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US backed "Operation Jericho" coup in Venezuela fails
#1
The usual suspects, plus Germany and Canada.

Quote:
THE UNITED STATES, GERMANY, CANADA, ISRAEL AND THE UNITED KINGDOM LAUNCHED "OPERATION JERICHO"

Obama failed his coup in Venezuela

by Thierry Meyssan
Once again, the Obama administration has tried to force the change of a political regime that resists it. On February 12, an Academi (formerly Blackwater) plane disguised as an aircraft of the Venezuelan army was supposed to bomb the presidential palace and kill President Nicolas Maduro. The plotters had planned to place former MP María Corina Machado in power and have her immediately acclaimed by former Latin American presidents.


[Image: 3-105-556f6-8-c024c.jpg]President Obama with his advisor for Latin America, Ricardo Zuñiga, and the National Security Advisor Susan Rice.© White HousePresident Obama had given a warning. In his new doctrine of Defence (National Security Strategy), he wrote: "We stand with citizens whose full exercise of democracy is in danger, as the Venezuelans." Yet, Venezuela is, since the adoption of the 1999 constitution, one of the most democratic countries in the world. This sentence presaged the worst to prevent it from continuing its path to independence and wealth redistribution.It was on February 6, 2015. Washington was finishing developing the plan for the overthrow of the democratic institutions of Venezuela. The coup was planned for February 12."Operation Jericho" was supervised by the National Security Council (NSC), under the authority of Ricardo Zuñiga. This "diplomat" is the grandson of the homonymous president of the Honduran National Party who organized the coups of 1963 and 1972 in favor of General López Arellano. He directed the CIA station in Havana (2009-11), where he recruited and financed agents to form the opposition to Fidel Castro while negotiating the resumption of diplomatic relations with Cuba (finally concluded in 2014).As always in this type of operation, Washington is careful to not appear involved in the events it leads. The CIA works through supposedly non-governmental organizations to organize coup leaders: the National Endowment for Democracy and its two pseudopods of the right (the International Republican Institute) and left (the National Democratic Institute) Freedom House and the International Center for Non-Profit Law. In addition, the United States always seeks allies to outsource parts of the coup, in this case at least Germany (responsible for the protection of NATO nationals during the coup), Canada (responsible for controlling the civilian international airport in Caracas), Israel (responsible for the assassination of Chavez personalities) and the UK (in charge of the propaganda coup). Finally, they mobilize their political networks that are ready to recognize the coup: Washington Senator Marco Rubio, former Chile president, Sebastián Piñera, in Colombia former Presidents Alvaro Uribe and Andres Pastrana, in Mexico the former presidents Felipe Calderón and Vicente Fox, in Spain the former President of the Government José María Aznar.To justify the coup, the White House had encouraged large Venezuelan companies to warehouse rather than distribute essential commodities. The idea was to cause queues at the shops, and to infiltrate agents into the crowd to cause riots. In reality, though there had been supply problems in January-February and queues in front of stores, never did Venezuelans attack shops.To strengthen its economic action, on December 18, 2014, President Obama signed a law imposing new sanctions against Venezuela and several of its leaders. Officially, this was to punish individuals who had suppressed student protests. In fact, since the beginning of the year, Washington was paying four times the medium salary income - to gangs so that they would attack the police. The pseudo-students had thus killed 43 people in a few months and spread terror in the streets of the capital.[Image: 1-5150-72115-8-73b6e.jpg]Formerly the #2 man in ISAF in Afghanistan, General Thomas W. Geary is now in charge of Intelligence at SOUTHCOM.Military action was overseen by General Thomas W. Geary, from SOUTHCOM in Miami, and Rebecca Chavez, from the Pentagon, and outsourced to a private army, Academi (formerly Blackwater); a company now administered by Admiral Bobby R. Inman (former head of the NSA) and John Ashcroft (the former Attorney General of the Bush administration). A Super Tucano, registered N314TG, purchased by the Virginia firm in 2008 to assassinate Raul Reyes, the No. 2 man in the Colombian FARC, was to be disguised as an airplane of the Venezuelan army. It was supposed to bomb the Miraflores presidential palace and other targets from a pre-determined dozen, including the Ministry of Defence, the management of Intelligence at the ALBA, Telesur television channel. The plane, being parked in Colombia, the operational headquarters of "Jericho" had been installed at the US Embassy in Bogota with the participation of the Ambassador, Kevin Whitaker and his deputy, Benjamin Ziff.[Image: 2-131-d7f28-8-3473f.jpg]Some senior officers, active or retired, had registered in advance a message to the nation in which they announced the takeover of power in order to restore order. They were scheduled to subscribe to the transition plan, published on February 12 in the morning by El Nacional and drafted by the US State Department. A new government would have been formed, led by former MP María Corina Machado.[Image: 4-54-07ebd-8-90017.jpg]The coup was supposed to place Corina Machado in power María. On January 26, she hosted her main foreign accomplices in Caracas.María Corina Machado was the president of Súmate, the association that organized and lost the recall referendum against Hugo Chávez Frias, in 2004, already with money from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the French advertising services of Jacques Seguela. Despite her defeat, she was received with honor by President George W. Bush in the Oval Office, May 31, 2005. Elected representative of Miranda state in 2011, she suddenly appeared on 21 March 2014 as Chief of the Panamanian delegation to the Organization of American States (OAS). She was immediately dismissed from her duties as a member for violation of sections 149 and 191 of the Constitution.To facilitate the coordination of the coup, María Corina Machado organized a symposium in Caracas on January 26, "Citizen Power and Democracy today", which was attended by most of the Venezuelan and foreign personalities involved.[Image: 1-5149-916be-8-20c98.jpg]No luck, Venezuelan Military Intelligence watched personalities suspected of hatching a previous plot to assassinate President Maduro. Last May, the Caracas prosecutor had accused María Corina Machado, Henrique Salas Römer, governor, former diplomat Diego Arria, lawyer Gustavo Tarre Birceño, Eligio Cedeño, banker and businessman Pedro M. Burelli, but they challenged emails, claiming they had been falsified by Military Intelligence. Of course, they were all in cahoots.By tracking these conspirators, Military Intelligence discovered "Operation Jericho". On the night of February 11, the main leaders of the plot and a Mossad agent were arrested and aviation security was enhanced. Others were rounded up on the 12th. On the 20th, confessions obtained permitted the arrest of an accomplice, the mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma.[Image: 5-33-2ee1e-8-e0180.jpg]The Mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, was the liaison officer with Israel. He secretly went to Tel Aviv, May 18, 2012 to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman. He represented the head of the Venezuelan opposition, Henrique Capriles Radonski.President Nicolas Maduro immediately intervened on television to denounce the conspirators. Meanwhile in Washington, the spokesman for the State Department was joking with journalists who remembered the coup in Honduras organized by Obama in 2009 - for Latin America - or, more recently, the attempted coup in Macedonia in January, 2015 - for the rest of the world -, stating: "These charges, like all previous ones, are ridiculous. It is a matter of long-standing policy: the United States does not support political transitions through unconstitutional means. Political transitions must be democratic, constitutional, peaceful and legal. We have seen repeatedly that the Venezuelan government is trying to divert attention from its own actions by accusing the United States or other members of the international community of responsibility for the events in Venezuela. These efforts reflect a lack of seriousness on the part of the Government of Venezuela to cope with the serious situation it faces. »For Venezuelans the failed coup poses a serious question: how do we keep democracy alive, if the main opposition leaders are in jail for the crimes they were about to commit against democracy?For those who think, wrongly, that the United States has changed, that it is no longer an imperialist power and that now it defends democracy in the world, "Operation Jericho" provides endless food for thought.
The United States against Venezuela
[Image: puce-cebf5.gif] In 2002, the United States organized a coup against elected President Hugo Chavez Frias [1], then they murdered the judge in charge of the investigation, Danilo Anderson [2].
[Image: puce-cebf5.gif] In 2007, they tried to change the regime by organizing a "color revolution" with Trotskyist groups. [3]
[Image: puce-cebf5.gif] In 2014, they seemed to give up their goal and supported anarchist groups to vandalize and destabilize the country, it is the Guarimba [4].

The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
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#2
Yep. Been trying since Chavez was in power to get back their privileges. And the same thing is being unfolded in Argentina with many of the same players.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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#3

Venezuela: US, elite launch new attacks on democracy



Saturday, February 28, 2015


[Image: venezuela-marcha_0.jpg]


Thousands of Venezuelans march in Caracas in December to oppose US intervention nd celebrate 15 years since the Bolivarin Constitution, which enshrines many social rights, was first adopted.


Venezuela has faced new attempts to subvert its democracy and roll-back the pro-poor process of social change known as the Bolivarian revolution, which aims to build a "socialism of the 21st century".
The attacks have taken the form of new US-imposed sanctions, an economic war by private business owners to cause shortages and what Venezuelan officials say is a thwarted coup plot to overthrow the government.
On February 25, Venezuelan National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello presented evidence relating the the coup plot thwarted earlier in the month.
TeleSUR English said that day: "Accompanied by mayor of the Caracas municipality of Libertador Jorge Rodriguez, Cabello released recordings of testimony of one of the detained military officers, who acknowledges the coup plot and confirmed that he was offered visas by the embassies of the United States and the U.K.
"In addition to the detailed confessions of the military official ― who was recruited to fly one of the planes that was to undertake the bombing of key military and media targets in Caracas ― the two government officials also played intercepted telephone conversations with leaders of the opposition COPEI party, speaking about plans and debating participation in the plot."
It comes in the aftermath of the arrest of another key opposition leader. Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, for his alleged role in the coup plot. On February 23, Venezuelanalysis.com reported that a "Venezuelan judge has found sufficient evidence linking arrested Caracas Mayor, Antonio Ledezma, to a conspiracy against the national government in order to proceed to trial".
Ledezma is known as "The Vampire" and has been implicated in brutal repression in the past. Venezuelanalysis.com said on February 19: "In 1989, he infamously became Governor of the Federal District of Caracas, when he oversaw one of the most violent periods in the history of the Caracas Metropolitan Police …
"During this period he also oversaw the 'Caracazo,' when up to 3000 people were killed and disappeared by security forces in the wake of violent protests against a government imposed austerity programme."
Despite US attacks, the Venezuelan government of United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) President Nicolas Maduro has received support from Latin American governments and powerful social movements across the region.
On February 20, TeleSUR English reported that the world's largest social movement, "Via Campesina, which represent some 200 million rural families in 148 organizations globally, strongly rejected what the group called 'U.S. interference in Venezuela's internal affairs.'"
The attempts to overthrow Venezuela's government despite the fact that the Bolivarian movement has won dozens of elections, including five presidential contests, since late president Hugo Chavez was first elected in 1998.
To seek explanations for why the US and Venezuelan elite were so determined to overthrow Maduro and destroy the Bolivarian revolution, Znet's Michael Albert interviewed lawyer and investigate journalist, Eva Golinger, whose 2006 book The Chavez Code: Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela detailed evidence of the US government's active role in a failed 2002 coup that briefly unseated Chavez. It is reprinted from ZNet.
***
How do you understand the motives of the Venezuelan opposition, and of their support from the US?
The Venezuelan opposition is led by an elite, super-rich class that ruled the country for decades. They accumulated much of their wealth through corrupt business practices and siphoning oil industry profits, leaving most of the country in poverty and infrastructure in tatters.
When Hugo Chavez was first elected in 1998, a four-decade rule of the elite, represented by two main political parties, was ruptured. Had Chavez bowed to powerful US interests and the country's business elite, the opposition would be very different today, but he didn't.
Chavez led a profound transformation of Venezuela's core establishment, restructuring the oil industry, which had been nationalised in 1976 but was functioning like a private corporation, making the rich richer and the poor poorer.
He redistributed the wealth, created widespread, effective social programs and advanced the economy and investment in infrastructure and domestic production. His policies reduced poverty by more than 50%, rebuilt much of the interior of the country, placed Venezuela on the map internationally ― diversifying Venezuela's foreign trade partners ― and he created a new, flourishing middle-class.
But all this was done by shutting out much of the traditional ruling class that had governed in line with US interests.
Chavez also took nationalisations further, in order to guarantee essential strategic and natural resources were in the hands of the state and not those who could abuse them or use them as a threat.
He forged relations with governments willing to challenge the US and he inspired the continent-wide shift to the left, and led the formation of regional entities, like the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), the Union of South American States (UNASUR) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), that exclude the United States.
When Chavez's policies on the international stage first affected oil prices ― in 2001 when Venezuela assumed the presidency of OPEC ― a coup d'etat was planned against him, backed by Washington and executed by Venezuela's former elite.
When the coup failed in 2002, and Chavez took his policies further towards socialism, the opposition radicalised. They became entrenched in an unrealistic desire to take power back and destroy everything that had changed in the country since Chavez' first election.
The opposition, along with US policymakers, consistently underestimated the importance of the social, political and economic changes that had taken place in the country through the Bolivarian revolution. They always treated it as populism.
The opposition failed to understand the fundamental role millions of Venezuelans had played in the changes. But this was their revolution, their homeland, built by them, and they were not going to let it be destroyed by the same groups that had marginalised and excluded them before.
In essence, the motives of the opposition in Venezuela today, along with Washington, are the same. They still want to control Venezuela's huge oil resources for their own gain, they still want to destroy the Bolivarian project and any sign of socialism and social justice, and they want to privatise as much industry and resourceS in the country as possible, for their own benefit.
The leaders of the opposition view the government of Nicolas Maduro, and that before him of Hugo Chavez, as illegitimate.
Despite democratic elections (some of the most transparent and fraud-proof in the world since 2004, when Venezuela implemented a new electoral system), and checks and balances, the opposition refuses to recognise the government's authority.
Their actions continue to exceed constitutional bounds, and they believe they are justified. To this opposition, and its Washington backers, anything they can do to get Maduro out of power and destroy the Bolivarian revolution is on the table.
The end game and the big motive is oil and power. Control Venezuela, and they can control Latin America. As Henry Kissinger once said, if Washington can't control Latin America, how can they control the world?
This is not the first coup attempt in Venezuela. What are the similarities and differences, particularly in methods from the past? What do you anticipate in the future?
One of the most consistent components of the ongoing destabilisation in Venezuela has been, and continues to be, multi-million dollar funding of anti-government NGOs and political parties from US government-funded agencies such as USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
During the April 2002 coup against Chavez, the NED played a key role in funding all of the "civil society" groups involved: the political parties, the NGOs, the corrupted workers federation, the chamber of commerce, and even private media outlets.
Subsequent to that coup's failure, USAID came on the scene with an "Office for Transition Initiatives" (OTI) and channeled in more than US$50 million during the following years to help keep the opposition alive. USAID's funding went to creating hundreds of small NGOs that feed the conflict in the country and served as facades to funnel dollars to anti-government initiatives.
This funding has continued to date, despite its prohibition in Venezuela. Just like in the US, it's illegal for organisations engaged in political activities to receive funding from foreign governments, yet the US continues to violate this law in Venezuela, as do the entities receiving the funding.
Just this year, President Barack Obama authorised a special $5.5 million fund to finance anti-government groups in Venezuela through the State Department. This is in addition to USAID, NED and other US agency funding to those groups.
Some of the other striking similarities between these coup attempts include the role of the media to discredit the Venezuelan government internationally, therefore justifying any action against it.
We have seen a coordinated campaign in major US and international media calling for and discussing the Maduro government's downfall, distorting the reality in the country and portraying Venezuela as a failed state.
This type of severe media campaign goes well beyond normal, and legitimate, criticism. Sources cited on Venezuela are always opposition voices, presented as neutral and credible, while reports omit important facts that present the government in a favorable light.
Business owners and private enterprise in Venezuela are also once again pushing for a coup, as they did in 2002, and using their power to restrict public access to consumer goods, forcing shortages and price hikes, and causing overall panic among the population.
The government is taking direct measures to resolve these problems and work with business interests, but this is a very effective strategy that hits where it hurts the most, the stomach.
Finally, the other major factor in this current coup attempt has been the role of dissident military forces that have betrayed their oath to defend the nation and have sucumbed to foreign interests. The case of Captain Leasmy Salazar, a former Chavez presidential guard and confidant who is now collaborating with US intelligence agencies, is an example.
In the recent coup attempt against Maduro, at least 10 military officers from the air force were detained as they planned to execute their coup plot. Some evidence has surfaced indicating ties to US officials and opposition figures.
How do you think Venezuelans will react to try to ward off US machinations, and those of domestic Venezuelan elites as well? Are there things you think they ought to do that at least so far they haven't? Do you worry that a repressive turn might compromise or even wreck the Bolivarian project even as it wards off off the opposition?
Venezuelans generally rely on public denunciations as the most effective way to impede these types of destabilisation actions, but often that is not sufficient. It's critical that those involved in serious attempts to violently overthrow a democratically elected government be brought to justice.
There are already clear signs that the Maduro government will ensure those responsible will have their day in court.
Beyond the involvement of Venezuelans, the role of US agencies and interests, and other foreign actors, has been a constant in these anti-democratic actions.
Venezuela has received the full support of all Latin American nations in the face of these recent threats, and all 33 nations of Latin America and the Caribbean have condemned and rejected the unilateral sanctions the Obama administration has imposed against the Venezuelan government.
This type of solid, unwavering support from a unified Latin America is critical to show Washington that the region will no longer stand for its bullying tactics.
I don't foresee the Maduro government taking any kind of repressive action against anti-government groups that are outside the law.
Before Chavez was elected, Venezuela experienced a brutally repressive period for decades. Constitutional rights were continuously suspended, national curfews were imposed, young men faced a forced military draft, and authorities used lethal force to repress demonstrations.
That all disappeared under Chavez, who refused to use repression, even during the coup in 2002 and subsequent attempts to overthrow his government. The Maduro government continues these same policies.
The only recent change was a defence ministry decree allowing for military forces to use lethal force in the face of violent uprisings. But this decree is very clear that no lethal force or even weapons can be used during peaceful demonstrations.
The one area I believe the Venezuelan government has been too lenient is with respect to the foreign funding of anti-government activities. It's illegal under the law in Venezuela, but rarely enforced.
The state must take the necessary steps to end this type of harmful funding that is feeding the conflict in Venezuela and keeping an otherwise defunct opposition alive.
The funding also comes from US taxpayer dollars, and it would be nice to keep that money in the US and invest it in social programs, instead of trying to undermine legitimate democracies in oil-rich nations.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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#4
Target Venezuela: Electoral Integrity Project' Brings the Cold War to Sydney




A multi-million dollar Australian Government funded project at the University of Sydney, linked to spin doctors in Washington, is using a biased and secretive method to help discredit elections in a range of enemy' countries.
[Image: avn-2.jpg_916636689.jpg]
The Electoral Integrity Project (EIP) joins the United States Studies Centre (USSC), established in 2007, as another heavily politicised initiative which compromises the independence of Australia's oldest university (see Anderson 2010).
A key target is socialist Venezuela, which is facing yet another destabilisation campaign, backed by Washington. The recent rounds of violence began in early 2014 and recently led to the arrest of several opposition figures for murder and coup plotting. The pretext for the violence has been that the government of President Nicolas Maduro is somehow democratically illegitimate.
However the radical, popular Bolivarian' governments have won 12 of Venezuela's last 13 elections. Further, 80% of the voting age population participated in the 2013 election, won by Maduro (International IDEA 2015). That is a massive increase on 1990s levels, when the Chavez phenomenon effectively sidelined the old and moribund two party system. And the electoral system is secure. Even the political journalist for anti-government paper El Universal described Venezuela's electoral system as one of the most technologically advanced verifiable voting systems in the world', with protections against fraud and tampering and scrutineered random recount mechanisms (Martinez 2013).
Sydney University's Electoral Integrity Project' tells a very different story. According to their 2015 report, Venezuela's Presidential election in 2013 was one of the worst in the world, ranking 110 out of 127. They corroborate their data with a survey claiming President Maduro only had a 24% popularity rating, with 85% believing that the country was heading in the wrong direction' (Norris et al 2015: 31). The EIP did not mention the Hinterlaces Polls, which have had Maduro's popularity (during the recent crisis) ranging from 39% to 52%; nor do they cite polls showing overwhelming rejection of the opposition's violent attempts to remove the elected president (Dutka 2014).
The EIP produces an impressive forest of data to form its rankings on the legitimacy of elections worldwide; but what is the basis for all these numbers? Though it is not so easy to find, the method involves selecting a range of criteria and then seeking expert opinion', from a group of unnamed people. That is, the numbers and rankings rely on expert opinion', and those experts are anonymous. There is only anecdotal recourse to more standard methods, such as actual opinion polls, or actual participation rates.
Yet popular and expert perceptions are a curious thing. As most mass media remains in the hands of a tiny oligarchy, for whom Venezuela has long been a black sheep', image shaping is often distorted. Surveys by the Chilean-based company LatinoBarómetro (2014: 8-9) illustrate this point very well. The image of Venezuela's democracy fromoutside the country is rather ordinary (seen as 41% and 47% favourable, between 2010 and 2013), whereas within Venezuela it is very different. Venezuelans rate their democracy at 70%, the second highest (after Uruguay) in Latin America.LatinoBarómetro (2014: 9) itself is surprised by these results, saying: The five countries which most appreciate their own democracy are countries governed by the left: Uruguay, Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador and Nicaragua … the democracy of which citizens speak is clearly not the democracy of which the experts speak'.
Yet surely any democracy is best judged by those who are able (or unable) to participate in it? The opinions of expert outsiders seem of little relevance. That is an elite approach. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Art 25) describes democratic rights this way: the right and the opportunity … to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives'. That refers to the right of citizens in a particular body politic. Gauged against this principle, the method of EIP project, relying on outside expert opinion, seems poorly conceived.
Yet an elitist approach is consistent with the model promoted by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a US government funded body launched by the Reagan administration in the second cold war of early 1980s. The NED (usually through intermediaries) funds a range of organisations in attempts to shape democracies or civil societies', to make them more friendly to or compliant with Washington. One of the founders and first President of the NED, Allen Weinstein, said in 1991, A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA' (Lefebvre 2013). Indeed, as with the psy-ops' of the CIA, the NED has been implicated in coups and destabilisation plans in a range of Latin American countries, including Nicaragua, Haiti and Venezuela (Kurlantzick 2004; Lefebvre 2013; Golinger 2006). The NED idea of democracy has been described as [a] top-down, elite, constrained (or "polyarchal") democracy … [where] the elites get to decide the candidates or questions suitable to go before the people' (Scipes 2014). French researcher Olivier Guilmain (in Teil 2011) says that the NED finances opposition parties in numerous countries and provides special aid to exiles and opponents of regimes targeted by the US State Department'.
Eva Golinger, whose book The Chavez Code exposed the Bush administration's involvement in the failed coup of 2002, has documented the NED's contribution to destabilisation and coups in Venezuela. In the last year or so the NED has spent many millions on Venezuelan opposition groups including funding for their political campaigns in 2013 and for the current anti-government protests in 2014' (Golinger 2014). She calls this the same old dirty tactics' of a coup in motion (Golinger 2015).
It might not come as a surprise then, to find that there are indeed NED and other US Government links to Sydney's Electoral Integrity Project. Chief investigator Professor Pippa Norris proudly lists her work as a consultant for the NED, and at least six of the project partners (without whose support the EIP would not have been possible') have direct US government funding. The EIP method of relying on expert opinion seems quite consistent with that elite, constrained … democracy'.
Worse, the EIP relies on anonymous opinion. A member of the project clarified this to me in these words: we have to maintain the confidentiality of our sources as part of our legal obligations … revealing the names of the experts could potentially risk putting them in harm's way in several states which do not respect human rights and which suppress critics'. Be that as it may, the opinions of anonymous people provide no way to assess the legitimacy of an independent state. It contradicts the principles of openness and transparency, values the EIP claims to both assess and promote. Who are these anonymous experts? Do they include opposition figures in the countries whose governments are under attack? Do they include the Washington insiders who advise on destabilisation and coup plans? There is little indication the EIP takes seriously the well-established principle of avoiding conflicts of interest.
It is also alarming that the EIP, as an Australian Government (ARC) funded academic project, whose subtitle (Why Elections fail and what we can do about it') suggests a measures of praxis, shares the Washington phrase failed elections [which] raised major red flags', mentioning several states, including Syria. It is well known that a major military intervention in Syria was narrowly averted in September 2013, after false claims that the Syrian Government had used chemical weapons against children (for evidence of the falsity of these claims see: Hersh 2013 & 2014; Lloyd and Postol 2014; ISTEAMS 2013). Does the EIP seek to associate itself with red flag' military interventions, if countries fail to meet its dubious criteria?
The project rated Syria's 2014 presidential elections near the bottom of its chart (125 of 127), on the basis of its anonymous expert opinions (Norris et al 2015: 11). The only rationale for this can be seen in a brief note which observes the election was deeply flawed because some areas of the country were not under government control, so polling did not take place in the regions where insurgents were strongest', and the fact that National Coalition - the main western backed opposition group' boycotted the election (Norris et al 2015: 27). While these are correct statements, they do not tell the whole story. Conflict in other countries did not seem to bother the EIP or its experts quite so much when they ranked the Ukraine election at 78 of 127 (Norris et al 2015: 10). Yet the election monitoring group International IDEA (2015), an EIP partner, puts participation rates in the Ukraine's 2014 presidential election at 50%, while in the Syria's 2014 presidential election it was 73%. Clearly the US foreign policy factor is at play. Washington arms the opposition' in Syria and the government in Ukraine. Similarly the NED has directly funded the Syrian opposition (NED 2006; Teil 2011; IRI 2015) while urging military support for the Ukraine government (Sputnik 2014; see also Parry 2014).
Finally we might observe that Israel's 2013 elections were duly reviewed by the EIP, leading to a very healthy 17/127 ranking (Norris et al 2015: 8). Apparently being a racial state, with several million effectively stateless Palestinian people, held in military-controlled territories and with virtually no civil or political rights, has little impact on the EIP assessment. Yet this is consistent with what the Washington-Tel Aviv axis has long told us about Israel as the only democracy in the region' (e.g. Goldman 2015, etc). The double standards are breath-taking. With the Electoral Integrity Project's US links and its elitist assumptions about democracy it seems the project has little sense of conflict of interest, let alone appropriate research method.
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Sources
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"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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