y así en todos los niveles de la escala. Se tiene la creencia de que un hombre, o una mujer, pueden arreglar Venezuela. Craso error.

La forma en la que se plantea el debate politico es otra de las gravísimas deficiencias de la oposición. Estos debates no deben darse en los estudios de televisión, ni en la prensa. Estos debates, por su misma naturaleza, pertenecen a un solo sitio: la asamblea nacional. Es allí donde la oposición tiene que mantenerle los pies cerca de la candela a Chavez, y a quienes lo acompañan en su maldito proyecto apátrida. Los últimos meses nos han provisto de eventos insólitos en la historia contemporánea de Venezuela. No obstante, raramente vemos a los diputados de oposición sometiendo la inopia del chavismo al escarnio publico. Un ejemplo aquí, otro por allá, cuando debería ser tarea diaria, incesante, en todos los frentes. Tomemos un ejemplo, fresco: los medios anuncian que gracias a la intervención del diputado Diosdado Cabello, el conflicto armado que los pranes del Rodeo mantuviesen por casi un mes con la Guardia Nacional llega a su fin. ¿Quién ha escuchado, a algun diputado/a opositor/a interpelar a Cabello en la asamblea? ¿Quién ha escuchado una pregunta como "que el diputado Cabello por favor explique, con la ayuda de El Alsaimi y del militar encargado de la GN, cómo se explica que un pran, con otros 30 y pico de reos de alta peligrosidad, se escapan de una cárcel sitiada por cientos de funcionarios de la GN, cargados de dinero, y armas, sin que nadie vea nada..." El pran no se escapó un coño, lo dejaron ir, de la misma forma que lo hicieron con Carlos Ortega. Entonces, ¿qué clase de funcionario democrático digno de una república donde priva el estado de derecho, permite que los criminales se vayan a la calle, así no mas? Una sola clase, los funcionarios que antes de serlo eran criminales. Ese es el tipo de oposición que la oposición debe hacer. Y hay cientos de temas, miles de temas, miles de problemas, en todos los pueblos, ciudades, y barrios de Venezuela. Nadie se escapa de los problemas creados por el chavismo en los últimos 12 años, sea por acción u omisión.

Pero la oposición, en lugar de hacer lo que tiene que hacer, donde lo tiene que hacer, anda jugando al muerto, deseándole una pronta recuperación al caudillo, contando y acomodando fichas en un tablero electoral sobre el cual no tiene el mínimo control, es decir, pensando en pajaritos preñados y permitiendo que Chavez continúe con su megalomanía demencial bajo la influencia de los dictadores cubanos. Solo a Maria Corina hemos visto, con cifras estadísticas y hechos concretos en mano, comportarse en la asamblea como debe un diputado/a de oposición. Vapuleando al colectivo chavista, cuya única respuesta es la fatua retórica ideológica, pues carece de pruebas para rebatir efectivamente la realidad. En congresos anteriores, recuerdo haber visto a Liliana Hernandez hacer cosas parecidas. Pero ni siquiera Maria Corina, enamorada ya de la idea de convertirse en la primera mujer presidente de Venezuela y quien debería luego de su paso por Súmate saber de estas cosas, anda exigiendo, por ejemplo, que el CNE entregue el REP a una comisión del congreso para que se investigue si los millones de nuevos electores existen o no.

¿Y qué de los reyes de burdel? ¿Qué de los doctorados en Oxford, y los masters en Harvard? ¿Qué de los políticos atrincabola que fuman bajo el agua? Bien gracias...

El caudillo parte a Cuba. Por segunda vez para tratamiento medico. La cantidad de millones gastados en el sistema de salud alternativo chavista es desconocida, pero se supone de gran magnitud. Otra bombita: "puede la ministro Eugenia Sader por favor presentarse en esta asamblea para ser interpelada en cuanto al monto exacto de las misiones Barrio Adentro I, II, III, IV, etc. y otros fondos dispensados en la construcción, dotación, y funcionamiento de los centros integrales y de diagnostico, y demás instituciones de salud desde 1998?" U otra mejor aún: "la comisión de auditoría exige al presidente Hugo Chavez que presente un informe detallado de su estado de salud, en los próximos 5 dias, so pena de ser interpelado por violaciones al articulo 232 de la constitución, entre otros." Hay muchísimas mas.

Tristemente no vemos nada de eso, no hay iniciativa. Experimentados con prostitutas, o no, los miembros de la oposición parecen mas bien un colectivo de eunucos, en los sentidos físico e intelectual, tigres de zoologico, incapaces de defenderse de las ratas del mundo real. El escándalo del día suplanta al del día anterior. No hay seguimiento. No hay plan a futuro. No se habla de los problemas debidamente. No se exige. Hay un profundo desconocimiento sobre la máxima de que todos los funcionarios designados o electos no son sino meros empleados públicos, susceptibles de ser interpelados, cuestionados, y destituidos.

Es difícil creer que no exista el talento necesario. El de Maracaibo cree que puede, y que tiene con que. Como él, todos los demás, de ayer y hoy. Cientos, miles, halando para su lado. Sin trayectoria, ni rumbo definidos. Cientos, miles, firmes creyentes y practicantes de la doctrina Eudomariana, adaptada a la perfección por el chavismo, de "como vaya viniendo, vamos viendo." Así no se construye un país, así no se hace el futuro. Venezuela necesita una mejor oposición, y no versiones light del populismo chavista.

14.7.11

Venezuela's Congress to investigate Williams F1 and PDVSA contract

UPDATE 16 NOV 2011Venezuela: Congressman Carlos Ramos questions Williams F1

At last, some good news coming out of Venezuela. Local news source Noticias24 reports today that Congress' audit commission is demanding a copy of the sponsorship contract between Frank Williams F1 team and PDVSA. I am very glad to hear this, as it comes in the back of a previous exchange I had with Claire Williams, Head of Communications & Investor Relations for the Williams team, about a copy of the contract, allegedly worth between £110 millions and £154 millions, signed between PDVSA and Williams.

Upon receiving a point blank refusal to discuss the issue from Ms Williams, I sent communication to Ramon Jose Medina, international relations coordinator of Venezuela's opposition unity umbrella group MUD, who replied saying that he would pass my request for an investigation to relevant members of Congress. It is worth bearing in mind that, according to Venezuelan legislation, expenditure of public funds has to be approved by Congress. As far as we know, the contract between PDVSA and Williams F1 was never approved, and it is therefore illegal.

11.7.11

Map of Electoral Fraud in Venezuela


Over at Caracas Chronicles, fellow blogger Francisco Toro asked readers to collaborate in an ambitious project, that of producing an electoral map of Venezuela, parish by parish. The result is an outstanding piece of kit, developed by Dorothy Kronick, Christian Font and Javier Rodriguez Rivas, that allows users to check/track electoral results in Chavez's Venezuela, since 1998 to date.

The issue of electoral fraud has been a hot topic of debate among Venezuelans since the recall referendum of 15 August 2004, when after years of negotiations between chavista officials, opposition leaders and international power brokers from the Organization of American States (OAS) and Jimmy Carter's Center, Venezuelan electoral authorities controlled by Chavez announced that he had won the referendum. It remains a fact, to this date, that many of the points agreed by all parties were simply violated by chavista electoral authorities. Chief of which former OAS Secretary General Cesar Gaviria denying, in a press conference on 16 August, Jimmy Carter's statement to the effect that international observers had witnessed the tallying of the votes, at the electoral council's headquarter in Caracas. Matter of fact is, only Jorge Rodriguez and his chavista staff witnessed the count, which ended in a 'resounding victory' for Chavez, of nearly 20% more votes. Subsequent audits were a sham, as Carter Center's no. 2 Jennifer McCoy admitted to me in email exchanges.

Since, Chavez put out a very aggressive propaganda campaign, to cement the notion that he had a legitimate popular mandate to, pretty much, do with Venezuela whatever he pleased, which is what he has been doing. The issue didn't die there, of course. Teams of highly reputed Venezuelan academics started conducting all sort of thorough statistical research, to demonstrate the improbability of Chavez's referendum victory. Some of their work has been published in peer-reviewed statistical journals of international renown. Then, another group of Venezuelans founded something called ESDATA, and have been documenting meticulously the different aspects of the chavista fraud.

In Venezuela, we've all developed opinions about this, and there are two well defined camps: on the one hand chavistas, deniers, and, what I would call, opposition collaborationists -which are all of those pretending that elections are kosher. On the other hand, those of us who aren't convinced of electoral results, simply because the amount of evidence against it, and the fact that no election has been subjected to meaningful scrutiny since 2004, makes it impossible to take Chavez's electoral minions at face value. Any person seeing the balance of pro and anti Chavez officials in Venezuela's National Electoral Council, their 'career progressions' within chavismo upon departing the electoral council, the way in which important decisions have been handled, how the State's resources are fully behind Chavez and against the opposition, how the electoral roll has been inflated out of all sensible proportion, observing the total absence of independent and meaningful scrutiny during tallying, and exercising a modicum of critical thinking, would conclude that elections in Venezuela are a farce.

Francisco Toro belongs in the deniers camp. In his opinion, there's no evidence of electoral fraud in Venezuela, despite being totally aware of, and having written about, massive gerrymandering, disproportional representation, and State's resources misuse in favour of Chavez. He contends that artificial and inexplicable inflation of electoral roll has to do with "well oiled registration drives" and population's "ageing" factors. But when one uses the tool he asked his collaborators to produce, one can see examples, such as that of Unare parish, in Bolivar state, where the number of registered voters went from 26,087 in 1998 to 73,634 in 2009. That's a 282% increase. Another example, in Francisco Aniseto Lugo parish, in Delta Amacuro state, whose electoral roll has increased 525%, Chavez maintains an almost perfect score, sometimes getting 100% of the votes.

To any critical observer, this is enough evidence of electoral rigging on a massive scale. Where no opposition collaborationist is present during voting, generally the case in rural Venezuela, Chavez gets inexplicable percentages. Inadvertently, Francisco Toro may just have rendered forever void the "there's-no-evidence-of-fraud-in-Venezuela" hypothesis of chavistas, deniers and collaborationists alike. For that, and for the fantastic tool, we should all be extremely grateful.

6.7.11

Message to Chomsky lovers visiting this blog [Updated]

The last few days were a bit hectic. Noam Chomsky, renowned apologist of Hugo Chavez, said to The Guardian's Rory Carroll that Hugo Chavez is carrying out an "assault" on democracy. Nothing controversial there, any observer with a minimum of objectivity and independence is aware of the dictatorial little project that the Venezuelan caudillo is carrying out. But of course, it was a shock to me, given the source of the criticism: i.e. Chomsky. So I sent him an email, which became a rather interesting exchange, for Chomsky replied to me accusing The Guardian of "extreme dishonesty". Again, nothing new there, unless you are an objectivity-impaired radical communist that continues to admire Castro, Chavez, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, and their cheerleader Chomsky.

Eva Golinger, described by the New York Times, a paper Chomsky seems to respect, as "one of the most prominent fixtures of Venezuela’s expanding state propaganda complex", plagiarised in her State-funded rag, without attribution, a literal translation of my correspondence with Chomsky, stressing that Chomsky had been misinterpreted. Given how high in the chavista propaganda apparatus Golinger works, the news were reprinted in Venezuelan State media. So The Guardian had to react, and it did, by publishing the whole interview transcript. In the paragraphs preceding the transcript, I am referred to as a blogger, instead of by name. It could well be because I have had my run-ins with The Guardian in the past, due to its, erm, extreme dishonesty.

But then, Chavez apologists and outfits run by blinkered people, are using my correspondence with Chomsky, without attribution. One would think that so fresh after the Johann Hari fiasco, leftists would avoid "pulling a Hari", i.e. plagiarise. But no, the message just doesn't seem to have sunk in. Worse still, these people  would like us to believe that the world's most respected intellectual replies to all manner of different questions with exactly the same words. Like Ed Miliband. Some are even accusing me of things I haven't done, without using my name. I wonder why that is.

So here's a message: if you are one of those that come to this page to try and use my arguments against me, at least, have the decency of referring to me correctly. The name is Alek Boyd, not some obscure blogger that gets a kick out of impersonating an Arab gay woman. If you are going to accuse me of things, have at least the decency of backing your spurious bullshit with verifiable evidence, if you can find it. Here's looking at you Media Lens*. Own up. Have courage of conviction. The best thing you lot could do though, is stay as far away as possible from issues, i.e. Venezuela, about which your arrogance, racism and ignorance are not the most salient characteristics of your arguments.

* Media Lens has falsely accused me of things they can not prove. By pressing the link, the message I sent them can be read. However, please note that they haven't posted my message in the article in question "'Extreme Dishonesty’ – The Guardian, Noam Chomsky and Venezuela", but in a message board. So I've sent another email, to see whether they  practice what they preach and demand from others:

From: Alek Boyd alek.boyd@gmail.com
Date: 6 July 2011 17:20:45 GMT+01:00
To: editor@medialens.org
Subject: PS: 'Extreme Dishonesty’ – The Guardian, Noam Chomsky and Venezuela

Dear Editors,

Further to my previous communication, which you have published in another page (message board) rather than in the article referred to, I find extremely dishonest that you would not include it in the article in question. Had I had any desire in engaging in Media Lens' message board, I would have already done it.

Therefore, I respectfully request that my original message, unedited, is posted at the bottom of the article, like you have done with your communications with Rory Carroll, since you have referred to me inappropriately and falsely.

Cordially,
Alek Boyd

Update: I've just notice that the piece from Media Lens "'Extreme Dishonesty’ – The Guardian, Noam Chomsky and Venezuela" has been posted in Chomsky.info, which is Noam Chomsky's official website. That would not be an issue, of course, if either Media Lens or Chomsky had had the intellectual honesty of admitting that my correspondence with Chomsky has been used, without clear attribution, as if Chomsky had replied to all "Activists and bloggers" requesting explanations from him with exactly the same words. Media Lens, and Chomsky, lead readers to conclude that Chomsky prepared a set of answers, presumably to completely different questions, and sent those to friends and foes alike around the world. Media Lens, and Chomsky, claim that to "a question" from Chavez apologist Joe Emersberger, Chomsky reply was:

'The Guardian/Observer version, as I anticipated, is quite deceptive. The report in the NY Times is considerably more honest. Both omit much of relevance that I stressed throughout, including the fact that criticisms from the US government or anyone who supports its actions can hardly be taken seriously, considering Washington's far worse record without any of the real concerns that Venezuela faces, the Manning case for one [Manning is the alleged source for huge amounts of restricted material passed on to WikiLeaks], which is much worse than Judge Afiuni's. And much else. [content in brackets added by Media Lens and/or Chomsky]

Chomsky's reply to my question:

The Guardian/Observer version, as I anticipated, is quite deceptive.  The report in the NY Times is considerably more honest.  Both however omit much of relevance that I stressed throughout, including the fact that criticisms from the US government or anyone who supports its actions can hardly be taken seriously, considering Washington’s far worse record without any of the real concerns that Venezuela faces, the Manning case for one, which is much worse than Judge Afiuni’s.  And much else.

That's how "honest" the Left's most "influential intellectual" really is.

3.7.11

[Updated] Noam Chomsky honesty appeal...

Noam Chomsky is the gift that keeps on giving...

From: "Noam Chomsky" chomsky@MIT.EDU
Date: 3 July 2011 21:47:40 GMT+01:00
To: alek.boyd@gmail.com
Subject: honesty
Reply-To: chomsky@MIT.EDU

Someone sent me your blog, where you quote letters of mine that were, of course, personal correspondence. No honest person posts such things without consent. If I don’t respond to you again, you’ll understand why.

From: Alek Boyd alek.boyd@gmail.com
Date: 3 July 2011 23:08:44 GMT+01:00
To: chomsky@MIT.EDU
Subject: Re: honesty

Dear Professor Chomsky,

This last communication of yours leaves me utterly baffled. Honestly.

Honesty: –noun. 1. the quality or fact of being honest; uprightness and fairness. 2. truthfulness, sincerity, or frankness. 3. freedom from deceit or fraud.

Forgive me Professor, but I needed to revise the dictionary, given that English is not my mother tongue. Your appeal to honesty is totally unjustified and, coming from you, completely unacceptable. And I shall explain why if you bear with me.

Your apologising for Hugo Chavez, the president of my country, has become notorious. As other fellow radical leftist, or useful idiots as your ilk is commonly known, I am inclined to think that before Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999, perhaps you couldn't find Venezuela on a map, but perhaps I am wrong. In any case, I remember clearly the exchange we had previously on human rights issues, when Human Rights Watch published a very thorough report about the systematic abuses the Chavez regime has perpetrated in the last few years. HRW report was nothing new, it wasn't some breaking news about a situation previously unknown. Amnesty International had previously published similarly scathing reports about human rights violations in Venezuela. And so had the Inter American Commission on Human Rights, Reporters Without Borders, the International Federation of Human Rights, the European Union, and about every human rights NGO, or personality around the world.

And yet, when I first communicated with you, regarding that preposterous and propagandistic letter against HRW's report that your chavista handlers (probably Greg Wilpert) asked you to co-sign, which you happily did, without checking facts, according to your own admission, you demonstrated that, as far as Venezuela and Hugo Chavez are concerned, you have accepted unsubstantiated propaganda as fact. I recall having written to you: "I take that you are as prone to abandon minimum accuracy standards -to side with ideological partners- as the guy next door..."

Having signed that letter, you demonstrated total ignorance as to the real situation in Venezuela. You demonstrated total ignorance regarding Venezuela's legislation. You demonstrated total ignorance regarding international human, civil and political rights treaties signed and ratified by Venezuela, which are binding by the way. But worse of all, you demonstrated a wanton disregard for demonstrable and easily verifiable facts, facts that were there, at your fingertips, had you had the slightest desire to double check whether what you were demanding from HRW in that letter had any basis in reality. Alas you didn't. You behaved in the most dishonest possible way, as you have done for many years, regarding many other issues of countries that are completely alien to you.

So allow me, Professor Chomsky, to be baffled. Allow me to question your mental sanity, your ethical stance, and your morals. How dare you call for honesty, when nearly all your utterances about political issues are devoid of it? You may well be a great linguist, as some say. You may well be the Left's most admired and influential intellectual. Though honest you are not. For an honest person knows that expertise in one very specific field is not transferable to other, unrelated fields. As a linguist, you would not accept criticism of your work coming from a geologist. Equally, I can not accept your nauseating apologising for Hugo Chavez and others of his ilk, for you know nothing about my country's history, politics, economics, etc., beyond the propaganda you have decided to take as gospel. Your opinions about Venezuela, evidently, are informed first and foremost, on your very warped ideological understanding of the world, in absolute disregard of facts. That is, of course, your prerogative, but if you were actually honest, you wouldn't be calling for honesty.

And speaking of honesty, you must be informed, that Eva Golinger, a propagandist on Hugo Chavez's payroll, has published the communication you sent me, as if you had sent it to her, without attribution of course. I think in your academic world that is called plagiarism.

As per publishing our exchanges, which you consider personal correspondence, let me remind you of Bradley Manning, about whom you show, rightly, so much concern. Manning thought that publishing confidential information was in the interest of our societies. Similarly, I think that publishing my exchanges with you, never pretending to put the two cases in the same context, is greatly beneficial. The world needs to understand just how unhinged you, those you admire, and those who admire you, are, and these exchanges are just the perfect way to do it.

In conclusion, I perfectly understand if you don't want ever to reply to my messages again. Fear not though, I am through with you.

With best wishes,

Alek Boyd

UPDATE: Noam Chomsky came back for more. I will not dignify him with further replies:

From: "Noam Chomsky" chomsky@MIT.EDU
Date: 4 July 2011 01:58:56 GMT+01:00
To: "'Alek Boyd'" alek.boyd@gmail.com
Subject: RE: honesty
Reply-To: chomsky@MIT.EDU

Drop the word “honestly.” You know why I can’t respond to this extraordinary performance.

Eva Golinger does a Johann Hari on Noam Chomsky

Chavez propagandist @evagolinger has pulled a Johann Hari on Noam Chomsky. The sweetheart of the Cuban - Venezuelan eunuch dictators, has published in her Correo del Orinoco a word-by-word literal translation of the email Chomsky sent me last night.

Here's what Chomsky sent me:

The Guardian/Observer version, as I anticipated, is quite deceptive.  The report in the NY Times is considerably more honest.  Both however omit much of relevance that I stressed throughout, including the fact that criticisms from the US government or anyone who supports its actions can hardly be taken seriously, considering Washington’s far worse record without any of the real concerns that Venezuela faces, the Manning case for one, which is much worse than Judge Afiuni’s.  And much else.

Here's what Golinger propaganda rag published in Spanish:

“La versión de The Guardian, como lo había previsto, es muy engañosa. El artículo en The New York Times es más preciso. Ambos omiten algo que destaqué bastante: que las críticas del gobierno de EE.UU. o de cualquier persona que apoya sus acciones no pueden ser tomadas en serio, considerando que Washington tiene un historial mucho peor y no tiene ninguna de las auténticas preocupaciones que Venezuela se enfrenta. El caso (del soldado Bradley) Manning, por decir uno, es mucho peor que el de la jueza Afiuni”.

This is getting funnier by the minute. Or are we to think that the world's most admired and influential leftist intellectual -what an oxymoron- fires the same replies to every request for comment, a la Red Ed Miliband?

[Updated] Noam Chomsky on Afiuni: "extreme dishonesty" at The Guardian

Media Lens visitors welcome. Read this before you go on [6 July 2011]

Readers of this site will remember my exchange with Noam Chomsky, when he co-signed a letter of some academics propagandists decrying a damaging report from Human Rights Watch about Venezuela. You could then imagine my surprise when I read in The Guardian "Noam Chomsky denounces old friend Hugo Chávez for 'assault' on democracy" Mind you, it doesn't get any more surreal than this. Chavez's cancer seems to have caused his apologists to start acting in rather strange ways, doesn't it?

In any case, I sent an email to Chomsky. And surrealism could only grow when I read in his reply that The Guardian/Obverser, as he had anticipated, is quite deceptive! So that'll be a radical lefty taking two swipes in one go, one at Chavez and another at the Left's bible! Priceless!

From: Alek Boyd alek.boyd@gmail.com
Date: 3 July 2011 03:13:45 GMT+01:00
To: Noam Chomsky chomsky@mit.edu
Subject: Re Noam Chomsky denounces old friend Hugo Chávez for 'assault' on democracy | World news | The Observer

Dear Professor Chomsky,

Here's hope that this email finds you well.

Further to your recent letter requesting an act of humanitarian compassion on behalf of Judge Maria Afiuni, published by The Guardian, I wanted to thank you for your renovated interest in human rights in my country, while I wanted to ask, why the sudden change of heart?

I recall having had an exchange with you over a complaint letter that some academics addressed to Human Rights Watch on very similar human rights violations in Venezuela, a letter which you co-signed in support. I should be grateful if you could enlighten me on the reasons that have caused you to change your position vis-a-vis Hugo Chavez's regime.

With best wishes,

Alek Boyd

From: "Noam Chomsky" chomsky@mit.edu
Date: 3 July 2011 03:42:52 GMT+01:00
To: "'Alek Boyd'" alek.boyd@gmail.com
Subject: RE: Re Noam Chomsky denounces old friend Hugo Chávez for 'assault' on democracy | World news | The Observer
Reply-To: chomsky@mit.edu

There is no change of heart, sudden or otherwise.  The Guardian/Observer version, as I anticipated, is quite deceptive.  The report in the NY Times is considerably more honest.  Both however omit much of relevance that I stressed throughout, including the fact that criticisms from the US government or anyone who supports its actions can hardly be taken seriously, considering Washington’s far worse record without any of the real concerns that Venezuela faces, the Manning case for one, which is much worse than Judge Afiuni’s.  And much else.

Update: my exchange with Chomsky continued, in his other reply he reiterated the "extreme dishonesty" of The Guardian. For once, I find myself in agreement with the famous linguist...

From: Alek Boyd alek.boyd@gmail.com
Date: 3 July 2011 03:54:24 GMT+01:00
To: Noam Chomsky chomsky@mit.edu
Subject: Re: Re Noam Chomsky denounces old friend Hugo Chávez for 'assault' on democracy | World news | The Observer

Thanks for your reply Professor Chomsky. Why do you say that The Guardian/Observer's version is quite deceptive? Did they misquote / misinterpret you in any way?

What is the relevance that you stressed throughout?

And finally, if I may, can you contemplate either criticism or support of the Chavez regime, without having to take swipes at and thrust over the US government, but rather framing the issues solely within the Venezuelan context? After all, Judge Afiuni's illegal imprisonment has got nothing to do with US - Venezuela relations, it is an illegal and dictatorial decision of Hugo Chavez.

With best wishes,

PS: I agree with you on Manning.

Alek Boyd

From: "Noam Chomsky" chomsky@mit.edu
Date: 3 July 2011 04:38:23 GMT+01:00
To: "'Alek Boyd'" alek.boyd@gmail.com
Subject: RE: Re Noam Chomsky denounces old friend Hugo Chávez for 'assault' on democracy | World news | The Observer
Reply-To: chomsky@mit.edu

Let’s begin with the headline: complete deception.  That continues throughout.  You can tell by simply comparing the actual quotes with their comments.  As I mentioned, and expected, the NY Times report of a similar interview is much more honest, again revealing the extreme dishonesty of the Guardian.

I’m sure you would understand if an Iranian dissident who charged Israel with crimes would also bring up the fact that charges from Iran and its supporters cannot be taken seriously in the light of Iran’s far worse abuses.  If you don’t understand that, which I doubt, you really have some problems to think about.  If you do understand it, as I assume, the same is true.  That’s exactly why bringing up Manning (and much more) is highly relevant.

NC

UPDATE II: do not miss Eva Golinger word-by-word plagiarism of my email exchange with Chomsky here. Johann Hari would be proud!

UPDATE III: encore from Noam Chomsky...

2.7.11

Plop...

El cancer de Hugo Chavez ha servido para exponer  la irracionalidad de los argumentos de muchos opinadores. He aqui algunos ejemplos:

- Henrique Capriles Radonski: "Yo quiero enfrentar a Chávez bueno y sano."

- Alfonso Marquina: "“El Presidente debe despejarse y asumir con tranquilidad su reposo médico.”

- Leopoldo Castillo: “Yo diría que el presidente Chávez tomó una decisión muy importante. Hablar de una enfermedad que uno padece no es fácil, y hablar de esa enfermedad es mucho más difícil, pero el Presidente tuvo el coraje y habló.”

- Ramon Guillermo Aveledo: "le enviamos nuestro apoyo a Chávez, a sus familiares y a sus verdaderos seguidores" y luego agrega "Nosotros estamos actualmente es pendientes de resolver los problemas que hoy en día tienen los venezolanos...”

- Julio Borges: "Esperamos que el Presidente se recupere pronto de su enfermedad."

- Maria Corina Machado: "Los venezolanos somos gente buena y gente compasiva y deseamos que el Presidente se recupere."

- Teodoro Petkoff: "a la República, lo mejor que le puede pasar es que el Presidente pueda recuperar la salud y el mando plenamente, para que se desenvuelva el proceso político de la manera natural que es ir a elecciones el año que viene".

- Daniel Duquenal: "I want Hugo alive and well so some day he can face a court of justice for all the crimes he has committed."

- Pedro Burelli: "Tender puentes con el gobierno cubano para abordar el "rol" que actualmente tiene la isla caribeña en Venezuela es tarea obligada para los opositores."

De las declaraciones de los eunucos intelectuales que tienen a Chavez como máximo líder, ni me referiré para no insultar la inteligencia de mis lectores. No obstante, todas las citas anteriores me impulsan a cuestionar la posición de aquellos que desean una pronta recuperación de Chavez. Tal parece que la "compasión" los ha movido a todos a la disposición de hacer borrón y cuenta nueva, como si desde 1999 Hugo Chavez, y sus degenerados seguidores, no hubiesen roto un plato.

Parece que los miles de venezolanas y venezolanos muertos, desplazados, exiliados, despedidos, suicidados, presos, pobres, desempleados, expropiados, robados, extorsionados y víctimas del caudillo, por acción u omisión, hubiesen desaparecido con la remoción del "tumor abscesado con presencia de células cancerígenas" que le hicieran al comandante presidente en La Habana. Desaparecieron en el éter del socialismo del siglo XXI, bañado por el mar de la felicidad cubana. Y uno se pregunta: ¿es que no hay dolientes? ¿Es que se puede prenteder que en Venezuela no está pasando nada, que un presidente que manda desde el secuestro por una dictadura comunista es normal? ¿Es que se puede tolerar la actitud apátrida de los jerarcas chavistas? ¿Es que se puede aceptar la actitud servil y genuflexa de la oposición?

Erase una vez en Venezuela, un caudillo se enfermó, y se fue a tratarse en el extranjero. Los que quedaron se encargaron de asegurarse que no regresase nunca más. En aquel entonces los venezolanos no habían aún sucumbido a la superficialidad y banalidad que los caracteriza hoy dia.

1.7.11

Official: Hugo Chavez has cancer

So the galactic caudillo, the liberator of the world's disenfranchised, and sponsor of Frank Williams Formula 1 team, spoke. From communist and totalitarian Cuba. And confirmed what Venezuelan journalist Nelson Bocaranda announced a few days ago: it is cancer. What type? We do not know. However, Bocaranda said that it was prostate cancer. When will Hugo Chavez reassume his duties, as President of Venezuela, in Venezuela, as the constitution mandates? We do not know. What kind of contingency / succession plan will be rolled out, given that Chavez has cancer? We do not know, though Chavez did say that he continues "al mando", that is, "in control", of his regime, from Cuba, where he is nothing but a puppet under the Castros' boot.

I refuse to join the hypocritical chorus of well wishers. The spectacle of the last few days, where all chavista officials went even as far as to deny that Chavez was sick, was, quite simply, nauseating. The opposition did not do any better: from their collective calls for a prompt recuperation, to their acceptance of being ruled from Cuba, the Venezuelan political spectrum, in its entirety, has to be one of the most pusillanimous, undeserving, dishonourable, amoral, debased, traitorous, sordid, and unethical of Venezuela's republican history. There's no two ways about this. And just to be frontal: I wish Chavez a long, painful, irreversible, and humiliating disease. Now that prostate cancer has been identified as the likely one, perhaps Chavez can fulfil his lifetime ambition of becoming Mrs Fidel Castro. For no individual that has harmed so many, for so long, without reason, other than political, can expect sympathy at this hour. Not from me at least. It's called action and reaction, it's called what goes around comes around.

Time to buy copious quantities of pop corn, and watch in awe the Reservoir Dogs-style finale that will ensue among chavistas and other criminal gangs in Venezuela, vying for power and riches.