Reports from the Daily Mail about Tony Caplin (aka Anthony Caplin), the bankrupt crony of UK's Prime Minister David Cameron's father who was put in charge of a £60-billion-budget quango, raised a few alarms in London. The man himself was immediately sacked from his role in charge of the Public Works Loans Board (PWLB), described by the Daily Mail as a "Treasury body responsible for £60 billion worth of loans for infrastructure projects including homes, schools, hospitals, rail and roads".
Alek Boyd's blog
Marathon runners hit the wall. Writers block. But how could the moral dilemma confronting many investigative bloggers / journalists be defined? The image of the whistleblower, of late, has been appropriated by Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden. By revealing information they had been given conditional access to, both individuals broke the law. Now, they are living with the consequences. It is a daunting issue. A given person comes across confidential, secret, potentially explosive information.
This is a shocking piece of news. Alejandro Rebossio reports in El País that Venezuelans have syphoned $405.8 billion away from that country. Capital flight in Brazil, a country of 198 million people with a GDP of 2.253 trillion is estimated at $519.5 billion.
An email from someone alleging to represent a construction company from Iraq made its way into my inbox recently:
Hello & Salam Elicum, I was referred to you from our Business Representative Manager in Venezuela.
I’m the South America Regional Director of Al-Bilal Group, we are a large construction company in the Middle East as you can see on our website.
We were just approached for cooperation for a major construction project by a construction company in Caracas region.
The Mail on Sunday published yesterday an article about Tony Caplin entitled "PM hired bankrupt crony to run £60billion quango: Tycoon put in charge of vast Treasury budget by his Tory friends is sacked after MoS probe." In short, David "we ar
Further to previous exposés about RaFa, the convicted criminal of choice for all online reputation management needs of the Boliburgeoisie chosen by Bundesdruckerei (BDR) as its representative in Venezuela, Der Spiegel piles on the pressure today, with an article questioning Ge
Since Maduro followed through with orders from his Cuban handlers, to send heavily armed thugs and Venezuela's National Guard to kill, torture, terrorise, and arrest people participating protests in Venezuela, a different battle has been raging.
The good folks from Reporters Without Borders published in its We Fight Censorship website a post entitled "Corruption Off Limits on Venezuelan Internet", where censorship of this website in Venezuela is exposed.
Official press release from BANESCO, refuting claims about an alleged $50 million bribe paid by Derwick Associates to President of Venezuelan Congress, Diosdado Cabello, through BANESCO Panama.
I know, I know, today's a Sunday, mothers' day in the UK, but the stuff in Twitter from @jescotet is just too good to ignore. Check out the following tweets:
Diosdado Cabello is the current President of Venezuela's Congress. He has had many important roles in the chavista revolution, and is considered to be one of the three most powerful men in Venezuela. Cabello hails from the military, and participated in the coup led by Hugo Chavez in 1992. Cabello has recently been mentioned in a Florida lawsuit against Derwick Associates, a company that allegedly paid him a $50 million bribe. Wikileaks provides examples of how American authorities perceive Cabello, and so it is relevant to showcase these opinions, to get a measure of the man.
Life seems to be getting more and more difficult for Derwick Associates. A Venezuelan news site reported two days ago that Thor Halvorssen (with whom I worked in The Human Rights Foundation back in 2008-2009) has filed a lawsuit in Miami against Derwick Associates, and its executives Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt Lopez, Pedro Trebbau Lopez and Francisco D'Agostino.
Descifrado.com reports that Thor Halvorssen (my former boss at The Human Rights Foundation) has sued Derwick Associates (Alejandro Betancourt, Pedro Trebbau, Francisco D'Agostino and 25 others) in the 11th Circuit of Miami-Dade, Florida. Allegedly, high figures from chavismo could be involved in corruption. Derwick Associates has another pending lawsuit, in New York, filed by former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Otto Reich.
infodioLeaks continues to provide some truly amazing leaks about corruption in Venezuela. One of the first questions ever asked to Derwick Associates, when it became known that it had been gifted 12 contracts in non-bidding processes, was to produce copy of said contracts. After all, Derwick was believed to be a Venezuelan private company, run by Venezuelans, that had been contracted by Venezuelan State's institutions, and that had been paid with Venezuelan public funds.
Alejandro Betancourt is a chavista wunderkind. A 'pioneer and global entrepreneur' he seems to be preparing his move to Spain, considering the tough times in his native Venezuela. Given his worldwide 'stature' as a 'businessman, philanthropist, innovator, and financial wizard,' Mr. Betancourt’s PR team recently unveiled a new website: AlejandroBetancourt.Es (notice Spain’s TLD) to serve as his presentation card to the world.
It is not an exaggeration to say that in many Venezuelan homes, regardless of politics, there's a weapon. The website gunpolicy.org cites some stats: "The estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in Venezuela is 1,600,000 to 4,100,000... In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Venezuela ranked at No. 27... Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in Venezuela there are estimated to be 1,100,000 to 2,700,000".
The latest in the series #youcantmakethisshitup comes from Hollywood director Oliver Stone. Early in his latest propaganda film, aptly entitled "Mi Amigo Hugo", Stone says (3.13) "I did not know then that Hugo's end was near, that he'd be infected with a brutal and aggressive cancer in 2011..."
You know Eva. She was the "darling" of Hugo, the "sweetheart" of the "revolution". She must be sobbing today. Upon finishing her studies, in a rather expensive college, she went on to study law, and became, according to chavismo's conventional wisdom, a "renowned author", an "investigative journalist", a "TV presenter", an "editor of Correo del Orinoco", an "expert on Venezuela", and even a "Venezuelan". Imagine just how desperate for useful idiots those revolutionaries are, that Eva, an American citizen, published her first "book" in Havana.
There's a tendency, by international journalists covering the current Venezuelan crisis, of projecting own ideological, political and cultural baggage onto their reporting. It is only to be expected and natural, for true objectivity is an utopia. While professional journalists have to maintain an appearance of striving for objectivity, examples of gross subjectivity continue to find their way to media outlets perceived to be editorially objective. I can think of a couple of recent examples: Associated Press and the BBC.
Marvinia Jimenez is a young, partially disabled mother (35). When spreading protests came to her largely poor neighbourhood in La Isabelica, Valencia (some 200 kilometers from Caracas) on 24 February, she thought that instead of retreating, or running away, she would approach the National Guard, to have a word. What followed was one of the darkest episodes of brutality seen in Venezuela in the last few years. To President Nicolas Maduro's shame, almost every detail of the vile attack on unarmed Marvinia was recorded by many neighbours, who uploaded the gory stuff onto social media in real time. The pictures and video immediately went viral.
The last couple of days have been kind of extraordinary, in the sense that some of chavismo's big dogs have come unhinged. First we saw Jose Vielma Mora, Governor of Tachira state where protests began, criticising President Maduro in a radio interview. Vielma Mora said he was against the brutal way in which protesters have been repressed, and added that he disagreed with keeping political prisoner Ivan Simonovis and opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez in jail (both on trumped charges). We then saw President of Congress, Diosdado Cabello, come on TV to lie about an alleged weapons cache that General Angel Vivas had in his house.
"When you're not allowed to think for yourself, when you're not allowed to have, and voice, an opinion, insofar as such opinion is contrary to the diktats of the ruling party, you lose the only thing that makes us human. You become like an object in a meaningless life, and such life is not worth living. So I decided to rebel against that system and I had no fear of dying, for living in such condition was akin to being dead."
Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans will take to the streets today. The Maduro regime has failed spectacularly in its attempt to 'convince' the world that widespread protests that have rocked our country since Feb. 2 are the product of U.S. intervention, fascism and other such totally unsubstantiated nonsense. I remember having written a while ago that if the Cuban dictators could not impede the free flow of information in the prison island, Maduro stood no chance of succeeding at it. Despite the local media blackout, social media has roundly defeated all chavista attempts at censorship.
In the last few days the chavista regime in Venezuela censored the Colombian news channel NTN24. CNN reporter Karl Penhaul and his crew were assaulted by police in Caracas for, basically, doing their job. Caracas Press Club and Instituto Sociedad y Prensa have reported various attacks on journalists in the last few days. Images and videos of the brutality unleashed on protesters uploaded to Twitter have reportedly been censored. Yesterday, President Maduro threatened to kick CNN out of the country.
There's confusion. Loads of it. On the one hand, everyone feels energised by Leopoldo Lopez's heroics yesterday, on the other a question hangs in the air: now what? Dawn breaks in Venezuela with a resolved opposition movement with its leader in jail, unable to organize, communicate and execute whatever strategy going forward. Or is it? Let's take stock of what happened yesterday. Hundreds of thousands dressed in white took to the streets across Venezuela yesterday, answering the call made by Lopez.
Leopoldo Lopez has been arrested by Venezuela's National Guard, after giving a speech in front of thousands of people. He was taken away in an armoured vehicle. Destination unknown.
This post will be updated throughout the day, although for latest update best to check my TL @alekboyd on the right.
13:04: Lopez is taken out from armoured vehicle and into black SUV.
Leopoldo Lopez, one of the two most promising leaders of the Venezuelan opposition (the other being Maria Corina Machado), posted a home video yesterday, raising a few claims and stating that tomorrow he will go to the office of Ministry of Interior and Justice, to hand a petition and hand himself in:
Primicias24 is chavista investigative journalism at its very best. It is a site run and edited by a chap called Carlos Herrera, a former councilman. Herrera and his rag have been on a relentless streak of late, posting stuff about me that reveals more about their worldview than anything else. So for instance, I learned from Herrera a while ago that I "had AIDS". He then posted a piece entitled "Carlos Herrera replies to the hitman, homosexual and sick Alek Boyd".