Saturday, June 9, 2012

Defense Lawyer for Judge Afiuni under Arrest

Judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni, a judge in Caracas, Venezuela has been held in detention in Caracas for the past thirty months, accused of such crimes as "spiritual corruption" and "assist a prisoner's escape." The latter charge arose when, while sitting as a judge, she granted bail pending trial for a political prioner who had himself spent thirty months in jail, without trial. While her decision was clearly legal, it led to President Chavez denouncing her as a "bandit" on national tv, and demanding thirty years in jail for her. Calls for an end to her sufferings have spanned the political universe, from Noam Chomsky on the left to Conservative members of the European Parliament. She has been represented in court hearings by Jose A. Graterol, a well-respected and experienced criminal defense lawyer. On June 2, 2012, Afiuni's lawyer, Graterol, was himself arrested after giving a television interview critical of the Venezuelan justice system. This unprecedented arrest was immediately criticized in the strongest terms by the Venezuelan Federation of Lawyers, the International Commission of Jurists, and Human Rights Watch, which stated that the arrest appeared to be an act of retaliation for Graterol's aggressive defense of Afiuni, both within the Venezuelan court system, and internationally. The Venezuelan Justice system has recently suffered the defection of two members of the Supreme Court, both appointed by the present Chavez government, and both of whom have made grave accusations which, if true, would entirely undermine the integrity of the judicial system. For example, the Chief Justice of the Criminal Division of the Supreme Court, Justice Aponte Aponte, revealed that each week's "judicial" decisions were actually made by the Executive, not the judiciary, in earler weekly meetings presided over by the Vice President. As well, Aponte said judges were routinely threatened with violence to insure "politically correct" rulings, both in political cases as well as in cases involving drug trafficking. In these latter cases, he said, he would be instructed by calls from the President and his staff as to which accused should be acquitted, and which ones to be found guilty and sentenced. A second Supreme Court Judge independently confirmed most of these points. When these allegations became public, the Attorney General of Venezuela announced they did not merit any investigation whatsoever. It is this system of "justice" which Jose Graterol is now accused of obstructing. It is this system of justice which Judge Afiuni refused to accomodate, a decision which caused her to be pulled from the bench by secret police and kept in custody two and one half years to date, without any trial. The proceedings against Graterol (as with Afiuni) thus far have been rife with lawlessness. Deadlines which insure that pretrial incarceration be limited, have not been met. The Criminal Code infraction with which he is charged requires proof of threats, fraud, or violence, but no specific threat, fraud, or violence has even been alleged. However, a gag order has been imposed which would limit press access, and which prevents any travel. Given that Afiuni's case has been taken up in the UN General Assembly and other international bodies, the travel restriction is particularly onerous, even if Graterol can obtain bail. Finally, it appears that the charges against Graterol will limit Justice Afiuni's right to be represented by the lawyer of her choice. There have been previous attempts to have Graterol disqualified, and to impose a state employee "duty counsel" to represent her. These lawyers, often inexperienced, are far from independent and can lose their jobs whenever the government wishes. Even if Jose Graterol is given bail pending his trial, it is likely that Judge Maria Afiuni's trial will either occur with no lawyer representing her, or will not occur for many years, due to the removal of Graterol. For this reason, the InterAmerican Federation of Lawyers called the arrest of Graterol "frightening" "arbitrary", and "a clear departure from the rule of law guaranteed by the Constitution and the norms of international law."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Venezuela Government Media in AntiSemitic Attack

On Sunday, three million Venezualans went to the polls to select an opposition candidate for President. They chose Henry Capriles Radonski, governor of a state and one-time elected representative of the Social Christian Party.

Capriles is of Jewish background. He has said that because his mother is Jewish, Jewish people consider him Jewish, "and I embrace that, but my personal convictions are Christian."

While Capriles has positioned himself in the centre-left, evoking Lula, and saying that Venezuelan oil must remain a state enterprise, he is probably more centre than left. During the campaign, as far as I can tell, he said nothing whatsoever about the State of Israel or its policies.

That didn't protect him from this attack, which skips over his religion to claim that he "incarnates" Zionism.

Since none of the debates leading up to the primary were covered on state radio or television, most Venezuelans outside the big cities knew little of Capriles until Venezuelan State Radio broadcast the following introduction yesterday. It is quite long, but provides a good sense of how Hugo Chavez uses the government media against his enemies. This is a "news backgrounder", but none of Capriles campaign promises or policy positions are mentioned, only that he "incarnates" Zionism.

The National Republic of Venezuela: News


Capriles Radonski, son of Henrique Capriles Garcia, descendant of a group of Sephardic Jews from Curacao, mothered by Monica Radonski, a Russian-Polish Jewess. Both families are related to the entrepreneurial oligarchy of the country (numerous companies are then listed).

Capriles Radonski participated in various courses in Europe, and of course in American imperialism, at Columbia University, in New York. He participated for a certain time in the private sector, in law firms (two names given). Both firms are associated with the interests of the Zionist bourgeoisie.

He was part of a paramilitary fascist sect called Tradition, Family, Property, where perverse religious rites were practiced, and where they planned selected crimes, none of which represented the national Aryan race, nor even the Venezuelan bourgeoisie. This group was directed by Alejandro Peña Esclusa, a confessed CIA agent.

In 1998, he was elected by COPEI, Social Christian Party, itself the offspring of the Spanish Falange group, Opus Dei, which arrived in Venezuela and put down roots in the 1950s.

Capriles Radonski participated in the coup of the bourgeois state in 2002, against the bolivaran revolution, along with the Baruta police chasing the bolivaran people in a fascist attack, which though of short duration, showed the lengths that the bourgeoisie would go to to defend their interests.

On April 12, 2002, he and other enraged bad actors led an attack on the Cuban Embassy in violation of all intenational norms, Putting the lives of people in danger, people who were within the sovereign Cuban space.

This Zionist was acquitted in December 2006 by the court of appeal.

In order to understand the interests which are incarnated in this candidate of the international and Venezuelan oligarchy, you have to understand Zionism, an Israeli ideology which he represents in an underhanded manner.

Zionism hides behind a religious and national discourse, while wishing to hide its colonial and political goals, those of racial superiority and hegemony. Zionism was born as a plan by imperialism to place strategic bases in the arab world, bases of operation in the area. it is the ideology of terror, the ideology of the most putrid sentiments humanity can conceive of, a supposed patriotism based purely on avarice, which proves the logic that "all nationalism without a national home is of necessity, an enterprise of conquest."

And so it is. They have murdered millions of Palestinians and have constructed a concentration camp in the middle of the 20th century, which they then bombard and force into overcrowded conditions.

The Gaza strip is one of the most densely populated areas on the planet, one and one half million Palestinians living in 360 square kilometers, which the Israeli Zionists then force into isolation, terror, poverty, persecution, and abandonment.

Zionism heads the majority of the financial institutions of the world, controls almost 80% of the world economy, as well as almost the whole of the world's media of communication, as well as having postions of decisionmaking in the US State Department and European powers.

Capriles Radonski met recently with the Confederation of Societies of Israelites of Venezuela, where they talked, among other things, of Venezuela's relations with Iran, the reestablishment of relations with the state of Israel, and the supposed antisemitism of the Bolivaran Revolution. This Confederation though, shows no shame in admitting Zionism as its ideology. Here is what an article on their website says: "Zionism is our identity, it unites us and makes us brothers, and it is our responsibility, to the extent each of us can, to contribute to its strengthening. The Zionist ideology is not only the largest political manifestation of Modern Judaism in full vigor, but it is also a valid means of helping with existential problems faced by the Jewish people today."

The rational struggle against poverty, racism and antisemitism makes no sense if it is not directed against Zionism and capitalism, representatives (sic) of 90% of world poverty, of imperial wars, of the deaths and misery of millions of persons, and the growing threat of extinction of all the species of the planet and the planet itself.

This is our enemy, represented today by Capriles Radonski, which has nothing to do with a national, or independent choice. There are two choices in October, either the Bolivaran Revolution, which comes demanding Latin American unity and the interests of the people, or international Zionism, which threatens the destruction of the planet we live on."